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Community Highlights: Meet Karl Bimshas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karl Bimshas.

Hi Karl, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I’ve always enjoyed the study and practice of leadership. I worked in and with Fortune 500 companies, professional services environments and have held several operational and sales management positions in public and private corporations. It seems quaint now, but 2008 was considered a big transition year, with a presidential election filled with uncertainty and the financial markets beginning to collapse. Layoffs started ramping up, and newly formed consultants flooded the marketplace with old advice. I recall witnessing panicky business owners reaching for all the latest leadership books like whirling dervishes, trying to find a way to navigate themselves out of trouble. They were desperate to find the “secret sauce” that would magically solve their problems.

That got me thinking — the same sauce does not always work in every situation.

Each organization has a unique culture, so it stands to reason how not every solution offered in a book or seminar will work equally well, if at all. Most professionals do an okay job revisiting their vision, mission, and values, but few incorporate them in day-to-day operations. I thought busy professionals needed a system that contained a set of tools, instruments, models, and ultimately, a way of thinking. A good system collects universal management truisms, takes advantage of trends and technology changes, and then customizes them in a way that works in the leader’s current environment. I created the skeleton for that and named it: The Leadership Guidance System.

Leadership has not changed much over thousands of years of practice. Busy managers today are challenged to take the time to relearn the fundamentals and figure out which principles apply to them and their particular situations.

In early 2009, I joined the ranks of those laid off, but I was excited, perhaps naively giddy. I would soon be able to test my theories with my new leadership development and accountability business. I founded my company to help busy professionals match the most appropriate leadership styles with their unique circumstances to achieve the best results for their employees, customers, financial bottom line, and themselves. I’ve been doing that with a few tweaks here there, ever since.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
When you first start on your own, capturing the money seems like the most important thing. So, I chased after my existing contacts who needed help on what amounted to glorified administrative support. Building PowerPoint slides, ghostwriting speeches, organizing, and promoting webinars paid okay but didn’t leave me feeling like I was making a dent in the universe.

Additionally, for each of the first few years, I experienced significant family turmoil with what seemed like a domino of deaths, illness, divorce, and 13 months of depression. My business espouses servant leadership, great goal setting, maintaining a positive attitude, and accountability – which is at times a blessing and a curse. I sometimes felt like an imposter, with my own house in shambles.

With hindsight, I realized that if not for those core things, I believe I would have been a complete disaster rather than a functioning business owner. Many of my relationships were strengthened, and I pushed myself to take my own medicine, sometimes gracefully and sometimes cumbersomely. There’s the saying that the cobbler’s kids have no shoes, and while that’s true in some areas of my business when I take the time to use the leadership tools I’ve put together, the books I’ve written, and the advice I give via my articles and podcast I regain my confidence.

Another challenge is that some consider leadership development a luxury item and don’t budget for the investment. They don’t plan on the cost it takes to repair the damage of lousy leadership either and face it; most established (entrenched) leaders are not a fan of accountability.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am the Owner and Principle Leadership Consultant at Karl Bimshas Consulting, the results-driven leadership development and accountability consulting firm that helps chronically underestimated professionals who want to become confident, competent leaders in their field without becoming jerks. My vision is to create environments where great leaders outnumber lousy leaders, and better leadership is the norm, not the exception in businesses, homes, charities, and capitals throughout the nation. We do this by

– Maximizing existing strengths with customized leadership agendas.
– Improving decision-making in ways that support stated vision, purpose, and values.
– Increasing versatility by sharing straightforward leadership models, styles, behaviors, and tools.
– Challenging, disrupting and reducing the negative influence of lousy leaders.

I’ve found that our podcast, “Reflections on Leadership,” is a great vehicle to share quick reflections on leadership, and interviews with other busy professionals, to challenge your perspective, provide inspiration, and give insights to help you manage better and lead well.

I have also authored dozens of books, journals, and workbooks designed to help busy professionals increase their confidence and support and decrease their levels of indecision or doubt by focusing on their purpose, values, and strengths to maximize their leadership potential.

What else should people know about my company and me?

I’m a Boston-bred and California-chilled, no BS Leadership Consultant, Writer, and Podcast Host. I earned a B.A. in Mass Communications from Emerson College and an M.S. in Executive Leadership from the University of San Diego.

If you’re looking to improve your self-leadership, one-on-one, team, or organizational leadership, Karl Bimshas Consulting will customize and facilitate leadership development, provide accountability partnering, and focus on programs that grow employees and build effective teams to improve relationships and strengthen essential leadership skills.

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
The love of supportive family and friends is a lovely thing to have, but it’s not the only thing. Make an effort to find supportive peers. These people may be in a different industry but are in a similar mind space as you. Some should be more advanced than you, so you can ask questions and learn, which keeps you humble and hungry for education, and some should be a little less experienced than you, so you have something to share and teach others. This feeds your ego just enough to keep you from getting down on yourself when you’re facing challenges.

Other principles to keep in mind:
– Protect your cash – because you’re going to need it.
– Learn what you need to know and then delegate or outsource tasks earlier than you’re comfortable doing.
– Be okay being rejected; it’s probably not personal. Shake it off, learn and move on.
– Be kind and curious.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
All photos by Sheryl Marie Instagram @sherylmariephoto

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