Jon_Stewart_PhotoIn 1999, The Daily Show was taken over by comedic genius, Jon Stewart. Former host, Craig Kilborn, was a tough act to follow and some thought Stewart would flop under the pressure. 16 years later, I’d say he exceeded all expectations. A few days ago, Stewart announced his retirement, making his fans and followers feel a whole mix of emotions. This made me think: What made him so successful? Why did he become a legend, while others crashed and burned?

According to Inc, the secret to his phenomenal run of success is quite simple.

Take a stand on what matters 

Controversial and serious issues are what get the blood boiling. Without speaking openly about them, Stewart would’ve been lost. “From Bush-Gore to the Iraq War to Hurricane Katrina, the funnyman emerged as a news source that many Millennials said they trusted more than traditional network anchors,” said Michael Schein, founder of Michael Schein Communications. “What set Jon Stewart apart was that when it came to the most pressing issues of the day he rarely supported the status quo.” He became what some would call a “legend” because he embraced topical, controversial topics.

Tell the truth 

Jon Stewart had a message he wanted to deliver during every episode of The Daily Show. It was always something that either he or his fan base would care about. The same should go for you, your employees and clients. If there is something you all feel hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves, do something about it. “Get your message out into the world however you can. Speak about it, publish articles about it, blog it, podcast it. Get the world (or at least your industry) to see you as a voice of change. People pay big money for innovators in their field, and playing it safe is never innovative,” said Schein. 

Do you want to run a successful business and become a manager who sticks out from the rest? Follow in Jon Stewart’s footsteps. Don’t shy away from controversial topics and make your mission known. Your employees and customers will be by your side every step of the way. 

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