BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - If I had to start again

BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - If I had to start again - As someone who has been very lucky in life, I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to start again. This is mainly because people have tended to come to me for jobs rather than the other way

by PETER GERSHON, previously COO of BAe Systems and MD of GECMarconi, heads the Office of Government Commerce
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

As someone who has been very lucky in life, I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to start again. This is mainly because people have tended to come to me for jobs rather than the other way round. It was my head teacher who suggested I apply to Cambridge and, when I wrote the review of Government purchasing in 1999, I never dreamed I'd be heading up the office implementing my own suggestions. Nowadays I see myself as a businessman who has a set of skills and experience that someone can utilise if there is a need.

Many of the people I've worked for have been prepared to take greater risks with me than I would have taken myself. In a parallel universe, where none of these opportunities came about, my alternative Peter Gershon would be a frustrated manager in a large organisation, not very happy with his lot.

If I were to have my time again, though, my approach to business would be different. At BAe and Marconi, parts of the Government were significant customers of mine. Now that I'm on the other side, I wonder how business was ever done. I could have had more impact by learning how negotiations really work and how contracts are drawn. I'd also like to have had more meetings! Until now, I've never had to chair large meetings and it's a skill I could have had much earlier. And I'd ban use of 'Efficiency Czar', the unofficial title I've attracted. Don't Czars tend to get assassinated?

Tags:
How To

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Subscribe

Get your essential reading delivered. Subscribe to Management Today