10 May 2023
While all the focus is on personal branding or communication, we rarely talk about the skills that set you on a career growth trajectory, so that you will be in demand.
Having worked across investment banking, wealth management and asset management, I have reinvented my career several times, before my current role as COO, managing 55 team members. During my eight years of experience across these roles, I have identified three core skills that should be in everyone’s toolkit, regardless of your role.
The first skill is project management. Projects have defined outcomes which provide significant value to your team and your firm. Driving clear objectives and requirements, communicating and influencing stakeholders who do not report to you and being analytical about the steps required to achieve outcomes are critical skills we should all have. A project management mindset puts you in the forefront of leading change in an organisation and when well delivered, provides visibility to senior management. There is project management in everything we do – such as, the delivery of a report, or a buy side or sell side transaction. Everyone is a project manager.
The second skill that is changing the shape of organisations is data analytics. At its most basic level, it is providing meaningful data and reporting. But beyond this, data analytics allow you to make predictions on customers preferences or identify investments which are undervalued or under performing. Management will be using the data and information you generate, and this will put you in the driver’s seat in decision making.
The third and final skillset which has been critically important more recently, is the use of AI tools. Being able to effectively use AI tools will be as fundamental as taking the train, compared to walking to work. Working with AI is for everyone and as AI tools evolve; it creates challenges and opportunities in the banking and finance industry and for you personally.
At my last role, I was asked to lead a global project implementation of Salesforce to 1200 users. At the time, I had to Google what Salesforce was, but the completion of the project has allowed me to appreciate the importance of project management and the power of data analytics. I also gained expertise and confidence from my learning and mastery. Incidentally, familiarity with technology implementation was one of the key criteria in the job description for my current COO role though this was unusual given most of my career was in real estate asset management. As Daniel Priestly said, “focusing on a combination of rare skills will set you apart from everyone else in the market. I wholeheartedly agree.”
Calls to action
- Daniel Priestly speaks of the rare combination of skills in the podcast The Growth Guide with Clint Murphy: How to Get Your People Lining Up to Do Business with you Daniel Priestly: 37:00 minute
- Invest in yourself through continuous learning: pick one of three skills here and spend 10 hours learning the skill. There are many online tutorials via YouTube that you can try.
- Challenge what I have suggested here. Chat with your manager, mentor or a trusted friend as to what skills and learning will set you up for your own career goals.