My guest in this podcast is Sabrina Horn, author of a new book entitled “Make It, Don’t Fake It: Leading with Authenticity for Real Business Success”. Sabrina is an award-winning CEO, author, tech communications expert, and advisor/board member. She is the Founder, CEO and President of Horn Group, the iconic U.S. tech communications agency she founded in Silicon Valley at age 29.
In our interview together, we discuss about how integrity and honesty matters in business. She explains that integrity is not an option or multiple choice to think about, but a must do instead of “faking it till you make it” which is very wrong. According to her “Faking it doesn’t help you be successful. It actually helps you fail. And the reason why is because the truth always comes out”. Leading with integrity always has better chance of success.
I hope you enjoy this absolutely wonderful and engaging podcast with author Sabrina Horn. You can learn more about Sabrina and her book by clicking here to be directed to her website.
You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transciption (not edited) of the interview.
Thu, 9/2 11:29AM • 48:34
Greg Voisen 00:02
Welcome back to Inside Personal Growth. This is Greg Voisen, the host of Inside Personal Growth. And Sabrina. Every time I do this, I think, listeners, for those who have listened to the almost 900 podcasts, you probably hear this and you go, oh my goodness, he's, he's thanking those listeners again. I can't thank them enough, because those are the people that make the show. That's why I'm on the air. And I'm also on the air because of great people like yourself, who write wonderful books. And joining us today from Long Island is Sabrina horn. And we're going to be talking about her book. Make it don't fake it, leading with authenticity for real business success. Good day to you, Sabrina. How were you in Long Island?
Sabrina Horn 00:51
Oh, hello, Greg. It's so great to be here. And thank you for having me on your great show. I'm just thrilled to talk to you.
Greg Voisen 01:00
Well, likewise, uh, you and I have talked previous on a pre interview. And I got to know you a little bit more. And I'm going to let my listeners know a tad bit about you. Because, you know, you have an interesting background. And it's really important, I think that listeners get to know the authors a little bit more. She's an award-winning CEO, author, tech communication expert and advisor, board member. Her career is highlighted by 25 years as founder and CEO and president of the horn group, and the ionic us tech communications agency she founded in Silicon Valley at the age of 29. Her firm consulted 1000s of tech C suite executives and their companies through their business and marketing challenges, including category creation, brand transformation, global expansion, IPOs acquisitions, pivots and crisis manners. Our group had multiple offices across the US global partner network, and received numerous awards, including the best employer and best tech agency in the US. Sabrina sold horn in 2015, that Finn partners, a global marketing communications agency, and was appointed managing partner of their technology arena. And Sabrina, I mean, this is, you know, the bio could go on and on and on, because you have so many great achievements in your life. But this book is a big achievement in itself. And I think it tells the story very well. And it does a really good job of doing that. And I know all of the listeners have heard, fake it until you make it. But they've never heard about a book, make it, don't fake it. You wrote this book with an emphasis on integrity, honesty, and telling the truth. Why now more than ever, is it important for business owners, to not only get this, but to live it? I mean, obviously, our press has seen all kinds of improprieties by all kinds of people. And it is become more and more public didn't used to be as public. But now, it's just so easy to make it public with social media. What would you have to say to those people that are listening, that you know, need to get this message?
Sabrina Horn 03:40
Yeah. Well, that's a great place to start, Greg. I mean, I, I think that in the last five to 10 years, so many people have forgotten about the fact that integrity matters, right? And it's almost like an option and a multiple-choice question. You know, should I be honest? Or should I pull a fast one and take a shortcut, and fake it till you make it was originally kind of an innocent little tongue in cheek quip. But it took on a life of its own. And now it's like Sage business advice. It's basically telling you it's okay to lie, or exaggerate the truth, or minimize or distort the facts, right in order to succeed. I've talked with many people, especially younger folks just getting into their careers, and they tell me if they feel like if they don't fake it, they won't be successful. And like everything is everything is wrong with that, because faking it doesn't help you be successful. It actually helps you fail. And the reason why is because the truth always comes out. You know, like it could be a day. It could be a week could be a year or 10 years, but the truth always comes out and when it does, you'll be exposed for, for how you faked it. That will sabotage your success. It ruins reputations. We have a prime example of that. on trial right now Elizabeth Holmes with theranos, you know, so So that's my point, it's better to lead with integrity, because you'll have a better chance of success.
