Steve Buttry, my former boss/mentor at TBD, has been kind enough to write send-offs to each of our community engagement team members as we found jobs elsewhere. Only fair I should return the favor as he begins his new job at the very-lucky Journal Register Company.
Steve always said his success was based on hiring smart people and getting out of their way, but the truth is it wasn’t that simple. He had a twofold excellence to his management: He gave us the freedom to march ahead with our ideas without having to wait for his approval, but his ideas were so valuable you’d be robbing yourself if you didn’t ask for his opinion. He consistently elevated my ideas while offering a steady hand of reason. It created the perfect environment for experimentation.
When I interviewed for my job, I asked him what would happen when I tried something crazy and failed. I wish I could remember the exact quote, but it was something along the lines of: “Well, we’ll probably make fun of you for it. ‘Remember when Dan did that thing? That was awful.’ And then when we’re done laughing about it, you’ll get to work on your next crazy idea.”
He trusted in action, not just words. Early on in our time there, my colleague Lisa Rowan had a mid-afternoon meeting in College Park, near where she lived. As any good employee would, she asked Steve if she could bring her laptop and simply work from home the rest of the day. He told her and the rest of us at a meeting: Next time, don’t bother asking. I trust that you know what works best and you’ll get your work done.
Those are the two stories I’d tell to all of my friends to make them jealous of my new job, and it always worked. I was lucky to work for him, and I know JRC is going to love him.