Eric Bailey: From the Ghettoes of LA to CEO of a Multi-Million Dollar Brand.
While growing up in the rough parts of South-Central Los Angeles, Eric Bailey was never given too much hope about his future. With all the odds against him, dreaming of a career, let alone becoming the CEO of a multi-million-dollar brand, seemed very, very far away from reality. Adopted at a very young age, Eric Bailey grew up as an only child. Feeling overwhelmed and lonely for the most part, Eric was also born with a bone disease in his knees, which caused a lot of pain his whole life.
The odds were against him one more time, and when he decided he wanted to play basketball, everyone believed that it would never be possible. But Eric never gave up. And he had someone who believed in him. His coach from High School made him believe in himself. It was his first winning. Eric was able to overcome the odds, becoming a successful basketball player.
After a successful career as a professional basketball player, Eric Bailey decided to bring all his knowledge and experience he used to apply to self-motivate and encourage others on the basketball courts to the corporate side.
As a successful motivational speaker, Eric Bailey has traveled all over the World to speak, teach and motivate over 4.5 million people. His career was built based on trust, honest truth, and the ability to reinvent yourself, even when nobody believes in you.
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We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Eric Bailey: I am former professional basketball player in Australia, motivational speaker, and CEO at Wolf Leadership. I have over 30 years of experience in helping leaders and organizations to evolve their abilities, focusing on what matters to create the winning mindset every leader needs to win in business.
As a firm believer that your team is the greatest asset of your company, I saw an incredible opportunity when I decided to join Wolf Leadership as the CEO.
“We do not believe in tedious, long-hour preachy speeches. We provide effective communication, rapport building, fun, and motivational workshops to bring tangible, practical, and effective results. That is why I decided to join Wolf Leadership. To create better, bigger, and even more effective workshops to help our clients to uplift their teams and unlock their full potential.”
We believe that human creativity inspires solutions and sparks innovation. We believe in fun, human and interactive people-development programs. We believe the strength of your business, relies on the strength of your people. We believe that the performance of any business is most impacted by the quality of its people. We believe to achieve strong accountability and a creative thinking culture; you must pay attention to the specifics needs and skills of each team member. Wolf’s 3 tier approach advances the business on all 3 levels – the individual, the team and the brand concurrently using creative methodologies to shift the perspectives and develop growth mindsets.
How we develop the strength of your people is by using top creative and business facilitators, who deliver a listen, discuss, play style one-hour workshops and one on one coaching every month. Our experts are armed with knowledge that is enjoyable to access, easy to digest and spark personal action.
We work with the individual through one on one coaching. We work with the team through our power workshops. We pull this together at a brand level through our tangible sales and marketing deliverables and sustainable training tools.
We work with teams or divisions of ten. Can do multiple across a company, starting with sales and team leaders / managers. Zoom session are capped at 10 (give or take).
To finish things up, do you have a favorite quote to inspire other leaders?
“To motivate is to take a broken state of mind and mend it with a CHAMPION attitude.” – Eric Bailey
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Eric Bailey: Yes 2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curveballs into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple of years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
There is no denying that Covid has changed the workplace, causing organizations to take a closer look into how it is crucial to create a strong culture and the challenges to keep their leaders and the team motivated, especially with the remote or hybrid work model that many companies had to adapt.
The pandemic highlighted the reality that despite advancements in the areas of workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion, all of this heavily influences leadership and the entire organization.
I believe that the workplace environment will never be the same in the post-pandemic scenario as people are more motivated to find the meaning behind their actions. An organization that does not invest in its culture and leadership will suffer in finding strong-willed employees.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Eric Bailey: Leadership development leads to sustained success. Great leaders attract, hire, and inspire great people. Organizations who invest in motivation and leadership training are more likely to improve performance and productivity, and attract and retain talent, in 2022
Studies have shown that a lack of effective leadership development significantly impacts the workforce, particularly millennials. 77% of millennials reported their company’s ability to provide leadership development was “weak.” With that being said, it is worth noting that disengaged employees had a 37% higher absentee rate, suffered 49% more accidents, and made 60% more errors at work.
In the competitive world, the difference between an average company and a profitable company is the ability to add value. When leaders feel valued, the team responds positively, the employees feel proud, and they are more likely to be motivated to come to work every day.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Eric Bailey: The pandemic made many leaders and organizations realize that investing in leadership training is crucial to continue thriving and connecting with their clients. We had to adapt, finding new ways to connect online with our clients and create new strategies to keep them informed, motivated, and engaged. There are a few areas I had to definitely get better at. Learning how to stay calm and responding quickly to unexpected situations is at the top of my list. I’ve always been impatient so knowing when to push and let go of my ideas is crucial. Working on my mental and physical well-being is much more important for me. I guess I had taken that for granted.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Eric Bailey: 2020 was a really difficult year for me, with many changes in my personal and professional life. With all that, I discovered that I am more resilient than I thought and realized that starting all over is not that bad. In the end, there is always something better waiting for us.
