We recently had the privilege of interviewing Bob Philips, Strategic Growth Expert, Best-selling Author, and Founder of Skills Café. After being associated with the corporate world for a long time, Bob realized an undercurrent of untapped potential left unaddressed.
Intending to nurture the human element and create custom solutions for everyone, Bob Philips started consulting, leading him to his current position. In this insightful interview, Bob Philips shares his perspective on his business’s core principles, challenges, unique services, triumphs, and invaluable suggestions for aspiring professionals.
Inspiration and Journey
We started the interview by asking, “What inspired you to embark on your career path, and how has your journey shaped your professional ethos?”
Bob Philips shared, “Back in 2009, as I navigated the complexities of senior leadership at a multinational firm, a stark realization struck me. I saw dedicated individuals clock in daily, performing their jobs, yet something crucial was amiss. There was an undercurrent of untapped potential that was not being addressed. People weren’t just lacking skills; they were missing out on upskilling in behaviors and competencies essential for their roles. It dawned on me that while business metrics were our daily bread, the human element was the heart that needed nurturing.
The training available then was like one-size-fits-all content, the monotonous delivery – it wasn’t just ineffective but uninspiring. I thought to myself, “We can do better. We must do better.” Learning isn’t just about transferring knowledge; it’s about sparking a thought, igniting a passion, and stirring a soul.”
Bob Philips added, “That’s when I decided to step away from the comfort of the corporate ladder and dive into the unknown as an independent consultant. I reached out across borders – Consulting organizations in UAE, Canada, the UK, the Philippines, and India. Conversations with operational leaders turned into brainstorming sessions, and brainstorming sessions turned into action plans. We were on a mission to create something that wasn’t just a training program but a transformative experience.
We wrote content that resonated and spoke to individuals’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. We were mindful of the cognitive load, ensuring our material was digestible and impactful. We didn’t want to push people; we tried to pull them into a journey of self-improvement. As a result, they spoke for themselves. Each project was a testament to the difference we were making, one individual at a time.
This path has led me to a profound truth: I am here for a purpose. To change lives so they, in turn, can change their world. My vision is to channel the insights from my entrepreneurial and leadership journey to empower others to discover their true calling. Every project I undertake, every life I touch, I do so with the conviction that I’m not just contributing to a business but making a real difference in people’s lives. That’s the legacy I aim to build—one of inspiration, transformation, and purpose.”
Philosophy and Values
We were intrigued to learn about the values embedded in Bob Philips’ professional journey. So, we asked, “Can you describe the core values and philosophies that guide your professional decisions and how they’ve influenced your career path?”
Bob Philips shared, “When I think about the values that guide me, I always return to a passage that has resonated through the ages, from Matthew 5, ‘You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.’ These words aren’t just a mantra to me; they embody my professional spirit and my daily philosophy.
In every role I’ve taken, resonating with ‘You are the salt of the earth,’ I have aimed to elevate those around me in every team I’ve led. Just as salt brings out the rich flavors of food, I strive to bring out the best in people and situations, highlighting strengths and preserving the core of what’s good and worthwhile. And as for being ‘the light of the world,’ it’s about more than just shining bright. It’s about guidance, clarity, and the courage to be a beacon of honesty and integrity.”
Bob Philips continued, “In the murkiest of times, I’ve held the conviction that the right light can dispel any shadow and guide the way forward. It’s about leadership that illuminates paths, not just for myself but for others, to follow confidently. This philosophy is not just metaphors but is deeply woven into my career journey. They remind and inspire me that my work is more than a job; it’s a calling to make a tangible, positive difference.
I would say to my listeners, let’s walk this path together. Where there’s a need for flavor, let’s bring depth and savor. Where there’s obscurity, let’s shine the light of understanding. In this world that can often feel bland and dark, let’s be the salt and the light that brings out the beauty in the mundane and the brilliance in the gloom.”
Unique Approach and Differentiation
To succeed as a business in the competitive landscape, it is crucial to offer unique services. So, we inquired, “What unique strategies or approaches set you apart in your field, and how have these contributed to your success?”
