Last week, a mentee asked me a question.
“Geoff, a headhunter says I’m one of two [finalists for my first CEO job] with a decision to be made shortly. Any thoughts on how to close the deal, or let it close itself?”
His question sent a lightning bolt of excitement through me. How far he had come to be in a position to land his first CEO job!
This is not your stereotypical CEO candidate in the beginning.
When I met him, he was a high school junior attending a low-income/high-crime high school. It was the kind of school where kids had silver duct tape holding their winter coats together, if they had coats at all. I was there volunteer teaching a class on business finance. At his request for mentorship, my firm bought this aspirational leader a Wall Street Journal subscription, suggested he read it every day, and invited him to check in with us every 6 months if he wanted more career advice to become a successful business leader, which is what he said he wanted to do. That was 20 years ago. Fast forward through the hard work, the scholarship to a respected college, the long hours working for two investment banks and the successful stint as COO of a public company, and now he is about to land his first CEO job!