Human Resources

C-suite career advice: Sukhi Ghuman, Octavian Security

Sukhi Ghuman

  Company: Octavian Security

  Job Title: Founder and CEO

  Location: US


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
Get some grey hair! With age comes a certain level of respect and when I first started Octavian Security at the age of 25, I felt as though a few organisations underestimated our capabilities simply because I didn’t look as though I’d been round the block a few times. Whilst no one could doubt my drive and determination, some may have questioned my experience because of my younger years. It’s much easier to hold authority and be taken seriously if you are of a certain age. And don’t worry, a C-level position will guarantee grey hairs - making hard, stressful and in many cases instinctual decisions is not for the light-hearted!

Another piece of advice shared with me was to consider your cash flow ensuring that it is in a strong order to help not only growth, but to ensure you can accurately project short and mid-to-long term goals for the business. The key is to have a plan for every eventuality.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?
Grow locally before looking outside your locality. The world is a big place and whilst it’s great to build strong foundations locally, it simply may not be the most effective use of your time if there is a much bigger market further afield. If you’re successful, local businesses will find you and you will be able to embed yourself in its community. But if you’re looking to achieve real growth, you’ve got to be brave enough to step outside your comfort zone.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?
Stay in touch with the pace. It’s a fast and furious industry to be a part of and being open to each revolution is key to evolving your career. You don’t have to be a tech genius, but what you do have to do is be willing to learn from those around and have the sense of mind to adapt to your needs.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?
Know your industry, know the people worth knowing in your industry and be courageous. C-level isn’t just about the title, it’s about being the right person to take a business forward. That can mean many things from developing a product, to growing into new markets, to evolving skill sets. Knowing what, how and who you need to make a business plan a reality is fundamental.

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
Too many people in their careers aren’t prepared to play the waiting game. One thing I have shared with a few certain individuals is the importance of being patient and, most importantly, having a plan. People may not always see your point of view so you’ll have to be persuasive. Know the plan that will take you to the top, get buy in to that plan and seek to execute it.


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