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7 Questions with Daniel J Batty

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Jonno White

7 Questions with Daniel J Batty

Name: Daniel J Batty

Current title: VP Design & Construction

Current organisation: Dutch Bros Coffee

Daniel is currently the Vice President of Design & Construction for Dutch Bros Coffee. He has been working in the QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) industry over the past 20+ years for several major brands including McDonalds, CKE Restaurants (Carl's Jr. & Hardees brands), and most recently with Dunkin Donuts.

Throughout his career Daniel has had the opportunity to work directly with Executive Management Teams, influence various corporate Leaders and manage Franchisee growth to develop brands, markets and territories throughout the United States.

The experience garnered throughout his career laid the foundation for his current role as the Vice President of one of the fastest growing QSRs in the nation today. Daniel is focused on maintaining strong and sensible growth that accounts for the overall health and well-being of his team during the drive to success, while meeting the goals and objectives for the brand.

Daniel has been featured in several articles, interviewed on local television and received recognition for his commitment to development and his community.

7 Questions with Daniel J Batty

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1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?

Business has evolved over the past 20 years and the shift from 'carrot and stick' approach to management to motivating employees has been replaced with a 'servant leadership' approach.

This has created a mind shift for many Executives that relied on their position of power to 'get the job done' to understanding the challenges faced by employees on a bigger scale. And this is ever evolving.

While I have always taken a servant leadership position on projects and goals, the new generation of workers seem solely motivated by what their employer (or leader) can do for them to support a work/life balance, strong recognition of their achievements and meaningful care and concern for their well-being.

For a man in his 50's that came from the school of hard knocks, 60-80 work weeks, and continually being dismissed and overlooked (as my job was to make my boss look good), this has been quite an adjustment, but one that I whole-heartedly embrace.

I call it Love and Lift! Our goal as a leader should be to LOVE (Laugh Often and value Everyone) throughout the process. It may sound a bit crazy to other leaders, but you need to keep life in perspective. Are you curing cancer or 'saving the world', or running a successful brand that delivers profits and embraces the people you serve?

2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?

This is an interesting story. I have been working in the industry for many years and have had many roles with direct connections to the CEO of each of the corporations that I have served in over the years. Some of those come with challenging and funny stories, but I have always been confident in who I am and what I can bring to the discussion.

After leaving CKE Restaurants, I was offered a role in the Sign business to sell products to the many points of contacts that I have had through the years. One of those happened to be with a company called Popeyes based in Atlanta. My main point of contact was a gentleman by the name of Aaron Harris. We worked on several projects together and had a lot of success. This resulted in ongoing discussions and several job offers to work for the Popeyes brand. As the years pressed on we stayed in touch and often joked that one day we would work together.

Fast forward to 2018 and Aaron had joined Dutch Bros Coffee. I happened to reach out to him and he once again asked if I would like to work alongside him and to help grow an amazing brand. Three months later we were strategizing on the growth goals and today have successfully increased growth by over 300%.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

In your role at the executive Level you need to take yourself away from the daily constraints of the business and focus on strategies, analysis of results, and motivating your team.

My day typically focuses on 3-4 goals/tasks for the day to move the business forward. The remaining hours are spent with cross-functional teams to align the business and lastly with my immediate reports to assist them in overcoming obstacles, push through challenges or manage various components of their day-to-day job.

I typically end the day with a quick rundown of my day and prepare for the week ahead. It is important to note that I will drop any calls for my family and expect my team to do the same. This is the backbone of your mental, physical and emotional strength throughout your career.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

Motivation and innovation can come from the most unlikely of sources. I jokingly state that we have a 'No EGO' policy on our team. Questions and challenges are the rule, not the exception.

You need to embrace your lack of knowledge and failures as a leader and learn from them. Encouraging the idea that 'I could be wrong' will help keep you humble and allow your team the ability to speak up.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

I read a lot and this is a very difficult question... This is probably one of the most important requirements as a leader. Currently I find the book 'The Third Door' by Alex Banayan to be a great read. I like the short snip-its of wisdom he uncovers during his journey and interviews.

There is always a different path and I think as leaders it is easy to get fixated on 'that's how I have always done it' and missing out on the opportunities ahead. This past week I was reminded that when looking out the front windshield of your car you see all the possibilities ahead of you, but there is a rearview mirror that shows you the small items you left behind.

While it is good to reflect on the 'small wins' it is better to look ahead and see what is coming your way and how you need to manage through the possibilities..

6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?

First and foremost by listening. You need to understand the 'pulse' of the business, determine who the leaders are in the organization (this is not defined by a title), and be available to participate effectively when the time comes.

Leadership capacity is built on the willingness to learn, the ability to be courageous, the drive to inspire others to greatness, the wherewithal to challenge the status quo and the strength to tackle difficult obstacles.

As companies grow they can be stifled by a leadership deficit. Oftentimes this can result in 'edicts' being handed down within the organization vs. open dialog to drive decision making.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?

Learning the struggles of our founder Travis Boersma and the passing of his brother from ALS in 2009.

It was at this moment that the business model at Dutch Bros was changed forever. The realization that "Love" is the most important ingredient in life (and business). At this point, Travis decided that he would exhibit love from our coffee bean growers, through our vendors, to our employees, and have the experience end with our customers.

When I interviewed with the founder, we had a very deep and philosophical discussion surrounding business, doing for others, embracing the 'goodness' all around us, management utilizing the idea of an inverse pyramid, etc. To arrive at a company that. thought and felt the same way that I did, has been magical on so many levels.

For many, the idea of "Love" and business may seem uncomfortable, but I always knew that organizations existed that embrace this ideology. This was the driver that allowed me to make the transition from my previous employers to this small firm.

Managing a team that embraces the culture has been interesting. The Original (OG) Dutch Bros family members understand the culture, but as we have grown and are bringing in outside talent it is amazing to watch the change occur in our new employees that slowly embrace the culture of the brand. It seems too good to be true...