Building Human Relationships for Business Sales Success

Sales Professionals understand that building human relationships is key to business sales success, something lost on most sales people who come and go. The Visitors.

You see, the Sale begins with You.

VC ~ The Sale Begins with You










There are simple, and complex, human components essential to building authentic, lasting human relationships are also relevant in business sales relationships:

  • You and the Opportunity to Meet Someone New
  • A Conversation
  • The Process of Discovery and Warming-Up
  • Rapport
  • Value
  • Desire
  • Mutual Respect and Acceptance
  • Persuasion
  • Commitment



Being a Sales Strategist

It’s amazing how many sales and business development professionals, managers and executives, still think sales is a numbers game. And, it’s still a popular belief Today.

I understand. I understand that If you believe sales is a numbers game, you’re wrong.

While there are slight variations, according to this archaic theory ~ all you need to do (to be successful in sales) is call, call, call. Go to every lead, quasi-qualified or unqualified. Pitch! Pitch! Pitch to Someday! Demo! Demo! Demo to Anybody! You must be committed to the numbers. Fill your pipeline with a zillion suspects who’ll turn into X number of prospects, sales opportunities, and ultimately customers or clients.

The song remains the same, the message passed on from one sales generation to the next. We’ve been conditioned to accept that going after every prospect is essential to our success.

What if it isn’t? What if the numbers game isn’t a success factor anymore?

What if trying to work all those prospects infects our thinking, causes our sales performance, individual and team, to become ineffectual? What if we could generate more sales with fewer prospects?

Most sales and business development people would consider these questions heresy against the sales gods and gurus.

Thinking and Acting as a Sales Strategist

Thinking and Acting as a Sales Strategist

In the long run, Top Sellers, the Best of the Best Closers, pursue fewer prospects. Top Sellers spend more time thinking and acting as a Sales Strategist about:

  • The goals and objectives of their target market, customers/clients.
  • Linking marketing to sales process.
  • Connecting and networking for mutual benefit.
  • Pre-Qualify/Qualify potential customers/clients.
  • Being more Consultative and Solution-centric.
  • Guiding prospects through the sales cycle.
  • Increasing Market Value.

By slowing down, focusing on quality not quantity, we can develop the rapport, relationship, and credibility we need to get the business. We can go deeper, learn more, and support the client/customer with the right solutions.

Nurturing any kind of relationship requires an investment of time. Are you spending enough time with clients/customers throughout the sales process? Are you committed to a Sales Closing Process? Conditioning? Gaining commitments every step of the way? Pre-closing? Or, are you pitching and running? Are you just a visitor?

Being Sales Strategists, our clients/customers trust our recommendations. We become their Strategic Advisors creating even more opportunities to succeed. 

Our goal is to help prospects understand the business value of the solution. More importantly, how changing the status quo can impact organizational culture, sustaining business growth and profitability.

Be Bold. What would you do differently this month if you rejected the numbers game?Do you think it would make a difference in your sales performance?

That’s the challenge. Reject the #1 Sales Myth! Think fewer, not more. Compel yourself (and your sales team) to shift sales behavior with a fresh mind-set and sales strategies.

Being a Sales Strategist means sales isn’t a numbers game anymore, it’s an effectiveness game. Be yourself. Make the right connections. Make human connections.

Connecting and Networking for Mutual Benefit.

Connecting and Networking for Mutual Benefit.

Always Be Engaging.

Marc Ortiz de Candia | Vitalia Consulting | The Enlightened Leadership Leader


Que Sera Sera (Whatever will be will be)

Unlike the song “Que Sera Sera” the future is ours to see. Where there is a will, there is a way. By provoking the future, we can determine what will be.

Vitalia Consultants and Coaches have become “The New Provocateurs.” To be authentic and effective, we must be provocateurs. Why? Because most of our client-entrepreneurs went into business without a market-tested, battle-tested idea, product or service ~ with mind-blowing $ signs in their eyes, lost in wonderland without a clear and precise grasp of “how to manage the business of business.”

As an entrepreneur, a founder and owner of two successful businesses, I genuinely understand the dilemmas facing our clients. Being empathic doesn’t mean that client apathy or complacency is acceptable. Accepting the status-quo is unacceptable.

In reality, most of our entrepreneurial clients are ill-prepared for the business of business. VC The King has fallen from grace“Que Sera Sera” is the worst theme song (attitude) ever for entrepreneurs. Yet, most naive entrepreneurs sing it every business day + weekends and holidays!

What’s the difference between dreamers and doers? Doers are dreamers with a plan. Obviously, when you don’t know where you are or where you’re going, you probably won’t get there.

Cheshire Cat: There you are!

Alice: Oh, no, no. I was just wondering if you could help me find my way.

Cheshire Cat: Well, that depends on where you want to get to.

