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Personal behaviors drive our personal outcomes” with Stephynie Malik and Fotis Georgiadis

I have always believed that your personal behaviors drive your personal outcomes. In addition to focusing on the behaviors we just discussed, I would say that one-on-one time with each member of your talent is invaluable. Always be prepared and always have a set agenda for these sessions to maximize their effectiveness. Focusing on the […]

I have always believed that your personal behaviors drive your personal outcomes. In addition to focusing on the behaviors we just discussed, I would say that one-on-one time with each member of your talent is invaluable. Always be prepared and always have a set agenda for these sessions to maximize their effectiveness. Focusing on the purpose and clearly communicating why it’s the focus is how you get on the same page with your team, individually and collectively. Arrogance, ego, and relying solely on the authority derived from your position may serve a purpose to some but it’s incredibly destructive when it comes building your brand as a leader. One area we have had amazing success in is creating an assessment about YOU and make it anonymous. We build it and have another company perform it. This begins a foundation of truth for your entire team. You can then summarize the feedback assessments and begin to make changes in your leadership style while addressing concerns your team may have in the next offsite or team meeting. They will feel heard and validated, most importantly, they will feel safe. YOU created that environment and trust will ensue. A culture based on the shared values of trust, mutual respect, and continuous improvement will truly make your team indestructible.


As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephynie Malik. In Stephynie’s 25+ year career, she has gone from one of the youngest Directors in the Silicon Valley, to an award-winning CEO of her own software consulting firm, to Executive and Transformational Coach. In her years of experience she has developed proven methodologies and success strategies, been involved in 11 startups worldwide and spearheaded multi-million dollar acquisitions. Her results-driven approach has helped executives and entrepreneurs alike achieve new levels of growth and connection in not only their business, but also their lives. Stephynie is also a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and focuses on sharing her expertise with others looking to gain insight into the world of business.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you so much for asking me! The move from “Consultant to Coach” was simply a natural step within my professional evolution. I left the corporate world to start MalikCo in 2002 because I was confident I had the business skills and acumen to excel. I knew that a true customer centric approach in the consulting industry was sorely needed at that time. I am also passionate about helping high performers excel, to help them see and become the most amazing version of themselves. This attitude is in response to the turbulence I encountered in my childhood and validated by the actions of those who helped, coached, encouraged, or mentored me along the way. My 17 years of experience as Founder and CEO of MalikCo give me the leadership and operational experience that my clients demand, and people skills needed to help them change their personal and professional behaviors to achieve better results that were actually measurable. It’s what the they expect and what I deliver.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

Ha, I’m not sure how interesting it is, but it is surely a topic of discussion in so many of my initial entrepreneur sessions. My exit plan was a simple one, leave MalikCo as CEO, remain as Chairman and show up and serve my relationships that I had established and fostered through MalikCo to start SMAIK Enterprises. My intent was to leverage the built-in engagements and a ready and willing clientele base I had worked so hard to establish, grow and nurture to start my new services company. Then one day I received a non-compete that changed everything. They say disruption can be a marvelous thing and I can say from experience it makes you think more, hustle more, and learn more in a relatively short period of time. The jury is still out on it being a marvelous thing but it’s undoubtedly a challenging call to action that tests your knowledge, stamina, skills as well as your ability to pivot gracefully.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Online business is a new ballgame! There was that one time I lost 25 thousand dollars in 8 seconds. Does that qualify? Long story short, https://medium.com/@stephyniemalik/the-day-i-lost-25-000-in-8-minutes-dfee35ff01da.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I have learned that the best business and personal solutions are a result of always doing the right thing, for the right reasons and always doing it the right way. Doing the right thing is developing an approach or strategy to solution a problem. Doing it the right way is all about execution. My ability to create a customized solution is all about leveraging my expertise. Knowledge + Experience = Expertise and it’s a huge differentiator. I love the Brian Tracy quote “Every experience in your life is orchestrated to teach you something you need to know to move forward”. I have worked and led at all levels, in many countries, companies, and in many industries. I’m not a PhD or a PsyD. Everything in my toolbox is based on real life, in depth, and vast experience. I have carried a bag, cold called, had quotas to meet, managed frontline and global teams, and had deals go badly. I have “been there and done that” in several places, in many industries, and have partnered with people and companies maximize their personal and professional results. I agree 1000 percent with Mr. Tracy’s observation.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are, thank you for asking. My team and I have been working on several online courses that will begin a step series for different aspects of leadership. The barriers people face in continuing their personal and professional education are many and we are eliminating some of them as we design and grow our development portfolio. We are working on these specific online courses for millennials and mid-level leaders who want more in their lives and careers but may lack the flexibility in their schedules and budgets to attend a training class or coaching session.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

One of the most significant challenges facing companies today is employee disengagement and the costs in terms of financial resources and brand reputation are incalculable! You wouldn’t believe how many of my meetings with Executives start out with almost a plea for help in this category. My advice is always to build and sustain a team culture based on trust, mutual respect, and continuous improvement. Credibility is every leader’s greatest capital and people judge you on what you do not what you say. Build personal partnerships with each team member. Listen fiercely and empathetically. Seek feedback aggressively and don’t limit it to gathering information on your own performance. I have heard it said that the four most important words in any organization are “What Do You Think” and your team members can be an invaluable resource in developing strategy and solutions as those four words can be the most impactful question you can ask. It’s the littlest things that make the biggest difference when it comes to engaging the minds and winning the hearts of your team. Remember, it’s not always what you ask, but truly how you ask it.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

