As entrepreneurs, it’s often tough to take time to smell the flowers. Learning how to juggle endless to-do lists, a budding business and loved ones can be difficult for even the most seasoned entrepreneur. However, in this week’s podcast, Trackmaven’s CEO Allen Gannett explains why he is making it a point to take time to be appreciative.
The 25 year old helms the fifty person B2B software company and managed to raise $26M. “I met investors who immediately fell in love with the business. There was a lot of momentum,” he recalls. Early on, he gravitated towards one of his investors and they began a mentor-mentee relationship. “As a young CEO, especially as a young gay CEO, there’s a lot of trying to feel confident. You’re feeling you’re in a world where everyone is in their 50s and has grey hair and plays golf and that’s very much not the mold I fit,” Allen says. However, things took a turn when his mentor died unexpectedly. Stunned by the loss, he realized that he hadn’t been as appreciative of his mentor’s support. “It made me reflect on ways to appreciate those who have invested in me emotionally and financially.”
Allen began to find simple ways to acknowledge those around him. While entrepreneurs typically care more about getting the work done as opposed to getting a pat on the back, employees and team members often need that validation in order to feel appreciated. “There is a difference between entrepreneurship and leadership,” Allen explains. Now, if he sees an employee doing a stellar job, he’ll invite them out to lunch. “That validation can really make all the difference. As a CEO, people are constantly watching you – even in ways you don’t realize. It can be taxing, but its more positive and empowering. It can be a confidence builder for them,” he says.
While appreciation is important, he also thinks it’s necessary to have some sort of balance. In cases where the team is underperforming, he urges entrepreneurs to take a look at themselves first. “We have to be willing to ask ourselves if our goals are actually attainable,” he says. He also advises entrepreneurs to marry appreciation and accountability. “Put appreciation on a pedestal and develop a meritocracy culture.”