Tony Corrigan is Founder and CEO of TenderScout, a Software as a Service (SaaS) that qualifies government contracting opportunities for small-medium businesses, saving them time trawling through tender alert lists and figuring out their prospects of winning.
Starting out with IBM, Tony then set up a consultancy company and worked on hundreds of competitive procurements. He has become a leading advocate for “smart” SME business strategies.
Can leadership be taught? If so, how?
In college, the business leadership modules were the ones I found most interesting and did most poorly in. Not sure what that says, but I do think that leadership is an acquired trait. Every leader I’ve worked with, whether good or bad, I’ve taken something from that has shaped how I communicate, motivate and lead.
When you are filling a leadership role in your organisation what qualities do you look for from candidates?
Attitude and aptitude. In terms of attitude, I look to what they want of themselves and how they interact with those around them. I want people who are naturally inquisitive, ambitious and who want to be a better version of themselves. I want people who naturally treat others with respect and who know right from wrong. You can’t teach a lot of that; it’s either in you or not. Having the right attitude isn’t much good however if you don’t have the aptitude. When it comes to leadership, I look for people who’ve demonstrated success for themselves and their teams. They know where they are going and have the resilience to get there.
If you had to leave your organisation for 1 year what would you ask of your team and what advice would you give them?
Hopefully I would have role-modelled the leadership practices that I want to continue. I would ask the team to challenge their expectations for themselves. I would advise them to be ambitious, take calculated risks and be goal oriented so that at the end of the year, they can look back on the year with pride.
What are you doing today to make sure your organisation will be relevant in 10 years time?
I’m staffing the organisation with people that I can learn from, who are ambitious and have a desire to be impactful on a global stage. We are challenging thinking in our sector and positioning ourselves as thought leaders. Our goal is to be the category leader and maintain relevancy by being the organisation setting the agenda in 10 years time.
What leaders outside your own organisation do you admire and why?
Leaders who’ve taken the long road and shown resilience in trying to make a difference; Mikkel Svane who build Zendesk with a family in tow is someone I admire; Jeff Bezos and Marc Benioff who transformed industries and Eric Mosley, who’s built Globoforce into a category leading business.
What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
SaaStr is the go to resource for my industry; I also spend too much time on Quora, reading Jason Lemkin. I read lots of start-up founder books as at my stage that’s what’s most relevant.