Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking to one of the most inspiring leaders in the world, Ad Nederlof, from Vanad Group, headquartered in Rottterdam in the Netherlands.

We have recently started our foray into the European market, and the Vanad Group have been incredibly kind in allowing us to use their offices as we write our strategy and commence talking to companies in the area.

Ad has been a client and a mentor of mine for many years, and when someone watches you grow from a 25 year old woman to someone in your early 40's, they have a great insight into what your strengths and weaknesses are.

He reminded me that when I was young, I was a strong marketer, highly energetic and very focused. I was determined to be the best at marketing. As my businesses grew and I later started Marketing Eye, I broke a few rules by working "in" the business and not "on" the business.

In the past three or so years, I have not worked in the business, nor managed staff. I have instead focused on the big picture and other projects such as charity and developing technologies. Each of my technology companies derive from problems that I saw within my own business, and are game-changers in every way.

Once implemented in Marketing Eye, we don't have another company in the world that is on par.

But I will talk more on that in months to come. 

What was most interesting about our long conversation, is where I am today. He reminded me that my biggest value to the business is my experience and that my role needs to be head coach. I haven't worked with staff in years, and have enjoyed being locked in my office creating stuff that I am passionate about or working on charity. To go back into the business, so many years later, is scary. I always laugh when someone has been terminated from the company, usually due to ethics or not being able to do the job they were employed to do, they write nasty things on social media about bullying or intimidation. All key words that usually make entrepreneurs fall over - but of course, given that I don't manage them, it really doesn't say much about our company and more about the people. The same people write monthly the same thing, but in different words - however, any person can tell it is them who writes it as their writing style does not change.

So having not managed anyone in years, I am today about to step up and be head coach. I feel very motivated to work with people and share my knowledge and experience, and in turn listen to their points of view.

It's going to be a huge change, and a shift in focus, but I am excited about my new job. I watch Ad and realise that this is what made him so successful, and as I am an introvert, I prefer usually to work by myself. To step up and back into the business in a leadership and coaching role is going to be daunting but at the same time, I see it's value.

Watch out clients! Your work is about to step up a notch. Being the best of the best is so important in our field, as there is not enough good marketers out there. Never believe a CV. Only ever look at the work that someone has done.

I'm looking forward to sharing the journey with you.
Mellissah Smith is a serial entrepreneur and business leader with more than 20 years' experience in marketing.
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert, author, writer, public speaker and technology innovator. Having worked with more than 300 companies across technology, medical device, professional services, manufacturing, logistics, finance and health industries, Mellissah has a well-established reputation as an experienced marketing professional with more than 20 years experience. As the founder and managing director of Marketing Eye, she has taken the company from startup to a multi-million dollar enterprise with offices in Australia and the US. Mellissah is also the Editor in Chief of Marketing Eye Magazine, a quarterly magazine that cover marketing, entrepreneurship, travel, health and wellbeing. #mellissah #marketingeye

1 comment

  • Christian Siblall

    I admire your dedication to doing what your firm needs you to be (a head coach). I find that to be a defining quality in a leader: not needing to be the center of attention, or MVP player at all times, but knowing what role you need to fill so that the entire team can be successful.

    I also agree with what you said about how when people speak poorly of you as a sort of deflection mechanism instead of owning up to their mistakes or shortcomings, it says a lot more about them as people than it does about you and your company. Just goes to show how important ‘fit’ is for a firm and its people to be successful. In my opinion, the new wave of employees feel increasingly entitled to a job because they simply show up and go through the motions as a result from growing up in a ‘participation trophy’ era of coaching.

    Great read. Keep the posts coming!

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