In this unique episode, Mark Shekter unveils the Think8 patented methodology, a transformative framework for success and creativity. This innovative approach, based on eight elements that underpin all hit projects, was discovered by Mark and his wife, Nancy Trites Botkin, during their illustrious careers as award-winning writers in Hollywood.

Mark Shekter is the Co-Founder and CEO of Think8 Global, which brings the “Art of Business” to major Business schools, entrepreneurs, and Fortune 500 companies worldwide. During this fascinating conversation, Mark shares how his eight-step system can be a game-changer in helping companies and individuals work from this purpose-driven perspective.

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SDL Media Team


  1. How does Mark’s Think8 methodology enable individuals to think creatively?
  2. How can companies find a balance between passion and profit?
  3. Why is it not only possible but imperative that companies find meaning and purpose in their work?
  4. The importance of a company’s founding principles in their marketing strategy.
  5. Why does understanding an individual’s character, qualities, worldview, and values help them to align with their purpose and message?

We love show business. We love the arts. We were able to bring the art of show business to people.”

Mark Shekter

Co-Founder & CEO, Think8 Global Inc.


[02:40] How Mark and his wife prioritize a work/life balance

[06:50] Mark’s transition from Hollywood to founding Think8

[09:37] How Mark developed the 8-step Think8 System

[16:04] The first three steps: Meaningful, profitable, and sustainable

[18:28]  Signature Segment: Mark’s entry into the LATTOYG Playbook: Prioritizing creativity over content

[24:00] Step number four: Character, qualities, worldview, values, and beliefs

[25:59] Drilling down to the value of a company’s content

[27:16] Structuring business and working culture

[28:40] The final 2 steps: Messaging and impact

[23:46] Signature Segment: Mark‘s LATTOYG Tactics of Choices: Leading with Courageous Agility


As Co-Founder and CEO of Think8 Global, an international business design firm headquartered in Montreal, Canada, Mark works with individuals, companies, and organizations worldwide to increase productivity, sustainability, and social responsibility through their dynamic and innovative Think8® methodology, which he co-developed with Nancy Trites Botkin, president.

Mark’s new thinking on business and entrepreneurship draws on his unique background as an internationally acclaimed producer, writer, and composer; Mark has worked with many notables such as Jim Carrey, Steve Martin, Elton John, Diana Ross, Ela Fitzgerald, and Ray Charles, to name a few. His numerous honors include Emmys and New York Film Critics Award.



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Episode 79 | How Hollywood Disrupted Corporate Strategy with Mark Shekter

Mark Shekter  00:00

The word get kicked around a lot. Creativity da, da, da, but really, it’s a real thing. And the discovery that I had in the research was, you don’t have to be a born genius to think like one.

Voiceover  00:03

Welcome to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast, where we equip you to more effectively lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. Each week, we help you sharpen your leadership acumen by cracking open the playbooks of dynamic leaders who are doing big things in their professional endeavors. And now, your host, leadership tactics, and organizational development expert, Karan Ferrell-Rhodes.


Karan Rhodes  00:37

Hello, everyone, welcome back to the podcast. And thanks for joining another episode designed to help you better lead at the top of your game. As you know for season three, each month we’re featuring leaders who have fascinating roles in a particular profession or industry. And today’s episode is part of our special series featuring leaders who focus on an aspect of professional development. And now enjoy the ship. Hey, they’re superstars. Welcome back to another episode of the Lead at the Top of Your Game podcast. I’m your host, Karan Rhodes and I am absolutely thrilled to have you join us for a what promises to be a fantastic conversation this week. I am so pleased to have on today’s show. Mark Shekter, who is the co founder and CEO of Think8 global. And Think8 is an international business design firm that’s headquartered in Montreal, Canada. And I was sharing with him right before we started that it’s one of I’ve been there about three times it’s a beautiful place. And I can’t wait to get back to Montreal. So we have a friend from north of the border, if you will, on the podcast today. Now, Mark works with individuals, companies and organizations worldwide to increase their productivity, sustainability, and social responsibility. And he has a unique and patented methodology called Think aid, which he’s going to talk to us a lot about today, which he co developed with his co founder Nancy Trites Botkin. So welcome to the podcast, Mark


Mark Shekter  02:17

Thank you very much, Karen.


