Shawn Engbrecht, Combat and Corporate Mentor of Leaders
From Shawn’s own Hand…..
A Lifetime of Inspirational and Leadership Lessons, in 8 paragraphs.
“Eventually, there comes a day when one realizes that life has an end, beyond which infinity awaits. One then confronts two stark choices. The first is to do nothing, and eventually wind up a grumpy old man, however rich. The second is to make every attempt to pass along life lessons, bought at enormous cost, to those who will be here long after I am gone. I have chosen the second path and every time I speak the goal never wavers; to give as much as possible to prepare the audience for the trials and high triumphs yet to come. For this is where TRUE purpose and meaning is to be found…..when we can better the lives of others.
Learning to Swim in the Leadership Pressure Cooker
For an ordinary person, I’ve been lucky to lead an extraordinary life. I was the kid that got laughed at, the awkward, fumbling, introvert who never tried out for teams because you know you’ll get cut, regardless. Joined the Army’s Special Operations Command before completing high school, just to get the hell out of there. And found my first of two lifetime callings because the Army actually gives you a chance; because nobody cares who you were, but rather who you aspire to be.
Combat jump into Panama as a Squad Leader with the fabled 75thRanger Regiment. Behind enemy lines operations in the Persian Gulf War. Later, as a quasi-civilian, spent far too long in Baghdad in the early years of the second war, and was embedded with a specialist unit in Afghanistan while I wrote a book about Small Unit Leadership. Along the way, I spent a day alone at Auschwitz Concentration Camp, courtesy of the Polish Army, and a year in East Africa, training Kenyan infantry for combat operations in Somalia. A greater Leadership Challenge I never faced, equaled only by my pride in them when they achieved Professional Excellence.
Dancing with Armageddon
Like far too many Veterans, the return to civilian life consisted primarily of a downward spiral. Purpose and meaning were gone, hope wasn’t far behind, and I refer to them simply as the “Dark Years.” Armageddon finally tapped me on the shoulder when, while working as a Skydiving Instructor, I had a double malfunction and fell 13,000ft without a working parachute, which normally implies certain death. Not expected to live, or to confront a wheelchair based existence at best, I regained consciousness in intensive care to discover divorce papers pinned on my pillow, neatly arranged beside the bankruptcy ones. One’s immediate reaction is to assume Death was actually the easier option, and that perhaps God did have a sense of humor, albeit a twisted one. Little did I know. In between morphine doses, I idly scribbled an imaginary outline for a dream company that would never come true….on the back of a hospital bill for over a hundred thousand I didn’t have. A charity paid for a month’s rent in a welfare apartment, I was given $113.00 in food stamps, and my sole acquaintance got me a 1940’s era wheelchair and a pair of pliers so I could pull the remaining staples from my leg, the ones the hospital had missed. Flat on my back, he closed the door, and that was that.
Living the Dream
The following year my newly minted company grossed nearly ¾ of a million dollars, all bills were paid in full, and the wheelchair was unceremoniously chucked out a 3rd floor window in a temper tantrum. The rest is history, and if you type in “World’s Best Executive Protection Company” into Google, you will find us ( www.cassglobalsecurity.com ) on the first page. I have endured Coup D’états in South America with Corporate Titans, written evacuation plans for petroleum companies on the Libyan border watching smugglers drive by, and accompanied the Superstar Mega A Listers of Hollywood to the Cannes Film Festival. Spent months working with Middle Eastern Royalty, rescued orphans from the Mafia in Bulgaria, and worked with Non-Profits in deepest, darkest Africa. I have been interviewed on TV, had documentaries made, and been a guest author more than a few times. (see Speaker Packet in Documents section) And on. And on. But with unlimited access to everything rich, powerful, and sexy, you learn a lot as well, and my view of what is REALLY IMPORTANT in order to win at both life and in business has changed, which in turn brings me to my second calling that makes a difference. You, and those you represent.
What it All Means...... When Wisdom and Experience Meet
I have discovered that the people I admire the most are not the ones with Uber star power, but rather the more ordinary type, the ones I stand before when I speak. Who do the best they can with what they have, wherever they may be. Who save, at great sacrifice, to put a child through college while toiling away at their job. Those who coach baseball on weekends and aspire to greater things, however modest they may be. Those who will never make Billionaire or Rock Star status but who show up to work, ready to go, to try and make the world or their company just a little bit better. In other words...your workplace. You. Me. Us.
