Sharesz T. Wilkinson: Engineering Successful Outcomes in Leadership and Business

Sharesz T. Wilkinson is a change-maker and top-level executive communication expert with over two decades of experience in leadership strategy and implementation.

She’s a member of the WBAF World Business Angels Investment Forum, EGN Executive Global Network, and Forbes & Harvard Business Review Advisory Councils, and have received 16 international change-maker awards and nominations.

Her work focuses on creating change top-down in organizations, companies, and nations and is international, remote, effective, and confidential.

 

We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to Valiant CEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.

Sharesz T. Wilkinson: Creating change top-down one leader at a time and letting it ripple through organizations, companies, and entire nations, has been my passion for more than two decades.

My work covers top-level executive communication, strategy, and awareness of how to engineer – and implement – the best possible outcome in Leadership internationally.

I am a networker and connected through the WBAF World Business Angels Investment Forum, the EGN Executive Global Network, as a Forbes & Harvard Business Review Advisory Councils Member as well as through Rotary, and more. 

My efforts as a change-maker, keynote speaker, and published bestselling author have led so far to 16 international change-maker awards and nominations. The work we do is international • remote • effective • confidential.

In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.

Sharesz T. Wilkinson: As the year 2022 drew to its close, we took a quick look back over the diversity of activities as a think tank, solution-oriented problem solver, and helping companies and individuals to engineer their successful outcomes.

During the pandemic, we were very active in crisis- management and worked with two medical supply (Fortune 500) and oil & gas MNCs towards effective solutions in management, communication, and awareness during Covid lockdowns, engineering higher buy-in, team loyalty (abstaining three key figures from quitting), and increasing the bottom lines.

As a powerful change agent, we re-engineered the mindset, approach, top-level platform integration, and international exposure with and for a political key figure to drive focused change on national and international levels in a highly delicate set-up (Central Asia).

We further boosted cybersecurity on a national level (Europe) by mentoring the CEO for 1.5 years to restructure leadership, strategy, and communication, reaching 10x turnover and substantially increased profits through engineering public talks and impact, helping to secure early-stage investments, and a very substantial, exclusive government contract.

We collaborated with a data analytics company (SE-Asia) for the successful implementation of white-label approaches through most government verticals (defense, transportation, construction, finances, education, agriculture, politics, and telecommunication) over 4 years (completed 2021) in mindset, communication, and strategy.

Further, we gave back, founded, and conducted our private global mentoring Think Tank for some of the world’s brightest young talent in Tech, AI, and Meta Verse, guiding them toward success and opening up platforms and international opportunities. 

Asked for a fundraising approach and strategy, we collaborated with the upcoming big-scale music project ‘Rise Again’ in the USA.

Sharesz T. Wilkinson served as a Judge and Panelist at the biggest Unicorn Startups Battle in San Francisco, CA, in March 2021 and connected to VCs in Silicon Valley, being invited to private discussion groups in 2022.

As a Key Note Speaker, she conducted a talk for Corporate World Intelligence upon a personal invitation by Dr. Abdullah Al Qahtani, Chairman Audit & HR Committee World Bank, President MENA Investment Board, Chief Economist Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia

Having received to date 16 international awards and nominations, Sharesz T. Wilkinson is one of the “Top 50 Global Inspirational Women to Look Out for in 2023”, under the patronage of HH Shaikha Jawaher Bint Khalifa Al Khalifa (UAE), and was nominated for the Outstanding Leadership Awards 2022, Australia, and the NOW Change Maker Award 2022, Global Summit, South Africa. 

She is currently a nominee for one of Asia’s 100 Women Power Leaders 2023.

Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle keeping talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are adapting to the current shift we see?

Sharesz T. Wilkinson: All human interaction is based on communication. Profits, business successes, and functioning teams can not exist without proper communication. 

It is the mandatory fuel in any set-up we wish to operate in.

