Inspired Action For Imperfect Humans – S3EP4: “Holistic Approach to Leadership” with Alexi Olcheski

“Holistic Approach to Leadership” with Alexi Olcheski

“Holistic Approach to Leadership” Brief Summary:

As a leader, are you taking a holistic approach when engaging your teams? In this Inspired Action For Imperfect Humans podcast episode host Kyle Kalloo and Executive Vice President – Principal at Avison Young Commercial Real Estate Alexi Olcheski, discuss why it’s important to lead holistically, why it’s important to be healthy of mind, body, and spirit, and to take a whole-life approach when it comes to leadership.

“It’s a holistic approach. I mean, the money, the business is an important side of things, but if that’s all I focused on with these individuals, you know, Alexi cares about his bottom line and that’s, that’s all he wants. Right?”


  • Kyle introduces Alexi Olcheski
  • Can leadership be taught?
  • Learning from past failures
  • The holistic approach to leadership
  • Alexi’s advice on why to constantly educate yourself and read books.

Guest Contact Info:

Avison Young Canada:

Alexi Olcheski LinkedIn:

Alexi Olcheski email:

Calls to Action:

Even before the remote workforce evolution, office culture was inherently fragile. After all, it’s made up of imperfect humans interacting with other imperfect humans. And while perfection isn’t the goal, we all secretly wish for a workplace where people find ways to bring out the best in each other. Unfortunately, that’s not always an intuitive skill. It takes guidance, practice, and then more guidance and practice… but with the right leadership, it’s definitely achievable. How do you enhance your workforce’s ability to engage, collaborate, and adapt in this volatile and uncertain reality? Get the answers to your culture questions when you setup a complimentary Discovery Session with Kyle Kalloo at

Kyle Kalloo, ICF – PCC (Professional Certified Coach) and certified Master Coach (CTMC), to learn more on how he can help your organization create an engaged, collaborative, and adaptive culture.

Struggling with your career? Fallen out of love with your job? Let’s strategize!! Book your complimentary Strategy Session with Christopher Lawrence at:

Tell us your “inspired stories” stories by visiting

Christopher Lawrence LinkedIn:

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Change My Life Coaching & Change My Business Coaching LinkedIn:

Looking to create a corporate coaching culture? Reach out to Kyle Kalloo:


“Holistic Approach to Leadership” Transcript:

[00:00:00] The holistic approach. I mean, the money, the business is an important side of things, but if that’s all I focused on with these individuals, You know, Alexi cares about his bottom line and that’s, that’s all he wants. Right? Are you experiencing lack of mentorship and might not want to ask, because you don’t want to look incompetent is the thought of being imperfect, keeping you from taking action.

Welcome to inspired action for imperfect humans. Season three, each week, we interview senior leaders to uncover the inner workings of being a strategic leader and how they curate a corporate coaching culture. We debunked some common misconceptions by exploring their failures and successes as imperfect humans.

This weekly mentorship will help you with tactics to play the game, but navigate the politics and think strategically from the heart of Calgary, Canada. Here’s your host award-winning coach Kyle [00:01:00] Kalloo. Hello. Well, welcome to another exciting week. We have. Um, Alexi here and again, we’ll, we’ll put it all his info in the show notes, but I really want to talk a little bit about, you know, Alexi just here before we kind of jump right into it.

And so let’s say, how do I pronounce your last name by the way? Like Olcheski. Olcheski. So there it is. But what I’m, what I’m finding out is that you don’t even need your last name because people just know you as Alexi. So we’ll talk about that, right? You just, yeah, you just need that one name. Yeah, you just need that one name.

Alexi's specialty is really more about office tenant, landlord representation, as well as the office, sales sector.
Alexi’s specialty is really more about office tenant, landlord representation, as well as the office, sales sector.

So Alexi actually is executive vice president and principal of Avison Young Commercial Real Estate here in Calgary. And so his specialty is really more about office tenant, landlord representation, as well as the office, sales sector now, interesting to know about Lexi. He’s a leader in Calgary’s office market over the past decade or so.

