The Leadership Spotlight continues this week with Tony Bradshaw. Tony leads a team of 60 internet professionals, including marketers, creatives and developers, whose goal is to make DaveRamsey.com a world-class internet site.
Since he took the reins of the Web Department in 2002, the amount of company revenue tied to internet initiatives has grown from 20% of total company revenue to over 70%. Even more recently, the team’s program with Omniture, a leading web analytics provider, have realized a 579% ROI on their first project and 400% in the first 60 days of their second.
Before he worked with Dave, Tony spent six years as an engineer and network administrator at a small business manufacturing company. He received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1993.
CLo: What is your role in leadership?
TB: VP, Internet Business and Technology. Basically run Daveramsey.com & Dave’s other web properties. Consult with the different business leaders on their business initiatives.
CLo: What is the best advice you’ve ever received about leadership?
TB: Listen. Listen. Listen. The best leaders listen more than they talk. Over the years, I thought I was a good listener. I believe a lot of us as leaders think we’re good listeners, but we’re not. As I get older, I’m continually reminded that I need to be a better listener. Listen to your mentors. Listen to your leaders. Listen to your team. Listen to your vendors. Listen to your customers. If there’s no one to listen to, then go find someone. You’ll learn something.
CLo: What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
TB: I’ll pick 2. (1) Time. I’m continually reminded how short on time I am. Time for work. Time for family. Time to lead. Time to make decisions. Time to do work. The only thing we can do is become more efficient and effective in the use of our time.
(2) People. You must have quality people to grow a business. A shortage of quality people means your business is headed straight for a growth wall. You must be tenacious in focusing on, finding, developing, and retaining the best people.
CLo: How do you continue to improve yourself as a leader?
TB: I summarize this with the word “experiences”. You need to have experiences and you need to learn from other people’s experiences. I do this through reading, conferences, and meeting people. Over the last few years, I’ve become much more focused on attending a variety of conferences and reaching out to people in the industry. I would say the single biggest thing has been meeting people. A healthy balance of all 3 is best since it usually fits better with a busy schedule.
CLo: How do you invest in others?
TB: I do a few of things. (1) I tell them what I’m doing to grow and where I see myself headed. I find the open candor causes them to reflect on how they view themselves.
(2) I do my best to talk to them about the strengths and weaknesses I see in them. From that, I hope to guide them away from distractions and help them focus on developing their strengths.
(3) Ask them to develop an annual growth plan, and review it with them. This year, I’ve decided to make it a quarterly review so we can see how they’re doing quarter to quarter. I’ve got a couple of younger guys I’m want to see grow a lot this year so I’m spending more time checking their progress. It’s time consuming, but worth it.
CLo: What was the last book you read?
TB: How about 3. The First 90 Days – strategies on job transition and getting up to speed.
Tribal Leadership – ideas on leading teams and achieving success.
Inspired – guidance on developing technology products. The principles transcend to other product types.