Hosted by Chris Dyer, the CEO of PeopleG2—TalentTalk Radio features engaging conversation with CEOs, thought leaders and HR executives. TalentTalk connects professionals who care about talent-related issues and handle them with creative leadership. Today’s guests include Jason Ciment, CEO of LADezign; and Steve Goldberg, HR leader at Chaucer Consulting and former international HR Executive at Salomon Brothers and Kidder Peabody. To hear the entire show, please click here
Today’s program showcases two fascinating guests whose career experiences span the globe. First up, Ciment discusses his entrepreneurial roots, as well as poignant thoughts on leadership development. Our second half highlights Goldberg’s international experience as an HR executive and principal consultant, as well as his insights on success and harnessing creativity.
If a common thread that is woven through Jason Ciment’s career path—it’s entrepreneurial-ism.
During our interview, Ciment harkened back to a fourth grade brainstorm in which he devised a plan to provide kosher gum to kids in an area of Florida where kosher candy stores didn’t exist.
“I instructed my aunt to send down packages of kosher gum, and I then sold them to kids in Miami Beach,” Ciment said. “They loved it.”
Ciment emphasizes that, although he made a tidy profit for a nine-year-old boy, dollars were never the motivating force behind his actions.
“From early on, I felt a desire to reach under serviced markets and meet the needs of those markets,” he said.
Ciment graduate from Fordham University Law School and instead of practicing law, he parlayed his entrepreneurial energy into a series of compelling business successes.
“I developed a tracking system that enabled a clothing manufacturer to efficiently organize and track production of their clothing across global sites in New York, Italy, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka,” he said.
That experience exposed Ciment to the power of the Internet—which inspired him in 1997—to start Mag Mall, an online magazine-subscription company that continues to thrive.
In 2003, Ciment purchased an e-commerce software company. He expanded the company offerings by founding LADezign—a consulting firm that provides next-level, internet-business services that include: Website design, search optimization, social-media marketing and pay-per-click management.
Sources of Inspiration
Ciment shared how he inspires creative leadership in his employees, and also within himself.
“It’s important that employees feel that there is a connection between me and what they are doing,” he said. “I constantly encourage employees, provide them with feedback on projects and take employees off-site—even if it’s to a movie or to lunch—to make those meaningful connections.” This type of creative leadership is what motivates his employees to continue to do their best.
When asked where he gains inspiration for his own leadership development, Ciment cites ABL, an organization that provides mentor-ship, speeches and instruction from seasoned CEOs who share their experiences and advice. “Instead of getting guidance from just one person, I get to synthesize learning from many successful leaders,” he said. Hearing about others creative leadership only helps to further his own understanding of how to be successful in business.
Although he currently gleans inspiration from multiple sources, Ciment recounts the powerful impact that one person, a rabbi, made in his life when he was only 17-years old. “I nearly turned into an adult during that one moment,” he said.
“The rabbi walked up to me and told me to stop talking during the service,” said Ciment. “This was a very honest, high-integrity guy and I knew he was right. That experience shouldn’t have mattered but it did. At that moment, I started to be more serious and have integrity in my actions.”
Ciment added, “Sometimes the smallest moments make the biggest impact in life.”
What are you reading?
“I am reading the best book I own,” said Ciment. “The Quest For Authenticity: The Thought of Reb Simhah Bunim,” by Michael Rosen.
Ciment says that the author stresses the importance of being guided by your true self, instead of external pressures and motivations. “This book has inspired me to me a good family man and to be involved in community projects,” he said.
How Can I Connect With You?
Although Steve Goldberg’s HR career spans several continents and includes a flurry of pivotal leadership roles for Fortune 500 companies—he describes an underlying constant that has driven his forty-year success story.
“I’ve been guided by the same five personal principles since the 1980’s,” said Goldberg. “When I formulated these fundamentals early in my career, I wasn’t sure if they would work. But indeed they have.”
Twenty-five years ago, Goldberg founded Chaucer Consulting, a thriving global firm that provides clients with change-management and business-transformation solutions. Goldberg serves as the company’s HR Practice Transformation and Technology Leader.
From Zurich and London to Asia and New York City—Goldberg has developed groundbreaking HR systems and processes for investment banks, international corporations and prominent business leaders such as Fortune 500 entrepreneur, Wayne Huizenga. His creative leadership have been influential in the successful way he has helped move these companies.
Goldberg’s five time-tested principals have been validated by this track record of success.
“First, you must create an ownership mentality and a team culture within your organization,” said Goldberg. “Employees must feel that they are part owners in that business. This mindset fuels employee accomplishments, which ultimately drives corporate success.”
“Secondly,” he continued, “You must provide ‘stretch roles’ that give people room to flourish and expand into bigger responsibilities and job demands.” These two types of ideals help show Goldberg’s creative leadership in helping to move people around him forward and get the best out of them.
Goldberg cites “Being genuine” as the third success principal. “Be honest and ask for honesty back,” said Goldberg. “It’s as simple as that.”
His forth principal focuses on rewarding positive results. “Corporations must celebrate individual and corporate successes,” said Goldberg. “This affirms the connection between hard work and positive results.”
Lastly, Goldberg explains that business leaders “Must be fearless advocates for their teams, even if this exposes you to risk.”
“Not every organization operates under these five tenants,” he said. “However, these fundamentals have worked very well for me through the years.”
When it comes to sparking general business success and creative leadership, Goldberg says that both changing locations and igniting passion are important.
“Get your employees away from the office, mobile devices and computers,” he said. ”Create a fresh environment, out of the office, where there are no bad ideas, no silly questions and no distractions.”
Goldberg also believes that inspiring passion for the work creates long-term success. “Some people succeed quickly. They bring a product to market and sell as quickly as possible,” he said.
“However, sustainable success is made possible by waking up and going to sleep at night loving what you do,” said Goldberg. “If you want successful employees, it’s important to cultivate that kind of passion within your people.” Goldberg’s creative leadership continue to be shown through all he does as an HR professional.
What Are You Reading?
Goldberg enjoys an eclectic blend of books, and is currently reading inspirational and non-fiction genres. “I’m reading Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox,” he said. “The book is a platform in which Fox discusses his life and how he considers himself lucky in the final analysis. It’s very inspirational.”
How Can I Connect With You?
Please feel free to visit our website at www.chaucer.com where you may find my contact information, or find him on LinkedIn.
Date: September 3, 2013