These are 3 things you should do if you want to become a young executive director, but full of energy and good ideas.
The opinions expressed by employees are personal.
When, at 24, I told my boss that I wanted to become the company's executive director, he almost fell out of his chair. It was 1974, and I worked as a software developer for IBM.
At that time, no one would expect a “humble” engineer to aspire to a position reserved for successful sales people. However, my boss guided me, helped me look at myself and turn the desire to run a business into a real goal.
Today, the path to becoming CEO is quite different, especially in technology and internet startups. However, the skills required to become an effective leader remain the same. In general, acquiring these skills takes a lifetime, but there are ways to cope with the challenge of time . These are 3 things you should do if you want to become a young executive director, but full of energy and good ideas.
1. Build a team that compensates for your deficiencies
Even the most experienced executive needs to be surrounded by people who offer a guide, especially in areas that leave their area of expertise. This is essential especially for young leaders, more likely to make serious mistakes. Lack of experience can lead to painful consequences: hiring the wrong people , spending too much money, getting hooked on bad contract clauses or getting into conflict with the law, to name just a few.
Consider the example of Marck Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg on Facebook: he handles the products, while she is a more business-oriented person. Their skills complement each other, and together they work to achieve the common goal of building a successful company. On the other hand, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin (who were 25 when they founded the company) hired the experienced Eric Schmidt, a man who brought his experience in business management before they felt ready to do so.
So, when you build your leading team, don't look for people who are exactly like you. Bet on those that can complement you and challenge you in your growth.
2. Harness the power of positive and negative thinking
If you are undertaking in your twenties, you will face some advantages and disadvantages. The main disadvantage is, of course, the lack of work history, which could be a factor to be considered by a potential investor.
To overcome this, you will have to spend many hours selling your idea to as many people as you want to hear it. In the universe of venture capital, investors have been the most willing to bet on an inexperienced team. Another potentially useful strategy is to hire someone with more experience in fundraising, but be careful not to lose control of your company in the process.
On the other hand, an interesting advantage of being a young leader is that you probably have no knowledge of what things cannot be done, so you will do them anyway. This could lead to unprecedented innovation, something that perhaps a more experienced person would lose sight of. And this is a great thing. However, truly important innovations are rare. Progress is usually a gradual process, and taking advantage of previous experience of successes and failures can be quite useful.
3. Practice humility
Leaders should be transparent, as well as humble when appropriate (that is, very often). In fact, intellectual humility – the ability to step back and accept the ideas of others – is for Google a stronger recruitment criterion than credentials. Unfortunately, humility is usually perceived as a weakness , when it is, in fact, one of the greatest strengths a leader can possess.
Humble people listen to others and learn from them. They take the back seat when someone more apt can solve a problem. They give credit when it is deserved. They are less likely to be arrogant when things go well. They constantly question their own views and motivations to make sure they are really aligned with the company's objectives.
Being humble is good, but a leader must also be willing to take a business to victory. So practice humility: just don't forget to win.