Absolute Advantage Podcast

The Absolute Advantage is about learning from some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, leaders, and achievers at the top of their game. When chasing your dreams, a lot of times there isn’t a need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, shorten your path to success by learning from the stories, strategies and concepts shared by our guests. Then shorten it even further by learning about amazing resources (books, webinars, tools, software, events, coaching, etc.) that should be on your radar. You are not alone in the challenges you face! It's my mission to help you walk away with at least one idea you can apply each episode and to offer content that inspires, encourages and helps you grow and progress QUICKLY both professionally and personally.
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Sep 12, 2018

Michael Gale founded Strategic Oxygen in 2001, which was widely seen as one of the technology industry primary data toolset for marketers, used by over 20 brands and used to model over $4 billion in marketing and sales investments. The company was sold to Monitor Group, where he was a group partner from 2006 to 2010. In 2011, he became a partner at Pulsepoint Group, a digital consulting company, which was acquired by ICF in 2015. Michael has also served as chief web officer and GM at Micron Technology and was the vice president of Worldwide brand research at IntelliQuest.

Are you still trying to run your company with the same structure you used 20 years ago? Michael Gale is an expert in helping companies in various industries successfully make the leap to the digital age.

After studying a thousand companies to see how they succeeded or failed, he wrote his book “The Digital Helix.” Michael knows how the seven drivers of change are important in different industries and works to help companies discover which drivers they need to focus on to set realistic expectations.

In this episode, we talked about how to digitize for the new world we live in and what is going to happen to organizations that don’t do this successfully. Michael explained the biggest mistakes organizations make when trying to digitize and gave tips on how to avoid those mistakes.

One of the biggest things you have to realize is that you can’t do everything. That’s why Michael offers a free tool that allows you to see what works in your industry so you can focus on that aspect. He also explains the difference between a digital and a truly digital business.

When it comes to digitizing your company, it has to start from the leadership. If it doesn’t matter to the leaders in the company, the probability of real change is 0. Digitizing isn’t just for big companies; Michael explains how smaller scale entrepreneurs can be successful in this new era as well.

Michael gives many other tips on transforming your organization for the digital age, including key questions he asks himself as a leader.

Are you interested in hearing more? Listen to the full episode now!

Thank you for listening today! I appreciate your time so very much.

Ways to contact Michael:

Sep 5, 2018

Kimberly White is a freelance writer, certified Arbinger Institute presenter, and former research assistant to its founder, Terry Warner. Her nine months of research for The Shift included dozens of hours working alongside nursing home employees in offices, vans, patient rooms, and kitchens. She recently relocated from Harlem to a small farm town in Pawnee, Illinois to focus on writing.

Does your job give you as much satisfaction as you want?  No? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Nationwide, only around half of all employees report that they love what they do. But did you know that you can learn to tweak the way you think in order to make significant increases in your level of happiness at work?

In this week’s episode, I speak with Kimberly White, the author of the book The Shift: How Seeing People as People Changes Everything. In her book, White explores some of the life-changing lessons she learned over the nine months she spent with nursing home employees in an attempt to uncover why they the profession has an average job satisfaction level which far exceeds workers in other industries.  

Throughout our discussion, White touches on the importance of positivity and offers advice on how to avoid a toxic environment by getting rid of the negative ripple effect. White suggests by viewing coworkers and employees as authentic humans instead of as tools to help you achieve your own goals, you can create a more positive and enjoyable work environment.

White illustrates practical applications of several of the techniques she presents in her book through personal antidotes and describes how to use these approaches to improve all areas of your life.

Do you want to discover the secrets to making immense and immediate changes in your happiness level? Listen to the full episode!

Ways to contact Kimberly:

Aug 29, 2018

Rob Shallenberger is one of the world’s leading authorities on leadership and strategic planning. He’s trained and coached hundreds of companies around the world, to include many Fortune 500 organizations.

After spending two years of service in Bolivia, he attended Utah State University where he graduated in 2000. He went on to earn an MBA from Colorado State University.

He served as an F-16 Fighter Pilot in the Air Force for 11 years. He was also an Advance Agent for Air Force One and traveled the world working with foreign embassies and the Secret Service.

He’s the CEO of Becoming Your Best Global Leadership. His company released a national bestselling book titled Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders and a new book titled the Transformation Challenge: The Six-Steps to Planning and Execution. He’s also the author of three other books.

He considers his greatest accomplishment to be that he’s been married for 19 years and has four beautiful children.

Are you a highly successful leader? Rob Shallenberger discusses the 12 principles of highly successful leaders and how he trains individuals and businesses to adopt those principles into their lives and business practices, so they can reap the rewards of phenomenal success.

Rob has dedicated years to studying some of the most successful leaders throughout history to discover 12 principles that set them apart from others. In this episode, he identifies those 12 principles and discusses the tools and techniques he uses when training others how to use them.

He goes on to describe why the principle “Be true to character,” is the most critical and why you should adopt that principle first. He also discussed businesses and leaders who have lost sight of that principle, such as Enron, and the devastating consequences that can have.

Rob also discusses time in a meaningful way. We all have the same 1,440 minutes in a day. One of the things that sets highly successful leaders apart from the rest of us is how we use those minutes.

He goes on to discuss the differences between being a transformational leader and being a transactional leader and how that impacts your success on a personal and professional level.

One of the most endearing things Rob talks about, though, is what the 12 principles of leadership mean for him as a husband and as a father and how his vision is different, yet similar, in each of those roles.

Are you interested in learning more? Listen to the full podcast now!

Thank you for listening today! I appreciate your time so very much.

Ways to contact Rob:

Aug 22, 2018

Founder of Burg Communications, Bob Burg is also a former television personality and top sales producer. His experience working with Fortune 500 organizations is the foundation for his leadership and business development books and teachings. He was named one of the 30 most influential leaders by The American Management Association and has shared the platform with key social, economic and political leaders, including a former U.S. president. He was also named as one of Inc. magazines Top 100 Leadership Speakers.

