Podcast

Episode: 294 |
Dan Goldman :
Leading Strategy:
Episode
294

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Dan Goldman

Leading Strategy

Show Notes

Dan Goldman is the Global Head of Strategy at The North Face.

In this episode, he provides his perspective on leading a strategy team during the pandemic.  https://www.thenorthface.com/

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Will Bachman 00:01
Welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional Unleashed is produced by Umbrex, which connects you with the world’s top independent management consultants. I’m your host Will Bachman. And I’m here today with Dan Goleman. Who is the global vice president of strategy at the north face. Dan, welcome to the show. Thanks. Well, super excited to be here and have a chance to chat with you. So Dan, all of us know, The North Face brand. We either you know, own some of the apparel ourselves, or we’ve certainly seen folks walk around with it. But we may not all know, just sort of how the company structured and so forth. And you know, how it goes to market? Could you just give us an overview of the north face as a company?

Dan Goldman 00:44
Yeah, absolutely. You know, we were founded in 1966, in San Francisco by a gentleman named Doug Tompkins and his wife, and 50 years later, you know, north face is the leading premium exploration brand in the world, we make apparel, footwear equipment, basically anything you need to explore the world, whether it’s on the mountain, or in the city. You know, we, we sell through a mix of our own stores, ecommerce, and across a number of different wholesale channels around the world, we are truly a global brand, which is very exciting. And you know, one of the things we’ve always prided ourselves is the brand’s ability to really disrupt the industry and push it forward in terms of innovation. We were one of the first to make lightweight backpacks to really make outdoors more accessible. We invented geodesic tent, we obviously have a number of innovations on the apparel side, kind of dating all the way back. But some of the more recent ones that we’ve launched, is one called future light, which really revolutionary, waterproof, breathable technology. And it’s really sustainable as well. So if you think about, you know, for all those people out there that anytime you put a waterproof, like rain jacket on, you know, your jacket may keep you dry from the rain. But you know, our jacket also helps keep you from getting soaked from the sweat that gets trapped inside. So it really, really makes a better experience. So we’ve done a lot of innovation to continue to differentiate the brand. on the product side, I think was something other interesting facts about the company, obviously that people may not know is we’re actually owned by a larger publicly traded company called Vf Corp. Vf also owns brands like vans, Timberlands, Dickies smart Well, spreaker. So we have a really nice family of brands that really come together in a really strong way.

Will Bachman 02:38
So how does the North Face actually can manufacture the goods that you make? Or is it really responsible more for the design and the marketing and the retailing? And like, how do you get the goods actually produced?

Dan Goldman 02:55
Yeah, I mean, we, we, we own everything in terms of kind of the design, the marketing, and the product development process. And then we really partner very effectively, with manufacturers in the marketplace that are experts at what they do. And we tend to build long term relationships with those factories. And, you know, do our manufacturing, but also try when appropriate to reinvest in those factories and the environments around them.

Will Bachman 03:25
Cool. Let’s talk a little bit about the Coronavirus impact on on your industry and on the company and how and how the north face has has responded to protect its customers and employees.

