Max Gouchan for UNDER30CEO picture

So you’ve got a brilliant idea and you are ready to change the world. There’s just that one thing missing: a partner or two. How to choose the right one?

Some months ago I ran into Bjørn Kjos, who is the founder of the airline company Norwegian, which is one of the largest in Europe. While chatting I saw the opportunity to ask him if he had any advice for me from what he has learned over the years. He told me, “Only have people who are better than you on your team. Then you will do fine, boy.” Since I am 18 years old and without higher education, I thought, well that shouldn’t be too hard.

This advice has probably changed my life. I remember before meeting Kjos, I was often frightened to delegate responsibilities. As somebody who is very focused on top results, all the small details, and so on, I was always afraid that people wouldn’t do the job as well as I was capable of myself. It made delegating into a very stressful task and I was overloaded with work that should have been delegated to others. I found out that I ought to try this out. After all, Kjos is a very successful man and it would be stupid to just ignore such advice from him. This changed everything.

For my latest project ClickLift I have only hired the best of the best; people who are much better than me. And it has been amazing. As CEO in a small start-up company I can now delegate tasks much easier, and know that they will be finished better than I could ever imagine, or at least as good as I could do myself. This has been a great pressure release. And it makes me proud.

When being interviewed, I never talk about myself or what I am good at, instead I focus on boasting about my team and how proud I am of them. Kjos’ advice worked. You shouldn’t be afraid of hiring people who are better than you. They won’t steal your idea or your business from you, as I was afraid of, especially during the early stages of the start-up. By hiring the best of the best, you can trust that they will understand that this is business and that you are in this for it to succeed. After all, it is your idea, and if it is good – which it has to be, in order to get the best people – they know that you are a smart guy who has managed to come up with this brilliant idea.

So I want to pass Kjos’ advice on to you: When you are looking for someone to join you on your adventure, make sure that you just don’t pick up a friend or someone who seems to be OK. Never settle for just OK. Go for the best, and I can promise you that you and your business will have a much greater chance of success.

Max Gouchan is the youngest CEO working in an oil related company which consists of engineers and sales-people, and who is probably leading one of the most innovative, exiting and fun companies in Norway to work for today and for the foreseeable future. 


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