Why Your Mindset Is the Key to Achieve Operational Excellence

Having the right business mindset is important for maintaining and running a business.

Guest speaker Daniel Delank, and the Process Breakdown Podcast host, Jeremy Weisz, talk about the importance of positive client relationships, sharing plans, and keeping absolute transparency with clients.

Mr. Delank is the COO of loadbee, a company that advertises the content of a brand’s product for them on Amazon article pages, manages content syndication, puts product information in different retailer stores, and helps clients promote their products with the best content they have.

Mr. Delank also explains why operational excellence starts with the right mindset.

Listen to the audio interview

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Show Notes:

0:06 – Intro

0:26 – Dr. Jeremy Weisz shares the best solution that makes documenting standard operating procedures drop-dead easy, highlighting a 14-day free trial. No credit card required.

1:40 – Dr. Weisz introduces today’s guest, Daniel Delank, managing director and COO at loadbee.

1:55 – Mr. Delank explains what loadbee is and what they do.

2:36 – Mr. Delank gives examples of clients the company works with, and some of the work they’ve done.

6:23 – The guest speaker shares some challenges retailers face when stacking up inventory and allocating prices.

8:00 – The guest explains what he means by “operational excellence starts with the right mindset.”

9:46 – Mr. Delank gives instances of when he’s listened to his staff/clients and taken their advice and stresses the importance of listening to them.

12:43 – The guest shares times where client relationships had been completely tarnished and how he sorted out the issue. He also talks about rebuilding a connection with team members and clients.

16:30 – The guest speaker explains how to rebuild client trust by reiterating the project plan and taking it step by step, remaining transparent and being honest.

19:58 – The guest explains the best way to lower emotions and shift the focus from arguing to focusing on improvement.

22:10 – Mr. Delank shares the company website and his LinkedIn profile.

22:40 – Mr. Delank recommends books that he’s read and loved.

25:40 – Outro

Guest Profile:

Daniel Delank - COO of loadbee

Daniel Delank is the COO at loadbee, a company that helps brands manage their product descriptions and online content in various retail spaces, including Amazon.

Mr. Delank is a business leader with a track record of assisting organizations to achieve and exceed their goals. Daniel builds highly productive teams that consistently achieves top performance. Mr. Delank also has over 15 years of experience as a COO, keynote speaker, and executive coach for a variety of Fortune 500 and DAX30 companies in the United States, Germany, and Argentina.

Transcript of the interview

Speaker 1: Welcome to The Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks, and giving your employees all the information they need to be successful at their jobs. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, host of The Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks, and giving your staff everything they need to be successful at their job. Check our past episodes. Past guests include David Allen of Getting Things Done, Michael Gerber of The E Myth, and many more.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And before I introduce today’s guest, this episode is brought to you by SweetProcess. And Daniel, you may be able to relate to this. If anyone out there has had team members ask you the same questions over and over again, and it may be the 10th time you spend explaining it, there is a better way. The solution is SweetProcess. It’s a software that makes it drop-dead easy to train and onboard new staff, save time with existing staff. And I was talking to one of the founders, Owen, not only do universities, banks, hospitals, and software companies use them, but first responder government agencies use them in life-or-death situations to run their operation. So, you can use SweetProcess to document all the repetitive tasks that eat up your precious time and your team’s time, so you can focus on growing your team. And there’s a free 14-day trial, there’s no credit card required. Go to sweetprocess.com, it’s sweet like candy, S-W-E-E-T, process.com. I am excited to introduce today’s guest, Daniel Delank. He is managing director and COO of Loadbee. Daniel, thanks for joining me.

Daniel Delank: Hi, and thanks and welcome to the show.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah, welcome to Germany, near Germany.

Daniel Delank: Exactly. So, I’m… Go ahead.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: What does Loadbee do?

