Anne O'Donnell Leadership blog

A Viewpoint from Anne O’Donnell: What running a business means to me

You may have seen that we’ve recently launched Procorre100, a new initiative that will see us try to sign-up 100 women in 100 days into our consultancy network.

Equality has always been a core value at Procorre, however, like with so many industries and sectors the world over, women are underrepresented. Procorre100 is our way of putting a stake in the ground. As well as the obvious financial benefits and the flexibility that a career in consultancy offers, we want to provide the inspiration and encouragement to get more women to take the plunge, join our consultancy network and get us to our 100 target.

As part of the Procorre100 campaign, we’re going to be publishing a series of articles over the coming weeks from leading women within the consulting world, who are supporting the initiative. Each will be providing some valuable insight into their careers within their chosen areas of technical specialism, including cyber security and information insights.

To begin this series, as a CEO that happens to be a woman and as the co-founder of Procorre, I thought it pertinent to share some thoughts of my own on what it means to me to run a business.

Finding my Style

In my opinion, leadership is about inspiring people, so they feel motivated, happy in their roles and invested in the organisation, creating commitment and a sense of belonging.

As a CEO there’s a long list of responsibilities within my role, but at the very top and something I prioritise over everything else is to inspire my senior management team and every team member I talk to. When there are key business decisions to make or other business priorities, this can be tough, but ensuring you make time for this I’ve found has really paid off.

Inspiring people isn’t something which happens overnight, it needs to be a long-term commitment. You have to realise that as a leader this needs to start with you.

I learnt a valuable management lesson early on in my career; you gain more respect by always being prepared to do anything you ask your team to do. For me this is essential and has been the cornerstone of my leadership style.

All too often in other organisations I have seen people feeling disillusioned because they didn’t understand why the work they were given was important or felt managers gave them tasks they simply didn’t want to do themselves. Eventually this dissatisfaction spreads around the team or people leave because they don’t feel valued or respected, and in the worst-case scenario both happen.

Treat everyone as an individual and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty

What motivates one person doesn’t motivate another. I’ve invested a lot of time in understanding the different personalities of my senior team and what gets them working at their best. By leading by example, they have in turn done the same with their teams and this has really helped to create a positive working culture at Procorre.

It’s an old adage, but it never gets tired, actions speak louder than words. I show my team I’m not afraid to make that difficult call they might be dreading and to get my hands dirty. Sometimes, if you are saying one thing but doing another, naturally employees lose confidence in you. I firmly believe leaders should never be afraid of doing anything they ask their team to do.

To get the best out of people I challenge them, but always in a positive way. By knowing you believe in your team members and their capabilities, I find they’re encouraged to think the same way. To be on hand to support team members when overcoming any hurdles along the way also helps to cement that inspiration and to ensure they reach their goal.

I read a quote* recently which said: “Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.” I firmly believe this is true and of course an organisation full of inspired people is going to succeed and grow.

If you think you’ve got what it takes for a career in management consulting, we’d love to hear from you. You can find out more about the Procorre100 initiative and how to sign-up here.

*Quote by Orrin Woodward