Name: Lance Eerhard
Title: CEO & Managing Director
Lance is a passionate and driven eCommerce, Commercial and Leadership veteran. He has led teams to build some of the biggest and best digital, e-commerce & loyalty Businesses and Strategies in Australia. A specialist in building and scaling modern, profitable, retail and eCommerce businesses.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Lance's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
The most challenging thing as a leader was when I was working for large corporate businesses. Often there are decisions made in companies that are misaligned to your personal values or the values of your team but you still need to help your team understand the company's position. Authenticity and empathy are the keys in these situations.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Honestly, I've been what would be considered a leader from a very young age. Starting in Cub Scouts originally, sports, then through school, and eventually into my business life. However, I personally don't think of being a leader as being an appointed position. I think being a true leader is when people choose to follow you rather than being told they have to.
This part of my journey again has been present throughout but I really only truly understood it when I took on a role as the Chief Digital Officer for Dan Murphy's. Through that period I learned the importance of leading others even if you weren't their appointed leader.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I don't have a crazy set routine. Life and leadership just simply don't allow for that, no matter how many books or blogs you read it's just not reality. Being a father, and having a team, things have to be adaptive to be successful. However, I try to get at least 7.5 hours of sleep a day on average, including adapting my wake-up time to accommodate that.
I always eat a protein-rich breakfast and then I build out the skeleton of my days around a week ahead. Enough structure to ensure I meet all of my hard commitments but also enough flex that I can adapt in a day or in a week for those things that you just can't predict, without it throwing my entire day or week into chaos.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
I've recently been re-reminded of the importance of being present. Not necessarily physically but more in the moment. There are thousands of things happening all the time to all of us, but when you are with people in general but importantly your people, ensuring you are there for them in that moment and not in 1,000 other places is really powerful
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?
Start with Why - Simon Sinek. I don't subscribe to everything that Simon writes or speaks about but it was the start of me understanding myself as a leader, how I present and am received and really challenging myself to be clear on why we are doing things.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
I would say make sure you are on a journey of self-awareness. Understanding how you are, how you are seen, heard, and understood. This will help you ensure you can be the most effective leader.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
There are a couple but one that was most meaningful to me personally was when I left a business. It was a role where I had quite a small team but we were making quite big changes in the company, both domestically but also across the region. We worked closely as a team but also had to manage and work with stakeholders across the business to ensure we could be successful.
When I left the business the team did a digital card for people to sign and people from across the business globally wrote the most amazing messages. There were 6x as many people as I had in my direct team that contributed and the messages were amazing. The reason it was meaningful is that often as leaders we feel like we are dealing with mostly the crappy bits. It can often be mostly challenging and quite lonely.
To be able to sit back with all of that feedback and reflect on the impact I was able to have was both a very meaningful moment for me but also incredibly humbling.