By Deborah Kops, founder and managing principal of Sourcing Change
Not too long ago I sat through a panel comprised of very experienced shared services leaders. And it hit me like a ton of bricks; although each was accomplished in his or her own way, every panellist’s path to leadership was very different.
So I came up with a typology of career paths which represent the usual cast of leader characters…and what kind of change they are typically called on to make. Are you a lifer? A loyalist? A moonlighter? Or an expert?
Look around at the players in our shared services community, and you’ll see four distinct pathways to leadership. Each pathway corresponds to the level of maturity of the model, and at the same time is shaped by the business context in which the model operates. Which pathway characterises your career? What kind of a shared services leader are you?
Firemen, teachers, accountants, architects, astronauts, drummers, or even hedge fund managers…ask any child what he or she wants to be when he grows up, and I highly doubt you’ll hear “I want to be a shared services leader.” The majority of professionals taking up their first positions find that their careers take twists and turns, often placing them in roles that they never knew existed.
When it comes to shared services leadership, there are a number of career paths that lead individuals into the role. However, looking more closely, four main pathways become obvious, each of which reflects the context in which shared services is operating, and the degree of change that the leader is expected to drive. Whether you’ve come up the ranks as a lifer, moved from another role in the same company, often to fix or accelerate delivery growth as a loyalist; hold a “day job” such as controller but implement shared services at the same time (the ‘moonlighter’); or come in from another organisation under the mandate to implement, expand or accelerate shared services (the ‘expert’), you have the same aim: advance the value of business service delivery.
So to validate my assumptions about this cast of characters, and see what kind of havoc they wreak (in a positive sense!) on their organisations, I partnered with sharedserviceslink (http://www.sharedserviceslink.com) on an industry-first survey. Check out our results by reading our very-easy-on-the-eyes infographic at http://www.sourcingchange.com/what-kind-of-a-shared-services-leader-are-you/.