Alice: Oh, it really doesn’t matter, as long as…

Cheshire Cat: Then, it really doesn’t matter which way you go.

from Alice In Wonderland

Consulting from the inside out, our client-projects mainly tend to be:

Business Growth Projects ~ Companies with a measure of sustained success and profitability over time, searching for ways to grow the business, moving from a developmental stage to a high growth stage, wanting to get from here to there. This usually entails building organizational capability, expanding leadership capacity, identifying emerging leaders, re-imagining brand management (communications and value) revitalizing talent and financial management. These C-Suite Executives are typically seasoned yet open-minded, willing to learn, and enlightened leaders.

Business Turnaround Projects ~ Companies whereby the probability of business failure is extremely high (due to gross mis-management) unless the C-Suite Executive Team makes immediate, decisive, dramatic behavioral changes. These companies are in dire straits, heavily in debt, often in the intensive care coma unit.

(Well-Funded) New Venture Start-Up Projects ~ Companies in the embryonic stages of development, creating a business mission, building an organizational vision and related capabilities, refining business, talent, and financial management tools. Taking their dream to the marketpace, these C-Suite Dreamers are committed to fulfilling their dream by living it.

Vitalia Consulting provides diagnostic tools and prescriptions to help C-Suite Executives sharpen their focus, achieve their personal and business goals, and increase the profitability of their companies.

We often care more about the business of business than our clients do. Our clients need us because they don’t understand the business of business. They hire us because (by doing what we do) we can help them get whatever they truly want from the business. There are plenty of clients who are oblivious to how the harsh realities of their business impact their quality of life.

Example: ($250M Software Company CEO) “God takes care of our business plan. I don’t have time for such things. My devotion is to my business, 80-90 hours a week. There are cameras everywhere here so that I can watch every aspect of my business because people are either lazy or thieves or both. I have never seen my daughter’s piano recitals or my son’s basketball games or gone on vacations with my wife and family, and I don’t ever intend to.”

Example: ($60M Chain of Auto Body Shops Owner) “2010 Hailstorms.” Answering the question, “When was your best year in sales? So that we can replicate it and use it as a stepping stone to greater profitability.”

Example: ($150M Home Improvement and Remodeling Company President, just before declaring bankruptcy) “We don’t need an organizational vision or strategies. People in this business come and go. We don’t worry about it. We don’t call them human resources.”

Example: (Health Services Non-Profit CEO and COO) “Marketing, sales, business development, and account management are the same thing, the same function.”

Example: ($600M High Tech Company CEO + other C-Suite Executives) “We understand that we’re in the technology space. All of the executives here have multiple degrees in engineering, etc. We know everything there is to know about this business. We don’t have time to think about a tax plan or tax strategies to increase our profitability. That’s what we pay our CPA Accountancy to do. We’ll have the company valuated when we sell it, merge or are acquired.”

These quotes would be funny if not so tragically true, especially for small ($15M+) to middle market ($600M+) companies, and we’re not talking about “Mom and Pop” businesses. Ever notice how more than 50% of the Inc. 500 “Top 500 Companies” disappear from the list year to year? The following facts are profound:

  • 4 of 5 small to mid-size businesses are failing
  • 81% fail within the first 5 years
  • 94% of the remaining businesses fail within 10 years
  • 69% are operating without a real business plan
  • 84% with a real business plan don’t manage from it
  • 85% are operating without a succession plan
  • 89% don’t capitalize on tax planning using a board certified tax attorney/planner/strategist
  • 90% have no exit plan strategies
  • 96% don’t have their business valuated periodically (every two years)
  • Entrepreneurs within these stats have among the highest rates of divorce, suicide, depression, alcoholism, heart attacks, and ulcers
  • 70% of the entrepreneurs who somehow succeed end-up selling their companies for 60% below fair market value
  • 87% do not act as the CEO (or a C-Suite Executive) instead act as an employee whereby the business eventually owns them (mind, body, and soul)
  • Most entrepreneurs finance their own deals; borrow to fund debt; file for bankruptcy; and ultimately, lose everything.

Most of these entrepreneurs are candidates for “Business Turnaround Projects.”


~ Deuxieme Partie ~ (Part Two)

CNBC recently reported Business Owners Trying To Do It All: “The greatest mistake entrepreneurs make is to believe that they can do it all themselves. While entrepreneurs can do almost everything, they do almost everything poorly. Just like any other person, an entrepreneur has one or two natural talents. As an entrepreneur, it is your job to identify those talents and focus on them to the fullest. Surround yourself with people who are strong where you are weakest. Great companies are built on the foundation of exploiting a few strengths, not trying to be the masters of everything.”


While CNBC correctly describes the single greatest challenge of every entrepreneur, CNBC didn’t go far enough in setting forth the solution. The pragmatic solution to fixing the problem of “trying to do it all” is to re-organize the business with the right organizational structure with clear lines of authority, delegation of duties, methods of accountability, and the systems needed for greater controls. Optimize organizational and business performance with the right people, the right processes, the right tools ~ on the right road to recovery.

Accept it or not: In reality, our clients need our organizational leadership consulting and coaching help, not just from anybody, because we’re not like everybody else ~ because we can’t be like everybody else, and do our work effectively. Our mission as provocateurs is to positively affect change in the lives of our clients, and client companies, while delivering a significant 2:1 return on their investment.

