Dr. Relly Nadler: This week we have Susan Steinbrecher. She has an interesting concept that she has written about in her book, Straight Talk on Corporate Consciousness. She’ll explain a little bit more about that along with the ins and outs.
She is an internationally acclaimed businesswoman, executive coach, speaker, and author. She is President and CEO of Steinbrecher & Associates which is a management consulting firm that provides professional development services in the areas of executive coaching, group facilitation, and leadership training.
Susan works with senior executives and their organizations to develop and implement innovative, life changing and profit building solutions to address the global and day-to-day challenges of leadership.
She also has some other books, including Heart-Centered Leadership: An Invitation to Lead From the Inside Out, and Roadmap to Success that she wrote with Steven Covey and Ken Blanchard.
In her newest book, Straight Talk, Susan addresses the importance of corporate consciousness. Cathy and I have a chapter in her book. Mine is on emotional intelligence and Cathy’s is on happiness around how to get profit from your happiness.
For four consecutive years, she has received the Business Leadership Center’s Teaching Excellence Award at SMU Cox School of Business. She served as an expert on NBC, Fox TV, Fortune, Small Business Magazine, CNN.com, and numerous other radio shows.
Susan’s expertise has positively impacted companies worldwide like BNSF Railway, Bank of America, Capital One, Bricker International, Hilton, Miraval Spa, Northwest Airlines, to name a few.
Prior to founding Steinbrecher and Associates, you were a rising star of one of the country’s best-known hotel chains for fourteen years. You went from entry level to the chains youngest general manager in history, to lead the strategic training and development initiatives. She has a BA from South Texas State and an Honorary Doctorate in Hospitality Management. She holds certifications and a Master Practitioner of NLP, Neuro Linguistics Programming and is a certified mediator and also does a lot of 360-degree assessments. She’s also a Heartmath coach.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I just wanted to welcome Susan to the show and thank her for being with us.
Susan Steinbrecher: Absolutely, thank you.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I just wanted to ask a key question which we love to ask of our guest speakers because for Relly and I, it’s so important to know. Who most influenced you and your life and especially your thinking and roles as a leader?
Susan Steinbrecher: That’s a great question. You know, I think there is probably a number of people that I could name. I would say my Mom for her optimism. She always had that spirit of a glass half-full and whatever you put your mind to you can do. Those were huge lessons for me as a leader to embrace.
My dad, I would say, because he was an entrepreneur, so for his entrepreneurialism. Also that spirit and was a pretty good risk taker. I think the family foundation was definitely there.
Then I would say, I had some huge bosses along the way that taught me valuable lessons. One in particular who said, when I was that young general manager at age 25 I would call and ask permission to do something and all he would say to me is Susan, it’s so much easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Then he would hang up on me. That was startling because I was, like, he may not have heard me. So I would call him back again and he would say the same thing and hang up on me.
What he was really trying to do was to say, hey, we trusted you, we put you in this position, we trust that you can do it. You just need to take the risk and start believing in yourself.
Those kinds of lessons, I would say, really helped shape me as a leader.
Dr. Relly Nadler: Those are great. I can imagine that the first time he said that on the phone.. you were going a, a, a…
Susan Steinbrecher: I was like, I don’t think he heard me right.
Dr. Relly Nadler: That’s a good leadership strategy and tool and that is what we are trying to do on this show is glean from anybody we know that has been successful themselves to find out what are some of the key things.
Tell us a little bit about what you have in the chapter of the book called Straight Talk, and your chapter is called Corporate Consciousness. What is it and why this topic? Give us a little bit of the background about that.
Susan Steinbrecher: I think for me, in terms of why this topic. I guess I have seen more and more examples of business as usual not working so well. I think we have evidence of that all over the place in terms of what has happened to the ethics and integrity, scandals and greed, and all the other stuff going on out there. I really started to think about how business needed to have more of a conscious. When I think about what corporate consciousness is, it’s when a corporation has an actual strategy with implementation practices or execution practices if you will, around really three key things. That is what I call the 3 R’s. That would be:
Having that for not only the people globally, if you will, starting with our own associates and then going to communities and then globally if you will, because we are becoming more global.
And the environment in terms of what types of products or service we are producing and what is the impact on those people as well as on the environment. I think the really key thing here though, is what is most important when I think about corporate consciousness is really the corporations actually having the intention to create a product or service that at least preserves and hopefully even, of course, enrich the lives of people and the environment.
It’s the soul nature of their existence to produce this product or service that has the intention of well-being. That’s what I term corporate consciousness.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: It’s interesting Susan, as you are talking, I’m thinking about the importance of corporate consciousness right now and how many are struggling to be profitable in this challenging economic market. Can you describe for us, perhaps, what some of these areas of focus might be for corporate consciousness?
Susan Steinbrecher: Absolutely. I think you are right though. Some of the struggles really come from people focusing on the bottom-line exclusively, if you will. It’s profit at all costs sometimes. I think that is caught up with it. I think we are seeing the impact on how people are living today. Look at healthcare; just the health of our citizens and terms of consuming products or items that are not the healthiest for them and we are beginning to have the obesity epidemic and everything else with all of that.
I think it really is looking beyond what looks like the immediate goal, which is the profit and looking at the impact we are having on things broader than just that. The truth is those companies that really get the bigger picture are going to be more profitable anyway because the consumer is looking more and more for the company that has values that align with what they feel good about purchasing. They want to purchase from a company that is doing the right thing, if you will, not only for their people but for the environment and then on top of that, the associates, the best talent are wanting to work for companies that represent that type of image. They want to be aligned with a company and be proud to wear that t-shirt with a company logo on them when they walk in the grocery store.
That’s what I think is beginning to happen. You actually earn more profit in the end by looking at the bigger picture.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Well that makes perfect sense because we know that when people do the right thing and they take the high road, somehow the money follows. When we do things that are not in our best interest and not authentically coming from where we want to enrich the communities we serve, we often suffer.
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