Remarkable Leadership with Kevin

Kevin Eikenberry
Chief Potential Officer
The Kevin Eikenberry Group

Kevin Eikenberry is a world renowned leadership expert, a two-time bestselling author, speaker, consultant, trainer, coach, leader, learner, husband and father (not necessarily in that order). He is the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a leadership and learning consulting company that has been helping organizations, teams and individuals reach their potential since 1993. Kevin’s specialties include leadership, teams and teamwork, organizational culture, facilitating change, organizational learning and more. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies, small firms, universities, government agencies, hospitals, and more. His client list includes the American Red Cross, A & W Canada, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company, John Deere, Purdue University, Sears Canada, Shell, Southwest Airlines, the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Mint, Verizon and many more.

Kevin writes two email-based publications: Unleashing Your Remarkable Potential, a weekly publication read by more than 22,000 worldwide, to assist organizations and individuals in turning their potential into desired results; and Leadership Updates, sent several times each week. In addition, his Leadership and Learning Blog has been recognized on several occasions as one of the best leadership blogs in the world.

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I’m taking a different approach this week. When I start teleseminars (like the ones at, I often begin with quotations from others to give greater perspective. I’ve decided to take that approach here on persuasion, following up my last post. I’ll share the quotation and then share the relevance to us as leaders.

I thought today I would give a short answer to a question I get asked regularly. It gets asked in a variety of forms, but it all comes down to something like this … I have a person on my team that won’t budge. They don’t seem to care — about anything — how do I persuade or influence them? Here are some thoughts in the form of an answer to this common question.

They definitely are not. Persuasion is not manipulation. If a connection between those words crosses your mind, it is time to eradicate it — and I’ve got about 300 words in this space to try to make that happen.

Last week, I asked you to walk in the shoes of your Customers for a minute — and closed by asking you four questions with easy answers … but without helping you get to those answers. This week, I will close the loop by helping you lead in a way that creates closer, stronger relationships between your team and your Customers (whether they are internal or external). What we are really talking about is moving from having Customers to creating partnerships. Here are four ways to move in that important (and profitable) direction.

Let’s say you decided to start a business (I know, some of you have, stay with me). There are lots of things to think about — marketing, sales, production, financials and LOTS more. But regardless of what type of business you are in, you can’t do it alone. You will have suppliers — from insurance to … well, everything. And in your business, since you have so many things to do, wouldn’t it be nice if some of those pieces were easier to manage? Most people look to solve that through strategic and effective hiring, which is a great idea. You bring in a rock star marketing team, a top financial mind, etc. to help you grow the business and make your life easier.

This week, I had the incredible opportunity to tour one of the most productive coal mining operations in the United States. The River View Mine outside of Waverly, Ky., is also the largest mine of its type in the U.S. — bringing 62,000 tons of coal and rock out of the mine each day. I had the opportunity to go down 400 feet and see how this operation works. The tour happened because we are in conversation about how we might help this operation continue to improve the skills, confidence and results of their leaders.

So you are a leader and a coach — and you need to give someone some feedback. Most people would focus on getting their facts together and thinking about how they are going to give feedback. That is fine preparation, but it is only half of what you should do, based on what I call the biggest secret when giving feedback.

We as leaders make a big mistake sometimes, and when we fall prey to this mistake it spreads throughout our organization. I’m going to tell you what this mistake is, why it happens and how to fix it, in less than 400 words. Are you ready?

Yes, there are many times when coaching needs to be a formal sit down, with clear expectations, and planning. But effective coaching can also be a clear, quick conversation that is heard, understood and acted on.

The feedback I give you is about something you did. It isn’t about me at all, is it? Not so fast, my friend.