Dan Goldman 03:40
Yeah, I mean, I think you know, the interesting thing, living in the Bay Area for the last decade I’ve often been jealous of the startup culture and considered an entrepreneurial path many times as many of my colleagues from McKinsey or Kurt salmon left consulting world to go to Fun, Fun startups ever. I have to say, at this point in time, I feel extraordinarily fortunate and appreciative that I’m part of a big, big brand called like North Face and owned by a publicly traded company like Vf Corp, which, you know, has over 100 years of history, really strong balance sheet, strong credit lines, so we’re really in a really good situation. And definitely compared to many of the other apparel or retail brands you’ve heard of out there in the marketplace that have really been challenged. And now there’s been no shortage in terms of the apparel industry of Newsround, you know, bankruptcies whether it’s j crew, Neiman Marcus, some other ones kind of rumored out there as well. So I think, you know, luckily, we’re in a very fortunate position. There’s no doubt if you look at the marketplace, what you see is not surprisingly, consumer demand has obviously fallen significantly for apparel across all sectors. And, you know, it’s not surprising obviously, with high end employment, you know, economic uncertainty, and you know, Some consumer fear of even when stores open back up, do they want to go back to public places? Do they want to go into malls? Do they want to go into department stores? So, you know, I do think, you know that the industry is obviously challenged and will be for the foreseeable future. That said, I think there are pockets that are doing better than others, you do see kind of activewear, at leisure sweats, it’s interesting, even talks are doing better than bottoms on not surprisingly, spending a lot of time on zoom and want to look professional, but they may be wearing sweats on the bottom. So I think it’s understanding kind of where consumers are today, given the uncertainty and trying to figure out how do you meet them where they are in solve problems, I think, you know, at times like this, probably more so than any time I can remember my life. If you think about not to get too academic, you know, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, you know, a lot of businesses today are, are really, you know, or in the past have been very successful, kind of serving up the top kind of tears of needs, but what you saw during kind of, then pandemic, especially over the first month or two, was really a return back to the bottom, and then those basic needs about, you know, just getting enough water, food, shit, you know, safety, being with family, and making sure they’re their friends and family are safe. And I think, you know, that is a big shift in consumer behavior that, you know, it will take a little bit of time to return to normal and, and we’ll have longer term effects even after, not, you know, just like you can say, The Great Depression, shit generations to come in terms of spending in habits, this may have a similar effect. As you know, the unemployment rate continues to remain high for the foreseeable future. I think if you think about, you know, the word northbay sets, there’s obviously reasons to be optimistic, given kind of what we do, and, you know, people looking to the outdoors for a little bit of escape a little bit of mental health break a little bit of activity. And, you know, we’re a strong brand and part of a strong family of brands that, you know, will weather the storm, you know, really well, one of the interesting things, and please stop me, if you have questions, is, you know, as we saw COVID coming, and being a global company, we obviously saw, you know, the rise of the virus in China. And then, kind of, it’s slowly coming into Europe and in the US. So it did leave us some time to react and gave us time to really strategize around, you know, and put together a really a playbook that how we wanted to approach as the pandemic grew bigger, the playbook really had six big components. You know, the first one was really focused on our internal people in our culture, in northeast not surprisingly, has hundreds of employees and their safety and well being was definitely our first priority. So we shut down our stores in our office very early. And although we had kept her DC open to handle ecommerce, we put in, obviously, a lot of protocols to protect worker safety. We’re also very fortunate, again, being part of the Vf corporation with very stable balance, we’ve been one of the few retailers to actually continue to pay our retail employees, even while stores were closed in the Americas. So again, that says a lot to think about the values of the company, but also kind of, you know, how the company is navigating and managing through this environment when you obviously heard about a lot of retailers doing furloughs or layoffs. And then, you know, even while people have been able to work remotely, you know, the, everybody’s impacted different, you know, they may have friends or family that are sick, they may be homeschooling while they’re trying to work. And what we’ve tried to do is make extra efforts to think about people’s mental health and focus on culture community, we’ve been hosting regular town halls, we’ll we’ll have some of our professional athletes come in and speak to people about resilience, about, you know, how to weather a storm. they purposely done it out in the mountains, and the same lessons apply. And we’re doing things like weekly optional meditations and blocking chunks of different days, so people don’t have meetings. So that really was one sector. The second was on community. You know, we really felt we had a role to play in helping our community. And we did it through a number of ways. The first was kind of through kind of an effort called united in the world forward. And it really tries to reflect the North Face brand purpose and our values and the notion of even walls or social distancing. You know, I don’t think ever, at least in my lifetime, has there been an event where nearly every human on Earth is experiencing the same thing at the same time like this. And so there is an opportunity, while we’re all physically separate, for hopefully all of us to come through at the end of this more united in a way that we can really kind of help shape the future to a better place. And I think in North Face, we’ve always seen one of our roles is not necessarily always being the one to solve the problems, but at least being a voice in the room. Whether it’s climate change, or Yeah, you know, back in the day, northface was very active on kind of the AIDS pandemic. So, you know, we feel like we have a voice to play in really pushing the conversation forward and doing what we can. So we’ve donated a number of supplies to medical workers and first responders, we’ve donated money from color explorer fund, to parts of that to our industry that’s been most impacted by COVID. And we even did things like honoring first responders and medical workers by extending our pro discount, which is usually reserved only for outdoor industry experts, to doctors, to thank them. So small things, but again, we wanted to make sure that we we did say thank you, we did kind of be a voice out there. In and that seems to register, at least the communities that we serve. I can keep going or if you have questions.