Greg Voisen 05:23
Well, having been in the advertising business, obviously, it's kind of all about lifting one up bringing up the profile, right? What would you say, you know, obviously, you during the course of your career, whether it was in Silicon Valley or consulting other companies, and what is it personally, that you're so passionate about, to make certain that this message gets done? What maybe happened to you, or something that went on that you saw going on? When you were doing consulting? That you didn't like, that? You literally decided, I need to make a statement here? Yeah.
Sabrina Horn 06:09
Yeah. Well, I mean, look, I was a 29 year old woman, with no leadership training, no management experience, really, I had four years of job experience. And here I am a CEO of a, of a hot agency in Silicon Valley. And boy, I'll tell you, you know, it's nothing like becoming a CEO with on the job on the job training, like I made so many mistakes, because I didn't have all the information and I back then fake it till you make it wasn't a was wasn't a saying, but I sure I sure as heck fix it. And of course, in being in Silicon Valley, I saw hundreds of entrepreneurs, you know, trying to do their thing and faking it here and there every day. And as an advisor to these executives, you know, it is a big time out, like they're not, that's not going to fly, the media is going to figure it out, the analysts are going to call bs on that. And so gradually, over time, I learned that lesson a few times, really the hard way, and so on, and so on my clients also dealing with that, and, and just decided, you know, unless Life is too short, it's better to just leave with integrity. And, you know, I have some examples in the book of a few.
Greg Voisen 07:31
Hey, yeah, we'll get to those, you know, Samsung with the phone and Uber. And, you know, we have lots those, I think we could, you know, fill up a book just about the about those, that you state, the book is about achieving success about making it and knowing what, you don't need to fake it that you don't need to fake it. What advice would you provide the business owners entrepreneurs out there listening, about shifting their mindset to one of a focus on ethics, passion, confidence, pride, resilience, commitment, so that they can survive and thrive no matter what situation they're in, because that is a is a is a big thing.
Sabrina Horn 08:24
Yeah, you know, so that it starts with something that may sound silly, but it's so vitally important, which is having a sit down with yourself. And really asking yourself, who you are and what you stand for. And what you want your company to stand for. Those core values, infuse everything about your culture, about every business process in your business, and how you interact with your customers, right? Ultimately, you want to be successful, you want to have a build a great brand. And that's always about a consistent customer experience based on trust. The next thing is you have to adopt a philosophy that may be a little bit uncomfortable, but it is about being humble. And it is actually about being comfortable admitting when you don't know something. And when you've made a mistake, because that that draws people in and it builds, it takes all the cypa out of the equation, and it makes you a much more productive learning organization. And then, you know, there's many other things but I guess you have to make a commitment to being able to deal with reality and looking at the truth in the face. And that's why leading with integrity is so hard. Because, by definition you have to be grounded in the truth right? But the truth hurts sometimes. threading can be very harsh to deal with reality, it's much easier to shove it under the rug. So, you know, it really is about making that commitment so that no matter what comes your way, you're going to deal with it.