Daniel Delank: So Loadbee is a company that… It’s actually a SaaS company. So, we provide services to our clients and we do content syndication. So, we actually put product information in different retailer stores and help our clients to, of course, promote their products with the best content they have, be it videos, be it virtual reality and 360° GIFs and animations, videos, whatever they have. So, we bring that content from the offline world into the online world, and present them with the right spotlight.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So give me an example?

Daniel Delank: So for example, we’ve worked in Germany with Autopunt [BV 00:02:41] , Which is a online retailer, and we work with clients, and they store their products, for example, a computer and the products on our webpage, on our platform, and we push that information through different kinds of source. So, we have more than 300 clients that put their product informations in our database, and we have more than 1,800 retailers that we push that information towards. So, it’s a great way for our clients to be able to store and administrate once the product information and to be able to push it through different shops. The benefits, of course, for the client is that they see an additional add to cart rate, in particularly in the shops, but also increase in the conversion, because with better content and rich content, of course, in the buying process in the online world, in the e-commerce world, the better the customers are informed, the better of course they can make their decision.

Daniel Delank: A good example, for example, is the, let’s say if you have an energy bar, and there’s of course a big difference between a cheaper price point and a high cost price point. So now, how you can differentiate in an online store, if you want to ask for a high price point, and of course you need to differentiate, right? You need to help the buyer having or making the right decision. So by enriching the content, enriching the decision process with the right information like images, photos, videos, et cetera, you can argue why you have or ask for a higher price point. And [TLV 00:04:26] Really help our clients to promote their products into different e-commerce shops.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So in the energy bar standpoint, you have an energy… Let’s say there’s an energy bar company, and then you have a partnership with maybe like whatever, 1800, 2000 retailers, and does that go on their online portal? Like the [crosstalk 00:04:47] information for that. And it goes on there. So anyone who shops for that particular store would basically going on that website shopping, and then they run across this energy bar and they can buy a box of energy bars on that particular website.

Daniel Delank: Exactly. Let me explain it maybe more profoundly, technically how it works. So the retailer actually pushes a snippet, let’s say in their online store. And once the client has stored the information or the product information, our database, of course, by a request, we can push then that information, we call it the syndication towards the retailer. And of course there’s a big headache because every retailer has a different, let’s say shop system, a different form, how to store the products. And we help to overcome that challenge for our clients, the brands, the manufacturers. So by having already a, quite a big number of retailers attached to our database, it is of course, very convenient to put the product information in our database.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: That’s cool. So the client gets more product sales and then the retailer, do they then make a percentage? They probably decide what the pricing become like in an online grocery store, essentially in that particular case. So they would make some money as well, they’ll expand their product line without having to hold inventory and they’ll make money also. Is that right?

Daniel Delank: Exactly. So the challenge for the retail in particular is that in some cases, for certain products, it costs into discussion with our clients, let’s say the retailers. They figured out that there is a huge amount of money required in order to put certain products in their shops, right? Imagine that you have to collect all the product information, you need to make photos, you need to make images, you need to enrich the content, you need to put it on the webpage. And of course, that’s also a problem that we solve for the retailers by just adding a snippet in their web shop, they can actually [F 00:07:02] Really great content to have basically, I mean, to make it simple digest would need to add their logo on top of the page, and we would be able to complete the [Philip 00:07:14] The website with content.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Do you only do this in certain countries?

Daniel Delank: We do that globally. Of course, we have a certain, let’s say agglomeration of clients in [dock 00:07:26] Area, but we are on a way of expansion. So we work with global clients as well.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Thanks for explaining. That’s really cool. Now you’re kind of helping me create many Amazons’ sort of.

Daniel Delank: We will. And we can.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. I love that. I want to talk about operational excellence. Being a COO, you probably focus a lot on making sure things are running smoothly, efficiently, but one of the things I know you think a lot about is the operational excellence starts with the right mindset. So what do you mean by that?

