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7 Questions with Steve Clute
7 Questions with Steve Clute
Name: Steve Clute
Current title: CEO
Current organisation: Leadergized innovation
Expertise in entrepreneurial and small business ventures from concept to maturity. Successfully created, launched, and consulted diverse business projects. Know how to analyze opportunities, develop strategies, Inspire and empower leaders and teams to plan, engage, meet timelines and achieve challenging goals. Specialties are growing leaders, teams and companies in the healthcare, technology, finance, manufacturing, and entertainment industries. Visionary, decisive, connected, confident, highly disciplined, timely and powered by wisdom from experience, relationships and global business engagements. I lead with faith, trust and integrity no matter the pressure or challenge. I am blessed with boundless energy and a positive, can do attitude. Educated and trained to analyze, strategize, engineer systems and to choose teammates with an intuitive, grounded, positive and culture-driven approach to results. I have been blessed to help thousands of people - leaders amidst many different needs, opportunities, challenges, disasters and booms and always build trust and friendship from doing the things that make the right differences at the right times.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
To remain properly focused, purposeful and balanced in my lifestyle.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My life goal was to be a disciple and teacher of happier and healthier people by being a leader and example of the value of faith, family, fearlessness, friendship, and fitness. I launched my own health and wellness business and followed the direction provided me by God, my dad and mom, grandpas and grandmas, pastors, neighbors, teachers and other noble men and women who loved and taught me to seek wisdom and find relationships, money, resources, energy, passion, intelligence and gather plans to make the ideas and essential steps come true. As I trusted and labored, the needs of life have always been filled. I was even led to the woman of my dreams who has been my loving and supportive partner every day through thick and thin for 36 years. I have been blessed with 5 amazing children as part of the balance I have always worked and prayed for. They have allowed me to share in successful education, scholarships, state championships, concerts, friendships, graduations, weddings, and grandkids. Two even work with me today! My first business grew amidst all sorts of SME challenges and despite the fact that many thought it couldn't be done it grew to have more than 10,000 fitness members. Since starting I have lived through a $10 million business loss to a natural disaster, successful exits, miscarriages, exciting startups, a 911 business failure, helped hundreds pursue and live their dreams, and the opportunity to "teach your children well" as per Crosby Stills and Nash. Because every minute of my life is filled with innovation and adventure while driven by incredible faith, wisdom, and relationships I absolutely love to help everyone with wants, needs, ideas, questions, and energy to find direction and understanding to pursue their passions and experience moments of trying. As President Teddy Roosevelt said, "“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” I was born with Type One Juvenile Diabetes and when diagnosed heard the doctor tell my mom in 1959 that she should enjoy every day with me because each is a blessing. Those were perhaps some of the most engaging and impactful words I ever heard. I have never been patient but have always been appreciative and aware of where I invest my energies.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My days have always started with prayer, praise, reflection and actively sharing my love. When my children were home I always took them to school and we always parted with energy and purpose to do what had to be done in each of our worlds and to do it with joy and enthusiasm focused on winning outcomes. I like to have purpose and plans and so I typically acknowledge my highest priority responsibilities and do a bit of reading, study or brainstorming in order to bring focus and understanding into my work. I normally work very diligently to accomplish goals but remain aware that others need me as well and so I always remain open and enthusiastic to interact and respond to others needs for me, my time, insights and energy. In cases where I do not complete my work because I was needed by others I have always been willing and able to leave work to be with my wife and children during my evenings. I make up for those hours of love and learning by willingly and enthusiastically going back to my work for as long as my energy and focus are needed. I do not watch much television and do not engage in social media as part of my life. I feel that the importance of my existence is experienced best in exercising my body, reading to learn, being with family and friends, participating in community and regularly praying for guidance in the things that I need to be helped with. Those are many every day! When I go to sleep I am normally exhausted and rest well knowing that I did not plan or purposefully engage in waste yet stimulated to know that tomorrows always hold the future and there is always lots to do. I never purposefully look backward but always think and plan for what is coming.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
That I am but a child of God and because of that all that I am is governed by what he wants me to be and do. Therefore I must encourage all others to pursue their own passions while seeking to develop and use their intelligence to create their own roadmap and to do what is needed to reach the destination that they are purposefully seeking. I learned this lesson first when I was eleven years old and wanted to help on my grandpa’s farm so I could make money to buy a minibike. The day I started my uncle took me out to a pasture, dropped me off and gave me a post pounder, 15 steel posts, a roll of barbed wire, claw hammer and fencing pliers then told me that it was a half mile to the end and just to carry all the stuff and fix anything that need repair. Before he left, he dropped a bottle of water under a tree by the road. I learned a lot about passion, discipline, responsibility, planning, balance, energy, focus and fearlessness that day and like to think that played a major role in my leadership mindset of "never starting without a plan and not quitting until you get it done right despite confusion, fear of failure, pain and loneliness.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
I have read thousands of books to grow my wisdom and knowledge. The Bible is the number one and only essential book from my perspective. Everything one needs to know is included in this book. I will quote just one scripture to reference for my story. It is Matthew 5: 14-15 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." As a child I experienced that every time I was kind, forgiving, encouraging, fun, fearless, caring, and humble to others I did not have to try to lead but was asked or chosen to. I always gave praise to all as long as they tried to do their best. In those actions I saw God's presence and confidence grow in each of them and our friendships and understanding one another strengthened. As long as we shared the purpose and success the joy never disappeared. I was only when someone and I did it a couple of times wanted personal gain and recognition that the leadership and outcomes failed. Thus I try to simply be a light for those around me by understanding their passion, intelligence, and capacity to plan and then encouraging it with love and joy! It was a really good life lesson learned on the playground.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
You create a mission that can be driven with passion. Select teammates who share the passion. Provide education and understanding to empower intelligence. Create a shared plan and agreed upon goals. Then empower all who will accomplish things with the freedom to do their thing in the best way possible. Remain present and aware and remind your teammates that you are always ready and willing to support their every need with happiness and thankfulness. Then just do what is needed and respond positively to all challenges and needs that arise. If you pick a bad teammate simply encourage them to take a different role that is better fitted to them or help them to find a better means to live the life that will make them happy and successful. The little successes will lead to big outcomes.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
I once had an opportunity to meet a 14 year old Bosnian orphan boy. He had nothing and asked if there was not something he could do that would allow him to workout in my weight room. I would never say no as it is like the leper who asked Jesus for healing and then trusted that it would be done. I gave him the first job of cleaning and stacking weights just to see what his ability was and he was so enthusiastic that he was done in half the time I thought it would take. As a result I kept finding more and better jobs for him and paid him at the end of two weeks without him even expecting that. He grew to be very good and actually ended up my janitor in a 40,000 square foot health and fitness center. He did so well that he started his own company and contracted with a number of commercial businesses. I was always there to recommend him. Using his own revenues he put himself through a private university and now after 20 years owns a number of companies, employs hundreds of other immigrants and has a wife and children of his own to raise in the way of the Lord.