Partner With Us.

Developing “Enlightened Leadership” is key to our success. In turn, we can help our clients get their real wants. What our clients want is a clear understanding of how to run the business by the numbers (not for the sake of compelling, colorful graphs and charts) so that they can have freedom and peace of mind.

Alice: I simply must get through!

Doorknob: Sorry, you’re much too big. Simply impassable.

Alice: You mean impossible.

Doorknob: No, impassable.  Nothing’s impossible.

from Alice in Wonderland

We start with a “Business Insights Analysis®.” We show our clients the true business of business by looking inside the numbers, an in-depth look at the four components of every client-company:

  • Sales
  • Production
  • Financial Management
  • Talent Management (within the current Organizational Culture)

Often the Business Insights Analysis® findings become the catalyst for systemic changes, paving the way for revitalized vision, strategy, positioning, structure, financial management, policy, controls, process, reporting relationships, talent management, organizational culture, all requiring management and leadership behavioral changes.

To be provocateurs, we must be confident, bold, forthright, and assertive. Provoking is giving tough love, engaging the client with passionate (applied) intelligence. Our passion comes from knowing that no one says on their deathbed, “I wish that I had spent more time putting-out office fires.” Provoking is holding the client accountable. Provoking is never buying the client’s excuse for procrastination. Time is of the essence. Provoking is never putting the client at risk by accepting “let me think about it. Time waits for no one.

Freedom lies in being bold. ~Robert Frost

Enlightened Leaders understand that the future cannot be created by holding onto the past. Unlike the song “Que Sera Sera” the future is ours to see, the dreamstime_s_13519579future is there for our entrepreneurial clients to create. The client must have a passionate desire to fulfill their real wants ~ on the right road to recovery.

To be provocateurs is to have sincere love for our client’s business, having genuine empathy for their well-being. We are the guardians of Entrepreneurial Corporate America. We pitch nothing. We sell nothing. Our role is to to provide light in the darkness of despair. ♥

We deliver pragmatic and provocative solutions. We offer rays of light, hope for a brighter future by presenting entrepreneurs an opportunity to evoke change in their business and life.

At the least, we give every client we engage the option, the chance to change their course of direction, to never stop improving ~ to be successful in business and life.

Imagine us as personal physicians conducting a detailed, complete examination. Would you want us to intervene in the earliest stages of cancer? Would you want an accurate diagnosis/prognosis, or just hear what you want to hear, see what you want to see?

Let’s Get Started. Partner With Us!

Marc Ortiz de Candia, Executive Partner ~ Provocateur

Vitalia Consulting | The Enlightened Leadership Leader






When Knowledge (Alone) is Not Enough

One of the most salient things I have observed in meetings with countless C-Level Executives is the overwhelming pool of information they’re swimming in. The result is too much data driving them insane ~ which only yesterday was commonly referred to as “analysis-paralysis.” The results are in-decisions, in-actions and inertia, uncertainty about which move to make. So, nothing changes if nothing changes.

Our initial role (in Organizational Leadership Consulting and Coaching) is to help these C-Level Executives wade through the waves of data to find the right information, the right solutions. At this point, It’s important to note that there is no pitch, there is no presentation, no assumptions or conclusions. In the beginning, we are simply listeners and observers asking key questions, guiding our clients, mired in confusion, out of the abyss. We are facilitators of the process.

When is knowledge (alone) not enough? When is knowledge (alone) not power? You and I have seen zillions of sales professionals, managers, and executives go through cropped-AB-When-Knowledge-Alone-is-Not-Enough.jpgthe “sales training hotel factories” coming out with only a cheap binder and more information (plenty of getaway trip stories to tell) but no knowledge retention, process and skills application, or behavioral shifts that last beyond a few days, a few weeks at best. There’s a reason why “talk is cheap.”

Revolt against the archaic business culture of “just gimme the knowledge, just gimme the information/data!” There’s much more vital work to be done. Of course, this requires Enlightened Leadership with the desire and the resources to sustain high business growth. Nothing happens without Enlightened Leadership.


To illustrate, one of our most recent projects (right in our wheelhouse) is focused on “Sales Performance Optimization.” We’re working with a dysfunctional sales group with mountains of information, tons of knowledge but without the right sales people, without the right sales process, and without the right sales tools. We fix dysfunctional organizations. Partner with Us.

Our approach to every client project is simple and effective. We began this project by meeting with the C-Level Executive Leadership Team, not just the Sales Group Management. We take a panoramic view and then zoom-in. We start by building Organizational Vision and Holistic Strategies because the Sales Group is inter-connected with all other organizations within the business. Many pictures from different angles are necessary.

Simultaneously, we are conducting an Organizational Culture Assessment that will result in a comparative analysis between the leadership’s perception of their organization and what people (within the organization) and customers (outside the organization) are actually experiencing. There are always execution chasms which need to be filled before moving forward with any formal development or learning.

In this case, the Sales Group had the highest turnover rate (higher than telemarketing) in the company, and reported into an Operations Vice President who didn’t understand sales or selling, or the difference between marketing, sales, business development and account management. These things were known by everyone in the client company.

