In the last ten years, Max has made nearly one thousand presentations in locations all around the world. He’s taken clients rappelling off the Great Wall of China, facilitated at the Parliament of World Religions Conference in Spain, and spoken in hundreds of cities including Athens, Bangalore, Hong Kong, Paris, New York, and Sydney . . . Nebraska.
With his experience in leadership training, speaking, and facilitating around the world, Max brings a global perspective to the challenge of motivating people. Audiences at companies such as American Express, GE, HSBC, and Jones Apparel have raved about his interactive, engaging style. As a result, he travels 200,000 miles per year to deliver presentations to clients around the globe!
Max laces his presentations with stories and examples that inspire people to act. He is consistently given high ratings including an “all-star” recommended speaker designation from the International Association of Business Communicators. Max has a certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in Organizational Learning from George Mason University, and he is a member of the National Speaker’s Association.
He and his wife, Sally, live in Salt Lake City, Utah and they are the proud parents of two amazing kids. Previous adventures include living five years in Shanghai, China.
Read his blog at http://rideau.com, listen to the weekly RealRecognitionRadio.com radio programs and meet him on Twitter @SMaxBrown.
“We always try to schedule a good speaker for the last session so people don’t leave early. I’ve been running conferences for several years and cannot recall a speaker who received so many “Outstanding,” “Excellent,” and “Great” comments.”
Bill Passolt, Executive Director PIAA
CEO Fortress Insurance Company
“Your presentation to American Express was informative, inspiring and presented in an extremely persuasive and charismatic manner!” Dean Vocaturo, Vice President American Express
Jacob Raymer, Conference Director
The Shingo Prize
“Max is wonderful and so empowering. Everyone was blown away with this message. He definitely made a difference. I could see it in everyone’s reaction and in their feedback. All I can say is wow!!!!”
Balfour Beatty Construction
“When Max speaks you feel as though you are the only one in the room; that he is speaking directly to you; and that his message was meant for you. Our employees are still talking about Max and it is a month after his visit. Max’s unpretentious, approachable style worked for FCCI. It’s interesting, but 600 people feel that Max is their new best friend.”
Lisa Krouse, VP HR
FCCI Insurance Group
Feedback summary from GE: “Max is tremendous! Do a larger meeting with him” “5+ Amazing” “You had a profound impact on the group in an amazingly short period of time.” Anne deBruin Sample, SVP HR PepsiAmericasAAnn
“Max is a dynamic speaker who has the ability to engage the audience and send them home smiling. I have no hesitation in recommending Max as a first class motivational speaker.” Iris Neumann, CEO The Capital Care Group
"Your excellent audience evaluations qualify you as an IABC all-star speaker with the “IABC recommended speaker” designation." Stacey Thornberry
Intl Assoc Business Communicators
“Thanks Max, you received rave reviews and I am so pleased. Jack also tells me you are able to attend the Eastern Regional Conference which is terrific. We will be in touch with more!”
Cynthia Smith, VP
The Nature Conservancy
“Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the conference and you were rated as one of the top speakers!! We greatly appreciate your presence and your message. You certainly helped make our conference a success!!!”
Denise Ohara, Director
“I enjoyed your presentation yesterday. It definitely stimulated a lot of discussion which is what I was hoping for.”
John C. Landgraf, President
Abbott Global Pharmaceutical Ops
“Thank you for fitting us into your very busy schedule. Your message and delivery was especially powerful as our attendees are keenly aware of the people to productivity links that your message made so clear!”
Bob Miller, Executive Director
The Shingo Prize
“We rely on Max to provide a presentation that resonates with educators each year at the Florida Department of Education’s Leadership Academy. Max always delivers. His message is conveyed with wit, sincerity and a deep conviction that inspires and motivates even the most skeptical administrator. His presentations are wonderfully interactive, perfectly paced and always memorable. His evaluations are consistently exceptional. In a nutshell, Max is an amazing presenter.”
Mary Ellen Bafumo, Ph.D.
Council for Educational Change
The USA Today reported that the most influential word used in 2012 was “apocalypse”. Other doomsday words like “fiscal cliff,” “rogue nukes,” and “global warming,” were also top words and phrases according to the Global Language Monitor. Is it any wonder why people feel frayed, tired, and leery?
Which words did you use most last year? Which words were most popular in your company culture? Which words did you rely on the most as a leader?
We would be wise to be more mindful of the words we use. Indeed, even the often used “we” instead of “me” can be readily abused. Because we’ve all heard people who may say “we,” but really mean “ME.” Such language not only erodes credibility, but it also destroys trust and weakens morale.
If you find yourself raising your voice and repeating yourself often in order to get things done, perhaps it is time to ask how the words you are using could be part of the problem. Are you unconsciously destroying your effectiveness with negative words? How would things be better if you chose differently?
