Friday, June 14, 2024


Last fall, I featured an inspiring series here on my blog called, "Fall Back to Reading Series." Nearly 30 leadership, marketing, and customer experience experts participated and shared their favorite books and their thoughts about the importance of reading.

Joseph Lalonde, one participant, wrote a book entitled, REEL LEADERSHIP, which focuses on nontraditional ways to think about leadership. After I read the book, the seeds for this "Spring Leadership Series" were planted. Today, I'd like to introduce Zen Yinger, and following a brief introduction, Zen shares some nontraditional ways to think about leadership!

Zen Yinger is the CEO of ZenConsult, whose goal is "To Transition, To Transcend, and Transform Business Using Simple and Smart AI." ZenConsult helps problem solve and create new opportunities for SMBs, start-ups, and personal brands who want to lean into the future of business by making the simplest and smartest use of AI. She also coaches entrepreneurs and professionals who are in the process of making a delayed entry into the digital world. She has been recognized in Onalytica’s Top 100 for Social Media Marketing Influencers and Top 100 PR Influencers. She is passionate about #WomensAdvocacy, #WomenSupportingWomen, #HeForShe, and #TechForGood.

QUESTION: Which TV show or TV series showcases leadership in a memorable way? This could be due to a specific character and their actions, a series of events, the plot of one or several episodes, or a specific time reflected in history.
ZEN YINGER: TED LASSO, the TV show on Apple TV left me inspired and wanting for more.

Ted Lasso is the epitome of leadership in the series and crafts a unique brand of inspiration rooted in genuine positivity and unwavering empathy. His character becomes a beacon of hope, navigating challenges with an infectious optimism that transcends the soccer pitch. What sets Ted apart is his commitment to building a team culture founded on communication and personal growth.

The series artfully weaves a narrative where each character's journey reflects the transformative impact of Ted's leadership. Be it the comedic camaraderie or the poignant moments, Ted Lasso's approach to leadership is a refreshing departure from conventional portrayals. In a world often fixated on success at any cost, Ted stands out by emphasizing the human side of leadership, creating a memorable and uplifting experience for viewers.

Here are some inspiring quotes from Ted in Season 1 and Season 2:

Season 1: "I believe in hope. I believe in belief." In a pivotal moment, Ted expresses his unwavering faith in positivity and belief, setting the tone for his leadership style.

Season 1: "I think that you should always be curious, 'cause you never know when you're gonna find yourself in a moment of pure discovery." Ted emphasizes the importance of curiosity and openness to new experiences, fostering personal growth within the team.

Season 2: "Every breath is a chance to make things right." Ted's perspective on redemption underscores the series' theme of continuous improvement and second chances.

Season 2: "Success is not about the wins and losses. It's about helping these young fellas be the best versions of themselves on and off the field." Ted redefines success, emphasizing personal development over mere victories, reinforcing his holistic approach to coaching.

QUESTION: Which film showcases leadership in a memorable way?
ZEN YINGER: As an English Literature fan and student, who also had an inspirational English Literature professor, I am compelled to choose the film DEAD POETS SOCIETY.

The film tells a captivating tale of leadership personified by John Keating, an English teacher portrayed by Robin Williams, who gives a brilliant performance. Keating's unconventional teaching methods breathe life into the study of poetry, breaking free from traditional norms. He instills in his students the profound philosophy of "Carpe Diem," urging them to seize the day and embrace individuality, creating a compelling narrative around the power of living authentically. The film beautifully captures the essence of artistic expression, emphasizing the transformative role of poetry in self-discovery.

Keating's leadership is a beacon of empowerment, encouraging students to discover their voices and pursue their passions fearlessly. With a commitment to cultivating critical thinking, he challenges societal norms and fosters confidence, laying the foundation for personal and intellectual growth.

Beyond the classroom, Keating's leadership extends into personal connections, where he understands the fears and dreams of each student, creating an environment of trust and loyalty. The story unfolds with a powerful exploration of consequences, teaching resilience and the importance of facing challenges head-on. Even after Keating's departure, his legacy of inspiration endures, revealing the timeless impact of authentic leadership that transcends immediate circumstances.

Dead Poets Society is a poignant journey that resonates with the human spirit, inviting viewers to reflect on the profound influence of a leader who dared to ignite the flames of individuality and seize the poetic beauty of life.

QUESTION: Which work of fiction showcases leadership in a memorable way?
ZEN YINGER: TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE left an indelible mark on my life from when I read it almost two decades ago. The book unfolds a profound leadership narrative through Morrie Schwartz's lessons.

