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Human Resources

C-suite career advice: Andy Hardy, Code42

02-06-2015-andy-hardy-code42
Name:
Andy Hardy

Company: Code42

Job Title: Managing Director, EMEA

Location: Buckinghamshire, UK


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
“Do something.” Sometimes in business, it’s hard to know what to do next when situations are complex or seem out of your control. The important thing is to do something… and if that doesn’t work, “fail fast” and try again! We learn a lot from challenging experiences which seem to have no ready answer, and the worst response is that of the rabbit in the headlights. It’s all about execution as a team. Encourage people to pull together in the same direction, and ensure your team is fully supported to try innovative, or counter-intuitive, approaches.  

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
“Let’s drop our price.” Every customer wants value for money. Competition is keen within IT markets, and customers, of course, want to ensure they are getting the best possible deal. Likewise, sales teams often, in the face of competition, feel that the best strategy is simply to lower price. However, savvy buyers know that the most important thing is the long-term business value derived from the solution being purchased, and that lower headline costs savings can often mask the total cost of ownership. So it is not only important to deliver best value to your customers, but also to work with them to ensure that the business value is demonstrable. 

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
“Be good at more than one thing – and network!” When young people ask me how I planned my career, I laugh and tell them I didn’t! The only plan you can have is to gather as much expertise as possible in complementary fields. This will help you to deepen your insights and heighten your value over time. I have been fortunate enough to have had stints in military avionics, small business, broadcast engineering, financial IT, private equity/venture capital and sales leadership over a number of years. 

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
“You’re just one person, one small, albeit vital, cog in a very large machine.” A broad set of skills in leadership and management is critical when aiming at c-level positions - you need to understand what motivates and inspires people. Beyond that, you definitely need to have insight into the process of how a business runs. Relevant experience has never hurt, but transferable skills are key! One of the most important tools to have in the c-suite is the ability to keep the bigger picture in mind. The best leaders are those that surround themselves with, and trust the abilities of their staff members. This then gives them the time to focus on the ever-important strategic direction of the company.

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
“Keep Swimming!” Sometimes it’s hard for people to see the progress they are making, the tenacity they show. In those cases it’s even harder to ‘focus and stick to the plan’, but that is often the key to making it through tough periods in your career. Thinking of cross-channel swimmers, such as the inspiring David Walliams, I once told a colleague that progress is being made, but we can’t always see it. Just like a cross-channel swimmer who can’t see the shore they’ve left behind nor the one still over the horizon, progress is being made, even though it’s sometimes really hard to measure! Keep doing the right things, and the results will follow.   

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