The best feeling for an entrepreneur is when he recognizes his passion and pursues it with complete dedication. This is how the entrepreneurial journey of Kevin Eikenberry, CEO of The Kevin Eikenberry Group began. 26 years ago, Kevin decided to follow his passion and started his own company which is one of the leading training and coaching companies today. He might have started small, but his determination was the seed to a successful career. We are privileged to have the opportunity to share his incredible story and inspiring insights. We are certain that his thoughts will ignite a spark of passion in every individual with an entrepreneurial heart.
A Small Seed with Strong Roots
Growing up in an entrepreneurial family, Kevin thought that he too would take the same path working in his father’s agricultural businesses. However, destiny had a different plan for him, and circumstances changed when he went to work in corporate America. During this stage of his life, Kevin realized that training and consulting were his place in the world, and 26 years ago he left his corporate career, and started the company that is now known as The Kevin Eikenberry Group.
He did not start with a big group of customers or even a great plan. Albeit, when he began, he quickly attracted some initial customers but that solid start created a long-term challenge. In retrospect, it led him into a roller-coaster cash flow situation. Once he realized he wanted a business rather than a practice, Kevin started studying and implementing marketing principles, focusing on building a pipeline of prospects which kept the momentum building from month to month and year to year.
A Whole Package of Services
The Kevin Eikenberry Group has four major business units. The core business is leadership development products and services, including organizational consulting, coaching, speaking and training. Two additional areas focus on leadership niches: New and Frontline Leaders (based on their From Bud to Boss book), and leaders of remote teams and their remote/teleworking team members (based on their book The Long-Distance Leader). They also have a business unit focused on communication and team skills built around their proprietary DISC assessment.
The Kevin Eikenberry Group is in the business of helping leaders make a bigger positive difference for themselves, their teams, their organizations and the world. What differentiates them from the lot is their approach of making the complex accessible, a focus on core principles of leadership and human behavior, and tying everything to how people and groups really learn and change. For just one example, The Kevin Eikenberry Group helps people translate what they learn into a new habit of behavior – a change in behavior is what will lead to new results, not simply the attendance in a workshop or seminar.
The Life of an Admirable Leader
When the company has your name attached to it, it is hard to disconnect the two. Kevin’s father was a farmer who also managed multiple businesses related to agriculture. The company’s purpose is very tied to Kevin’s life experiences. Growing up on a farm gave him many insights that serve as a boost to the company operations. As Kevin rightly explains it, “Then we grew crops – now we grow people. Then we worked with agricultural and biological systems, now we work with human and organizations systems.”
After high school, Kevin attended Purdue University, and then went to work for Chevron Chemical Company and Chevron Corporation in sales and marketing and eventually Training and Development. His time in the corporate world gave him experiences and context for his work today – and helped him understand the thinking and needs of his customer.
Like many entrepreneurs Kevin wears several hats. He is a visionary for the business, a creator of content in all forms (including doing an interview like this!), a speaker, trainer, consultant and coach, and a leader of an incredible team that is almost entirely remote. “I work hard to stay in those lanes as much as possible or at least to prioritize those areas of work highest. My advice in this area is to be clear with your team on this. Members of my team are protective of my time – often challenging me if I stray from these most important areas of work.”
The Visionary Focus of a Skilled Team
Kevin believes that leadership is leverage – when leaders are more effective, good things happen for them, those they lead, their organizations and the world at large. The Kevin Eikenberry Group exists to provide help to leaders in creating great leverage. Kevin says, “I am also very proud that four of my team members have very different roles than when they joined us. People know that they can grow and develop personally and professionally while we do this important work.”
The team tries to focus more on opportunities than roadblocks, however they are not without the challenges that many entrepreneurs also face. They are always asking themselves and trying to find better answers to questions like: How can we attract the right prospects? How can we shorten the sales cycle? For Kevin personally, the biggest challenges are about picking the right product and service directions and maintaining the highest possible levels of productivity for himself and the team.
The Successful Path of Expansion
The Kevin Eikenberry Group will continue to grow this business one leader and one organization at a time. They have plans to expand in all four of their business units, focusing on innovative learning experience and processes, while always sticking to their core message. Their growth strategy is based on expanding the offerings and value they can add for customers across those four business areas. The Kevin Eikenberry Group has many long-term customers, so a big part of their strategy involves attracting organizations looking for a partner instead of just a vendor. They are growing at about 10%/year over the last three years. Recession or economic expansion, there will always be the need for better leaders, and they are proud to be a positive voice in the world, helping in making that happen.
Passion to change the world with the little that you have, is enough to stimulate a wave of transformation. Your work speaks for you as it did for Kevin. His zealous attitude has brought him a long way leaving a trail of success and admirable stories as a source of inspiration. With his ardent spirit backed by the grit of a skilled team, The Kevin Eikenberry Group sure has a bright future to look forward to.