Morrie's wisdom extends beyond academics, emphasizing emotional intelligence and the prioritization of meaningful relationships over societal expectations.

Facing mortality becomes a transformative journey, prompting readers to reflect on life's purpose and spiritual growth.

Morrie's open communication fosters vulnerability, creating connections that endure.

His legacy, rooted in timeless insights, challenges us to consider the impact we leave on others.

Morrie's unique time management philosophy values quality interactions, inspiring a reevaluation of how we spend our time.
Acceptance, forgiveness, and authenticity define his leadership, encouraging readers to lead with grace and embrace their true selves.

In essence, Tuesdays With Morrie offers a human-centric leadership guide, urging us to live authentically and leave a meaningful legacy.

QUESTION: Which product, or product line, stands out as a symbol of leadership?
ZEN YINGER: As a longtime social media fan, consultant and currently looking for new opportunities, I eat, breathe, sleep LINKEDIN!

LinkedIn isn't just a platform; it's a symbol of leadership in the professional landscape, a space where connections transcend borders, and careers are shaped. It stands out for being more than a networking site – it's a hub of knowledge, a stage for thought leadership that inspires and educates.

As professionals, we find unparalleled opportunities for growth and connection on LinkedIn. LinkedIn's global reach opens doors to a diverse network of professionals, fostering a sense of community that transcends geographical boundaries.

For businesses, LinkedIn isn't just a recruitment tool; it's a showcase of culture and values. Company pages become windows into the soul of organizations, building trust with professionals and clients alike.

The platform's user-friendly interface ensures accessibility for professionals at all levels, creating a welcoming space for sharing ideas, achievements, and experiences.

LinkedIn's commitment to ongoing learning is evident through LinkedIn Learning, offering a treasure trove of courses across various domains. This dedication to knowledge contributes to a culture of continuous improvement and professional development.

As leaders, whether shaping careers or businesses, LinkedIn stands as a symbol of leadership, providing a stage to share, connect, and inspire. It's not just a platform; it's a community that empowers leaders to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the professional world, fostering growth, connections, and a collective journey toward excellence.

SHARE THIS: LinkedIn's global reach opens doors to a diverse network of professionals, fostering a sense of community that transcends geographical boundaries. ~@zenyinger #SpringLeadershipSeries #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: Lastly, since I’m a marketing professional, I would be remiss not to ask this question. Which brand do you consider the best embodiment of an industry leader, and why?
ZEN YINGER: AMAZON is top of mind to me because it's become an important and useful part of my everyday life. I buy my staples on Amazon. Last year, I published an ebook on Amazon, and I am putting together a product line to launch on Amazon. It stands as the epitome of an industry leader, capturing hearts and homes globally, including mine!

What sets Amazon apart is not just the convenience it offers, but the unwavering dedication to customer satisfaction. It's a dynamic ecosystem that caters to diverse needs, mirroring modern lifestyles. In the realm of innovation, Amazon is a trailblazer, shaping the future of commerce and technology.

From the seamless experience of Amazon Prime to the intelligence embodied in Alexa, the company continually raises the bar, weaving technology seamlessly into the fabric of our daily lives.

The strength of Amazon lies not just in its vast product catalog but in the marketplace model that empowers countless entrepreneurs. It's a community where dreams find expression, and small businesses flourish alongside industry giants, creating a harmonious blend of choices for consumers.

Beyond the algorithms and logistics, Amazon's leadership radiates from a people-centric core. The company's commitment to a diverse and inclusive culture, coupled with leadership principles emphasizing ownership and innovation, fosters an environment where individuals are empowered to think big and push boundaries. Amazon is a global connector, understanding and catering to the unique needs of people around the world.

The ability to adapt its business model to diverse cultures reflects a leadership that embraces the richness of human experiences. Initiatives like "The Climate Pledge" showcase Amazon's dedication to environmental stewardship, reinforcing the idea that true leadership extends beyond profits to leave a positive impact on the world.

In essence, Amazon isn't just a company; it's a symbol of customer-centric leadership, innovation, inclusivity, adaptability, and responsibility. It represents the evolution of an industry leader that not only meets - but anticipates - the needs of a dynamic and interconnected world.

Did these questions open your eyes to thinking about leadership in nontraditional ways? That was the hope. My gratitude to Zen for appearing on my blog, and for sharing her leadership insights.

Image Credits: Debbie Laskey, iStockphoto, Amazon, and Classroom Clipart.

Connect with Zen at these links:
(Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest also as Zen Yinger)

Check out Zen's previous appearance here on this blog:

Tips to Establish Your Digital Brand (October 2021)

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