About Tony Thayer
I’m a leadership visionary; I offer a new perspective on how busiess leaders can become exceptional leaders of people.
My insights are grounded in 40 years of business experience and leadership, and newly informed by the passion for neurobiology I developed over the past 5 years. Now I help executives transform their companies. I show them how to create climates of possibility. These give your people the social environment and relationships that enable everyone to pull together and flourish. It’s based on how our brains are wired. We come alive when our interpersonal brain circuits are activated in a positive environment. When you provide the environment that your people crave, you can observe the changes and promote further improvements. That’s when you become a true leader. That’s when you turn around your company and discover the untapped levels of talent that you already have on-board. That’s when you tap into your own experience of personal fulfillment.
Let me show you how to lift your whole team and inspire your people to new levels of innovation, engagement, and excitement.
My Leadership Epiphany
Several years ago, I retired from my first career. I had built track record of success and accomplishments, and took pride in my work and people skills. My successes accumulated as I rose through sales, then operations and executive management. If you had asked me, back then, what led to my success, I would have said it was my understanding of people and my ability as a leaders to step up to challenges and adversity with creativity and confidence.
I turned around failing companies. I started new ventures. I won back major national accounts who had fired my predecessors five years before I joined the company.
But it wasn’t until I retired that I discovered how much I had misssed. That’s when I discovered the real keys to growth and leadership.
It wasn’t by choice that I gained this new level of awareness, but we all grow when faced with adversity and difficult challenges.
Now I help executives transform their businesses to break through their barriers. I help them instill a sense of energy, possibility and excitement across their enterprise. My work begins with you and your executive team, and sets up a chain of transformative awareness across your entire workforce.
I had to take an early retirement. It wasn’t by choice. It wasn’t pleasant. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.
After a series of three unexpected events, I learned how to stretch my capacity to handle adversity. It opened me up to a deeper awareness of how humans bond and engage in their work lives.
Now I’ve come back to the world of executive leadership to share my discoveries.
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Life transformation and Leadership Insights
I didn’t retire by choice. My life was transformed. It was sudden and it was formidable.
But the story isn’t what happened to me. The story is how I turned towards what happened and embraced it. Its about resilience and faith.
I faced multiple adversities, and from them, I leaned deeper truths about what I need, and what people who rely on me need.
The experience gave me the strength and insights to become a guide for others who seek to transform their businesses and become larger versions of their best selves. Looking back on it, I can’t help but conclude that there was a deeper force calling me to develop my natural talents and capacities.
Now I’ve established a company and tribe to share my insights with executives who are ready to break through the barriers that challenge them.
I help leaders see how the social environment their people work in shapes those people, and either bo’rexes them into limited roles, or challenges them to show what they are fully capable of. I show leaders that, by influcing that environemnt, they can build up their people and take their enterprise up to a whole next level. In the process, you’ll find you gain 10-15 hours of time each week, time you can devote to strategy and to influcing your market and board of directors. In the process, you’ll also become a true leader, one who inspire others to stretch, collaborate and contribute. I help companies create accomplishments and fulfillment.
Shattered Expectations and New Beginnings
In 2011, my life took three sudden changes that stretched my limits of resilience.
In 2010, I followed an important mentor to a new company he had joined. But In early 2011, they terminated me and half of their national sale force. It began a chain of shocks and surprises.
Two months later, I was terminated again – by my wife of 35 years. I didn’t see the signals until she kicked me out of our home so she could marry a college boyfriend on the east coast.
The ground under my feet felt like quicksand.
Two months later, I was diagnosed with late-stage skin cancer on my arm. It was a dangerous, a medical emergency, and my medical needs demanded all of my focus and attention.
There were two urgent operations; and I’m happy to say that my medical team were able to stop the cancer before it spread into my body.
But they told me to put my affairs in order. Statistically, they reported, the odds were slim that I would live past 2015.
The ground didn’t feel like quicksand anymore; there was no ground. I felt like I was sinking in the middle of the ocean. There was just a sinking sense of fear. There was no base , no familiar people, duties or circumstances to shape my day to day life.
My life had built “on pillars of salt and pillars of sand,.” and the waters had washed them all away
My life went upside down for three months. Then, for reasons I can’t explain, I turned it all right-side-up.
Inspiration and New Discoveries
Somehow, I just made a new choice one day. I reframed it. I stopped thinking that these things had happened to me.
What if, I asked myself, all of this was happening for me? On my behalf? Was there some deeper force at play here? Was I being invited to learn something I had overlooked?
What was this life guiding me to know? ,
Suddenly, I came to see my cancer as a stern and demanding teacher, but one who wanted the best for me.
So I started to listen. This made my life brand new. All my old certainties had been nothing but illusions.
This was the moment I overcame my cancer. In embracing my cancer, it made me whole.
Taking Action Out in the World
I began to explore and question the world. I started to volunteer at a Church that fed the homeless in the San Francisco tenderloin. Then the pastor took me under her wing and asked me to support her in as she worked with addicts and those suffering from the pain of accute loneliness.
Soon after, I became a professional mediator, and started to volunteer at Oakland’s Superior Court. I jumped into other people’s arguments, taking cases in the 90 minute wait-time before the judge could hear the case. I was good, and the judge rarely needed to hear the cases I took on.
My mediation work taught me to navigate to the unspoken heart of people’s anger and disappointment. I learned how to guide them to it, and give it voice. I discovered that few disputes need much more than understanding and someone offering a simple apology.
By chance, I then stumbled on the startling new discoveries of human emotions that have emerged from brain science.
I discovered the hard evidence is that we are wired to pack together, to live and work in tribes. We are wired with needs to find a BASE – to Belong, to be Acknowledged, to feel Safe and be Encouraged. These four needs have enormous implications for leadership, motivation and success.
My New Mission and Passion
I overcame the odds that my cancer posed, and I invite you to overcome whatever challenges you face as a business leader. People respond to moods, and creating good moods creates amazing possibilities.
I credit my passion and curiosity for my recovery. In working with others, in uncovering what troubles people, and giving voice to it, I honed and developed the very skills that I had always taken the most pride in. I don’t know what issues you are facing, but I have the tools and resources to meet them, explore them and give them voice.
I can’t guarantee that I can bring every one of my clients to a new level of mastery, but I am able to be fully present with each of them, and to give voice to the parts of them that long to be more inspiring and capable as leaders of their people.
Recent brain science has made startling discoveries that, when applied to the working environment, can reinvigorate team engagement and create dynamic, passionate teams that break through barriers to reach now standards of productivity and innovation.
Set up a courtesy consultation with Tony to explore the possibilities of raising the mood at your company.
Turn up the dial on your staff’s initiative, innovativeness and emotional engagement.
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