C-suite career advice: Dan Turner, Deep Secure

What tips would the c-suite give to the next generation?


Name: Dan Turner

Company: Deep Secure

Job Title: Chief Executive Officer

Location: London, UK



What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
The two equally ‘best pieces’ of career advice that I ever received was firstly, to hire people much better yourself – just surround yourself with brilliant people – and secondly, was to ‘always have a business plan’. Additionally, the discipline of creating a solid business plan works really well as a framework for thinking about your own career.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
The worst piece of business advice I ever received was being directed to hire someone that I hadn’t interviewed myself. I had a new boss come in and practically demand that I hire somebody that he had previously worked with because he was ‘so awesome’. Guess what - he wasn’t. More fool me for listening in the first place; you learn quickly from your mistakes in business.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
Focus on developing your ‘soft skills’ as much as developing your formal qualifications. The tech industry is such a dynamic sector that the ability to present well and be natural in client conversations will future-proof you better than technical know-how in many instances.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
Learn how to design, develop and then execute a business plan. Once you have honed this skill you can do nearly anything in business, and will be well fitted for c-level posts. If you have a senior mentor about you, they will normally be able to point you in the direction of somebody in your current organization that does this well, so in turn see if you can tap their knowledge.

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
I had a wonderful mentor during an important phase of my career, who used to remind me that there was ‘no virtue in being right’. I have subsequently found myself repeating this to those that I have mentored, and had feedback that it had been highly useful for them in being more collegiate in their approach to managing teams.