Vince McMahon Does Fascinating Q&A Session: Wrestlemania 1, Thoughts on Social Media, WWE’s Success

Vince McMahon did a rare question and answer with an armed service/veteran’s website. Here is the transcript:

Bernard Bergan: With your countless years in business working with some of the biggest personalities on the planet, what can you share about keeping your staff focused and motivated, while not stifling their individual creativity?

Vince McMahon: One of my expressions is to “treat every day like it’s your first day on the job.” When you do that, it either confirms what was done yesterday was right—or it gives you an opportunity to take a fresh look at something.

I always ask our employees not to think traditionally in a non-traditional world.

Landy Fitzsimmons: In your opinion, was it more difficult making WWE a success in the beginning, or keeping it a success today?

Vince McMahon: Both are challenging. At WrestleMania 1, we mortgaged everything we owned, hoping it would be a success. It was a huge gamble that paid off. Today, the challenge is to stay relevant, take advantage of new technologies and continue to evolve. The one constant is to approach every day like it’s my first day on the job with fresh thinking and new ideas.

But to answer your question directly, it is extremely difficult to get to the top but even more difficult to stay there.

Marcus Canty: What traits and attributes do you believe a veteran has to offer in your organization? Do you believe in recruiting experienced talent to fill roles, or do you like to train from the ground up?

Vince McMahon: Work ethic, leadership, communication skills and time management, as well as the ability to multi-task and work under pressure are traits I believe veterans can offer any organization. At WWE, we recruit experienced talent from a variety of industries and pride ourselves on promoting from within the company.

Sean Reilly: What advice would you give to transitioning career service members that are approaching the civilian work force for the first time in their lives?

Vince McMahon: Don’t just be satisfied getting a job. Determine what it is you really want to do and be passionate about it. Be tenacious and don’t take “no” for an answer.

Jessica Northey: I’m starting a skateboard company. What are the most effective and low-cost marketing tactics you use for WWE?

Vince McMahon: Social media is today’s “word of mouth” and an important part of WWE’s success. Social and digital media provides us with an opportunity to engage our fans one-on-one and have a direct conversation with them. These same tactics apply to small businesses as well.

Daniel (Dan) Colman: Thank you for your service to those who serve- I’ve benefited first-hand. It’s fair to say that WWE is a unique/niche organization. How do you recommend translating unique/niche military skills to the unique/niche civilian private sector?

Vince McMahon: Understanding unique/niche skills and how they fit into a larger sphere is very important. Those skills need to be transferable to whatever you pursue.

Michael Calonita: Mr. McMahon, thank you very much for taking time to help veterans looking for career advice. I currently work for a small, family run business. How important is it for small businesses to adapt with new technology?

Vince McMahon: In order to be successful you have to change with the times and embrace new technology. From closed circuit television, pay-per-view, second screen experience and now direct to consumer with WWE Network, technology was instrumental in WWE’s growth. WWE was once a small family run business and technology played a key role in helping us grow to become a global, publicly-traded entertainment and media company.

Embracing new technology will allow you to “speak” and “listen” to your customers.

Chris Persaud: When hiring mid-level management do you look more to the degree they hold, or do you value experience and personality? Does one outweigh the other?

Vince McMahon: Knowledge, communication skills, experience, work ethic, personality and culture fit are more important to me than a degree from a specific institution.

Jeff Decker: What do you specifically look for when partnering with veteran non-profit organizations?

Vince McMahon: All veteran nonprofit organizations are well-intended. Some are better than others. We look for the organization’s commitment and its ability to communicate directly with veterans.

Patrick Hlatky: Hello Mr. McMahon! I’m sure there are countless aspects contributing to WWE’s overwhelming success. Are there any attributes that you consider completely necessary?

Vince McMahon: It’s important to know your audience, keep them engaged and always stay relevant. On a personal level, a strong work ethic and first day on the job thinking are two attributes that an employee must bring each day. It’s also important to have a good sense of humor. Take your work, but not yourself, seriously.

Derek Smith: I’m torn between continuing in a career field that I do fairly well in or following my heart by going into business for myself. Are there any signs that I should be looking for that will let me when know the time is right to make that jump?

Vince McMahon: My advice to anyone is to follow your heart and passion, and reach for the brass ring. You shouldn’t be afraid to try new things. This may mean working long hours in your current career field and then going into business for yourself in your spare time.

You’ll know when the time is right to make the jump in its entirety, but be totally prepared. You need a well-thought out plan of action. Obtain as much professional advice as you possibly can and don’t let your ego get in the way.

Sam Hoffman: Personality is a huge part of what makes a successful wrestler. Since veterans are trained to be cooperative, listen and speak when spoken to, many of us come off as stiff and not engaging in interviews. Do you know of anything being done at the corporate level to make HR personnel aware of our unique situations for us to get the most out of our interviews?

Vince McMahon: Before you go on an interview, literally answer the questions you think you’ll be asked out loud and in front of a mirror. You will be able to see and hear yourself and be able to answer the question “would you hire you?” before you meet with your perspective employer.

Our HR team is well-versed when it comes to recruiting military candidates. They take the time to walk veterans though the structure of the hiring process, coach them on how to relate to hiring managers and share insights on how to avoid military jargon.

Sky Sharma: Mr. McMahon, when did you realize the awesome potential for WWE to become a global brand and what advice do you have for veterans thinking of launching their own brand?

Brand building is an essential part of marketing. Make sure your brand is something easily understood by the public and make sure it is flexible enough to adapt to the ever-changing demands of the marketplace.

Ryan Miller: Thank you for taking the time to answer questions and for your continued support. In regards to networking, what advice would you give a young, career-minded individual who is inexperienced with reaching out to professionals in their industry, with the goal of getting their foot in the door?

Vince McMahon: It’s important to develop mentors, build trust and foster relationships. It seems daunting, but is easier in practice than you think. Take the time to introduce yourself and clearly and concisely let the person know you’re interested in speaking with them to gain the benefit of their expertise. Let them know you will call their office to set an appointment and be mindful of their schedule.

In my opinion, anyone would be interested in sharing their knowledge with a military veteran. And just one more thing, make sure you thank those who are offering you advice.

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