I have always believed that your personal behaviors drive your personal outcomes. In addition to focusing on the behaviors we just discussed, I would say that one-on-one time with each member of your talent is invaluable. Always be prepared and always have a set agenda for these sessions to maximize their effectiveness. Focusing on the purpose and clearly communicating why it’s the focus is how you get on the same page with your team, individually and collectively. Arrogance, ego, and relying solely on the authority derived from your position may serve a purpose to some but it’s incredibly destructive when it comes building your brand as a leader. One area we have had amazing success in is creating an assessment about YOU and make it anonymous. We build it and have another company perform it. This begins a foundation of truth for your entire team. You can then summarize the feedback assessments and begin to make changes in your leadership style while addressing concerns your team may have in the next offsite or team meeting. They will feel heard and validated, most importantly, they will feel safe. YOU created that environment and trust will ensue. A culture based on the shared values of trust, mutual respect, and continuous improvement will truly make your team indestructible.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My daughter. I was a baby, who had a baby. I was 22 when I had her and divorced at 23. I had no idea what this little person held for me in my future. She tells me now that she is 24 that I shaped her and gave her so many gifts. She has no idea that SHE was my teacher, my mentor and leader. She taught me unconditional love, preparation, kindness, giving without expectations of receiving anything back. She taught me to prioritize, to not sweat the small stuff, to slow down and smell the roses and she taught me how to laugh… Like really belly laugh. One of the hardest lessons she taught me was, not all bad days were solved with compassion, understanding and ice cream, and that I should really add more tools to my tool box. SHE was the leader, with patience and calm. She instilled my stillness and ability to pivot calmly and gracefully. She is the pillar and the foundation of my faith and humility.

Is there a quote that is meaningful to you, that you can share?

Quotes are a marvelous tool that can be used to illustrate a point, inspire personal change, or to understand and validate past experiences. “Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” Marvin Ashton’s words capture perfectly my personal mission and passion for helping people learn, grow, achieve, and excel. My success has increased my capacity and given me more resources to deploy that passion and make a difference in the lives of children, in education, and helping those who struggle with mental health issues. Service to others, to use the words of Marie Kondo, “sparks joy” in me and gives me purpose. I am sure that you are familiar with the concept of servant leadership and I often take the service part of that approach literally. If there are dishes in the office that need to be done, I do them. If I have team members working on a huge project or deal and haven’t had a chance to wash their car, I’ll do it for them. It’s the littlest things that make the biggest difference. It only takes a few seconds and a few words to make a person feel better about themselves.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

Always be the last to speak in a room — Connect, empathize, and listen for the sole purpose understanding not responding. Listening is an intransitive verb and one of its meanings is to “hear something with thoughtful understanding: give consideration”. This is a great tactic for building trust and mutual respect.

Always use the same definition/dictionary, especially with absolute statements — “Never, always, more than”. This creates safety and you can always count on the comfort of understanding your client or team.

I recently read Daniel Coyle’s exceptional book “The Culture Code”. One the key elements of building a great team culture is creating a safe environment that eliminates fear and where people are comfortable, feel free to be creative and expressing their ideas and feel valued. Culture is leader driven and communication is key. It’s the little things that matter most.

Start every single day with gratitude. In its simplest terms, gratitude is about being thankful and acknowledging the good we experience. It’s also about recognizing the good we experience is often derived from sources outside of ourselves. Any person can be the good that others are grateful for. It’s not about what can you do for me? It’s more about what can we do for each other.

Relationships are not just key, they are EVERYTHING. Treat them well, ALWAYS add more then you take.

Pretty simple conceptually however execution is everything. Each one is unique and must be grown and nurtured accordingly.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Children were being left behind decades before the “No Child Left Behind” Act was implemented in 2001. Education in general and schools in particular as a means to deliver it need to be completely “re-imagined” to meet the socio-economic realities of the today’s workplace. I would encourage everyone to visit a school and spend 15 minutes talking to a teacher or school level administrator and you will learn about the real challenges’ educators face. Billions get spent on education and virtually zero dollars make to each school’s instructional budget. The fact that most schools are used as daycare or feeding centers in each communities’ social services network speaks volumes about impact that single or two working parents can have on their children’s education. Parents want to be partners in their children’s education but lack the basic resources of knowledge and time to do so. The list continues. The good news, however, is that new approaches and strategies are being developed and deployed to improve the education system. Organizations like the Kahn Academy and Acton Academy are pioneering new ways to identify and close skill gaps, tailor customized learning solutions for their students, or change curriculums and delivery methods to focus on critical thinking and analytical skills. I would love to be a leader in this much needed revolution.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

The source of these words is often debated so it is more concept than quote. It is found in the belief that “we are all broken, that is how the light shines through”. My childhood broke me on so many levels. My mother was mentally ill, my father died tragically in a boating accident, I was homeless as a teenager, had issues in high school, had to drop out of college, lost friends to cancer and dealt with many other things. I always knew, however, that as difficult as those days were that many others were dealing with situations much worse than mine. Our cracks don’t define us. They teach us. In Japan, there is a saying that our cracks are filled with gold so that we remember where we came from, and we are worth saving. This belief has shaped my perspective on life and drives my behaviors daily. It is a blessing and lesson I am very grateful to have learned.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Wait, what? Tony Robbins. 10,000%! To me, he optimizes Marvin Ashton’s words “Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” We have commonality in our childhood challenges and our passion to help and serve others. His perspective on truth and ability to deliver powerful unpopular messages is a divine talent. I don’t have a bucket list but if I did, having the opportunity to meet and learn from THE Tony Robbins would be the one and only item on it. #dreamcometrue

Thank you for all of thee great insights!

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