Leadership Insights for the EV Supply Chain: Deconstructing the Jeremy McCool Interview with Carolyn Sauer

Leadership Insights for the EV Supply Chain: Deconstructing the Jeremy McCool Interview with Carolyn Sauer

Watch the full video on YouTube - click here

Following her dynamic and inspiring conversation with HEVO Founder & CEO Jeremy McCool, Jan invites automotive sales and marketing expert Carolyn Sauer to unpack the interview and mine the most important advice for industry leaders.

Many e-mobility suppliers agree that one of their biggest challenges is reaching the right decision-makers at OEMs. As the industry shifts to EV, both purchasing and selling teams need new mindsets and a consultative approach. Jeremy McCool’s inspirational leadership provides a model for how to maintain conviction in difficult environments.

Yet closing deals and bringing new technology to market requires a different kind of bravery. Besides persevering in business objectives, leaders must address the human side of relationships.

“I am seeing more of that in the industry,” says Carolyn. “Leaders are becoming more empathetic to personal issues that come up or being more open to listening to the next generation sharing their ideas.”

There’s no doubt Jeremy McCool is impressive, but is his leadership model one-of-a-kind, or can others replicate his best practices?

Join in on this episode of the Automotive Leaders Podcast as Jan and Carolyn get practical and specific on how to foster authentic relationships both internally and outside of an organization. From supplier-OEM relations to the physical layout of an office space to reclaiming employee time from meetings, automotive leaders can take steps right now to move forward on their long-term objectives.

Themes discussed on this episode: 

  • The unique challenges of EV suppliers
  • Safety features in EV technology
  • How OEMs should approach sourcing for electric vehicles
  • Personal conviction meets company branding
  • Trends in Millennial and Gen Z leaders
  • How to influence others in difficult circumstances
  • Why fewer meetings lead to better problem-solving
  • Innovating without fear of the unknown

Featured Guest: Carolyn Sauer

What she does: With a background in both traditional automotive and e-mobility, Carolyn is the Director of Business Development for Schaltbau GmbH. Her wealth of Tier 1 sales and marketing experience and her cross-functional approach to problem-solving help her drive product innovation and strengthen relationships with OEMs.

On leadership: “I don't want my team members to come into work every day and feel like they have to be a different person at work than they are at home. I want them to be their authentic self all the time, no matter what that may look or feel like, and it's not going to look and feel the same way every day. You don't know what's going on in someone's life. But when you're working with me, be who you are.”

Episode Highlights

Timestamped inflection points from the show

[2:21] Old company, new tricks: Carolyn details her background in traditional automotive and explains why Schaltbau, even as a 93-year-old company, acts like a tech. startup.

[3:43] Networking challenge: In his interview, Jeremy McCool described the difficulty suppliers have in finding the right decision-makers at OEMs. Carolyn says it’s because electrification products fit so many applications.

[6:32] Feel the power: Schaltbau manufactures bidirectional DC contactors. Carolyn explains what those are and how they function inside electric vehicles.

[7:14] Nurture the relationship: How should an OEM approach the sourcing process? When bombarded with new products from an array of different suppliers, Carolyn says buyers have to be open-minded. As for suppliers, she suggests a consultative approach to selling.

[10:07] Next-gen leadership: Jan and Carolyn are impressed by Jeremy McCool’s personal conviction, purposeful branding and willingness to break the traditional mold of an automotive CEO. They discuss macro trends they’re seeing in Millenial and Gen Z leaders.

[14:52] Safe space in the battle: Jeremy spoke about leading people to move out of their comfort zones. Jan and Carolyn reflect on how to influence others, and Carolyn throws out a challenge.

[19:19] Leave space for the magic: Jeremy argued that holding fewer meetings leaves more space for creativity, and Jan shares a recent experience to prove how the physical layout of an office space can foster authentic conversations. Carolyn relays a lesson from early in her career.

[24:54] Advice for auto industry leaders: Much of Jeremy’s career demonstrates his bravery to step into the unknown. Jan and Carolyn discuss what it means for auto leaders to have no fear in product innovation and customer relationships.

[27:52] Closing comments: Would you work for Jeremy McCool? Carolyn submits her final verdict — and channels her inner Run-DMC.

Top quotes

[7:42] Carolyn: “[OEMs] are all stating that they really want to embrace new suppliers and open up their channels and avenues for purchasing. And yet, reaching out to them directly is very different because either there's no response at all or it's a very delayed response […] My advice is for them to be a little bit more open to new products that they haven't used before and to understand the benefits of those products, especially as it relates to consumer features and consumer safety.”

[9:25] Carolyn: “I've always been a fan of the consultative approach to selling because I really look at it as an opportunity to help solve a problem […] We’re all working toward the best, safest outcome on the vehicles.”

[17:59] Jan: “Great leaders, truly authentic leaders, are perfectly fine with sharing some of the personal side and showing some vulnerability.”

[20:48] Carolyn: “[In meetings] there's grandstanding, there's blaming, there's chest-pounding. I don't have time for that. That's great. You did a great job. Let's all pat you on the back. But can we do it as we're walking down the hall and not in an hour-long meeting?”

[23:44] Carolyn: “No one wants to feel like they're not being heard or they're not being listened to when you're talking about an issue that affects so many people. Why not treat them like the human that they are and have the conversation?”