Karan Rhodes  02:19

We’re so happy to have you. So you know I’m dying to get into this methodology and how it really impacts leaders and organizations. But before we do so, for as much as you feel comfortable, can you give us a sneak peek into a bit of your life outside of the world of work?


Mark Shekter  02:40

Well, first of all, the co founder is my wife, Nancy. So already it’s two people people go how do you how do you work with your wife? And I said I couldn’t imagine not. Because some people have tried it. And they find this impossible for the first three months. It’s great. And then they they tell me, can’t do it. So that’s sad. So we have a life. I think that’s important. You know, we both come from the creative arts both are Emmy award winning writers and producers. So our background is entertainment, I spend time in Hollywood writing for major stars, Jim Carrey, Steve Martin and music for Elton John and Ray Charles and people. So I come from that world. And Nance come from that world as well. So part of our outside of work right now is we’re just actually working on a musical that we’re doing, I’ve had hit shows before. And so that’s a hobby and fun. And it’s a one woman show that it’s going to be quite something. But other than family, kids walks into part travel, our work takes us around the world. And we wherever we go, we take the time before after those meetings and in consulting that we do to explore. So we’ve been to the east, we’ve been to the south, we’ve been to the north. So just that. And the other thing I think is beautiful as we just have such a wonderful group of friends, not just colleagues, but just friends. And that’s priceless. So we in every respect, try to live fully, because the work is one thing, but because we love our work, it’s not work in this work, but it is blended with, we don’t use the word balance because it’s a whole other subject. We just go where with the flow goes you know, so it makes a difference working with with a partner. And that’s a very different dynamic. And when we come to companies and they see that man, woman, you know, energy and whatever. It’s a very different conversation we find with the largest companies we work with, which could be fortune five hundreds and the startups that we were there’s something else that people call it the way work whether it’s sort of a dance that happens then, and the magic sort of unfolds, we’ll get into how that can be. But those are the outside so music coming Writing, we’re still writing, we write books we write, you know, I have a best seller there. So it’s just fun. We just I think the joy of creating, if I had to summarize is really what we live about. You know what I’m talking about?


Karan Rhodes  05:12

If I could guess I bet your quicksand would be if you were never allowed to show your creative juices again. Is that would that be a quicksand for you?


Mark Shekter  05:21

Well, yeah, but you know, I’d always find a way around it creatively. I wouldn’t stop at all, no. But I think it’s I think life is creation. So you know, I think it is hand in hand with that.


Karan Rhodes  05:37

I love how you described kind of your, how you blend your personal life and work because, you know, I do the same. And as I call it kind of work life integration is just, you know, wherever is the priority to focus on at that point in time, that’s where, you know, I try to be at, I’ve been trying to be fully present, but it’s fantastic that you have a partner that you can work with and enjoy the great times with, and you found a both found a way to make it happen, which is a miracle within itself, I must say. So good for you. You and Miss Nancy. But you have, you know, worked in your career with some fantastic woman, you know, celebrities. And that could probably be a whole nother show around that. But definitely want to give as much airtime as we can to the Think8 methodology because I think this might be something fantastic for the listeners, and in a company’s leaders of companies that are listening, they might want to bring you to their organization. So without further ado, let’s start there. And can you share a little bit about how you made the transition from working in Hollywood and other areas to founding thinking?


Mark Shekter  06:50

Well, again, thinking creatively, when I was there writing, producing and composing and so forth, I was very fascinated with what makes a hit. My agent at the time, when I went to see him, I said, you know, Elliot, he was working with William Morris, Senior Agent, and I said, you know, what do you want from me as a writer, you know, I was doing well in comedy and music, I was able to do the triple threat, drama, comedy music, and he said, Oh, just write me a hit. And I said to him, Elliot, that is, that is ridiculous. What advice is that? He said, Well, that’s your job. That’s your job. So I thought about it and said, Well, I better figured this out. So I studied successes. What makes a hit movie, you know, it’s crazy. People thought I was like, there’s so many variables. Are you crazy? How do you predict that? But studying, you know, hit movies, TV shows, albums, etc, I became, I found eight points, eight common things to all of them, that when these projects addressed, these particular things, they were more successful than if they didn’t, it was kind of just a reductive thing of saying, well, they paid attention to this, they paid attention to that. So so far, these eight points became kind of the core of the think gate methodology. So I started sharing it. First of all, I was using it for myself, and my sales are things went up, I was selling about 70 to 80% of my pitches, which is a lot. It’s a lot,


Karan Rhodes  08:16

That is a lot!


