As CEO, I am essentially in “sales” every day; selling the vision of the company, the culture, the products and the future to employees, partners, clients and investors.
When there were challenges, however, I simply tried to solve them myself. 2010 was a huge year of growth and expansion, doubling our workforce and incubating two new companies, but it led to working capital challenges that I had never experienced before. I put on a happy face while my stress level grew inside, and it became a very lonely place.
How I solved it: Ultimately, by internalizing I was not confiding in — and making the most out of — the fabulous team I had assembled around me. When I was finally pressed by that very team to become really transparent, it was not only a huge sense of relief but the results were astounding. We trimmed the fat, we tackled inefficiencies and we refocused on our biggest opportunities. Virtually overnight, we have never been in a better position, and as we move into 2011, the future is very bright.
The Lesson: First, hire great people; surround yourself with talent. Luckily, I had done that well. Second, be open, transparent and empower them to make the biggest impact they can; otherwise that talent is not getting put to use. I will be a better leader for it, the company will be more successful, and I now sleep far better at night.