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Think Outside the Box so you can Compete Outside the Box™!

Eric is an expert in the field of unconventional leadership, culture, strategy and competitive advantage. He is the author of Compete Outside the Box: The Unconventional Way to Beat the Competition. For over 15 years, he has helped managers become unconventional leaders. Eric teaches leaders how to create competitive advantage based on innovation, flexibility and risk-taking so they can beat the competition.

Eric has years of practical managerial experience in several industries and with the U.S. government. Eric has presented his ideas in the United States, France, Peru, Thailand, Portugal, Mexico, India, Switzerland, China, Japan, Estonia, Sweden, Puerto Rico, and Germany. He has lived in Japan and Germany.

Eric earned a PhD in Management, published over 21 articles and a book. However, he does not fit the stereotype of a stuffy intellectual. Originally from New York City, his presentations are delivered with a sense of humor, 100% unedited honesty and street smarts!

Book synopsis

Unconventional leadership is the key to sustained business success because it produces innovation, flexibility and risk-taking. These three components are essential to securing long-term competitive advantages and winning in today’s global and hyper-competitive environment. The book helps readers become unconventional leaders who build winning companies.

Why should people buy the book and what will they learn from it?

  • Want more innovative employees?
  • Is your firm slow to adapt to change?
  • Do you want to beat the competition?
  • Is your culture too conservative?
  • Need to think outside the box?
  • Are you tired of following other companies?

The book provides ideas about how to lead and build an unconventional company that beats the competition:

  • Become an unconventional thinker and leader
  • Craft an unconventional culture
  • Hire unconventional thinkers who can motivate themselves
  • Create an environment that supports creativity
  • Use humor and honest communication to enhance performance
  • Embrace change and turn it into a competitive advantage

These concepts are applicable to any company that wants to beat the competition.

Why did you write the book?

This book is a product of my years of experience around the world as a manager, leader, professor, speaker and consultant. One of the most prominent observations I have made is that there is a high degree of conformity and conventional thinking in most societies. Conformity and conventional thinking impede innovation in both the public and private sectors.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. Well-known unconventional firms are setting the example of how unconventional thinking can unleash creativity and flexibility in their workers (Apple, Google, Southwest Airlines, Cirque du Soleil, etc.), and as a result, they beat the competition repeatedly.

This book is about what you can do to achieve similar results and win. It can be done, but you must be willing to modify your own thinking and your organizational culture. You have to take the risks associated with change. In fact, you have to learn to love change, for no improvement is possible without it.

Therefore, I wrote the book to help manager and leaders break their companies free from the many constraints that they put on them. I wrote it to help leaders create companies that are more innovative, flexible in dealing with change and able to take risks.

Think Outside the Box so you can Compete Outside the Box™!Do you speak and consult?

Yes, I do both. I help people learn how to think outside the box so that they can Compete Outside the Box and win. They learn the things they can do to become unconventional leaders.

Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are prime examples of unconventional thinkers and leaders. They do not look like typical business leaders and their leadership style is anything but conventional. In fact, their backgrounds are both contrary to what most people would expect of such successful corporate leaders. They both dropped out of college and had no formal business training.

Despite this, or maybe because of this, they have unconventional leadership styles that have led to the creation of unconventional firms. Jobs and Zuckerberg demonstrate how unconventional leaders build their own leadership styles based on their context and the many lessons they learn from diverse areas. Because of this, their firms beat the competition on a regular basis.

The more change an organization is facing, the greater the need for unconventional leaders and the innovation, flexibility and risk-taking culture they create. Given that today’s environment is characterized by frequent change, unconventional leadership is more important than ever before. After participating in my speeches or consulting services, any leader will be able to become more unconventional.

What sets you apart from most other speakers?

I am able to understand complex processes and explain them in an easy to understand manner. This comes from years of thinking about my subject area and teaching it. Other speakers might have more experience in particular industries, so they have good stores to tell, but they seldom can understand or explain as well as I can.

Additionally, I am not a motivational speaker because I cannot motivate anyone. I don’t make people repeatedly raise their hands in response to silly questions. I don’t use the latest cute catch phrases. I am not there to make the audience feel “special.” Oh, and I refuse to wear a suit and tie.

I am a Reality Speaker. I speak the truth and don’t hold back. I believe in free speech, so I am not politically correct! I exist to change the way my clients think and behave. I want them to become unconventional leaders who can lead their companies to lead their industries and improve life on earth. Just making money is not enough. That’s how I roll!

What other sources can people use to become an unconventional leader?

I believe that you can learn about leadership anywhere you see people working together. For example, you can learn about leadership from children playing if you pay attention to how a leader emerges and directs other kids in their games. Observe this enough and you should be able to see how child leaders use physical and other non-verbal cues to influence other children. If you really open your mind, you can see that leadership is such a powerful concept that it transcends the human species. It is so useful and necessary that most social mammals such as wolves, apes, elephants and lions use leadership. While observing these different animals, you see that effective leaders across species engage in common activities; they seek and exercise power, utilize teamwork, and even create cultures and competitive advantage.

Clearly, not everything you observe will be useful and ideas don’t have to be an amazing revelation or 100% applicable to every situation to be useful. A key to learning about leadership is comparing leader behaviors across different situations, so that you can find commonalities and discover what works and why. Self-teaching is an essential component to unconventional leadership.

I also like to watch documentaries and similar educational programs. PBS, CNBC, History Channel, etc., offer great ideas. I just saw the history of the Indian Motorcycle Company. This company’s brand is so powerful that it attracts diehard fans who were born decades after it ceased operations. That is a great case from which to learn about leadership, branding, customer experience, etc. It is also a good case to learn how not to squander such a great brand and products.

What books have you read that you would recommend to others?

There are many books from which one can learn bits and pieces of ideas that one can use to create a customized leadership style that fits your personality and context. Here are some that offer great ideas:

  • The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton M. Christensen (2003)
  • Competing on the Edge: Strategy as Structured Chaos, Shona L. Brown & Kathleen M. Eisenhardt (1998)
  • Blue Ocean Strategy, W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne (2005)
  • Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? Inside IBM’s Historic Turnaround. Louis V. Gerstner Jr. (2002)

What is your website and what do you write about?

My website is It provides several free articles that are useful for leaders seeking to be the best in their industries. I mostly write about how to become an unconventional leader and build a company that wins! I have an extensive blog ( that contains many unconventional ideas. The website also describes the outstanding value clients can expect from my services.

Do you use social media?

I am a social media butterfly, going from flower to flower getting my nectar! I use linked-in, Twitter and Facebook. Here are the links:

Think Outside the Box so you can Compete Outside the Box™!

Think Outside the Box so you can Compete Outside the Box™!

Think Outside the Box so you can Compete Outside the Box™!

Think Outside the Box so you can Compete Outside the Box™!

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