Like most students on campus, College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences 2018 Alumni Achievement lecturer Jack Zenger also struggled with deciding what to major in and what to pursue after graduation.
Now a successful CEO and world-renown thought leader in leadership development, Zenger shared several pieces of advice on how to utilize psychology in the business world, how to succeed in life and business and how to become a powerful leader in your future organization in his recent lecture.
See his full lecture below.
Here are some takeaways from his impactful lecture:
1. Always ask (and accept) questions
This first takeaway comes from Zenger’s presentation itself. Zenger asked for and responded to questions at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of his lecture. Moral of the story: if you want to preach curiosity and learning, create an environment to do so.
2. Appreciate your entire college experience
There is so much more to the BYU experience than classes. Get involved in clubs and activities, find ways to continue your education once you leave BYU and develop lifelong friendships and relationships–they’ll truly become some of your greatest assets later on.
3. Reshape the balance of things
It’s hard to balance work and family. Zenger’s simple advice is to reshape what you’re doing so that you always have time for your family. For Zenger, this meant changing the nature of consulting so that he was selling scalable products instead of his time.
4. Take risks
Don’t be opposed to risk–any success in life requires at least a little. Transitioning from one thing to another can be risky, but if you have the will and determination, you’ll take the risky opportunities and find the success that’s waiting for you in the end.
5. Be curious
According to Zenger, the most worthwhile things he’s done came from being uncomfortable and getting outside of his comfort zone. Be intellectually curious and learn to love learning. Zenger found success in finding good, quality psychology research and applying it to a new field. How will you use curiosity to make a difference?
6. Take time to move up
When a student asked Zenger if he had ever made a mistake in his career, his answer was simple: advancing in his career too quickly. Instead of simply moving up in a company or getting a better position, focus on the skills and experiences you can acquire where you are right now. Find your groove with your team so that you can move together move forward with them in the future.
7. Start leading in your youth
In Zenger’s experience, he’s seen that the best leaders have leadership training early on in their careers, but most leaders go 13.2 years into their careers without receiving official training–and there is no comparison between those with confidence and skills with training and those without that essential training. Zenger advises spending more resources on younger leaders and young professionals seeking out leadership training and opportunities. The sooner a leader is trained, the longer they can use those skills in their company (and community).
8. Your personal choices have an impact
Leaders have a significant impact on their organizations. If a leader fails to lead, though, they hurt the whole company. Take the opportunity–and responsibility–to lead and benefit the people and the cause you work with.
9. Get (executive) support
It’s one thing if you want to lead and make a difference, it’s another if you actually have the upper-level support to do so. Make sure that you have senior executive support for your company leadership initiatives and trainings. Define what this support will look like so that you can be sure you will have the example and shared experiences you need to have success in leadership initiatives.
10. Promote powerful leadership development interventions
Trainings are good, but effective trainings are better. Integrate leadership development into the culture and systems of a company, apply leadership principles to actual situations and positions and involve managers in the development of their subordinates. Transfer development responsibility to the individual, focus on strengths and ensure sustainable leadership development practices and trainings.
11. Focus on your strengths
There’s a misconception that leaders are people who do everything right. Zenger denounces this: Leaders are not perfect people. Instead, leaders are people who are good at a handful of things and who choose to highlight their strengths. They work on these strengths to be even stronger while recognizing but not focusing on their weaknesses.
12. Leaders are important in both business and society
Every employee should be a good leader. Good leaders are excellent models for behavior, and observation is one of the most effective methods of learning. As corporate leadership is improved, so will community well-being.