The rise in self-employment over the last three decades has created a new era of entrepreneurship. It’s time we start championing this new vision of the on-demand economy and build the infrastructure and tools needed to support this new wave of businesses.
A couple of things that we strive to do every day at Intuit. First, people want to be part of a cause greater than themselves. They want to solve important problems that matter to their mother, their father, their siblings, their friends. We’re here to improve people’s financial lives so that every generation gets stronger than the last, and that’s a very important cause that every one of us experiences in some way. So have a cause, don’t be just a product. Think about an aspiration that you can continue to strive to do.
Second, create an environment where everyone contributes. We say we want to have the world’s greatest environment where the top talent can do the best work of their lives. So 10% unstructured time—everyone gets it. Small teams that move fast without the bureaucracy. Teaching you important techniques like scientific experimentation so that you can run fast experiments. That gives people capabilities and skills, and most important, they can contribute.
Your job as a leader is to remove the barriers that get in their way. That’s our job. We work for them, and our job is to get the friction out of the system. I think that’s what continues to help us keep a strong and healthy environment.
Success is personal, it means different things to different people—yet all that individual hard work collectively adds up to big things. Because when small businesses thrive, jobs are created, people’s lives are enriched, innovation is spurred, and communities and national economies grow.
The power of a grand challenge cannot be underestimated. As leaders, no matter the size of our teams, we need to remember that incredible—and seemingly impossible accomplishments—all start with a vision. A leader must be more than a great communicator, we must be a “translator of dreams.” It’s our responsibility to define the vision, motivate and inspire people to achieve lofty goals, and to understand that people want to be a part of something much greater than themselves.
Brad Smith was named Intuit’s president and chief executive officer in January 2008, culminating a five-year rise through the company where he successfully led several of its major businesses. Intuit’s mission is to improve its customers’ financial lives so profoundly, they couldn’t imagine going back to the old way. Its products and services simplify the business of life for more than 45 million consumers, small businesses, and accounting professionals around the world.
Under Smith’s leadership, Intuit has cultivated an agile experimentation culture, despite being a 30-year-old Silicon Valley company. This startup mindset, combined with the ability to reinvent and transform itself along the way, has established Intuit as an innovative company that is consistently ranked as one of the top 100 best places to work, and among the most-admired software companies, each year.
Before being named CEO, Smith was senior vice president and general manager of Intuit’s Small Business Division, which included the portfolio of QuickBooks, Quicken, and Payroll products. Previously he led the company’s Consumer Tax Group, which produces TurboTax, the nation’s leading consumer tax preparation software. He began his Intuit career leading the Accountant Central community, cultivating relationships and delivering services for accounting professionals.
Prior to Intuit, Smith held various sales, marketing, and general management positions with PepsiCo, Seven-Up, and Advo, Inc.
Smith earned his master’s degree in management from Aquinas College in Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Marshall University in West Virginia.
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