Bill McDermott at the Free Library in Philadelphia

Yesterday I was attending a book signing ceremony of Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP SE. He launched his new book ‘Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office’ in the prestigious neo classical Free Library of Philadelphia.

On the top floor of this impressive building a large crowd of people gathered to listen to Bill McDermott about leadership, passion and dreams. Bill grew up in a blue collar neighborhood in Long Island, running a Deli shop at the young age of 16 years only to become the sole CEO of SAP SE decades later. Now SAP SE is the world’s largest business software house.

Today, Bill and his executive board members of SAP are running a 66’000 employee company that serves hundreds of thousands of customers around the world. Organizations in more than 188 countries are running their business on SAP applications to drive efficiency.

Bill shared with the audience that he is a true believer – he thinks that everybody has a chance and an opportunity to become a winner; whether it’s in sports, business or in personal life. His motivation is to inspire the next generation of leaders and deliver practical take-aways from his career experience. In fact Bill’s Winners Dream is intended to be a blue print for people of all ages for personal and professional achievements. I have seen many motivational speakers at conferences and on TV but I must admit that Bill’s story is truly authentic and refreshing. I believe this because it’s based on a very personal experience long time ago when I was working for SAP before founding my own company Nytro.

In fact I first met Bill in 2002 in SAP’s Parking Garage in Newtown Square. After getting out of his car, he walked straight to me and introduced himself. He had just joined the company as the new CEO of SAP America.

I did not know him, neither did he know me. Bill said it was a beautiful day and that he was happy to meet me. It was pouring cats and dogs that day and I intuitively responded that I was not so sure about the “wonderful day”, thinking more about the awful weather. He told me that I was wrong and he made it clear, “Tom it’s a good day to do Business. Are you with me in this or not? ” I have to say I was speechless; as a young European I was probably not used to that type of leadership, but I gave Bill an emotional hug and told him I will be with him. Bill is hugely successful with driving SAP and some people think he would make a good U.S. President or maybe Senator before that. He, in my humble opinion, is an outstanding motivator and an excellent Chief Executive. His fans believe he can run a company, a state or a country and follow his vision unconditionally.

Bill stated in his closing remarks that he has another Winners Dream. He wants to transform and re-invent SAP to become the dominant force in running Global Business Networks. This will probably be the ultimate test for him. Business Networks are expected to transform entire industries on how business is done and generate massive efficiencies for the global economy.

More information about the Winners Dreams Movement on