Find your talent, beyond just you.

By Kelly Peppers, CEO Colossal Media

A global pandemic, failing economy, protests, looting, layoffs, pay cuts, furloughs, working remote, stressed out staff, PPP applications, and too many days of losses surpassing profits. All of this has shaken our business at Colossal Media. Over the past 16 years we have had enormous success: profiles in top-tier global publications, primetime TV features, praise from our hometown, New York, adored by fans, loved by brands. The limelight was great, but it means nothing in 2020 when you can’t pay your bills.  

Compounding all of these business bombs is the fact that no one is spared personally either. The at-home pressures make it even more difficult to navigate the work challenges. I look back at the last six months and it is insane what went down during an already intense 9-5. My coat went up in flames, my son blew up an outlet, I clocked 14 hour days at a computer screen, my kids watched TV for 8 hours straight, I made zero attempts to home school, meticulously sanitized groceries, and lived off of protein bars, kombucha, cold brew, and wine. 

To endure tough moments, and months of hard times, you need to surround yourself with A+ people, both at work and within your personal circle. 

Trying to run a business in 2020 requires consultation with experts and peers industrywide. I hit up dozens of brilliant minds for advice, with zero shame for not knowing all the answers myself.  Speaking with others who are contending with the same obstacles not only inspired me to try new tricks but also reaffirmed when I was on the right track. Endurance is everything right now and these convos are my coffee. 

Within your organization you have to identify the talent who can handle the heat and deliver results. 

The reality is that your vision and strategy mean nothing without stellar staff who will perfect and execute the plan. They will turn a challenge into an opportunity with a positive outlook and no excuses.  

In my opinion, the most talented individuals have a superior work ethic, no-bullshit radar, impeccable communication skills, self-awareness, and a low-drama can-do attitude. Bonus points to anyone who values laughter because even on the most difficult days, levity will help us weather these storms. 

A dear friend and colleague recently mentioned that we also need people who we can trust on our team. She is on point. Throughout this time I have been judged for being too transparent, not transparent enough, too slow, too fast, apathetic, and overly emotional. You can’t please everyone, and when you are at the top you are the one to blame. Those who you can trust won’t judge you or gossip about you, they will keep the faith, give you space, and celebrate the little wins with you.

Take the time to find and invest in the best talent, be good to them, treat them with kindness, listen to them. When hard times hit you won’t be able to Google the answers or solve everything on your own. By your side, you will need people who have the aptitude to survive. 


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