My parents always told me that it does not matter whether I succeed, but whether I do my best. I believe that if you are always trying to do your best to operate with absolute integrity, work hard, and cultivate relationships with people both inside and outside your organization, you will stand out.
I strive to be absolutely present in every encounter with every person. Ignore the cell phone, turn away from the email, and pay attention to the person sitting in front of you. Asking others about their aspirations, ideas, and needs opens up a relationship and breeds genuine and honest connection. Following up conversations with action and integrity, and deeply respecting others, is the cornerstone of strong relationships.
Throughout my career, I have tried to operate in a way that values the talents and strengths of those around me. Using my influence and the cultivation of strong relationships, I aim to draw out the very best in others. This philosophy has helped me ascend quickly, because it builds mutual trust and respect, as well as the desire to help each other succeed. I deeply believe that simply being smart and strategic will not get you very far. The key to success is to build genuine relationships with people at all levels, because you never know when those relationships will come back to haunt or help you.
As women, we can tend to be either very supportive of one another or very cut-throat. I have experienced both in my career, and observed how women who are cut-throat eventually hit a wall, having burned every bridge. However, if you help others shine, and let yourself shine too, there will be no limit to your success.
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
To be a successful leader, it is necessary to have a clear vision of where you want to take your organization. This vision needs to align with the needs of the community, which holds true across all sectors. If you align your organization’s direction with the trajectory of the community, you will always be successful, relevant, necessary, and impactful.
After you have achieved clarity of vision, determine your core areas of competency. Since you cannot be all things to all people, be sure to build an awesome team. I always try to hire people ten times more talented than I am, and then empower them to reach their fullest potential. As a leader, you must inspire, and find what makes each person excited and enthusiastic, by tapping into their innermost joy and needs, while holding the organization’s vision in front of them. It is when you are able to inspire and move your staff toward a clear vision that you will achieve great things.
Finally, remember that at times you will fall down, tire, and lose hope. Have a nap, drink a glass of good wine, talk to a friend, cry if you need to, and then forge ahead.