Ask the Expert: Unlocking Leadership Skills to Create a Global Impact

Articles Feb 12, 2024

Through our work with hundreds of clients, The Diversity Movement has connected with thousands of fascinating people who are creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces and communities. For this “Ask the Expert” series, we invite leaders to talk about their DEI journey, lessons they’ve learned, and what inspires them every day. 

Nils Vinje, Founder and CEO of Leadership MBA

Nils Vinje, Founder and CEO of Leadership MBA

Nils Vinje is the founder of the 12-week Leadership MBA program, which empowers leaders with a complete toolkit to confidently handle any situation. Nils has been a certified leadership coach for over 11 years, has spent thousands of hours working with clients and has an MBA in Management and Organizational Behavior. Nils believes that everyone has the opportunity to be the CEO of their career and their life!

Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share the story of how you came to your current role?

I have been a leadership coach for over 11 years, and for the first 8-9 years, I solely worked with senior leaders and executives in one-on-one coaching relationships. What I realized during the global pandemic is that the only people who could get access to my leadership coaching were the ones who could make a significant investment to work with me.

The reality is that the leadership skills I teach can benefit leaders at all levels in all different kinds of companies around the world. I wanted to share my complete leadership toolkit with more leaders so they could make a positive impact in their lives and careers. I created the 12-week Leadership MBA program to empower leaders from all different walks of life with the tools to handle any situation confidently.

How are you working to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in your community?

The Leadership MBA community is a diverse group of leaders from around the world. We have members from the U.S., Canada, Europe, Africa, and Australia, so far, and are constantly working to bring more leaders from different cultures, companies, and backgrounds into the program. These leaders also represent every level inside of an organization from first-time leaders to experienced managers to Directors, Vice Presidents, and the C-suite. The organizations we work with range in size from early-stage startups to global F500 companies.

Can you describe a personal experience that fuels your passion?

The first class I took as part of my MBA showed me how powerful one seemingly simple tool could be.

It had been over 7 years since I had been in a classroom, and now I was back at a desk listening to a professor for the first time. During that class, he introduced one concept that helped me instantly get clarity on every challenge I faced with every boss I had ever worked for.

I had complete clarity for the first time in my professional life, and energy was pulsing through me. After class, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I had learned and what an impact it was having on me. I barely slept that night.

That level of insight, power, and energy is what I strive to bring to every class of the Leadership MBA. If I can empower leaders with tools that have just as big of an impact on them as that first one did on me, I know I’m making a positive impact on their personal and professional lives.

Can you tell us about a DEI win that you are proud of? It doesn’t have to be big, just meaningful for you.

The first cohort of the Leadership MBA included 30 leaders from around the world. Connecting with and educating leaders from the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Australia every week was amazing. Each leader brings a unique perspective and set of experiences, and we all learn from each other.

Character is so important today in our professional and personal lives. Which character trait do you think has been most helpful in your journey? Can you please share a story or example of that trait in action?

The character trait that has been most helpful in my journey is evolution. I would not be where I am today without always thinking about how I am evolving as a person, father, husband, entrepreneur, leadership coach, etc.

I had been running a consulting business for 5 years when the global pandemic hit. Over 48 hours, my business came to a screeching halt. That experience drove home the need for me to evolve as an entrepreneur and find a way to serve the needs of people and companies who wanted to develop leadership skills. 

I knew that I would need a new “business card” to support me in making a big transition like this, so I decided to write a book. 110 days after that decision, I had successfully published my book called 30 Day Leadership Playbook: Your Guide To Becoming The Leader You Have Always Wanted To Be on Amazon and achieved the “Best-Seller” recognition. After publishing the book, I sold training programs and evolved them to become what is now the Leadership MBA.

Evolution is the driving force behind everything I do. As long as I am evolving both personally and professionally, I know I’m doing the right things.

What does inclusive leadership mean to you?

When it comes to inclusive leadership, I see a place where a leader:

  • Creates psychological safety
  • Seeks to understand where others are coming from first before making judgments or jumping to conclusions
  • Understands their own strengths and unique talents along with those they lead
  • Doesn’t give the answers but instead helps each person discover the answers they need for themselves
  • Treats each person as the unique individual they are
  • Celebrates the accomplishments of the team as a whole as well as the individuals
  • Knows how to measure their impact on day-to-day tasks but also long-term strategic goals
  • Empowers each person to thrive in their unique way

What strategies do you use to maintain your personal well-being and/or professional resilience?

The most powerful strategy I use is routines. Routines serve as the foundation for each day and are built around several key areas. The following areas are some of the most important for me.

Food - My family and I are vegan, and plants are our fuel.

Alcohol - Don’t touch it anymore. As of February 2024, it’s been 14 months without a drink!

Exercise - Work out four to six times a week through a combination of lifting weights and running.

Meditation - I meditate every day for 20 minutes.

I take the long-term view in everything I do, both personally and professionally. When I hit tough patches, I rely on the routines in the areas noted above to keep moving forward and evolving.

How can people follow you online or connect with you?

To learn more about the Leadership MBA, please visit LeadershipMBA.com. Download a free digital copy of my best-selling book called: 30 Day Leadership Playbook. Connect with and follow me on LinkedIn.

Check out more expert advice in TDM Library, where you’ll find articles, videos, how-to guides, podcasts, and webinars – all organized by topic so you can quickly find the answers you need about the subjects you care about. When you subscribe to TDM Library, you get access to thousands of award-winning DEI learning resources, so you can start improving your workplace culture right away.

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The Diversity Movement features DEI experts from across the country. Check the bottom of the content piece for more information about the guest author.