Will Bachman 11:20
Yeah, no, one question I have is, take us a little bit inside, you know, and obviously respecting confidentiality, but could you tell us anything about just organizationally, how you The North Face made the decisions and developed the response plan? And, you know, to what degree was there kind of a central, you know, top committee? What, to what degree are you devolving authority to, you know, country managers or more local managers? I’m curious, too, you know, how a company like The North Face, you know, a global company has organized to respond to this crisis?

Dan Goldman 12:05
It’s a great question. Well, and I think, you know, because of our scale, we’ve organized at many levels, you know, to be honest, some decisions were made at the Vf level, you know, with the band’s input and participation, but because we are a family of brands, there’s a responsibility to ensure some equity across brands, so decisions to close stores, that was made at a kind of a regional level, when appropriate, and that country level when appropriate. And we wanted to do it in unison with the family of brands, like vans and Timberland, you know, decisions to play store employees, again, that’s really important, when you’re all part of a company that if one brands gonna do it, all brands have to do it, just just in terms of doing it. So so there was a lot of coordination. And again, critical role that people in our corporate play in terms of connecting the dots and in making sure that things are done, that then there’s a lot done kind of at the brand level as well. So how we organize how we respond, how we pivot our marketing, how we think about e commerce, how we think about digitizing our operations, how we think about your spending, our cash flow, you know that that is all really done in the brand level. And, you know, our we have a very strong leadership team of, you know, kind of across all the different functions, as well as our grocery general managers of the regions. And we all really came together. And we spent a lot of time together at the beginning of the crisis, kind of aligning on the playbook and making sure everybody felt good about it, understanding what needed to be global, what needed each region to do differently, because each region is at very different stages of the pandemic, obviously, in China, many of our stores have reopened. And it’s at a very different place. In Europe, it’s, you know, country, by country, it’s it is different in different countries are opening up on different scales, and they need to be able to react quickly. And I do think the notion of agility in a time like this is probably one of the most important things a business can do. There are times where scale Trumps agility, but in this time, I really feel like agility is is more important. So where we can empower the regions where we can empower the countries, by all means, that’s what we’ve done.

Will Bachman 14:34
Well, tell us a little bit about the experience of reopening stores and China and maybe what lessons you’re you’ve learned for planning to reopen stores in the US and other regions.

Dan Goldman 14:47
Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, the Chinese consumers have been very resilient in many ways. In China, you know, in many ways, you can draw lessons, but in many ways you can’t because Under the social dynamic, the government dynamic is very different in China than in some other regions. No, clearly, we were able to learn around protocols around in communication to consumers, how you think about the safety of employees, how you think about safety of consumers, in share those back across region, but there’s other things that just may not, you know, may not resonate as much that that you can’t really take across borders. So I think what we’ve seen, you know, is traffic patterns and stores in China, and even as restrictions have lifted, what traffic patterns, come back to the stores, what it does, in terms of shopping basket size, and potential product mix shifts. But, you know, every region really is different. And you have to understand the local consumers. And that’s where we are trying to empower the regions to to make the decisions that’s right for them. But there’s there’s a lot in terms of a playbook communication approach, you know, wanting to feel on brand, that we are sharing cross region.

