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Miguel Esquivel Klein leadership strategist

Miguel Esquivel Klein Leadership Strategist

Miguel Esquivel Klein, better known as Mike, is a leadership and productivity expert with innovative online and offline methods

Miguel Esquivel Klein, known as Mike, is a Panamanian-American passionate about teaching. At 62 years old, he has managed to go viral with his inspirational and sarcastic videos. He is married and has five children who are surprised by the popularity their father has achieved on the networks after they themselves were the ones who created his presence on the networks.

Mike focuses on people and business development with online and in-person courses. He describes himself as a strategist in leadership, happiness and business productivity. His unique style has earned him a reputation for delivering tangible results in every training project. He uses the technique of experiential education, combining traditional methods with interactive dynamics and creative and disruptive activities.

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Its clients feel like protagonists in a dynamic setting, with lectures that feel like rock concerts and workshops like corporate “Escape Rooms”. From strategic planning to the execution of annual plans, Mike accompanies companies in achieving their goals. When asked about his start in teaching, he recalls that he was already teaching at 16. At 17, he was working as an assistant instructor at a diving academy in Florida. At 18, he became a scuba instructor, a remarkable feat at a time when certification required being 21 years old.

He graduated as a reservist officer in the U.S. Navy, where he was also a leadership and naval science instructor. At 22 he opened his own academy and at 24 won a training contract for the U.S. Armed Forces, which he held for 14 years. C500s caught up with Miguel Esquivel Klein and he told us his success story.

You define yourself as a leadership strategist, would you like to explain the concept?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: I have clients who graduated Summa Cum Laude from prestigious universities. Now they lead great teams. In all those years, they did not take a single leadership course. Instead of boring them with theories, my approach is practical. I give them actionable tools quickly. They can use them immediately. Thus, they go from being mere bosses to true leaders.

Leaders who inspire their team to surpass any goal. The strategy is based on the “21 Non-Negotiables Rules of Leadership”. We follow a defined, step-by-step, logical and transformational path. The only requirement is a willingness to learn. If they do not want the responsibility of leadership, the company only elevates them to their level of incompetence, as the Peter Principle states.

What is experiential education?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: It is the art and science of learning by doing. Teaching should not be like filling a bucket of water. It should be like lighting a candle. Instead of annihilating brains with endless power points, we design fun dynamics. They are usually run outdoors and are a metaphor for everyday challenges.

After the dynamic, comes the reflection. The participants, guided by a facilitator, express what they felt. They compare the activity with their company. They discuss what they have learned and how to apply it in their work. Finally, they commit to implement solutions. Action is the dynamic. Reflection is absorbing what they have learned. Transfer is applying what they have learned.

We know that this year you achieved some difficult goals in Latin America, do you want to tell us about them?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: The accomplishments were many. We executed a successful program for the CEO of Lacoste and his management team. We worked in their textile factories in Peru. We ran disruptive workshops offshore. We helped a national insurance company increase profits by 40% in one year. They broke all their historical figures since founding.

The most rewarding experience was our participation in the transformation of Banco Nacional de Panama. We executed the Strategic Map with unprecedented achievements. They obtained profits of close to one billion dollars. They reached the first place in Organizational Climate in the nation, among other achievements.

How did you achieve this? In general, government employees and their bosses are considered lazy.

Miguel Esquivel Klein: The real question should be how did we do it? It was a team effort. The first factor was the inspiring and committed leadership of Banco Nacional de Panamá, the general manager himself, Javier Carrizo, thanked my company publicly. The second factor was an excellent Strategic Map. The third factor is our intervention in the execution of that map.

Execution is where many companies fail. They have beautiful plans that are never executed, they never get beyond PowerPoint. I want to make it clear that Banco Nacional de Panama is not a bank of slackers. They have exceptional talent. In my opinion, there are not bad teams, just bad leaders.

