Click to enlarge
Friday, January 29, 2010
Mike Matte, Inspirational Speaker, “Marathon CEO”
Houston Business Journal - by Christine Hall
When he’s not running marathons, Mike Matte is teaching leaders to run their businesses like them. Dubbed the “Marathon CEO,” Matte conducts workshops and keynotes on topics ranging from leadership to coaching skills to 25 ways leaders can effectively motivate themselves. Matte has spent the last 25 years in CEO, president and general manager roles at more than 44 companies.
He is a military academy graduate who spent his active duty years in the U.S. Air Force as a B-52 weapons officer. In his presentations, Matte shares his strategy, secrets and his beliefs about what it takes to move from failure to success, and, more important, how to avoid the pitfalls of failure. Matte was interviewed by Christine Hall.
Q What advice are you giving companies today?
A Recognize the leadership roles your employees play in making the business successful and show them how to take responsibility for themselves. Help them to understand that they need to make conscious decisions that support their own “YOU Inc.,” where they hold themselves responsible for their own personal fitness — mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. If your employees see themselves as “YOU Inc.,” they will be more effective in their jobs. They’ll understand and appreciate their own value as leaders on the course to making their company and themselves marathon fit.
Q What is your favorite part of your job?
A I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to teach people to maximize their own potential; this has always been the favorite part of my job in all the stages of my career: The military, the security industry and now as an inspirational speaker. I get inspired by helping people to help themselves. It’s a really fine day when I hear back from people I’ve met on the road. They tell me about the progress they are making now that they are making conscious choices and running their own marathons. It’s a great feeling to know I helped them make powerful, positive changes in their lives.
Q Through your work as a leadership coach, you often compare life and business to running a marathon. How are they similar?
A In order to be successful, a business — like a marathon runner — needs to create targets, get started on a path, stay on course and cross the finish line. Month after month, quarter after quarter. It needs to focus on its strengths in the marketplace and build on them. It needs to constantly renew itself and stay flexible so it can respond to changing conditions. It’s the same with life, with “YOU Inc.” If you’re not making conscious choices then you’re not running your marathon, your marathon is running you. You need to create a vision of a successful life and then set goals and targets that get you there. When you see yourself as “YOU Inc.,” you take responsibility for your own success.
Q What keeps you awake at night?
A When you work out every day you sleep well; you’re a warrior, not a worrier. You go to sleep with your mind clear, and your subconscious works for you while you sleep. Sometimes I wake up with an inspiring idea. I keep a pen and pad on the night table just in case. I admit to having had doubts and worries with the many moves I’ve made over the years and the difficult turnaround situations I’ve managed. But as long as I was working hard and going forward, the worry was manageable. It’s when you’re doing nothing — when you’re stuck in neutral — that you lie awake.
Q What would you like to see companies doing that they aren’t?
A Companies need to teach their employees to be marathon fit. We’re asking people to do more with less and we need to help them learn how. Hopefully the loss of jobs is abating, but the cutbacks in the past two years have put a strain on the people who are left. Companies should do “Lunch & Learns” to teach employees how to invest in themselves to be more effective. When I’m on the road I tell my audiences to look at themselves in the mirror, acknowledge that they have a job, invest in their own success and spend time every day working out.
Mike Matte is owner and president of Marathon CEO Leadership.