Insights: Ben Carcio Insights

Ben Carcio

This week’s insights are brought to you by Ben Carcio, CEO of Promoboxx, a company that connects brand manufacturers with independent retailers to help retailers become better marketers. Since 2010, Ben and his team have expanded Promoboxx’s capabilities to help industry-leading Fortune 500 companies like, Chevrolet, Pepsi, and Timberland.  Ben lead by example to create alignment among his team, sharing his own experiences to support the continued development of each individual in the company.

What’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you as a new manager?

Never mess with someone’s paycheck. Its sounds silly, but as leaders we sometimes forget that we’re providing our employees with a livelihood. When things are stable nobody thinks about it, but when there’s any hint of instability all other leadership tactics fly right out the window. For example, when I was running a 25 person painting company in college, I was a day late on making payroll and 6 of my best guys quit to join another “more stable” company. This lesson sticks with me every day.

As your team grows, how do you ensure that you remain aligned around a central vision?

Communicate the vision. Communicate the vision again. Then communicate the vision some more.

In your opinion, what’s a manager’s primary role?Promoboxx Team

Below average managers assign subtasks and authorize vacation time.  Amazing managers are leaders, and leaders empower their employees to do more by setting a clear vision, providing the right resources, and building a great support team around them.

What’s the biggest leadership challenge you’ve had to overcome? How did you do it?

Lack of experience. One of the best ways to lead is through the sharing of personal experience with employees. But with Promoboxx I’m hitting some new challenges that I’ve never experienced before. So, I’ve found the best way to overcome this is to borrow from the experience of others. You can do this by reading the hundreds of amazing leadership blogs out there, or even better, by reaching out to real live mentors for some 1:1 help over a coffee or beer.

Ben Carcio is a startup veteran with over 12 years of online brand marketing experience. He founded Promoboxx in 2010 and has been working hard ever since to provide retailers, like GE, Chevrolet, Pepsi, and Nestle, with the digital marketing tools they need to transform their brand. Ben has been known to share his insights with the startup community at the annual Boston Tech Co-Party, on the Promoboxx Blog, through, and beyond.

Want to learn leadership skills from more startup vets? Enroll in Exchange!

Rachel WaldmannRachel Waldmann
Content & Community Specialist
@rachelwaldmann Insights w/ Larry Kim

INTELLIGENT.LY INSIGHTS lets you learn from leaders who have done it before.

For this series inaugural post, we’re thrilled to feature Larry Kim, CTO of WordStream. Larry is deeply committed to cultivating his team’s leadership skills, investing in future leaders to promote the company’s long-term growth.

Larry Kim PhotoWhat’s one piece of advice you wish someone had given you as a new manager?

Building a start-up is a challenge, and communication is key among the few employees you have in the beginning. We recently did a communication exercise with our team, based on Exchange training, that really shone a light on the different personalities we have and how we can communicate more effectively with one another for better outcomes. This is the type of lesson I wish I’d learned earlier, when I was just starting up. As an entrepreneur, when you’re just getting into managing people, definitely take the time to actively work on communication with your team.

How do you ensure that you stay in lock step communication with your team?

We have regularly scheduled meetings and training, but I think it’s also important to have an open-door policy. I mean, anyone can say they have an open-door policy for their employees, but you have to live it for it to be meaningful. People need to know they can bring their ideas and concerns to you without repercussion and that’s an environment that you build over time.

Describe what the term ‘Manage Up’ means to you. How have you see people manage up effectively?

At WordStream, managing up is critical for effective teamwork. In addition to managing up, which is making that effort consistently to go above and beyond to make your manager’s job easier, I think it’s important for everyone to “manage across” and even manage down! Companies don’t need a couple of heroes to carry the team – they need an entire team that feels empowered and like their work is appreciated. So manage up, yes, but it’s even better to get all employees thinking in a team mindset, not competing against one another but building the unit up as a whole.

Share one strategy or tactic that you consistently use to support the growth of your direct reports.

One thing we really focus on is giving employees ongoing learning opportunities. In tech and in other industries, as well, the industry changes constantly and very quickly. It’s to our benefit to keep our knowledge current, but it also feeds a personal development need in employees and executives. We do a lot of internal group work and training and have been sending our top team members to’s management development program, as well. You have to make time for ongoing education and prioritize it so employees have time to really get into it and bring those benefits back to your team.

Larry Kim is a marketing industry thought leader and the CTO and founder of WordStream, a million search marketing software and services provider based in Boston managing approximately a half Billion in ad spend for over two thousand small businesses. He regularly shares his advice and insight with over 750,000 visitors a month at his WordStream Blog and is a columnist and top contributor for leading industry publications including, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, and Social Media Today.