It’s the responsibility of a business leader to “give” first – when making sales, when settling disagreements, and when moving ahead in the company.

This is the heart of Bob Burg’s line of Go-Giver books, which focus on the power of providing value to everyone around you as part of your job. Bob’s latest book is all about influencers and the nature of influence on the job. In our discussion, he talks the value of influencing others and how the right influence is all about giving to others.

Bob has been named one of Inc. Magazine’s top 100 leadership speakers. If you haven’t heard him speak you should really take the opportunity – but you can listen to the latest episode of Absolute Advantage for a good idea of what it’s like!

I speak with Bob about how finding common ground is more difficult now than ever, how people skills are an important complement to any leadership position, and about how influencing others is about pulling them toward you with your own giving, listening, and helping skills.

We also go in-depth on the five different ways that influence can work in the business world, how to make sure you don’t turn business partners into enemies by accident, and how to properly ask for a favor (yes, there is a right way).

If you’ve ever had trouble striking deals in the workplace, or you struggle with – shall we say, coworkers who aren’t the easiest to get along with – this episode may be particularly useful for you. Anyone who collaborates or works on a team will also be able to appreciate the many tips we touch on!

You can listen to the full episode now and learn more about Bob’s advice, life stories, and latest book.

Thank you for listening today! I appreciate your time so very much.

Ways to contact Bob:

Aug 22, 2018

Founder of Burg Communications, Bob Burg is also a former television personality and top sales producer. His experience working with Fortune 500 organizations is the foundation for his leadership and business development books and teachings. He was named one of the 30 most influential leaders by The American Management Association and has shared the platform with key social, economic and political leaders, including a former U.S. president. He was also named as one of Inc. magazines Top 100 Leadership Speakers.

It’s the responsibility of a business leader to “give” first – when making sales, when settling disagreements, and when moving ahead in the company.

This is the heart of Bob Burg’s line of Go-Giver books, which focus on the power of providing value to everyone around you as part of your job. Bob’s latest book is all about influencers and the nature of influence on the job. In our discussion, he talks the value of influencing others and how the right influence is all about giving to others.

Bob has been named one of Inc. Magazine’s top 100 leadership speakers. If you haven’t heard him speak you should really take the opportunity – but you can listen to the latest episode of Absolute Advantage for a good idea of what it’s like!

I speak with Bob about how finding common ground is more difficult now than ever, how people skills are an important complement to any leadership position, and about how influencing others is about pulling them toward you with your own giving, listening, and helping skills.

We also go in-depth on the five different ways that influence can work in the business world, how to make sure you don’t turn business partners into enemies by accident, and how to properly ask for a favor (yes, there is a right way).

If you’ve ever had trouble striking deals in the workplace, or you struggle with – shall we say, coworkers who aren’t the easiest to get along with – this episode may be particularly useful for you. Anyone who collaborates or works on a team will also be able to appreciate the many tips we touch on!

You can listen to the full episode now and learn more about Bob’s advice, life stories, and latest book.

Thank you for listening today! I appreciate your time so very much.

Ways to contact Bob:

Aug 15, 2018

Vishal Agarwal is the best selling author of Give to Get. He has lived the corporate life cycle from start to finish, beginning as an intern and working up to Senior Deals Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Until recently, Vishal was a Global Top 500 Senior Leader for General Electric before becoming Chairman and CEO of his own private investment management firm, Full Circle Africa. During his 24-year career, he navigated all facets of corporate life from building teams and delivering value, to translating multinational visions into local wins.

A true globalist, Vishal was born in Bombay, lived in Iran during the Iran-Iraq War, was educated through his adolescence in the US, and now lives in Nairobi, Kenya, with his wife and two daughters.

There are two sets of challenges for those who want to achieve leadership positions at work for push ahead in their company. The first challenges are those everyone knows about – how to make those quarterly goals, how to communicate effectively, how to ask for an increase in salary or more responsibilities.

But there’s a second set of challenges that people don’t talk about as much: For example, when you are new to a team or a business, how do you overcome that “new guy” struggle where no one is entirely confident in your abilities? Once you have earned the respect of your peers and managers, how do you capitalize on that in effective ways?

In this episode of Absolute Advantage, I speak with Vishal Agarwal, author of Give to Get, a book about overcoming the unique challenges on your path to business leadership.

For example, we discuss creating a map of all your contacts when you enter a new position: This allows you to quickly see the people you need to get acquainted with. By planning regular contact with this map of people, you can quickly get past the “new guy syndrome” and start building up a healthy reputation in your company.

That’s just one of the tactics we talk about, along with stories about Vishal’s own experiences, more information about Give to Get, and other important tidbits you won’t want to miss.

Interested in learning more about what Vishal has to say about reaching your leadership goals?

You can listen to the full episode right now!

Again, thanks for your time today! I appreciate it very much.

Ways to contact Vishal:

Aug 1, 2018

Kelly Hatfield is co-founder of Enginuity Advantage, Advantage Staffing Group, Enginuity Virtual Recruiter, and Impact Real Estate Real Estate Group based in Everett, Washington. She has been in the recruiting and HR field for over 20-years and loves serving others. Kelly and her business partner have built three successful companies with the purpose of helping others succeed and delivering remarkable results. Kelly and her team strategically align themselves as “The Partner of Choice” with clients and strive to be the first place clients call when they are looking for extraordinary service, quality, and reliability. The resulting outcome has been an outstanding referral network that has built and continues to build their companies.

