Honing Your Conviction Meter with Elizabeth Cholawsky, the Chief Executive Officer of HG Insights
Are you willing to get fired for what you believe is best for your company? For Elizabeth Cholawsky, the Chief Executive Officer of HG Insights, the answer to this question is a resounding ‘yes!’ Find out why she’s willing to put it all on the line and how that ‘conviction meter’ is unlocking success for HG Insights.
In our universe, there are 200 billion trillion stars. That number is unfathomable to the human brain. The 200 part is something for the mind to try to hold onto, but a billion trillion… no way… we can’t do it. For atoms in the observable universe, the number is somewhere in the range of ten quadrillion vigintillion to one-hundred thousand quadrillion vigintillion atoms.
There’s a lot of information in our own universe; let alone other universes. We can call all of this data, and at this point, we’re all aware of the potential value of data. But data without perspective is totally useless. HG Insights has always been keenly aware of this truth. Realizing the value of HG Insights’ in offering a unique perspective on troves of data, Elizabeth Cholawsky joined the company and fearlessly took it on a different path.
Cholawsky’s love of statistical models started at university. She was recruited by the CIA with the promise that the intelligence agencies were more data driven than opinion driven, but ultimately became more interested in the technology itself. Her ambition to change the world led her to the commercial industry, where she was ultimately drawn to join HG Insights. Her first decision when she became Chief Executive Officer was bold.
“I canceled a quarter of a million-dollar contract with nothing to replace it,” she said. “We were still like 45 people, and I was new to the board and it’s like, you got to trust me on this one. This’ll be okay over time, but we’ve got to make a stand here on our beliefs that this is a different industry going forward.”
Cholawsky offers up being a “little lucky” as part of the reason for her career success. There’s more to it than that though. Rather than being simply lucky, her choices come off as incredibly gutsy, sticking to her convictions, but allowing for change along the way.
“HG Insights, when I joined, was very dependent on channel sales,” Cholawsky said. “So, we put most of the information that came out of our data processes through channel partners. The big bet was to really deprecate the channel that we had and go directly out to the enterprise companies that we sell to today. And that’s the shift of enterprises to really understand that they need data, and they need facts to drive their marketing and sales efforts. And they need them collated as not just data, but into insights.’
HG Insights isn’t here to help companies find small tweaks to improve their business incrementally, it’s designed to provide market intelligence to create new markets entirely. Cholawsky focused on larger issues rather than simply joining the RevTech players who are more narrowly focused.
“The bet we made was to stick in the brain area and solve the harder problems,” Cholawsky said. “You do need to have a really end-to-end view of what’s going on with your particular market and your particular go-to-market and your particular products to be able to solve those problems.”
But how in the world did Elizabeth develop the instincts and fortitude to make those decisions and stick to them even if you get fired.
“You’ve got to hone your conviction meter and get fired for the right reason, knowing that you have a conviction that could have helped that company do better than it is and sticking to your guns there,” she said. “You gotta push the envelope and getting fired is, I guess, the ultimate pushing the envelope and you see just how far you can go. But I wouldn’t do it very often, right? So just once it’s important.”
HG Insights is a place where convictions matter. Convictions are funny things because sometimes they can look like intense resistance and other times they can appear as radical change.
To find out how Cholawsky and HG Insights rely on good contextual data and the insights it can provide, how they solve the big brain problems and how Cholawsky has honed her convictions over time, tune into Business X factors.
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