Lyle Malander, who heads up the Malander Group, is a dynamic young business leader and award-winning entrepreneur. He is proof that if you persevere, you can achieve your dreams – and that nice guys do finish first.
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What made you choose to study Chartered Accounting?
When I was young, I had a dream of becoming a medical doctor. This, however, came crashing down when I went to a hospital and fainted. It turns out that I can’t handle the surgical smell.
Being somewhat proficient in maths and accounting, I stumbled on Chartered Accounting, a profession that I never knew existed until I started doing research. I discovered that many business leaders have followed this path.
How did you survive your varsity years and your internships?
My varsity years were some of the toughest, but also most memorable, years. The transition from school to varsity was not an easy one, but it was the first glimpse into adulthood.
One of the easiest ways to get through tough times is to surround yourself with good people. I survived varsity by putting in hard work, but more importantly by surrounding myself with friends and family that supported my vision.
What’s been the hardest part of your career?
The hardest decision I have had to make was the decision to either stay in the corporate environment or jump out into the world of entrepreneurship.
What is the best part of your day?
The best part of my day is walking into the office each morning and realising that the hard work and effort that we put into our business translates into the opportunity for more people to reach their dreams and fulfill their potential.
Do you believe the perfect career exists?
I honestly don’t think it exists. I enjoy what I do and I wouldn’t trade my current role for anything at this point in time, but there are days which are challenging, and then giving up crosses my mind for a second, even though it is not an option.
We do have the power to determine how we deal with challenges. Happiness in your career is determined by your ability to respond a challenge.
How did you network at the start of your career?
At the start of my career, I didn’t understand the power of networking. I moved to a new city with no friends or family to do my articles, which forced me to expand my friendship circles and build relationships.
I think it’s important to build relationships with mutual respect and understanding – the rest will fall into place.
What is the one thing you wish people had told you about your career that you didn’t know going in?
That CEOs and world leaders are human just like the rest of us. Growing up I saw many world and business leaders on TV and believed that I did not have the ability or opportunity to achieve what they are achieving or impact the world as much as they are.
We all have a different path to travel to reach our dreams. Our ability to achieve our goals depends on our ability to persevere and work towards them.
When is your most productive time of the day?
I tend to be more productive in the mornings when my mind is fresh. This gives me the opportunity to effectively plan my day and focus on the more difficult tasks on my to-do list.
How do you make time for yourself and your friends and family?
Entrepreneurship and running a business is more of a lifestyle than it is a career. As a result, I find myself working more often than not.
This does mean that I have had to sacrifice a significant time with family and friends. I have been fortunate enough to have been surrounded by a fiancée, family and friends that support and understand this.
What is the hardest financial lesson you’ve learned?
That the most effective use of my salary is not for it all to be spent in that same month.
Do you struggle to save money?
I’m very conservative and diligent when it comes to managing business finances. However, I do struggle to spend my personal money wisely and save for investments.
I’ve had to learn that wealth and success aren’t necessarily dependent on the brand of shoes you wear or the type of car you drive.
What advice would you give other young professionals?
We often model our idea of success on what we see on TV or social media and neglect our own personal desires.
Success lies in your ability to understand what drives and motivates you, not in the ideals and expectations of others.
What assumption or stereotype about young people would you want to change?
That climbing the corporate ladder or becoming a leader is only reserved for people with experience and that young people do not have enough experience to lead an organisation.
The world in which we live is changing rapidly and young people not only have the capability, but also the desire to create an economy that speaks to the values and ideals of the future workforce.