Jim Pettigrew's five golden rules of leadership

By Jim Pettigrew CA

15 May 2015

As Jim Pettigrew CA takes the ICAS helm, he sets out his mantra for successfully navigating the year ahead.

This is my first article as ICAS President. Let me start by saying what an honour it is to be taking on this role.

As I'm sure is the case for all ICAS members, becoming a CA is one of the things I have been proudest of in my career so far, and to be elected to this office is both a privilege and a responsibility that I feel very deeply - even more so following in the footsteps of the excellent Jann Brown CA.

One of my first duties has been to welcome two very experienced and high-profile figures.

First is Sir Brian Souter CA, co-founder of Stagecoach Group, who is now vice-president, joining myself and deputy president Ken McHattie CA on the office bearers' team.

Also joining the ICAS family as a public-interest member of the ICAS Council is John McFall, Lord McFall of Alcluith, the peer and former MP who formerly chaired the House of Commons Treasury Committee. ICAS governance will be all the stronger for the skills and experience he brings to the council.

My training as a CA has given me a fantastic opportunity to work with many different businesses and different people.

Based on this experience and the wisdom of the people I've been lucky enough to work with, I would argue there are five 'golden rules' for success in whatever sector you are working in.

Five golden rules

  1. Make sure that you have a business strategy that can be easily communicated and understood. I've always believed that: "If you can't explain it to your granny in five minutes, it might just be too complicated."
  2. It's crucial to balance the entrepreneurial, can-do spirit that every successful business needs with robust controls and governance.
  3. The old adage: "cash is king". It never does any harm to focus on the cash that is coming into and going out of a business. All successful businesses generate cash!
  4. Embrace change in the form of globalisation and technological innovation.
  5. A great business has great people, and a great culture.

These lessons hold just as true for ICAS

For example, the Institute is embracing technological change, taking a further step this month towards a 'Virtual ICAS', with the relaunch of our website. And ICAS is increasingly finding ways to stay closer to, and serve more effectively, our international membership.

We also recognise the importance of fostering a professional, ethical culture, and of ensuring that there is diversity and fair opportunity within our profession.

The 'five golden rules' will stand us in good stead as we face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

*Jim is pictured above talking about his five golden rules at his first official engagement as president - a sellout reception with 250 CAs at the Houses of Parliament in London on 13 May. You can find out more about his five golden rules at a special President's Reception at The Scottish Parliament on 18 June.


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