An article recently featured in Forbes was “Business Tips from College Dropouts: Zuckerberg, Jobs, Gates, Dell, Ellison, Branson and Disney.” It starts with how Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal, has created a scholarship of $100,000 to be received by 24 individuals under 21 with additional scholarships for future years. There is one “catch,” the scholarship recipients have to drop out of college for two years to “pursue entrepreneurial ventures, research and self-education.”
Apparently, 16% of the 400 most affluent Americans do not have a college degree. To me whether or not someone has a college degree and is successful is not related. I believe it’s the ability of these leaders to take the ‘risk’ in their business venture and having the confidence to pursue their goals by going against the grain. It’s easy to do the typical thing of going to college after high school and getting a college degree like everyone expects you to, but it’s even harder to start on that path and realize it’s not for you and take a path you blaze for yourself.
At Mediaspace Solutions, we believe in shattering the status quo. This means you go against the grain and constantly push limits in everything you do. We have created an interview series with business leaders who believe in this type of mindset. Below are a few tips they have on ‘shattering the status quo’ and risk-taking.
“I take a position where I might not have all the skills or the background to do it, but I put myself in a position where I’ve got to learn. It develops the ability to rely on other people and not just feel like I can get it done by myself. Those are times when I’ve had the most success.” – Terry Clark, CMO of UnitedHealth Group
A good leader has great ideas, and an even better leader realizes he needs help to make those ideas a reality. It’s tough to take a step back and realize you aren’t the best at performing certain responsibilities, but you need to focus on the main objective and see the value of hiring skilled individuals to be a part of your team.
“Today with all the different media or outlets that are out there and all the different ways marketers and customers are touching different platforms if you are going to do the same old thing, you are going to be relegated to the junk pile. It is absolutely essential if you as a marketer/professional want to be perceived as leading edge, the cutting edge or unique that you have to do something out of the box.” – Al DiGuido, Interactive Media & Marketing Leader at Interactive Media & Marketing Consultancy.
“No matter how well something is working or is performing, around every corner there is something that is going to knock it off its pedestal. Being creative, inventive and regenerating new enterprises, products or situations is the number one important element in business. If you are unwilling or unable to do that, somebody else is going to eat your lunch. Taking old formulas and reworking them is one way to do it.” – Greg Heinemann, Senior Vice President of OLSON
“I like the mindset of going into a project with a vision of what somebody else would do. I started thinking ‘What would Steve Jobs do with this project?’ It helps me broaden my thinking about what could be little improvements that make a big difference.” – GL Hoffman, Chairman of JobDig
“I try to instill that there should be no one here who is not making themselves a little uncomfortable. We always want to be thinking about the next level for a new way of doing things.” – Greg Kurowski, President and CEO of Persicope, Inc.
Companies and individuals need to be able to adapt to the ever changing world with new technological advances otherwise they will fall behind. Take a look at the brands and companies you know and look up to, are they the ones following the crowd or thinking of new ways to stand apart?
“It starts with having confidence and having industry experience. When the market gets competitive, you better be able to roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty. You can’t be afraid of it.” – Peter Taunton, President and CEO at Snap Fitness
“The riskiest thing is not doing anything. If we do that I know what is going to happen and it’s not going to be good.” – John Wernz, CMO at Wealth Enhancement Group
Just because something is going well doesn’t mean it couldn’t be going better. You should never be satisfied with where you are at, because there is going to be a competitor who is trying to out-smart you and take away your customers.
“When you peel back the onion enough times, there are really not that many things that are life or death in business. I am a big believer in try a lot of stuff and keep what works. You need to keep pushing the edge.” – Jeff Prouty, Chairman and Founder at The Prouty Project
Learn what else Jeff Prouty has to say about risk-taking, shattering the status quo and other business insights by downloading his interview: