January 8, 2013 / By Daniel
2012 was an absolute roller-coaster of opportunities, emotions and learnings for me.
Instead of building a list of resolutions I prefer to reflect on my most important learnings and experiences of the past 12 months. In the spirit of documenting the journey here goes:
1/ Don’t talk, listen first
Anyone that has come in contact with me knows I can talk. I have been told it can be challenging to get a word in during a ‘conversation’ with me. This can be a great strength but it can also have a very negative impact in building relationships (both personal and professional) as well as business meetings and negotiations.
2012 was the year when I finally became fully aware of the importance of listening first and giving everyone the opportunity to talk before taking over. I have a fantastic mentor to thank for this. I am by no means good at it yet, but the first step is admitting you have a problem right…
2/ Things change quickly in business
By things I mean relationships, opportunities, contracts, direction and strategy. I witnessed each of these change literally overnight (not all at the same time) in 2012, which was a huge learning for me. Being in the Digital space I am used to being dynamic and never taking things for granted. Now that I am responsible for the future direction, growth and profitability of a business on which other people depend on to make a living (survive) this has taken on an even greater importance.
3/ Transparency is critical
I am a very direct person. If I don’t like something I will be the first person to tell you, without hesitation. But this isn’t what I mean by transparency. In the digital startup world I have learned a great deal from some incredibly successful entrepreneurs who build their businesses and brands around transparency in strategy, direction, values and financials. This has been a focus for me personally and for the team at Jaden Social, in order to build the type of business and culture we will be proud of in 10 years time.
4/ Manage by doing
I have been fortunate in the fact that I was exposed to management from a very early age but every business and team is different. The things that worked when managing a team 10 years ago don’t necessarily work today. Building a startup from scratch has taught me that there is no more effective management technique than practising what you preach. Hard work, passion, motivation and quality come from the top and are infectious when genuine.
5/ Don’t assume – ask
Sure most of you will think that this is very basic but it is as relevant today as it was when I joined the workforce as a fresh faced teenager in 2003. And it has never been more apparent to me than over the past 12 months in 3 very memorable instances. I consider myself a great reader of people, situations and emotions but had I not listened (Point 1) to others and asked questions based on their advice instead of assuming, I would not be where I am today.
Overall it’s been an unexpected and exciting year which will hopefully serve as a tasty appetiser to the future.
Bring on 2013!
(Our first Jaden Social xmas party – Sydney 2012)