leadership

"Tell Me One Thing I Should Remember about You." A Conversation with Carey Smith - CEO, Big Ass Fans

"Tell Me One Thing I Should Remember about You." A Conversation with Carey Smith - CEO, Big Ass Fans

As the company's name suggests, Carey has a sense of humor, but he's also dead serious about making the best products in the world and continuing to push boundaries at the nearly $300 million-a-year business he built from scratch.

Carey's head of corporate communications invited me to interview him after reading one of my articles, and I jumped at the chance to pick his brain on hiring good people, what it takes to earn his trust, and preparing people for leadership. What followed was an unfiltered look into how this CEO (or "Chief Big Ass" as he goes by) sees the world. 

How the Hiring Process Makes Teams Better - All by Itself

How the Hiring Process Makes Teams Better - All by Itself

I realized something else about the process of interviewing over the years that is no doubt obvious to some but I’ll bet is news to others: the interview process itself can make companies stronger even without hiring a single person. When a group has to decide whether to admit a new candidate for membership or not, it forces the group to ask important questions of itself: What makes us who we are today, and are we happy with that? What qualities must a new person have to not slow us down and possibly make us even better? What do we want to look like as a group in the future?

How to Deal with Bad Software You Have to Use Anyway

How to Deal with Bad Software You Have to Use Anyway

Excluding all of the tools I use to maintain my website and do my email and social marketing, I think I can function in my professional life with just twenty-five tools. Pause for a moment and count the number of different products you use just to capture, organize, analyze, and transmit information. Now add in the administrative tools and the ones that are highly specific to your job function, and I bet you’ll have a number not very different from mine, if not higher. Some of them you choose to use, and some of them you have to use. I want to focus on this latter, because here is where you’re likely to encounter tools that get in the way of doing your job. Frustrating though it is, broken processes and clumsy tools are opportunities to make your company better...

Crisis Communication: The Fastest Way to Demonstrate Leadership

Crisis Communication: The Fastest Way to Demonstrate Leadership

Every now and then we all have to break bad news to our superiors, our customers, our investors, or whatever audience to whom we ultimately answer. As it was, is now, and forever shall be, Adam’s advice to young employees holds true: the farther out you can spot potential trouble and let your manager know, the better chance there is that you can prevent it from becoming a larger issue. But we all know that things we can’t always do this. What do you do when the opportunity to nip a problem in the bud is long, long past? 

Want to Be Taken Seriously? Communicate Like a Boss

Want to Be Taken Seriously? Communicate Like a Boss

Communicating with your superiors like peers is a subtler extension of the same practice of thinking like a manager from the outset. By interacting with your managers on their level, you encourage them to treat you like a peer as opposed to someone whose experience and judgment pales in comparison to their own. By communicating with them the way their peers do, you encourage their communication “muscle memory” to take over so they don’t think to adapt their style....

Mentors Aren't Assigned - They're Earned

Mentors Aren't Assigned - They're Earned

A real mentor is invested in your professional development because they genuinely care, not because they are assigned to you. Mentors tend to see bits of themselves in the junior colleagues in whom they take an interest. How can someone be assigned to believe in your potential? Remember that an arranged marriage only guarantees the arrangement - not the attraction.