“There’s no learning curve for people who are in war or in startups.”
What would you do if you as a young entrepreneur had been thrown into the CEO position of the fast growing company? Or, on the contrary - you as an experienced TOP manager have finally obtained this spot in the corporate world? In both cases, in the beginning one would enjoy new success and dream about his perfect career as a CEO. And after the first impression vanishes away, one would realize that it is only a beginning of the journey.
Indeed, a dream job is more than just a prestige status and new opportunities. It goes along with the future of the company responsibilities and obligations to lead it into the right direction. Imagine that you are the captain of the ship that is going through the storm. You need to find a way out with any possible solution. Therefore, you need to know everything about a shipbuilding, natural disasters, physics, astronomy etc. If you do not know it, you have to get as much useful information as it is possible in a short period of time. The same situation applies to business.
Although, so much information is available today, it is hard to find a really relevant one. Books used to be one of the most prominent sources of information, however, presently they are a bit high and dry, as everything is changing in minutes. One of the most – known managers in the World and in the Silicon Valley in particular – Brian Chesky (CEO AirBnb) has his own solutions on how to hack leadership by learning valuable lessons.
First of all, don't be afraid to use trial and error approach. It can sound ridiculous, however, it is the oldest and one of the most effective approaches in the world. There is no need to rely completely on this method, because sometimes errors could be too damaging, for example, international corporations can lose billion of dollars from the slightest decrease in sales. Nevertheless, if one would like to not only follow someone's path, but establish his own, he should try, risk and create something new. As, for Chesky, if you pose a question about what he didn't know about management in the early days, he would barely know where to start. Since he had no choice but to plunge in; the company couldn't wait for him. He says, that it was the moment when he learned the trial and error approach.
Secondly, in order to sort out the required information from the dump Chesky found that it was more efficient to spend his time researching and identifying the single best source in that area, then follow all the activities of that person (blogs, publications, bio, couching, video sessions etc). “If you pick the right source, you can fast-forward,” he says. It’s an approach that has served him again and again. For instance, to find an influencer and to learn the ins and outs of hospitality you'd better go to the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly; for the banking industry it could be a World Finance and Banking Symposium, for insurance – The insurance & Investment Journal and Conference, etc.
Thirdly, one of the best ways to get to know some spheres, such as management, leadership and corporate culture, is by direct communication with the people that have already succeeded in these spheres. Thus, as the company became more prominent Brian went to speak to Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Bob Iger and others and picked up galore of information especially the tips about efficiency in scaling internationally.
And the last but not the least advise on alternative learning methods from Brian Chesky is to: “synthesizing divergent ideas”—basically, going to unexpected sources for insight. For instance, to find out which areas of business should be delegated and which – should not, he picked up advices from George Tenet, the director of the CIA from 1997 to 2004 and now a managing director at the investment bank Allen & Company. He explained the boat theory, where the CEO is the captain of the ship, as a result he should worry about everything that is «below the waterline; anything that can sink the ship» and two more areas of interest. Everything else should be delegated to the executives. Tenet also taught him the importance of sending handwritten notes to employees. It creates the basement of the open and loyal corporate culture.
The aforementioned methods are only a few tips you can use for the development. There are a lot more and you can also create your own. However, remember, that the Best CEOs derive the inspiration from the outside lives. Because, «if you stop going to fairs, concerts, and bars and you're just working, you lose touch with all that. You have to refill your inner reservoir too».