Alexi has provided absolute trust, value insights to [00:02:00] all of his clients and his partners. And he has a ton of accomplishments and I’m just going to rattle off a few. So. You don’t mind Lexi, but 750 plus transactions over 2.5 million square footage of office space. Over 1.5 billion lease sale transaction volume.

That is a lot. How the heck do you do so much? What’s the secret there? Can you. Um, you got a pretty good program, Kyle, so, um, life is not, it’s very monotonous, but I’ve found it’s very good from a productivity standpoint. So just brought run the same program day in, day out, and, uh, Yeah, we just kind of stick to the script every day and we’ve come up with a methodology that seems to work and seems to be getting us, uh, the results we want.

Uh, so yeah, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. It’s not exciting. It’s not that sexy, but it gets the job done. So we keep. Yeah, [00:03:00] I like that. And you know, one of the things that we really wanted to focus in our season three was, you know, we know you can’t do this by yourself. We know that there’s a team of people that’s usually behind.

And I think sometimes people, they see the end result and they think, oh, this is amazing. He’s got it easy. These things must have been, you know, given to them or whatever, but they don’t realize there’s a lot of stuff that happens. And you know, sometimes there’s this fear of failure and we’ll, we’ll talk a little bit about.

But I think what we, we tend to forget is that we’re all imperfect human beings, right. You know, there’s days that we think we could be better and there’s days that we hit it out the park. And so, you know, for a lot of our listeners who are emergency emerging, uh, senior leaders, uh, or people who may be interested in leadership, I wanted us to have a little bit more of a conversation around what is the story behind, you know, how do you start it as leader?

And maybe we can learn a few. Uh, from that. So did you ever imagine that you would lead a team such as successful? [00:04:00] Yeah. Yeah. I, to be honest with you, Kyle, I, I did. Um, and you know, I think from a very early age, just for whatever it is, genetics, but for some reason I’ve always kind of taken a leadership position early on in my life being a former hockey player.

Leadership is natural to some.
Leadership is natural to some.

I usually had a, you know, either an a, on my Jersey or a C on my Jersey. And, um, there was kind of a natural leadership ability there from a very early age and something, which I take a lot of pride in, which I really enjoy is, um, is leading groups of people towards a common goal, taking people, um, you know, from, from a very basic level.

And then, uh, you know, just helping them achieve their, their full potential. So I guess from an early age, it was, it was there. Um, it’s always been there. I feel very grateful and blessed that that is there. And it’s something that I, I enjoy. It’s definitely one of the most fun parts of my job. [00:05:00] Yeah. You know what?

You talked about something. Cause I think a lot of people sometimes question between, are you a born leader or are you a leader that has been nurtured or can be trained? So from, I know for you, you, you kind of always had it, you know, do you think people have to always have it or do you think it’s a possibility for them to, you know, it’s a great question, Kyle.

I have a seven year old daughter and she has it. Um, she was born with it instantly. She was just a natural leader. I considered her everything she does whenever she interacts with people. Um, And I don’t, I don’t know. I suspect anything can be learned. Um, you know, much like sales, right? Some people are natural sellers.

Some people really have to try very hard at it to be Frank with you. The people that I’ve seen be the most successful with it are those who, uh, it seems to be a, something inherent within them. That’s, that’s my perspective on it. And I can’t speak to it personally from a [00:06:00] development perspective, I think.

Right. I learned a lot over the years, but it’s always been something inherent within me. Um, and like I said, no, I’m seeing in my next generation of, uh, lineage, so I I’m watching it now every day and I’m excited about it. And I really I’m really happy to hopefully bring other future leader into this. Yeah, you should be excited.

And they say it’s the same feelings as fear. You’re what, what that’s gonna look like. Cause I think that’s the other piece of it is what type of leader, you know, people become. I mean, I’ll tell you an interesting story for me, you know, I think it’s something similar to you. I resonate with that. Sometimes you just kind of have it in you.

I never really wanted to lead. I just wasn’t. Put in those positions of leadership because I felt, you know what, I do it really well. I want to keep doing it, what it is. Um, and, uh, not to show someone else how to do it. Like watch it. Like, no, I just want to focus on me. Um, but what I found out early on in my career is I started to model.

