Leadership, Communication, and Appreciation: An Interview with Mark Sanborn

I remember the first time I met Mark Sanborn. He was delivering a half-day presentation at a University in my city. At the time I was the President Elect for a state chapter of the National Speakers Association. When I heard that Mark was speaking in my neck of the woods, I thought there was a slim chance I could meet him if I named-dropped my NSA connection.

Amazingly, it worked.

He came out to meet me in the lobby of the venue an hour before his speech. What I remember most was my astonishment that he actually asked me questions. This is not a common with speakers. They usually like to do all the talking. But, Mark was genuinely interested in what I had to say.

I thought, “Well, even if this guy’s presentation sucks, I’m still happy I met him.”

Thankfully, in addition to being a great guy, he is a phenomenal speaker. I was franticly taking notes the entire time he spoke. One sentence after the next was gold! My chicken scratch had chicken scratch because I was writing so fast.

I was extremely impressed by how well-read, articulate, and authentic he was on the platform. There was no doubt in my mind why he was in the big leagues of speaking.

So, when I wanted to bring in a guest to discuss leadership, there was only one man who came to mind. Mark Sanborn. I hope you enjoy this brief interview as much as I did. In typical Sanborn style, every word is gold.


Mark Sanborn Site

Fred 2.0 book

Sharí’s Takeaways:

  • Communication is a key component for leadership.
  • Mark’s book The Fred Factor is about turning the ordinary into the extraordinary by creating value through passion, creativity, and commitment.
  • Leaders lead with their words and their actions. Teams will mimic what they see more than do what you say. This is very similar to my discussion with Lou Heckler.
  • We systematize important things. Having a solid system for recognition isn’t a bad idea. It can still be genuine and sincere, even if it’s not as spontaneous. Mark shares a system for appreciation that one powerful CEO uses for his large company.
  • Effective communication is being heard, understood, and getting the other person to take action. You must give compelling reasons for them to act.
  • Leaders tell their people what to do, but often forget about the why.
  • Mark mentions a famous Jim Cathcart quote, “To know more, notice more.”