Mark Shekter  08:17

and so producers, writers, and people came over and said, What are you doing, who are not doing and I said, well come on over for breakfast, and I get breakfast, we hung out. And I would spend the day and say, Well, I did this, this and that these are the eight points and so forth. And they, you know, go and I wasn’t charging anything for them. And they would go out and they would use them to a greater or lesser degree, but they were coming back saying I just got a series, I just sold my book, I just did another go. And I went, that’s amazing. And they said, it also handles writer’s block. And and I went, Oh, that’s cool. And then I realized and my wife said, you know, you need to, you might think of charging somebody because we could use some kitchen renovation. And I said, Okay, so for a few bucks. I mean, really few. I redecorated my kitchen. That was a big deal, right? However, what happened at the same time is that companies started to say come and talk about creativity and motivation and not enough. So I started going to related companies like PR companies ad companies that that area creative, you know, enterprises, and would sit there for an hour or two or three and share my theories and my method. And they went this is amazing. Help us with this project. Could I hire you for that? Meanwhile, I had this TV film thing going, so I just blended it


Karan Rhodes  09:33

So you were doing both?


Mark Shekter  09:34

I was just doing this I was ambidextrous right doing both  But what happened and you would understand this is that over time, it wasn’t that I wasn’t having success on the you know, the reading and you know, that was just taking off even more because of the equipping myself with this tool that I had developed. When I met Nance we developed and expanded to use of it and suddenly the way we would apply it and so forth very brilliantly and companies not just related TV, film ad PR companies, but organizations would say, you know, we’re having a bit problem with our marketing. But they went beyond that saying, Could you come and just talk to us about…You seem to be creative. Thank you. Can you turn your juices on? And that’s where the think8 system, I suddenly realized what had been developed. And it was kind of late to the party, it grew very organically. And I realized a few things which we can share. But one of the things was, and I found this fascinating, simple as it sounds, I said, I’m talking to leaders, because you are very much in that leader space and the executive senior executive. And I would ask them, and you’ve asked that same question coming from your background from what I’ve read. And so what is it that you can’t solve yourself? Like…why do you have to go out side? Not that it’s bad, and thank you for having me, you know? And they went, Well, this and that, and this and that. And I said, Can I make an assumption here that if you were more creative, or could think more creatively, you could probably solve it? Right? They went, Oh, yeah. I mean, you know, gee, we hire people are creative, I’m not creative. They would say I’m not creative. VPS. I say, Well, why do you? Why do you think so? So what happened was, that I realized that what I had done with the Think8 system, though, I innately was creative, was it was primarily a tool to turn on the juices. That’s why I called my book and it became a number one bestseller on Amazon, on Think8. How to Ignite Your Creative Genius in Business, Career, and Life. What I was really addressing was, if I could unlock the innate creativity that you have, and enable you to solve your problems, wouldn’t that be like the home run? And they went? Well? How do you do that? I said, Let’s do the process. So the whole idea behind Think8 was enabling those people at the top of the list, it’d be like those leading others, industry leaders, executives, from all walks of life, all diverse sectors, to be smarter to think more creatively, the word get kicked around a lot creativity da, da, da, but really, it’s a real thing. And the discovery that I had in the research was, you don’t have to be a born genius to think like one. And secondly, you can teach it, which is outrageous again, because the thing is, while you’re born with it, it’s a divine inspiration. It’s that blue spark, you know, you wake up, or you’re in the shower, or whatever. And I said, you know, what? It’s muscle, and how do you do this. And the Think8 process with it’s eight steps, allow somebody by asking questions and getting them to look at something that they had looked at before, by way of a business challenge, or a campaign or whatever the application would be, it turns on the juices in a way that it’s surprising to them. And they formulate the solution. They do it. And the beauty is it’s coming from them so that they own it, it isn’t like I’ve studied your company, here’s the plan, I’ll monitor it, lot’s of luck. Why not enable them, as you are very committed to enable them to think differently? This doesn’t say that they can’t be trained and educated and tools and know how and so on, but how they use it. That’s where the creative thing, how do you, you can give to people, all the training in the world, and one seems to have more spark than the other. But that person who doesn’t can be enabled to have the spark. And that was the research, it’s years of research, and application. And now this stuff is into MBA courses, MIT and other places that have you know, it’s grown. Because what they found is if you can solve the creative for the creativity element, you’ve cracked it. So I guess in some while you might start with, you know, in a business development process or growth, start with the what are the how, or the why of an organization, we start with the who,


Karan Rhodes  09:37

Wow.  The who. Yeah.


