This blog reflects on life at work at comments on the latest news that shapes my 9-5 working day in a Corporate Communications consultancy.

About Me

I am a born and bred South African who has always loved to read and write. As a child my mother used to read to me and my siblings, from classics like the “Lord of the Rings” but later also from her own stories. She would write children’s stories and then use us as her test audience, but I loved to hear what she had written long after my siblings had tired of it. So I grew up in an environment of reading and writing, which inspired my love of these things. I hope to write a great book some day, and have learnt first hand the determination and will that it takes. My love of English inspired me to continue my study of it at university. I majored in Law and English in a BA degree at UCT where I found that I took to English much more than law. I enjoyed learning about South Africa’s history and the development of our liberal Constitution, which increasingly made me committed to the hope this country has for the future. Ideally, I’d like to find myself in a job where I am able to write; that allows a good mix of time spent with people and being able to work on my own.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Characteristics of an executive

I've been working on the Brunswick training manual. The following is an excerpt - they are guidelines to the characterstics of an executive. If you don't already know yet, an executive is a juniour employee. Some of these characteristics are particularly important at Brunswick, but a lot of them apply to most jobs. As interns, these are what we should be aiming to develop - so I thought I'd share them.

Ø Intellectual Curiosity: Executives should have a dynamic interest in how we help our clients and what our clients do, as well as possess a general inquisitiveness about which strategies and approaches work. Brunswick’s open floor plan and unique team structures allow for abundant opportunities to learn about strategic communications—curiosity about these issues and the role you can play in assisting our clients is key to being a strong member of the Brunswick team.

Ø Calm under Pressure: Executives should possess a calm and assertive attitude, especially when under pressure in situations such as handling difficult clients, maintaining composure when the internal team is extra-busy, or facing an unfamiliar situation. Brunswick is a fast-paced environment; keeping afloat during a transaction or other critical situation is a necessary part of being a member of a team here.

Ø Multi-tasker: Executives will inevitably have many things on their plate at one time should be able to juggle deadlines for various teams in a responsible and organized way. This means being realistic about what you agree to take on for your team and always understanding the timing on a project or document.

Ø Flexibility: Executives are an integral part of the client teams and this requires a flexible attitude and being able to adjust to a fast-paced atmosphere. When we are hired to handle a transaction or a crisis situation, this often means late nights and weekends. Be prepared that this means you will sometimes have to cancel plans or come in within a few hours’ notice.

Ø Team Player: Executives should be willing to jump in and assist with special projects, bring ideas to the team, and be proactive in their contributions.

Ø Problem solver / Pro-active personality: Executives should possess a can-do and take-charge attitude and try to offer solutions to sometimes unforeseeable problems.

Ø Eyes & Ears: As an Executive your job is to be aware of the news and climate around our clients. Keeping apprised of key issues and being a resource for the rest of the client team is very important! For example, it’s good practice to check your client’s share price and sector news before a call! Keeping up with media trends, analyst notes and regulatory filings are just a few of the ways that you will keep your team constantly updated with client news.

Ø Quick thinker: Executives should be able to understand and turnaround requests in a timely and effective manner. They should anticipate upcoming work and serve as the organizational backbone of the team. Executives should not shy away from managing up in addition to managing down.

Ø Discreet gatekeeper: Executive should be sensitive to the confidential nature of callers, emails and documents relating to new or current clients.

Ø Energetic with good sense of humour: The atmosphere at Brunswick, while sometimes hectic, definitely remains light and collegial. Being friendly with your colleagues and participating in the good cheer of the place will help make you feel more comfortable. And as the pace here does get busy, having a chip on your shoulder during a crunch time will only make it more difficult to get the job done

Some of these things I find especially challenging - such as keeping calm under pressure - but the more I'm at Brunswick, the easier things get. I hope other WoWers are finding the same thing!

1 comment:

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Again Susan, very important rules to be aware of and actively apply to our internship and indeed work-a-day processes.