Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Keith Kannenberg, CEO of The Kannenberg Group, located in Kannapolis, NC, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I run a leadership consulting firm that specializes in a distinctive assessment process that helps organizations align their strategy, culture, and value dynamics to a customized leadership styling that perpetuates their unique leadership brand, eliminating employee turnover and exponentially increasing their bottom line.

Tell us about yourself

After many years and many mistakes in the field of organizational leadership, I became aware of a very unsettling phenomenon. Good leaders who were highly successful in one organization failed miserably in another. I started asking, "why?" and what I learned shocked me. All leadership styles have their sweet spot. It is an organization whose structure, culture, and dynamics meet the effective elements of the leadership theory being applied to it. When everything properly aligns, the leader thrives. When one element is out of alignment, the leader can maintain, only for a limited time, but eventually will find him or herself crucified and hung out to dry.

Unfortunately, academia has failed to recognize this and refuses to address it. Instead, they would rather pump the market full of new leadership trends that can magically be templated over any organization to make a leader outshine everyone else around them. This type of leadership development is far too individualistic to ever produce anything other than organizational psychosis.

When multiple leaders apply multiple theories to a singular group of people, everyone starts "hearing voices," and no one knows which to follow. The hierarchy grows more and more dysfunctional with every passing day. At the Kannenberg Group, we refuse to produce "soup de jour" leadership trends. We don't train leaders; we design and perpetuate them around your unique corporate vision.

I am driven by this passion because I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this is the single best way to infuse greatness into an organization. Alignment is the missing key in leadership development. Not only the alignment of the followers but also, and more importantly, the alignment of the leaders.

When followers hear a single voice, they know what to do and what is expected of them. They grow more and more innovative with every passing day. When they hear multiple voices, they withdraw into survival mode and produce little. Helping leaders implement these practices is what gets me out of bed every morning. I know I am offering something people cannot get anywhere else, something of extremely high value for a very minimal investment, comparatively.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

During the first few years of my practice, I struggled to establish myself as a credible voice in the field of leadership development because my only niche was that I taught what everyone else was teaching, only better. I was an entertainer more than an innovator. Then, after many years, I finally developed a series of assessment tools that determine multiple organizational dynamic features and categorized a lifetime of research, topically, alongside those features.

Through highly developed instrumentation, we can now diagnose organizational dysfunctionality and create systems to counteract it. Once stability is attained, we can develop and perpetuate a unique leadership styling that will ensure the organization continues to march toward desired and functional goals for many years to come.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I think the hardest part of owning a business is to pull yourself away from the development of your passion for marketing its value. Producing my product flows naturally from me. Helping others understand the value of that product is a skill set I must develop. We do what we love because we love it, but there comes the point when you must do what is necessary to take what you love to the next level. Unfortunately, necessary things are never quite as fun as passionate things.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Number one, don't market something you haven't yet fully developed. The excitement of quickly producing revenue can do more to negatively brand your product than anything else. Market only excellence. Keep your product development on the down low.

Number two, be patient. Success rarely comes overnight, and when it does, it is usually fleeting. A "big shot" is just a "little shot" that kept shooting. Learn to be a good "little shot."

Number three, success is not measured in how much money you make; it's measured in how much money you keep. You get what you pay for. Don't be cheap when it comes to quality. Don't be foolish when it comes to quantity. Don't buy anything you were not looking for before the salesperson called. Never let a person that is going to directly benefit from the transaction tell you what you need. If you didn't need it before you started talking with them, you never needed it in the first place.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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