When the pressure mounts and the stakes are high, we often feel overwhelmed because a solid baseline of how to communicate and operate in stressful times has not been established and practiced. This means (self) awareness, learning effective science-based communication skills, and proper knowledge about human psychology, and solution-oriented problem-solving skills are lacking.

When the foundations are weak and not set within a company, this leads like in any other type of relationship or collaboration to a lack of motivation and innovation, involvement, missing team and company alignment, frustration, misunderstandings, resentment, and worst case – quiet and actual quitting.

Being heard, valued, and understood can be taught and learned. This has little to do with motivation or inspiration, but everything to do with common science-based processes and systems being put in place and practiced to establish a baseline for all involved.

Communication always goes both ways, in how to give and receive a message – and considering what is in it for the listener! – which gets most often forgotten as people are focused on bringing their own points of view, wants and needs across. 

Through a detailed assessment, shortcomings within a company can be identified and then worked on to reach a satisfying solution for all involved, in rare cases where this is not possible, it can be communicated in such a way that allows every party involved to maintain its dignity in the process.

Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?

Sharesz T. Wilkinson: We have shifted our business 100% online during the early pandemic in 2020. 

Over the last two years, this meant reallocating resources, upgrading digital platforms and equipment, downsizing physical infrastructures, cutting overheads, consolidating assets, digitalizing information, systems, and processes, and joint venturing internationally. 

We felt the pulse of the time post-pandemic and globally in over 400h of personal introduction calls in 2022 within our extensive networks. 

We learned about the needs, priorities, and wants of Generation Z. We fully focused on the latest developments of trends in AI, Cyber Security, and Metaverse. 

It feels good to not have missed this opportunity and that we dared to take the jump into the unfamiliar in time. 

It was a painful growing curve by its very definition, as for most within the business it meant personally adapting to a completely different lifestyle, work environment, rhythm, and daily activities and tasks. Dealing with uncertainties and fears, and keeping the focus on the vision and the mission was a crucial part of ongoing communications and changes. A certain dose of humility and the notion that learning never ends were helpful in all our collaborations.

Change is the only constant in life, and we are very well aware to be fortunate enough to be agile, creative, visionary, and daring enough to be able to adapt to these massive changes in a relatively short amount of time. 

Now we have the privilege to share within our work assignments how to do just that: sustainable change management without running ourselves or others into the ground.

Christopher Hitchens, an American journalist, is quoted as saying that “everyone has a book in them” Have you written a book? If so, please share with us details about it. If you haven’t, what book would you like to write and how would you like it to benefit the readers?

Sharesz T. Wilkinson: Yes, I have written and co-written several books, of which the latest one had the privilege to reach The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon’s #1 bestseller list.

‘Success Mindset – How Top-Entrepreneurs Succeed in Business and Life’ was published by Leaders Press in 2021 and is distributed by Simon and Schuster, New York, and available in all major online and offline book platforms.

My current book, which will be out this month in the USA, instills awareness of how to sustainably engineer the resilience we all have within us to reach successful outcomes during highly challenging times. 

It focuses on self-leadership which or lack thereof became highly prevalent during the pandemic, and how to be able to connect the dots for maintaining performance. 

As the world has finally awakened to the importance of mental wellbeing, it is now finally time to release this book. It has been in the making for the last six years and is based on 35 years of extensive real-life experience, studies, interviews, research, and collaborations internationally. 

It will be of great benefit to readers as its content is timeless. The human brain and psychology have not greatly changed over the course of history.

It can serve as a steady guide and power tool to reassess where we are at and helps to identify our next steps. 

It guides into taking solid actions which lead to sustainable and desired results.

Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?

Sharesz T. Wilkinson: The biggest challenge right now is fear. Human psychology doesn’t want change and strives to preserve the status quo at all costs, which of course is impossible. 

Time is a steady stream of changes that stop for no one. 

The pandemic, war situation between Russia against Ukraine, tumbling economies, and unstable politics and governments in many countries are overwhelming for many. Too many changes in a too short period of time lead to consistently increased stress levels and trauma responses.