Will Bachman 16:07
What, if anything, can you share about how you’re thinking about reopening stores in the US and what it would take to feel safe to do that, and, and what the protocols will look like, when when we see stores reopen in the US?

Dan Goldman 16:20
Yeah, I mean, first and foremost, you know, we’re following the guidelines of the local regions, every state’s in a different timeline, and different counties within regions and states are on their own timeline. So first and foremost, we’re following their guidelines. Second, we’re looking at, you know, what, what other retailers are going to be honest. And no, I don’t think we want to be the first one to open stores. We want to do it when it’s safe, we want to do it when we feel like our employees feel comfortable going back to work. And when we know that consumers will feel comfortable going into stores. And they collect, you’ll see as you know, a subset of stores opening there may be some stores, you know, all stores will have safety protocols from how many consumers can come into the store at one time, you know, you know, likely you know, what restrictions we have, we’ll double down on all cleaning and sanitation, all the normal things that you’d expect, that would make you feel comfortable. So, you know, we’ll be very diligent about it, and very cautious about it. But I can’t go into too much of the specifics. In terms of the execution strategy at this time.

Will Bachman 17:34
Sure. One thing I’ve heard in discussions with some other executives at other firms is how the coronavirus pandemic has driven some innovations in internal business processes. As one example, at Mirian technologies, which makes radiation equipment, they used to have all customer acceptance testing was in person where, you know, the customer would fly in from around the world to Connecticut and, and visually inspect and the material now they’re doing those by video conference. In a discussion with Marvin Riley, the CEO at enpro. industries, he talked about how they’re doing sales differently in terms of they used to have salespeople fly around the world to go visit customers. And now they’re doing video conferences, which are actually in some ways more effective because they can get a broader set of team members, manufacturing engineer, production engineer designer, all on the same call with their customers. And that’s something they plan to continue any innovations that you’ve been working on it The North Face that maybe have been accelerated by the pandemic that that you actually think might might continue on or that you want to share?

Dan Goldman 18:50
Yeah, no, I think some of the things you highlighted, were definitely in a similar mode. I think the biggest innovation is really digitizing many of our internal operations. And if you think about the parallel go to market process, it’s pretty complicated. And it’s very high touch in terms of you think about designers and product developers, you know, there there is, you know, a need to interact with product interact with fabric. We tend to have spent a lot of time in groups throughout the process, driving alignment on what you know, what is gonna go into our next season’s line? What What did those products look like? Which ones do we want to prioritize? And if you think about that process, where historically you may have 100 plus people in a room, you just can’t operate like that, in this time, and even as we potentially go back to the office will still have restrictions in terms of how many people can be any, any any room for quite some time. So it does become a big shift in terms of how you work and you know we’ve embraced zoom, as well as any other company. But you can’t just do what you did on zoom, you got to change. So if you think about, as opposed to physical product samples, digital product samples, if you think about, again, being global, as opposed to having people from our Asia and Europe team fly here, how do we actually create mechanisms to communicate with them across time zones where, you know, when it’s very hard to get all three time zones in a meeting at once, let alone a large group. So it really is about digitizing the operations. And I do think a lot of that will stick because one, it makes us move faster. And again, going back to the agility being really key. But to it also makes, you know, makes us work smarter, and in the long run saves money that we can then reinvest in, in true innovation or into marketing, demand creation. So I do think a lot of that will stick. I think the other area you see continued, maybe not kind of changing plans, but an acceleration of focus is obviously on e commerce, given. That’s the only channel that is an open product, predominantly. And so how do you shift more of your marketing investment, more of your focus more of your capacity to serve that channel?

Will Bachman 21:21
Yeah, you mentioned it spoke before about how you’ve been pivoting your marketing. Could you talk about that a little bit? Is it in terms of it’s a tricky balance with, you know, this pandemic underway? How have you shifted your marketing in terms of either messages or channels? And how you reach out and speak to consumers?

