The biggest challenge I have faced is not knowing anything about the technical side of the industry. It can be tough to be confident in a room of your peers (predominately male) who have mostly reached their level of status in the industry because of their technical knowledge and experience. An accounting major surrounded by a room full of petroleum engineers, discussions on geological formations and drilling long laterals originally sounded like Greek to me.
When I find myself wanting to curl up in a corner and avoid a conversation about a topic that I don’t think I can speak competently about, I remind myself that we each bring our unique set of talents and experiences to the table, and no one is an expert in every aspect of the business. My skill set is finance, analytics and leadership. Confident in my own unique set of skills and with a desire to be a lifelong learner, I then proceed to listen and ask lots of questions. My go to questions sound like “tell me more about that”, “I wish I understood more about that, can you explain” and so on.
Demonstrating vulnerability and authenticity, has always created an open space for growth and I find my peers were very willing to share their knowledge with me. They also were willing to reciprocate the vulnerability and seek out my expertise more freely when needed.
Now the technical jargon doesn’t quite sound like a foreign language and I have at least learned a lot about how the technical data translates to the profit and loss statement.