Tips For Young Professionals.

I spent last Thursday with the inducted HH New hires.

Over 50 outstanding young men and women are on their journey to become the next generation of leaders at Heir Holdings.  Throughout our informal session, I listened to them talk about themselves, while gaining insights and useful suggestions from their experiences.  They asked me questions around my days as a young banker, the merger experience between STB and UBA, how I have grown HH into what it is today and how I balance work, family, faith, and an active lifestyle.  They  shared feedback on their experiences so far.

In order to build to last, an organisation must cultivate systems and feedback mechanisms to encourage this type of dialogue. Open, frank discussions, to listen, learn, inform, engage, and educate.  As I answered their questions, I recognised in them that familiar streak of ambition and passion to succeed against all odds.

It has become a tradition for me to spend time with our new joiners, to also help me gain insights, from their own experiences. It must be two way, we all continue to learn, to keep our minds open. I thought to share a few points from our interaction, particularly useful tips for other young professional hungry for success.

1. Starting out right

Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, or you prefer to climb the corporate ladder, the importance of structure and working in a structured environment cannot be overestimated.

It helps to cultivate discipline, which is directly correlated with your productivity, and ability to produce results. While the corporate structure is beneficial in helping to instill certain work ethics, your work environment should be one that is conducive for learning, growth and opportunity.

The best organisations for young people are those who recruit objectively and transparently (not based on who you know or who put in a phone call), train and capacitise young professionals, place round pegs in round holes, i.e. deploy talent to where it is best suited, give people access to the right tools to execute their tasks, keep them challenged, measure and appraise staff fairly, and finally, reward and commend results and sanction failures. Any organisation that follows this merit-driven chain will give you a great career start.

2. Your dreams are valid

Your aspirations and yearnings are normal.

As a young analyst, I still remember my own feelings of anxiety — itching to know when I would rise through the corporate ranks and finally earn my first N100,000.

It’s okay to want more. But you must remember that you must deserve more to desire more. You must put in the hours, the long nights, the sacrifice, and the diligence. While it is okay to yearn for more, you must work hard enough to earn the promotion, the pay rise, the title change, the salary increases.

Have a clear picture of the destination you desire, but instead of letting frustration set in, let those desires become the fuel that drives you to attain your goals. In a merit-driven system, people are rewarded for their hard-earned results, and leaders never take credit for the work of their subordinates.  You will rise according to your productivity, advance in your career, and be exposed to even more responsibilities.  As you climb the ladder, remember that you owe it to those coming after you to train, teach and inspire them as well.

3. Strive to be the best version of yourself

The best spent money is that which is spent on your self-improvement.

With the digitization in today’s world and the ubiquity of the internet, ignorance is no longer an option.

There is now unhindered access to quality information, much more than those before you, so you should take advantage of it and develop yourself. Read, learn, feed your intellect, and strive to expand the horizons of your mind. Learning is a long-term investment, and it never stops rewarding.  I like to hear about leaders who walk this talk, and unsurprisingly, whose intellect and boundless knowledge fascinate their team members.

4. It is all about balance

While it is true that you can have it all – a thriving career, robust relationships, a sense of purpose, a rewarding career – you may not have it all at the same time.

Life comes in phases and seasons.  As a young professional, this is your season to sow.  This is the time to toil to build the right foundation.  This is the hour to learn voraciously, to work hard and gain all the experience that you can.  This is the time to put in the work! Reaping and harvesting will come at a later time.

Others may call it balance; I call it prioritisation. Doing things step by step, because indeed there is a time for everything. Sequence things well. Always ask yourself what is most important to you at this time.

Finally, good health is one of life’s greatest blessings. Your health should remain a constant priority.

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