Chairman and CEO at Demand Media
I love hearing all types of business stories, from passionate tales of how entrepreneurs risked it all to stoically delivered lessons from seasoned
executives. I've enjoyed reading about these moments from thought leaders on LinkedIn and was honored when Jeff Weiner asked me to participate in the dialogue. While saying yes was easy, figuring out what to say was much harder.
My first challenging CEO experience was in 1997 when I became CEO of iMALL, and I have learned a lot over the years. What I know for sure is that my style and experiences deviate from the norm. They may work for some, but not for others. I found that the two main things I focus on (consciously now, but maybe not so consciously at first) are motivating the team and keeping momentum in the business during good and bad times. Over my next
several posts, I'll share with you how I try to motivate people and how important momentum is to any business. I'm also going to write here the way I think and the way I speak – in plain English.
10 Rules I Live by to Motivate
#1 Always be positive, open and genuine. Always.
Every business - nearly every day - has its challenges. Do not try and "wish" them away – take immediate action and solve
the problem. Openly acknowledge the issues with your team and stakeholders. At the same time, however, I've found it's more effective to counterbalance the negative message with a positive one and to accentuate the exciting components of the business that haven't changed. When I think about the many challenges I've faced, the company and the people involved (including me) were always stronger afterwards. If I had been distracted or weighed down in despair and blame, I would have missed the opportunity that was revealed in solving the problem.
I want to re-emphasize that timing is a critical element. Simultaneously reveal the issue and your plan to address it, or you'll lose credibility.
People need to know that you get it and are on it. Equally important is that they see your continued (if not increasing) belief in the business.
The real key to harnessing positive energy is bringing others along with you. I happen to believe this is true in all aspects of your life. When
people around you start being negative (and they will), help redirect their energy into solving problems versus spreading them. Our reactions to
obstacles were formed early on and it takes some practice to change them.
That's where the job of a motivating leader feels more like a football coach. Understand your team and what drives each of your team members.
That takes me back to the "always" part of the rule. Always be positive and manically focus on moving the organization forward, EVEN if it feels like
the company just took a step backwards. That's when it's the most important time to lead.
Edited by: Lawyer Asad