Today we interview Howard Shore, the President of Activate Group Inc., an agency that empowers CEOs and their leadership teams to grow their businesses successfully. All while supporting them through the trials and tribulations associated with scaling a business to support the extra revenue, stress, and time constraints that come with sudden growth.
Who has been your biggest influence growing up?
Howard Shore: My mom. I’ve had to live with many learning challenges growing up: ADHD, dyslexia, sleep apnea, and depressingly horrid vision impairments. And, through it all, even as I was cast aside by my own teachers — who saw that I was learning impaired and looked no further — it was my mom who encouraged me to go further than what was expected of me. She saw my potential, and challenged me by putting me through regular schooling, and keeping me away from special education, which my teachers had recommended for me.
I have no doubt that if my teachers had gotten their way, that I would not be the same person that I am today. Because of my mother, I grew up challenged. I grew up having to work harder than some of my peers. And because of that, I learned that I was capable of so much more than even I had expected. A lesson that I’m very grateful to have learned.
What skill do you attribute your success towards?
Howard Shore: The very skill that my mother taught me: the ability to see the potential in others and empower them to succeed. It’s a skill that I believe any good leader should have, and I’m incredibly proud to have learned it at such a young age. I wholly believe that this very skill is how I’ve been able to get to where I am today, after all…
A good leader should be able to inspire others to reach their fullest potential. A good leader should also be able to challenge others and leverage the potential and abilities of their team to increase their chances for success and growth.
What kind of hiring practices do you employ?
Howard Shore: When it comes to hiring, I have extremely strict guidelines. First, I create a ‘position profile’ to identify what kind of person would best be suited for the open role. With this as my foundation, the next steps go much smoother. As the profile becomes the outline for the job advertisements that we write to reach the person that we need for the role. At that point, it’s all a matter of assessing the candidates who appear through a full interview.
Of course, at the interview stage, we accept only the most fitting candidates, as our executive interviews can take up to three hours. During which, we determine which candidate is best suited for the open position based on their merits and the values of our company.
How do you build a team that is suited for growth and scaling a business?
Howard Shore: When building a team, I believe the key factor to success is trust. With trust, you can grow your business more fearlessly. That’s what I’ve always believed. Also, if you have a team where not everyone’s voices can be heard, then you, as their leader, should act proactively to change that. Because that’s the only way that you’ll be able to scale a business successfully.
Is there a project you’ve been working on that you’re excited about?
Howard Shore: My second book, “The Leader Launchpad,” which was released just a month ago, had stolen my attention for quite some time. And, even now, it still hasn’t left my mind. It was an incredibly exciting experience, and I’m quite proud of it.
What do you believe is the most damaging mistake a leader can make?
Howard Shore: Tying back to my previous answer on team building and trust, I think the biggest mistake a leader can make is to not connect properly with their people.
This is a mistake that I made countless times, much to my shame, when I was younger. And, even today, despite my best intentions, I still have to be very mindful of how I engage with the people that I employ. I know enough now that having broken relationships is not productive for my business and/or personal life. But, it was definitely a habit that I’ve had to grow out of one tiny step at a time.