I sometimes struggle to prioritise the important over the urgent, I had to learn to be disciplined
Pat Lucey: Chief executive, Aspira
'As an Irish person, it is natural to be self-deprecating and downplay achievements and strengths. This is an endearing quality for an individual to have, but when it comes to business this is a dangerous trait.
"Aspira competes with multinational companies on an international stage. If I go into a potential client and tell them our company is 'not too bad' at what we do, it won't make a great impression. If they ask how our company's business is performing and I say 'we're surviving' - is that going to engender confidence?
"Manage by 'walk-about'. Don't stay sitting in an office with the door closed. Get out to meet and chat with your team and your clients. Find out how things are going. Be open to hearing about any complaints or issues.
"I sometimes struggle to prioritise the important over the urgent, so I have had to learn to be disciplined. One technique that I find very useful is the 80/20 rule. This means that you get 80pc of the results from just completing 20pc of the actions. So, if I have too much on my plate on any day, I try to make sure that I get at least those 20pc of things done that will accomplish the most. It doesn't mean you always pick the right 20pc, but it prevents you feeling you have to get every single thing done - that will just never happen.
"Learn to delegate. As a self-confessed control freak, I tend to think no one can do a job as well as I can. But I have learned that you will never be able to achieve as much as you can unless you have a few reliable and efficient people around you, whom you empower to get things done. It also gives other people an opportunity to take on more responsibility and develop new skills.
"I sometimes describe myself as an 'accidental entrepreneur.' It was only when I was made redundant from a corporate job that I decided to start a new business. It has turned out to be a great decision, as we have built up an Irish company that competes with and beats global multinationals in the Enterprise IT space, and we have had fun doing it.
"You need to see opportunities in even the biggest of challenges and try to turn even difficult situations to your advantage."
Sunday Indo Business