Greg Voisen 10:14
Well, I think business leaders today, you know, you look at the green leaf kind of philosophy that's been out there for a long time. And leaders today, more than anything, need to learn how to be in higher integrity, but have more compassion and more empathy, especially given the pandemic and what we're going through. And I think that that's a character trait, that in a lot of people, it evolves. They don't, they are born with it all the time. Right? They have to kind of figure it out. I mean, we aren't all Dalai Lama's and don't have that great attitude about life. And I think it is learned and you speak to the listeners, and you have a chart in the book, which I thought is very cool. It's called the phaco meter. It's a progressive progression that takes place while moving along this phaco meter line that's in the book, and I'll let you explain it. Also, what are some examples that you would that you would make or give? I know, you cited the Boeing 737 max. Accident as one, but there's many. Yeah. But the reality is talk with us about the phaco meter. And talk with us about some of the examples of people that were faking it we I know, we talked about one of them was Volkswagen. You know, we've got lots of big companies. But can imagine if big companies made the mistake, how many little companies are doing the same thing?
Sabrina Horn 11:47
Yeah, yeah. Well, so the phaco meter was something that I conceived when I was writing the book and thinking about all the different ways that people fake it. And I had to put it like in different buckets. And so then I thought, all right, let's, let's put that on a continuum, from, you know, most innocent to jail time. And so if you start off with what is most innocent, right, there's something called acting as if, which is actually a technique and cognitive behavioral therapy, where you are simply say, Your, you don't feel very confident. And so you want to try and practice the behaviors that you wish you could exude and embody. And you do that until you until it feels more comfortable. And you can actually have those behaviors and feel that way. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just a form of self help. Just like visualizing yourself in a tough situation or dressing for success. But where you run into trouble, right, and you cross the line, is when you start to say and do things at other people's expense, for personal gain. So the most common acts of fakery that, that we see and hear and would expect, right, fall into this category of just simply exaggerating the truth. So if you're an entrepreneur, and you really want to get that venture capital money, maybe you'll stretch the truth a little bit about what your technology can do, or how many customers you have, or you're a salesperson, and you want to you've got to make your number, it's the end of the quarter. So you over promise a little bit about what you can do to your customer to win the deal. Or a really common way of faking it is lying on your resume to you know, get the interview. From there we go to minimizing the truth. So here examples would be like, like my, my kids, you know, yeah, I came home last night, Mom, I parked the car in the garage, and I turned off the lights. leaving out the fact that I broke the headlight coming into the garage, you know, or, hey, we won that big deal. And, yeah, we close the sale, leaving out the fact that it was really only at like, 50% of the budget that we wanted, you know. So that's, that's minimizing a situation. And then now there are other types of fakery as we move on the continuum that don't involve lying. It's called ostrich lies because like an ostrich, you're sticking your head in the sand. This is when you're an entrepreneur and or CEO, and you're facing a crisis situation, and you're so overwhelmed. You don't know what to do. You just want it all to go away and you shove it under the rug and you delay dealing with reality. That's also faking it because the consequences could be quite severe before Your business, you know, and then from there we go into like jail time, which is, which is like a selective truth telling. That's where you actually telling the truth but leaving out certain facts, as was the case of Boeing. And then, you know from there we're into total outright deception and fraud like Bernie Madoff with his Ponzi scheme, Jeffrey, yeah, yes. And you know, of course Elizabeth Holmes, who's on trial now for
Greg Voisen 15:34
Yeah, that was that's pretty egregious actually. Yeah. You know, what's interesting, as you're saying this and you're speaking about your phaco meter, is what came up for me was that, I don't think a lot of people like to be raw, for some reason, the word raw came into my, my being here. And on top of it, you mentioned sales, people promising more than could be delivered so that they could get the order. And that gap, in some cases can be so great, and causes so much repercussion downstream. And, you know, you see this happen. I'm doing some work in a company right now, where they have these contracts, say one thing, and then the performance has been another thing. And they're now paying the price if that. So you either adjust the contract to say it's going to change, and this is all we really can do. Or you change your pricing so that you can do it. Right. But you have to be honest, that it's going to cost more. And I think a lot of people are worried about not getting the order, right. So it's like, okay, I didn't get the order. And that might be a small example. But that's an example of something that happens. I think, all too frequently, almost every day causes huge customer service issues, customer complaints and problems. Yeah. And, you know, you tell us story in chapter two, great story about your own PR firm, and you landing the account at PeopleSoft. And you, you beating out this other firm and the process, which was a friend of the CEO, right? What did you learn from the experience? And can you relate the story to the listeners about how being an integrity helped you land this account? Yeah,