While the assessment offers information/knowledge/data, our job is to uncover and discover the right solutions in tandem with our clients. In turn, radical new buyer behavior requires re-thinking sales. Buyers are much more informed. The sheer volume of information buyers can access can humble the best sales professionals, managers, and executives causing them to compete on price. The new imperative facing sales leaders is to re-tool the organization and build a culture of continuous improvement.

No more worthless seminars or workshops. Everything is done in session-work, one to three hour sessions: Leadership Development Sessions, Vision and Strategy Sessions, Sales Development Sessions, Individual and Group Coaching Sessions…

dreamstime_s_6386770According to The Aberdeen Group “Best in Class” companies determine characteristics of “Best in Class” professional sales performers on an annual basis, as defined by:

  • Top 20% in Quota Attainment
  • Top 20% in YOY Revenue Growth
  • Top 20% in Average Deal Size Increase

The truth is in the performance numbers. This research shows the three key areas in which the best performing companies differentiate from their peers, and adapt to changing sales requirements:


  • Scientifically assess the specific requirements for sales models, and align hiring and development to those profiles.
  • Develop world class capabilities by aligning sales process, methods, and never-ending learning to ever-changing buyer behavior
  • Enable effective, consistent application of best practices by integrating sales tools and state-of-the-art technologies

Remember, the main reason why most “sales closing systems” fail is because there is no opportunity for the sales professional to practice and test mastering the re-tooled sales process. No true individual commitment to the sales process and no reinforcement after the “learning session.” This is why “individual coaching” must be an integral component of every “Sales Performance Optimization” Platform.

In the New Age of Enlightenment, knowledge (alone) is not enough to get things done, to adapt to the rapidly evolving marketplace, to create lasting success. Having a trillion pieces to a puzzle is not enough. You must the right pieces to put the right picture together.

So, what are your answers: Are You An Enlightened Leader? Do you have the right sales people, the right sales process, the right sales tools for sales performance optimization? Are you ready to put together the sales organization puzzle?

Let’s get started! Partner with Us.

Marc Ortiz de Candia, Executive Partner, Vitalia Consulting


The Genius of Being Bold

“Whatever you can do or dream you can do…begin it! Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Enlightened Leadership is about action, not position or title or entitlement. Decisive action is the key to any decisive victory. It begins with believing in something meaningful to the business organization, and acting on that belief. For those who see Enlightened Leadership as a soft concept, nothing more than Sunshine Supermen sitting around listening to Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow,” wrong you are, when you are…Guess Again!

Enlightened leaders move swiftly, out-maneuvering their competition with precision. There is an old Italian saying: “Chi si ferma e perduto.” (when translated to English) “He who hesitates is lost.” It’s a truism in life and in business. In French, “Celui qui hesite est perdu.” In Spanish, “El que duda esta perdido.” In any language, the first product or service to market wins, and dominates the marketplace 96.69% of the time.

Take the first steps toward greatness. Be a bold leader. Become the market dominator, armed with an arsenal of resources produced by your ability to create a thoughtful, risk-accepting organizational culture supportive of innovation and investments for the future.

Unfortunately, traditional corporate cultures are petrified forests of apathy and in-decision, a culture of fear, disdain, fatigue and boredom, negativity, conformity and complacency, reinforced by the executive hierarchy, sadly inherited by the emerging leaders of tomorrow. Traditional corporate cultures, especially in the mature stage of the business life cycle, can become increasingly rigid and risk-averse. Entrenched behaviors and cultures kill the innovative spirit of your people.

In the new age of enlightenment, I believe that there is a better way. We’ve explored many other dimensions of what it means to be an Enlightened Leader: Being open-minded, empathic, High EQ (emotional intelligence) intuitive, actively listening and observing, having a sense of purpose, a willingness to act thoughtfully, and so on. Another important dimension of being an Enlightened Leader is “Being Bold.”

Be bold because innovation requires taking risks. Nurture, support, and cultivate an organizational culture that makes space for innovative insights. To create the business of tomorrow, you must break-down the inhibitors of change today.

While always considering the risks involved (bolstered with contingency plans) Enlightened Leaders are Napoleonic in their fearlessness, relentlessly fearless in the face of overwhelming odds, in the pursuit of their dreams. “Cogito ergo zoom!” (I think, therefore I go fast!) Create a pluralistic culture of bold, free-thinking, decision-makers who deliver decisive actions and results for the good of all.

Understand the idea here is not to replicate Napoleonic leaders through-out your organization. The point is to take one of Napoleon’s most brilliant strengths: a willingness to act boldly and decisively when perceiving the opportunity to do so.

To quote Napoleon: “Ability is nothing without opportunity.” Those opportunities come from the organizational culture that you’re willing to create. In essence, you can create your own opportunities.

In sharp contrast, King Louis XVI (incapable of decisive action, preferring personal interests to the interests of the people) was executed during the French Revolution, just as Napoleon was rising to power.

