“Well done is better than well said” is something my dad often said to me while I was growing up. Whether it was school, sports, or personal relationships, he made it clear that while its critically important to develop and communicate your intentions, real success is determined by our actions, and how we deliver on our promises and plans. Like anyone (especially in my teenage years), I didn’t always succeed in living up to this saying, and made more than my fair share of mistakes.

Early in my professional career, I always kept “Well done is better than well said” in the back of my mind. It was not a coincidence that the most successful people that I came across had an innate ability to not only develop and articulate a vision, but could also execute on a consistent and repeatable basis. More often than not, these individuals possessed many behavioral traits that can’t be taught (work ethic, accountability, curiosity, humility), and surrounded themselves with people with the same traits. Good people know good people.

I spent the past sixteen years in various leadership positions with Advertising.com (sold to AOL in 2004 for $495MM), and AOL (sold to Verizon in 2015 for $4.4B) and not a day went by where I didn’t see validation of “Well done is better than well said”. Large scale, repeatable success (personal and professional) doesn’t just happen by chance. It happens when an individual or team has the right mindset and confidence to establish a vision, and the right discipline and talent to execute upon the vision. It’s easy to tell someone what you’re going to do. It’s a lot harder to make it a reality.

In early 2016, I made the decision to move on from AOL. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do next, but I did know that the most fulfilling aspect of my career has been around team building and development. I’m really proud of my track record of surrounding myself with people who represent “Well done is better than well said” on a daily basis, and started to think about how valuable this could be for other businesses as well. I truly believe that “operators know operators”, and this led me to joining GM Ryan as a Managing Partner in October. My business partner, Brian Mitchell, is also a former operator of a large organization, and has built GM Ryan into one of the most successful boutique recruiting practices in the space over the past decade.

This move is incredibly natural. Having been called upon by countless recruiters over my career, I could almost immediately tell which of them were looking to “make a sale and fill a seat” versus those who were businesspeople with the acumen and experience needed to make an impact on their clients' businesses. Brian and I have both been in the trenches, have managed large scale P&L’s, and have been in the hot seat for both start-ups and publicly traded companies. Together, we bring a set of differentiated skills to the table that few (if any) other practices possess. We can and will make a positive impact on the partners we work with and the candidates we recruit. More importantly, we will operate our business on a daily basis knowing that “Well done is better than well said”.

Happy New Year!

Don