C-suite career advice: Brenda Morris, Kronos

We ask industry leading C-suite professionals for their expert career advice...

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Brenda Morris

 Company: Kronos

 Job title: General Manager

 Location: London, UK



What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received? 

It might sound odd but my first boss was female and she told me to always say thanks when a man opened a door for me. The advice stuck with me as I think it’s important to realise that outside of the board room, cultural norms can still be respected and I don’t have to challenge them to be a success in all aspects of life. She made me realise that it was ok to be seen as an equal in the boardroom, but to then accept a door being opened for me outside of it. It’s a simple point, but it’s something that has stuck with me and I think it helped me succeed as a business woman.


What was the worst piece of business advice that you received? 

Early in my career, I was involved in a company restructure and my manager at the time tried to put me in a job that really wasn’t suited to me. When I challenged him, he told me I should take it or he guaranteed I would amount to nothing more than data processing for the rest of my life! Throughout my career, I’ve appreciated every job I was given and rolled my sleeves up to give my all, but he taught me a valuable lesson: many people can become managers, but having that status does not always give you the wisdom to lead effectively, or the respect of those that work for you to take your advice on board.


What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry? 

Be bold, but be humble. If you are ambitious and capable, you will need to be prepared to take risks in your career to reach your goals. However, being bold is not the same as being arrogant. Humility is an important trait to foster if you are looking to climb the career ladder; there will always be people you can learn from and you need to be aware of when to listen to ensure that you get real support when you need to take some risks. People will support your ambition if they feel you are willing to take advice.


What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position? 

To really succeed at the highest level in business, you need to be aware of the business as a whole: you can’t just be a specialist in one area. To fully participate and manage strategic decisions you need to understand the impact activities will have on all areas of business. I’ve always worked hard to be the best at everything I did, but also to learn from others about their roles to improve my own awareness. Nowadays, the idea of formalising your business learning by doing an MBA is definitely something to consider as it really ensures your strategic awareness is strong and will enhance your ability to manage effectively when reaching that c-suite position.


Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you've given or the career route/development of anyone you've mentored? 

The thing I truly love about my job now is the balance I have between working on strategy, operations and people. I have a real passion for spotting and nurturing talent and it’s something I truly enjoy doing. I’m very proud of the number of people I’ve hired and coached in my career who are now hugely successful in their own right; many of them are now my peers and we continue to share advice and insight with each other.

Here at Kronos, I’m always looking to nurture talent and will encourage people to try different business roles where I can see their talents will be better utilised. It is truly gratifying when my instincts are right and they flourish in their new roles. It’s important to treat everyone as an individual and work with them to find and develop their skills and passions. I find it personally rewarding to give people the opportunities and support they need to reach their full potential.