Human Resources

C-suite career advice: Steve Hadaway, FICO

Steve Hadaway

  Company: FICO

  Job Title: EMEA MD

  Location: London, UK


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
It sounds obvious, but an early mentor of mine always said that you should surround yourself with smart, committed and fun people, and to never make do with second best.  I try and run my business by those standards, and take immense pleasure from seeing what bright, like-minded individuals can achieve together when they all want to see each other succeed.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
Now, working in the field of predictive analytics, it amuses me to remember a careers exercise I went through when I was at school: all the students answered a very long questionnaire made up of slightly obscure questions and the responses were fed into a computer (which was probably the size of a classroom back then), before we were each told our ideal career.  Mine was “actuary”, so I’m glad I didn’t follow that advice.  Mind you, a couple of my friends were advised their ideal vocations were as a wig maker and artificial limb fitter! I keep meaning to check in on them to see whether the predictions were correct.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
Keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone – you’ll be amazed at how your personal development can accelerate.  As I look back on my career to date I can see periods where I stayed doing the same thing for too long, and other periods where I was stretching myself and learning every single day I turned up at the office - the better days were ones where I reached beyond my comfort zone.  Critically evaluate how you are growing, and seize every opportunity you can to throw yourself in the deep end with a new challenge.  You’ll rise to the occasion much more than you think.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
Someone in a c-level position needs a broad and rounded set of skills, but so much can be achieved by selecting, organising, developing and inspiring the team around you.  This really hinges on having the right interpersonal skills so that your colleagues will support and follow you to achieve a common goal or goals.  I don’t subscribe to the view that leaders get to the top by stepping on those around them, rather that the best executives achieve success through personal relationships, fostering commitment and loyalty in a team of people who want to triumph together.

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
A few years ago I sponsored the movement of an individual from our direct marketing function into a client sales role for one of our key clients, having detected a passion and aptitude that I thought would make the employee a success.  It has been immensely gratifying to watch his development over the last couple of years, as I can see him learn and grow every week.  These are the sort of achievements that make the job worthwhile.


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