Mark Shekter  14:03

The person, but the creative capacity of that individual to lighten up and then everything that they know and learn can be channeled through that new lens, if you like. And it’s quite, that’s where the magic is, because it’s there magic.


Karan Rhodes  14:19

Sounds powerful.


Mark Shekter  14:20

It is


Karan Rhodes  14:21

Absolutely powerful. So, I’m just curious how it is. I’m not sure if you even know they, if they told you, but I’m curious, because you said you started this research and thinking when you were still, you know, writing, directing and producing. How did businesses catch on that it would translate to be applicable, you know, in kind of the corporate side, if you will, or in the business side of the world. How did they pick up on that?


Mark Shekter  14:52

Well, the first access was, you know, when you’re talking agents into PR agencies, they’re always headhunting for, you know, they want to of course smart. So when you’ve got me credits and so on, they make the call to your agent and go, you know, we have a project, we’ll pay good bucks who, you know, we just want to kind of know, you know, who do you know? And I could have said no, but I was very curious. So I did now when you get into those companies, they are representing other companies.


Karan Rhodes  15:24

Yeah. That’s true


Mark Shekter  15:24

So, the word gets out, you know, that was a great campaign. You know, who’s your artistic director? Well, we hired Schecter here, and so, so, and it was just, who doesn’t if you’re freelancing as a creative person, you know, literally nowadays, you can put your name on LinkedIn and go, I can write your ads, I can write your copy, come in motivated. But it just kind of, honestly, very organically and to your point of how did that make the transition. And I think this is really fundamental to our conversation, where we migrated to was we love, show business, we love the arts. But we were able to bring the art of business to people.


Karan Rhodes  16:03

I love that.


Mark Shekter  16:04

And that has been a really beautiful thing and the meaningfulness of it. And you talked about life, and what do we do beyond work? It is so meaningful, that it opened our eyes to what that really means in in business. And so the three things we go for when we come into companies is the first meaningful and then profitable and sustainable, when they have the meaningful, it’s everything. Because profit and sustainability, surprisingly, most people don’t even believe it’s possible to love your work and actually make a living at it, you know, you probably find this too, they don’t join that passion and profit can actually, they think you hear it all the time going, I don’t have time to love my life. That’s a luxury, I love my work. I you know, I have to be real about you know what I can do? We go, let me show you that it doesn’t have to be like that.


Karan Rhodes  17:01

Oh wow…


Mark Shekter  17:01

So this is it just again, we had a business, this thing kind of kept going and going. And eventually we looked at it and went Now the interesting thing is that as far as entertainment is we didn’t leave the entertainment industry. We consult to studios and projects and franchises. For example, we have clients who are major video game companies that use our tool, and our multibillion dollar video game companies. We worked on Avatar, we were brought in, in Sweden to sit down with the James Cameron people, Disney had just bought the franchise, working with video things and help shape some of that franchise before the second movie came out. So we can be top level there. And we can be top level on a fortune 500. What’s the common line? We’re enabling. and you know, this oh, well, the executives, the leaders to think differently about what they’re doing. Some would say the big picture visioning or whatever, but it’s really giving them the capacity to look at their business challenges through a different lens, and then carry that knowledge to their middle management and on and on. And the results are quite significant. Because it’s coming from them. They own it. It’s their their wins. You know, quite wonderful to see.


Karan Rhodes  18:17

And they get so energized by that as well, I’m sure.


Mark Shekter  18:20

Unexpectedly people,


Karan Rhodes  18:21

Ok. Well, you got to give us this thinking system, because I want to make sure we leave enough time for you to highlight that. So dive in…


Mark Shekter  18:28

Okay. Well, basically, it’s a scale of eight points in descending order of importance. Most companies start and it’s very natural, it’s almost, you know, reflex to go, Well, what do you want to fix? Well, we’re not selling as much or whatever. So we have to look at what we’re selling, we’ll call it content…we call it content, the thing, the product or the service. That is number six, in our scale of importance. They go, really?