As Co-Founder and Owner of Enginuity Advantage, Advantage Staffing Group and Enginuity Virtual Recruiter, April (together with her amazing partner) has created and developed three successful businesses aimed at matching exceptional talent with the top organizations. With 17 years in the human resources and staffing realm, April has experience, knowledge, and a love for people and aims to offer solutions to all who are served. Being a natural problem solver, she prides herself on developing and leading a team of recruiting professionals whose mission is focused on connecting people to opportunity. Through creative and exhaustive methods, the Enginuity Group successfully matches the right talent with the right businesses each and every day.

How would you describe your company’s culture? A healthy culture is essential when it comes to the success of your organization and your employees. In this episode, learn how to change or improve your company’s culture for the better. After all, culture is the language of your organization.

We also talk about the ripple effect, which is how the actions of leaders ripple into the organization and beyond. As a leader, you are responsible for establishing a healthy and prosperous culture for your organization.

A major aspect of this responsibility involves establishing a sense of clarity surrounding the culture of their organization. This includes being as clear as possible about their business’ culture when it comes to the hiring process. After all, “fit” when it comes to the company’s dominant culture is a major predictor of whether a new employee will thrive within an organization.

During this episode, we talk about the consequences that a leader and business may face for failing to establish this sense of clarity. Unfortunately, many leaders fail to live by the values posted on the wall in their office.

We also discuss how leaders can live and lead according to their values. Culture refers to the values that are acknowledged and celebrated by your organization. April encourages leaders to focus on developing a healthy company culture above all.

We hope you enjoy this episode!

Ways to contact Kelly:

Ways to contact April:

Jul 25, 2018

In 2007, Roy Austin founded Rockwell Business Solutions, LLC (RBS), to provide coaching, mentoring, and seminars for small businesses. His passion is helping small business owners achieve their vision and potential to move their business to the next level. RBS has been involved in business development, mergers and acquisitions, investor relations, and negotiations with partners and vendors, particularly banks. Clients include Crescent Investments, Inc.; Cargo Group, LLC; Cargo Transportation Services, LLC; Blue Diamond Pool Services, Inc.; Bottles Up, Inc.; Atlas Surveying, Inc.; Cornerstone Physical Therapy; Polmak LLC; and D. J. Powers, Inc., to mention a few. Through his involvement in BNI (Business Networking International) and other groups he has met and worked with hundreds of small business owners.

Roy is a coach, not a consultant. Consultants tell you what to do; Coaches teach you how to do! Roy is the author of The Alligator Business Solution, which was released March 28, 2017. The book is, in essence, a user’s manual for small businesses. His experience, education, and community service provide a wealth of information for his readers and clients. He also has extensive speaking experience.

From his early years in the military to his most recent work as a CFO for a freight forwarder and customs broker, author Roy Austin has spent his life building the foundation of knowledge that he now leverages to help businesses. He works closely with leaders of small to midsize businesses who are discovering that there’s more to running a business than simply knowing their trade.

Roy and his team help manage the business, marketing and operational side for a wide range of organizations and he brings his vast expertise to each coaching project. Roy shared: “I began to realize that small businesses are started by people who know how to do the work, but doing the work and running a business are two different skill sets.”

Roy uses the term “coaching” instead of “consulting” to indicate that he wants to bring people alongside throughout the process. Coaches are able to help empower their clients to refine valuable leadership skills. Explore how the best players working together may not always create the best team — but that the best team working together can change the world.

There are 7 key leadership traits that will cause people to follow you. These include listening skills, knowing where you’re going, understanding the fundamental purpose of your business, and a matching set of values. Roy also notes that creating a culture that people want to be a part of is an important aspect of retaining star performers.

Listen to the full episode with Roy Austin of Rockwell Business Solutions to hear more insight on a range of topics of interest to businesses, such as how each individual hire is a crucial part of maintaining your organization’s culture.

Jul 18, 2018

Anni Keffer is a nationally recognized educator, speaker, author, and entrepreneur who is passionate about youth leadership. She has been featured on CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX affiliates as well as in a number of publications, including Yahoo, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, New York Business Journal, Miami Herald, Mompreneur Media, and more. She’s the founder of the Young Women of Influence Conference and an in-demand leadership speaker. Anni was nominated for WHIRL Magazines Women In Business 2016, and is a co-author of Girls Lead. Her new book is Leadership Built On Why: A Guide for Young Adults.

Author Anni Keffer’s most recent book, Leadership Built on Why, is starting conversations among young adults and encouraging them to take advantage of the opportunities to lead regardless of their age. Her focus is on supporting women and young adults as they overcome external and internal criticism and find the inner strength and inspiration to seize the mantle of leadership. In this episode, Anni Keffer discusses how her leadership traits manifested and offers advice for other young people and women of all ages to overcome negativity and trust their own leadership potential.

From an early age, Anni’s family were leaders in their community and in their careers. From this introduction to leadership, Anni realized that no one will pass you the torch — in order to be successful, you must reach out and grab it! Leadership is about making a conscious decision to make an impact in the world, serving people by giving back at both a local and global level.

One of the biggest takeaways is that while we see successful people in the media every day, what we don’t see is the struggle that they each went through to attain greatness. They didn’t magically wake up one day and claim wealth and a new lifestyle beyond our dreams. Instead, they worked tirelessly every day until their dreams came to fruition. You have to follow your passion — focus on what excites you personally or something that frustrates you greatly so you can change the world.

When you’re hearing negativity from others, it can be easy to get bogged down in those feelings. Instead, separate yourself from that feeling and respond with love and peace. Negative comments often come from a place of jealousy, from individuals who don’t have your same self-belief and trust.

Throughout the episode, Anni Keffer unpacks what it means to truly dig deep into your thoughts and feelings to release positivity and free yourself to become a true leader.

Ready to hear more and be inspired? Listen to the full episode now!


Jul 11, 2018

Melinda F. Emerson, known as SmallBizLady, is America’s #1 Small Business Expert. She is an internationally known keynote speaker and an expert on small business start up, business development, and social media marketing. In addition to being a former columnist for The New York Times, she is frequently quoted by other media organizations including The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Fortune, MSNBC and Fox News.