Daniel Delank: In particular, if you have a smaller organization, so in my former times I’ve worked for youth organization, but also there, it is very important to put always everything in question. Meaning I’m on the right path, do I put the right measures in place in order to achieve operational excellence? What does operation excellence actually mean in my certain environment? So in our case, we as a SaaS company, of course, thrive for automation, a high level of automation, because every touch point that we do helps us, or doesn’t help us actually to scale.

Daniel Delank: So by having the right mindset, I mean, to have this, let’s say that mindset of making the right questions, understanding the different procedures, trying to find best ways or improvements that you can implement in order to really be as efficient and as effective as possible in order to make the minimum input and the maximum output. And I think it’s very important from a mindset perspective to really be self-reflective steps honest as well, to raise their hand and say, well, this is a process which is not running efficiently in particular, if you are in a cross scenario, like we are, because of course there… It is very important to listen to your staff and to try implementing what they tell you in this aspiration of excellence.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Expand on that for a second. So give me an example of when in the past, you’ve listened to staff and implemented something that is really made a difference because they’re on the ground and they kind of know how to make things better.

Daniel Delank: Absolutely. And I think there was a good manager saying, listen to your staff, listen to your clients, shut the fuck up and do what I tell you. And I laugh at because it’s so true.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: That’s the name of your new book?

Daniel Delank: Pardon?

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: That’s the name of your next book?

Daniel Delank: Maybe. No I think that somebody else should write that book. So, but the thing is that, so to give you a concrete example, we have organized ourselves around different industries, because there are specifics in the different industries that you cannot, let’s say mix up. For example, we are working heavily in the consumer electronics area. And here, there are certain vocabulary being used, there are certain retailers that are relevant, there are certain brands that are relevant, and of course it’s really important to speak their language, understanding that the challenges and that really various from the different industries. And I’ve also joining the team some months ago, beefed the idea that maybe this isn’t the right way in particular to maybe find new harmonization areas or maybe better synchronization maybe we should mix this up, but I was convinced that this is the wrong approach because you cannot mix up different industries because they have different needs.

Daniel Delank: They have different, let’s say talking points. And for that reason, it is very essential to not try to implement, let’s say excellence by all means, but to reflect, and according to the feedback you receive, find other ways how you can find excellence. And the excellence of course, that we now try to achieve within the different, let’s say focus teams. So the industry teams is, how we can improve the process, how we onboard a client, how we actually onboard a retailer, how we put our story in place so that the best way can understand what we actually do, and so on. So I think it’s in this way, it’s very important to listen to your staff and trying to adapt also your decision making process.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: One thing I want to talk about with the mindset of operational excellence is this becomes very important, when a client relationship gets destroyed and gets tarnished inside one. I would love for you to walk me through a scenario where you come… Like client relationships not good, and you come in.

Daniel Delank: Absolutely. So, I mean, it was not in the current gig, but in my before let’s say working experience where I was asked to support a project team and the client relationship was completely destroyed. The project was running for some months. So cost was completely out of control there were no project plan in place, there was no staffing in place. So you joining the team and you really say, well, we should really start doing our homework.

Daniel Delank: And I think also this has a lot to do with operational excellence because at the end, it’s all simple steps, small steps that you should take in order to get things done. And of course, within this difficult environment, the first task was to get, let’s say the relationship of the client reactivated, build up a trust level in building up a confidence level with the client. So for me at the things between human beings also between client and supplier relationship is of course, trust, and trust has a lot to do with reliability and bef reopening the relationship with the client and being reliable, saying, this is not what’s going to happen.

Daniel Delank: So there will be a dip because we first need to reactivate our forces. We need to streamline our processes so that we can make a completely relaunch of the project plan. And then based on the project plan, make a reinforcement of our workforce in order to be able to execute a project plan accordingly. And that then also leads to a new cost line for us as a supplier, and of course, also for the client. And I think with simple steps, putting this into work packages and really executing, then accordingly based on the promises and the plan that you have designed [boss 00:14:41] , We did the key for success in order to regain trust with the client in order to, reinforce the relationship, also to build up then again a certain passion and team again, because imagine, if you are working in a team that has failed, of course, that gets a lot of pressure inside of let’s say the company, but as well as from a client side.

