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What Do You Need To Change To Be More Successful?

WHAT I DO: I help credit union executives, small business owners and entrepreneurs achieve professional growth, career advancement, increased earnings and work-life balancer by providing a customized developmental process based upon their unique needs.

WHO I WORK WITH: I partner with executives, business owners and senior-level managers including:

• Credit Unions
• CPA firms
• Auto Repair
• Publishing
• Hospital CEO’s.
• Chambers of Commerce
• Non-profits

WHY IT WORKS: When you partner with me, you get the most efficient, effective and affordable executive coaching and strategic planning processes that leaders like you are looking for right now.

WHAT MAKES ME DIFFERENT? I have run a business and faced many of the challenges you now face. I was for 29 years a credit union CEO, and prior to that in in consumer finance. I am a Vietnam Vet. My knowledge has been acquired over a long haul. I do not offer cookie-cutter solutions. In fact, I do not even suggest a solution until I understand you, your organization and your needs. No prescriptions without a diagnosis.

HOW IT WORKS: We begin by talking by telephone about your organization, your vision, and what does success look like. I start with a blank page and simply listen. I request 30-minutes initially, and then schedule a follow-up call to share what I feel is the best solution for you.

READY TO TALK? Reach out to me here on LinkedIn, e-mail me at tom@kesgroupllc.com, visit online at www.kesgroupllc.com or call me direct at 941-650-9027.

Courage Isn’t Inherited, It’s Developed

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”  ―  J.K. Rowling ,  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone John Wayne was an actor and an American icon. Many will agree that he was a man’s man and symbolized the courage, integrity and charisma that are hallmarks of what we want to see in our leaders…and in ourselves. When we think of today’s leaders, however, courage isn’t often the term that is top of mind. We accept that persons of leadership have power and authority, but often, unfortunately, these attributes are used for harm more than good. As honor is a part of integrity, so then is courage a part of character. A person with great character, who performs an act of courage, doesn’t take that action with a conscious thought that his or her deeds...
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Become More of Who You Are

Thomas Merton's idea that the best we can do is to be the best version of ourselves—in all our imperfect glory.  Here is one of my favorite quotes by him: "Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself, and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself."   What I like about growing older is that I increasingly do not care what other people think, and I have less need to prove whom I am. I often think about some of the early, limiting influences that shaped my path, when I allowed them to. And what I mean by this is consider the frequently heard sayings in your family. They were well meaning when preached to you, however,...
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Empathy Is Strength

Being a successful leader often requires us to make difficult decisions, and those choices usually affect others. People respect and admire leaders who can make demanding, informed decisions. The opposite is true of leaders who are perceived as out of touch and who rule through intimidation. Can you be a great leader and exhibit empathy for your people? Of course! Can you be a successful leader and not exhibit empathy for people? Yes…but not for long. The question to ask is: Which do YOU want to be? Being sensitive to others, but also willing to assert your own will over others is not being ruthless. Financially successful leaders like Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison and Donald Trump are examples of businesspersons known for not expressing empathy. The fictitious J. R. Ewing of Dallas fame and Monty Burns of The Simpsons are examples of how the media perceives leaders who exhibit a...
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It’s Lonely at the Top, But Not Evil

It is only lonely at the top if you forget all the people you met along the way and fail to acknowledge their contributions to your success. Harvey Mackay It is lonely at the top, and leaders tend to not share their weaknesses with their subordinates, their Board of Directors, or take them home at night. Not only will leaders avoid letting others see their vulnerabilities, but also, they’ll avoid acknowledging them internally. It can be scary to think you may be wrong. Moreover, if it’s not technically broken, right now, you may think, why mess with it? The reason you mess with it is simple. What appears, on the surface, to be working today may not carry you through tomorrow. Denial only works for so long before the complexities, stress and challenges rear their mighty heads and take their toll. Let’s look at an example. Here’s a composite of...
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Goals - Why Am I Here?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins At some point in your life, you have asked yourself this question: Why am I here? We all have. Moreover, it is more than likely you have not yet come to a clear answer. Right? Moreover, we reaffirm our lack of clarity each year when we join millions of people making New Year’s Resolutions, knowing that we, as well as 90% of the rest of the people doing so, will fail...most by February. Unless and until you develop written goals and find your purpose and passion, you are going to continue to fail. If it is a different job you want, for example...write down what you are passionate about. If it is weight-loss, you are after or you want to stop smoking, describe – in writing – the life-threatening consequences of failing to achieve...
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Shared Vision

