HOW/25 inches/1stjc/mark2nd

VALERIE NELSON Contributing Reporter

So you want to be an up-and-comer? While there’s no sure-fire formula, certain traits are shared by men and women on the fast track.

Rising stars tend to be characterized by “pure driven obsession, focus, and an attitude of nothing gets in my way,” said Debra A. Benton, author of “How to Think Like a CEO” (Warner Books, 1996).

“They have to act confident even when they aren’t. A tad of the theatrical is thrown in,” said Benton, whose management consulting company is based in Ft. Collins, Colo.

“You have to know how to perform to get the response you want,” she said. “Part of leading is setting an example being someone to look up to so others will put their livelihood at stake to follow.”

Business psychologist Ralph Daniel, who runs the California Family Business Institute in Westlake Village, believes most young achievers would give the same basic answer when asked to explain their success.

“They would say they were always self-starters, that they took the initiative and relied on their own resources to come up with a new idea,” Daniel said.

“A lot of it is affected by upbringing, and as an adult shaping yourself,” he added. “We learn by modeling ourselves. If you want to do something innovative, most people will have a model. The really fortunate ones have mentors.”

Of course, “success” and “success in Los Angeles” are not necessarily synomous given that this is a city where youth and ambition are almost cliches.

“To succeed in L.A. maybe you have to be a little prettier or handsomer,” Benton said. “It’s such a visual city.”

But it’s also a city that has been attracting up-and-comers for decades most notably in the entertainment and aerospace industries, which were initially attracted by L.A.’s sunshine and wide open spaces.

Those pioneering industries helped foster the notion of L.A. as a place for new beginnings a place where a good idea, hard work and persistence could pay off.

“Los Angeles is rich with opportunities for those who have the knowledge and skill,” said Robert M. Canady, academic dean of Pepperdine University’s George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management. “The formation of networks, alliances (and) partnerships make for a rather limitless opportunity for an individual to succeed here.”

The very size of Los Angeles, its place on the Pacific Rim and its tradition as an open town have made it a magnet for up and comers, Canady and others say.

Of course there’s a darker side to all that unbridled ambition. Hollywood, in particular, is known for rewarding those with the sharpest elbows.

“Ruthlessness is kind of pervasive in Hollywood because you are forced to deal with things not on a personal level,” said Chris Daniel, a producer for Gotham Entertainment Group, and the son of psychologist Ralph Daniel.

“Whatever is best to get the picture done is done. If you drop the producer, you drop the producer,” he said.

In other words, those who flourish do whatever needs to be done to clinch the deal , and still manage to sleep at night.

His father takes a less Machiavellian view of success, which he says can often simply be the result of bright people working hard and delaying gratification.

While their peers spend money on pricey sports cars and other goodies, the up-and-comers sink their money back into their businesses or forego time off to focus on work.

“They often work very, very long hours without expecting to be reimbursed for every minute. They may delay vacations or things like having kids,” Ralph Daniel said.

Elan Dal Ponte has a particularly good view of up and comers. Dal Ponte is employee relations coordinator at The Career Center at UCLA, where she helps line up the internships that can jump-start budding careers.

“The former students who make a mark early are those who have used internships to make their resumes look like they have been in the work force for years by the time they graduate,” she said.

“The ones who try to learn everything they can about their roles, those are the ones we see as most successful,” she said. “Attitude plays an enormous role a willingness to do any job, to go into it with a positive attitude.”

Others agree that a positive attitude is a must for success at any age.

“They have to have an ability to make people enjoy being around him or her, and the easiest way to do that is to get them to smile, laugh, or relax,” Benton said.

The successful strategist must know how to keep his business plan clearly focused while being a team player and a team leader, Canady said.

Canady adds another skill to the list an ability to string words together.

“One of the things I hear a great deal, perhaps mostly from business leaders, is that writing is a prerequisite in the successful business person of the future,” he said.

And success usually doesn’t happen without an element of risk, experts say.

“Whether it’s starting your own company or being in someone else’s, there is an element of calculated risk taking,” Daniel said. “If you don’t want to risk losing a job or money, you may have a hard time being on the fast track,” Daniel said.

No posts to display