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The #1 Key to Sustained Growth: Leadership Mindset

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Leadership is difficult – and every study about the state of leadership today reflects that.

For example, Gallup tells us that worldwide employee engagement is only at 23% and that 82% of managers are failing.

And honestly, for a long time, I was one of those failing leaders.

After starting as a programmer and quickly climbing the corporate ladder up to a corporate VP, I founded my first software company in California in my mid-30s.

For a while there, things were good. We grew very quickly, the economy was roaring, and everyone looked good – from the outside. Heck, I was even on the front page of the newspaper.

However, internally, I was a mess.

I wasn’t ready for the massive pressure that owning a larger company brought. I didn’t have any coaches or mentors, and I sure didn’t understand how to be the leader my team and company needed.

Even though I was smart and driven and understood business, we got to a point where my leadership was holding the company back…and wreaking havoc on me mentally and emotionally.

I felt like such a fraud. It felt like things were so out of control, my goal each day was simply to make it to the end of that day. I had no real plan or strategy, other than to work more and more.

And deep down my biggest fear was that people would find out I had no clue what I was doing…and it would all come crashing down.

There’s a much longer story that has to do with divorce, substance abuse, a business partner assaulting me, restraining orders, armed guards, and a horrible lawsuit….though you’ll have to wait for the Netflix special to be released…or bring me in for a keynote. (I share my story openly as leaders need to know they aren’t the only ones who run into issues like this.)

I knew that I needed to do something to get things on track.

Since I was a programmer at heart, I like to know how things work, so to figure this whole leadership thing out I went and earned a Master’s Degree in Psychology.

When I started applying what I learned there to my companies – because by then I owned two in California and one in Singapore, everything started to fall into place.

My one company, Radiant Technologies, Inc., was on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies for a few years in a row, we won the #1 Best Place to Work, and I won Social Entrepreneur of the Year.

And that was externally – internally, I was finally having FUN as a leader for the first time in my life. I was empowering my team and helping them grow into leaders themselves; we were delivering great value to our clients; and we were giving back to the community.

Things I believe almost every leader wants to do…they just don’t always know how.
For a while, I focused on growing my company and the people within. After a few years, a few other business owners saw the transformation in my companies and within myself, and they came to me asking if I could help them.

I did – I was coaching before I even knew what coaching was – and it turned out I really enjoyed it.

Then, over the next few years, I exited my software companies and transitioned to helping leaders make the same transformation I made in my own leadership.

I went on to get certified in neuroscience, and my team and I did several research studies so we got clear on what exactly moves the needle for leaders.

Then, by taking what we learned in the studies, mixed with the neuroscience and psychology training, and leaning on my practical corporate and entrepreneurial experience, I created a powerful system called Leadership Mindset 2.0.

Because Leadership Mindset 2.0 teaches the skills that have not traditionally been taught in management and leadership training, it’s caught on like wildfire. Blue-chip companies like Uber, Microsoft and Salesforce have all engaged me to level up their leaders.

Additionally, Stanford University has invited me in to work with their startup ecosystem, and PwC in London engaged me to arm their the founders of their top scale-up companies with the mindset they need for fast and sustained success.

Furthermore, the impact of what I teach is extending beyond corporate boardrooms. The book Leadership Mindset 2.0 has won three Book of the Year awards and is even being used by professors in universities, as they tell me they want their students to learn practical skills that are reflective in nature.

At the core of Leadership Mindset 2.0 lies the concept of Growth Leadership, emphasizing personal growth as the foundation for team and company success. This approach emphasizes the importance of leaders cultivating a deeper understanding of themselves. By embracing their authentic selves with courage, leaders unlock the power of authenticity and vulnerability—essential traits in effective leadership.

What’s important to realize is that the shift in mindset is constantly evolving. Each stage a leader goes through; from team leader to middle manager to director to VP / CxO to CEO – or an entrepreneur scaling from 1 to 10 to 100 to 1,000 to 10,000 employees – all require different mindset strategies.

What it all comes down to is the leader themselves. To foster leaders who drives change, transformation, and ultimately results, you need to give them the tools to evolve themselves though shifts in mindset. This creates leaders who truly will scale the company by bringing out their best.

I know this because these are the same mindsets shifts that I had to go through myself – that’s why I get so much joy in sharing them with others.

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