Placing Your Team in the Spotlight
Three Reasons We Place Our Team in the Spotlight (Rather Than Ourselves)
By Daniel Hedlund
Branding expert Simon Mainwaring said “CEOs must embrace the role of serving as the public face of the company to their customer community and the marketplace at large.” However, rather than stepping into the limelight ourselves, myself and my co-founder decided that while it’s important to have a face for our company, more often than not, it shouldn’t be ours.
Why? Well, we like the peace and quiet for one. But mostly, because we founded our company to connect people with experts on a human level. To allow people to build relationships, and learn from one another. As such, our company talent and networks have always been our most valuable asset, which we try to showcase as much as possible.
We have found that offering the chance to other team members to be brand ambassadors improves team morale, keeps members engaged and interested, and allows us to show different sides to our company.
Here are three reasons why we decided to place our team and our Xperts in the spotlight rather than ourselves
As CEO you have plenty on your plate already
In the current age of mass media and social media, many CEOs from leading companies become celebrities in their own rights. Well spoken, intelligent and well-liked founders and CEOs like Elon Musk, Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg become the face of their brands, and are very present in the public eye.
But the fact is that for companies who have not reached the dizzying heights of Facebook, Virgin Group or SpaceX, and still have smaller teams, the CEO plays an essential business role which doesn’t leave much time for being a public figure.
CEO is a strategic, managerial position which includes many essential day to day roles to keep the company on track and moving in the right direction to meet its big mission, and look after the interests of all of its shareholders.
Generally, as CEO and COO of the company, we have our hands filled with business and strategy decisions about our platform, our network, which markets we should be moving into next, what’s working and what’s not. We also have an ever-expanding team and network of mentors to keep happy, successful, and on board, which takes priority for us.
One role of a CEO which cannot be ignored is to make sure that our community of users, mentors, and stakeholders, are kept up to date with the direction the company is moving in and our vision for the future.
While this vision falls mostly on our shoulders as leaders, we try to include our team in decision-making processes as much as possible and have regular meetings, and brainstorming sessions to make sure everyone is one the same page.
To give others the recognition they deserve
Most of our newer team members are millennials, a generation of notoriously ambitious people who are stereotyped as job-hoppers and at the same time happy to uproot at a moment’s notice in search of more fulfilling employment opportunities.
However, a recent survey by Capital Group featured by Forbes shows that while millennials will leave jobs they don’t feel fulfilled in, they are loyal, and want to work for employers where they are valued, and can develop their careers on the long term.
Millennials don’t want to viewed as numbers, they want to feel part of a team. As such, whenever our team is doing well, and there is a chance to speak to a journalist, close a big deal with a new partner organization or client, or contribute at a conference or event, we feel that this is an opportunity for us to show team members how valued they are, by making them the representative of our company, our brand ambassadors, rather than stealing all the glory ourselves.
Millennials are the least engaged generation in the U.S, and according to a recent Gallup study are the most sensitive to receiving (or not receiving) due recognition and praise at work. When newer team members see other colleagues getting their moment in the spotlight, in a manner which is good for their careers and CV, this inspires them to work harder, and go the extra mile, in the knowledge that their hard work will in some way be repaid and recognized.
To give team members a chance to excel
In the modern world of business, social proof means everything. LinkedIn and Crunchbase have become the new curriculum, and employers now look at much more than previous jobs, also focusing on recommendations, published content, mentions in the media, to which events and conferences a potential hire has contributed in.
My co-founder and I have successfully launched multiple companies, and although social media channels play an important role for us too, we won’t be looking for jobs any time soon –we hope — so this visibility, this social proof which will could help us down the line, is less important to us.
On the contrary, it is very important to our employees. In the same way as putting someone in a leadership role can help them excel, we often find that allowing our members to grow their own social proof, and get their moments of fame internally and externally is great for their careers, and keeps them motivated and engaged.
Our platform, Zeqr, is designed to bridge the gap between experts and seekers of knowledge. So, from day one, when we bring new team members on board, we introduce them as experts in something. The point is that everyone knows that this person has a particular skill or talent, which makes them special.
We also encourage them to put themselves out there as an expert as much as possible. Being a speaker at a conference or event, publishing an article on a leading publication or doing an interview with a journalist offers the chance to grow personally as well as professionally. As well as visibility, its gives people confidence, and shows them that they are going places in their careers. Also, it generally makes people more dedicated to their own personal projects too.
As the C-suite of a company, it is important that everyone knows who calls the shots, and who makes the big decisions. However, there are times where, in my opinion, there is no reason for the upper management to be the face of the company. If you are confident that your team will represent your brand in the best way possible, then place the trust in them to do so.
I am proud and excited by the group of Xperts that we have to offer on Zeqr. When we set out to create the best live, online learning platform, we envisioned the world’s top experts available to anyone. This platform has become a great tool for employees, entrepreneurs, students and polymaths and I look forward to highlighting everyone who becomes a part of this journey.