Manage Smarter 217 — Darrin Jahnel: Special Teams Cultures

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Darrin Jahnel is the founder and CEO of Jahnel Group, a 150-​person software consulting company headquartered in upstate New York. Darrin leads with energy and is maniacally focused on creating an amazing work environment for his team. Jahnel Group has made the Inc 5,000 list 6 years in a row and has won multiple best workplace awards for their amazing culture. 

One of the keys to success is tying your love and experience playing basketball by applying those concepts to special teams. Prior to starting the company in 2012, Darrin worked as a Senior Software Engineer on Wall Street. Darrin has led numerous engineering teams on multi-​million-​dollar projects and is a member of MENSA. He is happily married and has 4 children (2 adopted children and 2 birth sons). 

Darrin’s oldest son, Gideon, is from Nigeria. Although Darrin and his wife refer to Gideon as their son, they were not able to officially adopt him. Gideon has parents and 5 siblings back in Nigeria. Last year, Gideon worked 60 hours a week, all summer long and earned enough money to buy his family a house back in Nigeria!

In this podcast and vodcast for sales managers and sales leaders, Audrey, Lee and Darrin discuss:

  • Definition of special teams within organizations
  • How basketball helped him create a successful company and specific sports-​related culture
  • The story of adopting his eldest son from Nigeria, and what his son has achieved in helping his origin family back in Africa
  • Tips on managing a lot of different personality types  

"The number one mistake managers make is not buying into servant leadership. If leaders don't put their people first, it's clear to the people on their team and it prevents them from truly connecting. Groups that have an “every man for themselves” mentality rarely achieve greatness”

Darrin Jahnel

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