Archives For leaders in the spotlight

This week’s Leader in the Spotlight is Donald Van de Mark! He is the author of The Good Among the Great, 19 Traits of the Most Admirable, Creative and Joyous People, a speaker and former CNN anchor and CNBC reporter. I am so excited to have him as part of our Leader series!

1. As a distinguished news anchor at CNN, what was a key learning in your interviews with politicians, business celebrities, and achieving individuals?
That the traits that distinguish a great person from a great achiever were common to the good men and women at the top – the admirable, joyous, lasting leaders.

2. What is one leadership principle that has guided your personal leadership as a news anchor and now a successful author and keynote speaker?
More important than the will to win is the will to prepare, which is humbling as well as wise.

3. Your book, The Good Among the Great- 19 Traits of the Most Admirable, Creative and Joyous People, is outstanding! What inspired you to write this book?


The fact that individuals who’ve been given much the same talent, training and opportunities, perform very differently — some reaching fantastic heights, loving deeply, living joyous, satisfying lives, and others failing miserably, sadly. The question that haunts and inspires me is what makes the difference?

4. Of the 19 traits, which are a couple of your personal favorites and why?
Being autonomous and realistic. Being autonomous because it’s the foundation for all the other 18 traits of those who are admirable, creative and joyous. Being autonomous, that is being truly independent and leading a self-directed life is the trait upon which all the others flow. It’s also part of the American DNA – the same idea has been espoused by our greatest leaders and thinkers – William James for instance, wrote that “Man has but to obey himself. He who will rest in what he is, is part of destiny.” In other words, you owe it to the world not just yourself, to be true to the deepest, best part of you.

Being realistic because this is something that most of us take for granted. We trust our perceptions as true, and much of the time they’re not. And my favorite leaders know this and they work hard at seeing the world, others and especially themselves rationally. They recognize that ‘reality is a slippery thing.’ Please quote me on that! Moreover, being wedded to reality is the most important trait to achieve earthly success.

5. How can people best access your book?
Buy it on Amazon in hard copy or digital.

6. You have interviewed some truly remarkable and admirable people, who made a lasting impression on you?
Margaret Thatcher, Andy Grove, Muriel Maffre (ballerina), Charles Schwab, Jack Welch, Bill Bradley, Andrew Weil, Shelly Lazarus, Ann Bancroft (the polar explorer), Rachel Walton (nurse), Poosie Orr (mom).

7. Who has shaped and influenced your leadership most?
Bill Bradley because of his achievements across disciplines: sports, politics, and business. And because he voices a philosophy that is little heard these days – that “Feeling is as important as thinking.” And because he carried defeat (in the 2000 Democratic presidential nomination process, so well)

8. How would you define your purpose and passions now?
To go through open doors. For so long, I worked and pushed for what I wanted and believed in. I achieved some success at it. Now, however I have stopped pushing and want to go with the flow – take advantage of what the Universe or chance or others’ offer. My professional passion is to help people evolve emotionally, to help the 99% of us who are not blessed with an extraordinary psychological constitution or upbringing, to help them learn how to be stronger, calmer, and happier. And my personal passion is to sing and perform, which is startling to me. And I’ve only discovered it because of a series of events kicked off by friends singing around a camp fire!

9. What is one thing you are discovering that provides you with joy?
That I can make others feel (not just think) differently and more positive about themselves and their futures.

10. What have you learned from a past failing or setback?
That I must check in, trust and act on my own instincts more. Not that I or anyone else should act just on one’s intuition, but that a person’s deep internal impulses are not selfish or silly, but telltale sign posts to one’s greatest potential, freedom and usefulness. Recognizing these impulses is not easy, it takes some skill. And then acting on them takes courage. That is a great lesson that I learned from the failure of a dot.com startup that I was part and from a wonderful and deeply painful personal relationship.

