I do my best work when challenged to stretch – when given a difficult deadline or when tasked with solving a complex problem. I am highly autonomous, but enjoy working in small collaborative groups. I believe in the collective power of sharing ideas and diversity of insight and world experience.
Leadership and Influence – I have a pretty low ego threshold. I care far more about capabilities and contribution than I do titles. I am politically savvy but not easily threatened by others. I believe that the true measure of success for a leader is not how necessary he is to the team, but in fact how unnecessary he is. If a leader has truly done his job, the people who work for him should be able to function autonomously for an extended period of time without the necessity of his direct supervision. They should all be aligned both individually and collectively with the organizational vision and goals. They should each have a strong sense of personal ownership and accountability, both to their leader and to each other. They should exhibit integrity, self-discipline, and a collective drive to excel. They should be enthusiastic and self-motivated. And finally, they should have a balanced sense of selflessness (teamwork) and drive for personal achievement.
Strength and Diversity – Teams, including leadership teams, should not be homogeneous. Most people subconsciously prefer to surround themselves with others just like them, however, this only duplicates strengths and compounds weaknesses. The knowledge, skills, and experience of team members should be diverse and complementary. Like pieces of a puzzle, each has a unique shape and only when all the pieces are put into place is the puzzle made whole. Imagine, if all the pieces were the same shape and size, the bigger picture would never be complete.
Detail Orientation – I know, everyone says they are detail oriented. It’s a relatively subjective generalization. Everyone is detail focused to some degree. My detail orientation was shaped by several key life opportunities. I was first educated in Fine Art (as an intellectual and visual artist). People with this mindset and training tend to observe the world around them with an uncommon clarity and perspective. We see patterns and relationships that many others miss. Sometimes referred to as lateral thinking, we solve problems through a creative approach vs. traditional linear logic.
After college, I apprenticed for two years to be a goldsmith (a craftsman who designs and makes jewelry). This type of work requires attention to detail on a microscopic level. Later, at Tiffany & Co., those skills were further developed through the extraordinary attention to detail required to serve clients making discretionary purchases of jewelry that often totaled in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Running multiple businesses generating revenue in the tens of millions necessitates diligence, discretionary delegation, and an exacting sense of business acumen. I bring to bear an extremely refined attention to detail in both the quality of work I deliver, as well as the team culture and environment to which I contribute.
Transitioning Activity to Achievement – In business school, through all the core subjects of Financial and Managerial Accounting, Marketing Management, Finance, Economics, and Organizational Leadership, etc., I honed my critical thinking skills, stripping away superfluous distractions to get to the core elements of a problem or objective. In fact, one of the most important lessons learned in getting my MBA was that asking the right questions is often more valuable than having all the answers.
I also learned the power of establishing and communicating a vision. Employees at all levels basically want to know the answer to three questions:
- Where are we going?
– How success is defined and what it will look like.
- How are we going to get there?
– A road map with the relevant action steps required to achieve the objective, including the expected timeline and key milestones.
- What is my role?
– The skills, deliverables, and time required, as well as any potential impact to compensation, job security, work-life balance, etc.
I’ve earned a reputation for designing and implementing long-term strategies, clarifying the required vision, and executing the action plan to achieve success. From accomplishing major change initiatives, to detailing very specific tactical plans for client experience and service excellence, to outlining multi-year talent progression plans, I’ve delivered meaningful business solutions while energizing and engaging the teams responsible for execution.
Personal Measure of Success – When my career in business eventually comes to a close and it’s time to retire, I’m sure I will look back and ask myself, “What have I accomplished?” Over the course of time, the day-to-day, perhaps even year to year victories and achievements are largely forgotten. What endures, at least in my mind, is the impact we have on the lives and careers of others. To me, that’s a difference worth making. The prospect of helping others achieve success, nurturing them to grow professionally, is powerful and profound. My goal is to leave those with whom I’ve worked and influenced in some way better than I found them.