Linda Boland Abraham speaking at the C-Suite Meet & Greet at the Washington Women’s Leadership Initiative. Guy St. Juste from Capital One and Carolyn Thompson, the Board Chair of the WWLI.
This month, I had the privilege of attending the WWLI, Washington Women’s Leadership Initiative, C-Suite Meet & Greet, hosted and sponsored by Capital One. There was a lovely brochure provided to us, which I proceeded to fill with priceless insights from comScore co-founder Linda Boland Abraham.
Here is my attempt to share the 12 insights I learned, amazing lessons learned through Linda’s journey as an entrepreneur, mother, wife, and leader.
1. Take Something You Know and Re-Leverage It
This is a key point that we sometimes forget. You know something in one industry very well, some insight or capability. Take a moment to re-leverage it somewhere else. Whether it is how you look at big data or how you analyze data, comScore has done just that.
2. Run Your Company as If It is Public, Before You Go Public
comScore is run by an amazing leadership team, which implemented business practices required for a going public, so that the transition would be a lot easier. This ensured they understood the regulations they would need to be compliant with and the financial reporting required. Build good habits before they are needed.
3. Write Your Problem Down, Seeing It Helps
One of the practices Linda has honed is taking the time to sit down and write out any challenge she is facing. This enables her to understand the true scope of it and makes it easier to solve. This sounds like a no-brainer, but when was the last time you wrote out your problem instead of jumping right in to solve it? Take the time now, so you increase your odds of really getting to the right answer.
4. Manage Your Costs Down, It Creates Freedom and Nimbleness
comScore is very good at managing their costs, constantly investing in technology to manage their costs down and be more efficient. This helps them stay ahead of the competition and provides more revenue to invest in critical initiatives to that would add value to their clients and enable them to expand into new markets too.
5. Never Rest on Your Laurels, Always Invest in New Talent & New Perspectives
This critical statement shows up in the day to day culture at comScore. Each employee is given permission to challenge ideas, and even new hires are told at the outset that they are expected to bring new ideas.
6. Enable Your Team to Lead: Provide Active Transference of Credibility
Linda stands by this – as an entrepreneur you cannot be the go to person all the time for every client. As you grow your company and your team, bring along the leaders that will ultimately manage your key clients. Give them opportunities to lead in a visible way in front of the clients so they can take over without risking the client leaving or being upset.
7. Longevity When It Comes to the Leadership Team is Critical
At comScore, the leadership team had worked together for over a dozen years. Some of those years were at other start ups and companies, so the team already knew each other. This created trust from the get go with the launch of comScore. If you can build a team of people you trust and know, it increases your probability of success exponentially.
8. Listen to Your Employees, It Matters
Whether it is listening to your employees to help retain them, or holding their “Grapevine meetings” to manage any corporate gossip or employee concerns, comScore listens. Creating informal and formal ways to listen to your employees is critical to help keep employees, especially high performers. The Grapevine meetings started off in person, but now are global and include dozens of sites. This enables the leadership team to keep in touch with employees and address their questions authentically and quickly.
9. You Can’t Lean In, If You Don’t Have Someone to Lean On
A critical part of success for anyone, a solo-preneur, or entrepreneur, or CEO – we all need a support network. That might be friends, entrepreneur circles, your dry cleaning company that delivers for no extra charge. Whatever helps you outsource non-value add work, or get to answers faster – build that support system.
10. Pay More Attention to Things You Are Not Drawn To…
This one is a bit tricky, but think of it this way. If you are passionate about marketing, or accounting – you may want to pay a bit of attention to other topics that will be important to you or your company moving forward. You may not need to be an expert, but you should know enough to not be dangerous.
11. Get Sleep
Just like Arianna Huffington says, get sleep. Know how much you really need and do your best to get sleep. If you do not have your health, you will have nothing.
12. Get as Much Out of Every Failure as Possible. Learn, Learn, Learn
We all fail. Sometimes it is only through our failures that we learn something new that enables us to succeed the next time. Glean every single lesson you can learn out of every failure so that you do not have to fail in that same way again.
Linda Boland Abraham was a fantastic speaker. She was authentic, genuine, and very heartfelt. Hearing her speak was like going to a great movie and sitting through this interesting, funny, insightful plot. She made a huge impact for me personally and everyone in the audience. Special thanks to Capital One and Guy Saint Juste for hosting and sponsoring the event. I look forward to attending the next WWLI event.
Be your best self,