Sabrina Horn 17:35
yeah, well, um, yes, it was a wonderful way to start your business. And, to be honest, no pun intended, I had nothing to lose, by being honest, you know, I figured, I've got a shot. If I win it, I'm in business. So I better handle it, right. And if I don't get it, then I'll just go do something else. And, or I'll find another customer or just whatever. And so I thought, like, I've got nothing to lose by just being absolutely honest with them and with myself. And so that started by doing what I said at the beginning of our conversation, which is like, here, here's an honest assessment of what I can deliver, and what I can't. And here's who I am, and what I stand for. here's, here's my business plan. And I shared all of that with them in that meeting. And I think that my candor, and my honesty was perhaps so refreshing that it caught their attention. But I also learned that the value of doing my homework, you know, like, I crossed every T and dotted every I, and I had to ask myself, you know, what is the CEO of PeopleSoft worried about what's on his mind? What is he not thinking about? What can I then do like thinking as a business person first, like, knowing all that, then and winding my way back to Okay, so then what would be the right thing for them to do? Rather than saying, here's a list of things I'm going to do for you and you know, seeing how that resonates? So it's, it's about putting yourself in your customers shoes truly. And then having what I call a 60-minute episode with myself, where I've thought of every question they might ask me, and especially those I didn't want to answer, and I forced myself to come up with an answer for them and like, okay, that's the truth. Right? And if, if that if that answer doesn't work for them, then that's better than pulling a fast one and then being caught for it later. So I think those were the really key lessons Things that I that I learned all sort of swirling around being authentic and, and operating with integrity.
Greg Voisen 20:07
It's a good point you make I mean, you know, a person in sales, a person in marketing, and let's face it, public relations PR is, is it's all inner wound, right? Yeah, it's easy to get caught up in the emotion, it's easy to get caught up in just, oh, what we can create here and what we're going to be able to do, because you're living in the world of creativity, and imagination. And there's nothing wrong with imagining with somebody, as long as they know what you're going to be able to do is real. Because that's actually quite fun to have this imagination and creativity, mind meld of all the people. And one of the things that you speak about in the book is disarming fear and organized risk. And what it is like to be in a startup, I mean, let's face it, that's you, you've landed this account pretty much very early in your, in your career. What advice do you have about not faking it, because as you state faking, it is the same thing as lying. And this is not the value that you want to embrace. And you list on page 49. You know, some, some things that I think are important, maybe you can articulate that. But it faking it is lying. And as your phaco meter says, it depends on where you are in the scale of the phaco meter. Right. But it also has to do with this, you know, we've talked about integrity. I remember, Dr. Jim Laura was recently on here about leadership, and as a great book out the personal credo. And I come to this, and I really look at what he said. And if you can't stand in your own shoes and tell the truth, you're literally you're literally going to pay the repercussions at some point later on, as you said earlier. Yeah. So what would you say about this disarming fear, organized risk? And, and, and not whining?
Sabrina Horn 22:16
yeah, you know, it's a really appropriate thing to discuss, especially now, you know, as we've been basically living in this constant environment of fear, uncertainty and doubt with the pandemic. And it's always seems to be a moving target from week to week. And the reason why we have fear, and in, in life or in business, and especially in a startup is because there's something unknown about it, there's something we don't understand about it. And so you have to disarm the fear. And the best piece of advice I ever got was, know what you don't know. So, dial in to the fear, what's making you have that anxiety, it's probably about something you don't understand and don't know about. So acquire a bias for seeking information. Now, it's fear can be very paralyzing as well, you feel like you have cement shoes, and you know, it's just overwhelming.
