3 Lessons From Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP

By Natalie Dupuis, July 17, 2015

Reflecting on his first 365 days as the first American CEO of German software corporation SAP, business mogul Bill McDermott shares three lessons he’s learned about leading a team of 74,000 people, finding the often-elusive work-life balance and making waves in the industry.

1. Be humble and stay hungry.

No one person can do it all. I’m very blessed to have a great board, a great management team and inspired people who lead themselves and our company forward every day. On a personal level, I always dreamed I would be in a position where I could influence or help a lot of people, and it’s a pleasure to do that. That’s why I get hungry every day—I want to come back and do better tomorrow.

2. Work-life balance is a misnomer.

I consider work life as the person I am and the relationship I choose to have with my career and my time. I also feel the most important decision a person will ever make is choosing a partner. You have to choose your [spouse] wisely, and you have to be partners with them in how you manage your career and your home life. Similarly, you have to put yourself into workplaces with cultures that match you and where you’re happy. You have to go home happy, and for the limited time you’re there, it has to be quality time, maximized time.

3. Do the things you do well often.

Recognize you have to have a point of view. Come in and stand for something. Walk with a purpose. Stand tall. Believe in yourself. Have self-confidence and focus on the things you’re uniquely good at. Don’t do the things you don’t do so well at all. Let’s get someone else to do that. Surround yourself with people who are better than you and experts in what they do.

Photo credit: Leadercast

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