Starbucks was founded around the experience and the environment of their stores. Starbucks was about a space with comfortable chairs, lots of power outlets, tables and desks at which we could work and the option to spend as much time in their stores as we wanted without any pressure to buy. The coffee was incidental. —  Simon Sinek , Author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant   The Donald stood and delivered a blistering rebuke of the past and outlined his vision for our country. Like him or not, he laid it out for public acceptance or rejection. My guess is, not many of us as a new CEO, on the first day in the position, have the courage to clearly articulate our vision for the organization. Worse yet, many CEO’s never do! To tell all your employees and other stakeholders where you see the business in 5 to 15 years...
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It is Lonely at the Top, But Not Evil

It’s lonely at the top, and leaders tend to not share their weaknesses with their subordinates, their Board of Directors, or take them home at night. Not only will leaders avoid letting others see their vulnerabilities, but also, they’ll avoid acknowledging them internally. It can be scary to think you may be wrong. In addition, if it is not technically broken, right now, you may think, why mess with it? The reason you mess with it is simple. What appears, on the surface, to be working today may not carry you through tomorrow. Denial only works for so long before the complexities, stress and challenges rear their mighty heads and take their toll. Let us look at an example. Here is a composite of a CEO I have met… He came up through the accounting side of the business, before becoming CEO. He doesn’t trust others and experiences high employee...
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Work-Life Balance

Achieving work-life balance is a universal theme with my coaching clients. So much so, that I begin each executive coaching session with an exercise that illustrates to the client just how out of balance they are in their personal and professional lives. Wellness programs at organizations and governmental agencies promote preventative measures and I believe that an employee cannot be productive if they are out of balance at home and work. Goal achievement involves both personal and organizational goal setting. Achieving a balance between home and work is one of the primary motivations that most executives express to me. Many executives are great at directing others, but not so well at self-direction and role awareness. The value of goal setting is that as you become more competent professionally, the organization should get better results. That gives the organization more money to increase compensation, benefits, promotion opportunities, etc. As your personal...
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Purpose-Driven Leadership: The Bridge to What Truly Matters

Far from being touchy-feely concepts touted by motivational speakers, purpose and values have been identified as key drivers of high-performing organizations. In Built to Last, James Collins and Jerry Porras reveal that purpose- and values-driven organizations outperformed the general market and comparison companies by 15:1 and 6:1, respectively. In Corporate Culture and Performance, Harvard professors John Kotter and James Heskett found that firms with shared-values–based cultures enjoyed 400% higher revenues, 700% greater job growth, 1,200% higher stock prices and significantly faster profit performance, as compared to companies in similar industries. In Firms of Endearment , marketing professor Rajendra Sisodia and his coauthors explain how companies that put employees’ and customers’ needs ahead of shareholders’ desires outperform conventional competitors in stock-market performance by 8:1. Leaders who have a clearly articulated purpose and are driven to make a difference can inspire people to overcome insurmountable odds, writes Roy M. Spence Jr. in...
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The Crucibles of Leadership

Your ability to obtain wisdom from challenging experiences distinguishes you and all successful leaders from their broken or burned-out peers. Difficult and career- or life-threatening events are called leadership crucibles . They are trials and tests, or points of deep self-reflection that force you to question who you are and what really matters. After interviewing more than 200 top business and public-sector leaders, authors Warren G. Bennis and Robert J. Thomas were surprised to find that all could point to intense, often traumatic, always unplanned experiences that transformed their distinctive leadership abilities. Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Al Gore and Barack Obama have all been willing to talk about their contributions to national failures. As leaders, they thrived because they learned from their mistakes, which inspired confidence, loyalty and commitment even in adverse times. In Search of Leadership Gold To a scientist, a crucible is a vessel in...
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How to Voice Your Values