Dan Goldman 21:44
Yeah, I mean, some we’ve had to do out of, you know, again, to your point, how do you be relevant and speak to consumers, in this time, and some we had to do out of need, because, you know, the campaigns we were planning to shoot, you obviously can’t go on site and shoot. So you have to be crafty. I mean, we again, really rallied around this idea of united to move the world forward, and pull it, you know, pulling people together, understanding how, how you can weather a storm right now. And then know, as consumers then shift to their mindset as this, this, you know, country opens up again, how we enable that exploration. So we did a number of things. I talked a lot about the community efforts that we did. But you know, in terms of brand, we did also a lot of work to bring relevant engaging content to our consumers. So we did a lot of kind of Instagram lives, we opened up our archives in terms of a lot of expeditions that our athletes Go on, and it shared that content and reshared that with the our consumers. One example, if you haven’t checked it out, we have a film on Lhotse expedition led by Hilary Nelson, and Jim Morrison. Hilary is actually our athlete, team captain, we were one of the first major brands to have a female athlete to be the captain of the team, which is super exciting. But they are two of our biggest athletes. And they completed the first ever ski the scent of Lhotse mountain, which is the fourth highest ski mountain in the world, it’s, I think it’s close to 20,000 feet in it’s just a really compelling, moving in content. And while these two athletes are accomplishing amazing things, you also see the human side of them. Hilary’s a mom, you know, and yeah, she’s there climbing the mountain to get didn’t ski down, you just see, she’s a real person and what she can accomplish. And Jim is incredible, too. So I think, you know, that’s been one avenue. We’ve also, you know, had our athletes and some of our other influencers that we work with, share how they’re passing time, during the shelter in place, obviously, they’re not used to being cooped up, but they’re sharing how their, you know, home workouts are going or other creative ways that they’re spending time. So it’s small stuff like that, that creates real engagement when consumers are sitting home kind of anxious, looking for content, honestly, we’re not trying to sell them anything right now. We’re trying to engage with them in a way that, you know, makes them feel better, makes them feel optimistic about getting back out in the world and is really compelling. So we’re doing a lot of that stuff. And you know, as the country opens up, we’re gonna be there just like we’ve been there for the last 50 plus years to help them explore, get up back outside, go see the world. You know, I think the the power of nature, it’s really healing in a lot of ways both from the physical activity side, but the mental aspect, and we’re gonna play a big role in helping people get out there and re explore.

Will Bachman 24:49
You know, it’s, it’s really pretty remarkable and shows the values of, of Vf Corp and the brands that you’ve kept paying all the retail employees that’s pretty awesome question That is, you know, folks, if the retail employees are at home, have you asked them to do anything to, you know, either develop their skills or take courses? Or, you know, have they been, you know, kind of to, to use the time productively?

Dan Goldman 25:18
Yeah, absolutely. You know, we’ve done a number of different trainings with them, and we kind of digital training platforms, and also help them or ask them to, to help out in other ways. But, you know, they’re a really important part of our family. They’re obviously on the front lines, and they represent our brand, you know, to consumers that are the face of their brand, they’re the ones that know, know, the regular consumers that come in, and they’re super, super important. So we felt like it would be hard, you know, to regain that level of, you know, really kind of guides are not to store employees, they’re really guides for consumer. So, you know, we definitely want to protect them as best as we could. But also make sure they continue to get better and learn. And, and now we have great, great employees.

Will Bachman 26:10
I’d love to transition and hear a bit about your story and your transition from consulting to your role at the north face. So you were at McKinsey, what what made you decide to leave McKinsey and join the north face?

