News & Views

Early Careers Group Meeting – February 2020

The second meeting of the Federation of Piling Specialists’ (FPS) Early Career Group was held Thursday 13th February 2020, at Hamilton House, in London, and like the first was thoroughly engaging and worthwhile.

Individuals from across the FPS’s full and associated membership attended the event, with John Chick delivering an inspiring talk on “It’s OK to Be You”. John opened his talk with a lookback on his career, before moving on to how business is about adding value to basic materials and then sell on to customers for more than you need to turn the raw materials into a product. This simple economic rule applies to all businesses, whether you are making a loaf of bread, building a plane or constructing a hospital.

Whilst this may seem common sense, John continued by warning against businesses offering fancy discounts or selling products for less than you can make them for – there is always a catch. Instead, John encouraged people to follow the market and not try as an individual to step away from the areas where money is being invested. ‘Whilst business is about people, it’s about you and being you is ok’ he said.

John also spoke about understanding ‘your’ values and the need stay true to them, encouraging attendees to listen to people and make them feel like they are the only person in the room when talking to them. John stressed the need to always ‘answer the question asked and not the question you want to have been asked. In fact, don’t be afraid to check the question to ensure you deliver the correct answer’.

‘Differing opinions are fine, but do not argue for the sake of it – better to rely on facts and of course, do not try to be an expert in everything, good leaders have a strong team around them and it is the pool of knowledge that makes a team strong and effective,’ he added.

John also gave examples of some reading material and encouraged the group to read lots and absorb information, but to also challenge that information if it conflicts with your own experiences and knowledge. That said, John advised caution when reading leadership books written by college professors and theorists, and instead to read books by great leaders.

After the talk the group discussed what they believed the FPS priorities should be and were quite wide and varied spanning ‘minimum standards for SI data – levels, co-ordinates’ to ‘Better showcasing the industry and improve its image.’ A number of selected members also expressed interest in aiding the FPS with their priority of learning and development and they will be involved with delivering this message to the next generation.

This second session was far more relaxed than the first, as attendees felt more comfortable engaging, a fact supported by the discussion section which was extremely healthy with people taking advantage of the platform to share their views and which overran!

The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday 30th April, and the group agreed they wanted to hear a Diversity talk from Ebenezer Adenmosun, to which he has kindly agreed. It is expected he will also touch upon sustainability issues, following on from the priorities raised by the group in our last session. We all look forward to it!