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Leadership

How Stephanie Chung Went From Peer to Boss

The JetSuite president had to adjust on the fly.

“When I got my first big promotion in aviation, I went from being part of a sales team to managing that sales team. We had a mandate that if we couldn’t turn the company around within 90 days, it would be shut down. I had to make some very tough decisions, and took four immediate steps. First, I did a ‘reality check’ to determine if the current sales targets were too low, too high, or just right­—meaning, a stretch, but not impossible to achieve. Second, I confirmed that everyone knew the goal. This seems like common sense, but it’s amazing to me how often employees have no idea what the company goals are. Ensuring that the team is aware of the goals is the responsibility of the leader. Third, I took an unbiased assessment of the sales team—who had the right skills, and who didn’t. Everyone wants to win, but not everyone knows how to win. Wanting to win is not enough. Finally, I executed on my findings. Once I made the above assessments, I needed to take action. I was quick to part ways with those who I knew would not be able to step up to the task at hand. Letting employees go is never easy, nor should it be, but sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for the team—and the employee, so he or she can go find their true gifts and talents.”

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