You see, the reality is we CAN achieve more at work and be happier along the way. Strike a better balance while profits still rise. Fall in love (or at least like) our job all over again. Truth is, most of us have forgotten those dreams, become sidetracked, or simply don’t know how to move forward in this ever more complex world, especially with the noise coming at us from all directions. Yet it doesn’t have to be like that. Competent Leadership empowers people to do the right thing while striving for high achievement. You even get to laugh along the way!
I can show you the way forward. It’s ALL about the basics. The more complex and chaotic the office becomes, the more we need to focus on the basics. Perform the basics well, and everything else falls into place as a rising tide lifts all boats, including that fat Supertanker named “Profit Margins”. I can lead you through the Current of Change, across the Rapids of Fear, to the far Shore of Happiness, not because I’m great, but because I learned long ago where the stones are, and where one can lead, others can follow. I’ll get you to the far side of the river.
- Shawn Engbrecht
PS: It wasn’t Armageddon that tapped my shoulder that fateful day. It was the Angel of Wisdom, the one with the Midas touch where everything turns to Gold afterwards. In retrospect, it was the Best Day of my life. The trick is what you learn from it…..that’s how you succeed. That’s what I pass on when I speak. That’s how you win.
My Mission is to Educate, Inspire, and Empower. The Audience's Mission is to Step Forward, Seize the Initiative, and Transform their Workplace.
Success comes in the weeks and months to follow when Profits Skyrocket alongside Morale, Turnover Plunges, and work becomes a place where Team Members WANT to be. You hear Laughter and see Smiles in the Office.
My Greatest Accomplishment occurs when I (or any Leader) no longer matter, long after we are gone, because the process becomes Self-Sustaining. That's the moment WE ALL WIN.
-Shawn Engbrecht, Combat and Corporate Mentor of Leaders
Visit www.winningleadership.org Shawn’s Speaker Website
TO MEETING PLANNERS:
I understand how challenging it can be to get the right professional speaker for your keynote, convention, or seminar. We all too often sound the same......so to help I crafted the 4 minute video located on this site which will help your decision making. Be sure to take a look.
I've been helping organizations just like yours to retain top talent, boost productivity, manage change, foster innovation, and jump start workplace efficiency for years. It all boils down to a few basic principles, mostly centered around Common Sense and Easy-to-Implement Leadership, at which point everything else falls into place. Great Leaders equate to nil churn and vastly increased sales and profits. The trick of course is communicating that effectively to your audience, which is why we spend some time on the phone beforehand....the better prepared we are, the better the presentation. Please remember that I am a very active CEO of a very busy company, so I "get it" in terms of what the C-Suite needs, mostly because I spend so much time with so many of them! I've gone through the same headaches myself, just like your company, and am a "Doer" in addition to a "Speaker" which makes all the difference in the world!
When you select me for your general session, focus group, break out or seminar, I will create a custom package zeroing in on your specific needs which is tailored to exceed performance expectations. It will be informative, engaging, humorous, and highly engaging. Most importantly, it is delivered in a manner that the audience can relate to on a personal basis, which is the key to success. Your team leaves with tons of useful, "Action this Day" material, I leave with the self satisfaction of knowing I made a difference, and you leave with all the credit for organizing it in the first place!
DISCOVER HOW A LEADERSHIP DYNAMO CAN RADICALLY ENERGIZE YOUR ENTIRE ORGANIZATION!!
Praise for Shawn's book, "Invisible Leadership". Transforming Risk into Opportunity.
"I am the Senior VP for a multi-national firm based in Europe and currently dealing with the disaster that is Brexit. Caught the tail end of the author's presentation of "Leadership during Management of Change at a conference. Mr. Engbrecht calls it "Embracing the Suck" and his moniker is more apt than most. Long story short bought the book. Two days after it arrived ordered another 120 copies; mandatory reading for every person holding a Leadership role in the company. The two chapters on Leading Change should be taught at business schools. Somebody finally inked a book that everybody, from janitorial staff to the senior executives, can learn from."
First Group Paris/Dubai
- 75th Ranger Regiment Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year