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What Makes A Good Leader
Sean: Hey guys, welcome back to the podcast, Sean here and today I have with me, Mr. Tom, Kereszti all the way from the US of A and he hails – I just learned he has hails from Hungary and you know, that’s an amazing thing. We have in our podcast, people from all over the world already from New Zealand, US Canada, from Singapore, from Kenya, even.
And, today we have someone who is a John Maxwell trainer, coach, and speaker – just like I am. And it’s really good to meet someone on the other side of the world who is from the same group too, and he’s a leadership expert. He’s also an author. He penned the book C-Suite and Beyond, and his background is full of his book.
So that’s really cool right there. He’s also a strategic advisor, coach, educator, mentor and speaker. He is also a man of God. And he calls himself also a leader of men, which is a very, very heavy title to carry with you. And I know I’m a leader. I lead 50 people in SEO- hacker. It’s a full-time job, 24/7.
Tom, I just want you to know that we are so grateful that you’re here and we’re excited to learn so much from you.
Tom: Thanks for having me. It’s it’s wonderful in today’s technology that I could be sitting in California and be on the, on the same call with you guys all the way half -of course the world in the Philippines.
So 20 years ago, this couldn’t happen, but we are where we are today and there’s some curses of technology, but there’s some blessings in technology and this is one of the blessings. It’s fun.
Sean: Amen. I mean, learning from a guy like you from halfway around the world with growing up the different culture, a different work environment, that’s precious right there.
And, you know, thanks to the pandemic. As strange as it sounds, thanks to the pandemic – we are able to, you know, make time for this sit down. Pre-pandemic, there were very few podcasts, very few people who also guested on podcasts, but due to the pandemic, there is a rise, a huge boom in podcast, recording personality and, and people learning from them.
So I wanna go a little bit deeper on your journey. Let’s talk about your journey. Why did you choose to become a leadership expert, a strategic advisor? We all have our stories and there are some people in the podcast already who started out as a C-level executive, you know, they’re flying – high flying in their career right next to Warren Buffet.
And then one day, realizes something, boom, turns into a coach and speaker. And I wonder, what’s your story behind it?
Tom: Earlier, you introduced me as a man of God, leader of man. And I talk about in the book that everybody should have a vision statement. And that is my vision statement, man of God, leader of men. And what’s the beauty of a vision statement is it helps you make decisions in your life, and you put those decisions against that vision statement, does it hold true.
Whatever I do is going to honor God and it’s going to be a leadership role. So when I come at a crossroads and say, should I do this? The question is, does it honor God? And the second question is, is it going to, you know, form or help somebody in leading them? So it makes life actually for me, much, much easier.
And it doesn’t change. It hasn’t changed in the last, you know, 15 or 20 years. And, how did that vision statement form? And how did I come to the fruition that I’m a leader of men? If I look back into early childhood, I always find myself in leadership positions and you know, situations happen. And usually there’s a vacuum for leadership and then somebody steps in and takes a leadership role in that particular instance.
Just going through my life from early childhood until today, I’ve always found myself that whenever I was in a room, I was drawn to a leadership role, especially when there was a vacuum and there was a lack of leadership there. So that’s just the way I’m wired. That’s the way God created me. That’s the way I’m wired.
So that’s how I ended up where I am.
Sean: That’s amazing. And how long have you been doing this?
Tom: Well, like I said, leadership, I mean, I can trace it back to when I was 12 years old on a soccer field. You know, I was 12 years old playing with a bunch of 16 year old kids and I wasn’t big enough to be a forward. So I was a midfielder and, you know, by the time, you know, we were halfway through the game, I was basically, you know, calling the plays. And feeding the guys and, you know, even scoring every once in a while, but everybody was looking to me, you know, they were looking to me to call the plays and get stuff done. And, and I just find myself “Well wow,that’s, that’s pretty cool.”
A bunch of 16 year olds are looking at me as a 12 year old to lead them. So I don’t know, it was just God blessed me one of those things that it just, you know, happens. And every part of my life, I was always in a situation where I felt comfortable leading and not everybody does. It’s a gift that you can train yourself to be a better leader. But there are some people who are natural leaders. They like doing it. I love doing it.
There’s people who get up on stage and they get stage freight, hate public speaking. And I it’s like I don’t know about the Philippines, but the US they say, “look, you know, I’d rather pay my taxes. I’d rather be in jail than to get on a stage and be a public speaker.”
People are just, you know they are dreaded by it, and I love it. I like all my ham. Put me on a stage and I’ll share my stories and I’ll have fun, people will laugh and its just who I am.
Sean: Yeah. Well, here in the Philippines, it’s also very shy culture. So not a lot of people, but I would say we have a good number of people taking up the stage now, maybe it’s cultural impetus started by some very good men and women.
So we’re seeing a lot more speakers now here. Thank God.
Tom: And you’re one of them, right?
Sean: I am. I am I speak on digital marketing? Not a lot. There’s still not a lot of people here who speak on digital marketing. That’s my business. So I speak on it. Some people get me also for leadership, entrepreneurship talks and sales talks as well.
I want to dive a little bit deeper on your book. Is it a new book or that you really. It’s leased?
Tom: Its relatively a new book, its about 6 month old. Actually I’ve just heard back from – it’s by Harper Collins. So I just heard back from Harper Collins. They said it’s actually doing real well, so.
Tom: I’m blessed.
Sean: If I was CEO of a company or a COO, give me the top three reasons why I should pick up your book?
Tom: It will make you a better CEO. You’ll make you better, COO, when I wrote the book, oddly enough, the way the book was born is, you and I are both public speakers.
And one of the keys to becoming a good public speaker is sharing your stories, right? We connect with folks a lot better with stories than just examples. People learn much better through stories than somebody trying to teach them, you know, who’s “the expert”, right? So. I started writing them these stories that would help me with my public speaking.