Greg Voisen 23:19
It also can be very motivating. But you know, cliche for fear was false expectation appearing real. That's fear. It's like the acronym for fear was false expectation appearing. I like, Yeah, but that is, in essence, you know, in many of these companies, they don't talk about love. But if there weren't two emotions that really did exist, it would be fear or love. Yeah. And it's love for oneself. As much as its love for what it is you do and love for the people that you work with? Yeah. Because you really only have that, you know. And so, if you're going to organize this organized risk, I like how you talked about, you know, he called it organized risk. I've actually never heard it referred to that way. So I thought that was very clever. Thus, but, so is there anything else you would say about you know, this, faking it and lying from your list?
Sabrina Horn 24:23
Um, I mean, I would say, from the fake commoner
Greg Voisen 24:30
Well, on page 49, you have a list.
Sabrina Horn 24:35
Yeah. I mean, I think it's, it's about making a list of all the ways that something could go wrong. And then asking yourself, what's the worst thing that could happen here? And then how would you recover? So for me, that's contingency planning, right? hoping for the best and planning for the worst is all about Having these little plans in your back pocket so that whatever happens, you can sort of find a path down the middle to move forward. It's also about surrounding yourself with people who are going to give it to you straight, not people who will tell you what you want to hear, but people who will tell you what you need to hear. And, you know, and then lastly, it's it is also like, thinking about what success ultimately looks like. And you've got these, all of the things that could go wrong, your risks on one side, and then and then ultimately, like, okay, a year from now, this is where we want to be. And so we just need some plans to deal with these risks so that they don't get in the way of achieving that success down the road. And, and I don't mean to minimize, you know, that because depending on what kind of business you have in the industry, you're in, those risks could be quite enormous. But that's where contingency planning is just really comes into play.
Greg Voisen 26:03
Well, the other thing that we could add to the icing on the cake there, I just recently did an interview with Jonathan Brill rogue waves. And you know, much of this was all predictable. You know, if you have really taken time to look, it was there going to be a pandemic. You know, he made a great statement about the Titanic crossing the Atlantic, and that the captain of the ship knew that during that time of the year, there were 1800, icebergs crossing where that ship went. And now the question was, you know, when you navigate something, whether it's a ship, or you're navigating your company, what are you looking for that you can see around corners, that's potentially coming, because those are the risks. That's the risk to sink the ship, that's the rogue wave that comes up that you thought was just rogue, but the reality it's not, there are ways to actually look at all these factors, and have a pretty good indication to predict them into the future, you know, as a future futurist, and you stated that for you as the CEO, and that's why I love doing the show. You'd like to read lots of books on leadership, looking for in you're looking for advice, then you go on to list the characteristics of great leaders? Yes. Can you tell us what you believe is the makeup of a good leader and your estimation, you put it on page 54? Through 57? But, you know, I just want to hear it from Sabrina. Yeah. Well, as you were a leader, you still are a leader, you're a leader in this other company now. Well,
Sabrina Horn 27:49
I no longer work at Finn partners to be okay, to be clear, I, I completed my time with them. And Okay, that was an 18. And, and then wrote this book, but I still consult with them. You know, I think leadership is many, many things. But my view is that being a great leader, begins with making the right decisions at the right time, based on what you believe to be reality. And so a great leader has to make a commitment to always being grounded in the truth and in reality, and that is a has to be a tireless, relentless effort, because reality is constantly changing. Next, I believe that a great leader has to as we said earlier, have this concept of humility and to not only, you know, put that on like a new wardrobe, but to truly feel confident, admitting mistakes and knowing when to ask for help. I believe that a great leader should be flexible and agile, you know, I have this saying like, adopt early move quickly. Sometimes making a wrong decision is better than making no decision at all. I would say being I have this also this notion of being a realistic optimist. Like you always have to balance Okay, we can learn from our mistakes, but you can't spend all your time in the rearview mirror. You have to always be looking forward and trying sometimes at the it's at the 13th hour for a solution to a particular problem. You just cannot ever give up pushing and moving forward and finding solutions. And like that, that is exhausting work. And but that is the mark of a great leader who knows that somewhere out there. There is a solution. There's an answer to this problem. You just have to find it. And then I would say two more things. Surround yourself with people who complain Aren't you and complement your own weaknesses which need to be aware of people who will give it to you straight. And lastly, to be a good communicator, I mean that it's essential for the privilege of being a leader, you have to not only communicate the right message to your constituents, but you need to do it well, then you need to inspire hope in people and comfort.