Karan Rhodes  18:55



Mark Shekter  18:56

Or they’ll say, we have a really good product where we really have to work out our distribution channels, our systems, our operation, we call that structure, right? The the mechanism, the operation of systematic, that’s number six, on our scale. So they go, Well, what’s the first four? And they go Oh, right. That’s you. And they go, What do you mean, first? What is your purpose for doing so? And what? Why are you doing it? And they go, Oh, well, we’re buying building a car because the car, we’re going from fuel to EV, and so on. And so it’s going to be more cost efficient. I go, that’s a product purpose. Why are you even interested in building that car? And how does that at all resonate with a broader purpose that you might have called it a calling of vocation? Now we’re into a different conversation. When you sit down with the chairman, sitting in front of a multibillion dollar, whatever business and you ask him that question or ask her that question. And they go get out of here. You know, like, who are you? And you go, No, seriously, we’re gonna, we, you know, we want you to solve this this company’s problem. We are, give me some of your time. And you watch and they are okay. Okay, you made your point. And then we go there. So the very top of that list isn’t a question of starting with why ie product, why the value of its thing that comes later. What is it about you your background, your interests, that would even move you to care about want to devote your time and energy to making an EV? Right? The next thing below it is really? what point are you trying to make with the product and the business you’re doing? Like? What is your message? And they mean, like a marketing message? I say, No, no, what is the founding principle? What do you want me to understand that it’s so important about what you’re doing? Is it like fuel is wasteful? Electricity is the future? Or we can save money if we think or rethink transportation? Or what is it that is a foundational principle of that business? If I’m sending you a toothpaste? What am I trying to tell you that it’s going to clean your teeth? Or am I going to say, actually, teeth whitening is a relationship, you know, catalyst? In other words, where am I going? Is it to clean teeth or is it to open the communication or the comfort level with others confidence? Oh, why am I cleaning teeth? Is it oral health, because oral health is health, more and more research comes out about that they that they’re not distinctively separate. Okay, message, and it’s not a marketing message. It’s a personal message. If you I could ask you your message. What is it that you want people to understand about your work? Like, why are you doing this? And this sense of what is the point of all of this that you would want to make to your people watching? Is it that good trading makes you more expert, or that you sort of touch it with top of the game, you’re talking to people who’ve been there and done it. So you’re saying experience matters, life experience, working experience matters, because you’ve come from that school you’ve lived in? So your message might be training is fine without experience? Who cares? And honestly, there are companies, some beautiful business associations, that when they get together in their forums, don’t want to hear anybody’s opinion, unless they’ve lived it. So they don’t need advice. I don’t want to hear your advice. Did you do this thing that we’re struggling with? Yes. What did you do to be the right? So one could say you’re coming from the experience level of life in business, very different than here’s three tips on how to make money. Different. Okay, and you’re going to people who do


Karan Rhodes  22:47

So, do I have the first two correct and the purpose and message? I know is broader than that? Because you described them…is that the first two?


Mark Shekter  22:52

Well, I’m giving you a broad overview. And the third one, now that you’ve figured out your life and saying, Well, I’m doing this because what I’m wanting to say so and so you’re into? How are you going to talk about it that’s going to emotionally engage another? Like, what are they going to feel because this is all in your head. Your first threshold is your communication. That’s it, you’ve got across that. So tone is that emotional relationship. That vibration, that feeling that someone gets when they hear you talk or see your shows or read your books, or they feel something. It is a an emotional resonance. So you’ve seen people talk and you don’t believe a word they say because their tone doesn’t match their words. Right?  And you’ve seen example,


Karan Rhodes  23:40

That’s right. We have our meter going like and no they’re not legit.


Mark Shekter  23:43

Exactly. You may have seen soundtracks that there’s a dramatic moment in the musical underscores comedic and you’re going this it doesn’t work.


Karan Rhodes  23:51



Mark Shekter  23:51

Or, you don’t want any music. Don’t flag the feeling. Let me watch the action. Don’t hype it, tone. It’s a big one.


Karan Rhodes  23:59

Yea. That is a big one.


