Larry Seal - Founder/CEO of EngagedLeadership

Be willing to do anything for virtually nothing in order to get experience and create relationships.

Larry Seal is the Founder/CEO of EngagedLeadership, and co-host of Wondery’s “I Hate My Boss” podcast series.

Since 1991 Larry has honed his skills as an executive coach, communication
and leadership consultant and facilitator. His focus is improving the leadership communication and engagement skills of his clients. He has a unique ability to create a deep level of connection with executives that combines with a broad business perspective that produces significant and lasting change. Clients appreciate his ability to provide an insight-provoking mirror, helping them become clearer than ever before about the communication and interaction patterns that most hinder and best serve them.

His coaching work is primarily conducted with senior and executive-level leaders on a wide range of leadership, interpersonal and communication topics including: executive presence, inspirational communication, public speaking, coaching and developing others, and learning how to authentically adjust their working and communication style to be effective in new and more complex roles.

Larry also has extensive experience working with executive team and in particular with founders to help them address the inevitable and complex issues that emerge with regard to: decision making, communication and trust dynamics, collaboratively developing and gaining support for strategy, vision, values and new ventures.

The work that he has performed has brought him into over 200 organizations, including more than 70 of the Global 500 companies, with an emphasis on firms in entertainment, technology, financial services, defense, pharmaceutical, and retail.

The work that he has performed has brought him into over 200 organizations, including more than 70 of the Global 500 companies, with an emphasis on firms in entertainment, technology, financial services, defense, pharmaceutical, and retail.

Larry works regularly with clients around the world and is well versed in the leadership challenges associated with managing diverse and distanced employees, partners, and customers.

As co-host of “I Hate My Boss,” Larry, along with esteemed marketer Liz Dolan, offer their expertise for the most relevant and pressing workplace issues on a format-busting show that incorporates workplace drama with comedic relief for the ultimate listener experience. The duo helps audiences make the big decisions, better sort through the small stuff, and get more fulfillment from their work life. A fictional ad agency, Penn & Pencil, serves as a comedic point of reference for listeners’ questions. Hear more at wondery.com/ihatemyboss.

How did your company originate?

The pain of not following my heart overcame my fear of change and potential failure. On “I Hate My Boss,” Liz and I often hear people afraid of speaking up because they fear the downside of being honest and more direct than they have been. It’s natural and it’s worth considering. I often find myself recommending that people consider how to be skillful and graceful in communication but also how they can be true to themselves. If you trade one for the other, you may end up very unhappy. We try to help people turn those situations around.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I start off with a quick touch base with my team to see if there is anything that needs immediate attention, then my day is typically pre-booked with client calls (80%) and discussion about new business (10%). The rest of my time is spent in internal discussion primarily with my COO.

What helps me be productive: planning a week or two ahead for my attention and time, significant investment in a high -level EA who can manage my time and focus in collaboration with my COO.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I find silent time to reflect and think, then brainstorm and share new ideas with the COO or other thoughts partners. Then I prioritize and decide on action.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I love that today’s expectations around diversity bias in society and the workplace and getting better and better.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

At EngagedLeadership, I talk to clients every single day. They help me see how we are doing and what’s next. On “I Hate My Boss,” we focus on really trying to help our listeners be more fulfilled, more confident in their work lives. I have been struck by how many people find themselves in truly painful circumstances at work. It’s an honor to try and offer some help.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Success in most everything is about balancing paradoxes. Ex: Sweating the small stuff is often a great way to be successful at your work. Sweating the small stuff is also a great way to make you miserable in life.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

Stepping away for 7 plus days of silent, alone, meditation is a rocket launcher for one’s creativity, energy, insight and emotional wellness. Very, very, very few seem willing to make this rather extreme trade of ‘slowing down to speed up.’

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Ask my clients and out callers to recommend us to others they think we might help.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Be willing to do anything for virtually nothing in order to get experience and create relationships.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Assuming that a small set of data linked to my gut feeling actually constituted solid data to base a decision on. Big decisions (ones that could materially impact your stability, ability to grow and improve) are worth testing.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A nice bottle of wine for a client who recommended EngagedLeadership to another CEO.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

We constantly chat on Skype and use DB to share editing on key documents.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. It is the firsthand story and conclusions of a man who survived Nazi prison camps and came to the conclusion that no one can take away your ability to find meaning, even in the most horrible of circumstances. That is a powerful lesson for those of us who get stuck or derailed by our own disappointments and difficulties day to day.

What is your favorite quote?

“Your life is what you choose to attend to.”
Me (with credit to Viktor Frankl)

Key Learnings

  • Success in most everything is about balancing paradoxes. Ex: Sweating the small stuff is often a great way to be successful at your work. Sweating the small stuff is also a great way to make you miserable in life.
  • Be willing to do anything for virtually nothing in order to get experience and create relationships.

Connect:

http://www.engagedleadership.com/
http://wondery.com/wondery/shows/ihatemyboss/