Johnson & Johnson comms chief Michael Sneed's tips for business success

Resilience, confidence, and impact--and that's just where the list starts.

Michael Sneed
Michael Sneed

NEW YORK: The critical elements for leaders’ self-empowerment include value, resilience, confidence, and impact, Johnson & Johnson chief communications officer Michael Sneed said at PRWeek’s Hall of Femme event in New York on Thursday.

"Within your companies, you want to make sure you are prepared to work with the best people in your organization," said Sneed, who serves as worldwide VP of global corporate affairs and CCO at J&J. "Position yourself to succeed."

To provide value to a business, it’s not enough for someone to know they can do a good job; staffers should also know their organization’s business model and understand its values. In other words, an employee shouldn’t have to be the CFO to know about P&Ls and cash flows, he said.

"Creating great content is important, but it isn’t what your true value is all about," he said. "Your true value is when you understand the inner workings of your business. Some of the best creatives I have worked with in my career have an innate understanding of how their business works as a business."

Resilience is another essential trait all leaders must have, said Sneed, who noted that no one goes undefeated in life or in business.

"There will be downs, challenges, defeats, disappointments, but there will also be opportunity," he said. "You have to learn from each of those as you go forward and how they make you better and stronger."

Sneed added that confidence in one’s own abilities is also an important quality in a leader, and he advised that taking time out to plan for various scenarios can build that. A leader’s confidence can also be contagious to his or her team, and he or she must demand accountability from staffers.

"Your teams must be held to their commitments and goals," he said. "You also have to define your purpose and your company’s purpose."

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