Young business leaders typically go too far or not far enough. They are either brash or timid as they deal with entrenched employees who may be older and more experienced than they are. Even though they usually like to take chances, they also may retreat to what they have been told by elders or those with more experience.
The advantage of a young leader is they may come into a position with a completely different viewpoint on what has been done before, and are more willing to break the rules. But sometimes those rules are there for a reason, and going completely against what has been done before leads them down a path they had not anticipated.
Before young leaders head out to conquer the world, they need to dig deeper into their beliefs, actions and goals in order to chart a successful path, says Phuong Uyen Tran, author of Competing with Giants and deputy CEO of THP Beverage Group, Vietnam’s leading beverage company, says.
“Young leaders bring passion but sometimes it doesn’t make up for a lack of wisdom,” Tran says. “Before they set sail, there are six questions they need to ask themselves to increase their chances for success.”
Tran says the six questions are:
- What do you believe? To be successful, a young leader needs to be grounded in some fundamental beliefs. Understanding and writing down core beliefs will guide you through stormy times.
- What is the mission statement and do you buy it? The mission statement reflects every facet of the business: the range and nature of the products offered, pricing, quality, service, marketplace position, growth potential, use of technology, as well as your relationships with customers, employees, suppliers, competitors, and the community. But sometimes new young leaders don’t buy into it. If that is the case, they need to change it, but that may be easier said than done.
- Have you done your homework? As a young leader, it is imperative that you do plenty of research. Older leaders can sometimes go by their gut feelings, but young leaders don’t have that luxury. Young leaders who have done their homework have a greater chance for success when they step outside the box and propose new solutions to old problems.
- Do you really believe in your product or service? If a new young leader does not believe in a product or service, they need to change it. Great leaders truly believe that whatever their product or service is, that it is the best option among all the competition. If you don’t believe in your product, it is hard to lead your troops into battle.
- Are you ready to set sail or are you moored to the dock? Sometimes you have to take chances. Are you ready to take risks and not be tied to what has always been done in the past?
- How will you handle success or failure? One of two things usually happens – you will succeed or you will fail. How will you handle success? How will you handle failure? These are things that a young leader should think about before they happen.
Tran says young leaders can overcome many obstacles by taking some extra time to ask themselves those questions.