Lessons learned from my determined dad
This month saw my social media feeds filled with posts around Father’s Day, with many of my friends giving a shout out to their amazing dads and expressing their gratitude. It got me thinking about what I’ve learned from my own parent over the years – specifically in reference to my career.
Coincidentally, he also worked in IT, albeit for a much bigger firm than Q2Q, and he was definitely far more tech-savvy that I am – which isn’t difficult if I’m honest! However, it isn’t the software smarts that I’ve learned from him, but something a lot more personal.
Although dad has been retired for 30 years now, he openly admits that he spent many years of his life suffering from imposter syndrome, often believing that he was going to be ‘found out’ for not being good or clever enough to fulfil his role.
“Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which one doubts one's accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a "fraud".
To tell you a little bit about the man himself; he grew up on a council estate in Dagenham, left school and completed his national service in the RAF before starting at Fords, training to be an engineer. By the end of his career – with only a handful of job moves and a lot of retraining – he ended up as the head of IT at the London Stock Exchange.
My dad was responsible for leading the team that made the ‘Big Bang’ happen, whereby traditional face-to-face trading switched to electronic, putting The City ahead of its competitors in the trading world.
So, what lessons did I learn from my inspirational dad?
The most obvious has to be my work ethic. He was always going the extra mile to either prove he was capable or to deliver great service to a customer. Yet, when he didn’t have the answer to a given question, or the skill to complete a particular task, he made sure to put in the research and training to be able to deliver whatever was needed.
He had no formal leadership training, however by the time he retired he was managing a team of 70 staff. We’ve had many discussions over the years about what makes a great leader, and it isn’t always a piece of paper which says you’re qualified to do so.
My story is very similar. Leaving school at 16 with no career in mind and very few qualifications, meant that falling into a career within the fashion industry was a complete fluke! Fast-forward to running Q2Q and, having worked at director level for the previous 15 years, I never would have imagined this would be how my career would pan out – but I love it.
Going back to my earlier point, I believe that imposter syndrome made us both work a lot harder than many of our colleagues in order to get to where we are today. We were always trying to prove to others – and possibly to ourselves – that we were worthy of the roles we had been given.
In my early career, this made me want to know more than I needed to so that I could contribute to discussions confidently. This need for knowledge eventually became a real thirst for it, and is ingrained in how I work every day.
So how does this translate into the Q2Q culture?
We strive to know more about customers and how they work – not just what systems they are running. By asking more questions, around the ‘nuts and bolts’ of tech, personal nuances and internal processes and procedures, we can offer a truly holistic solution.
In turn, each customer receives a completely tailored service, with IT solutions to suit them – not simply an ‘off-the-peg’ fix.
It’s our mission to go the extra mile and make clients’ working lives run smoother. And I’ve instilled this into the team so that its second nature on a day-to-day basis – something which has proven to be invaluable during the COVID-19 lockdown, as we were able to anticipate many of our customers’ needs before the requests were even made.
I’ll finish with a Mark Manson quote that pretty much sums up my dad and my fabulous crew at Q2Q…
“The rare people who do become truly exceptional at something do so not because they believe they are exceptional. On the contrary, they become amazing because they are obsessed with improvement.” – Markmanson.net.
If you’d like to find out more about the holistic IT support solutions we offer here at Q2Q, contact our friendly team. The kettle’s always on at Q2Q HQ!