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7 Questions with John Salzinger
7 Questions with John Salzinger
Name: John Salzinger
Current title: Founder, Chief Business Development Officer
Current organisation: MPOWERD Inc.
Our Chief Business Development Officer and Founder John, a native New Yorker, and born entrepreneur, launched MPOWERD with the idea that innovative companies have a responsibility to lead – not only in the marketplace but as a real force for good. He launched and managed several global media, tech and finance companies before starting MPOWERD, where he’s been a guiding force behind pretty much every aspect of the company’s strategy. From business growth to sales, marketing, and product development - he holds multiple Luci patents. Outside the office, you’d most likely find him practicing his jump shot on the court or surfing waves!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
What I have found most challenging is also our advantage. A lack of resources can be seen as an ability to move quickly and pivot. As a B Corp., being held to impact can also widen your business choices. As a solar company going up against the fossil fuel market, doors continue to open as green energy takes hold. You are only as strong as your team. Although we only have a few members on our staff, thankfully, we have an incredible team of 17 dedicated, hard-working, mission driven, brilliant employees.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
A progressive upbringing, traveling to other areas of the world that did not have the advantages that I was born with in the United States was instrumental in the ideas behind this company. More personally, by trying many different industries and positions afforded me the skill sets to found MPOWERD. Networking, relationships, taking risks, being resilient, surrounding myself with people of like-minded ideologies and hard-working DNA was key to success. Hardwork is my leadership style and so I guess I lead by example AND never give up. Every challenge is an opportunity in disguise.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
There is just work. I do not read self-help books on business or have a magic secret to success. There are not traditional off-days for me. We are a global company and I am attached to the world through my mobile device. Although I do work Monday through Friday I also work on evenings and mornings and weekends. Structure to me, means simply finding time to fill in one’s life while enjoying one's work. I have been able to do that luckily.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
It is essential to understand what drives people, however, not people in general. Every single person has their own style and their own incredible ability to affect change. It is about understanding the people who work for you and treating them in the way that each and every one of them prefers to be treated. That said, as a team, we are all responsible for each other. None of us work in a silo and none of us work alone. Everything each of us does affects the whole.
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?
Potentially, Striking Thoughts, by Bruce Lee. It is a simple book of aphorisms that apply not only to business but to life. In essence, it is about being in control while being flexible. It is about seeing challenges before they arise and when they arise adapting and utilizing those challenges to strengthen yourself and others.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
Responsibility is key. Everyone is a leader whether or not they have employees reporting in them or not. We all lead by example. This must be built in an organic fashion. Much of this starts and ends with the hiring process. The entire team is responsible for leadership and responsible for themselves and one another. It is a group mentality.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
MPOWERD has more stories than does my personal life. The company has been consistently attacked with the worst form of flattery around. After creating innovative unique products and ensuring that we had a robust IP portfolio, many bad actors, both domestic and abroad, have attempted to do what we do by copying our products both from a design and utility perspective. In a sense, it demonstrates strong ideation and execution on our part. It also drives innovation and keeps us moving and constantly creating new products. Many of these black and gray market products provide us with leads whereby we contact the seller of these counterfeit SKUs and inevitably turn them into our own account. Although we have stepped into the legal realm to defend our patent portfolio successfully, we prefer to compete on brand, partnerships, product, quality, mission - and are lucky to have a good amount of karma to carry us over to each next day.