Greg Giesen is a management consultant and author in Denver, Colorado. Greg came out to Colorado in 1990 to join the management development department at Mountain States Employers Council and ended up staying in Colorado. Greg has a Master’s degree in personnel services and counseling from Miami University, and some of Greg’s past and present clients include: Anheuser-Busch, Level 3 Communications, Children’s Hospital of Denver, CH2M-Hill, U.S. Forest Service, Fidelity Investments, American Red Cross, National Public Safety Telecommunications Council, Raytheon Polar Services, Republic Financial Corporation, and the Denver Public Schools.
Additionally, Greg is the architect and lead-facilitator for the Leading From Within workshop. This highly successful leadership retreat is designed to help participants achieve optimal performance as a leader in both their personal and professional lives.
Greg talked to us about his career, his book "Mondays At 3" and life in Denver.
You’re President of a management development consultancy company called Greg Giesen and Associates. How did you get into this field?
I started my career out after graduate school as the Director of Student Activities at the University of Redlands. That job involved a lot of advising and coaching of students. From there I was grabbed away by Toastmasters International, also in Southern California, where I began my training career working with members and clubs around the world. Then, a couple of years later, I moved into management training full-time when I joined the Mountain States Employers Council staff here in Denver. MSEC is an incredible training ground for new trainers. And finally, after nine years with MSEC, I took the leap and went out on my own...and it’s been the best thing (other than getting into talk radio) that I’ve done.
Tell us about your book “Monday’s At 3.” How did you decide to write this book and what can people expect when they open it up?
I decided to write “Mondays At 3” because I have a lot to say about the topic of managing others and figured a book was the best way to say it.
“Mondays At 3” is a heart-warming story about the transformation of a newly promoted manager, Justin O’Brien, who is neither ready nor prepared to take on the position that was surprisingly given to him. Faced with a disgruntled department, an absentee boss, and essentially no management experience whatsoever, Justin suddenly finds himself very alone as captain of what is quickly becoming a sinking ship.
Then, just as things go from bad to worse, Justin’s fate changes as he accidentally discovers a daily advice column in the local newspaper called, Ask Dr. Mac, written by a management guru of the same name.
Partly out of desperation and partly out of curiosity, Justin, using the alias of Desperate Dave, begins submitting many of his newly created management problems to Dr. Mac in hopes of receiving some kind of guidance.
To Justin’s surprise and delight, Dr. Mac takes a personal interest in him and his letters and their correspondence turns into an eventual friendship that reveals him the secrets of leadership that changes his whole life around.
“Mondays At 3” has a different take on most management books in that it’s told from a fictional point of view. Why did you decide to take this route instead of the more traditional textbook or anecdotal perspectives?
I did attempt to write the more traditional textbook but kept tripping over my own words...that is until my graduate students at the University of Denver suggested I write a management novel. They suggested a novel not only because it would be a more interesting and fun book to read, but because I could incorporate all of my 25-years of consulting stories into one place...which I did. The story essentially follows Justin during his trials and tribulations that occurred during his first year as manager of the Orders Fulfillment Department at DataDump, Inc., I did this because I wanted the reader to vicariously experience what Justin experienced as he rose from the ashes and transformed himself into an incredible manager, husband, father, and friend. But be prepared...you might even cry a few times while reading it.
I’d like to also add that local actor, Paul Rohrer, narrated the “Mondays At 3” audio book and used 18 different voices and various sound effects to create the most incredible visceral listening experience imaginable. It’s like listening to the soundtrack of a movie. The audio book is available on Amazon or Audible.com.
Tell us about your leadership workshop “Leading from Within.” What are those three days like?
If you can’t tell by now, I’m into life transformation, and the Leading From Within program (LFW) is a big piece of that. Now in its 15th year, LFW is a workshop for anyone who wants to take a time-out from their lives in order to examine what’s working...what’s not...and how to get back on track so they can become the person they were meant to be. It’s an opportunity to assess their purpose in life and to make sure it’s aligned with their passions and core values. But most importantly, it’s a time to get back in touch with their true authentic selves.
In order to create a safe and supportive group environment, we limit each workshop to 16 participants, called the Circle of Friends. The various activities and exercises are conducted both indoors and outdoors at the beautiful North Fork Ranch near Bailey, Colorado.
I’ve posted a slide show up on my website to give your readers a sense of some of the exercises we do during the workshop. The next program is May 16-18th, 2012.
This can be seen as an investment in the participant’s life. What kind of return on investment can the participant expect receive?
Because Leading From Within is essentially a spa of the mind, heart, and soul, it’s a bit tough to measure an ROI. Participants certainly leave the 3-day workshop with a sense of groundedness and clarity about who they are as authentic leaders. They also have a greater appreciation for the people in their lives and are committed to showing up as the same person in all facets of their lives. Does this make them more effective leaders in the workplace? You bet it does!
When you think about leadership problems that have arisen in the past, which is the one that stands out in your mind?
I could write a book just on this topic alone...but if I had to narrow it down to one, I’d say inconsistency. There are too many managers that say one thing but do another. There are too many managers that subscribe to the “reactive” management philosophy where external circumstances dictates how they manage. These managers are not grounded with a personal leadership philosophy and thus show up inconsistently and continuously send out mixed messages as a result. Inconsistency and mixed messages create distrust. Distrust creates guarded behavior. Guarded behavior creates disengagement. Do I need to go on?
What’s the most rewarding part about what you do?
The results...whether it’s someone adjusting their management style because of something they read in “Mondays At 3” or someone transforming themselves in front of my own eyes at the Leading From Within program. I’m on retainer for a couple of companies and get to regularly coach their employees and watch them grow as a result. I love what I do.
What can we expect to see from you in the coming year?
I host a weekly talk radio show called “Mondays At 3” (my attempt at branding) on Castle Rock Radio. So expect great things from my show and amazing guests like bestselling author Mark Sanborn, blind hiker Eric Weihenmayer, and America’s Got Talent finalist, Silhouettes. Go to my talk radio tab on my website for more information.