Stephanie McMahon on learning business styles from Vince and Linda McMahon: “After I graduated from university, I started with a really unique internship opportunity with my mother who was then CEO. I could sit for about three months, I could attend any meeting she had unless, of course, it was confidential in nature. I wrote questions on a notepad and after each meeting, if she had time, she would sit with me, she would go over each question, she would reply that in my free time I would read the contracts, I would was reading all of the relevant media reports that were reported that arrived at his office, just trying to learn as much as possible. Then I spent six months on the road with my dad, Vince McMahon, CEO, and he has always been the creative force in our business and that’s where I really found my passion, which is to telling stories because I believe everything is storytelling, whether it’s sports, content, programming, any kind of media, marketing products, it’s all storytelling.
On how Vince and Linda were different in their approach to teaching his business: ” Very different. Yeah, even in terms of teaching, so my mom would sit with me and answer those questions about the legal block. My father didn’t have time for this. Besides, it was not his style. He is truly an “instant” teacher. So when things are going, that’s when he’s going to follow you about the lesson. [He’d say], ‘Here’s why I said that. Here is why I did it. Did you see how this person handled this situation? So very different styles. But both, you know, just as effective.
On Vince telling him she ‘failed’ him and learning from his mistakes with micromanaging: “I think sometimes when you make mistakes, it’s when you grow up. Not all the time. You can certainly grow taller without making mistakes. But I think there is a lot of positivity when you make a mistake. Because if you have it, you first evaluate it, you study it, you learn why you made the mistake and how to fix it, and you make sure you don’t make that mistake again. But I think it can be very painful. A key lesson my father taught me: I was micromanaging. I was doing what I thought was right, I mean, all the best of intentions, but I was really micro-managing this particular team. My dad told me that I failed it and that it was a very, very hard, painful lesson, especially because he’s my dad, not just my boss, right? Thinking that I had failed it was something that I took so emotionally and it was painful for me and I think for a lot of people making mistakes and doing things you wish you weren’t doing is painful. But you grow from them if you can, and it’s worth it. This is why I have no regrets in life. I made mistakes, don’t get me wrong. I certainly made mistakes. But I think I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t made these mistakes and had the opportunity to learn from them. I think it’s so important.