Mark Shekter  24:00

And then the next one. So it’s really the communication, that word How do you want people to feel? Are you authentic in that transmission of the idea and the purpose? Has a great impact on by the way of marketing and messaging, you know, all the promotional because you can see when it’s not authentic at all. I’m going quickly through them. I appreciate the time, but the fourth is your character, your qualities, your worldview, your values, your beliefs. Why? Because does it align with your purpose? In other words, I just want to know your worldview on things. If you are in a particular business and you have a purpose to do these EVs and you feel that the electricity is the future, whatever that may be, or you feel, you know, it’s the next level of human survival or whatever that high level purpose might be. And I go, Well, how do you think about life and the world and the things and you start talking? Imagine being interviewed and somebody goes, Why did you come to this deal? leasing electric vehicle, and you get a rounded understanding of that individual. Why is that important? Well, it authenticates purpose and message. Also, when people invest in you or want to work with you, they want to know you. Why, what am I doing? What am I working for and why. And I had a gentleman who was I was a stockbroker, and in New York, high end trader in oil, and his purpose he thought was to build orphanages in an African state. And lovely thing, we got down to character that will read in the face, and I said, What’s the matter? He said, I don’t like kids. And there was a disconnect. Right? I mean, when he said, don’t like it’s like, kids. And I went, you know, we I think we got to start again. Because I don’t think


Karan Rhodes  25:48

There you go.


Mark Shekter  25:49

But that’s an…that’s an extreme example.


Karan Rhodes  25:51

It’s not in alighment. Yeah, yeah. When a great example,


Mark Shekter  25:53

Right, but when we get the first four, and there’s a lot of questions we ask and things like that it’s a wonderful


Karan Rhodes  25:58



Mark Shekter  25:59

experience for them, we get to what do they want to do with an understanding of themselves, that’s the who, then we get to the what, and that’s the content. And the thing about the content, ie the product, or the service is really drilling down to its value, not what it is and it’s even not even its benefits. But what’s the takeaway? That’s a conversation and a process in itself. I can say, I’m going to have a biologic store, I’m going to sell produce here, and it’s farm honest. And no, you know, antibiotics, and God knows what in it. And, you know, there it is, but what’s the value of that store to a consumer, I’m going to eat better. But if you sit there and you talk to this person, they might go, it’s all about preventive health. It’s preventive medicine, food is medicine. That’s why I did it. Not because it tastes good. Or it’s even good for you. It’s preventive medicine, we’ve had that experience with one of our clients. You look at that, and you go, that’s the takeaway. Health. Yes, it tastes good. Now, that’s a pretty close connection. But I can get even more abstract if something and you realize that what they’re selling in its value, or as a disconnect, there is no worth to it, and so on. So you really drill down to the value of it. Once they named that, then how do you now want to structure your business, if you are in business, it’s a reexamination of what you’re doing and how you’re managing. But if you don’t know the worth of it, if you don’t know who you are, you don’t know who to hire. You don’t know the makeup of your working culture, because you haven’t figured out why you’re doing it, what you’re about what you’re trying to say. So who you’re going to attract. We’ve had companies that we worked…


Karan Rhodes  27:39

You can’t articulate it, you can’t influence anyone to be part of it. Got it.


Mark Shekter  27:44

We’ve been very high in companies, and they’re trying to recruit. And I’ve had the nerve communicate directly communications and HR, and they’re in these meetings going, I don’t know why they’re not coming to us, I don’t get it. But if you studied them, you’d realize it purposely once upon a time, they were building these eco pipelines and so forth, eco friendly pipeline, but their whole messaging, the rationale behind the company, that purpose got into government contracts, and they omitted the community management and so on. So nobody felt connected to their company anymore. So they would go to engineering schools and go Come work with us. And the answer that they were getting was your old school, old school.


Karan Rhodes  28:24



Mark Shekter  28:25

So there was no authenticity, it was a factory, it became a factory started as a family business and became a factory who wants to work for a factory not gonna, not this generation, right? What’s next after structure is your brand, the aesthetics of your business.


Karan Rhodes  28:40

Brand, ok.


Mark Shekter  28:40

And that’s where you get into looking at the messaging, looking at the aesthetics, the colors, the logo, whatever. And it has to be a reflection of the tonality if you’re trying to enthuse or inspire, don’t wear black, you know, it’s like, but there’s, there’s an integration again, I mean, each of these things, by the way, are very developed. There’s processes for each step, just to be clear.


