Leaders Perception Magazine is currently running an interview series called – Leadership in Times of Crisis
Today, we had the opportunity to interview Michael Giannulis who is a CEOat Copy Machines.
Meet Michael Giannulis, a seasoned CEO, copywriter, online marketer, and entrepreneur with a remarkable journey of perseverance and success. From starting his first business at the age of 10 to founding multiple ventures across diverse industries, Michael’s career is a testament to his resilience, adaptability, and commitment to lifelong learning. Today, he shares his invaluable insights on leadership, crisis management, and the power of effective communication.
Interviewee Name: Michael Giannulis
Company: Copy Machines
Michael Giannulis’s favourite quote: Life rewards those who take action, not those who take notes. – Michael Giannulis
Thank you so much for joining us today! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your backstory?
Michael Giannulis : As a CEO, copywriter, online marketer, and entrepreneur with nearly two decades of experience, my backstory is one of perseverance, learning, and growth. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I started my first business at the age of 10, selling poems I wrote and printed out at my school. Since those “early days”, I’ve founded or co-founded over a dozen businesses across various industries, including real estate, e-commerce, SaaS and online marketing.
Throughout my career, I’ve faced numerous challenges, including economic downturns, corporate lawsuits, and now the global pandemic. However, I’ve always approached these challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. I’ve developed a deep understanding of how to manage teams, communicate effectively, and pivot strategies in response to changing circumstances.
My passion for entrepreneurship and helping others succeed has led me to become a mentor and coach to other business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. I believe that anyone can achieve success with the right mindset, strategies, and support.
Overall, my backstory is one of resilience, adaptability, and a commitment to lifelong learning and growth.
Could you please share a specific crisis situation you’ve faced as a leader and walk us through the strategies you employed to navigate through it successfully? What were the key decisions and actions you took, and what were the outcomes or lessons learned from that experience?
Michael Giannulis : In 2009, I found myself in one of the most challenging situations of my leadership career. As a managing partner at a marketing firm in Florida, I suddenly had to step up to become the interim CEO when the main owner and her partner went through a messy divorce, leaving the company on the brink of ruin.
The bank accounts were empty, and the staff were not getting paid. The future looked bleak, and everyone turned to me for help. I knew I had to act fast and decisively to save the company and the jobs of the people who had put their trust in us.
Drawing on my relationship with both sides, I used my skills to negotiate a peace offering and bring stability to the company. But that was just the beginning. I had to use leadership skills and persuasion to paint a new vision for the future, with new product ideas and new niches to pursue. Our old leader was gone, and it was up to me to chart a new course for the company.
To do that, I involved the entire team and asked for their input. We launched a new product that went on to sell millions of dollars. I stayed with the company for another two years before branching off and starting my own company. Through this experience, I learned more than I ever could have imagined.
I learned that crisis situations can bring out the best in people. I learned the importance of communication, collaboration, and trust in leadership. I learned that every challenge is an opportunity to grow and to learn. And most importantly, I learned the power of a strong team and the value of every single person in an organization.
Through my leadership, we saved at least 15 jobs and set the company on a new path to success. This experience taught me that with the right mindset and the right team, any crisis can be overcome, and any challenge can be turned into an opportunity for growth and success.
From your observations, what common mistakes or pitfalls have you seen leaders fall into during a crisis?
Michael Giannulis : From my observations, one common mistake that leaders fall into during a crisis is a lack of transparency and communication. During a crisis, employees and stakeholders are often anxious and uncertain about the future, and it’s essential for leaders to provide regular updates and honest feedback about the situation. Failing to communicate openly can lead to rumors, confusion, and a lack of trust in leadership.
Another common pitfall is a failure to prioritize people’s needs and well-being. In a crisis, leaders may feel pressure to make difficult decisions quickly, but it’s crucial to consider the impact on employees and stakeholders. Leaders who prioritize profits and short-term gains over people’s health and safety risk damaging their reputation and losing the trust of their team.
Lastly, a lack of contingency planning can be a significant mistake during a crisis. Leaders who fail to anticipate potential scenarios and develop plans to address them may find themselves reacting to events instead of proactively managing the situation. Effective crisis management requires flexibility and adaptability, and leaders who have contingency plans in place are better equipped to respond quickly and effectively to changing circumstances.
Leaders Perception would like to thank Michael Giannulis and Copy Machines for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!
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