AGS Conclave 2019: Speaker Steve Gutzler on Influential Leadership

Nearing the end of day two of the American Gem Society’s (AGS) annual Conclave event—this year in historic downtown Seattle—I’ve been in the audience for several memorable educational sessions. The Conclave schedule runs daily from around 8 a.m. until well into the evening (last night Hearts on Fire hosted its annual trivia night at 9:15 p.m.!)

Among the more impactful sessions, at least for me, was Seattle-based speaker Steve Gutzler’s “Power of Influence and Impactful Leadership” seminar.

As an expert speaker, executive coach, and author on the subjects of leadership and emotional intelligence, Gutzler shared his five steps for “pivoting” in specific areas that he promises will make us all better leaders and managers of people.

Here are his five “leadership shifts”:

Shift From Victim to Leader

“Victims talk about people and problems,” Gutzler said. “Leaders talk about possibilities and solutions and about what they love.” He added that so many of us look at things we need to do every day through the “lens of obligation” (I know I do!), but he stressed that if you “get into the mindset of a victim, you never get out.” And as a manager, you pass that mode of thinking on to your employees.

Shift From Black-and-White Vision to HD

“Vision is a picture of the future that creates passion in the present,” he said, then asked the audience, “Do you have absolute clarity about who you are and what you want?” He shared that he often works with clients on their “five professional must-haves”—the things they need and absolutely have to have in their professional lives to be happy and feel fulfilled.

Shift From Activity to Accomplishment

The speaker urged the crowd to “focus on your MVPs and most valuable and profitable use of time.” In other words, cut down on your low-value, trivial activities (such as aimlessly scrolling social media feeds), and keep your eye on the big picture and solutions that facilitate a sunny future.

Shift From Being Smart to Being Smart and Healthy

Gutzler shared two moving stories of health crises he and his wife endured some years back and said that they brought him to the realization that they both had to start taking better care of themselves. “We change not when we see the light, we change when we feel the heat,” he said, paraphrasing a Caroline Schoeder quote. Gutzler also reminded the audience to unplug from technology by 7-8 p.m. every night to ensure better sleep. Because when you’re healthy and rested, you’re a better thinker and leader!

Shift From Fast to Finishing

The author admitted to being a reformed “fast” worker—often leaving people behind in the name of velocity. But he warned, “It’s not just about going fast—it’s about finishing. You want to finish with the people you love and respect, Don’t run ahead of them.”

Top: AGS Conclave 2019 speaker and author Steve Gutzler delivering yesterday’s session on leadership (photo courtesy of AGS)

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JCK Magazine Editor