As I blogged yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to around 50 students at Frostburg State University's School of Business last evening. It was actually the Finance Club and I served on a panel with two other executives. Before the event, I stopped and had dinner with my wife and daughter. As I spoke of what my evening entailed, my daughter Lauren decided to join me for the event.
After each executive gave a perspective on their background and "secrets to success," we were met with lots of great questions from highly engaged and interested students. One student asked when did I know that I wanted to be a CEO because he wants to be a CEO. He asked what does he need to do in order to achieve that professional goal. My answer was that I didn't set out to be a CEO; it sort of just happened 18 years ago when I was first appointed CEO of Memorial Hospital and I am glad that it did. To this day with all of the challenges that I face every day, I love what I do.
I told him that in addition to mastering my platform for success, which I covered last evening and blogged about yesterday, that he should focus on aligning his vision and outlook with that of the organization. He should never underestimate how change affects an organization's employees and always work to drive variability out of the organization's leadership. He needs to be well organized and an effective communicator, including having strong listening skills. Depending on the organization, being a servant leader isn't a bad thing either. I encouraged him to stay in touch and offered to help with his career goal.
I don't have the opportunity to interact with younger people with great frequency so I really enjoyed last evening. I am already looking forward to a return invitation.