South's Greatest Bosses: Daniel Defense

Marty Daniel

There is no single “key” to success in business, but if there were I’d imagine it would be the strength of the team. It’s something we’ve made an inextricable part of our culture here at Daniel Defense, and something I believe sets us apart from our competitors.

When you look at the evolution of our brand and our wellbeing of our company, what you’re looking at it are the results that come from an effective team, working together with seamless precision. Our team-oriented culture isn’t just important in the wellbeing of our business, it’s vital to the quality of life of our employees, who often spend more time with their team than their own families.

If I can brag on my team a little, it’s a joy to watch them work. The way this intricate machine hums along on the strength and character of these fine people, and the decisions they make every step of the way, is inspiring. And while one of the perks of having your name on the building is veto power, I’m constantly impressed by how rarely I have to use it. Sometimes I’ll weigh in on a decision, but just as often I don’t. During meetings, or even just small interactions with team members, I give them the power to make the decisions that define their work.

Me, I just pipe in to illustrate the big picture or provide some context to how whatever they’re working on benefits the company as a whole. Then, I stand back and let them find their own way to accomplish the mission. Part of this is my respect for the amazing things this team has accomplished, part of it is knowing my own limitations as a boss. I’m not a manager – I’m a coach.

I’d love to tell you that this machine hums along on without so much as a hiccup. But as with any endeavor there are moments of debate and conflict. Whatever the subject, it doesn’t matter – something as small as data analysis or as large as prioritizing our next move. The important thing is the debate is healthy, respectful, rarely personal, and always focused on creating consensus to move forward. My job in this is just to keep everyone on the same page, communicating and keeping our eyes on the same goal.

Yes, this team-oriented approach has been good for the bottom line. But that’s not why we do it, or at least not entirely. For me, watching these teams come together, seeing my employees grow in their skills, is one of the most rewarding things about what we do. That continues after they clock out. Every team members’ success as an individual – welcoming new children, moving into a new house, finally getting that dream car – is a success we all celebrate together.

As I said, I’m a coach. And the only measuring stick of a good coach is a winning team. That’s not something you can accomplish without great players, and when you have that winning just comes naturally. And everyone likes being part of a winning team.


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