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The Champion Forum Podcast

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TCF004: Building Your Leadership Brand with Dan Billie

Thank you for joining the Champion forum podcast with Jeff Hancher! This week, Jeff interviews Dan Billie, a sales and marketing executive with 25 years of leadership experience.

In this episode, Dan shares his personal experiences in building a personal brand and gives practical advice on topics including mentorship, leadership styles, and preparing yourself for leadership. Dan explains that the seeds that we sow into our education and our personal brand will determine the results that we see not only tomorrow but years from now.

Build Your Personal Brand

People can have an incorrect mentality that every day is equal when in reality, there are a handful of days that will decide the course of your entire life. These days are not always obvious when they happen. Sometimes it takes months or years to realize the impact of one conversation or one decision.

People all around you are looking at how you act, what you say. What you say in the casual moments around the water cooler matters just as much as what you say in professional meetings when building your career. It’s not about what you do, it’s about who you are. Who you are to your managers, your peers, and your subordinates all play a role in creating your personal brand, who people say that you are.

Q: Perform a 360 evaluation of yourself. Ask your boss, your co-workers, and your employees to evaluate your character. Do they line up? Is this the image you want to portray?

Balancing challenging and servant leadership

When a leader, even a servant leader, is operating in his personal strengths, he is challenging. Servant leadership and challenging leadership do not have to be mutually exclusive. The important thing is for a leader to be willing to face conflict head-on. You can challenge someone in a way that is direct, forceful, or mandative, or you can do so in a way that inspires them to help you.

Being nice does not guarantee results. Sometimes you have to challenge an employee to think differently about the situation, provide civil discourse, and show that you have their best interest at heart. When you truly care about someone, you’re not going to shy away from tough conversations.

Pitfalls to avoid

  1. Acting in isolation - isolated leaders can act irrationally

  2. Seeing things in black and white

  3. Failing to be decisive

  4. Failing to treat everyone with dignity and respect

If your team sees that you care about those who are positively affected and negatively effective equally, you will build your brand. Treat everyone with dignity even if you have to make difficult decisions. Even if they aren’t treating you with dignity.

Keys to making the most of a mentor relationship

  1. Reach out to a mentor using a hand-written note

  2. Make the most of your meeting time

  3. Be inquisitive

  4. Listen more than you speak, don’t use time with your mentor as a vent session.

  5. Give back to the relationship by taking it seriously. Take notes, show them how you have applied their advice.

Great leaders know how to invest their time. In addition to surrounding yourself with great people, you need to invest in your own education by reading books that will help you get where you want to be. You need to act on your dream before you see it come to pass. You cannot passively try to develop your future; you need to make the investment while you are waiting. This investment reflects on your character and becomes a part of your personal brand.


  1. Career Warfare - David D'Alessandro

  2. The Challenger Sale” - Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

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