#Cleantechers, Scaling Clean listeners know that we seek out clean economy CEOs for their lessons on building teams and running companies. All our guests to date have developed their leadership abilities by ascending a career ladder, and they’ve done that across several companies.
Today’s guest has instead learned his leadership lessons on the job, so to speak. Jesse Grossman founded Soltage LLC 17 years ago, and he’s led since then as Chairman and CEO. Soltage is a New Jersey-based utility-scale solar IPP company that was founded on the belief that capital cost shouldn’t stop the spread of solar.
I met Jesse several years ago through the sponsor of this episode, Cleantech Leaders Roundtable, and it’s great to reconnect with him today.
Here are some highlights from our conversation:
15:39: In the unfamiliar, high-pressure environment of an early-stage company, clear team roles and communication are absolutely crucial. Resolve any confusion about responsibilities sooner rather than later.
25:23 – In his many years of socializing with CEOs, he’s noticed that successful ones are:
· Serious subject matter experts
· Passionate about learning
· People with broad interests and experiences
39:43 – Your business model is like a scientific hypothesis, and it’s your job to test if it works, not just to tell people you think it will. For young aspiring startup CEOs, the most important thing you can do is pitch your business concept to a variety of people. Ask friends, family, colleagues and experts in your field to poke holes in it.
41:05 – In hiring for a senior role, start planning a few quarters ahead – then assume it will take longer than planned. Ask job candidates about their hobbies to both change up the flow of the interview and to see how they express their passions.
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