Yet, the genius of being bold has been abandoned by most so-called “modern business leaders and organizations.” Why? Closed organizational cultures are oppressive and suppressive, causing people to fear political and career retaliation for speaking-up. Remember, silence foreshadows failure.

Ask yourself these questions: Do you have the audacity to challenge yourself and the systemic leadership behaviors within your organization? Are employees at all levels overwhelmed by your leadership’s short-sightedness? Can you survey the whole battlefield? Can you see your strategic advantages by looking at your organizational weaknesses?

Believe in something or you stand for nothing. Anything less is to live without true commitment or conviction.

Here’s a simple way to assess the state of your organizational culture. When you arrive at the next “important internal meeting” look around the room. What do you see? Is the meeting room alive with energy and ideas, or do you see a roomful of the living dead, zombies everywhere you look? Enlightenment can be frightening!

{This section is mostly intended for historical interest and reference points: As polarizing as any discussion about Napoleon can be, his bold vision and brilliant strategies are inarguable. Napoleon was hated by his enemies but respected by them at the same time. The Duke of Wellington, Sir Arthur Wellesley, when asked who he thought was the greatest general who ever lived, answered “In this age, in past ages, in any age, Napoleon.”

Born Napoleone di Buonaparte on the island of Corsica, only one year after Corsica was transferred to France by the Republic of Genoa, he later adopted the more French-sounding Napoleon Bonaparte.

Introducing a plethora of innovative strategies, Napoleon’s victories were more decisive than anyone had experienced before. Exporting revolution to the rest of Europe, the movements of national unification and the rise of the nation state, Napoleon’s religious policy emancipated Protestants to an equal status with Catholics. The Concordant of 1801 contained principles that served France for the next 100 years.

The Napoleonic Code was a “revolutionary project” embraced by much of Europe, instituting several lasting reforms, including: centralized administration of the departments, higher education, a tax system, a central bank, civil and criminal law codes, road/bridge/sewer systems, breaking the back of feudalism, and remained in force long after Napoleon’s defeat. Credit Napoleon for reorganizing the Holy Roman Empire, streamlining a thousand entities into 40 nation states. In mathematics, Napoleon’s Theorem is still used today.

Many in the international community still admire the many accomplishments of the self-made emperor, and celebrate his legacy. Moreover, many probably wish Napoleon had achieved his unrealized goal: To make it a law that only those lawyers and attorneys who win their cases should receive fees. How much litigation could have been prevented by such a measure! This is a brilliant idea, wouldn’t you agree?}

Now that you know about the “Genius of Being Bold” do you have what it takes to start your own innovation revolution?  

  • Get the framework and the tools to move beyond current impasses 
  • Be prepared to get uncomfortable for awhile
  • Time to remove the handcuffs, the shackles, and the blinders
  • Get out of the state of denial
  • Confess the Machiavellian truths about “business as usual”
  • Challenge the complacency of day-to-day routines
  • Implode the cannons defending the status quo
  • Set yourself (and your organization) free
  • Deliver the core message of change as revolutionary, thoughtful, and resilient
  • Ignite the thinking revolution
  • Order a call to arms throughout your organization
  • Renounce the tranquility of repetition
  • Everyone is an innovator / Everyone is a change agent
  • Be prepared to look at yourself as you look objectively at your culture
  • Time to create the future you want for your business
  • Empower people to think critically, question relentlessly, act boldly
  • Move your business from complacent to competitive!

In partnering with our Vitalia Consulting clients, our consulting methodology is purposely designed to identify the challenges and discover the possible solutions together:

  1. We Listen and Assess. Where is the organizational culture relative to the business?
  2. We Partner and Facilitate: Strategic Vision and Strategy Process
  3. We Partner and Facilitate: Overcoming obstacles on the road to victory
  4. We Lead and Facilitate: Leadership Coaching Sessions (Group and Individual)
  5. We Lead and Facilitate: Leadership Learning Sessions
  6. We Partner and Facilitate: Individual and Organizational Behavioral Shifts
  7. We Partner and Facilitate: Creating an “immersive” sense of place, of home for everyone within your organization
  8. We Partner and Advise: Sustaining the Vision over time.

By the way, this is not done by simply having an annual PowerPoint Presentation!

Be a bold, enlightened leader. This is a better way of building organizational capability. As the speed of organizational behavioral change accelerates, critical thinking, questioning, inventing, and exploring become business priorities.

The future of high growth business belongs to those (leaders and organizations) who can adapt and grow, who lead with boldness. You’ll need the tools to move beyond your current impasses.

Understand the boldness of these assertions because without revolution nothing changes. Remember, powerful words backed by powerful actions is a catalyst for true change. Strategically placed Enlightened Leaders are vital to your organization and to your business. After all, there’s a little Napoleon in every one of us. Liberte! Egalite! Fraternite!

Marc Ortiz de Candia, Executive Partner, Vitalia Consulting

To learn more about how we can work together, go to the partnering page at and complete the contact form. Let us know how we can help you, or someone you know. Every relationship begins with a conversation.

