Director, Helen Coppen, looks back on her time at eg and how she got to where she is now, as she celebrates her 18th eg anniversary!
You may have seen that I celebrated 18 years with eg last week; so, I thought it was a good time to reflect on what makes a job enjoyable for me and maybe share a few pointers to those starting out in their careers.
You will see on my career profile on LinkedIn, that I have only worked for five companies throughout my career. I haven’t been one to chop and change, primarily the reason being I have stayed local to Cambridge. I love this area; the scenery, and the people around me and never had a yearning to move elsewhere to achieve my career goals.
I have always been career driven and started work at 16 and studied through day release, sponsored by Haverhill Meat Products and Jeyes right through to finishing my MBA. Not only did I learn through my studies, I learnt a lot from other people. So, here are my top ten tips for getting the best out of your role and forging a career path:
1. Learn good habits
I cannot stress enough how important it is to observe what makes a good manager. My ops director at Jeyes, Alan Bridges, made a big impression on me and I still refer to his influence.
2. Life or business is not simple
A curve ball will always come along at some point - if there is a problem, come up with a solution to add to the mix. A starter for 10 helps the team form the best resolution.
3. Never hold grudges
The only person it inhibits, is you.
4. Talk to people
Understand what makes them tick and what is important to them, then adapt your approach to make people feel valued, from the cleaner to the CEO and student to the professor. Saying hello to everyone or acknowledging them with a smile is a start. Never be aloof; it will come back to bite you.
5. Always work with your suppliers
Never alienate them. They are the ones on whom you will ask to get you out of a muddle, when you are up against it.
6. Have a sense of humour
A good laugh makes you feel better in life and in work.
7. Understand that most people are not inherently difficult
Take the time to talk and get to the bottom of any conflict. There is normally an underlying issue causing difficult outcomes.
8. Be decisive
Sometimes it is simply not the right mix, the right time, the right people and hard decisions have to be made. Most issues do not just dissipate and the bravest thing to do is confront any problems sooner rather than later. Life is too short.
9. Give something back to others
Make a cuppa, share some experiences, smile, open the door for someone, offer to help in any way you are comfortable with and give the time to listen.
10. Understand that there is no blue print for a successful business
It’s not down to a single person or role. I think Belbin team roles and the Business Excellence Model help me visualise and understand this; take a look if you haven’t come across them before. I do, however, still prefer the 2012 model:
Wherever you are in your career, you should always set your own personal goals and set your own plan to achieve it. Few people in life are given everything on a plate - progress is of your own making. Always be willing to learn and improve at whatever stage of your career, whether starting out, on a brake with your family, back re-establishing having chosen to return to work, in your prime or in your twilight years. You are normally your own worst critic, so always try your best. If you have done the best you can, you don’t have a reason for regrets.
Well, I joined eg when my family were young and founders, Andrew and Danny, were starting their families too. I agreed wholeheartedly with their leadership values; they resonated with my own moral standards. They understood my need for flexibility, the importance of attending school plays, despite them always being the middle of the working day and the need to be able to drop things when there was call during holiday clubs, saying one of the kids was on their way to Addenbrookes A&E. In my case, it seemed like an annual event for one of my children. My kids were eight and four when I first joined; they are now 26 and 22. And as they grew, I was able to grow in my role and take on more and more responsibility, becoming a central part of the success and growth of the business and like all employees at eg, benefit from it’s profitability.
I fully believe in the business model at eg technology. Be it a small, simple iteration or a brand-new state of the art medical device or IVD, the products we design and develop can change people’s lives. Creative, lateral thinking with a good understanding of engineering principles makes a huge difference. The team share their knowledge willingly and encourage you to actively contribute, creating a positive culture of inclusivity, continuous learning and recognition. We celebrate achievements, whether that be as an individual or as part of a team and share in the responsibility of solving issues when things don’t go to plan.
With that in mind…it’s time to celebrate my very own achievement, and now I have officially come of age, I think I will open a bottle! So, cheers to the future - the continued growth and success of eg...and me being part of it!
For more information on working with eg or to chat with one of our team about your product design and development requirements, please contact us:
via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
by giving us a call on +44 01223 813184
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