One of the first lessons in this book: manage your people.
How did Horowitz learn this lesson? He had basically just saved his company. Rather than run out of money and go bankrupt, he had struck a miraculous deal to be acquired and to spin off one of the major units into its own company. Ben was extremely relieved and thrilled to be making this announcement to the public.
One of his most trusted advisers said this: skip the public announcement and immediately deal with the staff. There will be people laid off, spun off, and acquired, and these people needed to know where they stand.
Focusing on people first is something any manager can understand and appreciate. If you don’t appreciate this fact, I’m not sure you’re going to be swayed by a short blog post.
But for those of you who do believe in it, Horowitz’s thoughts will reinforce your own. Your people are your most valuable resource. Your ability to lead is a function of how much the team trusts and respects you. Don’t take that lightly. Before you manage other stakeholders (investors, the public, the press), make sure you’ve communicated with your team.
A simple straightforward lesson, and surely something you’ve heard before. Add Horowitz to the list of smart people who have done big things who consider managing people to be the top priority.