C-suite career advice: Ian Parslow, MTI

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

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Ian Parslow

 Job Title: Senior Vice President Sales

 Company: MTI

 Location: Godalming, Surrey, UK


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
In the early stages of my career, one of my managers advised me to use the following phrase when considering challenges “If it’s to be, it’s up to me”. Whilst I partly agree with that, nothing is ever possible on your own. Teamwork is crucial for success. It’s important to surround yourself with hardworking, motivated and creative people.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
I think it has to be ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. It’s a saying I fundamentally disagree with, especially within the technology sector. If you don’t stay up to date with new trends then you could fall by the wayside. To develop and prosper as an individual or technology business, you have to be agile in order to be able to react as the market evolves.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
In one of the fastest growing industries in the UK, it’s so important to keep up to date with new developments and what’s going on in the market. Spotting emerging trends is just one way to stay ahead of the game. Developing skillsets around that will help to future proof our company.
It’s also essential to understand the markets you’re selling to and in. Studying customer challenges, their needs and pain points is crucial. This will help you stay relevant in a rapidly evolving market.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
Listen carefully and question robustly. Immerse yourself in all areas of the business, even in the areas you may not be familiar with. From Sales and Marketing, to finance – getting to know all aspects of the different practices will only strengthen your position and expand your knowledge. Understanding each department, their challenges, the strengths and their motivations will place you in good stead. Taking an interest in areas that are not directly related to your role, goes a long way.

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
One of the most rewarding parts of the job is watching my guys develop and progress with their careers. During my 13 years at MTI, I’ve seen a number of employees flourish both in their personal lives and in the workplace and playing a small part in that is tremendously rewarding to me.