Solutions Sales Manager
Elsevier’s Muctar Ibrahim Shares Leadership Approach, Innovation Insights and Career Advice
Muctar Ibrahim currently serves as solutions sales manager for Elsevier Research Intelligence’s North American arm, where he oversees the sale of products designed to help institutions and professionals establish, execute and evaluate research strategy and performance.
In a recent interview with the Potomac Officers Club, Ibrahim shared his insights on the challenges businesses face during the innovation process, the core values that inform his leadership approach and career-building strategies.
Read the full interview below:
With emerging technology influencing the federal government and industry more by the day, what are some of the challenges on the business side of innovation that aren’t always discussed as often as they should be?
Businesses face several challenges on their side of innovation that are not always discussed as much as they should be. These challenges involve managing the pace of innovation, developing the right talent, protecting intellectual property, navigating regulatory challenges and managing ethical considerations.
With emerging technologies evolving at an unprecedented pace, businesses must adapt quickly to remain competitive. However, they also need to balance the need for speed with the need for quality and reliability. Rushing to market with a new product or service before it is fully developed can lead to costly mistakes and damage to a company’s reputation.
As technology evolves, so do the skills required to innovate and stay ahead of the curve. This means that businesses need to invest in training and development programs to keep their employees’ skills up to date. However, it can be challenging to find and attract the right talent, particularly in fields like artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, which are in high demand.
Intellectual property is a critical component of innovation, but it can also be a source of vulnerability. As new technologies emerge, it becomes more difficult to protect IP from infringement and theft. Businesses need to invest in robust IP protection measures, including patents, trademarks and copyrights, to safeguard their innovations.
Emerging technologies often pose new regulatory challenges, particularly in industries like healthcare and finance. Businesses must understand the regulatory landscape in their industry and work with government agencies to ensure compliance while also driving innovation.
With emerging technologies come ethical considerations, such as privacy, bias and discrimination. Businesses need to take a proactive approach to address these issues and develop policies and practices that align with their values.
What are the core values that you believe are essential to build a great team and establish a foundation to drive success in such a competitive industry?
Effective communication, collaboration, respect, accountability and continuous learning are essential core values for building a great team and establishing a foundation for success in a competitive industry.
Effective communication is critical for team-building. Team members must be able to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and listen actively to others’ perspectives. Communication helps ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals.
Collaboration is also essential for building a strong team. In a competitive industry, no one person can do it all alone. Collaboration fosters creativity and innovation, promotes knowledge sharing and helps teams work more efficiently and effectively.
Respect for each other’s opinions, skills and experiences is imperative for building a successful team. When team members respect each other, they are more likely to listen to one another and work together to achieve the team’s goals.
Accountability is crucial for driving success in a competitive industry. Team members must take ownership of their work and deliver on their commitments. When team members hold themselves and each other accountable, it creates a culture of trust and reliability.
In a rapidly evolving industry, continuous learning is essential to stay ahead of the curve. A great team values and prioritizes learning, encourages knowledge sharing and invests in professional development to keep team members’ skills up to date.
How would you advise someone entering our industry to build their resume and advance their careers to be in the best position in the years to come?
Gaining practical experience, developing technical and soft skills, networking, showcasing accomplishments and staying current with industry trends are all essential steps to building a strong resume and advancing your career in this or any industry.
One of the best ways to build a strong resume and advance your career is to gain practical experience in your field. This can be through internships, co-op programs or entry level jobs. Seek opportunities to work with industry leaders or experts who can provide mentorship and guidance.
Technology is a critical component of our industry, and developing technical skills can be a significant advantage. Consider taking courses or pursuing certifications that will build your knowledge and expertise in your field.
Soft skills like communication, teamwork and problem-solving are also essential to career advancement. Focus on developing these skills and be prepared to demonstrate how you have used them in your past roles.
Building a network of contacts in your industry can be invaluable when it comes to advancing your career. Attending industry events, joining professional organizations and connecting with professionals on social media platforms like LinkedIn are great ways to network.
When building your resume, focus on showcasing your accomplishments, not just your job duties. Use specific examples to highlight the impact you have made in your roles and how you have contributed to the success of your team or organization.
As your industry evolves, it is crucial to stay current with the latest trends and technologies. Read industry publications, attend conferences and webinars and follow thought leaders in your field to stay updated.
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