Which words will you choose to use most this year? Which words will you make popular in your company culture? Which words will you rely on the most as a leader this year?
Indeed, we would be wise to be more mindful of the words we use.
As the celebrations and parties come to an end, don’t let complacency take over in the office. While it may seem like you can rely on the recognition and awards you just handed out last month, now you have to back it up. Instead of viewing this as a chore, consider it an opportunity to build credibility. NOTE: Credibility is born from consistency.
How? Here are three ways:
1.Be consistent in your praise. Don’t allow the holiday parties to be the only positive feedback people receive. Indeed, many are watching to see if the sentiments shared at the party were really sincere. The best way to prove it is in the words you share now. What you celebrate and appreciate is important to the team (and far more influential than the lectures and yelling). Help people feel positive about the direction you are headed in with consistent and positive feedback.
2.Be consistent in your gratitude. Driving towards new goals with an abundance of gratitude enables you to take on the challenges and roadblocks ahead. Gratitude provides a broader perspective and an ability to be calm, patient and understanding. Not only does this enable one to create better relationships, but it also enables similar feelings to spread to others.
3.Be consistent in your humility. Great leaders are confident enough to be humble. Surround yourself with great people and give credit for a job well done. While it may seem easier said than done, remember to go back to rule #2 when this is getting tough. When you generate an abundance of gratitude, you are able to appreciate others and be perfectly content shining a light on them instead of yourself.
Bottom line: Want credibility? Be more consistent in praise, gratitude and humility.
“Daddy, put your phone away,” begged my daughter. While I had promised to go out and play with her, I found myself pulled away by e-mail that was consuming our time together and she was understandably frustrated with the delay. “Daddy, put it away so we can play,” she pleaded after patiently waiting for several minutes.
“Humility isn't timid or weak.
It is confidence, wisdom, and grace combined with
an acknowledgment that we are all imperfect.”
“Daddy, please put it away,” she asked for the third time as she positioned herself right in front of me. I finally relented and she promptly thanked me for listening. Once again, I had let my own inflated sense of self-importance rise above the needs of my family and my promise to be present. While we had a great afternoon playing together, I quietly pondered what would have happened if my daughter hadn’t been so persistent. How many times have I let my ego take over and disappointed someone that wasn’t as persistent as my daughter was that day?
Nothing derails a leader, a business initiative, a relationship, or even a noble cause faster than ego. Yet we often go to work without a thought for how much ego actually costs. Often rewarding those that seem overly confident, we never stop long enough to calculate the liability or opportunities lost due to arrogance. Worse yet, we often suffer from blind spots that subtlety trick us into believing that ego is someone else’s problem. Imagine how much more productive we could be with a little humility.
Humility is one of the most critical, yet overlooked and misunderstood, virtues of great leadership. Despite decades of research to support the importance of it, many still discount the need to embrace it. Perhaps it is because humility has suffered from a perception problem – viewed as a weakness or a vulnerability that can be trampled on by others. The only problem with this perspective is that it is wrong. Humility isn't timid or weak. It is confidence, wisdom, and grace combined with an acknowledgment that we are all imperfect.
“As a trait, humility is the point of equilibrium between too much ego and not enough. Humility provides the crucial balance between the two extremes,” declares David Marcum & Steven Smith in their book titled, “Egonomics.” Indeed, humility is the ability to be happy with who we are, and the realization that we’re still incomplete.
Humility is the ability to recognize that we are better together. As we become more aware of those around us, our own needs actually begin to overlap with others in a united effort towards mutual success. Instead of viewing the time spent playing with my daughter as a chore, I realigned my own definition of success to remember that family relationships are a critical source of happiness in my own life. I’m grateful for a daughter that persistently and patiently reminded me of this priority.
Imagine how much more productive we could be with a little humility.
This past weekend, I had all kinds of things to accomplish before I flew out again for another week of presentations. Everything was going according to plan until I realized my two-year-old son wasn’t feeling well. Indeed, all he wanted to do was sit in my lap.
Have you ever had one of those days when things didn’t go as planned? If so, how did you respond? For me, I find that I respond better to this question when I ask this question first: “How do I define success?”
Since having kids, it has taken me a while to learn that my agenda is no longer my own (I’m a slow learner). Fortunately, many years ago, my wife and I decided that our relationship, and the relationship that we have with our kids, is a priority that cannot be compromised. In fact, our family relationships are a big part of our definition of success.
This isn’t easy considering my hectic travel schedule. Needless to say, when I’m home, I’m working to be more present with my family. I would love to say that I have it all figured out, but I am still a work in progress. So, how did all of this translate in my actions this past weekend?
Gratefully, I realized that my son, and my family, needed me more than my “to do” list. More importantly, I needed them more than my “to do” list as well. We cooked comfort food and spent a lot of time just reading books, driving, playing games, watching movies, and sleeping. When the weekend was over, I still had a long list of projects left incomplete (including this blog), but I actually drew closer to our family definition of success.