11. Where do you see yourself in 24 months? What do you hope to accomplish?
I don’t really know and I’ve learned that it is a mistake to plot too exactly where you intend to be. If you do so, you are not awake to the opportunities and signposts along the way. Shelly Lazarus of Ogilvy & Mather speaks eloquently and joyously about this. (I can send you a clip of video of her addressing this) I expect that I will probably be living more in San Francisco rather than Sonoma and working more in the performing arts. That could mean a TV news or talk show. It could mean performing on stage. I don’t know but I’m excited for what could be! As for accomplishment, I hope to help people be truer to themselves, have more freedom, productivity and happiness. And I suppose that would come if I have a bigger, taller platform from which these ideas are disseminated. I’m finally beginning to believe what others have told me for a long time that these ideas are really important. And interestingly, I’m coming around to the belief that it will come through how I make people feel rather than how I might make people think.
Cheers, Donald

Thank you, Donald, for taking the time to inspire us with your insight!
If you want to learn more about Donald, make sure to follow him:
Facebook/thegoodamongthegreat
Twitter @dvandemark
Donaldvandemark.com

Purchase his Book: Hard Copy
Purchase his Book: Digital Copy

Thank you again, Donald!
Check back with us next week for another featured leader!

This week’s Leader in the Spotlight is Bob Burg!

Bob Burg is an internationally-acclaimed speaker and author on the topics of influence and business development. His books, including The Go-Giver (coauthored with John David Mann) and Endless Referrals have both sold over a quarter million copies and are two of four books to sell over 200,000 copies each. Visit Bob at www.burg.com and download first chapters from several of his books. Also, while there, check out and subscribe to his blog.

I am so thrilled and honored to have him as part of this series. He has provided great insight into leadership and marketing below.

1. As a highly-acclaimed speaker on influence and relationship marketing, what one piece of advice would you give to someone desiring greater success?

While I’m not sure that one piece of advice would ever be sufficient (and, if it were, it would be from people far wiser than I), I’d certainly suggest that key for anyone desiring greater success would be to shift your focus from yourself to the other person. When your focus is on providing value to others, they respond to this in a very positive way. Not only do they want to know you better; they quickly begin to like you and to trust you. They KNOW you have their best interests in both mind and heart. Of course, it’s important to be authentic in this regard. And, as you continue to establish yourself as an asset of value to others, you’ll quickly see yourself attracting people into your life who see you as the “go-to’ person, both in terms of direct business and referrals, as well. Remember that, all things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.

2. In this day and age of great turbulence, what are a couple of success keys to help us get on track with new business?

Understand that while you cannot control the economy, you can absolutely control your economy.This begins, not by looking at ways to decrease the value you provide to others but by looking for new, better and more creative ways to add it. This certainly does not mean spending more money. It does mean doing those things that your competitors are not, or won’t. While there are numerous non-monetary ways to creatively add value, they can pretty much all be put into five key areas or – what we call – elements of value. These are: Excellent, Consistently, Attention, Empathy and Appreciation. How you use these in your business during the difficult times is directly proportional to how well you survive, and even thrive. Remember, in shaky times, most business people go into retreat mode. When you, however, go into proactive mode, sure, you still might have to work harder to make the same or even a bit less money right now, but when things turn back you’ll be in position to dominate your niche.

3. Who do you look to as a leader or mentor to help inspire your personal development?

While I’ve been very fortunate to benefit from the wisdom, advice and inspiration of many people through a combination of books, audio programs, coaching and mentorship, there really isn’t one person at this time I look to as an end-all, be-all in this regard. However, I read constantly (and seem to come across exactly what I need at the time I read something) and am fortunate to be connected with many wise and caring individuals – people I’m blessed to be able to call friends – whose wisdom and inspiration I’m able to tap into on a constant basis.

4. You are the master networker, how can someone strengthen their network for business?

Thank you. Not at all sure I’m “the” master networker as there are a lot of great ones out there. Your compliment is very appreciated though. The way one strengthens their network is first, by being aware of the need to do so. Secondly, by understanding exactly what networking is and is not. For example, going to a business event, handing out business cards to everyone and “pitching” them (yuck, I hate that word unless we’re talking baseball) on your services is not networking. I define networking as “the cultivating of mutually beneficial, GIVE and take (actually, receive), win/win relationships.” When you’re more focused on providing value to others you are creating the environment for this relationship to develop. Thirdly, by learning how to network effectively. There are many excellent books on this topic by a number of excellent teachers that there is no excuse for someone not learning how to do so correctly and effectively. Fourth is going out and doing it on a steady, constant and consistent basis. Again, focusing on others and how you can provide value to them; at first not directly through your product or service. And, of course, as Harvey Mackay says in one of his many excellent books on this topic, “dig your well before you’re thirsty.” Here’s a quick tip that, by it’s very nature will help you to focus on the other person and immediately communicate value to them. Ask, what I call, “Feel-Good questions. These are questions that are not invasive or intrusive, but simply very quickly establish a rapport. If you’ll visit www.burg.com/10Q you can find these questions and print them out. Keep in mind: you’ll never have time to ask any more than two or three of the questions in any one conversation. Also, note the One “Key” question at the end. It’s a powerful differentiator.

