Don Schmincke, formerly a researcher at MIT and John Hopkins Institute, who is now a consultant for organizational strategic development joins us for this special episode. Don has taught 30,000 CEOs to reach their full potential and guide their companies to success. He delivers his methods with science and research data he has discovered over years of schooling and expeditions. 

What we cover in this episode: 

      • 02:28 – From Expedition to Leadership Training
      • 06:38 – Biological Factors’ Role in Shifting Beliefs
      • 13:38 – Dragon Problems

From Expedition to Leadership Training

Don has been on many expeditions and travels to study and gain a deeper understanding of the human species. He traveled to various civilizations and cultures worldwide to study CEO training patterns and their universal application. He has used this knowledge to find new ideas for his leadership training on leadership and professional development. 

Don used this scientific and medical research from remote, lost, and ancient civilizations to improve his leadership development programs. The training he created was very effective in helping CEOs achieve their desired business, leadership and professional development goals. Don discovered that an entire revolution in leadership wasn’t necessary. He was able to dissect how humans have evolved and how it correlates with modern teachings and work habits.

Biological Factors’ Role in Shifting Beliefs

To ensure Don’s training is successful, he discusses diving deeper into the underlying problem that hinders the desired success. Don breaks down factors to understand the CEO’s management skills, like decisiveness and behavior. He identifies what drives their belief system and customizes leadership training topics accordingly.

Some of the beliefs of CEOs were genetic, instinct and acquired. People and companies had to relearn decisiveness and unruly behavior, whether from genes or learned, to match their beliefs. Yes, some people are naturally good leaders, but you can also learn and change your beliefs to become a successful leader. 


mindfulness in business

It is important for a CEO to be self-aware and learn to control their thoughts and beliefs. This is crucial for their personal and professional growth. It is also important for the success of their team and company. Recognizing the complexity of each CEO is crucial for effectively working on their leadership and development.

Each CEO performs successfully based on the level of complexity. For example, if the level of complexity exceeds the capacity of the CEO, you get unsuccessful results. It is important to ensure the correct individual, with the right skills and expertise, is selected based on the needs of the organization.

Dragon Problems 

“Dragon problems” occur when people cling to outdated beliefs and systems, which ultimately hinder their success. Don discusses how holding onto “dragon problems” can harm both the individual and the company.

In order to let go of old beliefs and “give birth to new ones”, you must be willing to “slay your dragons.” By facing these “dragon problems” head on, you can improve belief systems and breath new life to your work.


Don Schmincke has devoted time and resources into traveling and studying the learned and biological traits of what makes a good leader, and a great CEO. Letting go of belief systems that no longer serve you can be a turning point in developing professionally and succeeding as a leader. Whether these traits are genetic or acquired over time, we can all continue to develop on a personal and professional level and see those successes in meeting leadership and professional goals.