As per advice, I wish someone had told me that everything would be ok. Because in the beginning, changes were brutal, and they brought challenges to everyone. The unknown was a big challenge.
In 2022 I intend to continue working to grow Wolf Leadership to bring more impactful sessions to help businesses. We are working hard to put together a series of life-changing workshops that will help leaders better understand how to identify their own unique key motivators and improve their self-leadership and personal branding. Our sessions start next month, and I believe it will be a game-changer for many organizations.
Also, we are bringing the BEAR Marketing model to the companies, incorporating technologies allowing them to personalize their communications and marketing at a highly sophisticated level. We provide our clients with flexible and affordable access to these resources to achieve scalable connectivity and performance.
We have started a division called Wolf Cub Club for teens. All about leadership and resilience for teens. I have a long history of working with teenagers, school staff, and parents. I believe that when we invest in teens, we can help them to develop a winning mindset, changing their present to a better future.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Eric Bailey: With workplaces optimized for remote work, the ones that thrived during the pandemic more often were the ones that adopted workplace innovations, such as paperless tools, virtual platforms, and new workflow processes.
Employers witnessed firsthand the significant caregiving obligations of workers, from caring for children when schools closed to caring for parents or family members with COVID-19 or underlying conditions that made them vulnerable.
Studies have shown that organizations are effectively seeking to improve engagement and increase investment in the leadership team in the upcoming years. 78% of business leaders have said that they are actively and regularly focused on engaging with their employees. Also, nearly 95% of organizations plan to increase or maintain their current investment in leadership development.
The bottom line is that leadership development is essential at every level. However, the lack of investment is still there, and there is more room for growth. While 83% of organizations believe it is crucial to develop leaders at every level of the company, only 5% of businesses have implemented leadership development at all levels.
At Wolf Leadership, we have been helping organizations address some of the issues brought by the pandemic, post-pandemic, and some that were there even before. We address cultural problems, dig deep into the cause, and bring back their sense of direction. We believe in motivating the team to think creatively and solve problems.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Eric Bailey: With the online sessions that we provide and between personal and work, probably more than I wish. However, this is the new work model for 2022, and we must embrace it. However, it is always refreshing when I can spend time with the clients and have our sessions done in person.
It was interesting for me to research these facts: Social Isolation Caused By Excessive Screen Time…
Social networking has changed the way we communicate, do business, and access information. How you use it, however, does make a difference.
Research is showing a relationship between screen time – specifically social media use – and an increase in mental health issues including depression, loneliness, and anxiety.6-8 People are spending more time “connecting” online and less time engaging in face-to-face or verbal interaction, which is impacting how people form and foster relationships. Social network platforms can be valuable as a means of launching conversation, but if not paired with more traditional forms of communication, they can be a source of negative expectations.
Screen Fatigue Causes….
Headaches, blurred vision, and dry, irritated eyes are common symptoms of digital eye strain resulting from too much screen use. 65% of people experience eye strain and discomfort after prolonged use of digital devices and more than 20% suffer from headaches.9 As a result, employees may find it difficult to focus and productivity can suffer.
This is the information I have passed on to my teams and clients.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Eric Bailey: Storytelling is at the heart of the human experience. Whether we are talking about our day, pitching a business to an investor, or communicating with a customer, we all use the framework of stories to inform people and move them to action.
Over the past 30 years I have mastered the art of telling compelling stories of my difficulties during my birth, growing up in the HOOD of South Central Los Angeles, my experiences of dealing with racism and equality during my journey. And then sharing my experiences of basically living overseas as a professional basketball player and understanding different cultures and building a global speaking business.
These experiences resonate with my team and what’s going on in their lives.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Eric Bailey: The COVID-19 pandemic is severely affecting the world’s economies at a time when businesses were already adapting to volatility and uncertainty as a way of life. With the economic outlook and threats of all kinds continuing to test even the strongest organizations , companies are facing a variety of challenges as they strive to find growth and stay competitive. Each sector of the business world has its own set of demands and challenges. Some of these challenges span sectors and industries and are common among different companies and organizations. All businesses strive to maintain top-quality relationships with their customer base, to keep their brands relevant and to keep their employees happy. Facing and overcoming any obstacles that arise is what sets a good business apart from its competitors.
I believe the biggest challenge is developing a great culture. The hiring goal for businesses is to find the perfect fit for a job. After an employee is hired, businesses must then work to retain the employee. Hiring, training and educating employees takes time and resources. Good employees are a valuable investment.
