The Influence - Episode 1: Focused: Peter MacKechnie. Gartner Consulting.
For many of us, we sometimes get caught up on the path that we are walking to stop and watch others as they chart their own journey (or in fact sometimes, walk right by…). The path that I am speaking of is of course, the career path. When I stop to think about my friend, former colleague, and one-time boss, Peter MacKechnie, I am struck by the thoughtful and almost careful way in which he has built his successful career.
Just before taking on his current role as Managing Vice President and Northeast Region Lead for Gartner (and now based in New York City), we sat down for lunch and talked about the path he has forged and what has influenced him over the years.
When he tells me that he is where he is in his career because of “some luck as much as anything”, I know him well enough to understand that he can be humble. That is certainly not to say he is shy, introverted or quiet. Over the years, Peter has demonstrated how you take advantage of the opportunities in front of you; how you overcome your own skills gap by using an honest approach (which is very hard to do) to surrounding yourself with people who are simply better than you at some things and then – wait for it – giving them credit for doing so. Peter calls it “hiring to my weakness” – I call this leadership.
When I reflect on what I have learned by watching Peter operate, I think about the word “thoughtful”. Sometimes calculating (but in a way that is focused on achieving results) but always mindful of others. There are so many people who consider themselves “client or people focused” but watching, listening and learning from Peter, you know there is a sincerity that moves beyond saying so. It is about getting things done – the strategy, the plan, the doing – making it personal. In fact, what it comes down to is building personal relationships. You can be the client and/or people focused person you want to be but there is only sincerity in this if you care enough personally. Not just a marketing machine or a money-driven salesperson but a person who genuinely cares about the personal and business outcome and making their clients and their colleagues and team members, successful. This is not an easy task but one for which everyone should strive.
After a great lunch and catch-up I wanted to finish off our conversation by asking him what he would tell his younger self now that he has 25+ years of business experience. After really thinking about it, what he said is sage advice for us all, “explore, don’t overthink everything and don’t be shy”.
Some good advice from a solid management consultant if I do say so myself.
The Influence is a series of articles about people that have made a difference in the careers and/or personal lives of people. It is a personal account of life’s lessons from which we can all learn. None of the people interviewed or participating have been paid for or are paying for this article. I am grateful for their support, honesty and advice over the years.