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20 Questions

WW (Formerly Weight Watchers) CEO Mindy Grossman Shares Her Key to Business Success

It starts with building an extraordinary team.
WW (Formerly Weight Watchers) CEO Mindy Grossman Shares Her Key to Business Success
Image credit: Courtesy of Mindy Grossman
Entrepreneur Staff
Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.
4 min read

Over the course of her career, Mindy Grossman has worked to develop some of the world’s biggest brands, such as Ralph Lauren, Nike and HSN. Today, as the President and CEO of WW (formerly Weight Watchers), Grossman leads a global team of 18,000 employees as she works to help WW users make healthy changes in their lives.

Now, thanks to a recent auction through CharityBuzz that earned more than $1 million, Grossman, along with her Chief Technology Officer Michael Lysaght, are ready to hear the next big business idea in a private lunchtime pitch session.

Read on for more insights from Grossman.

How do you start your day?
With coffee and my daily briefings -- The Bloomberg Open, Fortune CEO Daily, TheSkimm, WWD The Essentialist, New York Times DealBook, Wall Street Journal’s The 10-Point -- all with CNBC Squawk Box on in the background.

How do you end your day?
I read for a while and turn off my phone, TV, etc. -- or at least I try.

What's a book you always recommend?
Give and Take by Adam Grant. It’s an insightful read that reinforced my philosophy on inspired leadership.

Related: The Entrepreneurs Behind Internet Behemoth Giphy Explain Why You Can't Be Afraid to Take Big Swings

What's a strategy to keep focused?
Obsessive prioritization. It’s an ongoing effort.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer. I was pursuing a career in law until the age of 20, when I had an epiphany that set me on a different course entirely.

What did you learn from the worst boss you ever had?
Fear is not a motivator. In fact, it’s disastrous in the long run.

Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?
Nike co-founder Phil Knight.

What's a trip that changed you?
As a National Board Member for the US Fund for UNICEF, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to travel to Senegal with my daughter to learn more about the great work the local UNICEF programs were doing. It was a life-changing trip for us and reinforced to me the critical need for us all to do our part in ensuring that children around the world have a brighter future.

What inspires you?
Creativity, innovation, art and culture.

Related: Jimmy Choo's Co-Founder Explains Why There Are No Small Jobs

What was an early job that taught you something important or useful?
I started my career in sales and realized that the reason I excelled was -- amazingly enough -- that I never “sold”: I anticipated people’s needs and built relationships that enabled me to help people serve their customers better.

What's the best advice you ever took?
Focus on making others successful and surround yourself with extraordinary people.

What's the worst piece of advice you ever got?
Only focus on the next job. I never listened to that.

What's a productivity tip you swear by?
Be incredibly efficient with your time. Get all materials in advance so you can focus on engaging in the conversation, rather than presenting.

Is there an app or tool you use in a surprising way to get things done or stay on track?
I love our WW app -- I am a bit obsessed actually.

Related: Mark Cuban Shares the Best Advice He Ever Got

What does work-life balance mean to you?
In my mind, there is no such thing. I prioritize based on what needs to be accomplished -- and my family is part of that decision process. I am one person; I don’t bifurcate my life.

How do you prevent burnout?
We have a home in the Hudson Valley, which is my place of creativity and reflection. Come to think of it, I need to go there more.

When you're faced with a creativity block, what's your strategy to get innovating?
I am obsessively curious. I get out, meet new people and listen to different ideas -- which always gets me energized.

What are you learning now? Why is that important?
I am immersing myself in the health and wellness ecosystem and absolutely loving it. It’s a lofty aspiration, but changing the health trajectory of the world is my North Star.

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