We started by making it clear that people are tired of bosses. The Bank needed real leaders. Those who did not want to learn and evolve had to make way for those who did. After empowering the leaders, we worked with the entire staff of the bank. We conducted experiential workshops throughout the country under the concept of EXECUTION. We explained our slogan and secret for success: M.E.T., which stands for Mueve El Trasero (Move your Ass).

Banco Nacional de Panama, with more than 100 years of existence, is today a New Bank. It has wonderful and committed people, a benchmark of excellence for any bank. It shows that transformation is possible. If you ask me, I would say that Banco Nacional de Panamá is the best bank in Latin America. I say that with conviction and pride, because that is our bank.

How did you prepare yourself professionally for that?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: Miguel Esquivel Klein: In addition to my experience as a diving instructor and trainer at the Naval Academy, I am a “Master Experiential Educator”, a certified coach from the International Association of Coaches.

I am also certified in the Science of Success from the University of Michigan and in Positive Psychology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In addition, I am a FireWalking instructor from the Firewalking Institute of Research and Education, among other complementary things.

But I think what really sets me apart is my unique style. I am constantly reinventing myself and designing what some might consider crazy things to create a memorable and effective educational experience. From walking on hot coals to launching rockets, whatever it takes to achieve the goals set by clients.

When and how did you found the Entrepreneurial Academy?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: For me the Business Academy was born in the United States in 1983 when I started training professionally, then in 1985 already in Panama as a contractor for the Southern Command that managed the U.S. military bases but it was not until after the year 2000 when the bases and the canal reverted to Panama that we were founded as a Panamanian corporation. 

Staying in Panama was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. Panama is the best, the more I travel, the more I love Panama and from here I can easily serve the world with my talent.

Miguel Esquivel Klein Entrepreneurial Academy

Do you rely more on the Internet, the remote or the virtual?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: Yes, as they say, success sometimes comes disguised as misfortune. The pandemic was the perfect example.

I had a marketing products business dependent on live experiences. Suddenly, my business was banned. We didn’t waste a minute reinventing ourselves. We embraced the webinar wave and created experiential workshops at Zoom.

We set up an online academy with various courses, sold on social networks. We became telework experts. We taught other companies how to telework effectively. We won an international competition for designing a virtual “Escape Room”. The good reputation led us to create online courses for other entities, including universities such as “Florida State University.”

What techniques does Miguel Esquivel Klein use in his trainings?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: This is a difficult question to answer because our style is unique and proprietary, without a specific name. If I had to describe it, I would say it is the technique of surprise. It surprises everyone. If I ask you what you were doing on August 2 last year, you probably don’t remember. But if I ask you what you were doing when the Twin Towers fell, you probably remember.

That’s my method: to surprise, so that the client fixes in his mind the lessons necessary for success. I use pyrotechnics, magic, out of the comfort zone, adrenaline, stimulating scenarios, music and sensory stimuli. All this permanently engraves in your mind what you need to learn. I always take care of the psychological safety of the participants. Everything must be 100% positive. A psychological wound can bleed without you seeing it, and I never allow that.

What is Firewalking and how is it used in education?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: Many times we deprive ourselves of reaching our potential because fear paralyzes us. Generally, it is a perceived danger, not a real one. A salesperson may have telephone panic, or a teacher may have stage fright. FireWalking is an extreme twelve-hour chore. We take a person with potential and take them to superhero level. By the end, the person feels capable of accomplishing anything. He feels unstoppable.

After facing multiple challenges, it culminates in a barefoot walk over burning coals at 426 degrees C. Nothing happens to them. Firewalking is an extreme practice in which people walk barefoot over burning embers. This process, which lasts about twelve hours, helps to overcome fears and personal limits.

The goal is to transform a person’s potential, taking them from a state of insecurity to feeling unstoppable. During the process, multiple challenges are faced before the walk over coals at 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Firewalking is overwhelming and transformative, but it is not something to practice at home. Only a few instructors in the world are certified to safely guide this experience.