Karan Rhodes  29:01

Oh yeah, just wanted to get the systems.


Mark Shekter  29:01

And the bottom one is, what impact is all of this going to add up to? Imagine it working to the wildness of your dreams? What is your metrics for success? How do you measure nevermind money, obviously, that’s a metric, but influence reputation, joy, delight, articles, influence in politics, whatever it is, social responsibility initiatives, will regard Nobel Prizes, whatever it is, whatever it is, now, but he’s when they look at their purpose, and they look at their impact, and they make that alignment. All of this eight step adds up to what we call a dynamic blueprint. This dynamic blueprint is the way forward for a business and it’s top line, but when we go in, to accompany thereafter, we break these down and go deeper into each of these categories. But there is the shape, or the reshape or the revisioning of a business. And it’s theirs because our process in its very democratized and the way we bring it out, we’ve invented a whole new way to use post its and stickies and everything is part of it electronic or in real life. And there’s a whole process we use there that my wife created, and it’s brilliant. It’s not the classic, putting them up on the wall, we do a whole magical thing, but the good patterns and things, but it allows the person to just let it go creatively just let it flow. And the fascinating thing, which we learned from showbusiness was, our system does not throw away any idea. Every idea has a place that are in this thing. Every idea fits in one of these categories. It’s really something to see we have gotten into companies with a wall and a half, after a, you know, a think tank


Karan Rhodes  29:12

Totally full, right?


Mark Shekter  29:45

And I come to them and I go, which one is the solution? And they go, exactly, that’s why you’re here.


Karan Rhodes  30:35



Mark Shekter  30:35

And so this end step organized…


Karan Rhodes  30:58

I was gonna say what it also does what I love about your frame. So first of all, thank you for sharing. It is amazing. It also does, it provides a common language, if you will, you got it for everyone to speak about each of these eight. And once I do, so you can easily see where with some facilitation work, all these ideas could be assimilate, to get to some of the low hanging fruit that would really impact the business. And having said that, you know, one of the things we’d love to ask our guests is, which of the leadership execution tactics that I write about in my book really resonate, and you are so kind to share that leading with courageous agility was one that popped with you. And now it makes sense, because for my new audience, listeners, leading with courageous agility is all about having the courage and the fortitude to take calculated risks and stand up for what you believe in. Even if the future is uncertain or unclear, it means taking baby steps towards your ideas, and, and having the conviction to kind of see them through. And so I can see definitely how going through these eight would build that courage, courage with folks that are in the workforce, or folks that are going through your programs, because they may not know where all their ideas are initially going at the end of the day, or the potential of them. But by going through your framework, you could see definitely see, like you said, the blueprint for where it could go. So, but I want to let you give you opportunity to put in your own words, why leading with courageous agility was piqued your interest?


Mark Shekter  32:55

When people are in business? If you’re an executive, and I haven’t had one yet, who doesn’t lose a few nights of sleep. Maybe several?


Karan Rhodes  33:04

You got that right.


Mark Shekter  33:05

The higher they go, the more the less sleep they have, I find, but yeah, or the startups as well. I mean, it’s it, they’ll say, you know, it’s a risk. You have to there’s so many variables, it’s not easy. We do the best we can we’re responsible and so on what the eight steps does that again, by response, because it wasn’t thought about. And that’s what I mean by the feedback and why we stayed with it. And why it became our main line of business was that it empowers somebody in a way that wasn’t expected. When you know who you are, when you’ve been able to articulate it with the right questions you really being asked and thought about? It’s a very extroverted question. By the way, it’s not psychology or that kind of, they get grounded. They you said the word conviction, they have a conviction, and they can go forward more confidently. I often get asked, How do you manage risk? Because look what you did, and I said after show business, everything is easy, right? is easy. I said, I don’t think of risk. That’s an I don’t operate on risk. Because life is like you want to get risk. It’s like being shy. And I don’t want to take the chance. If you believe in it, that’s why meaningful is at the front end of the three things that I said meaningful, profitable, if it’s meaningful, and you care about it. Your persistence level, your courage, your risk taking is so minimized, the courage goes up, the risk goes down, because you go, you know what, it’s important to me and dammit, I’m gonna stick with it. And because I believe in it, and when we go into companies, and the company isn’t doing very well, without exception, and we’ve been at this for many years, no matter what level of company, if there’s a problem. When I say it starts at the top, I don’t mean it glibly. I mean, literally that the senior executives, by whatever circumstances have become less invested in a way in that company. And we rehabilitate that because we get them to look at them, what brought them to it, et cetera, et cetera, revitalize them, factually revitalize the company, factually, and the dividends are there. And it’s almost like, really does that possible? And I’m going, Yeah, because why are you underestimating the individual? They are golden,


Karan Rhodes  35:27

That’s right.


