Conversing with Entrepreneur and Bestselling Author Steve Lishansky

Steve Lishansky, one of the world’s leading business executives and entrepreneurs has transformed the thinking, performance, and results of top professional services providers, salespeople, leaders, and managers from more than 40 countries around the world. We recently had a chance to catch up with him on his latest book ‘Leadership Starts Here’, this is what he shared up with us.

How do you gauge the effectiveness of a leadership team?

  • How congruent are they with their vision, mission and values?
  • How well are they achieving their most meaningful goals?
  • How passionately committed are their people, as gauged by their culture, retention, engagement, and recruitment?
  • I can often predict these with my 5-minutes with each of the top 5 executives test: I ask each of them, one-on-one to tell me their company vision, mission, and top 3 strategic objectives.  If we don’t get the same or even similar answers from each of them – there are going to be alignment, agreement and effectiveness issues.

In your view What is usually missing when a team is underperforming?

  • #1 is lack of agreement on what is most important
  • #2 is operating out of alignment with the top priorities, wasting, time, energy, and resources pursuing lesser issues instead of focusing on the massive impact opportunities

Talk to us about your company Optimize International and your executive coaching that you offer business leaders?

  • Let’s start off by recognizing that while I am a leader in the executive coaching world, I have 2 huge disagreements with most coaches:
    • Most coaches profess that everyone needs a coach
    • Most coaches, when asked what they do, would tell you they are a coach
  • I disagree whole-heartedly with both of these statements and perspectives
    • I say that no one needs a coach.  What people need are better results faster.  Now coaching is a great tool to achieve those results – but we have to remember the difference between what we are there to deliver and what tool we use to do it.
    • When people ask what I do I always say:  I elevate and accelerate the quality of results my clients produce. 

You have worked with leaders from over 40 countries, what is one leader that comes to mind that helped you grow into the professional that you are today?

  • One of my favorite clients, was one I worked with to prepare him to become CEO of the largest mutual bank in America, and then was his coach for the 10 years he was CEO.
  • He was a Yale undergrad, Harvard Busines School MBA, and often called the smartest guy at the bank.  For all the years I knew him he would walk around saying: “I don’t care how old you are, how good you are, or what position you have – you can always get better.  That’s why he is around (meaning me, his executive coach).
  • The journey of understanding the inner workings of a major institution, the power of balancing culture, values and holding your people accountable for performance was powerful.
  • One of the other lessons from him and the other superstars I was fortunate to work with was recognizing that, as I have come to say it: “It is always the best who are most committed to being better.”

Why is becoming an entrepreneur important to Steve Lishansky?

  • Part of what has made our country great over history is the willingness to accept risk in the pursuit of passion, innovation, and creativity.  That is at the essence of entrepreneurship – carving a new path to a more compelling future through producing and delivering something significantly better (or cheaper or faster) than existed before.
  • The opportunity to create and deliver something great inspires people to embrace their creative expression.  I believe this gets stifled in many organizations – yet is essential for many people to feel whole and alive.  Entrepreneurship is an opportunity to embrace your passion and even need to express ourselves while creating a more exciting, secure, and even meaningful future.

For more information on Steve Lishansky visit

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