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From Trainer to Guru: Kevin Eikenberry’s Leadership Journey

Kevin Eikenberry of the Kevin Eikenberry Group is well known in leadership development circles, so it is no surprise that his new book, From Bud to Boss (co-authored with Guy Harris), is creating a lot of buzz. I recently got to chat with Kevin about his career, his goals, and especially his current project. Following is Part 1 of the interview.

Kevin, tell me about the start of the Kevin Eikenberry Group. What was the vision?

I’ve been doing this for over 17 years. Before that, I worked for Chevron, first in sales and marketing, then in corporate training and development. I quickly realized this was the kind of work I was put on earth to do. At first, I thought I wanted to be the next Zig Ziglar. But as I trained trainers, I realized I wanted to help people learn, not just be good on stage.

Now the vision is helping leaders make bigger differences in the world around them, make positive difference. Sometimes the work looks like training, sometimes consulting, sometimes coaching. And I’m doing more keynoting, so it’s come full circle.

When did you realize the business was working? What were the signals?

When I decided to leave Chevron, I told my boss. He was a 35 year guy, his whole life with the company, so he couldn’t fathom why anyone would leave. In fact, he told people I was quitting so I could return to the Midwest, where I grew up. We agreed to a six week transition. I promised not to market to Chevron, but would be available if Chevron managers approached me. Well, by the time six weeks was done, I had three months of work pre-booked [with Chevron managers].

So I knew from the start the business would work. But there have been good times and bad times, not a straight line. I made early mistakes, big mistakes, like getting so busy that I forgot about marketing. I didn’t start writing soon enough. And I didn’t build enough relationships or the right kind.

But I knew from the start that I’d made the right decision. I must be doing something right – not everyone can stay in a business they love for 17 years! I have such a strong desire to help people be successful and shorten their path. I provide many tools for other consultants and coaches to go with my book, Remarkable Leadership. Recently I created a certified coaching program to give them training, credibility, and technical skills.

How has the vision evolved over time?

It’s gotten bigger, broader. I saw it couldn’t just be about training. Now we have multiple income streams – training, coaching, consulting, speaking, learning systems, certification, and writing – because they make each other better.

The vision now is to build the brands of Remarkable Leadership, The Kevin Eikenberry Group, and From Bud to Boss to have more impact on more people.

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I’ll post the second part of the interview next week. Kevin Eikenberry and Guy Harris’ new book, From Bud to Boss, launches on February 15th. To celebrate the launch, they’re offering special bonuses to people who purchase the book on the day of the launch. These bonuses include free content from a variety of partners who are promoting the launch. To take advantage of these bonuses when you buy the book, visit “these links.” Be sure to join the new Bud to Boss Community to be connected with a wealth of resources about how to be a better leader every day.

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