Mark Shekter  35:27

They’re golden. So we became very committed to helping, you know, bring that bring that to the surface. And to us, there’s that equation of leadership. Without that, then you’re kind of doing the best practices and trying to do various things, which I respect, by the way, gives us some incredible best practices. But beyond that, you still need to take in an aggregate that knowledge and share it or use it in a creative way. So it comes down to that universal baseline of creativity.


Karan Rhodes  35:54

Well, if I do say so myself more, this is a gift that you all have given to the world that even more organizations need to tap into. But I’m so sorry that we ran out of time. And I could talk to you for hours on this. But before we close, I want to make sure we’ll have all information about you and your company in the show notes. But would you mind just given a bit of voice to where individuals can find you. I wanna give you that opportunity



Thank you for that. Well, one website, and it will be in the notes is the Think8 Global Institute, it’s an institute, because we train in addition to consult around the world. The book, thing, cake, it’s on Amazon, it, it’s, I’m happy to say


Karan Rhodes  36:43

Best seller! Best seller…


Mark Shekter  36:44

It was in five, well actually five category, but they include creativity, which is lovely, but also business development, entrepreneurship, self help, which was interesting. So it has enjoyed, you know, a very wide acceptance, because it takes these eight steps that I’ve mentioned, and it shows the origins, case studies, tips on how to use it so people read it and can use it. But they’re welcome to get in touch with us to write us directly, they’ll find ways to connect with us in that on the website, and they’re willing to do it, you know, we it’s, we love what we do, you obviously care and love what you do.


Karan Rhodes  37:24

I do…


Mark Shekter  37:25

It’s a gift to be able to share it. But I think coming back to what I get from you and your background is you were talking to people that I see on your thing that have lived through this and figured out a few things, you know, and to be clear,


Karan Rhodes  37:42

One or two, but we’re always in in learning mode…ongoing learning mode.


Mark Shekter  37:45

Oh, I wasn’t born to this. And I didn’t wake up one day and go oh, piece of cake. We earned it.


Karan Rhodes  37:51

I know…I know.


Mark Shekter  37:52

anybody makes a go of it has my full respect. But having come out the other end, and looking at it and going okay, now is our responsibility to keep it to ourselves. And do we want it? So we feel so motivated.


Karan Rhodes  38:06

We thank you so much Mark for your time? This is…I’m sorry, do you had one last thing?


Mark Shekter  38:10

 No, no, I’m delighted to


Karan Rhodes  38:11

Okay. Well, I just want to say thank you so much for the gift of your time and all of these tips that you have given to our listeners, we’ll make sure we have all the contact information and additional resources in our show notes. But thank you again for spending some time with us today.


Mark Shekter  38:30

My pleasure. Thank you for having me. It was was fun. I loved it.


Karan Rhodes  38:33

It was fun. And thank you to listeners for the gift of your time. We know there’s a lot of other podcasts you can be listening to. But you’ve spent time with us and we don’t take that lightly. Please be sure to remember to subscribe and like the podcast because by doing so, you will help us extend our reach to help others to also lead at the top of their game. Thank you so much and see you next week. And that’s our show for today. Thank you for listening to the lead at the top of your game podcast, where we help you lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. You can check out the show notes, additional episodes, and bonus resources, and also submit guest recommendations on our website at You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn by searching for the name Karan Rhodes with Karan being spelled K a r a n. And if you like the show, the greatest gift you can give would be to subscribe and leave a rating on your podcast platform of choice. This podcast has been a production of Shockingly Different Leadership, a global consultancy which helps organizations execute their people, talent development, and organizational effectiveness initiatives on an on-demand, project, or contract basis. Huge thanks to our production and editing team for a job well done. Goodbye for now.

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