Tony Robbins is one of the most famous, certified at the same academy as me. However, there are only a few certified instructors in the world. And, Tony Robbins was certified in the same academy as me.

What courses does Miguel Esquivel Klein offer in his online academy?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: It is called Academia Empresarial and most of the courses I offer online are private, tailor-made for my clients. These are induction processes for new employees, tutorials on machine management or operations, etc.

Some of the courses we have open to the public are:

  • The compliance routines for the achievement of any goal;
  • The business and sales model with WhatsApp Business;
  • Basic Survival for Mortals which is a good complement to a book I published with the same title that is available on Amazon;efinitive Guide to Telecommuting;
  • Managing Virtual Communication Tools;
  • Magical Customer Service;
  • The pomodoro Technique to make time work for you;
  • Success in your life project;
  • How to defuse an angry customer;
  • Learn Evernote to Forget Nothing;
  • Leadership in a Capsule;
  • The impact of organizational climate on your profits;
  • Emotional Intelligence;
  • Time and Agenda Management.

Are your courses only for large companies?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: My target market is companies with more than 15 employees, with an average of 75. We have impeccably conducted workshops for teams of 2,500 people. Many years ago I stopped promoting myself as an individual coach since I have more reach designing trainings for entire teams. However, on occasion, if I do personal coaching to senior executives or VIPs.

What are the marketing channels you use the most?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: In the past I used Google, Facebook and Instagram a lot and they were very effective. Maybe even too much since they filled my agenda with projects very quickly. After so many years I have a solid base of loyal clients that I maintain using a good CRM.

I do private events for them a couple of times a year, I also now use TikTok but for a different purpose.  Our focus now is more on quality than quantity. This makes it easier to identify our Pareto customers or prospects, the 20% that produce 80% of our revenue. We have focused on them and pamper them with a lot of passion by giving them a magical and super effective service.

There are prospects who only look for the cheapest provider, not the best or the most effective. I stay away from those clients, I even reject transnationals that want you to enter into price competitions. I don’t play that game, I am dedicated to extraordinary quality and tangible results. I consider that I am extremely profitable for all my clients. The investment returns to them fast and that’s what should matter.

TikTok? this is not for kids?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: Actually, I thought TikTok was for women and jokes because when I installed it that’s what I was getting and I discarded it. But, one of my sons insisted on explaining to me how it works. He showed me that TikTok filters according to your interests and gets smarter. This social network proposes videos based on your preferences, the more you use it. There is a whole generation that uses it to learn positive things that help them grow in this disruptive world.

I programmed my TikTok channel @miguelesquivelklein as an altruistic contribution to help new generations navigate the confusing professional world. I take pride in helping them achieve their dreams without any profit motive. What ended up happening surprised me, several of my videos went viral and companies from all over the world started contacting me.

Most of the requests were for me to support them with their challenges, thus achieving a greater reach in other countries.  Every day I upload free help content but every day I am contacted for my services. In TikTok if you want junk, you find it, if you want material for your growth there is also, everyone takes their own poison or antidote, that’s free will. TikTok is growing at an impressive speed in spite of all the efforts to kill it: they are unstoppable.

And how much do you spend on advertising to put your videos on top?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: Sorry, you won’t like this answer for sure, I don’t spend a penny. My decision was that any growth in TikTok had to be organic and real. Those who follow me want to follow me, I don’t buy them. I have practically no haters or trolls, but when they come up I receive them with love because I do everything there out of love for my earthly brothers. Creating content costs time and effort, if you do it for free you can only do it well from love.

What are your projects for the future?

Miguel Esquivel Klein: I would like to clone myself to be able to teach more people because those who have participated in my courses tell me that they have not only improved as employees, but also as people. Now they see life differently. I would like to open branches of my Academy all over the world and make so much money that I only have to work because I love my work. With the money I have left over I would like to open world class free schools. Schools where gifted but under-resourced children can unleash their full potential to build a better future for this planet. The Mother Earth that my generation screwed up.

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