Daniel Delank: And I think here, it was really important and key for success to talk first of course, with the client to understand his view his needs, but as well, yeah. Bring in this mindset within the team that it’s not all rubbish, what has been done it’s really now getting the homework done. Of course, there’s a certain level of work that needs to be happen, but it’s us, it’s only us that we can fix the problem in front of the client. And so the key was to keep the people that has been part of the project that has the knowledge, but of course help them enable them in order to get the homework done, because you cannot fix a project that was running that, let’s say crazy by continuing without a plan without certain level of excellence.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. So it kind of starts with a specific plan. And in this case, you know, when a relationship is destroyed, basically it’s tough because trust is lost at that point. So even if you put a plan in place, they may not even believe that that’s going to happen, but you’re saying start at least with a specific, hear out all the frustrations first, put a plan in place to avoid… to get past those frustrations and then slowly execute on each of those steps to build the trust back up. Is that-

Daniel Delank: Exactly.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: … Is that right?

Daniel Delank: Exactly. I mean, of course, by having already a huge delay in a project plan or let’s say in a project execution, it is really hard of course, to catch up. So most likely, and in this case, it was really that by reiterating the project plan, of course we came up with a target delivery date, which was, let’s say out of range for the client in the first place.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Right [crosstalk 00:16:58]they are already at this point.

Daniel Delank: Yeah. I mean, but of course by then reiterating this project plan with the client himself, because of course in this kind of projects, you’re always have, let’s say also a kind of cooperation method or cooperation working methods in order to be able to succeed. So with iterating this project plan together with the client, and let’s say, let them understand what our restrictions in terms of maybe staffing knowledge, what is their desperately needs.

Daniel Delank: What is their limitations? Because of course, they also have their, let’s say their targets to achieve by putting all those things on the plate and working together to build up a new joint project plan. And then letting let’s say making this new plan revised plan, the new Bible for the project and really executing. Then according to this project plan, of course, there will be always adoption in a huge complex project going forward, but always being transparent, honest, concrete, trustful, and executing this project plan is [advanced 00:18:13] Key for success in order to rebuild the trust, but also in order to be able to execute a project accordingly, because at the end, when I was joining, everybody was shouting against each other, right? So [KIBO 00:18:25] Was shouting, you fucked up the project, people shouting well it was the other’s fault.

Daniel Delank: So at the end, it was not a very constructive mindset that he comes to mindset into apply. And I was breaking this up and reopening the talks because at the end, it was obvious that without talking and without putting the facts together, you can’t get out of the situation. And I think that was key really putting the facts together, working together as a joint team, knowing what has been the mistakes, but then also working against together to reemphasize, to reiterate the plan and then executing according to the joint agreements. I think that rebuild the trust and also lead to a certain level of excellence by really executing then the project plan accordingly.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: That makes sense, Daniel. I like what you said there, because you know, when emotions are running high to lower, the whole everyone’s stress and emotions, it sounds like you bring in the facts, like here’s what was done, here’s what was not done. And you kind of lay them out in an objective fashion. So it helps take some of the emotion out of it and just helps to actually have something constructive to lay out a plan with as opposed to just yelling or blaming, I guess you could say.

Daniel Delank: Exactly. And it was obvious that there are certain benefits within our teams, and there are certain let’s say need in order to, let’s say, switch certain workloads from, let’s say one location to another location. And I think that was really also not only the key, it was the only way in order to make transparent to the client. Yes, there has been mistakes done by ourselves, we have completely, let’s say misframed the project, but now with all the bringing the facts together, this is what we are capable of doing because you also the client needs to put that piece of it. And that’s the maximum we can maybe achieve in a certain timeframe. And by putting that together and by realizing that from our supplier side, but as well from a client side really is putting the emotions out and putting the facts in.