Bob Philips responds, “When you ask about the unique strategies that set us apart in the bustling world of adult learning, you’re opening a book of relentless innovation, a narrative where each chapter is a game-changer. It’s not just about staying ahead but redefining the lead.
We didn’t just take the age-old adage “Innovate or die” to heart; we made it our battle cry, our playing field. In this spirit, we’ve embraced gamification with open arms, introducing board games and simulations that make learning an interactive, memorable journey. It’s about bringing the joy back into education, creating moments that stick and skills that grow. Our learners aren’t just participants but active players in the quest for knowledge.”
Bob Philips added, “But the game doesn’t end there. We’ve automated the backbone of project management, transforming potential drudgery into a smooth process. The pièce de résistance in our arsenal of differentiation is our AI coach, a marvel of technology that personalizes the learning experience. This coach doesn’t just guide; it adapts and evolves with each learner, pushing them towards their personal best, becoming a mentor that scales with their ambitions.
This fusion of gamification, automation, and AI isn’t just innovation; it’s revolution. It has propelled us to the forefront, earning us the title of the best in the world. And it’s not a crown we wear lightly; it’s a testament to our commitment to not just teach but to transform—to conduct business, nurture growth, and foster genuine, tangible progress.
And our secret is a cocktail of empathy, connection, and reflection. This is how we play the game, and this is how we win – by ensuring that everyone who learns with us comes out ahead, too. Ultimately, what sets us apart is not just a suite of tools or a collection of techniques; it’s our unwavering intention to make every learning experience informative and transformative. We don’t just set benchmarks; we create legacies of learning that stand the test of time and change lives—one game, one innovation, one success story at a time.”
Significant Achievements and Impact
Every professional comes across certain life-changing moments and milestones in their career path. To learn more about such worth-sharing moments in Bob Philips’ career, we asked, “Could you share a highlight from your career that you’re particularly proud of and the impact it had on your industry or community?”
Bob Philips responds, “When I reflect on the milestones of my career, it’s not the numbers that stand out, even though they tell a compelling story. To date, as an individual and through the collective force of our organization, we’ve reached and impacted over 300,000 lives globally. This isn’t just a statistic; it’s the individual narratives of people who’ve reached out to share how our behaviour and leadership programs have catalyzed their personal and professional renaissance.
One of the highlights that I hold close to my heart is the feedback from those who’ve seen their family lives enriched, and their relationships blossom as an indirect benefit of our programs. It’s a profound reminder that the skills we impart echo far beyond the confines of office spaces and into the homes and communities of those we teach.”
“But the impact doesn’t end with personal growth. We’ve partnered with over 500 businesses worldwide, delving into their unique challenges, crafting bespoke solutions, and then meticulously measuring the outcomes to ensure tangible success. We’ve seen inventory carrying costs dwindle as efficiency became the new norm, attrition rates plummet, employee satisfaction took precedence, and sales forces evolved into expert navigators of their markets. Leadership and staff have grown in skill, vision, and effectiveness.
These transformations across various business metrics aren’t just wins for the organizations; they’re leaps forward for their industries and communities. They create jobs, stabilize economies, and foster innovation. So, as I sit here today, I’m not just recounting achievements; I’m sharing a narrative of empowerment. For me, the accurate measure of success is witnessing a once hesitant leader taking confident strides, a team overcoming entrenched inefficiencies, and a business not just succeeding but setting the standard for its peers.” He added.
Challenges and Resilience
“Facing challenges is part of any journey. Can you discuss a significant obstacle you’ve overcome and the lessons learned from it?”
Bob Philips shared, “They say a founder’s journey is filled with milestones, but let me tell you about the stones along the way that aren’t milestones – those are the challenges. And it’s the overcoming of these that carves out the true essence of resilience. So, let me pull back the curtain on some of the steepest hills I’ve had to climb and the vistas they’ve led me to.
Family is where every story begins and, for me, where the true meaning of success is measured. The long hours and missed moments have been my most formidable adversaries. I’ve learned to make every second with them a masterpiece of presence and love. Financial challenges have been companions on my journey more often than I’d have liked. I’ve stared down the barrel of a budget and made the tough calls – when to hold back and when to leap. They’ve taught me the art of calculated risks and the beauty of trust in one’s vision.”
