Wednesday 22 March 2017

'You develop a skill set over the years - but you don't throw everything at every situation...'

Ciaran Phelan

Ciaran Phelan, CEO, Irish Brokers Association
Ciaran Phelan, CEO, Irish Brokers Association

Learn how to prioritise. In my role I'm faced with lots of tasks - but I've learned over the years how to choose the topics or issues of most importance.

It's all too easy to get bogged down in the complexities of the myriad of issues facing the financial services sector, and it's tempting to try to embark on a catch-all campaign to solve everything at once, but I have learned that different issues and the stakeholders involved in each need to be handled differently.

You develop a skill set over the years, but you don't throw everything you have at every situation - you select carefully from your armoury. Perhaps one situation would merit skilled negotiation, but in another situation you might be best to put your listening skills to good use.

For example, there are currently two issues very high on the IBA agenda - the rise in motor insurance premiums and the pension crisis. In the first instance the issue is more immediate and so it requires fast action. However, Ireland's pension problems are longer-term and so require careful planning.

Remember, it's not always those who shout the loudest who get most. That might be the case in certain circumstances, but often the more calculated work is what really delivers.

Throughout my career I have always benefited from the development of symbiotic working relationships. To do my job in any meaningful way I knew from the off that I would have to build interdependent and open relationships between brokers, providers, regulators and legislators. This hasn't always been easy, as differing views and priorities have thrown up stumbling blocks - but you must always bear it in mind that everyone is just trying to do their best.

Fostering good relationships is worth its weight in gold. You never know when you might need to call in a favour - or when you might need cooperation from a certain person or body. Likewise, if someone calls on you for assistance and you are in a position to help, I'd always suggest you do so. As in other areas of life, in the world of work you soon find that what goes around comes around!

Sunday Indo Business

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