Mike Robbins, Author, "Be Yourself Everyone Else is Already Taken"

Date: Friday, November 18, 2016
Location: San Ramon

Mike Robbins used to play professional ball for the Kansas City Royals. Now, he coaches business professionals and gives high-impact talks, as he did to the Alliance of Chief Executives on Friday, November 18th at the San Ramon Valley Conference Center. Mike is quick to point out that sports and business are very much the same. To be successful in either endeavor requires an intangible mojo, a je ne sais quoi that, while difficult to obtain, is very apparent when present. In sports, we call it chemistry. In business, it is culture.

Mike emphasized that building good corporate culture begins with the expectation and embodiment of authenticity by all team members. This means being honest, vulnerable and free of the pre-emptively reactive mindset that often pervades business dealings. Why is authenticity so critical? For starters, it requires a self-awareness that encourages open-mindedness, as well as a social awareness that nurtures strong relationships. Authenticity leads to high levels of trust and respect in the workplace, a solid bedrock on which all-star teams can thrive and succeed.

What is it, though, that keeps us from being authentic? Mike suggested that certain social norms can steer us away from authenticity. For example, when asked “How are you?” the automatic answer is usually “Good, thanks. And you?” What if we were to use this daily opportunity to communicate something more substantive to our actual experience? That conversation could evolve from banality to a meaningful moment of real connection between two individuals. Beyond social norms, Mike also identified lack of understanding, fear of admitting mistakes and avoidance of difficult conversations as other contributors to inauthenticity. He underscored the reality that the path of authenticity is often not the easiest one to walk. Yet, the long-term payoff is certainly worth it.

In one sense, Mike’s presentation was a benevolent challenge for the assembled Alliance leaders to boost their honesty and that of their employees. The result, he emphasized, was better conversation and teamwork thanks to increased authenticity and reduced self-righteousness. People want to be seen and heard; authentic interactions, even in small doses, scratch that itch with great efficacy. Real recognition of others and their contributions lead to a sense of appreciation that motivates teams and lays the groundwork for lasting success.

Mike has inspired thousands of people to reach new levels of awareness and success, both personally and professionally. Prior to his speaking and coaching career, Mike played baseball at Stanford University and was subsequently drafted by the Kansas City Royals. Arm injuries ended his playing days and launched Mike into a career as expert in teamwork, communication, and the power of appreciation. In this role, he empowers people and organizations to work together effectively and be more successful. For a deeper dive into Mike’s work, consider reading his three books, Focus on the Good Stuff, Be Yourself Everyone Else is Already Taken, and the latest, Nothing Changes Until You Do.

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