Blog author Brian Caouette is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of OnFrontiers, a peer-to-peer market insights platform.
It’s hard to garner respect from older teammates. No matter how smart you are, lack of experience can be an obstacle to being heard.
Yes, some companies are better than others at fostering young voices. But it’s SUPER FRUSTRATING when people dismiss your ideas outright because of your age!
Young professionals, however, have a unique ability to “punch above their weight” by focusing on three things they can likely do better than senior colleagues:
- Own the data — Study hard all the models, data, and materials your team works with. Your bosses rely on you for this. By knowing the details cold you’ll bring immense value to the team.
- Be an information hound — You can counter an experience disadvantage with an information advantage by a) harnessing all public and proprietary sources available to you and b) helping your team understand those sources.
- Ask tons of questions — Your eagerness to learn is your biggest asset. When you are a big shot executive someday, it may be harder to ask questions like “how does this all work?” And often, that is precisely the question that needs asking!
The last point is crazy important and brings me to the topic of working with experts.
Learning to tap insights from top professionals outside the organization can be a superpower for talented young minds.
This was my experience as an analyst consultant. My firm leveraged industry specialists to demystify a market, understand what takes place under the hood, and use as a sounding board before making a recommendation to a client. In one memorable case, speaking with a dry bulk shipping expert helped me realize our fundamental assumptions were dead wrong. Fortunately, we were able to course correct and I was recognized by my team for challenging our thinking.
In my experience, the best outcomes come when you combine youthful curiosity with practical experience. By doubling down in areas where your age brings advantage, you can amplify your value. If, on top of that, you can also learn to access the wisdom that comes with grey hair, you’ll become an even greater force to be reckoned with!
At OnFrontiers, our aim is to be the easiest place to connect with and learn from top Experts around the world. If you’d like to try it out, you can sign up for free and start learning right away from professionals eager to share their combined 100,000+ years of hard-earned experience.
Featured image by Boris Baldinger.