5. What is one of your “high-value” practices you try to do daily?

Read.

6. How do you stay encouraged and continuously positive?

Reading good positive books and being around good, positive people. Please don’t confuse “positive” with unrealistic or a “head in the sand” type mentality. It’s nothing like that. It does mean you place yourself in a situation where encouragement and positivity is part of the very environment itself. Hey, we’re all human and discouragement does take hold at times. It’s part of life. Things don’t necessarily go as we’d like them to at times and thus, this kind of environment is extremely important.

7. What is one upcoming project you are really excited about?

More of an ongoing project. Part of our “Go-Giver” brand – based on the book by that title – is our Certified Go-Giver Coach program we have and which is growing very nicely. People who either already are speakers and/or coaches and would like to expand their information platform to be able to teach The Go-Giver methodology as well as that from my Endless Referrals book and program (or, people who are already successful entrepreneurs in another field and wish to move into speaking and/or coaching) license the materials from us and participate in our ongoing training program. We have a team of terrific people onboard already and – as mentioned – it continues to grow.

8. Your best-selling book, “The Go-Giver,” is exceptional. What would you say is the main message?

Thank you. That’s very kind of you to say. The main message is that “shifting one’s focus from getting to giving (in this case, by “giving” we mean constantly and consistently providing value to others) is not only a nice way to live life, but a very financially profitable way, as well. It’s based on Five somewhat counterintuitive Laws, which are the Laws of: “Value, Compensation, Influence, Authenticity and Receptivity.”

9. Bob, if someone is an entrepreneur, what one resource that you have created would you recommend in your collection?

I’d suggest first reading The Go-Giver, as that book (coauthored by great friend and exceptional writer, John David Mann), presents a foundation for building a very successful and value-based business (and life). The next one would probably be Endless Referrals. This book is a true “how-to” in terms of building relationships that will lead to lots of A-list, high-quality prospect, customers and clients as well as a strong referral-based business.

10. Finally, you are truly a proven leader in your field and beyond. Who influenced you the most and shaped your remarkable life?

No question about it; my Dad. I was blessed (and still am) to have two of the greatest Parents in the world. My Dad has been the person I’ve most emulated in every way that has added to my success; especially in the way he was/is able to relate to others with tact and kindness. Everything I teach in the area of influence is based on what I’ve learned and observed from my Dad.

Thank you for your time and your thoughts. We have learned a lot from your expertise and hope to hear from you again soon.

To learn more about Bob Burg and his work, find him below:

Bob Burg’s Website
Bob Burg on Facebook
Bob Burg on Twitter
Bob Burg’s The Go Giver

Leaders in the Spotlight is a series of interviews with prominent leaders across the U.S. Today, we are speaking with LaRae Quy from San Francisco.

La Rae Quy was once a counterintelligence FBI agent who exposed foreign spies, she now writes and speaks about ways to empower the leader in all of us.

1. You have a unique leadership background with your career in the FBI. What was your major take-away from working with that world-class organization?

Working undercover cases, I learned about surviving in an environment of deception, hostility, and fear. Coincidentally, these same conditions also exist in business and life. If you are going to survive in today’s world, you will need to learn how to navigate through the smoke and mirrors that create confusion in investments, competitive job markets, new technology, and relationships.

Plans are essential, but they can fail. Often they fail because people are not predictable and you have very little control over your environment. When this happens, survival depends on leaning into your natural strengths. I learned that tenacity, dealing with change, and overcoming challenges can create a strong mind to keep you moving forward when faced with the unexpected in business and life.

The other thing I learned when working undercover is that when plans fail and you find yourself needing to lean into your natural strengths, authenticity is key. I could slap on any undercover name, but when it came to getting the best from others, I was always my most successful when my words came from the heart.

