Human Resources

C-suite career advice: Charles Henri Royon, Tradeshift

Charles Henri Royon

  Company: Tradeshift

  Job Title: Vice President EMEA

  Location: Paris, France


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

There are three things - all are very much linked - that I try to embody every day.  

Firstly, always try to do things that seem unachievable - push the boundaries of what you think’s possible and get out of your comfort zone. Accept that you may fail, and do not fear failure - you will learn many things on the journey. And remember that the journey is more important than the destination.

Secondly, never ever give up. Never take no for an answer. No doesn't mean “no you shouldn’t do it”, it could mean - “not now, but perhaps later when you understand the problem better.”

Lastly, never be rude, and don’t take advantage of your position. Be confident not arrogant.


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

‘Do not leave this company as the world is dangerous out there.’ As a young man, I remember I began to get bored at a company after four years. The firm tried hard to ensure I stayed but the best argument they came up with was that I was too young, that it was too dangerous outside this well-known brand and that I wouldn’t get the same opportunities as I was receiving at the time. I ignored this poor advice and I haven’t looked back, finding my own way through my career to where I am now.


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

Be extremely flexible - nowhere is this more important than in the fast moving world of technology. Follow the disruptive path and don’t settle for what seems to be the right approach now… make sure you are involved with a company that is pushing the boundaries, that wants to change things and what is thought of as ‘normal’. This is one of the main reasons why I’m at Tradeshift, a company radically changing how businesses and suppliers manage their relationship.

Never follow the crowd, be unique and accept that you may be beyond your comfort zone at times within the technology market.

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

Don’t make that your goal - instead focus on the journey. Opportunities will arise - but only take that position if things are aligned and it makes sense for you. Don’t just jump at the first opportunity - I have seen many colleagues jump at the right title for status and then burn out as it wasn’t the right time for them. Take your time.

Chasing a C-Level position is like chasing money - if you chase it you will fall short, it should be a consequence of your ability and experience.  In the same way money is a consequence not a goal.


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

The best advice I have given to my teams throughout my career is: work hard but don't forget to leave creative time for yourself. Give yourself some time each day to focus on something personal. Remain human, don't become a machine. Try to achieve that work/life balance.

For example, each morning I take time to do 20 minutes of yoga and meditate, taking some time out undisturbed means you can handle more and won’t burn-out, but remain productive. Act as a man of thought and think as a man of action.

Think big but take baby steps to get there.


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