I see Steve Shallenberger before I hear him. We are having technical problems as we try to connect over Skype, but already he is beaming, his infectious smile making a phenomenal first impression. “Hey Jo! How lovely to see you there!” he booms. Finally! We’re connected by voice too – and instantly I can understand why Steve is considered one of the top leadership trainers anywhere in the world; his is the sort of approach that makes you listen up and take note instantaneously. But let’s start at the beginning. Before we get into the details of his current projects, I ask Steve to talk me through his past – a life that began in a small San Francisco home shared with five siblings. “My mother was an angel,” he says, as his face lights up again. “She raised us brilliantly and instilled such a strong work ethic in us.”
Steve’s first job was in an Italian restaurant when he was just 15, followed by a stint as a garbage collector. “Then, at 16, I met the wonderful David Conger – a very successful real estate broker who changed my life. He helped me start my first company that same year – a small cleaning entity with five employees. It was fascinating, but it didn’t stop me wanting to go to college, which I did, to study accounting.”
But even his university years didn’t supress Steve’s entrepreneurial spirit. In the summer he would sell books door to door, a job that helped him pay his college fees in advance. Straight after his studies, he bought a marketing company and opened a publishing company, and had over 700 employees within just a couple of years. “It was then that I recall first thinking about leadership,” he says.
“My employees would ask for advice about how they could be their best and I was passionate about helping them. I started to research what made a good leader, and it has turned into the mission of a lifetime; a mission that certainly took my hair from brown to white, among other things!”
As part of his mission to learn what sets very high performers apart from the rest of people, Steve interviewed over 150 CEOs from across the globe and studied the lives of historical figures that have changed the world for good. What he learnt above all else is that no one is perfect, but that all of them did do 12 things in common that propelled their path towards excellence. Those 12 things became the basis for the 12 leadership principles in his book.
“Since then, people from across the globe have learnt to apply these principles and they have all got the same consistent, predictable, outstanding results,” Steve says. In fact, countless organisations have testified that they have finally found something they can use to create sustainable success. And it’s easy to understand too, because ‘Becoming Your Best’ provides solutions to help you – as a leader – engage your team, to create alignment, and to flawlessly execute at the highest level. “The 12 principles are universal and timeless,” Steve continues.
“They apply anywhere, to women and men, and across any ethnicity. When people can understand and apply them, they get to a better place – it is as predictable as the law of gravity, and they work 100 per cent of the time. “After all, when business leaders can bring out the best in their people and make them reach their fullest potential, that is when excellence begins. Highly successful leaders always bring out the best in others, whether they are a mum, dad, warehouseman or a CEO.”
In a nutshell, Steve explains that the 12 principles are as follows: being true to character, leading with vision, managing with a plan, prioritising your time, living the ‘golden rule’ in business and life, building and maintaining trust, being an effective communicator, innovating through imagination, being accountable, applying the power of knowledge, living in peace and balance, and, finally, never giving up. “If you want more engaged employees, a high-performing team, and leaders who know how to lead, then ‘Becoming Your Best’ can help you get there!” Steve smiles. And those who have committed to the principles certainly agree, as Steve and his team have thousands of testimonials from individuals and organisations that have transformed their practices and enjoyed excellent success rates as a result.
“This is not a flavour of the month type programme; it’s not a one-time motivational experience,” Steve continues. “It has serious ‘stickability’. We live in a time that is more demanding than any other time in history because things are evolving so quickly, so whatever worked yesterday may be insufficient today and totally obsolete tomorrow. Good leaders need to be able to stay ahead of that kind of disruption. “Plus, in Malta – and in an environment of zero unemployment – employees want to get to a place where they can realise their full potential. It isn’t just about money but fulfilment, and the leadership around them will make a difference and will make you stand out. The best leaders treat people like they want to be treated, and they see their people as the best value they have.”
This is an excerpt of the interview which featured in the June edition of the Commercial Courier.
Steve Shallenberger will be leading a workshop in collaboration with the Malta Chamber, helping entrepreneurs reach their full potential on 17th October. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn how to take your business to the next level. Bookings now open on firstname.lastname@example.org