Your Life’s A Film. You’re The Director. What Act Are You In?

Marissa Feinberg


I cover entrepreneurs, change makers and innovators

Hank Fieger’s in his third. He’s an executive coach with a 40-year client repertoire of over 1,000 executives from 20 countries and several major corporations. He wrote the book Behavior Change: A View from the Inside Out; Hank and his book advise you not how to behave, but how to discover your personal best way to break bad habits and do things better. With those successes behind him, he’s ready for the next challenge.

Hank Fieger

For his third act, Hank wants us as the subject. Us, the young social entrepreneur crowd. The ones doing what we do because we want to add value, not just make money. We’re a cohort he hasn’t fully engaged. I met Hank at this year’s Conscious Capitalism conference and YouthTrade celebration, and I invited him to come to Green Spaces to bounce ideas about how to reach people like us.

The Bounce

One of Hank’s specialties is teaching how to present your ideas in ways that affect the hearts and minds of your audience. And truly, it isn’t messaging that will challenge Hank’s break into a new market — I think that by word three of his introduction, we were all pretty sold on the value he can bring. So, he seeks help on the practical side of reaching people who want to change the world with their work. Green Spacers, take it away!

A given: It’s got to be affordable and fast.

Hank’s desire to give back after the success of his career is behind the draw toward the social entrepreneur/conscious capitalism crowd. We startup founders with hearts are rarely short on passion or smarts, but we’re often a little cash strapped and harried for time, yes? We first suggested that Hank design a new “product” from the services he’s geared toward CEOs and executives; a version that lots of people can benefit from simultaneously for a cost that’s lower per head. It should be in turbo mode, harnessing the most of Hank’s expertise in a manageable amount of time.

ROI: Help us sell it to our bosses… or ourselves.

Not all of us social-minded business folks are our own bosses. Some of us have bosses whose favorite word is NO, especially when it comes to things like training. We wanted to see a case statement that shows the money people why Hank is worth the investment. And we founders will take a little info on the return on investment for Hank’s help.

We’ll find you.

Some of us in small organizations recognize that our passionate, hardworking colleagues — especially the youngest ones — often lack the leadership, time management, and project management skills that would make them and the team most effective. These are exactly the skills Hank teaches, and we’re looking for them. As Odile Beniflah of leaned over the conference room table and somewhat intensely put it: “I would find you. We need you. We never have time for anything!” In other words, make sure your website and social web presence are searchable and findable.

Hank is interested in leveraging social media, so we forwarded the advice  Geri Stengel, founder of, gave us at another Idea Bounce: pick one social media channel and master it. Better, delegate that task to someone else, because the true amount of time involved in executing an effective social media strategy is staggering.

The tools of evangelism.

Green Spacers thought the best route to the communities Hank wants to support is finding his “fans” and equipping them with what they need to spread the word and get him on board. To sum up: We proposed he create a package catered for this market that’s effective in time and funds. It’ll be findable and visible and boasts a credible web presence. And it comes with a little note that tells us and our leadership exactly why we need this now.

What Hank Gave Back

Hank didn’t take our ideas and bounce — he stayed to give us all a mini session of his coaching.

As entrepreneurs, what’s our collective Achilles heel? Commonly, it’s our temptation to micromanage, coupled with a reluctance to delegate. In Hank’s words: “getting down on the dance floor when you should be up on the balcony.” But before you start letting go, you have to use the story of your vision to engage, enroll, and empower the people you’re delegating to. A very convincing story of your vision.

Hank shared with us some speaking and presentation pointers on getting up at the front of the room with a plan and full confidence that people are going to “get” and support you.

  • The audience is going to take between one and three points away from any presentation. No more. So choose your messages wisely, and begin with your end in mind.
  • Create a hook. Right off, use a rhetorical question, a provocation or challenge, an anecdote, statistic, catchy metaphor, or even a juicy self-disclosure to captivate your audience.
  • Be in your audience’s shoes. Seems obvious, but often forgotten. If you were in the room, what would you be thinking? What would you be skeptical about?
  • Engage your listeners with vocal tricks. When people talk softly, they speak more slowly; when they’re loud, they talk quickly. Consider this in your own speech patterns and create modulations.
  • You know that tendency when you’re speaking to put your weight on one foot and bend the other knee a bit? Don’t. Distribute your weight evenly. Take a stance.
  • Use your elbow room. Lots of people velcro their upper arms to their sides when they present, weakening their gestures. Unstick those elbows and gesture openly, and use your hands to enumerate and emphasize.

And with a grand, open arm gesture, we thanked Hank for his time. Here’s to you, Hank, and to your life’s acts numbers three, four, five, and on…!



BOYNTON BEACH, Fla.. — May 8, 2009
Anais Nin wrote, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” In Behavior Change, author and executive coach Hank Fieger shows readers how to change their thinking to change their life.

Inside each person there is an internal structure or operating system, explains Fieger, adding that as with computers, most people don’t understand how operating systems work. The difference? “Our computers come with a manual,” he says. “We don’t. Inside of each of us there are beliefs and values, which form our attitude towards life. From these deep parts of ourselves, come our thoughts, feelings, choices, and behaviors.” Fieger’s book provides readers with insight and awareness into what factors contribute to existing behavior, and what is involved in behavior change. He says, “Understand where your behavior comes, and you can create change in your life.”

A small book with a big message, Behavior Change is a handbook that explains in simple language how to move through the stages of awareness, understanding, improvement and reinforcement. Brenda Strong, of the hit television show “Desperate Housewives” relates, “The powerful tools (Fieger) shares in this book have not only helped me have a successful career as an actress, but prepared me for the biggest and most rewarding role of my life: Myself.”

Hank Fieger is president of Hank Fieger and Associates, an international boutique consulting, coaching and training organization of like-minded professionals serving companies such as IBM, Adobe, Ogilvy & Mather, and Microsoft. Fieger has been in the training and development field for 32 years, specializing in behavioral executive coaching, team building, executive presentation skills and leadership communication skills, using a model of open and honest communication. This is his first book.

WSRQ Radio Health Beat of America – Interview on April 16, 2009

KXYL Radio – Interview on April 13, 2009

See Hank Fieger on Sacramento & Co, April 10, 2009.