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7 Questions with Hanns Schempp
7 Questions with Hanns Schempp
Name: Hanns Schempp
Current title: Founder and CEO/COO
Current organisation: Miota Marketing Advisory/Cyttraction
Hanns Schempp is founder and CEO of German strategic marketing advisory Miota plus Co-founder & COO of Estonian cybersecurity-as-a-service provider Cyttraction. As an early digital age news television freelance, startup founder and seasoned communication, sales and marketing executive, most recently as Head of B2B Marketing Europe at Deutsche Telekom, he is today advisor to leading scalers and company builders, among them cdt.digital Group and Proof Analytics. He also shares his experience in international events, lectures and trainings. Without the least respect for industry myths.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
The direct impact of limited imagination and curiosity in industries fundamental to scaling efforts.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was coined in many by the launching years of Germany's first news television (which still exists) and later my own first startup in the 1990s. So, on the backdrop of two decades as an executive in a rather large multinational that followed, the driver seat in my own company fell in place almost naturally, when I moved on from corporate life.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Rather unspectacularly, I'm afraid. Breakfast, lunch, dinner with my wife and two teenage sons plus a half hour a day outside next to a wild barrel ride of calls, and creative or planning hours besides homeschooling. A lot of it is instict presently and a good deal of heart and grit, I guess.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Your tone sets the music. And only those who are trusting you, will care to listen on end.
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 but don't usually think about books that way. Probably I don't think of my leadership that way either. Personal experiences were much more important than books, I think.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
A small company needs inspiration most of all and when people can own, truly own the thing they do, only then will they inspire themselves. That is why keeping my probing mind off things others do for me may be the best way to rear new leaders in the stage we're in.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
Some months ago, my co-founder and CEO took the pandemic bull by the horns and, in the face of grounded flights and closed hotels, simply moved from Berlin to our new head office in Tallinn by e-bike and tent. Somewhere on that trip, during torrential rains, I found myself coaching her onwards on the phone, when there was still nobody else to do it and the company was not even registered. And her grit led her on. The moment I realized that leadership is relevant even before there is something obvious to lead even and also that being instrumental in someone else's leadership plainly qualifies, too.