The Sense of Purpose

If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. Albert Einstein


Hello again, Enlightened Leaders of the World. In the New Age of Enlightenment, it’s time to “Unleash and Declare your Inner Radicalness!” Incorporate this phrase into your vocabulary. Why? Nothing ventured, nothing gained – because Enlightened Leaders are radical beings with a sense of purpose. I dare say, it is the inherent responsibility of every Enlightened Leader to:

  • Unleash and Declare your Inner Radicalness!
  • Define your sense of purpose as the foundation for all decisions and actions.
  • Model pragmatic integrity.
  • Refine your Emotional Intelligence. Value High EQ in people.
  • Embrace big, revolutionary ideas.
  • Utilize radical thinking to inspire and cultivate emerging leaders.
  • Challenge traditional management and leadership concepts. 
  • Rejuvenate pluralistic organizational/cultural systems.
  • Be Different. A model and catalyst for true transformation.
  • Rid the workplace of every autocratic, bureaucratic Fascist, at every management and executive level, and do it now!
  • Measure everything you do against your sense of purpose.

It’s time to revitalize organizational cultures so that people can genuinely thrive, where brilliance is nurtured, and the magnificence of human creativity is valued, not just philosophy or policy printed on a poster.

Enlightened Leaders are fearless, not afraid to fail to succeed. There is no aversion to risk. After all, for those who might question these words, are we not the children of revolutionary patriots? Remember, the USA was founded by Radical Thinkers, based on revolution against an empire. We have far more in common with the French than we care to admit. In fact, without the French, especially the Marquis de Lafayette, there would be no chanting of “USA, USA, USA!”

I was recently moved by the film “Hugo” a serious work of art directed by Martin Scorsese. Well-crafted movies (or films if you prefer) have always had the potential power to capture dreams. Dreams come from imagination, imagination from dreams. The movie takes place in Paris circa 1931. Hugo is a boy who lives and works in the clock tower of a train station, fixing things, moving in the shadows and the shafts of the industrial age. A motherless then a fatherless child, homeless, left alone to find his way in this world. He goes mostly unnoticed except in those moments when he must come into the light of day to survive. People in ivory towers don’t know what it takes for the “have-nots” to start over, every single day, with absolutely nothing.

Hugo is harassed by the train station police, threatened to be sent away to an orphanage with all the other unfortunate ones. He has one possession, an expressionless automaton with missing parts, given to him by his father. Like the automaton, Hugo has missing parts, no sense of purpose. Befriended in a round-a-bout way by a toymaker (Georges) with a secret past, and Isabelle – the goddaughter, Hugo is forced to subsist with heart-breaking pain and suffering, far too much torment and anguish for an innocent boy who doesn’t deserve his lot in life.

Here are a few lines from the movie:

Hugo: (praying, pleading to no one) Everything and everyone has a purpose. My purpose was in being with you, my father. The entire world is a big machine. I couldn’t be just an extra part. I have to be here for some reason. (talking to the automaton) You have to be here for some reason, too.

Georges (The Toymaker) : Happy endings are only in the movies. I am broken. Once broken, I lose my purpose. I may not be fixed again. I may never have my purpose again. I have to be here for some reason. This is my only chance to work again…I am just waiting to do what I’m supposed to do, work again…the work I was always meant to do.

Hugo’s quest for purpose transforms everyone around him.

In high society (the haves) people can be accepting and understanding of the miserable unfortunates (the have-nots) for awhile, for an impatient while, because there’s a limit to how benevolent these people can be, especially the ones who live in ivory towers. And then, there comes a day when these same benevolent people wish that you never existed, and so they simply wish you away. The benevolent let go and watch you fall down, down, down. I know, because once upon a time, I was an unfortunate son, yearning for answers to unanswered pleas, prayers, and questions.

My childhood and early adulthood experiences were cold, harsh life lessons which taught me what it really means to be different in this world. Society had rejected the working class, the poor, the ethnically mixed, among many other groups.

After years filled with frustrations and disappointments, I finally discovered my purpose for being at 33 when I founded De Candia International Corporation, a multicultural consulting and learning services firm. My life experiences, street smarts, passionate intelligence, business savvy, and understanding of human issues of difference strongly influenced our business capabilities and the key concept of “Pluralistic Leadership.” I was at the right place at the right time, pleasantly surprised by my self-made success.

Suddenly, my professional and personal life became meaningful. This new-found “sense of purpose” gave me clarity. I could see the world with fresh eyes. To this day, all my decisions and actions are driven by my sense of purpose.

Now here’s where you come-in. You, The Enlightened Leader!  

Enlightened Leaders have a distinct sense of purpose and self-worth. A sense of purpose engenders a sense of commitment and conviction for those around you, and within your organization. Enlightened Leaders are not satisfied with the status-quo, determined to transform organization culture and related systems in alignment with their sense of purpose, a thoughtful purpose. It requires radical thinking. No great invention, work of art, product, concept, cultural revolution, or world-changing ideal has been achieved without radical thinking. Create workplace environments where daydreaming works for the betterment of all people, where people feel free to be human beings – innovating innovation, where business exists in a world without borders. 

