Introducing the Digital Leadership Partner Model

We at Digital Leadership, believe things can be done differently. We have the dream to build a global family of leaders. With freedom and responsibilities. We share openly and OpenSource. We are all about real people, human values and honest communication.

Introducing the Digital Leadership Partner Model

We at Digital Leadership, believe things can be done differently. We have the dream to build a global family of leaders. With freedom and responsibilities. We share openly and OpenSource. We are all about real people, human values and honest communication.

Introducing the Digital Leadership Partner Model

We believe the consulting market (including agencies, venture builders and strategy firms) is overdue for a change. There is room to do differently: for our customers, for the people that work with us, for ourselves and last but not least the final consumer. We need change on all levels. We need change and think over how we live as a society, how we do business and how we as humans collaborate, live and work.

We at Digital Leadership, have the dream to be that change and fill that gap in the market. We offer freedom and responsibility. We share openly and OpenSource. We are all about honest communication. Circular thinking is central to us.

We are thinking holistically, integrative and end2end. We value collaborative partnerships and our purpose is to help evolve. With genuine engagement. Because nothing else matters.

Our dream

Our dream is to build a global family of leaders. Of doers. Of change-makers. And we are truly seeking to build a family. We have enough of corporate hierarchies. And we certainly do not need those internally. We value freedom and independence. And are here to make a real stance.

We offer entrepreneurial compensation, and everything is here on eye-level. But attention: without 100% commitment, it’s not going to work …

FAQ – Questions have to be answered

Market context

The consulting market (including agencies, venture builders and management consultancies) has become frustrating to many. Few of it is genuine “consulting” and most of the time it is not strategic. Customers are frustrated about junior staff, low experience, low value, low impact and often hire consultancies for “cover my ass” projects. Staff in consultancies are frustrated too: they work long hours, are overworked, tired, have limited impact, have limited access to expertise, need to “figure it out” and have enough of the deep hierarchies. While they earn better than other professions, they do not really participate in the pie and ultimately work frustratingly long hours,
reason why they leave on average after 2–3 years (the highest turnover profession outside of restaurant service staff).

