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Leadership Advice from Eric Carbaugh, Former Marine and CEO of a Respected Creative Agency

After leaving the U.S. Marines, Eric Carbaugh stepped out on a mission to create a brand behind the brands. He then founded Pixel Spectrum, a branding, design, and creative agency. His whole goal was to treat every client like a rock star, whether they were a Fortune 100 company or small mom-and-pop business.

What is your overall philosophy for leading an organization?

Always serve before you lead! Never ask someone who works for you to do something you wouldn't do yourself. While understanding, leaders know that they cannot always do everything themselves and find the right person to help them achieve what needs to happen. Never to lord over them, but practice servant leadership which will empower them to excel even if it causes them to leave your organization. You are fostering an environment of professional and personal growth and genuinely being excited about the success of everyone in your organization, even if they find that success outside. It's a philosophy contrary to today's society, but it is how I built my consultancy to help businesses succeed in today's world while in times of uncertainty. I do not believe in individual success when working on a team; I can only succeed when the entire team succeeds.

How would you rate the importance of transparency in a CEO role?

A CEO’s transparency is of the utmost importance in an organization when it deals with the business. A good CEO understands how to get employees excited about their jobs, while a great CEO understands they are in charge to serve their employees better. That being said, there are things within an organization that not every employee needs to know. Yet, if there's a feeling that the CEO is not being truthful or is hiding things, this can lead to a toxic work environment.

Can you please tell us about your company's mission and your brand?

As a serial entrepreneur, I understand how it can be overwhelming to start when you have an idea and even more to turn your baby over to someone to help bring that dream to reality. My goal is to treat every client as I would want to be treated. Business integrity is the core cornerstone of our process to create passion and innovate. Any story starts with a single idea; the passionate story of your brand is the fundamental element to create and innovate! A natural passion for a company, service, or product can unlock success when tapped where innovation flows freely. Creative Strategy is the fundamental element of what we do that helps to unlock creativity for our clients.

What is your approach to making big-picture decisions?

The hardest part of what I do for clients is trying to enable it for myself. Big-picture decisions need to be made. When we are too close to our thoughts and ideas, it is challenging to unlock this freedom of Creative Strategy. As a creative, I can not let go of an idea until I ideate on it. I heard about how Walt Disney was a man of so many ideas that he could easily get distracted by them. His brother came up with the "top drawer" concept, in which Walt would write his thoughts down, and they would go to the top drawer of his desk until it was time. My process is similar. When an idea comes across my thoughts, I come up with a logo and a landing page to file away, in order to focus on other things and even sleep. It's a blessing, and it's also a curse. Some of these ideas will never see the light of day, while others are turned into MVP ideas to test the market.

How do you see your company progressing in the future years?

If I do my work correctly, then most people may never know who I am. As a brand behind the brands that succeed, I find my most significant accomplishment in the success of my clients. However, I am in the middle of a few new ventures. I am in the process of planning as we speak, and when the timing is right, they will see the light of day. As a recent author, I have found a new passion for writing and how to use it in service to help others. Traveling the same path as many serial entrepreneurs, I cannot stop working, no matter how difficult the road may be. I will continue to press through until I find a way to bring the big ideas to reality.

What is the most important thing to you on a professional level?

Integrity! In the U.S. Marines, we have our core values of Honor, Courage, Commitment. They all equal integrity. If I stepped over people on my way to the top while losing my integrity, I would have ultimately failed. All of the problems we face today are due to a lack of integrity because of the dog-eat-dog world in which we live. Integrity is a legacy I leave for my kids, and it's the driving force of why I give my respect to everyone as a gift and let them prove me wrong. I have left money on the table because of my integrity, because I will not sell a client on a service they do not need.

What is your message to our Heart Of Hollywood Magazine readers?

We live in a world of lights, flash and a carefully cultivated view, but never lose sight of who you are. Stay true to your "No Compromise" beliefs, and never turn your back on them. It is easy to get distracted by the attention and by striving to get on top, but if you lose your core, you ultimately lose it all. Find contentment with who you are, rather than become the person someone else wants you to be. In the end, you will have to live with either who you are or who you will become.

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