Right after college or passing the licensure exam, engineers dream of doing great in their careers. I mean, who doesn’t? All of us want to live that life where we have so much power and wealth, which is often our definition of success. The moment we start working as engineers is our chance to make our dreams into reality.
But how can we get there?
It’s better that we take the word of those who are already on their way to become so successful, if not already successful. Entrepreneur has interviewed three CEOs – Jacqueline Hinman, Bill Warren, and Eric Anderholm – about their thoughts in which abilities will be needed for anyone, in this case engineers, to get to the top:
It pays to be well-rounded in terms of knowledge, if you ask Hinman, CEO of Fortune 500 engineering company CH2M HILL. She believes that having multiple roles in a company, or companies, have an edge in the industry. “I purposely kept moving,” she says, “I zig-zagged up and down and sideways.”
Hinman started as an environmental engineer before working in project management, business development, marketing.
If you ask Warren, former president of Monster.com and CEO of Direct Employers Association, about an important foundation to success, he would say self-awareness. He observes that this trait “helps you make the right decisions.”
Leadership guru Jack Zenger seconds this, calling self-awareness as the “singular secret for success.”
Screengrab from The Wolf of Wall Street
Anderholm, CEO of information security manufacturing and consulting firm Sergeant Laboratories, underscores that CEOs must know as much about technology as they do about business. The world today is sufficient with technology and if engineering managers cannot keep up, they will get behind.
Other than broad-based knowledge, Hinman believes that having the courage to challenge the status quo and take risks have great rewards. Just like the case of Warren, who, from inventing the first internet employment site, went on to blow up the business model he had created and reduced the online recruitment costs for employers. This yielded positive results for Warren.
When a company has the heart to serve, it can never fail. That’s why as early as possible, engineers should develop that mentality to serve the people we work for so that time comes that we become CEOs, our shareholders, employees, and customers will be appreciative of our efforts despite financial challenges.