Greg Voisen 30:26
That's very well put. And, you know, you spoke about humility, and I think in in leaders today, again, that's a trait that's cultivated, many of the egos are very big, and I have a, it's not an off the wall question. It's a question that really drives home. You're being in touch as a leader that you are, and you were to access a power outside of yourself. Call it spiritual illness, call it whatever you want. Call it intuition. Because you're, you're doing that, how much time is a leader did you spend in contemplation meditation, thinking about something outside of you asking for the answers? Because we all know the answers are within us. Yeah, the question is, is to extract them and not let the ego sidetrack us. And much of what you've talked about this whole fakeness, frequently is the ego speaking to somebody and they're not able to control that. And that's what's creating all that, that. That's that drive to be fake. Yep. And I know the word ego is used a lot. And I have another acronym ego is edging God out. So the question might be as, as a leader, you've had lots of people, lots of people dependent on you, how much of your time did you spend in contemplation, using your intuition to guide you and direct you and listening to that inner voice?
Sabrina Horn 32:13
You know, I, there were times when I did it consciously. And then there were other times where use your, you drift off with your thoughts on the ride home on the train, I would say probably a good hour, half hour every day. But sometimes there's no time for it, because you just have to move and you've got to execute. And there's stuff swirling around you. And you know, when that Yeah, you know, I mean, I was also a single mom, for almost the entire time that I ran my company. And so there was like, it was basically like, either my priority is something to do with my company, or something to do with my kids. And, and then I put myself last and that. And what I realized was that I had to be a part of, I had to give myself time to think about these things for the business and for my kids to take a different path or to shift gears or not hate the word pivot, but to pivot. And, you know, I spent quite a bit of time actually doing crafts, like knitting and crocheting, because it was so meditative. It could really absorb, do something completely different. And then all of a sudden, like an idea would pop into my head. And I'd say, like, you know, that's a good angle, I'm going to put that arrow in my quiver. So whether I knew I was doing it, or whether I was deliberate or not, or whether it just sort of happened. I think I probably was always doing it somewhere in the background.
Greg Voisen 33:53
Yeah. And I think that's true. You know, when you ask scientists or you ask people that are programmers, you get different answers, although it's surprising, how many of them will say, you know, how does, you know getting in the flow or staying in the flow as a CEO and having that endorphin that gets released and all those chemicals that get released in your brain to give you that kind of that high that you have, but the feeling that you have the time just passes, you know, you look at come in the morning, for you know, it's evening already, and you're like, well, what happened? It was a great day. You know, you meant that a lot of days are not those kinds of days. No. Yeah, a lot of lot of days are absolutely the opposite. That's right. That's right. You know, you said in the book, if you want to create a high value brand that you need a high value culture, yes. How important is having our values and beliefs articulated and known by our clients and customers? Also, what are some of the enduring brands. I mean, I know we can talk about, you know, apple, and, you know, Microsoft, and all of these brands that have lasted forever. But if you would, you know, a lot of people create their values, they create their mission, they create their purpose, they hang out in the lobby, and they don't live it. Yeah, it's one thing to create it, it's another thing to live it live in. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's almost better not
Sabrina Horn 35:30
to have a mission statement, if it's going to be like this vapid statement of emptiness that, you know, insert company name here. And, and I did meet, you know, a lot of entrepreneurs and startups when, who don't think about values and culture until they become bigger company, and then it's something that they strap on and bolt on. And it's not necessarily authentic, right, because it wasn't created from the beginning. So there's so there's, you know, there's a conflict there, establishing core values and having them sort of this viscerally present in your culture and how you communicate with each other. I talked about, like, infusing of value in a business process. So if you take, for example, creativity, and how does that manifest itself, in customer service, in every interaction you have, with your clients, with your customers, with how you talk to them with how you respond to them, with your how you train your people to respond to them, right? And, and the beautiful thing is that, if you are committed to core values, they, they hold you and they protect you. And when you stray from them, and you get bad customer feedback, you have to pause and say, so how, where did we fall from our core value system here? How can we realign with that, or maybe the universe has changed, and we need to push the reset button and give that value new meaning because it also needs to evolve, perhaps? So I, I truly believe this is the essence of building a great brand. Because again, it's about a consistent customer experience that's grounded in a company's heritage somehow, even as it evolves over time. So you asked about great brands, you know, that Aside from the obvious ones, there's a company I love called Oh, Excel, and they are the kitchen utensil