Whilst the overall market and demand is growing, it is time for a change …

About Digital Leadership

Back in 2012, Stefan F. Dieffenbacher founded Digital Leadership as a cross–over between Management Consultancy, Agency and Execution partner for large–scale customers across Europe. Over time we got to serve the who–is–who in Europe, leading small and large–scale engagements for some of the world’s most well–known names, including Amazon, BNP Paribas, the Swiss Post or Volksbanken to name just a few. The company peaked at 50 people with Stefan driving the effort as sole founder and Partner. With the publication of the book “How to Create Innovation” and the “UNITE Models” (the most extensive collection of Innovation and Transformation models globally), Stefan turned Digital Leadership into a Partnership in the summer of 2022, with a number of Partner joining immediately. Today the company is broadening its activities with every Partner joining, and strives to collaboratively create new realities jointly with its customers and business partners. Please discover more about us on our website
We have a whole number of USPs – here they are in a nutshell: To briefly deep-dive why our success rate is way above industry averages:
  • Our team members have on average 10+ years relevant experience. This is way above the 0-3 years experience customers get at the typical agency or consultancy.
  • Our offering is end to end. We can do strategy consulting at the highest level. But we do also walk our talk and therefore we view execution as part of the game. We have therefore seen through some of the largest initiatives globally.
  • Personal commitment: we are no anonymous mass. And we do not serve our customers by just somebody in the hierarchy. Our Partners are personally responsible to make you as a customer happy. And we have delivered upon this promise over the last decade successfully.
  • Partnership-approach with our customers: we jointly work with our customers whom we indeed refer to as business partners. We do things together and view ourselves as one. Not as a supplier who is treated as such in an exploitative relationship. I guess what helps is that we are highly differentiated…
  • Holistic approach: we believe excellence in an individual discipline is … overrated. The true challenge is to orchestrate an entire digital change program end2end. We are uniquely able to do so: thanks to the expertise of our Partners and thanks to …
  • Thought Leadership. Delivered: since our incorporation over a decade ago, we have consistently invested into our methodologies. We share a part of our knowledge OpenSource with the UNITE models being the largest library of Innovation and Transformation models on the Internet. And if you want to discover even more, read our book “How to Create Innovation” which arguably is the first book globally in its genre that covers all silos.
  • Track record: we have been there over the last decade. Across Europe. On some of the largest programs. And our Partners are senior leaders in their respective fields.
  • We are uniquely flexible: since we are employing good parts of our experts on demand, we can uniquely tailor our approach in a highly flexible way to whatever our customers need.
These are some of the general USPs that support us. And this is why our win rates are that high, even when we have to pitch against the so called “industry leaders”.
We are currently supporting customers across four different practices: Please check out those pages to discover our practices in more detail! We do work across all industries. Our offerings are generally related with “digital”. Our offering expands as new Partners join with new capabilities. So if you want to join us with your expertise and offering in crypto and distributed ledger or Marketing and Sales or whatever else: as long as the storyline makes sense, we are happy to grow with you!
Yes we are! But taking us for a consultancy would fall short of who we truly are. We refer to ourselves as “change accelerators”: a new breed and new category in the market. As Change Accelerators, we engage with our customers in the way that drives the most value. And that is certainly not limited to doing the usual “consulting”. We are here as leaders to lead and drive change. Any way that has an impact. And hopefully in new ways soon … DL Partner Intro and FAQ
One of the key claims of this book is: “Let’s UNITE and create a world worth living in”. This claim is our purpose too and thus very important to who we are. We ultimately want to become a global family of leaders who jointly work on eye-level and contribute to a world worth living in. We accompany global organizations on relevant initivatives to build a meaningful world of tomorrow. And we do that on eye-level. We on purpose do not want to become a “white guys, grey suits” type of company. We believe in a colorful and pluralistic world. Our customers come in very different shapes, have very different needs, are in very different places, and operate in very different ways. We as Partners are equally colorful. We have different ages, competencies, approaches , presentations, behaviours, etc. What UNITES us are our human values, our desire of doing things differently and we strive for quality and excellence. Our manifesto is part of our book “How to Create Innovation” : DL Partner Intro and FAQ2 To us, this means a lot. And we intend to bring this thinking to our customers: DL Partner Intro and FAQ
I guess most important to know for you : I have been running Digital Leadership since 2010 and guess you can say that I have been highly successful with it . As sole Partner at Digital Leadership, I managed to win and lead major accounts, including big brands such as Amazon, BNP Paribas, the Swiss Post or UBS, with annual revenues consistently in the millions of Euros. Prior to Digital Leadership, I was working with major consultancies, delivering large – scale innovation or transformation projects globally for accounts such as BMW, Epson or Vodafone globally. I had a highly international life , living in 13 countries to date, I studied a lot (I have 3x Master degrees) and also beyond work, I did a lot of interesting things, amongst them I earned the German price of culture. Please find more information about me on our website and on LinkedIn .

The Digital Leadership Partner Model

The DL Partner Model summarizes how we as Partners work here at Digital Leadership.

The definition of what a Partner does is comparable to other consultancies, agencies or other types of Partnerships: ultimately, a Partner is in charge of acquiring and delivering business.

The similarities end here, however. On purpose, we have not created a new pyramid organizational

structure, since this would have led to the usual employment contracts, goal-setting, performance management, dependencies, meetings without end and so on.

We believe in freedom. And with senior Partners joining us, we need to give them the space to act in liberty. So what a Partner offers and how he delivers is their choice.

Stefan as founder is therefore the initiator and sparring partner, and not “a boss”. And thus, no performance goals are set–unless you set them for yourself, of course. With such a mindset, a usual fixed employment would not be very suitable. So this is a much more entrepreneurial engagement, and this equally allows the Partners to earn an entrepreneurial compensation.

With a lot of freedom, comes a lot of responsibility. You can make your choices, and you own their consequences. We do not want to create an ego-shooter club, however, in which everybody is busy with self-optimization.

Quite on the opposite, we wanted to create a global family of leaders who support each other. The broad idea is that every Partner supports the other Partners at minimum a half day every week and receives equal support when he is in need. So when you have a pitch, an escalation, as-level workshop or want a fellow senior Partner to look after your topics while you are on holiday, you will get help from your fellow Partners. In addition, Digital Leadership is there to support its Partners. Importantly, we want to be a committed Partnership. We do not want to become a “club” or “expert network”.