Emersons small business advice is widely read reaching more than 3 million entrepreneurs each week online. She is the host of #Smallbizchat, the longest running live chat on Twitter for small business owners. She publishes a resource blog

Emerson is the bestselling author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months and the ebook How To Become a Social Media Ninja. She is the founder and president of the Quintessence Group, an award-winning marketing consulting firm based in Philadelphia, PA. Notable Clients Include: FedEx, ADP, Pitney Bowes, American Express, Dell, Staples, Sams Club, Chase Bank, Facebook, IKEA, Verizon, Wells Fargo, and Xerox.

Shortly after graduating from Virginia Tech, Melinda Emerson landed at her dream job. A journalism student, she was hired as a producer at the age of 23. Soon, after going from the frying pan to the skillet, she realized that she wanted more than that dream, a better career. She saw Oprah Winfrey as a model, another journalist who went on to start successful businesses.

In this episode, Melinda Emerson talks about how she set out on her own business adventure with a laptop, fax machine, and a dream. She tapped her skills as an investigative journalist to research her strategy, build networks, and won an opportunity from a business incubator. Within a couple of years, her firm became the largest female-owned production company in Philadelphia. Awards followed, along with lucrative contracts.

She compiled every “expensive mistake” she made along the way and these helpful notes became the basis for her first major book.

Her goal is to boost small business entrepreneurs everywhere so they experience success and learn the lessons she shares with them. We need to build our personal leadership in order to bring success to our business activities. Melinda Emerson reminds listeners that they never lose in business: They either win or they learn of mistakes that need to be corrected.

This is a very inspiring interview!

Ways to contact Melinda:

Jun 27, 2018

Born in Kingston, Jamaica to a single mother, Albert Williams grew up in the birthplace of Hip Hop and the home of the NY Yankees – the Bronx. Motivated by the countless hours his mother worked to create a better life for him and his siblings, Albert grew up to hold several jobs in both the public and private sectors while all at the same time owning and operating several of his own businesses.

His entrepreneurial spirit led him to explore many avenues including landscaper/snow removal, restaurant menu designer, and printer, computer consultant, barbershop owner, part-time owner in a laundromat and part-time owner in a hair salon.

In June 2012, Albert acquired Best Deal Private Car Service Inc., based in the North East Bronx with 19 owner-operated cars in its feet. As President and CEO, he went on to certify the business as a Minority Business Enterprise, increased the company’s revenue to top $1.5 million, added hundreds of new drivers and created a new revenue stream by adding non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) to their line of services.

This serial entrepreneur with a proven ability to grow a business now teaches others through his Mastermind coaching. Albert considers it his responsibility to give back, coaching minorities with entrepreneurial aspirations to realize their dreams.

Albert also hosts the Plan Build Become podcast, interviewing inspiring thought leaders to further help his own minority communities.

A native of Jamaica, Albert Williams arrived in the Bronx with his mother and two siblings when he was 8 years old. He exemplifies how the ripple effect of entrepreneurship can take hold in someone at a young age, manifest itself, and now give back through mastermind coaching and mentorship to minorities with business ambitions. He started by bagging groceries in the express line while still in elementary school, held many jobs since then, owned a barbershop and laundromat, and acquired Best Deal Private Care Service Inc. in June 2012.

Best Deal specializes in nonemergency medical transportation, but more importantly, it is a community car service that takes pride in knowing customers by their names and their needs. As CEO, Albert Williams gives his Bronx-based livery company strategic direction while assuring that its operations remain high-quality and focused on the needs of its loyal customers.

In this episode, Albert Williams explains that he coaches other minorities who aspire to be entrepreneurs by reminding them that there is no magical pill. Mastermind groups allow us to bring out those qualities we may not see in ourselves. Albert Williams explains the importance of listening, being humble, and investing in your own personal development.

Even in a company where all of his drivers are independent contractors, he reminds them that they have to be the right fit since he is the face of the company and that elderly woman they are picking up for an appointment may be somebody’s mother. And she most certainly matters.

When thinking about his business, he always wants to know how his drivers, his vision, and the strategic plan he has put into place will move the needle forward.

Take lots of notes and enjoy!

Ways to contact Albert:

Jun 20, 2018

Ken Pasch brings over 30 years experience in revolutionizing leader development within a broad range of organizations, including the U.S. Military, Johnson & Johnson, the American College of Healthcare Executives, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

He is the founder of KiVisions, Inc., which advises good people on how to become great leaders, and serves as faculty in executive education at the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University. Pasch is a retired Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, where he served proudly and with distinction.

Ken Pasch won the lottery decades ago, the draft lottery that took him to the jungles of Vietnam. After returning from his service in the army, he pondered how successful organizations get off the ground and reach their destination.

The author of the recently published On Course: Become a Great Leader and Soar likened the process to that of an airplane. Choose a destination, prepare to get there, and watch out for winds of resistance that might take you off course and forces that might drag you down.

In this episode, Ken Pasch discusses some of the themes from his book. He reminds us that leaders must possess a proper mindset and be aware of the impacts their actions have on others. He tells us that we should become an “ACE.” The “A” stands for the abundance in leadership we should exhibit. The “C” refers to the concentration we must focus upon our priorities, while the “E” reminds us to pursue our passion and purpose earnestly.

Effective leaders bring about change through their mindsets, efforts, and willingness to accept feedback.

They ensure that their firms have an excellent onboarding process in place that sets people up for success and establishes the best tone. Throughout this podcast, Ken Pasch shares a wealth of helpful advice about the value that high-quality leadership brings to an organization.

Please enjoy this program!

