Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts on leadership. First things first, though, I am sure readers would love to learn more about you. What is something about you that would surprise people?
Shaun: I played football in college and professionally in Europe for a couple of years after graduation. I was a Special Agent with the FBI prior to my life in franchising.
Adam: How did you get here? What failures, setbacks or challenges have been most instrumental to your growth?
Shaun: I came from very humble beginnings and was the first person in my family to go to college. I learned at an early age that if you want something, you have to work hard to obtain it. I’ve had a number of setbacks and failures along my path, both personally and professionally, but I’ve always had the perseverance to pick myself up and keep moving forward. Being an athlete and playing team sports, and the lessons that you learn through that process – about yourself and life in general – were unquestionably the most instrumental to my growth as a person and my leadership style today.
Adam: In your experience, what are the defining qualities of an effective leader?
Shaun: In my experience, the most effective leaders have a great deal of integrity, discipline, confidence and ambition. They create a culture where their team has the ability and empowerment to make decisions for themselves, and to own those decisions. This allows them to feel more invested in the company’s goals and increases their sense of contribution towards achieving those goals.
Adam: Adam: Who are the greatest leaders you have been around and what did you learn from them?
Shaun: I have been fortunate enough to learn from several great athletic coaches and business mentors over the years. I learned the value of strong work ethic, how to motivate myself and others to get the best performance and how to effectively communicate with my team to achieve a goal.
Adam: How can leaders and aspiring leaders take their leadership skills to the next level?
Shaun: I believe that sacrifice, discipline, dedication and integrity are not easily taught. They are a part of a value system that you either have or you do not have. However, these traits can be enhanced through practice and repetition. I encourage young, aspiring leaders to take on more than they can handle, intentionally put themselves in difficult or uncomfortable situations, and force themselves to find a resolution to the challenges that arise. It is through this experience that their leadership style and skills with develop and grow.
Adam: What is the best advice you have on building, managing and leading teams?
Shaun: When building teams, start with your objectives/goals in mind and build from the center (culture) outward. When managing teams, be thoughtful yet deliberate in your approach. When leading teams, lead from the front and be the catalyst for success.
Adam: What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received?
Shaun: Always believe in yourself and never be afraid to ask for help. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. You would be surprised how many successful people are out there willing to help if you’d only ask.
Adam: What is one thing everyone should be doing to pay it forward?
Shaun: One of the most precious resources that we have is time, but it also the most beneficial element in helping others to learn, grow and attain levels of success and satisfaction in their lives and careers. We should all strive to commit some portion of our time to mentoring or volunteering to enhance the lives of others.
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
Shaun: I have always lived an active lifestyle and I enjoy doing anything physical, whether it’s running trails, climbing mountains or swimming oceans. I believe that staying active and maintaining a state of constant motion has kept me from becoming sedentary, both physically and mentally, and continued to challenge me to try new things and reach for more.