Pfeffer on Power
Jeffrey Pfeffer is a professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Author of ‘7 Rules of Power,’ and speaker. Each episode he sits down with a guest who has used these rules of power to enhance and advance their businesses and their own careers in the process. Listen to hear real advice about practical uses of power from the people who wield it in their professional lives with great skill. Level up your own game, and get comfortable with your own POWER.
In this episode of the Pfeffer on Power podcast, host Jeffrey Pfeffer is joined by Tony Levitan, CEO of InWhack and the co-founder of Egreetings. The discussion delves into Levitan’s experiences as a startup founder, specifically the challenges faced during his journey with Egreetings which ended up transforming from a 300 million-dollar business to a 30 million-dollar one.
Levitan speaks about the lessons he learned and the importance of retaining the company’s culture even amidst leadership changes. Pfeffer and Levitan also shed light on ‘imposter syndrome,’ the need for behavioral interviewing during executive searches, and the pivotal role of effective coaching in personal and professional development.
- 00:00 Introduction and Overview
- 00:29 Guest Introduction: Tony Levitan
- 00:57 Tony’s Journey with Egreetings
- 01:36 The Challenges of Startup Founders
- 03:19 Tony’s Personal Experience and Lessons Learned
- 04:06 Tony’s Reflection on His Time at Egreetings
- 08:43 The Impact of Leadership Changes on Company Culture
- 12:23 The Importance of Effective Hiring and Recruitment
- 16:56 Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
- 21:23 The Role of an Executive Coach
- 24:29 Conclusion and Farewell
Pfeffer on Power is produced by University FM.
On the importance of inquiry
18:26: One of the things that is the easiest door in for many is we all are asked to make business decisions off of data. And yet, when it comes to two things, we don’t tend to bias towards data. One is people. We don’t tend to have as much data on people, right? We make decisions off of gut feel and things like that. The other is being able to take an external view of ourselves and our competency, right? So I have a couple of clients who are wrestling with their identity as a competent leader, and yet they’re surrounded by data that says, “You are making a difference. You are delivering impact.” They just have a hard time seeing it, and they don’t have people around them who are helping them see it on a daily basis.
On the importance of having a coach
22:41: When I made the shift at InWhack, Inc., it took me a while to figure out where my sweet spot was going to be because I think, just like I had to figure out where I could deliver as a coach, people who look for a coach need to do some reflection on what would be helpful to them.
What references should really tell you
14:17: One of the mistakes we made at Egreetings is, we actually—I feel embarrassed to share this because it’s so obvious, but we had the executive search firm do the reference checking. And I mean, you want to talk about misaligned incentives, right? I mean, their incentive is to close the search. Our incentive is to have deep insight into who’s coming to work in our company. So, that’s one of the things I always mention. The other thing is that References aren’t so much about, should I hire this person or not. References really ought to be about how do we most effectively work with this person. What does this person need to be effective in working with us?