David Sable: To me, leadership progression in your career are based on a number of things.
David Sable: First is I think you just have to have total self-awareness. You have to be aware of what you do well and what you don’t do well. I think you have to have confidence in the abilities that you have to do things well, to surround yourself with people who are better than you in the things that you don’t do well. Don’t be afraid of it.
David Sable: Don’t be afraid to find people who are smarter than you in some area, who know more than you in another area, have more experience in something. It’s okay. It’s really okay. And then, your contribution is to be able to hold the whole thing together.
David Sable: This advice was given to me earlier in my career. I think it’s an absolute brilliant fact. I can honestly tell you when I left Y&R after a year, so I’ve been in the training for almost 21 – and I’m 22. I go to Wells Rich Greene.
David Sable: They just won a piece of business. They thought I came from the training program in Y&R. I didn’t know anything but they figured, “What the hell.” I must know a lot. So, they said, “You got to hire 15 people.” I said, “What? Hire? What does that mean? How do you hire somebody?” I had no clue.
David Sable: Today there’s a whole system, there’s a process. Back then it wasn’t quite that organized and particularly we were a small company at that time. It wasn’t that well-organized. They said, “Let’s go hire them. Don’t worry, somebody will help you.”
David Sable: What did I do? I called the smartest person I knew. She worked at Y&R. She was the head. She was already working in the system. I said, “Sue, here’s an opportunity. You got to come. I need your help. This is great.”
David Sable: I paid her more than I was getting paid. She didn’t know that but I thought I had to, just in case it ever came up and I wanted her to know which I never told her until a couple of years ago. Here’s the joke. Thirty years later, we are still connected and we still work together.
David Sable: I brought in somebody who knew way more. She was more buttoned up than I was. Her expertise in particular areas were bigger than mine. I was more creative. She was more foundational, analytical. It was awesome. It was fabulous. She helped me hire all these other people and we were very successful.
David Sable: I think that’s the thing. You can’t be scared. That’s number one.
David Sable: Number two, you got to be an entrepreneur. Always every day is an entrepreneurship. You have to consistently think, “What else can I do? Where else can I go?” Personally and with your clients, whatever it is that you’re working on. I think it’s really, really important.
David Sable: I have a motto, “Do it big or stay in bed.” If you can’t come up with an idea every day that’s bigger than the one you had than the day before, then don’t even bother. Sleep the rest of the day.
David Sable: I wake up every morning and I try to think about, “What can I do today that’s different and bigger and more important than I did yesterday?” I think that’s really critical.
David Sable: Always lead by example. It’s critical. There are times you lead from the front and there are times you lead from the back. You lead from the front whenever there’s an adversity. I learned this in the army. I was in the Israeli army. Always lead from the front. You don’t yell, “Charge!” And point to the front and everybody runs ahead and you’re standing back with your sword. You got to be the one leading the charge when there’s adversity.
David Sable: When there’s something, when there’s stuff to share, when there’s glory, you lead from the back.