Ways to contact Ken:

Jun 13, 2018

Howard Partridge is an international business coach, #1 bestselling author, and in-demand conference speaker. He grew up on welfare, started his first business out of the trunk of his car, and transformed it into a multimillion dollar, turnkey enterprise. He has owned nine small businesses, and for two decades has helped small business owners revolutionize their businesses and have more freedom in their lives. His new book is “The Power of Community: How Phenomenal Leaders Inspire Their Teams, Wow Their Customers, and Make Bigger Profits.” It includes a proven, step-by-step approach to transforming your organization by tapping into the human need to connect and feel valued by others.

How did one L.A. native with only a quarter in his pocket transform his life before gaining international acclaim as a best-selling author and business coach? Howard Partridge grew up poor in L.A. — lower Alabama — one of seven kids in a tiny shack in Mobile. His family on welfare, his mother fed them for $100 a month.

Howard Partridge left home young, arriving in Houston with a quarter in his pocket to begin his life anew. What he lacked in funds, he had in motivation. His first business began in the trunk of his car and became a multimillion-dollar turnkey. Mentored by Zig Ziglar, he later became Ziglar’s exclusive small business owner coach.

In this conversation, Howard Partridge explains why we must turn management theory upside down, re-engage our workers, and assure that recognition of their efforts regularly occurs. Three keys must be remembered:

  • First, when we value people with support, they will value us and support our mission.
  • Second, we must create a culture that encourages workers.
  • Third, we expect accountability, but it needs to permeate all levels of the organization so that employees can also ask management tough questions.

Howard Partridge inspires businesses to create phenomenal products. He transforms corporate organizations by tapping into the human need to connect and feel valued by others.

Take plenty of notes. You will enjoy this episode!

Ways to contact Howard:

Jun 6, 2018

Glenn Elliott is the founder and Debra Corey is group reward director of Reward Gateway, a world leader in integrated employee engagement technology with more than 1,800 clients worldwide. Elliott and Corey’s new book, “Build it: The Rebel Playbook for World-Class Employee Engagement” (Wiley, Feb. 27, 2018), highlights practical improvements that organizations can make to build a highly engaged company culture.

Why would a successful entrepreneur rebel against common business practices? As Glenn Elliott explains in this podcast, it is imperative that we rebel against common models and age-old perspectives if we want our company to thrive and our employees to stay engaged.

During his years as a software engineer and in other corporate settings, Glenn Elliott witnessed more than his share of employee disengagement in the workplace. Knowing that miscommunication breeds mistrust, he founded Reward Gateway in 2006 with a plan to restore engagement among those working in the financial services industry. He stepped down as CEO there in 2017 and currently consults and motivates businesses on ways to bring enthusiasm to the workplace.

In this conversation, Glenn Elliott reminds us that engaged employees spend less time distracted, make better decisions, and frequently are a source for innovation.

Glenn Elliott believes managers should be connected, humble, and honest to those who report to them. This principle should also apply to other units that have a direct impact on employees. As an example, he also discusses the challenges that many human resources departments face when tough HR decisions have to be made with lawyerly precision. We need to restore the human touch.

I hope you enjoy this podcast!

Ways to contact Glenn:

May 30, 2018

Does the constant talk about rising healthcare costs worry you as you balance the benefits you offer your employees with the bottom line? If so, you will want to hear how Michael Menerey collaborates with private firms and public agencies to bring a fresh approach to offering employee benefits with a goal of lowering their costs while enhancing their value to all parties involved.

A senior vice president with Alliant Insurance Services, Michael Menerey launched his Reconstructing Healthcare podcast in 2017 as a platform for discussing the factors that escalate healthcare costs. He seeks innovative approaches that provide better value with reduced costs. By creating a new dialog, he seeks to educate employees and managers of ways they can lower healthcare costs.

In this episode, Michael Menerey explains how the status quo is untenable. We need to explore different approaches, including a plan to offer benefit alternatives that provide our employees the flexibility to select less expensive options that may be available through another nearby pharmacy or clinic. This makes more sense than continuing to keep the same rigid plans while shifting more of the escalating co-pays and deductibles to our workers.

If an MRI costs our present plan $3,000 but our employees still have to pay a deductible, we should have the ability through better transparent pricing in the industry to steer the employee to another location outside of the plan that performs the same procedure for a fraction of the cost. Michael Menerey also encourages benefits managers to consider reimbursing those who can find cheaper prescription prices outside of our plan if the savings benefit the employer and employee in the long run.

I hope you enjoy this important conversation!

Ways to contact Michael:


May 23, 2018

Nikki Lewallen fosters connections and promotes networking as CEO of Rainmakers, an Indianapolis firm she joined in 2007 that builds bridges within Indiana’s business community. She also shares her expertise on the Gut + Science podcast that started in April this year.

Do you know someone who lives for the weekend and hates the thought of Mondays? If so, learn how Nikki Lewallen inspires people to live life for Mondays. She enjoys connecting people and enhancing corporate culture by helping others appreciate their contributions as valued members of their companies.

In this episode, Nikki encourages managers and leadership to discover what motivates staff and how we can inspire them to find deeper meaning in their work. This motivational speaker and philanthropist shares her passion for putting systems in place that allow us to gain valuable feedback. She encourages the use of an assessment tool managed by a third party to encourage higher participation and honest responses.

When we solicit feedback from employees, we must act upon it rather than file it away. We need to do this regularly, perhaps once each quarter. If we plan to inspire action and enhance our corporate culture, we need to reassure those willing to share their opinions that they will be valued, disclosed in a way that assures confidentiality, and will lead to change. We must do more than go through the motions.

Nikki encourages intentional acts of kindness and discusses the value of seeking mentors.

The messages from this podcast should offer inspiration for those throughout the organization.

I hope you enjoy this episode!

