Vinnie Lynch is a proven CEO with a passion for Startups and SME’s. He has held senior positions at a number of companies including 7 years as CEO of Donseed, a software (SaaS) startup developed in Tralee that grew into the UK market with customers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and a broad range of leading construction industry companies. For the past 4 years Vinnie has lived with his family in Alberta, Canada where he runs a Sales Strategy and Executive Coaching business with a particular interest in execution of plans, developing strong performing teams, embracing new techniques and leveraging technologies that reduce sales lead-times and drive sales growth. Vinnie has clients in Ireland, UK and across North America. You can check him out at www.vinnielynch.com
Can leadership be taught? If so, how?
Leadership can be learned through a combination of training (15%) and experiences (85%) and as someone in my mid 40’s I believe you never stop learning. The speed at which you can become a strong leader is more down to experiences so expose yourself to as many leadership type situations as possible including not for profit work. Also, you should to immerse yourself in leadership case studies, the obstacles leaders faced, the solutions they developed and put them into your “leadership tool box” for the future. Leaders and businesses face the same challenges all the time so you can fast track your success by learning from other people’s mistakes.
If you could wind back the clock to when you were starting your career what advice would you give yourself?
Be patient. It’s less about what you are doing now but the life skills you are developing. Don’t be afraid to pivot into another role or career. There are far fewer boundaries than you think and life long careers are less common than before. Expose yourself to life learning, network, speak to your grandparents and their friends to get their insight into their life experiences, regrets, guidance and worldly wisdom. From 20yrs old to 30 yrs old it’s all about patience and listening but it’s hard to fully appreciate that when you think 35 is old! PS – Take a year out and travel in your 20’s. That’s my only regret.
When you are filling a leadership role in your organisation what qualities do you look for from candidates?
Life experience and being a team player are the most important qualities for me. Ability to listen, to be inquisitive, challenging, hard working are also very important. There is little product or industry knowledge that cannot be learned.
What are you doing today to make sure your organisation will be relevant in 10 years’ time.
Learning and I can never afford to stop. In Finola Howard’s course “how great marketing works” there is a statistic that only 34% of companies make it past year 10. The words “evolve or die” sum it up in that you always have to be at the top of your game in terms of the products or services you offer, leveraging efficiencies that new technologies provide and re-thinking your go to market strategy.
What leaders outside your own organisation do you admire and why?
I admire leaders who execute on a plan, embrace change and evolve with the times. Michael O’Leary is old school but is evolving as the consumer market evolves. I’m also a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk of Vayner Media and Stewart Butterfield, Founder and CEO of Slack.
What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
- The 4 Disciplines of Execution http://amzn.to/2zTxcUt
- The No.1 Best Seller – Lee Bartlett http://amzn.to/2joRAFV
- The First 90 Days – Michael D. Wadkins http://amzn.to/2ic22gy
- “The Pitch” by Gimlet Media
- “The SALESMAN Podcast”
- “Startup Stories” by Mixergy