Within this format of podcast and content, I want to provide you with the best tools to become a fantastic CEO. I realized that the most beneficial way for me to add value to your life so that you can stay relevant (both professionally and personally), will be to place some of the best CEOs in the world — in front of you. Here is the first of the How to CEO podcast interviews.
You can use each of these CEO podcasts to put together your own combined knowledge to become the qualified, quality individual you are working toward becoming. Make yourself a leader that merits being listed here among the “greats.”
In this episode, I welcome Cynthia Johnson, my first guest on the podcast.
As the co-founder and CEO of Bell + Ivy, a marketing and PR firm in Santa Monica, CA, and Las Vegas, NV. Cynthia talks about the lessons that kept her going as she tried to start her own company. Cynthia also reveals her favorite management books and her takeaways from them. Cynthia shares that being a CEO takes a lot of hard work.
Cynthia was listed as top personal branding experts in 2017 by Entrepreneur, top 50 marketers on SnapChat by Mashable, top 12 Female Entrepreneurs that Inspire by Darling Magazine, and the Top 20 people in SEO by Guardian. She is a contributing columnist to Entrepreneur and has had work published in Forbes, TIME, and several other industry-specific and top-tier publication.
I have known Cynthia Johnson for about ten years and wanted you ( the reader) to be able to follow her journey of excellence. One of the things that Cynthia points out is that you have to have people you can lean on as you build a life and a company. You’ll need friends, and you are going to need advice along the way. You can’t plan for the type of information that you are going to need to be a CEO. One day you will need some advice, and you hope that you have someone to turn to.
Personality traits can help aspiring leaders get to the top of their respective companies.
Cynthia shared her tips on how to become an approachable yet confident and assertive CEO. When you become a CEO, the world, and everything around, you will change. You can take this tremendous opportunity and make of it what you will, to either crash and burn or ultimately rise and succeed. Either way, the direction of being a CEO will have changed your life.
As a keynote speaker, Cynthia has spoken for companies and events such as the Alibaba Group in China, World Government Summit in Dubai, Global Ventures Summit in Indonesia and Mexico, and Web Summit in Lisbon, among others. She has participated as an influencer in marketing campaigns for PayPal, Joseph Carr Wines, and several other leading brands.
Notably, Cynthia has had her first book Platform, The Art and Science of Personal Branding, published in February 2019 with Penguin Random House.
I have read her book and can recommend it to anyone. Cynthia’s Book: Platform; The Art and Science of Personal Branding. This book fits in with her business because it is mainly for people in the branding field. The book guides people to see what they may be missing in their work. The book can guide IT people and other experts in opening their eyes to other possibilities.
Management Book finds.
Cynthia has recently enjoyed are: Leaders Eat Last, and The Dumb The Things Smart People Do With Their Money. You have to understand the business from any angle and be able to identify if someone needs you, or if they are having a hard time. You need to be able to lead the way rather than merely directing the way. In the book: The Things Smart People Do With Their Money, Jill Schlesinger tells about someone who was asked to speak at a conference. As the speaker arrived to talk, they brought him a cup of coffee.
The next year, when this speaker came to speak and asked for a cup of coffee – the people pointed to where he could get his own coffee. The speaker later said that the cup wasn’t for him; the cup represented the position he had held. Cynthia uses this analogy to remind herself that you may not always be a CEO.
When looking for the type of personality, it takes to be a CEO.
Cynthia readily replies she feels a needed personality type for a CEO is the quality of being agreeable. You can’t always be pleasant, so you have to learn how to balance this attribute. Thoughtfulness would be the next personality trait to work on – but with the ability to decide at any time. She says that people get on board early and you have to be able to step away and think through the problems.
One CEO style to keep foremost in mind — autonomy.
“I can’t hold everyone’s hand. I want the employees to grow, and their growth will leave me room to get my work done.” As this seems to be the time of women stepping forward to take their place, I wondered if Cynthia had seen business problems with women or being a woman in business, herself? She mentioned that sometimes there are people with extensive careers who are older, and you have to draw a line — in a clear way to be heard and taken seriously.
If you want to be taken seriously, you need to learn not to use trite words or the often standard verbiage, such as the term, “elephant in the room.” You need to skip past silly words, right there at that moment, face the issues right then by stepping up and addressing the current issues in precise terms and with eye contact.
To carry on duties as a CEO, and still keep some balance in your life.
Keeping fit is probably the essential piece to keep in mind in your life, Cynthia tells me. Exercise will help you to be able to think and be transparent. The next key would be the prioritization key. This element and reflects what you will cut out. Lean on your team and let them be responsible. You have to know that everything will not work out. I have found the same thing as Cynthia as I’ve had a child join the family.
Speaking events. How and why?
I believe that speaking events help you connect with people. Then as you get to know the events and the people who are putting on these events and you’ll gain a personal connection. You find when and who you can get advice from. In attending events, you tend to become friends with people who are doing the same thing you are doing — finding those who are like you while traveling and connect to become better.
One piece of advice.
Don’t put it all on your own shoulders and don’t blame anyone else. Remember to get and consider outside perspectives for success.