Ways to contact Nikki:

May 16, 2018

James Swanwick is an Australian-American investor, entrepreneur, speaker, former SportsCenter anchor on ESPN, and host of The James Swanwick Show podcast. He is the creator of blue-light blocking glasses Swannies from Swanwick Sleep, which helps people sleep better; and the 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge, which helps people reduce or quit alcohol. Forbes magazine voted him one of the Top 25 Networking Experts. Swanwick has interviewed celebrities including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Kobe Bryant, David Beckham and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

How did a pair of “ugly” glasses inspire a successful marketing campaign? James Swanwick, a journalist by training, explains how seeing his friend wearing those glasses gave him the idea to create Swannies Blue Blockers that promote better sleep.

From his time writing for newspapers and magazines and appearing on broadcast media, James Swanwick learned the impact of effective media in getting a message across. He launched his career in his native Australia, gained skills in London, and moved to Los Angeles in 2003. He later co-founded Crocmedia as a media company with connections in Australia and became an anchor and correspondent for ESPN.

In this episode, James Swanwick explains how his early experiences in media gave him the skills to develop solid marketing brands. In recent years, he has developed motivational programs to ensure better sleep, reduce a reliance on alcohol among social drinkers, and encourage others to develop successful habits. He explains how he learned to overcome procrastination through “seemingly impossible deadlines” and why paying for a top-notch mentor can be a sound investment.

James Swanwick reminds us that compromising on your sleep compromises your business and ultimately your relationships, finance, and health. He also explains ways that his 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge benefits health and may offer a competitive edge.

The theme that defines James Swanwick’s discussion is his desire to teach others about “health, wealth, love, and happiness.”

This week’s program has great advice. I hope you enjoy his message.

Thanks for listening today!

Ways to contact James:


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May 9, 2018

After spending 15 years working in a traditional marketing agency designing and developing websites, George B. Thomas stumbled into Inbound Marketing & HubSpot in 2012. After helping run the Wild Boy agency in Massillon Ohio for 2 years, George had the joy of accepting a phone call from Marcus Sheridan asking him to join The Sales Lion team. After he picked the phone up off the floor and stuttered his way through an acceptance, he joined the team and @GeorgeBThomas was born.

As an inbound marketer and brand strategist, George’s daily contributions include inbound strategy and design, HubSpot intensive training, speaking at conferences, content marketing, and social media marketing as well as business management and development.

What can you learn about inbound marketing from a former youth pastor and bouncer in a pub? George B. Thomas definitely took a different path as he entered the field of inbound marketing and developing high-quality video content. After he learned to be proud of his nerdy tendencies, he expertly applied them to become a “nerd who needs to educate” in the areas of content, inbound, and social marketing.

George Thomas strongly believes in the potential of HubSpot and has done tutorials about HubSpot’s CRM. From his work in the industry, he has witnessed the ways that HubSpot certifications enhance abilities in marketing and sales and the value that video adds for inbound marketing.

In this episode, George Thomas talks about how video bridges sales and marketing with digital customers. Whether we want to reach current customers, prospective customers, or our own employees for professional development, making well-designed videos allows them “to see us, hear us, know us.”

There are various ways that you can enhance your business by incorporating video. For example, George Thomas gives you reasons that you should have a video signature on your email so those you communicate with can know about you, what you do, and learn “something fun” about you. A strong video presence is important because 70 percent of a buyer’s journey may be finished by the time they reach you.

This is certainly a conversation you will want to hear! I hope you enjoy the full episode now.
I appreciate you listening to us discuss the ever-increasing importance of video-based content on the web.

Ways to contact George:

May 2, 2018

A professional engineer, Jill Marilley is the Construction Services Manager, Pacific Northwest District for WSP, Inc. (formerly Parsons Brinkerhoff) based in Seattle, WA.

Jill has more than 30 years of public and private industry experience in public works from project ranging from transportation to drinking water quality to parks. She has served the public as a public works director and city engineer and now leads a team in the Pacific Northwest providing high quality construction management service to ensure the public’s money is well spent.

Jill is a strong leader and advocate in the public works industry and is currently the National President-Elect for the American Public Works Association. Her focus is on public works funding, operation and maintenance of our infrastructure, and the continued development of APWAs next leaders.

Sometimes we take some things for granted that we just don’t think about. Whether it be brushing our teeth while leaving the water running to the transportation we use every day for work. Jill Marilley was inspired to improve everyone’s quality of life and create a ripple effect on the community.

In this episode, Jill and I explore leadership, STEM education, gender and wider diversity in engineering and other STEM professions. It is a powerful and wide ranging-discussion.

As numbers continue to remain low for women working in the engineering industry within the last 30 years and 25 percent of women leaving the profession, Jill gives great insights about her experience as a woman in the engineering field and how there is a need for diversity in education.

The perspective Jill brings on the area of leadership is refreshing. You don’t have to be up front to be leading. Leadership comes from deep within and is about your ability to expand yourself, your family, your friends, your community, your world.

Jill also made a great point about how we all need to remind ourselves to see what we are willing to provide to others to help reach all of our goals.

Jill Marilley offers amazing stories and wisdom on how you can create a ripple effect within your community and lead by example to create change within your own industry.

You will not be disappointed!

I appreciate your time so very much.

Ways to contact Jill:

Apr 25, 2018

Paula Brown Stafford and Lisa T. Grimes are two award-winning, c-suite executives who together have accumulated 60 plus years of work experience at the highest levels, 60 years of marriage, and raised four successful children. Collectively, they have managed more than 25,000 employees globally. Paula recently retired as President, Clinical Development at QuintilesIMS and Lisa has served as President & CEO of PurThread Technologies. Although Paula and Lisa were fierce competitors 20 years ago, they eventually formed a friendship and now, as a team, speak to corporations and women’s groups on a number of topics, including Complementing Not Competing, Packing Your Potential, and The Juggling Act.

Together, Paula and Lisa wrote the book, Remember Who You Are: Achieve Success. Create Balance. Experience Fulfillment.

Finding balance in the midst of a successful career is a challenge – and women face unique challenges as they rise up the ranks in business. Paula Brown Stafford and Lisa Grimes know that first hand, so their stories and advice are truly priceless.

