An entrepreneur means having a vision, the inspiration to start a new business and the willingness to take that risk. Many entrepreneurs believe that having the skills to convert an idea into disruptive innovation is a must to turn a startup into a successful business, well it’s not. It requires effective communication skills, the capability to manage multiple responsibilities, and high level of competencies so that whichever role the entrepreneur has to play, incompetency does not emerges as an issue.
Gary Olson, CEO of GHO Group LLC, is a proficient business executive, who is casting light on some of the significant traits of entrepreneurship a defective leadership. Gary believes that the “Peter Principal” is an understated reality. Leadership is its own discipline of skills, expertise and knowledge that is separate from other disciplines of skill and knowledge. Being good or expert at something does not necessarily make a good leader, neither does ownership. Just owning the company doesn’t make someone a good leader.
Gary’s journey started with his father, who owned a small business. As the business grew, he learned how to delegate authority and responsibility to others. His father led his teams in positive and supportive way where “If you succeeded, you were given more, if you struggled, first he helped, if it was not in your skill set, you were not forced or put in uncomfortable situations.” That’s leadership.
A strong leader builds a strong team and always keeps the goal in mind. As a leader, Gary recognizes the strengths in people; and encourages and empowers their development, creating a strong team to solve problems. He says, “One of my responsibilities on many of my projects is to help the new senior management with change. I explain that a large organization is like a pyramid, if you are at the top you can see what’s happening across the organizations and manage.” He continues, “If the pyramid is upside down because the manager is also doing everything they are crushed by the weight of the organization. This visual concept was easily understood and embraced and they became successful change managers.”
When it comes to managing a business, change is the only constant, considering this fact, Gary is consistently reinventing himself and his organization. Exploring new technologies, management styles and workflows for his organization, to meet the needs of his clientele. As new technologies are introduced that require new workflows, different skills and knowledge, it’s often hard to keep up with. The challenge is staying abreast of the trends and changes across many domains. However, coping with advanced technology, and staying current with volatile trends is a never ending exercise of research with podcasts, webinars, trade shows and professional development across numerous domains and industries.
According to Gary, being an innovative entrepreneur does not make you a good leader, it means you are an innovative thinker. Entrepreneurship and starting a business means doing everything that needs to be done to be successful. The CEO leads by example, putting in the time and work effort to build the business. Further he states, the entrepreneur is the visionary; this could be the business visionary or the product visionary. Product innovation means guiding the features and functionality design development in a practical way that meets the market or client needs. If the market doesn’t exist that’s one issue, the question is should it? If the market is super saturated, what is the differentiator that justifies the products existence?
From Gary’s perspective for an entrepreneur, the issue of roadblocks and challenges is a multi-faceted question. The first obvious road block is getting the company substantially funded sufficiently enough to sustain the team during the development and early stages of market penetration. Igniting the business is all about the entrepreneur inspiring the entire team, business operations, technical and marketing. The entrepreneur needs to be the champion and cheerleader at all times and stay fully engaged showing participation.
Looking towards the future, Gary and GHO is going through a changing phase now, moving into artificial intelligence and a new industry sector of Public Safety and National Security. It is applying it’s extensive media knowledge to an industry overwhelmed by video and struggling to analyze it for useable information in the prevention of incidents and attacks. The company is looking forward at the role artificial intelligence will play in the industry, and how other industry sectors are using media, that requires broadcast knowledge and expertise to assist them as they produce more and more media.
Gary advices “As a budding entrepreneur, it’s important to realize that not all entrepreneurs make good CEO’s. It’s more important to understand your own strengths and that the right thing to succeed may be to hire someone who is a better CEO than you are to help lead the new enterprise.”
About the leader
Gary has always been interested in new technologies with an innate curiosity on understanding how things work. He never thought his engineering degree in computer design would lead to his career in the media industry and become the basis for his interest in bridging the gap between broadcast and computer technologies. He is considered as one of the Thought Leaders in the media technology industry, and provides consulting services as an IP Broadcast & Media Technology Designer.
Gary is one of the few people who never worked for anyone else in his professional career. Currently, he is the Principal of GHO Group and leading the company as strategist, designer and project manager for a variety of communication and information technology projects. He is a successful author with his book ‘Planning and Designing the IP Broadcast Facility – A New Puzzle to Solve’ an industry standard. He regularly publishes articles providing knowledge and education to the media industry with a considerable following reading his articles on ‘The Broadcast Bridge’ and LinkedIn, including webinars and online courses.