Don't Aim to Be Popular, Be Effective
As the leader of my online marketing company VerticalResponse, I wear a lot of hats and do many things. The one thing I'm not down with is being in a popularity contest because this isn't high school, it's my business and my No. 1 priority is to serve my customers and my investors. But, this doesn't mean I'm not in service to my team, because I'll be the first one to tell you, I work for them and I'm here to help them be more effective.
It All Rolls Up to You
With SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-sensitive) goals, your company's goals should cascade in a nice waterfall from the executive team to each level. But what this also means is that at the top of the org chart, you're ultimately responsible to beat the drum that gets things done so when you sit at that next board meeting you aren't sweating bullets. In order to get things done you've gotta do a few things that the most successful CEOs, including Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, (who currently rules the roost in the No. 1 spot in a survey by Glassdoor.com) do:
Have a Clear Vision
Even during a time like now, when my business is going through an incredible change, we've made it a huge priority to be as open and transparent about where we are, where we're headed and be 100 percent honest about any risks, challenges or delays. We hold town hall style meetings twice a month to keep everyone on the same page and enable them to ask questions and provide input and feedback. This has been incredibly effective at keeping us all in rhythm and keep the momentum and excitement building and let everyone know how what they do plays a role in our success and growth.
Have a Rock Solid Company Culture
VerticalResponse has always been a serious place. As in serious fun. We're here to build the best online marketing tools and resources for our customers so marketing their businesses is a snap. But that doesn't mean we have to dress in suits and ties and write in corporate speak. On the contrary, I've been known to sport my "Off The Deep End" t-shirt on software release days and last Friday there was a nerf gun fight that broke out just before our weekly happy hour. We try to support a work hard, play hard mentality. What's really great is that we often hear the thing people most like about working here are their co-workers. When you've got a solid company culture, you'll attract more of the kind of good folks you've already got.
Keep Moving Forward
After 12 years of leading my company, my passion for small businesses hasn't wavered a bit. I eat, dream and breathe small business and my team knows it. By having the same level, if not even more of a vested interest in our customer's success than I had the day I started VerticalResponse, I help us continue to move the business forward. That's why we're going through the massive change we are right now and will continue to evolve to stay ahead of the curve. But, I can't do it alone. I need everyone, at every level sharing that clear vision we talked about, taking initiative and thinking like a boss to move it.
How are you not only popular, but also effective as a CEO?
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