Bob Philips shared, “Now, the economic tides ebb and flow, and they can be merciless. But they’ve also taught me to sail my ship with an agility that only comes from facing those waves head-on. It’s about setting your sails to catch the winds of change, even if it means charting a course you’ve never sailed. And how can we forget client demands? In a world where ‘cutting-edge’ becomes ‘standard’ overnight, we’ve had to be a mind-reader and a magician, conjuring up solutions that meet and anticipate unspoken needs.
But here’s the crux – the constant quest for innovation. It’s the mountain that never seems to have a peak. Yet, it’s in this endless ascent that I’ve found my greatest strength. This is my tale – not of a smooth sail, but of navigating the storms, finding true north amidst shifting sands, and learning that resilience is the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering, ‘I will try again tomorrow’. It’s a tale of not just enduring but thriving, growing not despite the challenges but because of them.”
Vision and Future Goals, we asked Bob Philips
To learn more about the goals and plans of Bob Philips, we inquired, “Looking ahead, what is your vision for the future, both for yourself and your industry, and what steps are you taking to realize these goals?”
Bob Philips replied, “Peering into the future, my vision unfolds as a clarion call for educational evolution. There are regions and organizations, even now, where the winds of innovative learning have yet to blow, where decision-makers hold fast to the old ways of upskilling, unaware of the strides taken in educational methodology. I aim to bridge this gap and bring modern learning to places still dimmed by tradition.
There’s a paradox at the heart of many organizations – leaders who yearn for increased productivity yet hesitate to invest in the tools that build it: behavioral and leadership skills. Upskilling isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. I stand committed to shattering this cycle of reluctance, to engage with these leaders and demonstrate that investing in people is the most potent investment of all.”
Bob Philips added, “Building an intelligent learning culture isn’t just a mission; it’s a movement. It’s about creating environments where continuous learning is as natural as breathing, growth is nurtured, and potential is unlocked. Yet, there’s another side to these – individuals on the fringes, for whom the world of learning seems a distant reality. The underprivileged, swamped by a sea of content on social media, often find themselves adrift, unable to discern the beneficial from the banal. My goal is to anchor them with access to credible, impactful learning—free of charge, free of barriers.
To turn these aspirations into reality, we’re taking concrete steps. We’re reaching out to policymakers and stakeholders, advocating for a shift in mindset from traditional to transformative learning models. We’re developing platforms and partnerships to offer quality content. Ultimately, it’s about creating a legacy of learning – a world where the ladder of knowledge is there for all to climb, regardless of where they stand. That is the future I’m striving for, and every day, we inch closer to this reality.”
Advice And Insights For Aspiring Professionals
We ended the interview by asking, “What advice would you give to those starting in your field, based on the insights and experiences you’ve gathered?”
Bob Philips shared, “Here’s my counsel for you – I want to leave five pieces of wisdom with you. Let it resonate not just in your minds but in your hearts. Embrace the philosophy of the ‘student-teacher’. Approach every task, every project, every challenge as both a learner and an educator. The world is your classroom, and every experience is a lesson. Learn voraciously and teach generously; share your insights, for we solidify our learning in teaching.
Cultivate a mindset of ‘intentional evolution’. In this ever-evolving landscape, change is not just inevitable; it’s your arena. Adaptability is your new stability. Grow with purpose, and let your core values guide that growth. Also, harness the power of ‘compassionate innovation’. Let your work be a testament to the belief that innovation shouldn’t be cold and mechanical but warm and humanistic.”
“Foster’ relational leadership’. As you ascend the ladder of success, remember it’s not just about the climb; it’s about the connections you make along the way. Leadership is not a title; it’s a behavior. Lead from within the ranks, from beside, behind, and wherever you can uplift others. Be the leader who doesn’t just create followers but empowers new leaders.
And finally, embrace ‘strategic serendipity’. Yes, strategize, plan, and execute, but also leave room for the unexpected. Sometimes, the most significant opportunities are the ones you didn’t see coming. Be open to the lucky twists of fate that can take you to places beyond the horizon of your imagination.” Bob concluded.
Follow Bob Philips on LinkedIn.