So for all of us, this is a 100% commitment.

Without that, we would not be able to build the brand, reputation, trust, speed, focus etc. Our focus and commitment are therefore essential to us.

We want to build a global family of leaders. Therefore you are mostly welcomed regardless of your place or who you are. We expect Partners first of all to have a certain level of personal maturity, enabled with a positive and human value set. Please read the FAQ on culture .

We are looking for people with very strong, if not industry–leading knowledge in their respective discipline, with a track record on minimum Senior Ma nager if not Director or Vice President level.

In addition we are looking for ideally broad knowledge in the digital domain. A good indicator would be if you easily follow most topics through our book How to Create Innovation. The book also contains an in–depth chapter on the topic of Culture, and more in particular, “teal organizations,” which defines what we are ultimately looking for.

Last, we are looking for any signs of exceptional ability, regardless of which domain.

Ultimately, for all of us this is a full–time 100% commitment (teaching or voluntary work is no problem – we just do not want to see any missing professional focus after a transitory period). A transitory period allows busy individuals enough time to ramp–up here at Digital Leadership.

If you are interested to join or want to learn more, simply write to Rudolph ( ) and Stefan ( ) or directly schedule a meeting with Stefan

As of September 2022, we are six Partners at Digital Leadership. We have all joined over the last few months and weeks and are ramping up. Over the next months, we want to grow into a family of 10 Partners: enough to cover a certain breadth in our offering but not too many, so things become messy. Learn more about the Partners on the homepage, dedicated Partner page, as well as the service pages: Our offering will organically expand with each new Partner and their capabilities joining. So if you do not fit into any of those Practices, do not worry – rather we are happy to look into related practices together with you – regardless if it is all about Marketing & Sales; AI, ML & big Data; Tech or …!

Over the next months, we want to grow into a family of 10 Partners. In 2023, we should surpass €5 million in annual revenues.

What lies beyond is probably difficult to tell. There are too many variables in play. Perhaps this venture will become big, perhaps we will remain relatively small and focused.

More importantly, we want to enjoy our work, our partnerships with customers and create an impact. Joy is part of our work. For us, quality trumps quantity.

Our thought leadership positioning will remain a constant focus–it is surprsingly differentiating and sustainable (why on earth did we publish the most extensive library of innovation & transformation tools and not the “big” players?!).

For us as existing Partners, we want to stay true to our culture. And for me as founder, I am not here to give a vision: instead, I would like to invite you for a joint journey! Because life is about evolution. Not fixed goals. And it shouldn’t be about my vision, but rather about what we can jointly build.

So Let’s UNITE and create a world worth living in! Read more about that in our book!

The process is a mutual get-to-know process on eye-level. Getting the right people to join us is critical for us. What we are looking for is a combination of deep ( digital ) expertise, consulting / advisory / delivery / customer happiness experience, leadership experience, outstanding presentation, people and soft skills as well as–and perhaps most importantly–human values. The process to become a Partner typically includes the following steps:
  1. Initial contact
  2. Read up on us: get to know our book, the UNITE models (the largest collection of Innovation & Transformation models globally!), our general website and better understand the Partner model through the information we share here.
  3. First get to know: Whenever you are ready, you would typically schedule an interview with our founder, Stefan F. Dieffenbacher. Here is direct access to his calendar. This initial conversation is mostly there to get to know each other, and Stefan will help you answer the many questions you might be having. As a follow-up to this session, Stefan normally shares additional information as well as the Digital Leadership Partner contract, which is the most friendly contract you will ever have seen (3 pages long) .
  4. Optional Q&A session: If required, a 2nd Q&A session with Stefan happens to discuss any questions.
  5. Getting to know YOU: We also would love to get to know you better, so typically we arrange for a 90min screen-sharing session where you share some of the highlights of your professional life! This leads to a better understanding of your core competencies, your positioning and your customer value proposition.
  6. Meet another Partner at Digital Leadership : somewhere during the process, you would typically get to know another Partner.
  7. Optional on-site meeting: as required, we would also meet on-site for a day and work together. Typically, this covers very concrete subjects such as onboarding, your positioning, how to get to first customers and others.
Throughout this journey, we want to ensure that we are meant to be in this together. This is why we invest a lot into this process to ultimately ensure we are all happy and can start out together in a great way.

