Taking a "lesser title" in a new job is one of the hardest things an exec in our ad tech/digital media space can do. It's exceptionally hard for managers especially when it appears everything around us is heading north.......including real or perceived Peter Principle moves. ("That guy got a VP Sales job????") However, keep your antennae up and you'll notice Decisions of Smartness being made (DoS....my acronym of the day). Say hello to my little friend.... Greg Gortz. Well he ain't that little and he made a big decision last spring that is paying off. Greg proves you can take a step back, and it's quite ok. If you talk with him, it's more than just ok, it's great.
Greg and I have worked formally together for many years and I caught up with him yesterday. Greg joined Moat last May after a long run as VP of Sales at Zemanta (a smart, growing, content management platform). Understandably, the size difference of Moat (a SaaS analytics company focused on transforming brand advertising online) versus Zemanta is not small, so the move back in title was not out of the ordinary. But nobody forced Greg to join Moat with only a promise of rising up. He could've scored another "senior manager" title somewhere. Greg bought in to Moat's view that their service is so complex, it is unfair to hire managers from outside the company. And, he recognized one can learn a lot about management development by taking a step back and learning from his chair as individual contributor. And while Moat will constantly need to guard against the Peter Principle given their hire from within strategy, Greg's comment to me that the company hires really smart and driven people suggests Moat will continue to make good personnel decisions.
Most of all, I'm impressed by my buddy Greg's vision and maturity....last spring he acknowledged that his need to learn in another arena was more important than satisfying his ego over the pursuit of a loftier title and role. Good job Greg, go Tribe!