My kind of Leader:


Following Your Gut When People Think You're Crazy | LinkedIn 1

When Mindy Grossman left her job as the global vice president of Nike to take over as CEO of HSN Inc., people thought she was insane. “I realized they weren’t seeing what I was seeing. So many people thought I’d lost my mind and was having a mid-life crisis,” Grossman said.

But that didn’t change her mind.

Grossman went on to reignite the home shopping network into a $3 billion dollar business. “We try to inspire people through story telling and content to buy products,” Grossman said. “We define ourselves as less transactional and more inspirational.”

I recently sat down with Grossman at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit to talk more about her career journey and women in business.

LINKEDIN: How do you define power?

GROSSMAN: I truly believe that power is not about position. Power is not about your title. Power is really your reputation, your relationships and your ability to create impact. Impact can mean a lot of different things. Are you having an impact on your consumer, on the business community, on your employees, on the world?

LINKEDIN: How can women become more comfortable embracing power?

GROSSMAN: The most important thing is for people to realize the transformational power of truly believing in yourself. That belief is what drives people forward and allows you to take risk. It allows you to do things you didn’t think you could do.

LINKEDIN: What advice do you have for people who are trying to turn their companies or careers in a different direction?

GROSSMAN: The first thing is to realize you do have the power to create change and influence people. To do that, you need to be confident, use your voice, use your actions, galvanize people, but do that intelligently.

Motivate people by giving them the story of why. When I was at Nike and believed we had to have more diversity and more women in leadership, I needed to communicate the story of why a more diverse company would allow us to be more innovative and attract greater talent. Why it could be a powerful force not just for the sake of diversity, but to drive our business forward.

Tell the story to make the case for change, and then have a plan and a strategy. It’s not enough just enough to talk about why you have to change. It’s really understanding the underlying need for it and what the benefit is going to be.

LINKEDIN: You took HSN public in 2008 and sit on a number of boards yourself. What would you say to Twitter about the lack of women on its board as the company prepares for an IPO?

GROSSMAN: There’s empirical evidence that companies and boards that are more diverse are more successful. So if you consciously decide to not have a diverse board, you’re basically telling your shareholders you don’t want to be as successful as you can be.

LINKEDIN: What’s been the biggest surprise in your career?

GROSSMAN: The biggest “aha” for me was that a career is not linear. If you open yourself up and have intellectual curiosity to try new things, the path that it can lead you on is so much more exciting than if everything is scripted.

Too many people are so focused on what the next step up is when they really should be focused on the next interesting thing they’re curious about.

Photo: Fortune Live Media/Flickr

via Following Your Gut When People Think You’re Crazy | LinkedIn.