I guide leaders to grow and transform their business

Ever since I trained as a Mountain Guide in my teens, I’ve excelled at guiding adventurous explorers through uncharted territory. Come along and discover your greater talents and possibilities.

 

With 45 years of business leadership, I help business executives energize their people and establish vibrant cultures.  Transform your company into a place where ordinary people excel and customers keep coming back.

 

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The Backstory: How a Rugged Wilderness Expedition taught Me the Power of a Powerful Team

Ready to become extraordinary?  Let me be your guide.

My passion is guiding companies to build vibrant cultures, where employees find a common focus of making a difference for others.

We invite you to create a Vibrant Culture. A place where good people excel and work becomes a meaningful part of who they are.

I’m Tony Thayer.

I help businesses achieve greater results.

I learned the fundamentals of my leadership style as a wilderness guide when I was 19, and honed my skills over 40 years.

As I climbed the ladder to Executive Leadership, I brought people together by finding the values that defined my customers and united my teams.

As a Sales Rep, my focus on values helped me win back major clients who had left years before, always refusing to reconsider or discuss why. Then, when a high-profile major client threatened to terminate a production service-center program I designed for them, I took it over. I became a production manager. I delivered results because I listened and heard.

They give me just three months to turn it around. My team and I we didn’t just win back their trust, we won their confidence, We kept expanding and signing contract extensions. By the end of the year, they had signed 5 new five-year contracts for over than five times the original revenue.

I went on to start a new division for another Bay Area company, sell multi-million dollar enterprise software systems and lead a turnaround for a company on the brink of bankruptcy,

I left my corporate career when cancer threateded to end my life, and, when I came through with a clean bill of haealth, I began coaching and consulting.

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Cancer was the greatest mentor I ever had; it taught me about the meaning of work, success, values and connection. I learned that success without fulfillment is failure. I learned that, for me to survive, I would  have to find joy in everything I do.

I learned that the best way for people to find joy in their work is to make a difference for others.

Let me show you what cancer brought home for me: that when you run a vibrant company, people open up and become more to you than they have ever been!

Discover the possibilities waiting to be unleashed in the people who surround you.

 

 

Tony Thayer

The Qualities That Make Me A Leader

Let’s do it!

Throughout my career I have brought people together. I notice what people say when they speak from their heart, and I encourage them to  act on those desires. I raise the question – “how do we make that happen?” I get them to say “Let’s do it!”

I have a facility for listening to people in a way that lets them listen to themselves. To see the values hidden between the lines, and to use those values, more than the words, to inspire the action.

I understand how values drive action. Values are what bind teams together.

People, when isolated, feel vulnerable, tentative and insecure.

When we feel alone within a team, we try to get along but do not stick our necks out

But there is great power in small groups of committed, like-minded people. When we trust one another and create a sense of belonging, we take heart from each other’s presence.

it’s the difference that makes a difference for successful businesses,

Inclusive teams, built on shared values, create energy and confidence. They become stronger than they were before.

 

How I built a successful career building teams around my sense of people’s values

I first discovered this talent in High School, when the student body voted to create a town-hall, participatory student government.  At the very first town hall meeting, everyone was too shy and insecure to step up to the micorphone.

So I did. Not to say my piece, but to remind the audience of all the things I had heard them say over the past few weeks in the hallways, of all the things people had said to me they hoped others would say.

I reminded people of who they most wanted to become.

Then I invited specific people to step up and talk about the specific things I knew they cared about.

Within five minutes, the near-disaster of a new form of government had turned into a success; there were two lines of 20 people lined up behind our mics, waiting for their turn to talk.

Throughout my career, I have tapped into the energies and values of the people around me.

As a Federal Transportation planning consultant for the federal govt, I promoted public participation programs for local planning agencies

As a new Vice President of Marketing for what had been a pioneer internet business, I helped engineer a turnaround when the company’s fortunes faltered in the presence of a well-funded new competitor. Facing a sudden loss of a business I had joined only weeks before, I spoke to every blue-collar employee and stated the obvious – they knew more than I did, and I wanted their perspectives and observations. From those discussions and the energy they unleashed, we altered our niche and rolled out services our customers had never asked us for, but which they were hungry for. 

 

My Experience

Highlights of my Career and Leadership Growth

My first job in sales was with Xerox in San Francisco

    • Named NorCal Sales Rep of the Year my first year in sales
    • Learned the art of consultative selling
    • Turned curiosity into imaginative solutions that excited customers

Followed by an adventurous exploration through several sectors of industry and sales

    • Sales success in commercial print, small businesses, industrial equipment, transportation and enterprise software
    • Developed a reputation for winning back major clients who had severed all association
      • Hired to lead Western US sales for a former Fortune 500 software  developer that had alienated two major utility accounts five years prior; signed new contracts with each within one year

Leading to Executive Leadership Roles

    • Hired to start a new division to add a new product line for a mature Bay Area business reaching the saturation point in its traditional market offering – generated over $1 million in new revenues in less than one year
    • Hired as VP of Sales & Marketing by Content Management, a pioneer internet B2B .com business in Silicon Valley, where I led the company in a successful turnaround effort when our niche was targeted by a major national competitor.

Building on skills from earlier experiences in Planning, Consulting, and Investigation

    • Federal Investigator for Fraud, Waste & Abuse in US Federal Agencies
    • Management Consultant to Federal Agencies
    • Transportation Planner responsible for coordinating federal funding requirements with Regional agency initiatives throughout California

Grounded on training and work as a Wilderness Guide in college

  • Graduated from National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in 1971, Lander Wyoming
  • Recruited by NOLS as a Leadership trainer in 1972
  • Learned  grace under pressure and in-the moment team-building skills in live, extreme conditions

 

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The leadership skills I learned on a challenging winter climb

I acquired my leadership vision on an eventful winter climb of the Grand Tetons when I was just 19.

In those cold and dangerous conditions, I learned that success comes from believing that people can rise to any occasion, and letting them know you expect they’ve got it in them.

This is why I show leaders how the right culture pulls people together and gives meaning to their lives. We all want to be part of a great team. We all want to discover who we are and what we are made of.

I joined that two-week climb in Wyoming, when I was 19, as the interview for a position to teach people to become wilderness guides at the National Outdoor Leadership School.

Ten days in, we had a short window – only one day – for the final push to reach the summit.

We began at 4 AM, inching up in the dark. Later that morning, I had my turn to take the lead – but just 20 minutes later, on an icy ledge on a 200-foot cliff, I faced a slippery overhang.  It was way beyond my skill set; it was impossible.

I told our guide to give someone else the lead, but he said

“No – there’s no time.  If you can’t do it, we all have to head back down.  I put you on because I know you’ve got more inside you than you know about yet.”

 

A Challenging Winter Climb That Pushed Me Past My Limits

Everyone was looking at me. I looked at them, and then I turned and faced that overhang. I swallowed hard. I don’t know how, but I hoisted myself over it in the blink of an eye. I just did it.

That moment lit up the team. We became unstoppable. An hour later, we scrambled up to the summit, just minutes before our time ran out!

No one had ever believed in me like that. No one had ever pushed me so far past my limits.

For the next 40 years, I built my business success by seeing the possibilities in people – and pushing them to reach for more.

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