Sabrina Horn 37:43
They make peelers, and, you know, spoons, and can openers, and things like that. And they have this commitment to the customer experience that is that is just without questions just outstanding. their customers love them. Because if they have a question about something or God forbid, it broke or they didn't know the box arrived, broken or whatever, they respond immediately. And they use empathy in their language with how they communicate with customers. Another brand that I think should be applauded is McLaren The, the race car company, they used and donated a lot of their equipment and their parts and whatnot. To build ventilators during the pandemic crisis, Ben and Jerry's ice cream company has, has such an enduring brand of great ice cream and great flavors, right doesn't disappoint, but they also have a commitment to social justice. And they had various campaigns in the last two years. So you know, these are great brands that are grounded in core values right? At the beginning, that founder of Oh, Excel made a commitment to like, making quality products, but really listening and paying attention to customers like, like they were in your home using your stuff.
Greg Voisen 39:13
Right, right. I you know, whether it's Patagonia or tow Expo, or its McLaren, or you have a lot of these, these are big companies. And I think for all those people that are listening for this, the small ones that are trying to support mom and pop out there, the little guy who's during the pandemic got hit pretty hard. I would say you know, there's so many of those that have the same values that are out there, and if that's what you want to do, go seeking them to do that. I think it's really important. You know, and on the flip side of the coin, you cited and we talked a little bit earlier about three examples of Falling from grace. And we don't want people to fall from grace. But you know, VW, Uber, Samsung, and these companies have the ability to fall from grace and still get back up and keep going. Many companies, if they fall from grace, that isn't going to happen. What advice would you have for entrepreneurs? like yourself who is in a startup, so they don't fall from grace? And that they know how to handle the situation afterwards? Meaning, okay, if I'm going to this is a PR nightmare. Right? You're the PR person. You know, whether it was I was trying to think of the anchor that that was on NBC that, you know, got caught. And you know, that was a nightmare for, for them for a while trying to deal with it. But no, there's lots of these, there's so many of these examples. What advice would you give as somebody who has this background in PR to kind of manage that?
Sabrina Horn 41:01
Yes, I. So I think there's various different frameworks that you can find for managing a crisis. But it there are some fundamentals. Number one, always, if you made a mistake, admit it. Admit that you made the mistake, the longer you pretend you didn't, or you hide it, the worse your crisis is going to be. And the consequences could be disastrous. always speak the truth. Never, in essence, say anything that you don't know to be the absolute truth.So that also means never predicting or providing false hope, because people aren't going to ask you about it and calling on it. Next, you want to have only one spokesperson, and perhaps a subject matter expert, but only one spokesperson, which could be the CEO, or could be someone else to sort of provide consistent information to all constituents about the situation. Use visuals, and graphics, right? Because pictures always say 1000 words, keep the message simple. retrench if you have made a mistake, tell people what your plan is to go forward. And it's always three things admitting what happened, what you're going to do about it. And then telling them when you're going to tell them about the progress you've made, when you're going to come back to them. And in a last thing is in a crisis, you want to over communicate, because people, there's fear, and anxiety and uncertainty. And it's just like, if you're waiting for your plane, and the planes late, you're sitting there at the gate, and the person standing behind the counter, and they're not telling you information, even if the information is the same, you just want to have the update agree. So over communicate, and it's those three things, here's where we are, here's what we're doing next. And we're going to get back to when we have these answers or have figured out these next steps.
