Growth is critical to continued success at every level of leadership. From brand new supervisors to C-suite executives, growth ensures leaders are maximizing their effectiveness and preparing for the future.
To get some insight into the most effective ways leaders can grow and develop, I sat down with Greg McKee, CEO of Tryp Therapeutics. Tryp is an industry leading pharmaceutical company developing innovative new psychedelic therapies for neuropsychiatric disorders with a high unmet medical need. Mr. McKee has spent his career building and leading innovative biotech companies and is no stranger to extremely successful leadership. Here’s his advice:
Stay curious and step outside of your comfort zone.
Growth happens outside of your comfort zone. That’s one of the main reasons McKee chose to enter the field of psychedelics. “With psychedelics, there’s a huge opportunity to open up your mind – to reboot and get out of negative loops, to rewire your brain.” It was something he was curious about, so he took the leap to enter this new-to-him field, bringing with him all of his past success and experience. McKee’s advice to anyone looking for growth is to try new things and be open-minded – curiosity drives you forward. “Every single path could lead to success. It’s your own path.”
Don’t wait for experience, make it as you go.
One of the best ways to gain experience is by simply doing something. Do the things you aren’t fully qualified for and you’ll learn as you go. If you always wait until you’re ‘ready’ or ‘qualified’, opportunities will simply pass by and you’ll be stuck in a place of stagnation. You can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen, you have to take action.
Never stop learning.
McKee puts it brilliantly – “respect what you don’t know.” You should always have an appetite for learning and developing. However, it’s not just learning new skills, there’s often a lot of un-learning that needs to be done too. Past ways of doing things might not serve you well now, or there might be more efficient ways of doing things. You have to be willing to un-learn past behaviors in order to move forward.
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Learn from every experience.
Your past, current, and future successes are all built upon each other, and there’s something to be learned from every experience. No matter how unrelated something may seem to your current opportunity, if you look hard enough you’ll find a connection. For example, time spent abroad helps you in your home country because you’ve learned a new perspective. If your first career was in accounting and you then switch to consulting, the organization skills and attention to detail will serve you well in the consulting field.
Don’t be afraid to break with convention.
Just because something has been done a certain way for a period of time doesn’t mean that it has to be done that way forever. New technology and innovations open up possibilities for streamlining or automating processes, as does a new perspective.
Success is achieved faster by collaboration.
Success rarely happens in isolation. The most innovative and successful ideas are born out of collaboration. Surround yourself with a wide variety of people to ensure that someone is always there to offer a different opinion or a different perspective. If you surround yourself with people who are too similar, you’ll lose that valuable diversity of thought.
I’ll leave you with one last piece of valuable advice from McKee – “Find what you’re good and then give it away.” Knowledge is most valuable when it’s shared.