Laurie Sudbrink: An interview by Bob Morris

Sudbrink1-1With a passion for developing accountable and proactive workplaces, Laurie Sudbrink established Unlimited Coaching Solutions, Inc. in 1999. She has been a catalyst for change in the workplace ever since. She brings more than 20 years of corporate experience in human relations, leadership/ management, sales, marketing, and training. She is certified as a New York State trainer, a United States Navy trainer, a DiSC® facilitator, an authorized and accredited partner of Patrick Lencioni’s Five Cohesive Behaviors of a Team, a certified Four Agreements trainer, and founder of GRIT® training programs. She is currently a member of NHRA, ASTD, and former member of SHRM and the Western NY Entrepreneurs Organization.

Laurie’s latest book, Leading with GRIT: Inspiring Action and Accountability with Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth, was published by John Wiley & Sons (March 2015). The material in Leading with GRIT provides a foundation that inspires people to step up, take ownership, create solutions, and make things happen! Through these concepts, more happens with less and workplaces are transformed into productive and enjoyable environments.

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Morris: Before discussing Leading with GRIT, a few general questions. First, who has had the greatest influence on your personal growth? How so?

Sudbrink: It’s impossible to narrow this down to one person, there have been so many who have influenced my personal growth in different areas, at different times, in different ways – some by positive example, some by challenging me, some by negative example. My mother, for sure, was a positive influence on me.

Unfortunately I did not get to be raised by her, but as a young adult I quickly valued the sacrifices and pain she endured in having her children stolen from her (by my father), and how she managed to remain a loving and generous person. It puts all of life in focus – you can’t take it personally, but you don’t have to put up with it or ‘like it’ either!

Don Miguel Ruiz is another person who has influenced my personal growth – through retreats and personal meetings, along with his wonderful books, he has taught me to accept myself and be happy.

Morris: The greatest impact on your professional development? How so?

Sudbrink: Again, so difficult to narrow to one greatest impact, but the one that is earliest in my professional development would be my High School English teacher Mrs. Harvey. She was the first, and only person to tell me not only that I was going to college…but also believe that I would succeed! While my father and stepmother were busy tending to 12 other children, and their own lives, I believe they wanted the best for me but didn’t really consider it much farther. They did the best they could. A college professor, Dr. Thomas Mwanika, also made a big impact on my professional development through his teachings in communications – it was definitely part of what inspired me to do the work I do today.

Morris: Years ago, was there a turning point (if not an epiphany) that set you on the career course you continue to follow? Please explain.

Sudbrink: Yes, years ago one of my college professors, Thomas Mwanika, taught a terrific course called General Semantics. I was so inspired by the power of our words, and thoughts, it shifted the way I thought about things. It had me so intrigued with the impact it has on behavior. This, combined with the book The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard, and a fantastic public speaking course taught at SUNY Cortland that got me over my fear of public speaking – launched me on this path to professional training and development.

Morris: To what extent has your formal education been invaluable to what you have accomplished in life thus far?

Sudbrink: My formal education has been invaluable to what I’ve accomplished in life thus far in many ways. First, it taught me to focus and finish. College taught me a lot about self-discipline and personal accountability. It also started my experience of working within a team (other than that of my siblings!) In addition, the subject matter was invaluable. From principles of management, to child psychology and sociology, and general semantics and other interpersonal communications classes – I discovered the foundation of a lot of what I teach today. Awareness. Don’t make assumptions. Use your language with a helpful intent. Be objective (don’t take things personally). Integrity – walk your talk. Accountability.

Morris: What do you know now about the business world that you wish you knew when you went to work full-time for the first time? Why?

Sudbrink: Politics!!! Knowing how to communicate effectively with different styles; not letting things get to you, but communicating directly; being aware of the politics (not sticking my head in the sand), but instead knowing how to navigate through.

Morris: Of all the films that you have seen, which – in your opinion – best dramatizes important business principles? Please explain.

Sudbrink: I would say probably Karate Kid, great lessons in discipline and perseverance. A few important ones from the film: There is no “try” – you just do. “Try” holds us back; keep your ego in check; put your whole heart/self into what you do.

Morris: From which non-business book have you learned the most valuable lessons about business? Please explain.

Sudbrink: I would have to say The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and Watty Piper’s The Little Engine That Could The first teaches the basic foundation to living a healthy and happy life, empowering you to be your best in business, and the latter teaches about perseverance and will power!

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To read the complete interview, please click here.

Laurie cordially invites you to check out the resources at these websites:

Her website link

Leading with GRIT page at Wiley website

Unlimited Coaching link

Her Amazon page link

Twitter link

Google+ link

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