Q & A with Mick Hood, HR Director Liberty Steel: Part 2 The secret of career progression

by | Oct 1, 2017

In the second of this series of blog posts in which I’m interviewing Mick Hood, HR Director with Liberty Steel (formerly Tata Steel Europe), I ask him: “You work with executives from different disciplines, across different organisations, what are the commonalities that you see which have facilitated their career progression and success?”

The commonality in terms of long term success in a board level position for me, is that the business imperative must trump the ‘functional agenda’.

You need to use your knowledge and levers to meet the business imperative

This is also true throughout your career – you need to use your knowledge and levers to meet the business imperative. If you always think from your own perspective or your own functions perspective, your impact on the business can be significantly limited. If HR always say ‘you can’t do that’ the function can often get side-lined. This is true of all functions across a business.

Always use your knowledge and levers to meet the business imperative. Click To Tweet

If you believe your functions processes are more important than the bigger business you’re going to limit your impact or even have a negative one. When having to be clear about your view from your area of functional expertise, the ability to reference the business imperative and the impact on the long term success of the business from a financial and commercial angle is vital.

Top tip: There should never be a project or initiative for initiatives sake. Things should always link back to the business strategy and impact.

Successful senior managers know that not everyone will understand their world and their area of expertise, they therefore reference everything back to the wider business, understand enough to communicate the impact of something across different areas of a business, not just their own, and crucially, always reference the business imperative.

Top tip: Understanding the broader business and being able to talk about things broadly is key to progressing into more senor roles. It is about understanding the broad business impacts from cash, to profit and loss, commercials, engineering, quality and process which allows a senior manager to truly influence the business and progress their career.

Questions asked by Jonathan Gallie, owner of Your Horizon. 

All views and opinions contained within the article are those of Mick Hood, and are not associated with those of Liberty Steel.