MEET YOUR GUIDE

meet your guide

Hello. I’m Mel Lewis.

As a child, I considered three possible careers: Astrophysicist, Forest Ranger, and Toy Maker Living in a Cabin in the Woods. All three have something in common: isolation. I was extremely shy and spent most of my time alone reading, drawing, pondering the nature of the universe, and avoiding social interactions.

Today my passion is helping people become effective, influential leaders through my writing, coaching, and teaching. I speak in front of groups professionally and personally. Yes, ironically, I’ve walked a path that led me to a people-oriented life. Believe me, it’s the last place I ever expected to be. Yet, here I am, and I love it.

Though part of me remains a socially-awkward loner, it’s much less apparent to others now. I’ve learned how to motivate myself to step outside my comfort zone and how to effectively communicate with people who aren’t like me. It took many years of leadership roles, study, and trial and error to figure it out. I’m a much better leader, teacher, co-worker, friend, and parent because of it. Now my goal is to help you and others do the same, but in your own way, on your own path.

My Not-So-Mad Path

See my LinkedIn Profile for details

Unable to go to college right out of high school, I joined a financial services company as an accounting clerk. As I worked my way up the career ladder, I worked my way through school and cultivated a passion for organizational problem solving and technology. The day I graduated from Arizona State with a B.S. in Computer Information Systems, I gave notice. A few weeks later I took a huge pay cut, joined a software company as a support rep, and started a 25-year career in tech with companies ranging from start-ups to global enterprises. Eventually I shifted from my VP role at a start up to independent consultant.

In tech I held positions in sales, marketing, support, business operations, IT, program management, and HR. Regardless of title, most often my role was “internal consultant” starting up, fixing up, and scaling business operations. But I couldn’t succeed without building and leading high-performance teams or overcoming obstacles by influencing stakeholders – whether they were on my teams, in other departments, or outside the company.

Mel Lewis

Not an Astrophysicist

Mel Lewis

Keirsey Temperament Certified™ Professional

 

Learning to Lead

I started my first manager position with no idea how to lead, but I was willing to learn. My employers offered workshops, personality assessments, and coaching. On my own I volunteered in Little League and Scouts, earned my M.S. in Organizational Leadership, and studied personality and human behavior to become a Keirsey Temperament Certified™ Professional. At times I’ve stayed in my comfort zone reading leadership textbooks and research papers. Other times I’ve ventured far outside of it to practice public speaking through open mic poetry and stand-up comedy.

From Teams to Teaching

While on this path, fascination and frustration shifted my goal from leading my own teams to teaching others how to lead theirs.

Fascination. As I studied organizational leadership, my fascination with the dynamics of power and influence in organizations grew. Applying fundamental theories and models (such as Boyd’s OODA Loop and French & Raven’s Bases of Power) yielded results quickly and significantly transformed my ability to influence others. Little of this had been covered by my previous leadership development.

Frustration. The formal leadership development I’d attended described leadership competencies but rarely included practical guidance for how different individuals could develop and apply them. If you can’t apply, you can’t retain. This leads to lower confidence, a negative effect on individual and organizational effectiveness, and a disappointing return on the money and time invested.

I’d known for a long time that something had to change. So I decided to change it.

My writing and services offer insights into organizational leadership, influence, creative problem solving, agile decision making, critical thinking, and communication – while emphasizing retention and the ability to apply what is learned.

Take the next step on your path to becoming a confident, influential leader:

Learn to Lead

Get structured help for you or your teams

through influence-focused workshops and coaching

Explore the Blog

Take a leisurely, self-guided walk

through influence and leadership topics

Connect With Me

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