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Scott ‘Shalom’ Klein: “Get Down To Business”

I think about the Army’s 8 step troop leading procedures (TLPs). They are Receive the Mission, Issue a Warning Order, Make a Tentative Plan, Initiate Movement, Conduct Reconnaissance, Complete the Plan, Issue the Order and Supervise, Inspect and Refine. In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of dealing with crisis and how to adapt […]

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I think about the Army’s 8 step troop leading procedures (TLPs). They are Receive the Mission, Issue a Warning Order, Make a Tentative Plan, Initiate Movement, Conduct Reconnaissance, Complete the Plan, Issue the Order and Supervise, Inspect and Refine.


In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of dealing with crisis and how to adapt and overcome. The context of this series is the physical and financial fallout that resulted from the COVID 19 pandemic. Crisis management is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Scott (Shalom) Klein.

Scott (Shalom) is a well regarded community activist and entrepreneur. Scott is a published author who hosts the popular “Get Down to Business” radio show in Chicago and serves as an Officer in the US Army Reserves (Military Police) as well as the Chairman of the Village of Skokie Economic Development Commission.

Scott is a doctoral candidate and holds a master’s degree in non profit management. He is an active leader for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood “backstory”?

I grew up in a home where service and community were core values. In fact, I volunteered on my first political campaign (it was a park district race) at age 8. My parents encouraged me to step up, serve and volunteer. I’m also a lifelong learner and always try to myself and grow as a person.

And what are you doing today? Can you share a story that exemplifies the unique work that you are doing?

I host a weekly radio show “Get Down To Business” that airs Sundays in Chicago and is distributed as a podcast nationally. The station pitched me on the idea of hosting the show as an outcome of many of the economic development and employment initiatives I’ve been involved in. Additionally, I am the co-host of “We All Serve”, a podcast that profiles veterans and leadership lessons that they share. I’m the Chairman of the Village of Skokie’s Economic Development Commission and COVID recovery taskforce and working toward completing my doctorate. Finally, I also volunteer as the Director of Employer Outreach for the Illinois ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve).

Can you tell us a bit about your military background?

I joined very recently in late 2018, commissioned as an lieutenant via OCS in Fort Benning, GA and am a military police officer serving in Arlington Heights, IL in a reserve unit with responsibilities as a platoon leader for 50+ soldiers.

Can you share the most interesting story that you experienced during your military career? What “take away” did you learn from that story?

Well, I joined the Army just prior to my 30th birthday. So I was over 10 years older than many of my fellow basic trainees. I definitely learned quite a bit and am so inspired by the young men and women that I trained with. I’m also very fortunate to have spent many months with officers from allied nations with whom the United States has training agreements.

We are interested in fleshing out what a hero is. Did you experience or hear about a story of heroism, during your military experience? Can you share that story with us? Feel free to be as elaborate as you’d like.

As a junior officer, I seek out mentors from those that have been in for quite a bit longer than I have. I’m very fortunate to learn from their experiences and stories from the past decades of service in the military.

Based on that story, how would you define what a “hero” is? Can you explain?

Everyone that raised their hand and took an oath to serve in the United States Military is a hero as they are putting their life on the line for our great country.

Do you think your experience in the military helped prepare you for business or leadership? Can you explain?

Interestingly, I was in business before joining the military so I’d say that I brought some of those skills to my Army service. No question, my civilian life influences my military life and vice versa.

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?

Captain Joseph Wahl is the individual that pushed me along this journey and encouraged me to become an officer and MP. I proudly wear his LT shoulder boards on my dress uniform and am grateful to him, the NCOs and officers that have trained me.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out how to survive and thrive in crisis. How would you define a crisis?

A crisis is anything that requires intervention.

Before a crisis strikes, what should business owners and leaders think about and how should they plan?

Rely on your training and instincts. Think about the worst case outcomes and five steps further.

There are opportunities to make the best of every situation and it’s usually based on how you frame it. In your opinion or experience, what’s the first thing people should do when they first realize they are in a crisis situation? What should they do next?

Keep calm and breath. Think back to the planning and training that prepared you.

What do you believe are the characteristics or traits needed to survive a crisis?

Most importantly, your plan. That and a cool head will allow you to survive.

When you think of those traits, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

Good question, I think of President George W. Bush and his response to September 11th. While I don’t agree with everything he did, in that moment he showed leadership and brought our nation together.

Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

I don’t believe in setbacks but view every experience as an opportunity to learn. In 2014, I strategically decided to step back from a day-to-day role with our family business in order to develop a consulting firm. This was a massive change for me at the time and a huge opportunity to grow.

Here is the main question of our discussion. Crises not only have the potential to jeopardize and infiltrate your work, but they also threaten your emotional stability and relationships. Based on your military experience, what are 5 steps that someone can take to survive and thrive in these situations? Please share a story or an example for each.

I actually think about the Army’s 8 step troop leading procedures (TLPs). They are Receive the Mission, Issue a Warning Order, Make a Tentative Plan, Initiate Movement, Conduct Reconnaissance, Complete the Plan, Issue the Order and Supervise, Inspect and Refine.

Ok. We are nearly done. 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. 🙂

I’m proud of my volunteer work with the Illinois ESGR and hosting the #WeAllServe podcast. It’s an honor to learn from those that have served, share their stories and help create supportive employment opportunities for National Guard and Army Reserve service members.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders 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, especially if we tag them 🙂

Admiral William McRaven, for sure. His talk on “Make Your Bed” which discusses how little things can change your life is my philosophy that I share with the soldiers in my formation constantly.

How can our readers follow you online?

My website is www.shalomklein.com

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was truly uplifting.

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