A Swift Dive into Leadership Development with Evan Tzivanakis

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In this interview with Evan Tzivanakis, a seasoned capability manager with extensive experience in coaching and mentoring business leaders, we delve into the crucial concepts of mindset transformation and leadership development. Evan shares valuable insights on how to overcome limiting beliefs, foster a coaching mentality, and navigate challenges in the ever-evolving business landscape. Through real-world examples and practical tips, he illustrates the importance of reframing beliefs and making informed decisions while emphasizing the long-term benefits of investing in coaching and mentorship. Whether you’re a business owner seeking to enhance your team’s creativity and innovation or a manager looking to excel in leadership, Evan’s expertise offers valuable guidance for achieving sustainable growth and success.

[Q] Who do you help and how?


I’m a capability manager with a commercial background and also L&D Specialist at NEWS Navigation. I primarily work with CEOs, managers, and C-suite executives, offering various forms of support such as training, facilitation, and one-on-one executive coaching.


I assist my clients by providing valuable insights and practical strategies to help them scale their businesses. One key focus is on managing and effectively engaging remote or hybrid teams, a field in which I’ve gained expertise since 2012. I’ve navigated the challenges of leading multicultural remote teams for nearly a decade, even during the days when Skype was the primary communication tool.


Another area where I specialize is sales management. Drawing from my experience in managing numerous sales teams, I offer practical advice and guidance to help motivate, inspire, and challenge sales teams to achieve their goals. These are just a couple of the areas where I provide specialized assistance.

[Q] What’s the main challenge your clients encounter in scaling and managing their teams?


The primary hurdle my clients often face is a sense of overwhelm coupled with difficulties in time management. They find themselves juggling numerous tasks and responsibilities, which can be quite burdensome. Through my time management coaching, I help them address this challenge by teaching them how to effectively prioritize their work and focus on strategic aspects.


A significant aspect of this process involves making decisions about task delegation, personal involvement, task elimination, and what to simply disregard. This issue is particularly pronounced among small and medium-sized business owners who frequently feel overwhelmed. They often lack clarity and require guidance to understand how to prioritize effectively and concentrate on the critical elements that drive business growth.


I offer a structured 12-week, one-on-one coaching program specifically tailored to time management. It’s designed to equip individuals with the skills they need to not only enhance their business operations but also regain control over their personal lives. Some clients have even shared that this time management toolkit has had a positive impact on their personal relationships by bringing order to their personal lives as well.

[Q] Can you share a success story resulting from your assistance? What were the initial challenges, and how did you help overcome them?


Certainly, let me tell you about a recent success story involving a technology company in the Czech Republic. They had approximately 200 employees, and most of their managers had backgrounds as engineers and coders. These managers had been promoted into their roles but lacked the necessary management skills and knowledge. Transitioning from technical roles to effective managerial positions, especially in an IT department, posed significant challenges.


To address this, I designed and implemented a leadership development program for the company. This program included 12 hours of comprehensive leadership development training, followed by 4 hours of one-on-one executive coaching for each of the managers. The results were remarkable. The managers displayed improved leadership and management skills, leading to increased productivity within the company. They also gained a deeper understanding of the mindset required for effective leadership and management in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) business environment. This shift in their capabilities was particularly valuable when managing hybrid teams, considering the unique challenges presented by the rapidly changing work landscape.

[Q] How does a strong mindset benefit business professionals during tough times or setbacks?


Understanding the impact of mindset on business professionals is essential. We’ve identified three distinct managerial mindsets in the business world.


In the realm of management, there are distinct approaches that characterize different mindsets. The “autonomous leader” swiftly assures to personally tackle every issue, potentially hindering effective delegation and team development, leading to eventual overwhelm and impacts on customer service. On the other hand, the “execution-focused leader” promptly passes problems to others, signaling an ongoing learning curve in management skills. The most effective type, however, is the “mentorship enthusiast.” When faced with a challenge, they engage in a dialogue, posing questions to understand the situation thoroughly and encouraging active participation in problem-solving. This approach fosters a coaching and mentoring relationship, reflecting the hallmark of success in today’s dynamic business environment.

[Q] Can you share tips for business owners to nurture a mindset that promotes creativity, innovation, and business growth?


Certainly, one valuable tip is to resist the urge to immediately take full responsibility or delegate when faced with a challenge. Instead, take a step back and allow some breathing room. Embrace a coaching approach by guiding your team in problem-solving.


Why is this important? By involving your team in finding solutions, you empower them with the skills needed to tackle similar challenges independently in the future. This approach ultimately frees up your time, enabling you to focus on strategic matters rather than constantly firefighting.


Although this coaching mentality may not yield immediate results, as the initial instinct often leans toward taking sole responsibility, it’s a long-term strategy that benefits you, your managers, and SME business owners alike.

[Q] Do clients often come to you with myths or misconceptions?


Yes, it’s a common occurrence, especially among C-suite executives and business managers. One prevalent misconception is the belief that they must know and do everything themselves, which can be limiting. My role is to help them reframe these beliefs rather than entirely eliminate them. Let me illustrate with an example.


I recently worked with a business manager who firmly believed that no one in the company could interview as effectively as he could. He argued that since he built the business and knew precisely what questions to ask, he had to conduct all interviews personally. However, this approach left him with little time for other crucial tasks.


We didn’t attempt to eradicate this belief entirely because he might have been right about his interviewing skills. Instead, we reframed it. We devised a plan where he hired a recruiter and took a mentorship approach. In the first month, the business owner conducted interviews while the new recruiter observed and received feedback. In the second month, the recruiter conducted interviews and shared feedback with the business manager. Finally, by the third month, the recruiter was conducting interviews independently, recording them, sharing the recordings, and receiving feedback. This gradual process allowed the business owner to delegate while maintaining quality.


This principle applies not only in business but also in personal life, where limiting beliefs often stem from past experiences. For instance, if someone developed a fear of flying after a turbulent flight, that belief might persist. However, with proper training and management, the belief may not disappear but can be better managed.

[Q] Can you recommend strategies to overcome limiting beliefs and achieve long-term success?


Certainly, one key strategy is coaching and training. However, it’s important to recognize that, as leaders and managers, we can often be our own obstacles to development. Having a mentor or coach can be immensely valuable in guiding you through this process. While limiting beliefs may not vanish entirely, coaching and mentoring can help you reframe them and work towards overcoming their constraints.


Another valuable tip is to exercise patience and avoid making impulsive decisions when confronted with challenges. Allowing some time for issues to cool down before making decisions is crucial. Acting hastily when emotions are running high can lead to suboptimal outcomes. Sometimes, with a bit of time, problems can resolve themselves without immediate intervention. Thus, it’s essential to avoid overreacting and rushing into decisions.

[Q] How can someone learn more about your services and offerings?


To learn more about what I offer, you can connect with me on LinkedIn, where I’m quite active. Simply search for Evan  Tzivanakis, and we can start a conversation. If we discover common interests and potential for collaboration, we can proceed from there.


Jeremy Baker

Jeremy Baker has a passion for helping his clients get recognition as experts in their fields. His approach to interviewing helps his clients tell their stories and talk about their unique set of experiences and backgrounds.