(By James Robinson) I’ve spent the last 20 years in the media sales industry. During that time, my career has faced its share of challenges, perhaps none greater than being at a market that was bought and sold six times. We also had eight different general managers going in 10 different directions.
During that time, I found myself relying on a set of core principles that helped me realize I was here to stay and that I had a true passion for this business — a passion that has only increased as my career path has taken me to my current position as vice president of sales for iHeartMedia Washington, DC. Even now, I still consider my journey to become a vice president as a work in progress. And time and time again, I’ve found myself relying on these five principles to drive me forward each day:
Choose Great Mentors
About 15 years ago, I was given an amazing opportunity to lead a team in an underperforming-stations market and tasked with helping turn things around. I could have easily felt overwhelmed navigating the potholes. Instead, I reached out to my mentors, who provided me with the insight needed to be successful. Even now, I still utilize their advice and will reach out with questions or concerns. You’ll face many challenges in your career, and you’ll need an experienced, positive individual to guide you.
Never Stop Learning
The industry is always changing, so it’s important we seek out the best continuing education available. It’s a fine investment in you for the future and an amazing opportunity to learn from the industry’s top executives, who teach courses that provide firsthand, real-time experiences.
Share Your Goals
It’s not enough just to set specific goals — you should also share these goals with your manager. Consider it a collaborative process that encompasses both short-term and long-term plans. It’s also important that you hold your manager accountable for helping you achieve your targets.
Work With A Purpose
Whether it’s your family, your co-workers, or even just yourself, find a motivator that will keep you engaged and focused on driving results. My personal motivator is to be a good role model for my kids and show them how hard work means giving your best each day, and to never end the day defeated. Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want in the world.” Every day I strive to be a better father, husband, manager, and employee.
Be Passionate About Your Business
I once heard a coach say, “Any mistake you make on the field, I own, but the passion for this game must come from you.” You must be passionate about what you do and enjoy your career. It’s difficult to remain positive
and have passion when facing challenges, but this is how a leader is defined. I may have faced challenges, but they never dampened my passion for media and for sales. And that made me realize that every decision you make impacts who you will become.