Episode 9: Making Leadership Scalable with Daniel Wachter
Daniel Wachter is a sales and marketing, training, innovation, and business development expert who has been a personal friend of Mike’s for many years. He’s made his mark by embracing disruption by promoting innovation to drive real change in company cultures. He’s currently the Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing of Bemis Healthcare Packaging.
Today, Daniel and Mike talk about a style of leadership that has changed Daniel’s life: freedom of action and drafting a vision. And all of this points to how you can make great leadership within your company more scalable.
- Daniel has a unique and ‘in tune’ approach to leadership and it was one of the first things Mike noticed about him. He shares the life journey that brought him from a student co-op job at a safety packaging company to managing multiple departments within, all while getting his MBA. The journey brought him from Germany to the US, where he’s currently a Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Bemis Healthcare Packaging.
- Leaders don’t get to where they are by themselves, and Daniel has his own story to share about his first leadership position and what his father told him: be of value and justify your salary. Since his father was a teacher, it might have been a bit generic, but Daniel learned how to make it relevant in business and he shares that excellent advice. And surprisingly, his advice is shaped by his own love of the arts.
- In an expanding, global business world, one of the challenges leaders face is being able to span the gaps between countries, cultures, and languages. Daniel has had the privilege to receive excellent cultural awareness training in addition to working in many different areas. The most important thing he learned there was that we are all products of our culture and that is how we anchor our values. You cannot spend your time comparing how things are different, and you must understand that language is key to people’s thinking.
- What’s it like being a non-family member in a family business? There are challenges; the mindset of the owners is very different, and they’re involved to different degrees. Daniel worked in one such business for 21 years and he shares his lessons around trust, loyalty, and freedom of action. He also points to the fact that sometimes, successful, family-owned businesses must overcome a mental barrier in order to build a strong management team to scale, too.
- Daniel mentions ‘freedom of action’ frequently. It’s the key to success for any leader, but it’s also difficult to handle. The crux of the issue is that leaders who aren’t owners need to run the business as if it were they’re own but do so without falling into the trap of thinking that the business IS theirs. It’s such an important distinction to make, especially when there are many opinions about the right things to do for the company.
- Turning a company into a talent magnet isn’t easy, as Daniel learned at Rubenshuis in Belgium. How can a single artist sell more paintings than he could ever paint in a lifetime, and how does this relate to leadership? Daniel answers this riddle, and you’ll want to take note of the 3 key ideas you can use not just to improve your own leadership strategy, but also to make it scalable.
- What is a business vision if not a draft? Daniel talks about the importance of leadership in vision, but also how that vision must be able to be implemented. That’s why he views a vision as a draft, and this knowledge can help you share your own vision with your employees and have a much better experience getting it implemented. Daniel also shares how treating a vision as a draft can help YOU get much clearer on what you want to achieve.
- As leaders, we often find ourselves caught up in the fast-paced, entrepreneur or managerial lifestyle. We don’t always take time to pull ourselves out of that situation and challenge ourselves in new and different ways. Daniel has some solid advice for you, and even if you don’t enjoy the arts or the orchestra, something as simple as writing, reading, and bicycling can put you in an entirely new state of mind.
- The impact of digitalization on business has been felt for years now, and it’s not a static change. You’ve got to keep yourself current. Daniel recently attended an executive program at Harvard about driving digital strategies and he shares the insights he has gathered from both his experience and the lessons from his colleagues about the future of business. One of the biggest takeaways is that you shouldn’t view digitalization as an IT topic, like HR, it’s a business
- Daniel and Mike leave us with one important question: if you’re going to take advantage of the digital revolution, what kind of talent do you need in your organization, and what kind of leadership will it take to remain successful in a rapidly changing world?
Rubenshuis ("Rubens House") is the former home and studio of Peter Paul Rubens (1577ñ1640) in Antwerp.
Bemis Healthcare Packaging
Harvard Business School - Driving Digital Strategy
Columbia Business School - Digital Business Strategy: Leading the Next-Generation Enterprise
The Logic of Failure: Recognizing and Avoiding Error in Complex Situations by Dietrich Dorner
Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative by Scott Eblin
Living Forward by Michael Hyatt
Emotionally Healthy Leader Book by Pete Scazzero
Podcast from the authors above
Lead to Win
Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast
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