C-suite career advice: Sabby Gill, Epicor Software

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

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Sabby Gill

 Company: Epicor Software

 Job Title:  Executive Vice President International

 Location: UK


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

“Do what you say you're going to do.”

The idea of following through on commitments and being held accountable for your plans and actions is vital. It helps build trust and comfort with the people you deal with knowing that you bring credibility and will ensure that things get done. You want to be that person that others can rely on.

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

“Business is not personal.”

You could not be further from the truth with this statement as business is personal.  People buy from people and your future is in the hands of what they say and what they do.  When you enter a relationship, which is what we do when we supply ERP solutions, you need to take it personally and care about the job you, and everyone else, does for that customer.  Everything reflects on the promise you make to your customers, partners, investors and employees.  Whichever way you look at it, their emotions, personal ambitions, psyche etc., all play a part in the business at hand.

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

I would recommend two pieces of advice. The first is to be as open as possible to learning new concepts and ensure you never stop asking questions, even if they seem silly at the time. There will be collaborative people in the organisation that are very open to sharing information; you need to track them down and learn as much as you can from them.  Be a leech.  Bear in mind that it is also a two-way process; by questioning you will get answers so it’s important to not only ask questions but take note and listen. 

Mysecond piece of advice specifically around the tech industry is to ensure you understand how technology works for the company you join and ensure that you understand the culture. Get close to the R&D process and understand its direction and strategy.  That is the heart of the organisation and where the future direction is born.  Once you understand the technology, you will be better placed to assist in helping define Go-to-Market strategies and create value propositions that help solve the business issues at hand.  You have to create value in everything you do. If you don’t, how can you expect people to buy the products and services on offer?

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

Be an advocate of change and look for excellence in everything you do.  Do not dither. C-level positions demand, as well as offer, respect. People expect answers and directions from those in these positions in a timely and articulate manner. Think about a driver of a high-performance car; with a professional driver behind the wheel you can obtain strong performance and look to break lap records. However, if you put a novice behind the wheel, you will struggle to get the same results. You need to grow into the expert that people want to rely on to drive the business forwards.

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

I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of very talented individuals over my career. One piece of advice that I have given, and continue to give, is “to reflect”.  What I mean by this, is always take a step back when you find yourself in a difficult or complex situation and reassess what it is that you are trying to achieve. Too many times we get fixated on finer details and can’t see the forest from the trees. Taking a step back can help us see the wider picture and realign our focus.