11 May Some questions to our ISA-Business Managers
Business Managers are responsible for the management of day-to-day activities in their organization and have to ensure that the company is reaching its business development goals. We hold an interview with two of our ISA-Business Managers to ask them 20 questions about their job. How do they sell unpopular ideas? What is their process of delivering negative feedback? How do they make their team members feel valued in their roles? What are they the most proud of? We have asked them!
- What skills do Business Managers need?
In terms of soft skills, a Business Manager absolutely needs flexibility, perseverance, a lot of empathy and excellent communication skills. As for the hard skills, it’s very useful to have a first knowledge in everything that is linked to the industry you are mainly working with in order to understand more easily the job. You must also have organizational and project management skills in order to manage your agenda and prioritize tasks, negotiate and find new clients.
- What is a typical day as a BM?
As a BM, your time is divided between prospecting clients, meeting new candidates to select the best ones, doing follow-up meetings with your consultants, and many other things. From the morning until the evening, you are constantly communicating with others.
- What do you love most about your job?
Visiting clients and consultants on site, exchanging with them, and having them explain what they are doing and showing it to you with a demonstration. For example, when you visit a factory, you can directly see the whole process of their products, which parts are made and how long it takes, how it works, and so on. Another great feeling is when a project is signed. It means that the request of one of your clients matches with the competencies of one of your consultants and that you found the right solution where there was a need.
- What is your favourite time of the day and why?
When the bell rings because a new project has been validated. It is the accomplishment of the work of a whole team.
- How much time do you think you spend on meetings weekly/monthly?
90% of my time is spent communicating with others.
- Do you prefer being on the business part or the recruitment part?
All jobs have their own advantages and responsibilities. My favourite part of my job is coaching people and guiding them to achieve results. This process happens on both recruiting and business parts, so that’s what’s really unique in this job.
- If you wrote a book about your career so far, what would you title it and why?
Title 1: Don’t go too fast and enjoy the process. Everything goes so fast and sometimes you don’t take time to enjoy what you’re doing even though you love it.
Tile 2: Something similar to the adventures of Tintin. You would have many chapters that are not linked, but you will still follow them because it’s captivating.
- Tell me how you overcame a challenging situation?
I remember this time when a consultant was not doing very well because his technical referent had changed and it was someone who was still working with the old management system with a lot of fear and pressure. He would receive each time the necessary information at the end so it was difficult for him to advance and finish his project. To remediate that, I communicated closely with him to make sure that everything was going well. I also had many discussions with his manager so that he could calm down and better understand the situation. You know, it’s hard to keep your head up in such situation. That’s why it’s essential to have many exchanges with your consultant to talk about his project and personal life to ease him and find solutions. I even had to insist to make him take some time off for Christmas. Hopefully, I was able to discuss with the person above his manager and we were able to get out of this difficult situation.
- What do you think are the most difficult decisions to make?
When you have to fire someone, it’s really delicate.
- Describe your process of delivering negative feedback?
You have to be as fair as possible and correct in the pieces of information that you deliver. It’s important to be rational, clear and factual. Everything you say must be argued. If someone made a mistake you must give them the reasons. This is why preparation is important. For instance, when a project didn’t go as planned, you must give all the comments that you received afterwards explaining why it wasn’t a success. Also you have to be fast because you don’t want to make them stress for 15 minutes.
- How do you make your team members feel valued in their roles?
We try to see each other and mark certain events with lunches or breakfasts. When there is a success, I go congratulate in person because I consider that when a person deserves it, you must mention that achievement.
- What do you do when your team starts to underperform?
When someone starts underperforming, you must be very reactive to understand what is going on. That underperformance means there is a problem in either their personal or professional life. So by first understanding the situation, you can put a plan of action. For instance, if you see that that person is extremely tired, then you propose some days off. If that person seems bored in their project, you organize a meeting with the client to discuss it.
- How would your team describe you?
I hope it is in the same way as I see myself: transparent, direct, responsive, proactive and fair in decisions making.
- What was your favourite/best visit on site for a client?
One amazing visit was for a client working in the space sector. The offices in which they were working were truly impressive. To give you a short description, there were many small desks and in the middle of them there was a clean room where they could carry out experiments and other types of tests. It means that all the offices overlook the clean room and that you could see everything will working on your own things.
- Tell me the last funny event/anecdote that your experienced as a BM?
I remember this one time when I had left a voice message for a prospect. The following day, I received a phone call from someone and I thought it was a candidate and I asked him for his CV. Then that person told me that they were already working for a company so I was confused. Then I realised that that person was the prospect because I had forgotten to save their number. It was pretty funny and we laughed about it.
- How do you measure/define success?
You can measure success when a client sends you a text message wishing you a nice weekend. It’s a small gesture but it means a lot. It means that you have a unique and privileged relation with that client. It represents a relationship of trust with a long history. You can also define success when you look back and feel proud of yourself and what you have done personally and as a team.
- What are you the most proud of?
My direct impact on the growth and development of the company and the recognition of my colleagues.
- What advice would you give to someone who aspires to be a BM?
You must work hard but work in the right way. It’s useless to work overtime if you cannot produce results. It’s good to work hard, but there must be results at the end. You also have to find a good way of working, a good methodology that that fits you right. In difficult times, you must keep believing and working. It can be very emotional and you can go through many rollercoasters but don’t give up and hold tight even when there are lower moments. You must adapt and persevere. And most importantly, have fun in what you do. What is great about my job is that they can sometimes see what my consultants are working on with their clients and visit their offices. If you cannot have fun anymore, then it’s difficult to be motivated. Thankfully, a lot of people will support you and help you throughout the development of your career to become the best BM.