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April 22nd, 2024

A Discussion with Game On Nation founder Steve Shenbaum

  1. A Discussion with Game On Nation founder Steve Shenbaum Michael D. Levitt 24:42

Steve Shenbaum is the founder of Game On Nation, a nationally recognized communication firm that employs game dynamics and improvisation to teach high-performance teamwork as well as communication, story-telling, public-speaking and presentation skills.

Game On Nation provides authentic and down-to-earth courses, keynotes, and custom training programs that are widely accessible and extremely successful. For over 27 years, Steve and his company have helped people at the highest level of every sphere in the country, including leaders at Fortune 100 companies, college and professional sports teams, all branches of the military, NASA, and the U.S. House of Representatives.

Steve gained notoriety for his early acting career, with featured roles in popular comedy films and shows such as Space Jam, Will & Grace, and American Pie 2. He understands the immense power of positive humor, and his professional success allows access to high-level audiences and clients.

Notable clients Steve has worked with include Yao Ming, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carmelo Anthony, Sydney Crosby, Abby Wambach, and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, to name a few. One of those notable clients, Alex Smith, the #1 NFL draft pick in 2005, shared this testimonial:
“Steve has had a major impact on my career by giving me tangible techniques to improve my communication, leadership, and overall development both on and off the field. He’s also an incredible encourager and one of the funniest people I know.”
Steve’s authenticity and knowledge of team building and experiential learning have not gone unnoticed; he created and oversaw the communication, leadership, and media training program at IMG Academy from 2003-2012.

He aims to help human-resource executives, learning and development experts, young professionals, and emerging leaders and coaches looking to infuse positive humor, substance and authenticity into their message—or simply anyone who loves Ted Lasso or Mr. Rogers, as they would dig Steve’s vibe of kindness, empathy, and engagement.

Mission Statement and Workplace Culture
Michael D. Levitt and Steve Shenbaum discussed the importance of organizations understanding and aligning on their mission statements and the behaviors that embody them. Steve emphasized the need to go beyond the mission statement, engage with team members, and agree on behaviors that reflect the mission. He also highlighted the value of asking deeper questions and doing the necessary work to understand and address underlying issues. Michael agreed, noting the importance of preventative care over reactive measures, and the necessity of having difficult conversations about workplace culture. He shared an example of an abrupt departure from an organization, suggesting that such incidents could be prevented with better understanding and alignment.
Communication and Expectation Setting in Workplace
Michael and Steve discussed the importance of communication and expectation setting in the workplace. They identified a communication issue where employees felt unheard or misunderstood by management, which could have been prevented by open dialogue. They also highlighted the role of leadership in effectively delegating tasks and checking in on the workload of their employees. Additionally, they emphasized the need to establish clear expectations for employees, such as work hours and communication protocols, to avoid misalignment and ensure accountability.
Learning and Management Styles in the Workplace
Steve and Michael discussed the importance of understanding individual learning and management styles within the workplace. Steve emphasized the need for individuals to recognize what works for them and what doesn’t, and the role of leadership in supporting their team. Michael noted that different generations may require different management styles. They also discussed the success of Steve’s business, which is not niche in terms of audience, but is niche in terms of its delivery style, specifically focusing on presentation skills.
Improvisation for Team Building
Steve Shenbaum discussed the focus of his team on presentation and teamwork skills, using improvisation as a tool. He highlighted the importance of finding common ground to bring out people’s talents and learning styles in a positive way. Steve also stressed the need to do challenging things together in a safe environment, and how improvisation can help create a strong bond. He emphasized the importance of communicating and trusting each other, and celebrating small wins. Michael D. Levitt shared his personal experience with a team building exercise that revealed similarities between him and a colleague who had a different perception of him, which Steve used to highlight the importance of focusing on behaviors rather than labels.
Workplace Culture and Productivity
Steve Shenbaum and Michael D. Levitt discussed the importance of workplace culture and productivity. Steve suggested a number of changes to enhance work processes, including adjusting meeting schedules, eliminating lunch and learns, and treating employees with respect. He shared insights from FC Cincinnati’s general manager, who attributed their success to simple practices like sharing meals and acknowledging people’s birthdays. Steve also mentioned that his company, Game On Nation, provides resources to improve presentation and communication skills.

Michael Levitt Chief Burnout Officer

Michael D. Levitt is the founder & Chief Burnout Officer of The Breakfast Leadership Network, a San Diego and Toronto-based burnout consulting firm. He is a Keynote speaker on The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting and Burnout. He is the host of the Breakfast Leadership show, a Certified NLP and CBT Therapist, a Fortune 500 consultant, and author of his latest book BURNOUT PROOF.

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