Greg Voisen 43:07
I think the point about over communicating is a big one, you know, you look at what we just went through with the withdrawal out of Afghanistan. And then yes, the kind of challenge the administration had, and how it was communicated. And, you know, I mean, look, the prior administration, that's all they did was try and put out fires from things that, you know, the pyre president did. So the reality is, is that your advice is very, very strong advice. And it's very good advice. And it really helps to calm in a crisis, the situation, what you're attempting to do is remove the emotion from it, because so much emotion is tied up in it. And people just need to hear and I think that's wonderful advice. Now, you provide some great learning lessons in this book, all kinds of stories. And it's always good to leave listeners with a couple of takeaways, two or three takeaways that you would leave them with so that they can basically apply them to their business, to if their personal to their personal life. I mean, I think much of what you talk about here, even though you're a very strong business woman, and you built a very successful company, this whole point, even if I was in high school today, and I just listened to this interview, and I was a high school student, I would want to say, you know, Sabrina, great advice, where do I put this in my life because, hey, I certainly want to be an integrity. I want to tell the truth. If I broke the light in the garage, I want to make sure I tell my parents I did it before they found out
Sabrina Horn 44:55
I mean, I guess the first thing I would say is don't feel like you have to fake it, because you have what it takes to be successful with just who you are. Secondly, do think about the last time you faked it? And why were you afraid? Were you under pressure? Did you just not know what you were doing? Were you overwhelmed? And if you had a chance to, for a do over, how would you handle it differently? Would you disarm your fear? As we talked about? acquire a bias to get more information? Would you talk to someone? Would you reach out to a mentor? would you ask yourself, okay, what's the worst thing that can happen? If I organize my risk? What's the worst thing that could happen? If, if this if this does occur? And how would I rebound? You know, and then I guess, think, think about that commitment to the truth that costs you nothing. And so I think those would be a summary of the things I
Greg Voisen 46:12
I would recommend great words of wisdom from somebody who's lived it and continues to live it. Here's the book, make it don't fake it will have a link to Amazon will also have a link to Sabrina's website, which is a lovely website, you can go there you can is the book available to be purchased off of there too, or just Amazon probably links?
Yeah, you can. If you go to my book page on the website, Sabrina Horne comm forward slash book, there's a list of all the online retailers with links, so you can go to them and get the book there.
Greg Voisen 46:51
Well, what I can say, Sabrina, in closing and wrapping up here is that one, your energy as a prior business owner, and the experiences that you've been through as a single mother, and all of the experiences that have brought you up today to write this book, and now promote this book. I just want to acknowledge you, you have wonderful energy. And it's we need more female leaders. Yes, we need more female leaders that have the compassion that you do the understanding you do that really want to help make it not fake it. Yeah. And I just, I want to acknowledge that part about you as well. Because this is, you know, I do a lot of these interviews, you know, sometimes three, four a week. And this is not just to your horn, it's to say, the pace of the interview, the thoughtfulness in your answering the questions, the way in the demeanor which you carry yourself is exceptional. And maybe that's the background and PR that you had to have. But again, everybody go out, get make it, don't fake it. You're going to and then go to her website and cruise around and see what you need. Yeah. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Now this day to you. Thanks for your attention and spending the time with my listeners today.
Sabrina Horn 48:29
Thank you. Thank you, everybody, for listening. Thank you very much, Greg.
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