In business, you will inevitably face competition – but there is more to advancing and excelling in your career. Mentorship is a huge factor in building on your skills and experience. Learning from someone who went down this path before you can open doors and open your mind to seeing a path more clearly.

Paula Brown Stafford and Lisa Grimes are my guests on Absolute Advantage today, and we had a wonderfully animated conversation. From competing for multi-million dollar contracts 20 years ago, to literally finishing each other’s sentences – the respect Lisa and Paula have for each other really shows through.

What sticks with me is the way they are giving back – offering guidance not just to women in (or on their way to) positions of power, but men too as we all interact together. Respect is the key that provides a way forward for everyone. The book they co-wrote even includes – cleverly I thought – a “Her Perspective” forward and and “His Perspective” forward.

We talked — among many topics — about networking and cultivating your personal brand. These are important elements of building a trifecta of success, balance and fulfillment.

Lisa and Paula also worked with this great juggling metaphor: in life you juggle so much. You have crystal balls, glass balls, rubber balls, plastic balls and lead balls – you’ll just have to listen to find out more! What these two share on this subject is really powerful.

The c-suite and life experience both Lisa and Paula have had brings unique and powerful insights we can all learn from. So if you like the idea of success, balance and fulfillment, our conversation is a great one to get in on.

Thank you for listening today! I appreciate your time so very much.

Ways to contact Paula and Lisa:

Apr 18, 2018

Rob is President and Co-Founder of imageOne, a Document Lifecycle Management company. Rob’s journey began in ninth grade when he and his current business partner, Joel Pearlman, launched their first business selling blow pop candy out of their school lockers. Rob and his partner realized early on that their passion for delivering an extraordinary customer experience would be key to their success. It is this passion that has become the driving force behind imageOnes success. Rob has completed 14 marathons and is an avid meditator and loves spending time in Northern Michigan with his family and friends.

My guest today has some surprising ways to tap into his creativity and increase his success.

Today, I’m with Rob Dube and talking to him about his thoughts regarding working smarter and not harder.

What he has to say is not exactly what you might think the owner of a company that Forbes named one of the “Best Small Companies” would say though.

According to Rob — and he has the backing of researching and the fact that leaders all over the world embrace this strategy — that slowing down is the key to unlocking both your creativity and your leadership potential.

Putting away your technology opens up the mind and relieves stress. This is because silence enables the mind to clear away chaotic thoughts and clarity emerges.

Successful business CEOs and all branches of the military practice some form of meditation. If you’re going to become a leader, you have to give your company your full energy and your employees your full presence. If you don’t those that rely on you can feel the disconnect.

How does Rob suggest that you do this in order to be successful? Attend a silent retreat.
Listen to more about Rob’s experiences with silent retreats and how this lead to his newest book “Do Nothing.”

Ways to contact Rob:

Apr 11, 2018

Dr. Rick Brinkman is a leadership and communications expert who teaches Conscious Communication® for leadership, teamwork, customer service and effective meetings. Since 1987 he’s performed more than 4,000 programs in 17 countries, sharing his insights on human behavior and strategies for practical communication. He is known for Educating through Entertainment, using humor and storytelling to make the learning memorable.

A popular keynote speaker, his clients range from the Astronaut Corps at NASA and the FBI to Merck, Adobe, the Federal Reserve, and IBM. His newest book is Dealing With Meetings You Can’t Stand: Meet Less and Do More (McGraw Hill, 2017).

Are you able to lead effective meetings? Dr. Rick Brinkman is a communications expert who teaches conscious communication for leadership, teamwork, and customer service applications.

As a medical naturopath, Dr. Rick Brinkman discovered that the mental and physical health of his patients were entwined. He brings this knowledge to business communication, creating a holistic approach to information dissemination.

In this episode, we discussed now negativity surrounding meetings can serve as a barrier, preventing the proper retention of information. If your employees resent the meetings they’ve brought into, why should they pay attention?

Yet if you empower people to change the ways in which they meet, you can get better results — sometimes increasing output by up to 25 percent without any additional cost to you. Dr. Brinkman explains that in terms of structure, meetings are divided into four important categories: preparation, processing, people, and time. Mastering all of these leads to effective meetings and effective leadership.

Running bad meetings will eventually lead to a lack of confidence in your leadership, as your employees may doubt your decision-making abilities. Bad meetings waste your time, your employee’s time, and ultimately your company’s time.

Dr. Rick Brinkman offers numerous incredible tips on how to improve your meetings and offers a document — called a “cage rattling document” — for convincing higher level executives.

Are you interested in hearing more? Listen to the full episode now!

Thank you for listening today! I appreciate your time so very much.

Ways to contact Rick:

Apr 4, 2018

Kelly Riggs is an author, speaker and business performance coach for executives and companies throughout the U.S. and Canada. Kelly is a former sales executive and two-time national Salesperson of the Year with well over two decades of executive management and training experience. His new book with his son, Robby Riggs, Counter Mentor Leadership: How to Unlock the Potential of the 4-Generation Workplace (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2018), offers practical, actionable advice that improves workplace culture and enables organizations to bridge the generational divide.

Getting team members from different generations to work well together has always been a challenge businesses have had to face, but it’s never been as pressing of an issue as it is today. Four generations make up today’s workforce — and the divide between Boomers and Millennials is a larger gap than we’ve ever seen.

Millennials are the first generation to bring skills to the table when they enter the workforce that other generations don’t have, and that has completely disrupted the traditional company structure where, in most cases, the people with the most knowledge are the ones who have been in the industry the longest.

That’s just not true anymore, and something has to be done to bring these generations together.

You’ve probably heard of the idea of reverse mentoring before, even if you aren’t familiar with it by that name. Reverse mentoring is the idea of taking an older employee and a younger employee, pairing them up, and having them teach each other what they know.

