Keep your head down, work hard and success will find you. That’s the rocksolid philosophy that has anchored my career at Verizon. From my very first job as an outside plant engineer, to now serving as the chief network officer for Verizon’s global landline network, the “no excuses” focus on results is something that continually drives me.
To do that, I have always found it important to build a great team that embraces a “never shoot the messenger” approach to leadership. When people are encouraged to shine the light on what’s not working, and highlight the problems—that’s when things can get better in a hurry.
As I take on any new organization, and I meet with my frontline work groups, I always want to hear about the things that are broken. At first, they only want to tell me about what’s working well and all their achievements, so it takes a little while to build that trust. But after a while, as you build it, all the creative ideas and innovative approaches to problems begin to surface. When people can work in an environment where they are not afraid to take a little risk, and are allowed to make a mistake now and then, they begin to stretch themselves. That’s when great things can happen! I have seen too many organizations crippled by leadership styles that never want to hear the bad news. So when you build teams that relish the challenge of fixing the toughest of problems, and trust that you will be there to support them, you will undoubtedly improve the business.
When people ask me what the secret to career advancement is, I always say the same thing: Get noticed by having the courage to tackle the tough problems and then deliver. And when you do that often enough, success will find you wherever you are.