As the CEO and co-founder of White Shark Media, I’m responsible for guiding the company’s strategy and growth. I have over 15 years of experience in online marketing, sales management, and executive leadership.
My early day projects, where I acquired my skills within sales and business development, include establishing several B2B call centers in Denmark and specializing in telecommunication sales for providers such as: Orange, Telia Sonara, and Hi3G. The call center projects involved managing hundreds of agents, and gaining over 100,000 new B2B customers.
My marketing experience comes from being director of agency sales for the Danish division of Europe’s largest radio station: Radio NRJ, where I developed the entire media agency program, managed a staff of 40, and tripled the overall advertising revenue over a 5-year period.
Given the nature of my profession, I’m, of course, a Google AdWords Certified Individual in Advanced Search and Display Advertising. I’m also a Bing Ads Accredited Professional and Google Analytics Certified, but my true passion is sales and business development, where I currently channel most of my energy towards these areas of White Shark Media.
After only 3 years of existence, our rapid growth has resulted in White Shark Media being awarded the Google AdWords™ Premier SMB Partnership, as of July 2014. Since Google AdWords™ Premier SMB Partners are a hand-picked group of strategic partners that meet Google’s most stringent eligibility and training requirements, very few agencies have this privileged recognition.
Similarly, Microsoft recognized our proven track record and success with marketing campaigns for small businesses. As a result, we engaged in an alliance to become part of their selective Bing Ads Authorized Reseller program.
1. How do you define success?
First and foremost then, success is a definition of what one wants to accomplish, i.e. what is your greater purpose, what drives you, and what are you really passionate about? If you manage to fulfill these personal aspirations, then you’re a success in my book. It doesn’t matter if society thinks otherwise.
2. What is the key to success?
I’ve practically read all books possible on the subject, from Tony Robbins to Napoleon Hill. What I’ve learned and experienced, first hand, is that success is a composition of multiple behaviors (and sacrifices). More specifically, here are the 6 steps that I consider relevant to attain success:
Step 1: It’s not sufficient to only desire, want, or strive for success. These are just words or empty promises. Instead, you must understand WHY you want success and how important it is for you.
Step 2: You must truly understand your current position and acknowledge that a change in actions/behaviors are required for you to produce a different outcome.
Step 3: You must change your conditions and surround yourself with people who share your notion (if not possibly physically/geographically, then via books, videos, blogs, etc.) As the saying goes, “Birds of a feather, flock together.” Make sure to get the right influencers in your life.
Step 4: Study and duplicate the mental syntax of someone who’s already successful within your field. Then replicate all of their values, actions, habits, behaviors, etc., when they’re operating to discover their “blueprint for success.” And remember that, often, the devil is in the detail, which is why you must go all in with the approach, with almost surgical precision, in order to anticipate an equal or greater outcome.
Step 5: Consistency! Don’t commit to the goal or your dream. Instead commit, religiously, to the daily activities and sacrifices needed for you to, over time, reach your B.H.A.G. (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). People often fail with the activities when meeting adversity, but that’s when the real growth and progress happens for you, why continued efforts without pause are a requisite for your success. Remember that people are often rewarded in public for what they’ve practiced for years in private!
Step 6: Be humble and work harder. Don’t give up just because you’re ahead of the curve or you’ve met your target/goal. Great leaders are “productively paranoid” and always work as if they were in second place. There’s always some college graduate or startup out there who wants to have your seat at the table.
3. Did you always know you would be successful?
I actually don’t consider myself successful (yet). I’m a long way from meeting my personal/professional goals, at the current point. With that being said, then I always appreciate the progress I’ve made over the recent years, of which only fuels me with the confidence and energy needed to continue the progress.
4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
My WHY and reminding myself daily of the goals, steps and reality of my situation, e.g. I read out loud a personal commitment letter that I wrote to myself every morning when I get up, and every night before I go to bed.
Furthermore, reading about other leaders inspires me daily with new thoughts, different perspectives, and strategies to move forward.
Lastly, I’m also a sucker for motivational books, videos, and movies. Every day, usually at the gym in the morning, I listen to motivational speakers in my headphones (favorites are Les Brown and Tony Robbins) of which unconsciously helps me drive the right decisions throughout the day.
5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
That the best way to succeed in life is by helping other people. If you genuinely want to help people, whether it’s your customers, partners, employees, managers, or any other, you’ll eventually be recognized for your efforts and good things will come your way.
6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
For me, my work is also my hobby and passion, and I, therefore, spend a great deal of time on it. However, I always find time to go to the gym daily (usually 5am in the morning), and I normally crunch 2 books every month. Lastly, I always prioritize, making time to spend some quality time with my 3-year-old daughter. I rarely watch TV, but if I do, then there’s usually an NBA game or tennis match in action!
7. What makes a great leader?
A great leader always leads by example, communicates to his/her team effectively without criticism, but rather as coaching.
Furthermore, it’s absolutely pivotal that a leader always ties initiatives and strategies back to the WHY, i.e. Why are you/we doing this, and how does it benefit our stakeholders?
Equally important is that a leader masters the art of delegation and empowers his/her team with the right resources and support for them to meet their KPI’s and objectives.
This, of course, all falls back to the overarching quality of a great leader: To onboard the right team of diversified professionals who all share the vision of the company or organization.
As one of my favorite authors, Jim Collins, says: “Great leaders always start with getting the right people on the bus, and the wrong people of the bus.”
8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Take a lot of different jobs/projects early on in your career, in order to discover what you’re really passionate about. Don’t start a career in a certain field because you’re guided in such direction by parents, friends or counselors.
For the sake of living a happy life and becoming successful in your profession, it’s crucial that you work in an arena that motivates you to do better, make a difference, and challenges yourself at a daily level.
As Laszlo Bock (from Google) says in his book Work Rules!, you’ll spend more time working than doing anything else in your life. Therefore, make sure you’re operating in a field that you’re passionate about, and work for an organization that values your contribution!
This interview is an excerpt from Never Give Up by Jason Navallo.