Fear triggers the following four stress responses, known as the fight, flight, freeze, and fawn response: attacking a challenge, denying it, procrastinating, and people-pleasing, all of them trauma responses in potentially life-threatening circumstances.

Instilling change is already difficult in peaceful, steady times. In uncertain times, it adds to the already experienced stress levels and is outright rejected in many cases in a freeze response.

The need to learn how to self-regulate in stressful times without compensating through harmful and self-sabotaging behaviors – how to survive AND thrive, is a key topic in my talks and interactions with key players in various industries, not sharing from book knowledge, but having walked the talk many times. The only sustainable change we can create is by leading by example. Gandhi famously said to be the change you want to see in the world. The same principle applies to companies and their leaders.

16 international awards and nominations are a testimony to our mission to create change top-down, one leader at a time, and let it ripple through organizations, companies, and entire nations.

In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?

Sharesz T. Wilkinson: The so-called soft skills are the real hard skills. 

Without skilled communication and an understanding of its mechanics and psychology, traditional leadership has become nearly impossible to execute in flat hierarchies, with highly agile teams, remote international workforces, and hybrid work scenarios. 

The value- and belief system of Generation Z is diametral opposite to baby boomers and Generation X. 

MNCs and companies are greatly struggling with their fixed structures and organigrams to keep up with the many changes. 

Incentives that used to work, more money, and power, do not appeal anymore and have no grip to motivate a young generation that values time over money, peace, and freedom over career ladders, office politics, and hacking orders. 

The majority of employees follow suit after the pandemic as they see life being too short to be wasted on building someone else’s profits, paying for it with your life against an often small salary, forgoing family, children, friends, and quality of life through self-determined actions. 

The world has finally woken up to the dream they were sold after World War II in marketing and advertisements. People have become much more aware and educated over the last three decades with the steadily rising field of psychological research and studies. Knowledge is power. Employees’ needs and requirements have never in history been taken into consideration as they are in the current time that we are living in.

Running a company needs to take all this into account and be aware of the social, economical, and societal changes and requirements. If they fail to adapt, the business, going into the future, will fail.

2020, 2021, 2022 threw a lot of curve balls into businesses on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past years, how can businesses thrive in 2023? What lessons have you learned and what advice would you share? 

Sharesz T. Wilkinson: To thrive, a business will do well if it adapts to and integrates the current massive changes in technologies which started years ago.

Blockchain, Internet-of-Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Quantum Computing, and Big Data are happening. Applying and combining such technologies is not a choice but a must in 2023. Metaverse is not a future distant fantasy, but a reality that is already implemented by large companies around the world.

They enhance efficiency, are cost-saving procedures, and in many cases, eliminate the need for middlemen, logistics, and more which leads to a massive shift in business, savings, and how the world is functioning. 

We are but at the cusp of an entirely new era that had its starting point in early 2020.

What does “success” in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.

Sharesz T. Wilkinson: Success has never been about me as an individual or just the company in itself but the impact created for sustainable change and moving the world forward in alignment with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a globally connected world. They become more urgent with every passing year.

The recent trend of moving away from globalization to more nationalism and nation-focused priorities is a natural response in times of distress in alignment with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and historical facts. Yet we are not only living in a heavily industrialized but and even more so digitally interconnected world.

It remains the fact that we are all united as one humanity on one planet. Communication, awareness, and self-regulation are integral parts of the success of every professional’s daily life. 

They are as well highly relevant not just on an individual level, but as well for companies, organizations, and societies at large. 

‘Without roots, no fruits’ is a saying from farmer’s times, and it applies equally to companies and nations today. Where people do not feel seen, heard, or valued productivity, empathy, and collaboration drop. 

If the same applies to countries, it leads to civil unrest, and over extended periods of time, to war to establish a new order. Let’s hope for the best that history does not repeat itself. Hope is a dangerous thing. It keeps us passive in a victimizing waiting loop.

Actions speak louder than words, and so we strive every day internationally to contribute toward a better and more productive outcome on a small scale yet letting it ripple through from there.

These are our goals for 2023.

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