New York, NY – Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, relies on a straightforward morning routine to prime himself for a productive workday. Speaking at the 2023 Fast Company Innovation Festival on Tuesday, Vestberg revealed that he begins every day by rating his mood on a scale from 1 to 10.
This simple self-assessment helps Vestberg gauge whether he’s in the right headspace to collaborate and lead effectively that day. If he scores himself a 1 or 2, suggesting low energy or poor mood, he knows to limit interactions and work solo in his office. But if he lands in the “sweet spot” of 3 to 7, feeling energized and focused, Vestberg explained that’s when he’s at his best managing teams and spearheading initiatives.
The 58-year-old executive first adopted this reflective habit back in 2009 when he became CEO of Swedish telecom giant Ericsson. After finding it invaluable then, Vestberg has continued the practice daily over the past 14 years. He credits the routine with “bringing out the strength in my leadership.”
Vestberg isn’t the only business leader prioritizing self-awareness. Executive coach Jerry Colonna, known by some as the “CEO whisperer,” starts each day with a similar ritual called “radical self-inquiry.” This involves checking in with oneself, even just briefly, to understand your real feelings, motivations, and goals without judgment before jumping into work.
Though this kind of inward focus may seem indulgent or narcissistic at first, experts say it’s crucial for success. “You can have all the technical skills and charisma in the world, but if you’re completely oblivious of yourself, how you come across and interact in the world, it’s a lot harder to build strong relationships, interact with your boss and co-workers and deepen the friendships you need to truly succeed,” noted neuroscientist Juliette Han.
A 2018 Harvard Business Review report found that professionals with higher self-awareness are able to show up with more confidence, make better decisions, manage stress better, and strengthen workplace relationships. Colonna explained that a regular self-reflection practice helps you “do things out of choice, not for unconscious reasons.”
For Vestberg and other executives, that increased self-knowledge pays dividends in the form of improved leadership capabilities. By taking a few minutes each morning to check in with himself, Vestberg is able to show up focused and energized, ready to collaborate and steer Verizon most effectively.
Verizon’s Positive Growth Trajectory Under Vestberg
Since becoming CEO of Verizon in August 2018, Vestberg has led the $200 billion telecommunications giant through major strategic moves setting it up for continued growth and adaptation to a fast-changing industry.
Last year, Verizon completed the $6 billion acquisition of TracFone Wireless, expanding access to value prepaid customers. It also invested $45 billion in wireless spectrum and network enhancements as part of its 5G buildout ambition. Verizon now provides 5G coverage to over 230 million Americans in more than 2700 cities.
Under Vestberg, Verizon has also doubled down on new content and entertainment offerings. In 2021, it acquired the rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket package of out-of-market football games, and launched BlueJeans by Verizon for business video conferencing services.
These investments and partnerships have fueled steady gains. Verizon added 316,000 postpaid phone customers in 2022, and full-year operating revenue rose 3.5% year-over-year to over $136 billion. The company expects service and other revenue to climb by at least 3% annually over the next three years as well.
Vestberg brings over two decades of experience leading telecom firms through periods of immense technological disruption. Before joining Verizon, he spent six years as CEO of Ericsson beginning in 2009. There he expanded Ericsson’s services portfolio and oversaw development of the Support System for 5G technology.
Colleagues describe Vestberg as highly driven yet cool under pressure, fully confident in his vision. He kickstarts every workday grounded and focused thanks to his self-check-in routine. Vestberg plans to stick with this practice, believing it allows him to consistently bring his best self and decision-making to the job.