Carol Sanford Business Leader Interview

Welcome to Business Innovators Magazine…Please introduce yourself and a brief thumbnail sketch of your background.


CS: Hello, my name is Carol Sanford, I am a business acumen educator. I ensure that great engineers, scientist, mathematicians, as well as Creatives, become great BUSINESS people. In fifteen days, I can give any dedicated leader, moving into or having a business leadership position, the core 18 questions that they have to stay on top of, to lead a business to higher earnings, margins, and cash flow. Further, I teach them how to do that with “responsibility” embedded, not as a separate functions or department. Six questions keep them strategic, six move culture and external influence and six give the foundation of management practice and managing people. We can add layers to go deeper, but you have the top line immediately.

BI: What would you say is the area in business that you are most passionate about and why?

CS: Developing business unit owners and leaders in systemic thinking skills and business development that is needed to grow businesses and its people to become non-displaceability in their industry. And to do that rapidly and meaningfully. The confidence that they know the right questions and how to figure out the answers to them is my drive. My participants become top executives in Fortune 500 companies, lead their industry as mid-size businesses and grow to great companies. That thrills me. And I am still connected to every leader I have ever worked with. They pass it on.

BI: How are you different than your competitors?

CS: Most education companies, consultants or schools do one of three things. They teach one way to do something (their way), they do a survey course of all that is available and leave you without the ability to assess what matters or they do your thinking for you and tell you what is best for the business. When we are done, you know how to assess what is right for you, how to design your path for strategic direction, leadership and management, and you are no longer dependent on others to tell you what is best for you. You are wiser, more strategically intelligent about how business works in dynamic markets and you know what is best for your business even as things change.

BI: Please tell me about any recent business accomplishments that you are most proud of and why?

CS: Educating the Google Food Innovation Team (the #3 Food Server provider in the world, even bigger than most hotels and corporations) on how to embed business acumen into great advances for their food industry customers (Starbucks, Taco Bell) where people use Google services. Innovative disruption has been the outcome for Google and its clients and their users. Moonshots! As Producer of The Regenerative Business Summit. I bring together six value-adding business streams to rethink their industry (Food, Shelter, Transaction, Adoring, Recreation and Communing businesses attend). We created an innovation incubator that has led to many initiatives that are disrupting industries with enlightened interventions attended by top players in each stream.

BI: What Leadership qualities in Leaders do you most admire and why?

CS: Self-directed action that represents a belief in a high level of internal locus of control; no excuses or blame.

External consideration that represents caring for the effects of one’s decisions and actions on others through time and to stakeholders they touch; Developmental approach to others they have in their immediate sphere that represents seeing the highest and great potential in others thereby working to development them by engagement, offering opportunities and personal growth.

BI: What has been a key element of your success?

CS: Working on my own development coupled with making promises that are much bigger than I know how to deliver on but really matter. And then figuring it out and make it happen. I am part of a developmental community that I work with quarterly, a community of people committed to personal growth and develop new capabilities that enable greater contribution. I have been part of this community for many decades. That time is sacred and is what keeps me reaching to much greater spheres and challenges.

BI: What are some of the business projects that you are currently working on that you are excited about and why?

CS: I have been invited by the University of WA Business School to bring my ‘body of work’ into an academic setting and set it up as a legacy offering. It is called The Regenerative Business Executive Education Program. It is on the Bothell campus. It works with STEM and Creative businesses to give rapid and meaningful business acumen. You can hire and promo the best functional experts and thinkers and yet not worry about them becoming great business leaders. It is “better than an MBA and in only 15 days,” says Google. No need to go back to school. You learn what it takes to grow earnings, margins, and cash flow, responsibly.

BI: What are 1 or 2 things you would like to say to a prospective client who stumbles across this interview?


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