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20 Leadership Lessons Learned From 20 Years at Salesforce

What’s one of the most impactful questions a leader can ask? Senior Vice President Mike Wolff shares his thoughts on collaboration and success.

A photo of Mike Wolff, who reflects on leadership lessons at Salesforce.
Your playbook is a representation of past success. Future success is determined by constant reinvention.

After reaching my 20th Salesforce anniversary, I’ve been reflecting on my journey and thinking about all of the people and experiences that have impacted my leadership approach.

I am the senior vice president of ISV Sales at Salesforce. I get to grow high-impact technology partnerships to ensure that both Salesforce and our partner ecosystem are growing, innovating, and delivering customer success. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have learned from so many incredible leaders and teammates. It’s fun to think about the leadership traits that I’ve “borrowed” and incorporated into my authentic approach.

Here are 20 leadership lessons that I’ve learned over the last 20 years. My hope is that you take these leadership threads and make the appropriate ones your own.

1. Your team works with you…not for you.

2. Coach the “why” and not the “what.”

3. Culture doesn’t eat strategy for breakfast. Values do.

4. Childhood goes by in a blink. Take your full parental leave and be present with your family.

My wonderful family.

5. Be the type of leader that people fight to work with.

6. Your team is always watching you for cues. Never let your highs get too high nor your lows get too low.

7. Execute today and paint the vision for tomorrow.

8. Don’t just get it done…make sure that you do it right.

9. Never let your title determine the impact that you can have on your organization.

10. Always tie yourself to revenue.

My early days leading the best SMB team.

11. If you don’t know what you want with your career, no one else will know either.

12. Great talent attracts incredible opportunities. Talk to recruiters to know how good you have it where you are.

Just a few incredible coworkers I’ve befriended over the years.

13. One of the most impactful questions a leader can ask is “What’s the challenge that we’re trying to solve?”

14. Work for a company where your customers are your best salespeople.

15. Chronological interviews are like truth serum. If you don’t use them, learn how!

16. Digital clutter is costly. Define your personal technology rules versus having the tools define you.

17. Your calendar determines your priorities.

On a Salesforce VTO trip in July 2019 to help the humanitarian effort at the U.S. border.

18. Your playbook is a representation of past success. Future success is determined by constant reinvention.

19. Authenticity is a superpower that fuels trust, transparency, and high performance.

20. The journey is the reward. Always take time to celebrate it.

Thank you to my family, teammates, customers, and partners for this impactful journey. I can’t wait to see what the years ahead bring and the new lessons that I’ll learn along the way.

Leads Global ISV Sales team where we recruit, build, and grow impactful technology partnerships that drive Salesforce differentiation and deliver growth, customer success, and innovation. Board Member, Weingarten Children’s Center. Loves spending time with family and two daughters, and rooting for his hometown teams including the 49ers, Warriors, Giants, and UC Davis Aggies.

More by Mike

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