MEET BERWYN’S ENTREPRENEURS: MIKE SHERECK OF TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE, INC. (TLE)
Name: Mike Shereck
Hometown: Berwyn, IL
Current Residence: Naperville, IL
All About Mike:
I grew up as a third-generation Berwynite. My grandfolks built their house on 26th Street. My folks, my brother and my sister grew up on Grove. We were a typical family in Berwyn. My dad worked at International Harvester, and my mom was home and worked part-time at the Sears store in the plaza. I attended St Odilo Grade School, went to Morton West and was a remarkably average high school kid. Loved, baseball, football and hockey and of course was a fan of the White Sox, Bears, and Black Hawks. I was a passionate 16” softball player until I moved away and began playing 12”. I got married to a Berwyn girl and had a son. Kind of an average everyday guy.
THE BUSINESS SIDE
I spent time in manufacturing and in construction before I began my business as an Executive Coach and Leadership Consultant. I had a lot of different job titles and mostly the jobs were business development/sales and leadership positions. Throughout my career, I was the guy that would take on a difficult position or difficult group and my job was to turn it around. I usually was successful. I worked for a few different companies, and what I began to learn was, the thing that made organizations work or not work, was the leadership of that organization. I met some great leaders and I met a whole lot of bad ones. The bad ones were the biggest gift, it was where I learned the most.
In 2009 I was really resigned and uninspired, you could almost say cynical. I was angry, I was distant, and I was arrogant. Then I was confronted by one of the most challenging situations I have ever had to face. Truly a life and death situation. (This was probably my 26th road to Damascus moment, did I mention I was a slow learner?) Slowly, everything began to change. I began to question, to inquire, to look, and I began to see things like I never saw before. I registered for a Coaches Training Program. I registered because I had given up on leadership and wanted something easy, that I could do on my terms. I was mostly interested in riding my motorcycle. While I was engaged in the training, things began to shift some more. The anger was going away. The cynicism was leaving. It was being replaced by joy and appreciation. Before I completed the program, I was coaching my first CEO.
What I do is mostly get leaders in touch with who they really are, and work with them to be clear on the real reason they are doing what they are doing. In doing so we make clear plans and create structures so the actions they take are consistent with their purpose and the reason they are doing what they are doing. I know it sounds simple, yet you would be amazed at how many people, learners and organizations’ actions are not in alignment with what they say they are really doing. The results are of course highly improved, and the real results are leaders who realize the difference they make, have them gain a level of fulfillment that they have not had before, and most of all gain access to their voice, so the message they send is really the message they are committed to and an expression of their most authentic self.
That way of operating builds trust with the people they work with and their clients improve relationships and make stuff work better. It’s pretty simple but far from easy because as leaders we have to constantly unlearn so really bad habits and practices. That is what I do.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN 3 WORDS.
Authentic: I am not sure anyone is ever fully authentic and it is a commitment I have. I’m pretty much the same guy no matter where I am. Authenticity is also foundational to building trust and trust is all we actually have.
Courageous/Tough: I was run by fear for a huge part of my life. The cost of that was way too high. Courage is not the absence of fear it is just taking action when fear is present. Tough just means I’m too scared to stop.
Fun/funny: George Bernard Shaw once said, “If you are gonna tell people the truth you better make then laugh or they will kill you.” Humor is at the core of our humanity. Laughing at ourselves feeds our soul. I could not imagine a day where I did not laugh, that would be a sad day.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
The limitless possibility of human potential. I love to see people break through their barriers and accomplish things they want to accomplish. I love to see people fully expressed, and I want to be fully expressed, fully used up before I go.
TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU.
I never read a book cover to cover until I was 35 years old. Then in 1991/1992, I read over 200 books. Since that time I’m sure I have read close to 1,000 different books. Then at 62 I wrote and got published, my first book, BERWYN RULES.
In 2017 I wrote and had published my first book, BERWYN RULES. The response from the community was pretty amazing. I connected with a bunch of people I did not know, most notably Lucile Evans, and I found my home again. I reconnected with my home; I found my voice. The source of that is Berwyn.
WHAT IS THE ONE QUESTION YOU GET ASKED REPEATEDLY ABOUT YOUR PROFESSION?
How did you get into what you are doing, being a coach? I explained a bit of it earlier and the truth is I did not really know what it was, and it is a pretty weird profession, and I am very atypical for most coaches. And it is the absolute perfect thing for me, and I am pretty freaking good at it.
IF WE WERE TO HANG OUT WHAT WOULD WE DO?
If you wanted the full deal, we would spend the day on my Harley. We would get up and ride out to Starved Rock, stop at Fat Daddyz for one of the best burgers in the world, then jump back on the bike and ride out to the Psycho Silo Saloon and have a couple of beers, smoke a cigar, and listen to some hill billy rock and roll. All the while engaging in some interesting conversation and really learn about who each of us is.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT?
I am really committed to creating a world that works. Where people are heard and gotten, where fear is reduced, and we respect each other. How that looks day to day is creating work environments where the people come and they get to do their job, a job they love to the best of their ability. That is the role of leadership.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR?
That I run out of time. I wasted so much time early in my life. I am afraid the people I love and care for won’t really experience the level of love and appreciation I have for them and I won’t be able to give all I have to give. I’m trying over here boss.
WHICH PERSON FROM HISTORY WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO MEET?
Dwight Eisenhower. He is a really interesting guy, I could not imagine having to make that call knowing you were sending so many young men to their death, and it had to be made. Then he became the only guy to be a president whose previous job was bigger than the one he was about to take on. Finally, his exit speech about the industrial-military complex and how foreboding it was. I think he was a very underestimated and underappreciated man, and he was a man with flaws and failure.
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