Young Entrepreneurs Share Tips for Older Executives


Eleven young entrepreneurs weigh in on the management ideas they'd like to share with older executives.

No. 1: Invest in Culture First

From Corey Blake of Round Table Companies

At RTC, we are powered by our culture, and it influences our sales and marketing strategies as well as our operations. When we invest in culture, other problems fade into the background or solve themselves. Older executives and CEOs I know once shook their heads at our "hippie-dippy" tactics. Now, they call me for advice.

No. 2: Work Outside of Regular Hours

From Kim Kaupe of ZinePak

I think older executives could further develop the sense that the world does not stop when they leave the office for the night. In today's world of email and social media, responding to late night developments and morning changes can no longer wait until you are physically sitting at your desk. The days of only working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. are over, and they're never coming back.

No. 3: ROWE Yields ROI

From Sean Kelly of HUMAN

All executives could stand to learn from results-oriented work environments. ROWE companies give employees the freedom to create a schedule that allows them to thrive and create the most value for the company. It’s counterintuitive to give employees the autonomy to make their own schedules, but, in reality, that autonomy breeds creativity, efficiency and loyalty

No. 4: Move Projects Forward

From Leah Neaderthal of Start Somewhere 

So much traditional management is focused on analysis, stagnation and preparation for moving forward. Just move and keep moving. Take the first step, and continuously move projects forward until they're done.

No. 5: Let Authenticity Rule

From Seth Talbott of AtomOrbit 

We live in an age of skepticism and distrust toward leaders, so being authentic and approachable is more important now than it has ever been. People need to have confidence in your leadership, but that also includes seeing you wrestle with tough decisions like real people normally do. Resist the temptation to look flawless, and be bold, real and respectable.

No. 6: Remember the Importance of Fun

From Emily Doubilet of Susty Party

To be successful, you need to feel invigorated, and you need to have fun. Fun is the most underused tool, and yet it's so essential for good business and innovation! We believe in a creative and unique, company culture -- one that’s a little quirky, a little weird and a lot of fun.

No. 7: Find the Best Talent

From Danny Boice of Speek 

The days of micromanaging people are over. You need to be great at finding super smart, motivated and effective people and give them the leeway to be successful. End results matter -- not what time they get in the office or if they can follow your detailed instructions. As an executive, you must be able to recruit and motivate the types of employees who can operate as a black box.

No. 8: Use Metrics Instead of Your Gut

From Liam Martin of 

Managers today have so many tools available for them to measure how an employee performs. I believe the future of management will be almost entirely metric-based. Simply analyzing data will show if employees are engaged with their work, passionate about their positions, working efficiently with coworkers and generally a right fit for a position.

No. 9: Be Flexible in Communicating

From Kris Ruby of Ruby Media Group 

Communicate with young entrepreneurs in their preferred format. For many, this can take the form of emailing versus picking up the phone. Granted, there has to be some compromise between both forms of preferred communication; executives need to embrace the new methods of technology. Just because it is different does not mean it is bad.

No. 10: Be Fearless

From Rohit Singal of Sourcebits

For me, I think older executives could learn to not be defensive just because they have more experience. You want employees to be offensive, fearless and ready to stick their necks out to deliver new ideas. This means you can’t chop their heads off by being defensive, or they’ll never take a risk again.

No. 11: Value Fresh Talent

From Gideon Kimbrell of InList Inc 

Great results often come from new talent. Senior management members tend to play it safe and stick to what they know. This means keeping a tight circle of people they trust and fathering in a lot of legacy knowledge, workplace traditions and worst of all, staff. For your company to innovate, you need fresh mindsets. Sometimes you can get this from existing staff, but often, they come from outside.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Email your questions about best practices for starting up and/or managing a small business to