C-suite career advice: Adrian Gregory, DataIQ

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

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Adrian Gregory

 Company: DataIQ

 Job Title: CEO

 Location: London, UK


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
Always put the company first, avoid politics, be honest with your team and colleagues, and do the right thing - not the easy thing. I had one early boss who was always quoting mantras such as “No goals, no glory”, “Nothing ever happens till you sell something” and “Always be closing”. These have stuck in my mind and perhaps explain my focus on sales every day of the week, which is definitely not a bad thing.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
When I started my first business at 28 my bank manager advised me not to proceed. The irony was I wasn’t even seeking to borrow money – I just wanted to deposit my redundancy cheque! Luckily I ignored him and went to his competitor who was only too pleased to help.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
Go for it! The rate at which technology continues to develop will only increase apace. Big Data, predictive analytics, the Internet of Things, mobile, and the cloud are just some of the applications in which technology is making a massive difference. It’s an extremely exciting time to be in tech - the intelligent use of data, enabled by technology, is transforming business performance and the world in which we live.

My specific advice would be to join the commercial side of the business. Really get to know your customers and understand their needs. For me, there is nothing more exciting than working with the sales, account and marketing teams who satisfy customers and smash targets.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
Think like your Directors - understand what keeps them awake at night. Ensure you discover and focus on what is important to them, and it is vital that you are aware of your organisation’s key goals and strive to contribute to them. Avoid wasting time on tactical projects and initiatives that don’t impact on the core strategies. Finally, use the valuable advice I was lucky enough to receive - put the company first and avoid getting drawn into politics and working with negative people – life’s too short! 

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
I’m fortunate to have employed so many terrific people who have progressed to senior levels in major organisations or who have built their own successful companies. I’m not sure what role if any I’ve played in their success, however, I am proud that many remain on good terms and talk fondly of their time working with me. One guy who I rejected for a job, and advised to start his own business, tells me that he is eternally grateful having gone on to build a successful data agency which he later sold for a healthy sum.