Specialising in on one thing and surrounding yourself with people who are strong in other areas is the best way to thrive, says Roger Clancy of outsourcing firm, Voxpro
By Elaine O’Regan
Roger Clancy is vice-president of operations at Voxpro, the Cork-headquartered outsourcing firm acquired two years ago by Canadial call centre giant, in a deal reported to be worth €150 million. The company employs 5,000 people globally, including 2,500 at two Irish sites in Cork and Dublin. Clancy joined the company in 2016, having worked for Dell and Motorola, and played a key role in the Telus acquisition.
Are you where you expected to be in your career?
I started off in engineering. After that, I pursued more of a business operations role. Things definitely didn’t happen as planned, but it’s all about adapting to your environment and finding the right fit for you. For me, engineering was the base point that gave me the opportunity to change course and find my sweet spot.
What was the best career advice you got along the way?
When you’re younger, you tend to act in haste, and you can sometimes be impulsive or emotional with business decisions.
The best advice I received from a manager early in my career was to step back from frustrating situations and make sure that you’re being thoughtful with how you react.
If the situation allows, save an email in your drafts and reread it the next morning before sending.
Based on your own experience, what are your top career tips?
- Be true to yourself and your values. For me, that means putting family first, which has helped dictate my growth and my career trajectory. It could restrict you at times, but it can also offer new, unexpected opportunities.
- Holding your values close is important, because, whether you realise it or not, you bring them to work with you every day – to every meeting and every conversation you have.
- Work extremely hard. Have a goal in mind and work towards it, but be fluid and adaptable to change. Things may not happen the way you like it, or in the timeline that you’d like – and you will have bumps – but it’s how you manage them that matters.
- Lastly, always be genuine. People react best to genuine human connections.
How would you define your work style, and how has this evolved over the years?
I’m more collaborative now. I used to think I had to know everything or prove that I could learn everything. Now, I understand it’s better to specialise in something and to surround yourself with teammates who specialise in other areas. Bring in people who are better than you, and ask for help. True collaboration happens when you recognise your own weaknesses and embrace the strengths of others. A good team has no superstars, but great players who work together to take the lead.
In terms of managing teams and individuals, what are your insights?
Good teams need balance. Firstly, it’s important to engage a diverse workforce, and that your leadership team reflects that. People need to feel that they are being represented.
You also need risk-takers who can help you keep a competitive edge. They are the ones who help teams grow and push your business to the next level.
Remember, however, that no one is bigger than the team. One person’s individual brilliance does not automatically lead to outstanding results. One selfish mindset will infect a collective culture.
What about communication and negotiating the typical ups and downs of working life?
Negotiation is key, but it can be seen as a dirty word. Rather, it should be viewed as another form of collaboration. Negotiations flourish with trust, fairness, and respect.
Communication is also huge. If you’re really good, but you can’t communicate the benefits of what you’re doing, there’s no point. In a global operation like Voxpro, it’s also important to be cognizant of cultural nuances and how to navigate them in business.
Has networking played an important part in your career?
Building a network has been vital to my career. Choose mentors that give good, strong direction, and are able to open your mind to potential pitfalls.
Mentors can come from any background or any industry. You can always draw a parallel if people are open-minded, experienced, and willing to share.
Your network is also made up of potential partners, future successors, or people in unrelated fields.
Don’t burn bridges, and respect and nurture every connection you make. In fast-growing tech, someone you meet at the bottom could be at the top tomorrow.
As a colleague once said to me: “Salute everyone on the way up, because you’ll come down so fast you won’t have time to.”
If you had to choose another career tomorrow, what would it be and why?
I’ve always admired financial roles and the business decisions that go along with that line of work. I’d also love to do something in the medical field, or even in the hospitality industry. I wish I could try it all, but I’m happy to be where I am now.
The above article first appeared on The Business Post in November 2019
Be sure to sign up to our newsletter to receive our latest news and insights