      It can be extremely difficult to express your personal values at work, especially when confronted with questions of right vs. wrong. Issues become thornier when you are facing a choice between degrees of right vs. right. While research reveals universal values across cultures, not everyone agrees on what makes a worthy business decision: Honest Respectful Responsible Fair Compassionate Most of us want to bring our whole selves to work: our skills, ambitions and deeply held beliefs. We will inevitably encounter values conflicts during our careers, particularly when our goals and ideals clash with clients’, peers’, bosses’ and organizational expectations. We have witnessed egregious managerial and financial misconduct during the first two decades of the 21st century. Employees at all levels assuredly observed ethical lapses, but found it hard to speak up and stop the foreseeable train wrecks. We can list plenty of examples, but none more outrageous...
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Are You Living Integrity?

How can you tell whether you are living with integrity? The challenges have never been greater for leaders in today’s business environments to know who they are and to make sure their behaviors are consistent with their own definition and perceptions of themselves. Successful leaders, at least all those I’ve met in my career, live their personal and professional lives in harmony with high standards, non-negotiable values and a purpose. These amazing men and women do not waiver from their paths. Diversions, as tempting as they may be, do not distract them. Moreover, they do not compromise their values to achieve elusive rewards. People respect, trust and willingly stick by leaders with integrity. And they know and see every day that these leaders live their whole lives on purpose. They’re not living one set of values in certain settings and then throwing those to the curb if it appears doing...
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Integrity and Ethics

Over the course of my career of more than 40 years, 29 of those in the credit union industry, I cannot recall any speaker or any of my peers debating the differences between integrity and ethics. It may have been that we were all afraid of opening Pandora’s Box or perhaps, it hit too close to home. I was no angel. With the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, neither were many of my peers, especially in the regulatory agencies. Integrity is defined as adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. Ethics are the moral principles by which an individual determines his or her actions. Seems like semantics, doesn’t it? In practice, if you possess a clearly defined set of personal values, or “core personal beliefs”, which are non-negotiable, that serve as guides to your choices and actions, you’re operating with integrity, based on the ethics you hold...
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Reasons You Miss the Mark to Achieve Your Potential

No matter how hard we try to be self-aware, everyone—including the best leaders—has unproductive behaviors that are invisible to us but glaring to everyone else. A blind spot is a performance-hindering mindset or behavior of which you’re unaware or have chosen to overlook. A recent Business Week article cites some important research: A Hay Group study shows that an organization’s senior leaders are more likely to overrate themselves and develop blind spots that can hinder their effectiveness. A study by Development Dimensions International, Inc., found that 89 percent of front-line leaders have at least one skills-related blind spot. The Hay research suggests that, as executives rise within an organization, the less likely they are to see themselves as others perceive them. They often lose touch with those they lead—not surprising, given their increased isolation and the executive suite’s “rarified” atmosphere. As they reach the pinnacle of their profession, they have...
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Is Your Organization United or Untied?

General George S. Patton said, “Leaders instill in their people a hope for success and a belief in themselves". Positive leaders empower people to accomplish their goals”. During one of the worst periods in the history of our world, with chaos and carnage on virtually every continent, do you believe for an instant that Gen. Patton ever thought he would not be successful? Absolutely not. Leaders know that being united in battle, or the boardroom, is essential to managing a battalion or an organization. The men and women in our armed forces share a common mission and are united in a shared set of values. They fight to protect the people beside them. If unity is not paramount, they cannot accomplish their mission. Whether it’s “leave no man behind”, “This we’ll Defend” or "Called to Duty, Boots on the Ground", members of our military are united by closely held beliefs....
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Indigenous Culture

