“Why transforming your relationship with your consumer (and how they buy) begins with great leaders and great people”

 

Seth Hillstrom:

Liza Maschi, Director of eCommerce, North America for Danone, is here with us today to look at the importance of people leadership as we transform the way we connect with and sell to our consumers (and our businesses in the process).  

Liza, thanks so much for joining us today! I know you have an impassioned view of people leadership, and we’re looking forward to your perspective.  #leadership #marketing #ecommerce

Liza Maschi:

Hi Seth! Happy to connect 😉

Seth:

Liza, we’re excited to look at why leadership is so critical in technologically transformative periods…Like right now! Before we get ahead of ourselves though, I thought we could start by getting an understanding of how you view your role leading eCommerce for one of the world’s largest CPG companies? What excites you, and what’s the over-arching goal you’re working towards?

Liza:

Everyday is an exciting new challenge for me. The world we live in is constantly changing and growing. Each day I learn something new and it is very humbling. My goal is to inspire and connect with people daily. I am motivated by seeing a sparkle in someone eyes as they either consume one of our products or if we are working on a project together. The industry is in a constant state of change and I am growing every day and am very fortunate because of it.

Seth:

I know people leadership is a major theme and passion for you – and I’m sure to a certain extent that’s by necessity. Why is this so important in approaching a space (eComm) that’s in a constant state of change at-the-moment, and has a million moving parts?

Liza:

People Leadership is critical, and this doesn’t mean just direct reports. Having the ability to influence or inspire someone that doesn’t report into, is a challenging role. As you mentioned, the industry is always changing and it can be very hard to continue to drive momentum. Teams need to connect and inspire each other daily by collaborating and sharing strategic ideas and goals to move the needle and push past the tough spots. I make sure whenever I collaborate with anyone I offer my personal and professional opinion, we need to remember at the end of the day , we are consumer  and what inspires us will inspire our customers and our teams. Keeping a level head and trying to find out ‘what drives someone’ is critical in what we do personally and professionally. When we know what motivates someone daily, we can tailor how we inspire them.

Seth:

That’s a great policy – sharing both a personal and professional perspective, acknowledging that we’re all consumers.

So with leadership having such a profound impact on outcomes, can you tell us about your paradigm? How do you inspire, effect change, and drive your immediate and peripheral teams to align and support such important initiatives?

Liza:

First and foremost, all leaders need to stay true to who they are, and admit when there is something I don’t know, I learned this from a mentor of mine. She was someone that I viewed as always having the answers. When she would say I don’t know it made me realize, she is human too and learning, we can learn this together!  Effecting change isn’t always easy, through my experiences, I learned that to effect change, you need to change your perspective as well and show why this change is important with tangible facts and examples. Stating the NEED and the REASON for the change is critical but not enough, there always needs to be HOW DOES THIS HELP OUR CUSTOMER?  and of course, does this make sense for our business.  This way you gain trust and credibility to implement change with a team.

Seth:

Inevitably, almost every leader must address competing ideas and/or dissension. How do you leverage collaboration, open idea sharing, and testing/trial (or other strategies) to ensure a sense of efficacy across the team (while also achieving your best outcomes)?

Liza:

The main component of open idea sharing is setting a safe and open environment to unleash creative thinking. For someone to share an idea, they must know that it is okay if the idea doesn’t get accepted, it won’t be held against them. Teams should know they can try and feedback is welcomed. Regarding testing and trial, this is critical in all fields. You must test to learn but that doesn’t mean try everything and anything. Inspiring fact-based suggestions requires challenging the team and setting standards.  Leaders must start with setting the tone and clearly communicating expectations. As much as inspiring ideas are great, the question that always remains is ‘what does this mean for our customers?’ This starts with leaders setting the stage and objective very early on to hear inspiring ideas that we can act on.

Seth:

Okay, so it’s clear that you’ve got a well-lead team barreling towards a day where all consumer products can conveniently join their consumers’ lives in whatever way the consumer prefers. What are a few of the major undercurrents you think will continue to share how we get from here to there? These could be technology/capability shifts, operational or regulatory considerations, social trends, etc.

Liza:

Ah this is a great question! Times are changing so rapidly and I am honored to be a part of it to witness the innovation and change. The truth is, we do not always know what is next or what is to come. What we all have to do is simply put, try to stay ahead . This is personally and professionally . We can do that by continuously educating ourselves on all industries , not just our own. There are no more silos, different industries are merging in many ways . We are seeing this every day! Amazon + Whole Foods is a prime example (no pun intended on prime ha!) . We need to continue to build the strategy of tomorrow , not just today . The time is not to be open minded and collaborative because the future is here !

Seth:

Liza, this is incredibly insightful, and I really admire your approach. ….And I’m pretty sure even Alexa had a chuckle at your pun.

Thank you so much for joining us today, and we look forward to seeing the inevitably incredible things things coming out of your team at Danone!

Liza:

Seth, thanks for having me and of course , have to disclose these are all my own personal opinions! Thanks again for the time!

As mentioned , all comments and opinions are my own and not representative of Danone or any company affiliation

 

For questions or comments please visit: 

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6415578413393805312/

Leave A Comment