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7 Questions on Leadership with Chad Jardine

Name: Chad Jardine

Title: Founder/CEO

Organisation: CMO Zen

Chad Jardine is the CEO/Founding Partner at CMO Zen, a boutique outsourced CMO firm specializing in early stage companies. He is the co-author of Pillars of Inflection: Seven fundamental strategies for explosive company growth and has spent the past 20 years as a marketing executive and CEO building and growing companies. He teaches courses in venture capital to graduate students at the University of Utah and holds a BFA from Brigham Young University and an MBA in marketing from the University of Utah.

He believes "There’s only one reason to get out of bed every day, and that’s to change the world."

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Chad's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Introversion. I'm naturally introverted. I love getting my hands dirty on a project, just rolling up my sleeves slapping on headphones and diving into a spreadsheet, a messaging problem, or a design project. As an introvert, I spend a lot of my days wrangling with imposter syndrome: tackling the work of being out front, vision-casting, and prioritizing the highest and best use of my time.

Even though my disposition might be to retreat into my head or wallow neck deep in a project, it's incredibly rewarding when we each embrace our roles, round out the team, and execute in ways none of us could do as individuals.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I don't think being a leader is the domain of a few, rather the privilege of us all. If you have a relationship with another human being, you have a responsibility to lead.

Not in the sense of directing others, but in orchestrating their success. Where do they need motivation? Where do they need roadblocks cleared, impediments removed, and speed bumps flattened. Where to they need tools or resources?

So I don't really view taking on the role of CEO as becoming a leader. My whole career I've tried to build up those around me. Some times I've been more successful at that than others. But in the end, even though the org chart rolls up to the CEO, we all report to the customer.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I get up about 6am. I start my day with exercise and meditation/time in the scriptures. Then I'm involved in family time. I usually make breakfast at our house and get the kids off to school.

Then I try to prioritize energy and creative work. For me inspiration or a burst of energy can come anytime, but usually it's in the morning or late in the evening. I try to shuffle things to protect the productivity inherent in creative time.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

As a creative person, sometimes it's hard for me to enforce discipline into my routine or my commitments to ongoing projects like writing or my team communications. However, the more I lean in to these activities, the more available I am to show up for my team.

Discipline = power. Constraints = freedom.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

Love is the Killer App, by Tim Sanders. As a young manager, there was sometimes pressure to be impersonal, to subordinate the needs of each team member. This book nudged me to find effective leadership approaches that also aligned with my values and desires to build others up.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Put people first. Go out of your way to meet new people, to get to know and understand them. Your network is really your net worth.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

We're all on a journey. Who we are today isn't who we will be tomorrow, and what we've done is much less important than what we've become. Dear reader, I hope I get a chance to meet you someday and play a part in your story.

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