Deven Lindemann On How We Need To Redefine Success

Different people define success differently. One person might be motivated by the challenge of the assignment while another is energized by the impact of their work on a customer. Each team member may define success differently for a project. Remembering this and taking the time to find out what the specific motivations are will help […]

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Different people define success differently. One person might be motivated by the challenge of the assignment while another is energized by the impact of their work on a customer. Each team member may define success differently for a project. Remembering this and taking the time to find out what the specific motivations are will help in leading a team and meeting goals.


Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.

As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Deven Lindemann.

Deven Lindemann is Executive Vice President of Datasite’s Client Services organization, ensuring customers receive best in class service and support. She works closely with the Datasite product and sales teams to identify and solve client requirements and execute global training programs to support agile product releases. Under her leadership, the unrivalled mergers and acquisitions (M&A) expertise of Datasite’s Client Services team, also known as the Datasite Experience, has become a key differentiator in the market.


Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?

Several factors have shaped my life but one at the top of my list is the confidence, support, and freedoms my family gave me. There was a poem on one of the walls in our house that spoke to the gifts parents give their children, including roots to know where they come from and the importance of being grounded, and wings to try new things, take risks and grow. My family not only instilled in me a sense of purpose, including working hard, but also the freedom to explore. In fact, it’s partly what led me to spend 15 years living in the UK and working in Europe, which is another experience that influenced my life and career journey. The opportunity provided me with a chance to experience new cultures, different perspectives, and new ways to approach my life inside and outside of work, that I continue to draw from today.

We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?

There are several misconceptions about what it takes to succeed today. One of the most common ones is thinking that strategies or actions that worked in the past will continue to work in the future. Today, listening to your customers and innovation are critical, especially at a fast-growing software company such as Datasite which empowers dealmakers around the world with the tools they need to succeed across the entire deal lifecycle. During the pandemic, we saw that we needed to meet our customers where they want to be and provide them service how and when they want it. For example, many customers are used to searching for information — and service — digitally. In fact, most prefer resolving queries and problems themselves through self-service via a chatbot, QR code, or other resource, and the pandemic only accelerated this trend. We took note and expanded our Dealmaker’s Circle, or customer portal, giving more capabilities and resources to our customers to help them get answers and solve problems. More than 65% of our customers start their support journey online, and last year, we had over 73,000 visits to our portal. Through the site, customers can schedule custom training sessions, access virtual data room best practices, download invoices and review all their project information. The point is we continued to listen to our customers and tried new ways of doing things despite the lockdowns and restrictions.

How has your definition of success changed?

I think everyone’s definition of success changes over time, especially as you gain in skills and experience. Success for me today certainly means meeting or exceeding important performance indicators, but it’s also much broader than that. It means understanding and bringing clarity to the reason why my team does what it does. I always keep this top of mind and continue to use it to support our aggressive growth targets.

The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?

The pandemic laid bare some serious system and institutional weaknesses, so a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, especially the ‘S’ and ‘E’, by businesses of all sizes is in order. Given that investors continue to see that companies with higher ESG scores perform better than their peers, it also makes a lot of good business sense. In fact, our own Datasite research shows that 82% of dealmakers, our clients, say a company’s ESG policies, including those related to climate change, are important to candidates when evaluating a job opportunity. To be effective today, business leaders need to address these issues. Ultimately, people want to work for employers that are inclusive, diverse, sustainable, and purpose driven. We do this at Datasite by focusing on providing attractive benefits and creating and maintaining a culture that is flexible and makes employees feel connected and seen.

What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.

The pandemic led people to find new ways to do things and adopt new technologies; to be innovative. We saw this firsthand at Datasite, where dealmakers quickly adapted to the world of virtual deal marketing, due diligence, deal closing and integration. It also meant dealmakers needed even better support. In response, we not only adapted the service and the experience our customers receive, but we invested in how and where they receive that support. For example, being able to manage the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) process from any location at any time became particularly critical during the pandemic. In response, we not only moved our team of 185 employees in five countries to 100% remote in under two weeks, but we also quickly remodeled training programs to support remote working for new application launches, feature releases and new joiner training. This meant that our client services team continued to be able to provide exceptional client experiences from anywhere and everywhere. Additionally, we updated our telephony systems to ensure more rapid response times across all channels. These improvements not only benefited our customers, whose satisfaction scores soared, but employee engagement in client services took off, rising 15 points from a previous survey in 2019.

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

Different people define success differently. One person might be motivated by the challenge of the assignment while another is energized by the impact of their work on a customer. Each team member may define success differently for a project. Remembering this and taking the time to find out what the specific motivations are will help in leading a team and meeting goals.

Pay attention to the things you truly care about. This includes being present in the time you spend with significant others or in activities that sustain you. Whatever it is — it matters. We realized from the beginning of the pandemic, that employees working from home would need extra support. To ensure they could take time away from work, last summer, we gave all our employees an extra two days off for mental wellness and to recharge.

How you show up for people counts. At a time of crisis, such as the pandemic, how you show up for people is what they will remember. At Datasite, we did a lot of check-ins with team members. This was a stressful time, and it was important to connect with colleagues and customers on a human level.

Stay humble. The most important thing to know about me is I have an amazing team that keeps me going and keeps me grounded. I may be the one out front, but I’m no better than anyone else.

If it’s no longer fun, don’t do it. I’ve been in customer services for more than 20 years and I still get a kick out of helping people achieve goals and play a direct role in their success. I think it also comes down to maintaining a sense of humor. Humor is great for diffusing tough situations and creating an energized work environment.

How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?

We would likely be more resilient to change and new opportunities. The pandemic has taught us a lot of important lessons: It’s shown a lot of us in business that we can work from home and be flexible; it’s shown us that we need to take care of ourselves and each other; and it’s shown us the importance of prioritizing what is important and making time for that. I know I’m taking these lessons forward at Datasite and I’m confident other leaders are too.

What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?

I think one of the biggest obstacles is not realizing that you are in charge of your own success. For example, no matter where you are in your life, you have the power to develop your knowledge and skills. This is one of the biggest keys to success. It’s also one of the reasons why we at Datasite are providing employees with online resources that focus on mental health and wellbeing to emotional intelligence and leadership. We’re also planning to launch specific skills-based trainings and resources in the new year so they can continue to learn and develop.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I’m happy to exchange ideas and discuss best practices on LinkedIn.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.

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