I’ve had a lot of very insightful conversations over the last two months with a number of different people in the business world. Cumulatively, I think they speak to the great opportunities that exist for those who choose to seize them.
CEO’s Are Looking For People To Step-Up
Four of the conversations were with CEOs. Their industries differ, and the size of their companies vary greatly, but I found it quite interesting that each, unprompted, verbalized the same issue: They felt that they were alone in proactively looking for opportunities to innovate, or make their business better. They wished more people in their company would step up in identifying crazy, game-changing, out-of-the-box ideas. They craved greater ownership – people who not only could dream up exciting new ideas, but were willing to take charge and try to make them work.
They didn’t actually care so much whether the ideas were good or not, they just wished they could find people who were as passionate about the success of the company as they were.
There Are A Lot Of Awesome Ideas Out There
Over the same couple of months, however, I also found myself in a dozen or more casual conversations with other people which seemed to point to a paradox. “I don’t know why the company doesn’t try this…” I heard people say; along with varying versions of: “If I owned the company, I would…” Many of these comments – some quite visionary – came from front-line people far-removed from the company’s executive floor.
So, on the one hand there seems to be a lot of passionate people with innovative ideas, and on the other hand there seems to be a lot of CEO’s craving passionate people with innovative ideas. This strikes me as a bit of an opportunity for people who are willing to step up.
Good Things Can Happen When You Step Up
I met a young man in Malaysia about six years ago who was just in the process of creating a brilliant future for himself. He was working in project management position with one of the country’s largest financial institutions. He saw the rapidly increasing growth of social media in the global marketplace, and realized how important it could be for the bank establish a presence early on.
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Rather than just talk about it, however, he decided to take a brave step. He camped out in front of the CEO’s office early one morning, and managed to get ten minutes of his time. In those ten minutes, he presented his idea, and convinced the CEO to create a new position in the company. Instantly, this young man became responsible for the bank’s entire social media presence, and his career took off.
Here’s the lesson, I think. At the most senior level of organizations, people are looking for individuals who stand out. Your growth, your future, is very much there for the taking. All you have to do is step up.
And if you have amazing ideas, make sure the people who might be interested hear about them. You don’t have to camp out in front of the CEO’s office – but you can send him a note or email a presentation. You never know what might happen!
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