At What’s Best Next, we pick our coaches carefully. We can’t just be thinking about productivity in the abstract, we need to know how to understand someone else’s challenges and help them make meaningful change.
That’s why we’re excited to introduce you to our newest coach, Daniel Kaufman. Daniel hails from the southern U.S., where he spent over a decade at Chick-fil-A helping train restaurant leaders and operators. He brings to our team a passion for organizational health, building successful teams, and gospel-driven change.
Here’s a brief interview we did with Daniel.
Please tell us a little about where you’re from.
I’m a Georgia native, born and raised, and I’ve lived in the same 45-mile radius my whole life. I graduated from a two-stoplight town to another two-stoplight town called Senoia, GA. I grew up in a Christian home, but didn’t become a Christian until my early 20s—a common Bible-belt story. I have 3 siblings and some nieces and nephews that I adore.
What do you like to do for fun?
When I have spare time, I like to practice humility by playing disc golf at one of the local courses. I don’t always make it through all 18 holes, but that’s fine because I stop trying to keep track of my poor score around hole 12. If you walked into my house, you’d notice some musical instruments as well as board games. Both are go-tos when I or my roommates have the time.
How did you begin working with What’s Best Next?
Well, it started with me growing in my walk with the Lord from reading the book What’s Best Next. I had been interested in reading productivity and consulting books through the lens of Scripture. I would write notes in the margins about how something did or didn’t align with the Bible. Matt’s book was the first one I read where the author had already done that work, and I really fell in love with the truths and principles he was teaching.
Jump forward a few years—I was using What’s Best Next and The Advantage (I’m also a huge Patrick Lencioni fan) to build my teams, but I hit a slump. Somewhere along the way, I learned that What’s Best Next provided productivity coaching. I signed up and started working with Matt. Those times were a huge encouragement to me, but an unexpected side effect was how much I developed a desire to work more with What’s Best Next one day and help others in the way I was helped. What’s Best Next was starting to expand coaching, but the time wasn’t quite right. That was a few years ago. This spring, the timing worked out and I’ve now been coaching officially with What’s Best Next for a few months.
You’ve done a lot of reading about work strategy and tactics. Any favorite tactics or tools you’ve found over the years?
I really like a lot of Patrick Lencioni’s models and checklists. They have helped me significantly. I’m a fan of What’s Best Next’s DARE framework and asking myself the question, “what’s best next?” in a prayerful way. I also use the 5 Whys technique for help in cause and effect problem-solving. A final favorite is the idea that simpler is generally better. We talk a lot at What’s Best Next about sticking to our core mission and centering our work around the right principles. I suppose you could say a favorite “tactic” is pruning to keep things from becoming too complicated.
What’s one of the toughest productivity challenges you’ve faced?
There was a point in my career where my team and I all felt stuck and I was exhausted. We were doing too much and it wasn’t super clear how to make changes within the current system. But we pushed forward and experimented and kept working. I was able to grow in more effective delegation and allowing others on the team to step up and grow. Eventually we got unstuck and after two years we even saw some of the changes we made in our team implemented across the organization, but at the time it felt like we would never make progress.
Do you have a favorite part of working as a What’s Best Next coach?
I’ve really enjoyed the role so far. The team is great to work with, and each person we serve has a unique story that we get to enter into. It’s a privilege to come alongside fellow Christians to support them. Growing up, I always wanted to be involved in so many different things around the world, and coaching has afforded me that opportunity as I work with people from Texas to Thailand.
Curveball. Do you have any hidden talents?
I don’t know about hidden, but I enjoy playing music every so often. Most people have never seen me play much guitar or piano. I studied theory early on, and can somewhat pick up and play any stringed instrument at this point—as long as it doesn’t require a bow!
Any parting advice if someone reading this is thinking about coaching others?
Pray for a genuine interest in the lives and good of others. Stay curious. People are fascinating, and there are always more layers and new insights to be learned for serving them better. You may know someone for years and then something comes up that helps you understand them in a fresh way. So stay curious!
Want to work with Daniel or another What’s Best Next coaches on the productivity challenges you’re facing? Learn more about our coaching options.