Heidi Zak is the co-founder and co-CEO of ThirdLove. In 2013, frustrated by the bra shopping experience, Zak left Google to start ThirdLove, a lingerie brand that creates its products based on millions of women's real measurements. In the first installment of a new series for CNBC Make It, Zak shares a tough moment that changed how she led her team.
People often envision the job of CEO as the most enviable position in a company. While I've found a lot of fulfillment by taking on that role at ThirdLove, I also quickly learned there were dramatic differences between my assumptions and the reality I faced.
As a leader, I have always aimed to inspire, mentor, lead — and protect. But when I became a CEO, I faced a difficult situation where I learned that not every important move could be coached or arrived at through consensus. Sometimes, you need to just go with your gut, make a decision and tell people the plan.
Back in 2014, our team at ThirdLove built our own front end and back end for our website. To be honest, it was a poor move on our part. Our site couldn't handle even minor upticks in traffic and lacked basic e-commerce features (not what you want for an e-commerce only brand).