Unenlightened leaders (you know who you are) can best be described in these terms…

In her new book, Leading So People Will Follow, Erika Anderson explores “31 Telltale Signs You Are A Horrible Leader” – Boiled Down to 3:

  • focus on protecting and advancing only themselves
  • are interested in people only as a means to that end
  • assume that good people are a threat

Learn to lead so that people will follow you – because they choose to follow you. Lead so that followers become willing participants in your vision and mission.

Without a sense of purpose we are lost, without direction or hope. We are all here on this planet for a reason. We are all in organizations for a reason. We are not here to replace the machines from the industrial age. When we cannot see ourselves reflected in organizations, when we do not have stock in society, we lose our sense of purpose and self-worth.

Most organizations have vision/mission statements that do not translate or resonate throughout the organization or the marketplace. Why? Because without a sense of purpose, and the role they may play in the fulfillment of the vision/mission, groups of people become aimless wanderers without commitment or conviction.

Why not permeate your organization with a simple, well-conceived “Purpose Statement?” A set of working values and beliefs, core premises demonstrated through actions, a sense of purpose that everyone can live-by.

Unenlightened leaders reject transformation and change, knowingly sending rays of light to the masses when the truth is there is no real hope, only false hopes which feed hopelessness and despair. These are the leaders who perpetuate closed organizational cultures, imprisoning people. These organizations are prisons, dark places where dreams and imaginations are sentenced to death.

In business as in life, it’s a huge mistake to ignore groups of people, especially people without a sense of purpose and self-worth because these are people with nothing left to lose. If this is your choice, then prepare for the inmates to storm the asylum that you’ve built. It won’t be a riot, it’ll be a revolt.

All my life, I have been surrounded by machines, machines of heavy metal and moving parts, machines of plastic and silicon chips, even human leadership machines, but I’ve never understood machines, especially machines without real people running them.

Enlightened Leaders open a portal to the world of dreams and possibilities, leadership development that delivers brilliance by design.

Remember, as a leader positively impacting others, it’s essential to remain open to learning and growing yourself. Being a great leader is a balancing act, always a balancing act. Be a life-long learner. Use 30% of your learning time to develop knowledge, skills and behaviors. Use the remaining 70% on real-world practice time. The tools for developing Enlightened Leaders is distinct from other learning solutions. Simulations give emerging leaders the opportunity to practice new knowledge, skills, and behavioral insights. Stimulating discussion and sincere reflection are keys to everlasting learning.

Remember, Enlightened Leaders shift individual, organizational, and business behavior. You may not change the world, but you can transform organizational/cultural systems so that your business can adapt in the global economy, in the pluralistic marketplace.

Ask yourself: Which leadership path am I choosing to take? Am I an Enlightened Leader or Unenlightened Fascist Autocratic Bureaucrat or something in-between? Who am I?  Where do I stand?

Now, let’s go back to the beginning. Ask yourself: Am I an Enlightened Leader? If so, to what extent am I willing to:

  • Unleash and Declare my Inner Radicalness!
  • Define my sense of purpose as the basis for all my decisions and actions.
  • Model pragmatic integrity.
  • Refine your Emotional Intelligence. Value High EQ in people.
  • Embrace big, revolutionary ideas.
  • Utilize radical thinking to inspire and cultivate emerging leaders.
  • Challenge traditional management and leadership concepts.
  • Rejuvenate pluralistic organizational/cultural systems.
  • Be Different. A model and catalyst for true transformation.
  • Rid the workplace of every autocratic, bureaucratic Fascist, at every management and executive level, and do it now!
  • Measure everything I do against my sense of purpose.

It’s time to fly your true colors.

Let’s continue the conversation with a sense of purpose.

Marc Ortiz de Candia, Visionary Thought Leader, Vitalia Consulting

What Do You Say and Do?

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962 in Houston, Texas USA

When I was a small boy (believe me, when I tell you that I was a very small boy) I saw President John F. Kennedy’s “Moon Speech” on TV. It was an awe-inspiring moment for me, for most Americans. Few people remember how unpopular and unsupported “space travel” was at that time. Most people didn’t believe it was even possible. It was something you could only imagine, or experience in science-fiction books and movies. Most politicians thought it was too ambitious, and unrealistic. JFK had an ace up his sleeve: A tenacious vision backed with passionate intelligence and conviction. The “Moon Speech” shifted American perception of space travel, and in turn, our sense of other endless possibilities.

As a working-class boy, I wasn’t permitted to be a free-thinker. I was imprisoned by the limitations dictated by class and ethno-centric discrimination: Hell on earth! I was constantly bombarded by messages from those who brandished absolute power, telling me/showing us, that nothing I dreamt would ever come true for me, or for any one of us.

JFK moved me to see, for the first time in my embryonic life, that anything is possible if you believe in the vision, if you are genuinely committed to making the vision come alive. You must commit without hesitation or doubt or excuse to retreat, to fallback. No matter what others say and do to destroy your dreams, JFK showed how vital it is to move forward and execute your vision with confidence. Defiance in the face of overwhelming odds.