And then after a period of building a database, I said, well, what the heck? I got enough stories here to write it. And then I’ve wrote a book. It’s really a book of a collection of stories, of successes and failures for myself and, and some others. And, you know, that’s how the book was born. So if you are in a C-suite already, or if you’re just aspiring to be, C-suite just reading the stories is going to be fun.
You may relate to them because you may probably have experienced something similar already. So I just think it will make you a better leader. And I always loved reading. I always love learning from others. It just makes me a better human being. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t claim to have all the answers. This is my story. Other people have their stories and I hope to learn from them through their stories and you know, anybody who’s in the C-Suite and says, okay, I know it all. I don’t need to learn anymore. I don’t know. I think you better take a second look.
Sean: Yep, true that, like people who think they’re at the ceiling, they just stopped learning. And life is all about learning and growth.
And so if I pick up your book, what are some of the things that I’d be learning in specific?
Tom: Well, the central theme to my book, and this should not be a surprise cause I’m a man of God, so faith is a very important part of my life. My leadership style is servant leadership and servant leadership today is kind of a buzzword, but you know, everything that you find in a book is about servant leadership and I believe that is a key to becoming a great leader where people buy into you and buy into your mission and your vision.
If you’re there to serve them, instead of you’re there for them to serve you. I think you have a better chance of becoming a better leader.
Sean: True that, and Patrick Lencioni always says there’s no other way to do leadership than to serve others. Right?
And if your motive is to be served and to climb the ladder and get the perks, then don’t lead because the world will be a worse place with you around. You mentioned earlier in the pre show that the book has four major topics. I don’t want to preempt it here because it’s your book. And I want you to be the one to tell the audience.
So can you run us by it one by one?
Tom: Sure. Just a little background again, the way I came across the four keys is as I started, you know, I’ve started writing all these stories down and then I said, I can write a book on it. I said, “well how can I frame all these stories into a book?”
And, and one of the things that upon reflection I came to was look, I’ve had some successes in my life and I had some failures in my life. And when I was successful, I found that these four key principles were all firing on all cylinders. So things were working. And then some of the times in my life where things were not working too well, I looked at it and said, well, Not all four of those keys were there, you know, some of those keys were missing, so I said, okay, well, there’s obviously a pattern here.
Now let me ask a question and look at some successful companies and some successful leaders and, and to see, do they have those same four keys? So lo and behold, I said, yeah, they do. So that gave me the inspiration to actually write the book to say, well, these four keys not only worked for me, but they also worked for other successful companies and leaders.
So the four keys are, you have to have a very strong sense of who you are, what your character is. So as an individual, your character is extremely important. They’re built on your values and if you’re a company then your character is your culture. And in fact, if you’re a startup company, the founder’s character used to become a de facto culture for that organization until they start thinking about it, planning it and changing it.
All right. The second one I already shared with you, which is my vision, every great company, every great leader has a vision for themselves and a vision for their company. The third one is strategic growth. You know, strategy is always fueled by growth. Nobody wants to be worse off than they were yesterday.
They don’t want to be poorer than they were yesterday. They want to be more out of shape than they were yesterday. They don’t want to be worse looking than they were, you know, yesterday. So. It’s all about improvement. So it’s all about strategic growth. Growth is the key word and strategic growth really has to be aligned with your vision.
So don’t be kind of distracted by the, the latest, shiny object and the, and the fourth one, which is very dear to my heart is the team. You have to have a great inner circle. So when you build your team, make sure that they balance you, they balance your weaknesses. So you surround yourself with people of strength and where you are weak. Surround yourself with diverse thinking.
That’s also key, and diverse thinking really comes from diverse thinking, but also Latin Americans will think differently than Europeans and relativity, you know, than Americans or people from the far east. So diverse thinking, you know, also comes from, geographically where you are, it comes from socially where you are. That all adds to diverse thinking.
And as a fifth bonus key, and that is how to connect with people. And there’s a world of difference between informing, communicating, and connecting. I’ve been to so, so many corporate presentations where somebody gets in front of a room and they think they have this great presentation and all they are really doing is informing.They’re not moving the people in the room. They are not really getting people involved. They’re just kind of informing of the audience of why their point of view is correct and why everybody should adapt their point of view. And you know, that’s, that’s just not successful. And then you move to the next level where you start communicating and you start having a dialogue with Q and A. And start taking into consideration people’s, you know, what’s in it for them, you know, how you can help them. So then the communication, you know, starts.
And that the highest level for communication is really connecting with people. And those are you connect with people through emotional attachments. You don’t connect with people through facts. You know, connect with people through data. You don’t connect with people with results. You connect to people through emotions.
Once you learn that. And look, there was great communicators, you know, in American politics, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, they were great communicators. So these people, you know, John Maxwell, who’s, you know, our hero. He’s a great communicator.
You watch John speak, and Nick Vujecic – I don’t know if you ever seen Nick, but he’s one of my favorite guys. This is a guy that was born with no arms and no legs. He’s one of the most inspirational speakers you will ever see. And it’s really because he connects with you emotionally. So, that’s a “lecture”, I guess, of the four or five keys. And, you know, I’d love to share some of the stories behind it because that’s what really makes them come to reality and come through.
Sean: Before we go ahead and deep dive into it and dissect it. Just want t – I just want to say thank you for bringing this book into the world.
A lot of people say that when you write a book and finish it, it’s like giving birth. It’s the closest thing to a guy giving birth, right? Cause it’s, just a lot of work and a lot of anticipation and you don’t know how the market going to be receiving it or your target audience is going to be receiving it.
So congratulations for that. Love it. C Suite and Beyond by Tom Kereszti.