  “We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you are willing to hire and fire based on them. If you’re willing to do that, then you’re well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos     Let us go deeper into this conversation about company culture… When you observe an organization’s culture and their employees’ behavior, I would guess that the word indigenous is not at the top of your mind. My pastor used that word in a message one Sunday and it gave me pause that it is applicable to organizational structures and cultures. For example, I served as a credit union executive for almost thirty years. I witnessed behaviors, good and bad, in the people...
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Creating a Company Culture

“Presenting leadership as a list of carefully defined qualities (like strategic, analytical, and performance-oriented) no longer holds. Instead, true leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed. ... Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” ―  Sheryl Sandberg , COO of Facebook and Founder of Leanin.org Thanks to our upbringing, we all carry a lot of baggage, those self-limiting beliefs that will absolutely stop us, or, at the least, hold us back from achieving success. In addition, that baggage presents itself in our workplaces. The inability of leaders to develop an understanding of the negativity and fear-based responses which fill our organizational cultures, their impact on our ability to upshift away from it and management’s role in creating and proliferating it can cost an organization its most valuable employees and its reputation. A negative culture increases turnover, prevents the accumulation of loyal, satisfied customers and hits the...
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Definition of Success

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what? Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” ~ Mark Victor Hansen, Founder and Creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series Success is something all of us want to increase. However, most people believe that it is difficult to achieve. They are wrong, however, because it is not difficult! Moreover, here is the kicker…there is a significant portion of them that actually want and need success to be hard. Why? When things do not go their way, they have a built-in excuse. Pretty sad, isn’t it? For those of you not on that sinking ship, and who are serious about having more, doing...
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How to Let Go of Bad Leadership?

Leaders everywhere are in disgrace. Hardly a day goes by without news of corporate ethical violations, financial fudging and CEO failures. Yet, compensation packages and bonuses continue unabated, even when disgraced leaders are sent packing. Credit union CEOs are compensated, some well, but nothing like their banker counterparts or corporate America. It is worth stating that credit union CEOs also don’t end up in the news for unethical behaviors or fiduciary malfeasance either or it is rare. I was a credit union CEO for almost 29 years and not until the great recession did I witness first-hand an unprecedented number of ethical miss-steps from other CEOs and most disturbingly, the federal and state examiners. Harvard Business School Professor Barbara Kellerman criticizes the leadership-development industry in her new book, The End of Leadership (Harper Business, April 2012). She states: Leaders at every level, across all industries, are failing the people who...
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Reasons You Miss the Mark to Achieve Your Potential

No matter how hard we try to be self-aware, everyone—including the best leaders—has unproductive behaviors that are invisible to us but glaring to everyone else. A blind spot is a performance-hindering mindset or behavior of which you’re unaware or have chosen to overlook. A recent Business Week article cites some important research: A Hay Group study shows that an organization’s senior leaders are more likely to overrate themselves and develop blind spots that can hinder their effectiveness. A study by Development Dimensions International, Inc., found that 89 percent of front-line leaders have at least one skills-related blind spot. The Hay research suggests that, as executives rise within an organization, the less likely they are to see themselves as others perceive them. They often lose touch with those they lead—not surprising, given their increased isolation and the executive suite’s “rarified” atmosphere. As they reach the pinnacle of their profession, they have...
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Testimonial

“As a Senior Executive in the Credit Union industry - I have personally experienced along with my staff - what Tom brings to the table as a Coach. Tom is uniquely qualified from his experiences as CEO and President of a Credit Union and brings not only that experience but has a special way of identifying unique qualities that we all have but sometimes have not fully realized and utilized in the work place and in our personal lives. Tom delivers in such a way that exhibits high integrity and a genuine concern for his clients -- I strongly recommend Tom for your organization if you are looking for ways to inspire and motivate your staff to reach to the next level.”…Tim Smith

Contact Details

941.650.9027

KES Group LLC
P.O. Box 2025
Clayton, GA 30525

tom@kesgroupllc.com