Get outside of your comfort zone, however that presents itself to you. That might actually be getting outside or simply do something different from your regular routine. It can provide an openness to take a look inward to see how you can affect positive change on whatever scale works for you — personally or professionally. And importantly, get off social media to experience life. Real life. Social media can cloud reality. Look up and see what’s out there.
As a part of my series about about how leaders can create a “fantastic work culture”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Cozens, Vice president and GM, of Dew Tour and Adventure Sports Network. A 15-year veteran at Adventure Sports Network (previously TEN, The Enthusiast Network), Adam Cozens most recently led the marketing efforts for the 27 media brands under TEN’s Sports and Entertainment division. In 2016, Cozens shifted his prodigious focus to the Dew Tour, where he oversees the strategy and execution, daily operations and sales efforts for the well-established action sports media platform. A former competitive snowboarder, Cozens led the digital transition for Transworld Snowboarding Magazine, where he served as publisher from 2008–2012. He lives with his wife and two children in Carlsbad, California.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My passion for action sports… I also had family ties to the actions sports media business and grew up in and around it.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
While Dew Tour has been around for a long time, in 2016, our company began producing the event from the ground up (it was produced by another company prior to us). We really started from scratch. In January 2016, I was the first employee on the Dew Tour team. Six month later, we were holding a world-class skateboarding event in a brand new location. It was a start-up without being a start-up.
It was amazing to draw from the well of action sports and event experts to best produce and celebrate this genre. We successfully re-imagined Dew Tour with not only a focus on competition (skateboarding in summer and snowboarding and skiing in winter), but also the culture and creators that surrounds action sports. Our team is strong and we have only gone up from our rebirth in 2016.
Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Our most exciting project right now is our Olympic sanctioning of Dew Tour’s 2019 and 2020 skateboarding events. For the next two years, Dew Tour will be a global Olympic qualifying event for men’s and women’s street and park skateboarding. It’s an exciting time for all of us at Dew Tour and for skateboarding as a sport. For our team to be a part of history is really special.
Ok, lets jump to the main part of our interview. According to this study cited in Forbes, more than half of the US workforce is unhappy. Why do you think that number is so high?
We spend a majority of our time at work so culture inside a company or team is critical. However, it is often a difficult thing to rebuild if the company culture deteriorated, has seen fast growth or has experienced mergers. Larger organizations don’t make the same investment in this area and with the general motto of do more with less, investing in a company’s culture is even more critical.
Based on your experience or research, how do you think an unhappy workforce will impact a) company productivity b) company profitability c) and employee health and wellbeing?
Negative impact across the board. If people feel unhappy or beatdown in the workplace, their health and productivity will reflect that and ultimately the bottom line.
Can you share 5 things that managers and executives should be doing to improve their company work culture? Can you give a personal story or example for each?
- Empower employees
- As managers try to understand what drives each team member
- Celebrate others successes/recognition
- Get aligned on company vision/strategy
- Maintain and lead a structured review process with consistent feedback on performance
- (added in one more) Provide a clear career path, and instill company mentors
It’s very nice to suggest ideas, but it seems like we have to “change the culture regarding work culture”. What can we do as a society to make a broader change in the US workforce’s work culture?
Understand what drives certain generations and eliminate preconceived notions. Modernize our thinking.
How would you describe your leadership or management style? Can you give us a few examples?
Somewhat of a democratic approach to leadership in my current role. I try to empower each person on my team to be an expert in their area and provide strategic direction/solutions. I expect accountability and they expect the same of me.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Early on, I learned a lot from my mother who helped found a part of the company (in the early 80’s) I now work for. She set the foundation, but I never actually worked with her. It was observing her commitment to founding and building a company that has stuck with me.
Along the way I’ve had some great executives that I worked indirectly or directly for that I was fortunate enough to learn from. One or two of them still provide mentorship today. But in general, each of them provided different areas from which I learned and have had some impact on how and who I am as a leader today. Collectively, each of them took a leap at some level to trust me to get a job done.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I’ve done some speaking at colleges and even my high school. I’ve taken the time to help mentor younger folks trying to “break into the industry” by taking calls, meetings, or offering advice. Generally, anytime I get a request like the above where I can help a person or group, it is never turned down.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Give a shit and work hard. If you take a genuine interest in what you’re doing and take the time to put the effort into it, you will be successful. Don’t be afraid to feel uncomfortable at times and take some calculated risks in your career. Be courageous…
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Get outside of your comfort zone, however that presents itself to you. That might actually be getting outside or simply do something different from your regular routine. It can provide an openness to take a look inward to see how you can affect positive change on whatever scale works for you — personally or professionally.
And importantly, get off social media to experience life. Real life. Social media can cloud reality. Look up and see what’s out there.