Dan Goldman 26:26
That’s great question. You know, taking a step back, I would say, my passion area throughout my career has been kind of the intersection of consumer psychology and growth. And you know, kind of where that amounts to is helping brands increase their emotional connection with their consumers to drive that long term, sustained growth. And so like, the last 20 years, I’ve had a mix of consulting an industry experience, where I’ve been able to drive that passion. And I wasn’t really looking to leave McKinsey. But when TNF reached out, you know, it was a brand that I was always a huge fan of, I remember growing up in the northeast, as a kid, I had a twin sister. And I literally remember the day that both of us got our first North Face jackets, and we ran in and said, I’m going to get the blue one, she got the red one, we literally wore those jackets for the next five or six years. But as a consumer, you know, over the last couple of decades, I saw her faced turn from that lifestyle brand. That was really special into a brand that you know, made really good functional jackets, but may have lost some of that, that brand love. And so I felt like there weren’t many times in your career, you could go to an iconic brand, like TNF, but also an iconic brand that needed a little bit of love. And so it’s been a ton of fun to come over and spend a little over the last two years at northface really helping it continue to grow, continue to evolve in sharpen.

Will Bachman 27:52
Could you talk a little bit about your role? So what exactly does a you know, head of strategy do at a company like the north face?

Dan Goldman 28:00
Yeah, I mean, the interesting thing about strategy roles is every company is a little bit different in terms of how their strategy team is set up and what their objectives are. In my role, I oversee strategy, consumer insights, new growth platforms, which is essentially business model innovation, and then business development. So on the strategy side, we develop the brand strategy, everything from helping rollout or our brand purpose and our values, our positioning, our mission, our vision, all that good stuff. We developed the three year strategic plan, and then translate that to a one year action plan that gets rolled out to the organization. And then we spent a lot of times activating the growth strategies and partnerships with our regional general managers and our functional leaders. On the consumer insights side, it’s all about ensuring the voice that the consumer is injected into everything we do. And then new growth platforms is really around, again, new business model innovation. So my team owns what’s called The North Face renewed, which is renewed is a re commerce platform that we launched a little over a year and a half ago, we take product that has been damaged or kind of returned, we clean it like new, fix it, and then resell it, keep the product out of the landfills offer a great value to consumers. And you know, as a really big sustainability impact. So that’s something that’s the example of a new business platform that my team owns and scales. And then on the business development side, it’s obviously about looking for unique growth, opportunities, partnerships, that sort of thing.

Will Bachman 29:35
When you’re looking to hire folks to add to your strategy team, what do you look for what what makes someone distinctive and stand out and get your attention?

Dan Goldman 29:48
Yeah, I mean, the interesting thing is, about a year ago, we relocated our corporate headquarters from San Francisco to Denver. So I essentially had to re hire a whole new team Again, not all strategy teams, the same across organizations. And, you know, our strategy team is rather than the relatively small side, so we need more generalist versus kind of bigger, bigger brands or bigger organizations that may have room for more specialists. So based on my my focus, I prioritize mostly folks that have more top of the funnel growth strategy experience over folks who have spent more of their time in operations, improvement or implementation, not to say one set of experiences is better than another, but it’s just the skills that we need right now. That that, given the focus areas, specifically, I’d say, you know, culture fit is critical. I think everybody says that, and he’s you think about consulting in the airport, airport test. And it gets even more more important, when you get to a corporation in North Face does have a unique culture. It’s one of the nicest cultures I’ve ever been a part of. But it’s also, you know, there, you need, you need folks that can kind of connect and kind of have that authenticity. I think a fast learner is also critical. I think, people coming from consulting, they overestimate how much they really understand about apparel, about retail about brands. And we don’t expect them to know everything, but being a fast learner, you know, they can get up to speed, they have that self self motivation to do it. A couple other things I would say is, you know, I really look for people with high motors and operating speeds, you know, you know, and that’s usually the kind of the, you get those from consultants versus people that have been in an industry. But you know, I want my team to be seen as driving, driving the ball forward, and really pushing the organization. And you just have to move at a slightly faster speed than the rest of the organization to do that. And there’s the obvious things kind of strategic mindset, and then make people do a kind of a case presentation, analytic, structured thinking, kind of all that good stuff.

