Thursday, August 18, 2011

Go with the Flow

I have found that you constantly have to be able to change or as the cliché suggests, "Go with the flow." Each year, I think, "OK, I've nailed it. This model is it. This is how we do business." The next year rolls around, and my preconceived notions fall to the wayside. So, it seems this is not how we're going to do business. So, many new changes are coming to 3L Publishing in the Fall 2011. I am now officially working with my long-time friend and now staff member Justine Brown. She is more than qualified to help me push 3L forward to the next level. Justine and I met back at our magazine jobs in the '90s. I know I am making it so we sound so old. She used to freelance for me and over the years has picked up jobs here and there. She recently left Deloitte, and I'm excited that she decided to join our team. I've toyed with the idea of hiring her for quite sometime, but the sun and the stars never lined up until now.

Since Justine and I have worked together off and on for 20 years, I have no question about her integrity, skills and ability to do what she says she's going to do. A critical mistake you can make when hiring someone or agreeing to work with someone is really not exactly knowing enough about them. This matters most when you hiring key positions where the person can heavily influence or make or break your company in some way. I've made that mistake, and I've learned from it. You've heard the phrase, "One bad apple can spoil the bunch." One bad apple can truly turn a company upside down and threaten to destroy your hard work. Again, I learned that the hard way. In Justine's case, she has both the editorial AND marketing chops required to do this job. She is not all about hype, smoke and mirrors. She is a get-it-done with finesse and skill type of executive. I've seen her results over and over again. I don't even have to guide or tell her how to do things -- she knows and she executes.

So, here are some key points when you go to hire a new, non-spoiled apple: if possible do hire someone who you know and know well. It's not always possible to do that, but when the opportunity arises, do it. Make sure the executive really knows how to do their jobs. If he/she does not, you will be forced down into their weeds to fix it (which you don't want to do as a leader of your company -- and it's bad for morale). Anyone you hire should also place a premium on integrity, ethics and basic morality -- especially if they will be working with your clients. No commitments or promises should be made that are not kept. This person should place emphasis on truth and honesty and (like you) keep it all accountable and transparent. At the end of the day, there should never be a question like, "You spent 10 hours to drop a press release on a wire service. Why does it take 10 hours to drop a release?" or "You've spent 20 hours on my campaign, but I don't have a single result." You see in a business like PR or marketing, which is 50 percent of what 3L does, transparency becomes critical. No one should ever have to ask any of those questions. P.S., 10 hours on a wire drop? Really?

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