Kelly Riggs is my guest on this week’s episode of Absolute Advantage, and he believes there’s more to it than that, which is why he and his Millennial son wrote the book Counter Mentor Leadership: How to Unlock the Potential of the 4-Generation Workplace.

The book is built on their idea of counter mentoring, a seven-step process for assimilating all generations into a singular team that can be highly effective. All of the seven steps make up the acronym COUNTER.

The first of those steps is communication, and in our interview, Kelly stresses how critical communication is for employee engagement.

“Every leader should care dramatically about employee engagement or disengagement because it impacts the bottom line. It has everything to do with the amount of money you make, how much productivity you get, how safe your people are, how much turnover you have. All of those things are contingent upon communication. Communication is where you build trust, and trust is what creates leadership.”

Kelly has a great system for improving your communication. To learn all about that system as well as the other six steps that make up the acronym COUNTER, please listen to the full interview with Kelly.

Thank you for listening today! I appreciate your time so very much.

Ways to contact Kelly:

Mar 28, 2018

Ken Baker is currently serving as a member of Gensler’s Board of Directors and the Gensler Management Committee. As a Co-Regional Managing Principal of Gensler’s Southeast Region and past Co-Managing Principal of Gensler’s UK, EMEA and Gulf Regions, Ken is considered a global expert on workplace design and planning, particularly for law firms.

He has designed tens of millions of square feet of corporate headquarters and offices for law firms and financial institutions and is one of Gensler’s major Global Account holders, managing relationships with clients such as Sidley Austin LLP, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, JP Morgan Chase, and Barclays Capital worldwide. Ken is also a leader in Gensler’s furniture and product development practice and frequently speaks about the power of design at industry events around the world.

A fellow of the College of Law Practice Management and a member of the Board of Trustees for the National Building Museum, Ken is passionate about producing design solutions that optimize trends that align with clients core objectives. Ken’s focus on maintaining strong client relationships is a core tenant of his leadership philosophy and design strategy and is a natural outgrowth of his people oriented personality.

I was recently emailing back and forth with a listener about building a recruitment marketing strategy for their business. How companies can make people want to come work for them is actually one of the things I’ve been talking to people about the most lately, so I wanted to make sure to have an episode of Absolute Advantage with a guest whose business is excelling in this area.

The architectural design firm Gensler is an excellent example of this, and I was so thrilled to have Ken Baker, Co-Regional Managing Principal of Gensler’s Southeast Region, join me to talk about making an impact in everything you do.

One of the areas in which Gensler makes an impact is their excellent process for growing and developing their team, no matter what position someone might have inside their organization. That internal mentorship program is absolutely top notch.

This really stood out to me because of the impact actually making that effort and investing in their team has on their recruitment and retention efforts. When every person inside your company continues to get better and better, that becomes really attractive for people job searching. Top talent loves attracts top talent, and that’s absolutely the case for Gensler.

Not only that, but the growth is really important to the millennial generation. They often get a bad rap, but growth is so important to them. When you give them the opportunity to grow, develop, and gain purpose, they want to stick around. We all know how expensive it is to turn people over, so you have to do what you can to keep your good employees around. The best way to do that is through this growth program that Gensler has implemented so well.

This is just one of the many ways that Ken talks about around this idea of how you can make an impact that is spread all over this episode. I highly recommend that you listen in to the full episode because when you apply Ken’s strategies to your business, you will be applying the secrets that have made Gensler one of the most successful companies in the planet.

Thank you for listening today! I appreciate your time so very much.

Ways to contact Ken:

Mar 21, 2018

Aaron Hendon is a Seattle Realtor, real estate investor, author, educator, and speaker. He is managing partner of Christine & Company, a Seattle Magazine awarded, Five Star Real Estate Agent, winning team for the past 6 years and an individual Rising Star in Seattle Real Estate winner.

Bringing together a diverse background and history including transformational leadership, entrepreneurial start ups and traditional cold calling sales, Aaron and his team consistently outperform the local market, selling homes for over 5% more than local market averages.

Born in New York, Aaron graduated SUNY Purchase with a BFA in 1997. Discovering his fine art degree made him eligible to work in the foodservice industry anywhere in the country, he headed out to New Mexico immediately after school. He eventually found his stride opening a real New York bagel shop in Albuquerque, selling it 9 years later as a business grossing over $1,000,000 annually.

In 2000 he found his way to the Pacific Northwest and now lives on a small island off the coast of Seattle with his brilliant wife, Kael, his two brilliant children, Leela and Jonah and his adoring, if not exactly brilliant, Golden Doodle, Rozy. He has just published his latest book, Shortchanged by Shortcuts? 44 Surprising Ways People Rip Themselves Off When Buying or Selling Their Home.


“A leader’s job isn’t to make followers. A leader’s job is to make other leaders.” – Aaron Hendon

When I asked my guest Aaron Hendon to share a lesson of leadership as I do with all of my Absolute Advantage guests, I thought the idea he shared about developing the people in your organization was incredibly profound.

It’s a great example of the incredible conversation we had about what a great culture looks like and what it takes to build one, which is something Aaron knows all about. His company Christine & Company is Seattle Magazine award winning company, and it is that way because of their culture.

Christine & Company has turned qualified people down that didn’t gel with the rest of the team because that’s just how important culture is for a successful team, and they know it. Not only that, but they’ve let people go that have gossiped about the team because of their belief that you can’t belittle any member of the team.

It takes a lot of work to build an award-winning culture like Christine & Company, but it’s so worth it because of the way your team gels with each other and makes your company so much more successful than it could be with a lesser culture.

To learn how to do it in your business, please listen to this episode with Aaron Hendon.

That was one of the nuggets from my conversation with Aaron Hendon that stood out the most to me. Please let me know which stood out the most to you.

Thank you for listening today! I appreciate your time so very much.

Ways to contact Aaron:

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