3 Things to Do If You Want to Become a CEO by Age 30

When, at age 24, I told my boss (somewhat tongue in cheek)that I wanted to become a CEO, he nearly fell off his chair. It was
1974; I was a software developer working for IBM.
At that time, lowly engineers were not expected to aspire
to roles reserved for successful salespeople.

But my boss’guidance helped me take a hard look
at myself and make becoming the CEO a real objective.
I eventually achieved my goal 30 years later at Business Objects,
but it took a lot of careful planning, as well as focus
and determination. Content Continues Below Today, the path to becoming a CEO can look very different, particularly within tech and internet startups. But the skills required to be an effective leader are the same as ever. 

These skills typically take a life of experience to
acquire, but there are ways to overcome that time challenge. Here are three things you should do to qualify as CEO material,
even if you are short on life experience -- but still big on
energy and bold ideas: 

1. Build a team to compensate for your

Even a seasoned executive needs a sounding board of
people who can offer guidance, particularly
for areas that fall outside his or her core expertise. For young leaders, this is essential, to avoid serious
mistakes. Lack of experience can lead to very
painful consequences: hiring the wrong people, spending too much money, getting stuck with bad contract terms, or falling afoul of the law -- to name just a few. Consider the example of
Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook:
He drives the products, while she is the more business-oriented person. They complement each other with their skills, and
work together to achieve a common goal of building a
successful company. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin (both 25 years old when they founded the company)
brought in a more experienced Eric Schmidt so that they could gain management depth before taking over in their
own right. When building your leadership team, then, don’t
look for people who are exactly like you. Find those
who can round you out and challenge you to grow.

2. Use the power of positive -- and negative -- thinking. 

If you are launching a business when you are still
in your 20s -- without scars from past challenges -- you will have some advantages and many disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is the lack of a track record,
which a potential investor might want to use to
evaluate your probability of success. This can be overcome only by spending many hours selling your idea to as many people
as will listen to it. 
In the venture capital universe, Bay Area investors have traditionally been the most willing to take a gamble on
an untried team. Another potentially helpful strategy
is to hire a more seasoned person to front the fund- raising, but take care not to lose control of the business
in the process.

Entrepreneurs An interesting advantage you may have as a young
leader, meanwhile, is the likelihood that you probably
do not know what is not possible; yet, you will attempt to do it anyway.
This might result in a breakthrough that a more
experienced person might miss due to a past negative
experience. And that would be wonderful. But real
breakthroughs are relatively
rare. Most progress is incremental, and to attain
incremental success, tapping into the experience of previous successes and failures can be very

3. Practice humility. 

Leaders need to be transparent, and humble
when humility is appropriate (which is very
often). In fact, intellectual humility -- the ability to step back and embrace the better ideas of others -- is, for
Google (to name one leading company) is a more
important hiring criterion than credentials. Unfortunately, humility is often perceived as a  weakness, when in fact it is
one of the greatest strengths a leader
can possess. Humble people listen to and
learn from others. 

They take the backseat when someone more able than themselves
is available to solve a problem. They give credit where credit is due. They are less prone to hubris when things go really well.
They constantly question their own views and motivation to ensure that they are truly aligned with the desired business
outcome. All of these values are essential to build a high-
performance organization.

But of course business is all about winning. Being humble is fine, but a leader also must be willing
to lead to victory. So, my advice is to practice
humility -- just don’t forget
to win.

Originally Published By: Young Entrepreneur

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13 June 2015 at 19:14 ×


22 June 2015 at 20:43 ×

Thanks for this