On December 31st, 2014, I’ll be stepping down as the CEO of DragonSearch, and will be refocusing on my work as an artist.
Several years ago, Eta Ivkovic, our general manager here at DragonSearch, agreed that we should leave work a little early, and attend a meet-up in Manhattan where a couple of authors were reading from their new books. Over beers and hors-oeuvres, I chatted with an acquisitions editor; a conversation that concluded with an invitation for me to send a proposal for a book idea I’d been noodling for some time.
It took almost a year, but that particular meeting resulted in my being sequestered for weeks and months at a time, penning Social Marketology. During that time, I had to follow an approach to leadership that I suspected was the right direction to move towards: leading through coaching. If you want to get something done quickly, you provide an answer. A building is on fire and someone asks “where’s the hose,” you say “it’s here! and let me help you put this fire out!” If you want to develop an organization of leaders, you don’t answer the question. Instead, you help the person learn how to figure out the solution.
It also means that the entire organization adopted an approach to problem solving that is dynamic – and that each person, and each team, became focused on results. We’ve accomplished that here at DragonSearch.
After writing the book, I’ve been fortunate to receive invitations to speak all around the world – from Seoul, Oslo, Hawaii, Copenhagen, Milan, as well as all around the states. Those travels necessitated a furthering of that approach to management and leadership, which has resulted in the most amazing team of people I’ve ever had the honor of working with.
I was incredibly fortunate to have entered into the digital marketing world 17 years ago – the early days of the digital revolution. The velocity of change has been mind-boggling and rewarding beyond description. My mind has expanded in ways that may never have been imaginable had I remained in my painting studio. But the time has come for me to return to that world, and focus on my life’s work.
As for DragonSearch, the company will continue bringing incredible value to our clients and our community. The directors of each department will now have their roles more specifically outlined with greater authority, and the account teams will largely go unchanged. Don Tallerman, DragonSearch co-founder and my business partner of the last seven years, will remain as the owner of the company. His investment in DragonSearch is truly a testament to the strong future of the agency.
If you’d like to stay in touch – please do! I’ll be sharing my adventures on my personal blog.