Over the past eight years, I have been fortunate to partner with some of the most disruptive enterprise-class technology vendors in the world and support their journeys to acquisition or IPO. During this time, I have had the chance to work with and learn from many people – from those just starting out in their careers through to senior executives – and, of course, managed many recruiters as Emerald has scaled. Below are some of the key takeaways that might help young professionals starting out in business today.
Work the learning curve
Success rarely lands at your door – you’ve got to go and get it, and in reality, it’s hard! When anyone starts something new, there is inevitably a huge learning curve and mistakes will happen – get used to it.
You can counter this by ‘focusing on the road, not the wall’. A task which at first may take you hours to complete will take you a matter of minutes in a year’s time. Taking this approach will put you ahead of others who have less energy and drive. The more you take on and the more you fail, the faster you’ll learn.
Business, like sport, is very competitive. The best way to beat the competition – whether internally or externally – is to outwork them. There are two 6 o’clocks in every day; see them both. Be in the office at 7am making calls when the competition starts at 9am; make calls until 7pm when the competition stops at 5pm – it’s easy to see who’ll be most successful.
Little things make the big things happen
Discipline and focus are critical to success in any area. Going to the gym once will not make you fit. Without small, consistent actions with respect to diet and training, you have little hope of achieving a fitness goal. Likewise in business, when planning your week, quarter or year, establish what small, consistent actions you need to focus on. Stay on task and stay disciplined, and you will begin to see results.
“We”, not “Me”
One of the most powerful words in business is “We”. Success at any stage of your career is reliant upon working with and learning from others. I have seen numerous people fail because they are laser-focused on themselves – to rise in your career, you need to be positive and engage others. If you’re there for someone, they will hopefully be there for you when you need them; and on your road to success, it’s likely that you will!
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
I meet so many people who are looking to move on from their current employer due to a lack of gratification or career development opportunity – despite having been with the business for just a few months or a year.
Success takes years, not months or weeks. In today’s society, more and more of us seem to seek instant gratification without taking the necessary time to master a profession. My biggest piece of advice would be to look at success as a long-term commitment, considering the future when joining a business. Where do you want to be in 3-4 years and how are you going to get there?
And finally… an opportunity is what you make of it
Any employer wants their business to be successful, and that means they want you to be successful. Be positive and get noticed for the right reasons – you will be rewarded.