Indeed, the hours spent holding my son reminded me of what life is all about.
Have you ever had one of those days when things didn’t go as planned? If so, how did you respond?
Is it time to revisit the question and ask: How do I define success?
Is it possible that if you left some things incomplete you could actually be closer to your own definition of success?
If you haven’t read the Harvard Business Review this month, you should. Why? Here are just three of the articles highlighting research that will rock, push, disturb, and ultimately change the way we do business:
“How Women End Up On the “Glass Cliff,” by Susanne Bruckmüller and Nyla R. Branscombe. They report that people prefer leaders with stereotypically male strengths, when a company is running well. However, “when a company is in crisis, they think stereotypically female skills are needed to turn things around.”
“Finding Hard Ways to Measure ‘Soft’ Leadership,” led by Herminia Ibarra. Professor Ibarra is analyzing her list of “The Best-Performing CEOs in the World” and checking to see if there is a common thread in how these leaders approach leadership. She asks, “Can we provide hard evidence of the benefits of ‘soft’ leadership?
Why is this important?
Because “distributed leadership, empowerment, and knowledge networks are still viewed as indulgent.” If they can identify the common “soft” traits of the most successful leaders, they “may be able to predict which leaders will add the most value” to their organizations in the future.
“Creating Shared Value,” by Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer. “Not all profit is equal. Profits involving a social purpose represent a higher form of capitalism, one that creates a positive cycle of company and community prosperity.” Creating Shared Value (CSV) is different than Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in that it creates both economic and societal value. While CSR focused on reputation with little link back to the company, CSV combines company and community interests. This is “capitalism unleashed” to create the next wave of growth.
Why does any of this matter? Because organizations that want to compete in the future will adopt new ways of doing business. Instead of answers though, I have questions. Questions that I hope will stir some reflection and some dialogue regarding our current state of affairs, and where we are headed. I don’t ask merely to be provocative, but to start a conversation that will hopefully provide some clarity into this new way of being (and leading):
Are we hearing more about women in leadership due to the financial crisis (based on the first article sited)? How have we limited and destroyed value because of our reliance on dominant male strengths? Would the financial crisis have happened at all if we had more female leaders?
Decades of leadership theory have suggested that we are better when we learn how to become more “emotionally intelligent,” but the ability to implement “softer” skills in the workplace have often been perceived as a career ender for those that want to climb the ladder. Is it possible that this resurgence in softer skills training has also come as a result of the financial crisis?
Why do we tend to punish men when they demonstrate “soft” leadership? Do we shame men that show compassion? Why is it considered a weakness to be vulnerable and transparent when we know that trust is built on these “softer” skills?
Likewise, how do we demonize strong women? Do women feel compelled to “man-up” in order to compete? Does “manning-up” wipe out the strengths women naturally bring to the table? Do we take some pleasure criticizing those that seem to “stray” from the societal definitions of normal? What impact do we have on future leaders that don’t feel like conforming to the status quo of gender stereotypes?
What do great companies do to sustain their growth year after year? How do they treat their employees? How do they view their role in society? How does CSV change the way we all do business?
How do you get senior leader buy-in for your wellness initiatives?
On the next episode of Real Recognition Radio, Diane Wiesenthal, the Vice President, People and Organizational Services for the Canadian Wheat Board will give our listeners the answer.
Once you have buy-in what is the most important step that leaders must make to move forward with wellness initiatives?
The Canadian Wheat Board has been designated as a ‘Top 25 Employer’ in Manitoba in 2008, 2010 and 2011, and as a member of the corporations’ executive team, Diane has led the human resource function of the CWB to be consistently recognized as a strategic and innovative leader in its HR programs.
Don’t miss the next Real Recognition Radio program to find what is beyond workplace wellness.
MOJO is purposeful, powerful and positive. So how do you acquire MOJO and what do you have to do to keep it?
On the next episode of Real Recognition Radio Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, bestselling author of MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It, willshare the four keys for developing and keeping MOJO.
Dr. Marshall Goldsmith is the million-selling author or editor of 31 books, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. Recently a global study sponsored by The London Times and Forbes, recognized Dr. Goldsmith as one of the fifteen most influential business thinkers in the world. His books have been translated into 28 languages and become bestsellers in eight countries.
Dr. Goldsmith teaches executive education at Dartmouth’s Tuck School and frequently speaks at leading business schools. He served on the Board of the Peter Drucker Foundation for ten years. He has received numerous professional acknowledgments from organizations including the Institute for Management Studies, the American Management Association, BusinessWeek, the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Forbes, the National Academy of Human Resources and many more. His work has been recognized by almost every professional organization in his field.
Don’t miss the next Real Recognition Radio program to learn how to get your MOJO working for you.