• Stephen Olmon

The Young Among Us

When you're young, did you want to be older? I think it's pretty common.

If you are now old (you decide what age that is ha), do you wish you could be young again?

As people get older it's common to feel as though we have "earned" our position, place, and things. To some degree, that's true. However, this perspective can cause problems when it gets taken too far.

I'll never forget when someone told me that they didn't want to pay me what I was owed because they thought I was too young to make "that much money". I needed to earn my place and pay my dues. Blah blah blah.

I'm good friends with the single youngest director at a certain Fortune 500 company that makes delicious beverages. I also know of a few other young CXOs that swiftly passed by well-tenured employees for roles they felt they "deserved" because they had been there for decades.

What most interests me in these scenarios are those that stuck their neck out and decided to pass on 57-year-old Bob for 32-year-old hot shot Scottie. It's a HUGE risk, but they still stuck to their guns and hired someone much younger than expected. Did they believe that injecting youth would save the day? Are these people truly so far beyond the rest of their peers that they were ready for such a role?

I don't know...but I love the gamble. Should every CXO be young? No, certainly not. But it should be an option, and that's really my point. Although unconventional, sometimes the young among us are the most talented and effective - whether we like it or not.