Curious about what drives a CEO and why they are where they are? To get an answer to this I started talking to some people including Pieter-Jan de Man, Director at STAS.
STAS is a Belgian family business where they have chosen to put their employees central and to do everything to keep them happy. Because according to them, satisfied employees are the key to a successful future and maybe you've guessed it... That's something we also believe at EASI :-).
1. Get out of your comfort zone
This is the first tip from Pieter-Jan. In a career, it is important to keep challenging yourself and not to choose the easy road. Keep surprising yourself along the way, it will motivate you. More often than you think, people rule things out simply because it's not in their comfort zone. Especially at the beginning of your career that is not a smart plan, you can only learn by doing. You learn faster by doing and even then you still have enough time to fine-tune the skills you are less good at.
2. Structure leads to success
A morning work-out, an hour of piano playing or putting on the same T-shirt every morning as Mark Zuckerberg does? CEOs and successful people occasionally share their, sometimes slightly crazy, morning rituals, but if we are to believe Pieter-Jan of STAS, such a ritual is not all that crazy. According to him, structure in general contributes greatly to a successful day. For example, a small ritual in the morning can provide peace of mind and a certain motivation to start your day. If you succeed in carrying out such a ritual well every day, it will immediately be the first success moment of your day. After that, it's up to you to keep up the momentum, of course.
3. People skills are crucial
At STAS they are convinced that employees make the difference. They believe that any company that invests in their staff will notice a difference, gain new customers and that existing customers will feel this investment in a positive way. So they put their money where their mouth is and chose to put someone with a 'people' career at the head of the company. Walk the Talk, so to speak. Pieter-Jan is convinced that people skills make the difference between a successful and a very successful career. Technologies will later on take over many tasks from us, motivate and engage people and lift them to a higher level... That is still a task for us for the time being.
4. Mentorship works
Viewed from a distance, Pieter-Jan's career is on the rise. It is the result of hard work and 100% professional dedication. According to him, our society is made to keep going, to keep looking for that little bit more. From his own experience he knows that this sometimes makes you unaware of possible pitfalls. Thanks to the mentorship of Inge de Clippeleer, Pieter-Jan saw that his way of working was not always the right one. Inge was able to hold up a proverbial mirror to him. Because of her experience, Pieter-Jan managed to avoid some pitfalls. STAS has therefore developed a mentorship traineeship. Within the company, some people take on the role of mentor for others. Pieter-Jan advises everyone to share insights and listen to those of others, and to hold up a mirror to yourself once in a while. And a some more good advice: surround yourself with people who don't just nod yes. They help you grow both privately and professionally.
5. Keep investing in yourself
A last crucial tip according to Pieter-Jan. He thinks networking is a very good way to invest in yourself. You will reap the benefits of a good network later on, and it doesn't have to cost a lot. He personally benefited a lot from a Young Graduate Program where he got to know his mentor. Shared values are important, they both believe that you should look for a workplace where you can find recognition, responsibility and challenge. The hours we spend with our colleagues are often far more numerous than those we spend with our partner, so it pays off to take your time and to give the future steps in your career some thought. We may not all say that our job is our passion, but it is enormously satisfying when you can enjoy your work and having fun while doing so. There is nothing like it!
Are you looking for help in your search? Feel free to contact me. Good luck :-)