- Tina Brown built a successful career in journalism at Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and as founder of The Daily Beast.
- Brown credits her success to surrounding herself with great employees who create a balanced team.
- In fact, she defines success as building something with such a strong sense of identity that it continues flourishing after she’s moved on.
As an editor, Tina Brown revitalized Vanity Fair and The New Yorker and built The Daily Beast from the ground.
She has been able to replicate her success repeatedly, and says it all comes down to her teams.
“Really nurture talent – I mean, talent’s the key to it all. You have to handle people properly,” Brown said to Business Insider for our podcast “Success! How I Did It,” when asked for her best career advice. “You need to find them, but then you’ve got to keep them with you. The way you keep them with you is by being genuinely engaged with people.”
Part of hiring great people is creating a balance of different skills. “A team is not about 20 people with alpha egos, but a mix of people who bring different things to the table,” she said. She added that she looks “for someone who has other gifts, which I don’t have. I am actually respectful of people who have very different gifts to mine.”
However, she has high expectations for the people she works with, no matter what their gifts. “Frankly, the people who don’t make the cut are the ones that I just didn’t think had what it took,” she said. “It’s not easy, but I do have a passionately loyal cadre of people who’ve been with me for years.”
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When asked what success means to her, she circled back to the importance of strong teams. “I think the way I define success is that we build something that has such an identity, such a powerful pedigree of talent that it’s going to survive long after you go,” she said.
Noting that most of her employees have stayed after she left, Brown said that “once you put that imprint in, it can be reproduced with succeeding generations. That’s the goal: that you leave behind a staff and a structure and people who can continue it.”
If you hire great people, they hire great people, Brown said. “If you can keep that up, it’s going to have a very long life.”
An example of her approach to success is the massive staff shakeup she instituted upon starting at the New Yorker, where she let 70 people go and hired another 50 – all of whom are still there.
“I’ve always been very good at that, actually, at the chemistry of different teams.” Brown said. “The teams I put together were amazing, and I think I know how to find talent.”