September 24, 2023

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You don’t become captain of the Notre Dame women’s soccer team and earn Ad Age’s CMO of the Year because of a lack of confidence. Sirius XM Chief Marketing Officer Dennis Karkos has done both and attributes his success to his decision to put as much effort into building relationships as any hard skill associated with his job.

She says the key to building good relationships at work, especially with advisors and mentors, is to be attentive to other people, be vulnerable when you ask questions, get specific feedback that you can apply right away. and be constantly intellectually curious.

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“You always want to be honest about why it is that you are trying to learn what you are asking of a mentor,” Karkos said. “Being vulnerable in this way allows the advisor to feel more invested in helping you.”

In the above podcast, Karkos shares some of his more vulnerable moments, including a bad meeting due to his failure to read the room. But she also notes that developing a trusting relationship with a mentor helped her learn from those moments and grow into a better leader.

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As both mentor and mentee, Karkos operates on the principle that any ambitious career will have lots of ups and downs. So he created a “happy folder” of his achievements at SiriusXM, which include crafting a new vision statement, launching a new customer segmentation model, and developing the company’s first multimedia advertising campaign. She also keeps notes from people who have told her how what she has said to them has helped them.

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“At the very least, being a happy folder is a confidence builder,” Karkos explained. “Confidence is a difficult thing to coach, but I like to recommend keeping a log of the things you are proud of, so that when you experience low points, you always have something to look back on.” Can watch from and get a little boost.”

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Podcast listeners will enjoy examples of relationship building from Karkos as well as the lessons he learned from playing soccer at the elite level:

• Karkos learned an important lesson in humility after losing to Olympic gold medalist Julie Foody’s Stanford soccer team.

• Implementing the “10-Minute Rule” so you can reduce success even if you fall behind.

• What soccer taught Karkos about setting high expectations for himself and his team.

Karkos says the most important thing is not to compare yourself with others but to emulate those who do what you think you want to do at a higher level — then learn remotely or in-person. “Find what’s authentic to you and where you can really raise the bar on that,” she says, “and really go deep on that.”

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