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Chris LoCurto

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April 15, 2011

Leadership Spotlight: Daniel Bell

April 15, 2011 | By | 5 Comments">5 Comments

The Leadership Spotlight continues this week with Daniel Bell. Daniel is bad at keeping secrets. When there is something he loves, he can’t wait to tell the world. Building start-ups during the dot-com boom, leading national public relations and advertising agencies into their first interactive client offerings, and helping start a world-class museum are great ways he has used design to inspire audiences.

Still, nothing compares to building a movement that empowers folks to make smarter choices with their money, business and more. And no one is worse at keeping that a secret than Dave Ramsey.

So when Daniel got the chance to join the team in 2008, it was an easy decision. He works with the creative team to build inspiring, entertaining and educational experiences across the web, in print, on television, through live events, videos, books and even a few T-shirts.

CLo: What is your role in leadership?

DB: I am one of two Creative Directors for Dave’s team of 30+ creatives. Our team supports all of our business units in connecting our products and services with our audiences through multiple media experiences.

CLo: What is the best advice you’ve ever received about leadership?

DB: “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” —Harry Truman

Operating with that focus in mind removes much of the ego and ownership issues that get in the way of simply helping people and moving a mission forward. The ironic part is that it typically creates more authentic business relationships and associated accolades.

Dave shares a similar thought with his statement: “If you help enough people, you don’t have to worry about money.” It’s countercultural to promote and serve others, but the results are substantial.

CLo: What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

DB: There is an increasing level of pressure for leaders to be public personas through publishing and social media. It’s true that it might gain you some recognition among peers, but using it to promote yourself versus empowering your customer will create a distraction from the real purpose of your business.

Similarly, it is important to filter what advice you absorb. Given the constant connectivity within this era of business, managing your time and focus is critical to success.

CLo: How do you continue to improve yourself as a leader?

DB: Design, marketing and technology are relationship-driven disciplines. Improving my ability to lead within these environments requires growth in three directions:

1. Personal: It’s important to always be improving the technical skills of my trade: technology, design and communication. One of the best ways to do that is to keep in tune with the best practices and innovations within the industry.

2. Team: We are building a village of targeted missiles who are dedicated to speaking Truth in the marketplace. Our ability to do that is dependent on their abilities and motivation.

3. Customers: No part of our business is more important than supporting our customers in their goals. Here at Lampo that includes advocating for stronger relationships between our business units and their customers by injecting fresh ideas and application for communication experiences.

Ultimately, success requires being an incredible listener to the industry, our team and our customers. Growth happens as a natural by-product of helping those constituencies connect.

CLo: How do you invest in others?

DB: You can only help a person grow as much as you understand that person and where he/she is headed. Then, you simply hold them accountable to the progress that they choose to make. The good news is that there is an easy way to get that information—ask them!

One exercise we do on our team is to have each team member list the strengths and challenges within their abilities. We define goals for where they want to grow and the threats to their overall success in this field. Then we meet every six months to review their progress.

Allowing them to own that progress is empowering and removes the leader’s (my) weaknesses as a barrier for their growth.

CLo: What was the last book you read?

DB: I re-read the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. No one who has spent more than a week with me doubts my esteem for that book!

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