Will Bachman 32:00
How do you judge the culture fit?

Dan Goldman 32:04
Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s really about getting to spend a little bit of time with them. There, again, I think the most important thing is authentic authenticity. I think, usually, that comes out pretty, pretty, pretty obviously, through just conversations, is the person being real? You know? Is there a human side to them? Are they willing to show that they’re not perfect? And, you know, in, in interviews, we often try to be perfect. But you know, I think there is a human element do you connect, and you find those out more in the small moments than the interview? You know, the greeting the the small talk over lunch? When, when, when it’s having those side comment conversations. So it’s not not necessarily kind of one or two criterias. But that’s why you also have to meet with a cross section of people across different functions, not just members of our strategy team to,

Will Bachman 33:01
from your own experience, as well as the folks that you’ve hired. What are some of the biggest surprises when people leave a consulting firm and take an industry role?

Dan Goldman 33:12
Yeah, I mean, I think the first thing is, you know, and I had been earlier in my career, I had spent time at Procter and Gamble’s, but it’s been nearly a decade. I think the first thing that I you know, that hit me is, it’s really fun to be back on the brand side. And not that consulting is not fun. But it’s a different, it’s a different experience. Because rather than working with for teams, you know, if you can switch teams pretty often, in this environment, you really get to see and work with the same people every day. I think feeling like you’re on a permanent team has a different effect. And that’s why again, the culture is so important. And then I think there’s also a real reward aspect of coming in every morning and seeing what the brand sales were. And you know, having that as a proof point on whether your strategy is working or not, often in consulting, you build a strategy, then you leave, and maybe you hear from the consultant, good things or bad things, but you don’t really feel that sense of ownership. So I think those are kind of two things I’ve experienced, I think, kind of reflecting on kind of other other aspects from other people. I’ve talked to and, and hired, I think the biggest surprise people see is how long it takes to make things happen. You know, big shifts turn slowly. You need to, you know, kind of do it over time, you need to kind of get the buy in across the organization. And that requires simplifying communication, repeating communication. Again, it’s not just about the PowerPoint, but it’s about what if 50% of the work is what’s done when the PowerPoints finished?

Will Bachman 34:53
Just about putting some pages together getting exactly what getting approval?

Dan Goldman 34:57
Yeah, I think the other couple things are kind of In organizations like this, there’s really a strong mix of right and left brain thinkers. You know, when you’re in consulting, you’re primarily working with people that think more or less like you. And even your primary clients are probably more on the strategic analytical or process side. When you’re a parallel company, there are a lot of great people that are creatives designers. And they think totally differently. And you just need to think about how do you adjust your approach to work with them and bring them along? You know, have them be, you know, how do you turn them into some of your biggest advocates to bring the strategies to life, because ultimately, if your strategy doesn’t show up in the product, if it doesn’t show up in the marketing, consumers, you’re never going to see it. So there are some of the most important people in the organization to really win over. And then last, I think the biggest thing is, again, I think people really don’t realize how much they don’t know. And again, this goes back to why being a fast learner so critical, I think when you when you’re doing consulting, you obviously get a great set of experiences, and you get to go very wide in oftentimes, even if you’re spending a long time at a client, you really only necessarily see part of the business, in a lot goes on beneath the surface that you kind of take for granted. And I do think it takes people longer to get up the learning curve than they’d expect. So but, you know, for the most part, people really enjoy it, it is a change, but, you know, again, it’s super fun, it’s very rewarding. And, you know, especially being a part of a brand in a business like North Face, which has a long history and a bright future.

Will Bachman 36:40
Well, Dan, thank you for sharing some stories about how the north face has been facing the coronavirus pandemic, and about your own personal history. This is really fascinating for me to hear. Really appreciate you joining today on the show. Thanks so much for having me. Well really appreciate it. Look forward to chatting soon.

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