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Visionary Leadership | Founder of Million Dollar Baby, Daniel Fong

Episode 021 of my leadership podcast is part one, of a two-part series conversation I had with the founder and former CEO of Million Dollar Baby Company - Daniel Fong.

Daniel Fong’s Million Dollar Baby Company has made six appearances on the annual Inc 5000 list of America’s fastest growing private companies and was just featured in the August 2017 edition of Inc. magazine

I met Mr. Fong when I was the keynote speaker at Million Dollar Baby’s Vistage Inside group. I was immediately drawn to the warmth and openness of his company expressed by the people he (and now his familial team) has deliberately put in place within Million Dollar Baby.

The company culture and visionary leadership at Million Dollar Baby was palpable and I wanted to talk to Mr. Fong about the philosophy he used to build Million Dollar Baby Company and share his perspective, advice, and thoughts with you so together we can learn, lead, and leave a lasting legacy.

I love Mr. Fong’s sentiments of telling a story with your business — why are you different and why should people buy from you? The easy or conventional wisdom is to try to compete on price. But doing the easy or conventional thing, Mr. Fong says, “I don’t really believe in that; I don’t think that is that much fun.”

So Mr. Fong went into the baby furniture business to create something different — to write a new story.

I’m so excited to share this conversation with you because there are tons of great nuggets regarding visionary leadership, building a company culture, and bringing people along in the process.

In episode 021 of Garage to Goliath | Leaders Building Legacies, you’ll hear Daniel Fong talk about:

  • As a venture capitalist, what he looked for in a company before he invested in a company.
  • His self-described, really strange desire to be the best and to do everything really well.
  • His personal hypothesis about the power of a major company being run by the company owner.
  • How he was an industry disrupter with Million Dollar Baby.

I also want you to listen for some great ideas to cultivate your own visionary leadership.   

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Photo by Ramona Rosales 

At Million Dollar Baby Company, the leadership team hosts a week-long, company-wide quarterly meeting to keep the entire company on the same page and pursuing the same vision together. Part of the visionary leadership, in the quarterly meetings, is pointing back to the problems and challenges being discussed in previous quarterly meetings and reminding the whole team how they overcame those challenges together. 

Mr. Fong says that in business, “You have to win people’s hearts. The way we win our employees hearts is we have to be truthful.” And I cannot agree more.

Listen and enjoy!

 Lead well, 

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Thanks for listening! To help my leadership podcast succeed:

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Show Related Links


Show Notes
• Daniel Fong’s journey leading up to starting Million Dollar Baby in 1990 [1:35]

• How Daniel evaluated businesses before invested in them [7:29]

• How he got the entrepreneurial itch [9:51]

• How Daniel was a disrupter in his industry and why [15:40]

• The challenges Daniel had being a disruptor and doing things differently [18:50]

• Daniel’s philosophy to find good people and build sustainable teams [19:28]

• The care of the Million Dollar Baby company culture [24:39]


Learn more about Dan as a  leadership keynote speaker and invite Dan to inspire your team to lead with purpose, direction, and optimism

Photo by Sadık Kuzu on Unsplash

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