Judy Marks negotiates for a living. She has ever since she began her career as an engineer, then a program manager, capture executive, and later, president of two Lockheed Martin divisions. This past February, Marks became vice president of strategy and business development for Lockheed Martin’s Electronic Systems business. It was a “fascinating time“ to have taken the reins, she says. A new administration was ushering in a changing acquisition system, then came Defense Secretary Robert Gates' announcement of shifts in budgetary spending. Throughout 2009, Marks has led the business’ portfolio to meet the demands of global security customers. She’s met with customers to understand their needs, and has driven competitive wins for new business opportunities.
Marks’ Top Tips:
- Follow through. “When you make a commitment, you need to follow through,“ says Marks, “because no one will remember the 10,000 commitments you made for the one you've missed.“
- Surround yourself with talent. “That talent shouldn't mimic you,“ says Marks. “You want alternate approaches to solving problems, which is really what we do in government contracting.“
- Apply the best in others. “If you see a leadership trait you admire strive to bring that into your own portfolio,“ says Marks. “Conversely, if you witness a trait you're not excited about, make sure you don't repeat it.“
- Block off time. “I would encourage everyone to block some time to think and strategize about what's over the horizon, because that will give you a competitive advantage,“ says Marks.
What Marks is saying:
ON GAINING A COMPETITIVE EDGE: “I spend a lot of time on airplanes, averaging one to two days a week most of my career. I use that time to brainstorm: “˜What is my competitor doing three steps ahead? What markets should I be entering? What trends are new in the world? What trends are evolving? Which are revolutionary or evolutionary? How will that impact my business, and how will that impact our shareholders and our employees?'“
INDUSTRY’S FUTURE: “We all have a responsibility to develop the next generation of leaders rising behind us, whether male or female. We have a formal mentoring program, I'll give pretty much anyone in this company who requests it an hour of my time to have a discussion. I will listen to them, and if they would like some advice, I will give them that.“
WORK-LIFE BALANCE: “You have to define what's normal for you. For me, my wonderful spouse, and daughter, we led a life that was normal for us. My being away one night a week was normal for us. Did I miss some things? You bet. Do I regret it? I really don't because I accepted I wasn't going to make every school activity. Could it bother other people? Perhaps. If it does, they should set their aspirations a little differently.“
BEST CAREER ADVICE: “The best advice I ever got is to have fun at what you do or else go do something else. I look forward to going to work every day. It's not to say every day is fun “” or that there aren't challenges “” but I thoroughly enjoy what I do. I enjoy leading others. I enjoy being able to set strategy. I enjoy having an impact on the future of a lot of people around me.“
WHAT’S AHEAD: “I spend a large amount of time with customers both domestically and internationally. The global security needs are just as strong and demanding as they were in previous years. I've had the opportunity to shape some of our strategies and actually implement them. More importantly, I've had the opportunity to listen to customers and understand what their needs are five to 10 years out.“