Lifetime Journey of a CEO

In Our Great Tradition of Interviewing ‘The Magnificent Leader . . .

. . . we continued on that path having the privilege and pleasure of interviewing Ken Goldfine.

Ken is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ZMC Hotels, Inc.  He recently negotiated the sale of 30 business entities in a single day, and closed the final 2 within two weeks of the original 30.  To many of us, that track record would be enough to say, yep – he typifies the traits of the magnificent leader.  True enough, but his life’s journey has been remarkable and sharing it gives us an in-depth look at character, determination and never giving up.

Ken is candid and doesn’t hold back on any topic.

Ken would be the first to tell you he was a fortunate young man, being the grandson and son of successful entrepreneurs.  He shared his good fortune of being surrounded by great mentors and role models.  But his story goes far beyond his early foundation.  He says at the beginning of his career when launching out on his own, he didn’t really know what was expected of him as a CEO.  He said you can measure his role as CEO within two phases. As a younger less experienced CEO, he intuitively embraced support from trusted leaders, mentors and advisers. Later as a more experienced CEO, he actively sought their support.

In the early days, Ken quickly learned:

  • Relationships matter.
  • Transparency and authenticity was critical when delivering bad news.
  • When delivering news and enlisting outside support, you must provide a doable plan to try to mitigate outside negative influences.
  • You must continually build an organization that can step up and execute as committed to create sustainability.

In summary, Ken shared his lifelong lessons as Chairman and CEO –

  1. Leadership matters and is essential.  You do not have to be the perfect leader, but one who is ethical, transparent and authentic.  (These were his principles before they were popular jargon.)
  2. Surrender is a critical concept in his life.  You must learn to surrender to new ideas in the domain of business to continue growing.
  3. You cannot ask for power when power hasn’t been earned.
  4. It is critical to invest in the emotional and professional development of all employees.  This is the only way to create a environment of growth and a bench of qualified successors.

Take time to listen to Ken’s full interview.  Find out how he readied his executive team to step up when a personal issue impeded his ability to lead daily.  Ken is the great example of owning your value, knowing his market relevance and staying on purpose and locked into his mission.  We thank him!  Listen Here!




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