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Michael Greene: “Leadership is about helping to make other people great.”

As a leader, it is easy to get caught up in your work, push the hours in your day, give up weekends, and let your role consume you. Indeed, many of these factors may have brought you to where you are today. However, you need to pay yourself first — in other words, set healthy […]

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As a leader, it is easy to get caught up in your work, push the hours in your day, give up weekends, and let your role consume you. Indeed, many of these factors may have brought you to where you are today. However, you need to pay yourself first — in other words, set healthy boundaries so that you have a balance in life. Make time for the things that recharge you, because when you make that time, you will come back clearer, more focused, and ready to accomplish things in a more efficient manner without burning out.


As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Greene.

Michael is CEO of Enzoic, an innovative cybersecurity company that helps enterprises screen for compromised credentials and prevent credential stuffing and account takeover fraud. He has received industry awards including SC Media Reboot Leadership Award for Thought Leadership and Javelin’s Identity Protection Leaders in Prevention, Detection, and Resolution. Prior to his role with Enzoic, Mike was the CEO of ID Watchdog, an identity theft protection company that was sold to Equifax in 2017. He has also held senior management positions at Symantec, Webroot, Thompson Micromedix, Raindance and Baxter. Michael graduated with an MBA from the University of Colorado.


Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Ihave always been interested in solving problems and trying to find ways to do things better. Initially, that led me to pursue a science degree and to begin working in biotechnology. After a few years, I realized that I was really much more interested in solving business problems as they were far more interactive, had a more direct human element, and moved at a much faster pace. Fortunately, scientific training is a great tool to teach you how to solve many different kinds of challenges.

At the time, I was really drawn to solving business problems as they relate to product management — for example, developing a well-designed product, ensuring that it meets market needs, communicating its value proposition and making sure it sells well. In terms of entering into the security market, what has always appealed to me is that, first and foremost, the industry helps to protect people. Secondly, it is a constantly evolving system driven by a player on the other side — if security makes a move then the adversary makes a countermove and so-on. This means it’s always a fast-paced and relevant sector!

Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?

As with any great company, there are often more opportunities than resources to pursue them. When trying to decide on directions to take, there are also many perspectives and viewpoints from the various members of the leadership team. In order to succeed, Enzoic needed to bring together all of our great ideas and process them as a team, agree to a strong choice of direction, and maintain discipline in the execution.

The key lesson I draw from this experience is it is better to do fewer things but execute well, and to ensure that all stakeholders have participated in and endorse the plan that will be acted upon.

What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?

I think the factors that lead to any one person’s success are myriad. But I do believe that there are some common aspects and in particular some factors that were important for me.

First, you must recognize that it is not your job to have the answers, but rather to help people work together to find the answers. Be passionate, be genuine and authentic, and recognize that success takes time with lots of ups and downs along the way.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.

  • Leadership is about helping to make other people great.
  • Leadership requires great emotional intelligence — you have to listen to people with empathy and understanding. This is critical to winning and keeping the trust of your team.
  • Leadership is not always about winning, but about having the resolve to work through the inevitable challenging times to come out on top at the end.
  • Be decisive, make decisions quickly and focus on execution.
  • Leaders are nothing without a great team that has trust and respect for them.

What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

As a leader, it is easy to get caught up in your work, push the hours in your day, give up weekends, and let your role consume you. Indeed, many of these factors may have brought you to where you are today. However, you need to pay yourself first — in other words, set healthy boundaries so that you have a balance in life. Make time for the things that recharge you, because when you make that time, you will come back clearer, more focused, and ready to accomplish things in a more efficient manner without burning out.

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?

I actually have had tremendous help along the way. Sometimes it was more formal, and sometimes just hearing an anecdote that sparked an idea at the right time in my career. One small story has helped me significantly.

Early in my career, I was terrified of presentations, public speaking, board presentations, anything. I would spend weeks memorizing lines, getting nervous and fumbling. I tried to embrace this by volunteering for every public speaking opportunity available. A company advisor told me to look at a great speaker — they tell a story. For them, it’s not just about reciting lines, it’s about creating a story that draws the listener in and keeps him engaged. I found that by adopting this approach and trying to tell a great story, my nerves disappeared and the words flowed easily. This is something I’ve adhered to ever since.

What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?

I think there is still a lot of great work out there to do, people to help, and companies to build. I would like to just continue to be a student of the world and continue to grow.

What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?

From a personal perspective, I hope that I have helped the people around me to embrace the world around them, enjoy life, relax, and pursue their passions. Through our work at Enzoic, I hope we can really change how people and businesses view online security and permanently eradicate poor password practices.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!

I don’t know about movement, but I think it would be great to help young people to learn how to and assist them in executing on their entrepreneurial ideas. Such programs exist today, but we need to make them much more widespread and accessible, and also start early so that young people are exercising their entrepreneurial muscles early and often!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I am most prolific, if you will, on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/michael-greene-931387

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