Getting Results Magazine Getting Results Magazine Spring 2018 - Page 6

KEYS TO SUCCESS Does Someone Else Hold the Keys to Your Success? 10 Ways To Prove To Them You Are Deserving BY: KEVIN DAUM, AUTHOR OF ROAR! E very day you are being assessed. This successful CEO shares how to rise to the challenge...always. Although sometimes it appears to the contrary, most leaders, business owners, and entrepreneurs agree that no one really succeeds alone. Even the most talented and driven person benefits from having good mentorship and connections, or at least from having the occasional door opened. The big problem, as many ambitious people discover in the early phases of their development, is proving to gatekeepers that you deserve access and acceptance. Marc Blackman has been proving himself for 24 years. You might think him lucky since he married the daughter of a successful entrepreneur. But making the marriage was insufficient to earn immediate respect in business. The company was Gold Eagle Co., a 60+-year-old Chicago-based manufacturer of performance chemicals and surface treatments. Blackman obviously did not start out in the respected CEO role he holds today. Blackman recalls, “So I left a good sales career at E&J Gallo winery to join another family business.” He knew that all eyes would be on him from the start, waiting to see if he would become an asset or just dead weight. He would have to do more than anyone else to prove his worth, and he would have to do it every day. “Nobody knew anything about me, except that I’d married into the family business.” Ten 6 | SPRING 2018 years later, he is running that business. and believe his good fortune was earned. “In the end,” he says, “It actually isn’t that different from earlier professional and personal experiences. There are a few simple practices that demonstrate your worth. Do them well and doors will open.” Here are Blackman’s 10 recommended practices for proving yourself to the gatekeepers of your success. 3. KNOW YOUR STUFF. 1. KNOW AND SHOW YOUR STRENGTHS. “I knew what I was good at,” says Blackman, “I have approachability, friendliness, and inquisitiveness along with business acumen and knowledge of consumer product sales. “He saw that Gold Eagle, a company with a powerful 85-year history in Chicago, wanted to stay true to the core values that it developed as a small storefront during the Great Depression. It also needed to chart a way forward. Blackman demonstrated how his people skills and business acumen could help them reach the future while honoring the past. 2. BE GENUINE, AND SHOW THAT YOU DESERVE YOUR GOOD FORTUNE. Early in his tenure at Gold Eagle, Blackman realized that some would see his role in the company as the result of plain luck. If he could show integrity, honesty, and passion, however, they might decide to appreciate him instead of resenting him. “I can’t be anything other than me!” he quips, “So I just tried to bring my best qualities to the table every day.”The better he was appreciated, the more his colleagues came to respect him 6 Gold Eagle might be a family business, but it is a business-first family business. Blackman saw the need to quickly educate himself about all aspects of manufacturing. “Every day is a chance to learn and to prove yourself,” he recalls, “I continually learn about chemical formulations, EPA compliance, research and development, human resources, packaging, operations, quality control, distribution, customer needs, and marketing.” Becoming an insider means developing insider information and expertise. 4. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH STRENGTH. There’s an old adage that says, “We are the company we keep.” That includes the professionals you choose to surround yourself with at work and in your networks. “Build strong teams, and empower them to do their jobs,” advises Blackman, “and remember that teams don’t exist on an org chart; they thrive by trust, empowerment, autonomy, cohesiveness, and ultimately, daily fulfillment.” You will get more done, and the keepers of the keys will see that you attract worthy companions. 5. LET CULTURE WEAR THE CROWN. At a “traditional” manufacturer like Gold Eagle, cultures can collide within the organization at all levels, especially in moments of transition. As they recruited younger talent, adopted digital marketing, and gained competence in e-commerce, Blackman knew he could not take an