Michael Page Hidden Skills with Collette Roche

Chief Operating Officer for Manchester United

Michael Page announced their top 100 skills that employers are looking for in 2019. The recruitment experts carried out consumer research of over 2000 workers, with “adaptability” being the most desired skill for employers.

We spoke to Collette Roche, Chief Operating Officer at Manchester United FC, about adaptability, her skills and how they’ve helped shaped her career to what it is today.

Michael Page have identified that ‘adaptability’ is the most in-demand skill for 2019.  It would be great to hear how you have needed to be adaptable in your career path and how this skills might have helped you.

Adaptability has played a key part in my career to date.  Whilst early on, I was encouraged to set goals and have a clear plan, I soon learned that being flexible and adaptable opened up so many more opportunities.   Being adaptable and open to change has meant I have worked in various industries (motor manufacturing, technology, utilities, social housing, aviation and now football). It has also meant I have had the opportunity to work across several geographies (UK, Middle East, US, Manila, Australia, Eastern Europe). And most importantly has enabled me to work cross functionally (HR, operations, CIO, transformation, strategy development and general management).

Michael Page is speaking to a range of mentors to help inspire them in their career path and help them identify some of the softer skills they might have to ‘sell’ themselves.  Can you talk about some of the softer skills you have which have enabled you to succeed?

Softer skills for me is probably the wrong word.  I think you are referring to skills more akin to emotional rather than intellectual intelligence.  I actually think EI is not soft at all. In fact it’s quite tough.  It means that you need to put yourselves in other’s shoes, remove your natural filters and beliefs, be open to others ideas, adapt your style to get the best out of another individual / team and most importantly be able and confident to give constructive and effective feedback without causing conflict.  For many leaders with high IQ, this is the toughest skill ever and one which in today’s world of technology and easy knowledge access is arguably more important than ever. This – along with self awareness, relationship building and an ability to communicate complex issues in a simple manner, I believe have played a key role in all my jobs to date.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when starting out on your career?

Gosh, lots.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  It’s OK not to know everything. Outputs are more important than inputs. Being part of a successful team is more rewarding than individual achievement. Always find and follow your purpose. It’s OK to be yourself and bring yourself to work.  Never feel inferior.

What’s your top piece of advice for people today?

There are so many opportunities out there to make a difference.   All it takes is plenty of will, lots of learned skill, purpose and pragmatism and the support and encouragement of others.

What are you most proud of, personally and professionally?

On a personal level, I am proud to have made my parents proud, to have set the right example for my two daughters and to be considered successful enough to be asked to share my experience in interviews like this – so others can (hopefully) benefit.

On a professional level, being a CEO of one of the top 3 airports in the U.K and now the COO for the biggest football club in the world feels pretty cool (or so my daughters say!)

Collette will be speaking at our next connection event part of the Northern Power Women Mentoring Programme powered by Michael Page, where we see mentors and mentees meet again in addition to their scheduled meetings. Within in the programme mentors and mentees can establish new allies and partnerships.

Find out about the Northern Power Women/ Michael Page cross-sector mentoring programme here.
Michael Page have a free e-book you can download here to find out the top 100 most in-demand skills for 2019.
Read more blogs here.

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