Doug Daniel | Crain's Washington D.C.

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Doug Daniel


With offices in Charlotte, Raleigh and 12 other cities, ECE (formerly EastCoast Entertainment) is a full-service booking and production agency specializing in high-profile entertainment. ECE books and manages talent for a wide range of functions, from weddings and social events to university and corporate events and performing arts venues.

The Mistake:

Not trusting a process to build a consensus.

I was a sole owner and entrepreneur at an entertainment agency before I came back to ECE. I was here at ECE until 2000, then left to work for another music licensing agency before starting Daniel Entertainment group.

I sold that company to ECE in 2009, and came back as a partner, so it was a transition for me to move to a much bigger agency with other partners. Early on, I did not do a good job building a consensus and trusting a process that allows you to arrive at a better place.

You don’t necessarily know these things are a challenge until you live the frustration, and you take an introspective look at yourself and ask, 'Why I am struggling with this?' When you do that, you become healthier in your role, you can recognize when those opportunities come up, and enjoy that debate that can lead to consensus-building.

You have to assign goals to individuals and hold them accountable.

The Lesson:

I think that to be successful as a company, you have to assign goals to individuals and hold them accountable. Where I started getting smarter was that I realized there’s a lot of opportunity for consensus-building and differing opinions. I realize that just because they look at the issue differently than me, doesn’t make it less valuable. In fact, there have been times where I have embraced their opinions after a healthy debate.

We’re all just a collection of things going on in our lives – either historically in what’s happened in our past or what’s happening in our lives now – that shape who we are. I’ve really tried to take the extra time to dig in and find out who these personalities are, and what’s going on in their lives, to arrive at a better understanding of who they really are.

I’m embracing the diversity, trying to understand what’s making people think a certain way. At the end of the day, we all want the same thing; we all want the company to be successful. Some people just have a different vision of what that takes.

You have to take a step back and understand those forces that are at play, grab parts of that discussion that feel like they have value, have that debate and enjoy that debate. That’s the good stuff.

Follow Doug Daniel on Twitter at: @EastCoastTweets

Pictured: Doug  Daniel | Photo  courtesy of ECE

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