We sometimes tend to romanticize great leaders like JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi. We focus on their vision and charisma, forgetting that these enlightened leaders are best remembered for getting things done. Getting things done is the real legacy of these enlightened leaders. We’ve all experienced managers, executives, and politicians with vision and charisma (who may even look the part) but do absolutely nothing. Vision and charisma are not enough, enlightened leaders possess a High EQ (emotional quotient) for getting things done with emotional intelligence.

Being an enlightened leader is not about espousing new rhetoric or reciting recycled jargon. Enlightened Leaders execute their strategic vision. Words and actions are consistently in alignment.

Contrary to the same old tune we’ve all heard before: Silence is not golden.

In the multicultural management consulting and learning services firm that I founded and led, De Candia International Corporation (1987-2007) we uncovered the “conspiracy of silence” in Corporate America whereby no one says anything to challenge or confront systemic deception and collusion, to keep the status quo intact. A conspiracy of silence engenders collusion, and collusion is the arch-enemy of change.

The message: Lead sans silence. Speaking-up makes a difference. Execute your vision with conviction. Lead with determination while remaining open to pluralistic perspectives.  

Understand the value of speaking-up, taking a stand, with conviction. While no one else may believe in your dreams, it doesn’t matter what other people think, even when you feel the whole world is against you. If you feel that you can’t speak-up: ask yourself, “What messages am I receiving from within my organizational culture, telling me it’s not safe to speak-up.” The answer always lies within how the organizational culture is set-up. Change the set-up of the culture and you’ll see the behavioral change. Try this in small ways: participating in a meeting, working with a team on a project. You know that you believe in your vision, and you are willing to take the calculated risks to see that it happens, by whatever means necessary (without becoming the new Prince Machiavelli).

What matters most is what happens in the long run. JFK didn’t live to see his moon dream realized. Others, who were inspired by his vision, fulfilled his dream in 1969. No one accomplishes anything alone. Understand this: “Resilient conviction” is part of every enlightened leader’s behavioral profile.

Believe me when I tell you, I was rejected by everyone under the moon and sun, ridiculed as a politically incorrect ranting and raving lunatic (even by many of the people closest to me – my colleagues in other firms and practices). I was excluded, an out-cast by some organizations, who was said that I was conceptually and literally wrong about everything I conceived to be true. Yet my firm thrived for more than 20 years with impressive Fortune, Global, and Inc. 500 clients. Other management consulting firms interpreted my professional life as a contradiction (or just dismissed me for being a crazed, conflicted, Spanish-French Pisces).

Despite what fascist, authoritarian textbooks may have taught you, listen to your inner voice, see with your mind’s eye. Think about it: Are you flying your true colors? Are you saying what you believe? Or, are you just repeating what you been told is the proper company line. Great leaders are revolutionary not evolutionary, executing their visions with precision. Enlightened Leaders use their voice as a catalyst for action and change.

Come what may, when is the wrong decision, the right decision? When no one around you believes in doing the right thing, but you. Learn how to speak-up effectively. Challenge the powers that be. Storm the Bastille!

According to recent research from VitalSmarts: Silence Fails. Leaders can substantially improve their organizations ability to execute on high stakes projects and initiatives. Yes, you can break the code of silence on five astoundingly common yet mostly unspoken, undisclosed, and ignored problems that contribute significantly to almost all project and initiative failures.

Based on the VitalSmarts research, when an enlightened leader skillfully creates even a moderately safe environment, the likelihood of a project or initiative failing is reduced by 50%. When enlightened leaders effectively step-up, hitting schedule is 40% more likely, quality improves 60%, and the potential for project or initiative ending with strong morale and intact stakeholder relationships is 70% greater.

Based on the VitalSmarts study, the five crucial conversations most prevalent and most costly to lasting success are:

  1. Fact-free Planning: A project or initiative is set-up to fail when deadlines or resource limits are set with no consideration for reality.
  2. AWOL Senior Executives: Senior Executives (sponsors) provide no leadership, political clout, time, or energy to see a project through.
  3. Skirting: People work around the priority setting process. (You know, there’s one in every crowd, on every team, and more than one in every organization and family.)
  4. Project Chicken: Team leaders and members don’t admit when there are problems with the project, but instead wait for someone else to speak-up.
  5. Team failures: Team members are unwilling or unable to support the project.

Each brings with it a myriad of misses, cost over-runs which plague projects, initiatives, teams, organizations (and yes, dysfunctional co-dependent family relationships). The VitalSmarts key findings show that these problems are most likely caused by a high degree of interdependence among levels and functions. The organizational culture tends to be closed rather than open. Challenging norms, especially within a hierarchy, is the kiss of death. When these problems are not openly and skillfully discussed, projects and relationships fail miserably, significantly impacting what leaders, teams, and organizations can achieve.

Enlightened Leaders influence lasting success and achievements, the way we see ourselves and each other, causing us to re-think what we thought we knew, shifting our perceptions of things, the way we feel and act. Enlightened leaders shoot for the moon, and beyond.

So, what do you say and do? Let’s continue the conversation.

Marc Ortiz de Candia, Executive Partner, Vitalia Consulting