Daniel Delank: And I think that often helps. In particular also, if you think about process improvements or process excellence, because at the end, of course, there’s always somebody that may shout out or say that the process isn’t running smoothly. But at the end, if you put the facts together and say, look at our effects, that’s the process duration time, that’s the touch points required in the process, that’s the cost of a process of whatever it is in terms of quantifiable KPIs, then you can start improving it. So you cannot improve what you cannot measure in certain way.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I have one last question, Daniel. My question is this and then I want to point people to where they could find out more about you and the company. But my last question is about whether it’s about mindset or operations, I would love to hear some of your favorite resources, whether it be books or people or podcasts, or whatever it is on what are your favorite resources for more information around operational excellence slash mindset, before you answer that, where should we point people towards online to learn more about you and the company?

Daniel Delank: So our web page is loadbee, like the bee and load.com. And I’m always available via LinkedIn, so you can search on LinkedIn for Daniel Delank, Daniel like Daniel and Delank D-E-L-A-N-K and I would be happy to support and well, in particular let’s focus on the mindset topic as this is a little bit my passion all about. I think there’s a great book out there which I can highly recommend from Carol Dweck, Growth Mindset and that-

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Carol Dweck. Yeah.

Daniel Delank: … Exactly. And I love that book so much because it really is one of my core beliefs. So stay open and try to adapt without fearing of failure, because at the end, I mean, we are all human beings in particular, also in this pandemic that we are all in, there’s no right or wrong in a certain sense.

Daniel Delank: So we are all need to adapt. And led by fear is a wrong, let’s say not a good advice. So I think you should make the best choice, the best decision that you can with the certain point in time with the information that you have available. Of course you should ask questions and question about the current situation, maybe if the data points that you have or available are the right ones, but once you need to take a decision and it’s better to have a fast failure, instead of running maybe one or two months into the wrong direction. And I think that’s something that has shown us this kind of pandemic that it is very essential to make decisions fast, acknowledge if you have done a mistake, I think that’s also something which we should see much more often. And yeah, that’s a book that I can highly recommend of course,

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Any others that you like?

Daniel Delank: Well, of course there is autobiographies that I highly can recommend. I think that’s something that you always can read, and I think you can extract a lot. So Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson is something that I really liked and I have read, and there is a book from Nadella the CEO of Microsoft that I’m currently reading. I would need to check the title but that’s a book that-

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: People can look it up. Yeah.

Daniel Delank: … Exactly. So I think that’s also a book that I at least started to read I am mid through, and I really liked the story behind the change and Microsoft.

Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Thanks for sharing that. I love hearing resources, Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck, Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson and the seat, the other one by Microsoft, CEO of Microsoft. I love that because it’s, amazing Daniel that for like 20 bucks, you can basically learn from all of their life experience and it’s remarkable. My favorite is the Steve Jobs, I think Walter Isaacson wrote the one on Steve Jobs and there’s so many other ones out there. So I’m glad you pointed that out. Check out more episodes of the podcast. Check out loadbee.com and Daniel. Thank you so much.

Daniel Delank: Thank you so much, Jeremy. And it was a pleasure being with you.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the process breakdown podcast. Before you go, quick question. Do you want a tool that makes it easy to document processes, procedures, [indoor 00:25:50] Policies for your company so that your employees have all the information they need to be successful at their job? If yes, sign up for a free 14 day trial of SweetProcess. No credit card is required to sign up, go to sweetprocess.com, sweet like candy and process like process.com. Go now to sweetprocess.com and sign up for your risk-free 14 day trial.

Owen: Hi, this is Owen the CEO and co-founder here at SweetProcess. If you’ve enjoyed listening to this podcast interview, actually, you know what I want you to do? Go ahead and leave us a five star review on iTunes. That way we get more people aware of the good stuff that you get here on this podcast. Again, go on to iTunes and leave us a five star review. Looking forward to reading your review. Have a good day.

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