The first month at the Startup Generation Program is over, it has been intense and the lessons learned, inputs and feedbacks are priceless.
This month was all about Leadership, a topic I haven’t really dig into on the theoretical point of view, but have been indirectly involved in during my early years at FFA. I really didn’t have the chance to explicitly get confronted with the topic, until I started FFA, where I started hitting on leadership issues almost every day.
Sometimes I feel that I’m not meant to be a leader as my role models Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Richard Branson or Steve Jobs. So I tried to discover and understand, what was making these business leaders successful, what properties they have/had, from what background they came from, etc., I was curious to extrapolate some insights, my insights, in order to try myself to be more successful, in what I’m doing.
By looking at the exceptional success stories of these leaders, I came across certain properties and certain situations that were repeating themselves in all different leaders that I was studying:
1) They all are self-confident, self-aware and stay on their ideas.
2) They all want to change the world to make it a better place (with different means and in different fields).
3) They all have above average overall intelligence (and are really good at some vertical: design, computer science, mechanical engineering, business management, rhetoric, mathematics).
4) They all seem to love what they were doing, producing, designing and therefore they could be relentless and obsessed in both good and bad times in the life of their ventures.
Some of these properties and traits are based on genetics and are encoded since birth in all of us. Others are developed by each of us during our academic, private, social and professional lives and are strongly influenced by external influence factors as the society we live in, the education, the experiences, the failures and many more.
Concerning point 1 I sometimes lack self-confidence in my ideas, since there are so many people from different countries and with different successful and promising projects and experiences that state different ideas than mine. Our world still considers experience, degrees, honours and certified ratings as number one proxy to value any kind of tangible or intangible product (in that case also ideas). Especially in countries with strong patriarchal family and business structure this phenomenon is even more accentuated.
Regarding point 2, I really believe in it and I try to show people this in every situation.
About point 3 I have mixed feelings about my skills. I’m a top graduated double degree engineer, with work experience in different companies, institutions and corporations around the world. I have a pretty strong mathematical and engineering “forma mentis” and I’m usually good at solving technical problems. My biggest concerns come in relation to the more extrovert-like properties: I’m not a good public speaker (I have to put 10 times more effort in getting a speech done compared to other colleagues), I don’t have a strong rhetoric, I’m not a good salesman / power networker (maybe this skill is in conflict with my introverted side). I believe by improving these skills, I could improve my overall leadership skills by a multiple of 10!
Last on point 4 I love what I do, I put all my time, effort and thoughts into my venture and I always believed that by doing so (and with the help of others and some pivots over time) that this can bring me to successfully deploy my ideas and make them reality.
I could continue in my argumentation, if anyone is interested in a constructive exchange on these ideas or has any ideas, feedback or hacks I can implement to improve my leadership skills, please contact me personally and I will be more than happy to discuss it with you.
written by Frank M. Saviane (CEO)