Jeremie Kubicek: An interview by Bob Morris


KubicekJeremie Kubicek is the co­founder of GiANT Worldwide, a global company dedicated to leadership transformation through intentional apprenticeship. He is also a speaker, best­selling author and pioneering entrepreneur, and he is best known for his enthusiastic, impactful encouragement to leaders around the world. He is responsible for the creation of the global leadership simulcast event, Leadercast, as well as the national growth of the next generation leadership event, Catalyst. He has led national leadership campaigns for John Maxwell and Dr. Henry Cloud, as well as launched culture ­changing programs within Ford Motor Company. Kubicek’s previous book is the Wall Street Journal and Inc. Magazine bestseller, Making Your Leadership Come Alive: 7 Actions to Increase Your Influence.

He and his family have made it a priority to be intentional in the way they live and lead, and in his current venture at GiANT Worldwide, he and his business partner Steve Cockram have, to date, apprenticed over 50 associates to serve clients throughout Europe and the United States. Their mission is to develop liberating leaders who will change their leadership cultures in every sector and city in the world. He lives in Oklahoma City, OK, with his wife and three teenagers, Addison, Will and Kate.

Jeremie and Steve Cockram are the co-authors of 5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There Is Never Enough Time, published by John Wiley & Sons (September 2015).

Here is an excerpt from my interview of Jeremie.

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Jeremie Kubicek is the co­founder of GiANT Worldwide, a global company dedicated to leadership transformation through intentional apprenticeship. He is also a speaker, best­selling author and pioneering entrepreneur, and he is best known for his enthusiastic, impactful encouragement to leaders around the world. He is responsible for the creation of the global leadership simulcast event, Leadercast, as well as the national growth of the next generation leadership event, Catalyst. He has led national leadership campaigns for John Maxwell and Dr. Henry Cloud, as well as launched culture ­changing programs within Ford Motor Company. Kubicek’s previous book is the Wall Street Journal and Inc. Magazine bestseller, Making Your Leadership Come Alive: 7 Actions to Increase Your Influence.

He and his family have made it a priority to be intentional in the way they live and lead, and in his current venture at GiANT Worldwide, he and his business partner Steve Cockram have, to date, apprenticed over 50 associates to serve clients throughout Europe and the United States. Their mission is to develop liberating leaders who will change their leadership cultures in every sector and city in the world. He lives in Oklahoma City, OK, with his wife and three teenagers, Addison, Will and Kate.

Jeremie and Steve Cockram are the co-authors of 5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There Is Never Enough Time, published by John Wiley & Sons (September 2015).

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Morris: Before discussing 5 Gears, a few general questions. First, who has had the greatest influence on your personal growth? How so?

Kubicek: My father has had the most influence in my life with his wisdom, common sense and work ethic. He is my best friend as well as biggest encourager. He is a great man.

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.

Kubicek: My wife and I were hit by a drunk driver, in a hurricane, in Mexico in 2002. We were 30. It profoundly changed the way I look at life as I realize life is more about pride vs. humility rather than good vs. evil.

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

Kubicek: I luckily had amazing teachers in my formal education that trained me how to learn informally. Two particular instructors literally changed the way I think and communicate because of this.

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?

Kubicek: That emotional intelligence is equally as important as IQ. Knowledge is important, but wisdom through social competence is vital.

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

Kubicek: We Were Soldiers is the best leadership movie in my opinion. There is a direct correlation to business principles. Business is a combination of strategy, people/leadership and capital. Leadership makes that all happen, or not.

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

Kubicek: Peter Drucker has always been a favorite, but I really value Leadership and Self-Deception as a little book that packs a big punch.

Morris: Here are several of my favorite quotations to which I ask you to respond. First, from Lao-tse’s Tao Te Ching:

“Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves.”

Kubicek: Secure, confident and humble leaders are those that people want to follow. Resistant, pride-filled leaders don’t allow others to win, which is a huge issue in the marketplace and or government.

Morris: From Michael Porter: “The essence of strategy is choosing what [begin italics] not [end italics] to do.”

Kubicek: Leaders who are obsessed with tasks have a hard time doing this. Leaders must learn how to be in the right gear at the right time in order to say no to the right things.

Morris: From Richard Dawkins: “Yesterday’s dangerous idea is today’s orthodoxy and tomorrow’s cliché.”

Kubicek: I agree if you are a future minded person. 73% of the population are present oriented and this has no effect on the way they think, in my opinion.

Morris: From Isaac Asimov: “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but ‘That’s odd….’”

Kubicek: Humans long to discover, to find what doesn’t exist in full form yet. Some of those people do it out of insecurity, some greed, but the best people are those who do it for the joy of discovery and or the benefit of others.

Morris: From Thomas Edison: “Vision without execution is hallucination.”

Kubicek: The balance between being present and productive is vitally important. Being and doing go together like heads and tails on a coin.

Morris: Finally, from Peter Drucker: “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.”

Kubicek: There pressure of many people to show that they can work hard is like the proverbial gerbil on a wheel, it never stops.

Morris: In one of Tom Davenport’s recent books, Judgment Calls, he and co-author Brooke Manville offer “an antidote for the Great Man theory of decision making and organizational performance”: organizational judgment. That is, “the collective capacity to make good calls and wise moves when the need for them exceeds the scope of any single leader’s direct control.” What do you think?

Kubicek: I think of being intentional versus accidental here. Intentional leaders are proactive, they look ahead to make decisions that affect the majority for the best interest of all. The accidental leader is reactive. Because they tend to be focused on themselves more than being for others they react with less success because their decisions are late or poor.

Morris: The greatest leaders throughout history (with rare exception) were great storytellers. What do you make of that?

Kubicek: People are generally task dominated, they have ADD and are know-it-alls. Stories stop people in their tracks as cause them to remember the key point. We use visual tools with common language at GiANT to tell a story that changes leader’s perspective and causes behavior change. I wholeheartedly agree.

Morris: Most change initiatives either fail or fall far short of original (perhaps unrealistic) expectations. More often than not, resistance is cultural in nature, the result of what James O’Toole so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.”

Here’s my question: How best to avoid or overcome such resistance?

Kubicek: Resistance generally comes from insecure people who are being told what to do from people that they either don’t admire or are hypocrites in their direction. The only way to change a person is for that person to look at a mirror, see the broccoli in their teeth and make the right next step.

Morris: Looking ahead (let’s say) 3-5 years, what do you think will be the greatest challenge that CEOs will face? Any advice?

Kubicek: The biggest issue to most public CEO’s will be in the external threats of cyberwarfare, micro-aggressions and “crybullies.” The best CEO’s will need to be able to handle external communications effectively, while keeping their eye on continued growth. The external threats are greater in the next 5 years than any time in our history.

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To check out the complete interview, please click here.

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

GiANT Worldwide link

Jeremie’ website link

Twitter link

5 Gears link

“Overcoming Self Preservation” YouTube video link

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