Karl Feldman is a man of many talents. Before becoming a partner at Hinge Marketing, he used to be an entrepreneur, marketer, and engineer. At Hinge, he now manages the company’s delivery of its services. His experience also gave him the qualifications to lead Hinge’s account teams, spurring them on to continue evolving and improving their products and product delivery for their clients.
Aside from his leadership, Karl Feldman also gives useful and practical advice to other leaders in the allied fields of architecture, construction, and engineering in terms of using the most effective ways and techniques to grow their businesses, as well as to solve and avoid marketing issues.
Prior to Hinge, Karl Feldman was the former Director of Marketing at HITT Contracting. This company is a top-50 general contractor based in the United States, employing around 700 employees in several offices nationwide. Besides HITT, Karl also led marketing operations for clients in other fields, such as national retail. He has also led B2B operations for different brands, such as Herman Miller, Steelcase, and Harley Davidson.
Throughout his career, Karl Feldman has also founded, headed, and ran many firms backed by venture capital. Aside from his work at Hinge, Karl also writes blogs and speaks at national engagements covering topics like professional services marketing and strategy.
Karl Feldman also designs and creates a variety of gadgets, from robots to drones to motorized skateboards.
You can read more interviews with other industry veterans here. Check out Karl Feldman in action here.
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Karl Feldman: Marketing and branding agencies that offer research are common. One of the big differences in our approach is the practical application of sound research methodology and rigor, grounded in behavioral understanding of professional services industries and their audiences.
We’ve invested heavily in our primary industry research to identify vertical specific trends and objective context to strategies we develop. In contrast to my experience in B2C and B2B, I believe that professional service firms are still realizing the competitive edge that research and data driven strategy can provide.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Remember to put your metaphorical oxygen mask on first — in addition to your COVID mask. With all the changes and uncertainties in play, problem solving and prioritization can become overwhelming. Be sure to maintain time (and sometimes, also prioritize) the things that bring you and your family joy.
Embrace and limit distraction. If your current reality of endless meetings and video conferences is driving you batty, I encourage you to embrace some limited distraction. Forcing yourself to take small breaks to do something unexpected or aimless may be just the perfect salve for eye strain or difficulty focusing. I’ve been using the heck out of my watches’ timer to keep my intermittent distractions contained.
Pay attention to opportunities for informal communication and empathy. Communication technology often imparts structure and scheduling to informal communication. If you’re chatting or slacking with your colleagues, you may be missing out on the fun personal cues that actually make collaboration fun. Finding a few meetings to finish early and share some low-stake notes on the latest Netflix binge-fest can help keep your social tank from running dry.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Karl Feldman: It’s difficult for me to settle on one particular person who I’m most grateful for — there are so many! This question has reminded me how much gathering information brings me joy. I can trace my curiosity back to reading encyclopedias cover to cover, or studying radio shack catalogs for hours before quizzing the lonely store clerk on the finer points of bread boxes and rheostats.
Professors who patiently indulged ridiculous questions and embarrassing challenges. My sister who earned her doctorate in sociology and tolerates hours of discourse on the evils of automation. Current work colleagues and friends in a wide variety of professions.
All of these amazing individuals have shared wisdom that continues to shape my perspective — and bring me joy.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Delegating effectively is a challenge for many leaders. Let’s put first things first. Can you help articulate to our readers a few reasons why delegating is such an important skill for a leader or a business owner to develop?
Karl Feldman: Effective delegation benefits an organization’s overall performance while supporting teams’ individual goals and passions, so improving techniques will have a positive impact on retention and productivity. This means taking a considered approach to where each team member’s greatest potential can be achieved — beginning with the team leader.
What hands-on experience will help to develop talent? Curating specific experience will allow promising talent to learn through hands-on successes and failures. As teams gain more tactical experience, rising stars will gain greater context to identify meaningful trends and take action.
In-turn, focusing these rising stars on their own delegation skills in the same way will help an organization scale up while also supporting individuals’ passions and personal growth goals.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?
Delegating is challenging because clear communication is challenging. Considering the evolution of communication technology, the medium for communication can often introduce layers of confusion. Considering our current pandemic driven videoconference purgatory, communication tools have taken center stage in the quest for clear communication.
Balancing confidence and vision with openness and empathy may also be challenging. Being an effective leader can be like walking a tightrope at times — and often the world will hurl hefty tomatoes at the most deft leaders to really test their mettle.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your opinion, what pivots need to be made, either in perspective or in work habits, to help alleviate some of the challenges you mentioned?
Karl Feldman: Remembering that no-matter the channel, delegation and collaboration is a person-to-person challenge — the tools and distractions are adjacent at best. Keeping focus on the individuals and teams by taking extra care to relay and confirm intent will never go out of style.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Karl Feldman: When I think of delegation and owning accomplishments in 2020’s highly collaborative, globally virtual environment, I can’t help but consider how much content drifts out into the ether without attribution. Some content is fun, some vitriolic, some enlightening. I’d love to nurture something like blockchain applied to content on a broad scale. It may be odd coming from an online-focused marketer, but allowing greater control and accountability for online content might encourage a few more healthy conversations and recognition of fellow digital natives.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!
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