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Nuggets of Leadership Wisdom from Industry Leader Dean Sackett

Nuggets of Leadership Wisdom from Industry Leader Dean Sackett

In a recent podcast, I spoke with Dean Sackett, an leader in the building industry.

After 20 years in finance and general management roles with a focus on building multinational businesses, Dean joined Homestead Building Company as CEO last year, with a goal to deliver the best experience in custom-built homes to customers.

He recently received a Fast 50 honor in acknowledgement as one of the 50 fastest growing companies in the Triangle area.

Reinvention or Starting Over? Just Do It.

As humans, we don’t like change.

Yet Dean transitioned from the global financial analyst industry to homebuilding.

Confessing he started over 9 times in his lifetime, each change was drastically different.

His secret comes down to 2 things:

  • Faith that it will work out
  • Knowing that he will figure it out as he goes along

Pushing the perfectionist in him aside, he challenged himself to overcome it. He, too, like all of us, was a Work in Progress.

“We push ourselves to be better,” explained Dean. “We put obstacles up in front of ourselves that we need to overcome…this is why we are a constant work in progress.”

Why did he choose homebuilding as a new career?

Simple: The challenge – and having the right connections. “I joined what is already a successful business to see what I can contribute to bring more to what is available ahead.” Trusting in his read on people and situations, Dean has strong confidence in current relationships and those in the future.

Dean Sackett on Teaming Up With Homestead Building

To take Homestead Building to the next level, Dean brought a list of goals he wanted to achieve:

  • Satisfied customers.
  • Be financially responsible to the company.
  • Maintain strategy.
  • Deliver the customer experience consistently.
  • Focus on what is important toward decisions.
  • A customer-first decision making and focus.
  • Collaboration as a building company with trade partners toward customer success, noting “mind shift is a self-reflection opportunity.”

Self-selection requires self-reflection and it’s not for everyone, explained Dean. “It’s ok for people to make their own decisions for what they want. Turnover is perfectly ok and it means we are growing and evolving.”

Leaders, How Willing are You to Take a Chance?

A willingness to take chances is key – and so is pushing through fear, resistance and doubt. “It’s not that I don’t have it,” Dean shared, referring to fear and doubt. “I am just willing to push through it.”

His starting point? A quiet entrance into new teams. He learns from the organization, gathering information and contributes from there. And he doesn’t linger on the accomplishments.

What about his role models?

A believer of the “you don’t quit companies, you quit bosses” philosophy, Dean says no one is perfect – so don’t expect it.

One boss he had made a profound statement:

“You can never be the same boss to somebody else. Take the best from what you’re seeing in me, but don’t try to be me because you’re going to fail.”

And that’s how Dean works. He makes it his own. He defines success and is an authentic leader.

Dean Sackett Has Tips for a Better Workplace

Dean SackettWe need to challenge each other, notes Dean, as individuals and collectively, how we can do better.

“The answer is not going to come from me, it will collectively come from us. When we challenge each other respectfully, we will all get better.”

Putting up guard rails is important to ensure the confidence to step out.

“We can do better” is an invitation for all of us to collectively focus and resolve.

And what about those perfectionists?

“Take it easy on yourself,” said Dean. “I make mistakes, I did yesterday and today, and I will make more. What do I learn from those? Some just are what they are, there’s nothing to learn. They just are, let them be.

When we keep that perspective, we sleep well, we’re more productive, we take better care of ourselves and use the day and time as purposefully as possible.

But many don’t want to get past it- many people just like being a perfectionist. You need to ask yourself: How does this serve me? Or not? Being content with your productivity allows you so much more peace and freedom.

Listening: A Key to Leadership Success


The biggest lesson Dean learned from failure was a simple one: he needed to listen better.

Others could see a view across the top that he couldn’t see, and that he didn’t catch along the way. Had he done that, he would have seen the perspective that was important.

Listening is key to successful communication and can be a deal breaker when it fails.

A New Leadership Work in Progress Opportunity

In the past, there was always a CEO that Dean was beside or behind, checking to see if what he was bringing to the table was correct. Now he needs to be that for himself.

Utilizing the skills that brought him to where he is today, he says he needs to carry forward the confidence, listening, and an acceptance of failure.

“It’s all the same things, just more intense now.” Dean admitted.

Dean’s Goals for Homestead

  • Continue a more focused approach as they plan strategically
  • Press into the realities of the challenges in the market and plan accordingly
  • Get the right team members – because people you choose around you are critical to success

“Everyone is your customer” is a motto that Dean lives by.

Coincidentally, this is one of the courses I teach at Strive Coaching Studio.

“Everybody’s in sales, no matter what your position. When you see yourself that way, it changes how you act, approach, and serve others,” said Dean.

What reading material keeps him focused? Two: The Wall Street Journal and the Bible – they both inspire him. And for fun, his kids dominate a large part of his life.

Visit us at Strive Coaching Studio and check out my course, “Everyone is Your Customer.” It’s a motto Dean lives by – and if you’re aiming for success, you need to live it as well.

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