2. You now work closely with leaders and speak and train. What is your primary message to leaders today?

Leadership is a fusion of heart and mind. That is why leadership is a transformational journey; if you’re to become the leader you have the potential to be, it’s essential that you understand who you are and what you believe. Focus on what truly matters to you, think about the values and beliefs that define you and your actions, and consider what it would take to live and act in a way that is authentic and truly reflects who you are.

Nothing is impossible—but it is up to you to find a way, not someone else. A strong mind can empower you to step into the unknown with confidence that you will land on your feet. Success is adapting to changes in your environment. In a world that is constantly changing and presenting new challenges, it is sometimes necessary to take a few steps backward to go forward. The lessons you learn along the way will empower you to try again. Failure is OK—it’s complacency that will kill you.

3. What have you learned about how to be an effective woman in leadership?

During my four months of training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA I was ensconced in a culture that celebrated physical fitness. On the first day our athletic abilities were tested and scored—I was the 1% that made the top 99% possible. I found myself in a hostile environment because weakness was not something tolerated at the Academy. I was perceived as being both female and weak.

Determination is as important a skill as willpower. I learned that resilient leaders must always look forward. I worked hard on building the muscles needed to pass the future tests at 6 and 12 weeks. I accepted my limitations while using other strengths that I knew I possessed. I was not going to waste my energy trying to compete with the natural athletes surrounding me but I could shoot a gun very well and scored high points in firearms. Later, while working counterintelligence cases, I found that my softer approach as a woman got much better results in interviews than the burly tough-guy stance my male colleagues used.

The key is not to waste time trying to correct weaknesses and turn them into strengths. People do not change. Don’t worry about what was left out. Instead, draw out what was left in.

4. Would you share with us a personal leadership challenge you face?

I tend to focus on the big picture, and as a result, I miss the small details. In fact, details bore me—I prefer to talk about the vision and strategy rather than the nuts and bolts of implementation. This has gotten me into trouble as a leader because my follow-through is not as good as it should be. I assume that once the vision is in place, everyone else will do their part to make the project happen. Too often, this isn’t the case and the project becomes endangered or faces a deadline crisis.

5. With the fast pace of our lives, what do you do to stay balanced?

Spend time with my husband of twenty-five years (Roger), prayer, bible readings, church, hikes in the woods with my adorable miniature Labradoodle (Gus), a group of strong women who share my values and beliefs, my pet philanthropic projects, a good mystery, and gourmet cooking!

6. Who has been a great influence on your leadership?

I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey several years ago and I always appreciated the chapter called “Inside Out.” It had a tremendous impact on me and made me realize that all effective leaders are on a spiritual quest.

7. What is a book you have been reading recently?

I just finished Bring Up the Bodies by Hillary Mantel—a sequel to Wolf Hall and truly an excellent read! I’m also making my way through a workbook called Where Will You Be in 5 Years by Dan Zadra.

8. If you were to coach me, what 2-3 questions would you ask me?

I’d ask,
1. What does it take for you to feel successful?
2. What does failure look like?

9. What do you hope to be doing in 24 months?

Writing is my passion so I hope to be writing more articles and publishing books. My other passion is spiritual direction and I would like to combine leadership coaching with spiritual direction by adding a spiritual component. Leaders become effective by leading from mind, heart, and soul. They are already on a spiritual quest . . . it may not be traditionally religious but there is a desire to excavate the significance of their stories and life. I would also like to do more keynote addresses and workshops.

10. I know you have some exciting projects you are working on. Do you mind telling us a little about those?

I have written a book that will be coming out in early September 2012. It’s called Secrets of a Strong Mind and I will be discussing the six primary components of a strong mind that can empower the leader in you: authenticity, purpose, courage, resilience, control, and confidence. It will be available on kindle, Itunes, and in paperback through Amazon. My on-line coaching package will follow the chapters in the book.

11. Finally, what brings you joy?

I am my most authentic when I can share ways that people can increase the quality of their lives. It is the opportunity to contribute something of value to those around me.

Thank you LaRae, for taking your time for this interview. It was truly insightful and I am greatly  appreciative. I am so privileged to have had you as part of my series.

Read more about LaRae on her Website: LaRaeQuy.com
Follow her on twitter: @laraequy
And on Facebook: Facebook.com

Next week we will talk with another inspiring leader!