In recent years, a significant portion of employees tends to switch jobs as often as every five years. To retain a quality member of the team, it is important to appreciate their work, supply appealing benefits and offer a competitive salary for their particular position. Appreciation is one of the main factors in retaining a quality employee. If an employee does not feel appreciated, they may decide to seek employment elsewhere. Appreciation includes acknowledging their accomplishments and contributions, listening to their feedback and praising them for a job well done.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Eric Bailey: I am very driven to create new opportunities to connect and motivate people. Online marketing is one extensive skill set that I am investing in learning more about and growing my personal brand. In 2022 I want to create more opportunities to engage with people, create new channels of connection, share my stories, and also hear theirs. There are so many of us who are not living to our fullest potential. The greatest mistake we can make as individuals is to seek a comfortable life. I get it. You want to be “comfortable”. You want to be like the young one says today, “aight”. Don’t do that to yourself. Do not limit what you are capable of achieving because you want to be comfortable. No one who ever transcended into the realm of greatness was comfortable. You have to get off your butt and put in the work. Go that extra mile.
I also have a huge passion in Network Marketing. Network marketing is a decades-old marketing model that involves selling legitimate products at fair prices directly to consumers who need them. Instead of distributing products to stores and relying on hired salespeople, companies use a network of distributors, many of whom started off as customers. There is no income cap. If you get really good at selling you will earn more money. You’ll be your own boss without worrying about hiring and firing because there will be no employees.
Network Marketing is highly effective, efficient and a risk free business model along with high earnings. A business model that permits to experience big earnings, luxurious life style, higher rewards, excellent recognition, helping others to grow is the best working model.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Eric Bailey: You would be surprised how many leaders lack of self-awareness. The numbers do not lie. The leader’s ability to build and empower their team directly impacts the organization. Research has shown that 95% of people think they are self-aware. Still, only 10 to 15 percent actually are.
Ineffective leaders will not engage the team, often demonstrating low emotional intelligence, affecting the organization with loss of productivity, employee absenteeism, safety issues, turnover, and increased healthcare costs.
Engagement is crucial. Companies with employee engagement are 22% more profitable. Organizations that invest in their team are the ones thought for the best professionals. And also are the ones with the highest retention rates.
Great leaders understand that the secret is not about seeking individual greatness to make themselves look good. Instead, it is about building up the people around them.
I have no doubt that successful and influential leaders will lead by example. They are passionate about their job, believe in their capabilities, encourage the team, manage pessimistic thinking, and show their weakness. Outstanding leadership is dynamic, and it makes a difference in the workplace, with more people willing to sacrifice a lower salary for a better culture and a better boss.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Eric Bailey: That is a really good question. I would pick the “spider-sense.” Just like Spider-man, “spider-sense” is helpful to catch up on issues before they occur and which no one else could predict. In leadership, I think that attentive leaders are successful due to their proactive ability, thinking ahead to highlight areas of concern, planning corrective measures, and making swift decisions to help the team and the organization stays on course.
Spider-Man leads by example and he not only owns up to his shortcomings and failures, he never blamed others. As his Uncle Ben reminded him “with great power comes great responsibility.” Many leaders don’t realize how much power they hold in their hands.
Imagine if you could posses these qualities:
- Superhuman Strength.
- Superhuman Speed.
- Superhuman Reflexes.
- Superhuman Durability.
- Healing Factor.
- “Spider-Sense” Alert.
- Heightened Senses.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Eric Bailey: Success for me is to continue to build our brand globally. We are a leadership development company within a marketing company, so you can build your people while you build your brand.
The outcomes from Wolf Training is:
- Empowers team to take ownership of their roles
- Work through mental roadblocks and personal development barriers
- Inspire creative thinking
- Better understanding of self and team members relationship requirements and personalities
- Sales Training
- Creative AND business facilitators who specialize in their area
- Listen, discuss and play style interactive one-hour workshops
- One on one individual coaching for each team member
- Personal goal setting
We support the Nourish the Children Foundation (NTC), a fantastic initiative that applies business principles to address the problem of childhood hunger in a sustainable manner.
The program begins with a highly nutritious food developed by Nu Skin’s nutritional scientists, known as VitaMeal. The company’s sales leaders, customers, and employees can purchase VitaMeal and choose to donate the food to a third-party nonprofit organization that specializes in distributing relief to those suffering from malnutrition and famine. Since 2002, Nu Skin and its sales leaders, customers, and employees have donated more than 600 million meals to malnourished children around the World.
We also invest and get involved in our local community, supporting local events and initiatives.
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Eric Bailey for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Eric Bailey or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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