Thursday, June 23, 2016

Soledad O'Brien on Becoming a CEO


Soledad O’Brien, chief executive of the Starfish Media Group, a production company, was interviewed by Adam Bryant for The New York Times.

In the interview, she spoke about becoming a CEO.

... it was a real challenge when I started this company three years ago, because this was really the first time I was fully and utterly responsible for managing a team.

It was a very steep learning curve, mostly because there was not a lot of overlap between the kind of journalism I was doing and running a business. A key insight for me was that if you want good feedback from people, you have to create an environment where people want to come and tell you things. But I had no concrete idea of how to do that.

Another challenge was that I was successful in my previous role because I really worked hard and took a lot of responsibility for making things good. But that’s not actually a great skill for being a boss. The job of the boss is to help other people reach their goals and their dreams.

The area where I’ve grown the most is that I am good at making decisions in the macro and helping other people make the decisions in the micro.

The broader learning curve has been exciting, but while you’re in it, it’s also kind of annoying. It felt like a slog. At what point will I actually grow into this job, because I have the title? At what point will I actually be making decisions like someone who is the C.E.O. of the company? I would say it took a solid year before I felt good about it.
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