Business Development is ultimately owned by the Partners. We as Partners are best placed to communicate our vision and value propositions. We do not believe in sales people doing sales blabla.

We as Digital Leadership have done a lot to push Marketing : we have written the book “ How to Create Innovation ” invested massively in our website which is driving very significant traffic, thanks to the frequent blogging and the UNITE models. Today, our website receives more traffic than almost every national competitor–only global players are getting more visitors. This translates into strongly growing visibility, book readers, UNITE fans, interested parties and will ultimately drive leads.

In addition, Partners support each other in their business development efforts and cross–sell each other. Last but not least, I am as a founder personally here to support any business development effort. Beyond, we have a number of initiatives and tools to support business development in general.

In summary, we have a unique market position, outstanding setup and strong growth prospects–a setup that is hardly matched by hardly any competitor

We do not want Partners joining simply for the revenue potential. Whilst this is an important component of what we do, money alone is not good enough of a motivator–particularly not for a value–driven company like we are ( read the FAQ answer on # culture).

Having said that, there is (very) significant earning potential. More specifically, compared to a senior manager / director type of individual or a strong performing freelancer, a successful Partner at Digital Leadership should be able to double his earnings.

This is primarily for two reasons: as a Partner, you can ask for very different rates than a freelancer can. And as Partners at Digital Leadership, we solve a significant problem for our customers which typically entails a larger team. So a Partner has leverage. In addition , we have a clear premium positioning, meaning the daily rates we command are higher than that of other consulting players and are certainly superior to the typical agency.

Last but not least, high earnings do not cut it. By far most people do not manage to build wealth, despite often good earnings (!). It ultimately takes financial competency to build wealth. Me as a founder have been in your shoes, and I know how to go about it. We plan on discussing financial matters and sharing investment opportunities amongst the group of Partners.

Delivery Model

We believe in freedom and independence. Partners can within very few limitations make their own decisions who they serve, how they deliver and what they charge. That also includes from where they work (on site vs remotely), with whom they work (freelancers, external partners or in the future also employees) and ultimately which methodology and processes they use (so we would, of course, like to push our UNITE models further).

In summary, it thus largely depends on you and how you want to play it.

Sharing my story as founder, I have served large customers across Europe and have built (almost family–type) relationships with our customers. As a result, we were “one team” (with people from the customer) that needed to get the job done as opposed to a supplier that had “deliverables”. This led to long–lasting relationships (the oldest customer has been here for a decade) and limited the need to find new customers. Overall, I have been working on 2–4 projects per year. I chose to staff those projects predominantly with a freelance workf orce. This allowed me to create tailor–made teams for our customers, which resulted into great flexibility for both the customer as well as my personal life. I hired highly senior people to join on projects, which was a big USP for customers: most of our people had 10+ years of experience. This led to higher quality and more efficiency.

As of 8th of September 2022:

Our website & reach
  • We get 1k–4k visitors on our website every day (!) With this traffic, we are outranking nearly all national players and even many globally leading players

The UNITE Models
  • The UNITE models are hugely popular! Every month, we see get about 10k Downloads of the UNITE m odels and counting

Our book , How to Create Innovation
  • Our book, How to Create Innovation , has become a global bestseller. In several countries, we are the #1 bestseller in meaningful categories (such as best business book in a foreign language, best entrepreneurship book…).
  • We are also seeing increasing adoption from universities globally and have received the first bulk orders from major universities globally. This is great news, since this means that our book (which was nev er meant to be an academic book) is now officially peer reviewed which is a testament to it’s great quality!

Our business
  • We have grown 6 partners currently (planned 10 by end of year)
  • Based on our m arketing and publications, we are getting very relevant leads are coming in , in growing number !
  • The First Press Releases are out there, and we are expected to get featured well.

Interested joining us?

If you can imagine joining us, please schedule a first meeting with Stefan, the founder of Digital Leadership!
“I am very much looking forward meeting you!”

Interested joining us?

If you can imagine joining us, please schedule a first meeting with Stefan, the founder of Digital Leadership! 

“I am very much looking forward meeting you!”