Episode 8
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Episode 8
Lessons in Low Ego Leadership with DocuSign CEO Dan Springer

Lessons in Low Ego Leadership with DocuSign CEO Dan Springer

In this episode, Mathilde sits down with DocuSign CEO Dan Springer to hear his journey towards becoming a low ego leader and how that impacts the team and business for the better.

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Mathilde Collin All right. Hi, everyone, I'm Mathilde Collin, Co-founder and CEO of Front. Over the years I've shared my journey as a leader and as a founder. But really, everything I've learned so far has been by talking to people that have more experience than me and that are wiser than me. And this is what I'm going to be doing today. I'm here today with Dan, the CEO of DocuSign, who is known for low ego leadership. And since that's one of our values that I'm excited to hear his take on it today. Thank you again for being with us. 

Dan Springer Thanks for having me. Excited to be here. 

Mathilde Collin So you've been the CEO of DocuSign for four years, if I'm correct.

Dan Springer I want full credit. Four and a half!

Mathilde Collin Four and a half—even better. So I'd love to ask you, what do you like the most about this job?

Dan Springer Well, of course, DocuSign, for me, has been an opportunity to see tremendous growth, and one thing that comes with business growth is the development of the people. And so the real joy I get out of work is seeing the people on my team developing their careers achieve their aspirations. I've pretty much achieved what I'd like to achieve. So I'm less sort of driven by my personal sort of accomplishments, if you will, and more by watching those people develop in their careers. And the other part is that I'm still pretty competitive. So I like winning in the marketplace. And I've had a pretty good run for all of those four and a half years. A lot of good success. And that's also really rewarding for me as well.

Mathilde Collin Great. I've heard from many people that you're a great leader and I think you've already spent twenty five years in leadership positions. And I'm curious if you have any philosophy on leadership that you'd like to share with our audience. 

Dan Springer Yeah, I mean there's a slightly geeky term that I like to use to sort of simplify how I evaluate leaders in the company or when I'm interviewing people about potentially bringing in a company which is sort of combining three different factors that I think are really critical. The first one is whether people have the right sort of skills and smarts to be effective in their job. The second one is, are they able to manage their ego and so that they're able to be manager, you go well, folks on the teams results as opposed to their individual results and credit analysis is simply how hard they work and how much they apply themselves. And the formula that I like to use with those three things is I take the S or the smarts and skills divide that by the ego. Did you want to do a better job minimizing that and then raise that quotient to the power of how hard you work and you can play around with numbers like one to five and do your own assessment. And so to see this sort of interesting things, you do play around with the math. But the key thing for me is to realize that to some extent you can get smarter and you can develop more skills. But we're all sort of given some certain level of capabilities that we have and some better for some jobs. Once you have that, the parts you can really control with how you manage your ego and how you really apply yourself and how hard you work. And so I try to encourage people to say that's where you should put your focus and developing yourself as an individual contributor, but particularly as a manager is are you going to be successful by those two variables you can control?

Mathilde Collin And I'm curious, how do you teach people or help people work on their ego?

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