Very ineffective [00:07:00] leadership behaviors. Right. Right. And this is my viewpoint, you know, maybe it’s just me, but I’ve worked with a lot of shitty leaders and I’ve learned not to do that, you know? And I, and I, even though I had every intention not to do it. I saw in my own leadership where I was doing it, I was, you know, command and control when it didn’t need to be.

Cause there’s times that you need to do it. Right. But there’s times where you just need it to be. So what was your journey to make sure you didn’t mean? Cause should I be talking to your team if you’re a shitty leader or what would they tell me? I, you know what I think they, they, they say positive things, certainly when I am around, but from what I’ve heard, not when I’m not around as well.

Holistic approach to leadership
Holistic approach to leadership

So relatively optimistic you’d get a pretty good response from them. But, uh, you know, Kyle is, I was thinking about the question a little bit and I was very fortunate early on in my career. Not long after graduating from university, I got aligned with a, uh, gentlemen, And, um, he was, uh, he was a market [00:08:00] leader.

He was a winner. He ever, everything, he touched, turned to gold and, uh, I followed this guy around like a puppy for a month. Years on end. And I just sucked in as much information as I could for Penn. Um, he was aggressive. He was very micromanaging. Um, but he was, his results were, um, always spectacular. Top.

And so I’ve largely modeled myself off that certainly early on in my career. And at about 25 years old, I got an opportunity to lead and I was basically just a carbon copy of him. Uh, changed industries, changed jobs, change careers. Fortunately, as I integrated Avison young, there’s, uh, you know, different leaders with different perspectives and being able to integrate that into my game, I think is rounded me out holistically.

But. You know, I think it all comes down to, as you alluded to leadership, um, you know, there’s one individual that really stands out in the early days, just, you know, still a dear friend and [00:09:00] a. And mentor to me, but, um, being able to add a bunch of different peripheral players into it, to round out the game, um, I, you know, the, the results have been overwhelming has had, I just continued along that particular vein that I learned, you know, many years ago, um, you know, it’d be a very one-sided individual and, uh, definitely with all the different individuals on the team, you know, and the, and the different dynamics.

And now. We kind of hired everybody look, talk and the same rights. It’s very easy state now and have a very diverse team. And, um, you know, not everybody’s gonna respond to the same thing. So, uh, I it’s, it comes with age. It comes with, uh, growth and experience. And I, I think I’ve done a good job, certainly over the last, uh, few years.

And again, it all comes down to having really great leadership and mentorship across the board. I [00:10:00] really like what you said about being well-rounded, I’m going to get back to, you know, how you are able to create what I call a corporate coaching culture that allows for these people to do really well. And I’ll come back to that in a second.

Uh, I’m curious about maybe some of the failures, like, you know, cause people who are listening sometimes, often just want to understand. Sometimes they resonate with like, cause I said, sometimes they see the end product, but they have no idea, uh, that journey, they don’t know where it was like for you to be that lap dog.

Right. Following around, and may have heard one or two words where he just, like, he says, he’s supposed to talk to me like that, but okay. I’m learning, right. But what are some failures you would say, you know, that may be, uh, stood out for you in your leadership, you know, Think about that. Um, Kyle, because, you know, to, to be honest, you know that fortunately there hasn’t been a lot of failures professionally.

It’s, it’s been a really great ride. Um, [00:11:00] but, but there is one in particular, so. Um, I came back to Calgary, I guess was 12 years ago now and started working for another organization that will remain nameless and for a leader who will remain nameless as well. Um, but sufice to say, Kyle, it was a horrendous experience.

I, you know, I’d come from being on top of the game and leading a large team and having tons of success and having tons of autonomy, um, to working directly for a leader where there was a, there was very, there was no synergies. There was no alignment. Um, it was, it was just an unmitigated disaster ended after four months.

I was introduced to commercial real estate.
I was introduced to commercial real estate.

And it ended with my termination, um, to an, you know, an industry that I had invested five years of my career to I made it to the top on. And, um, you know, it was, it was very humbling, certainly. Um, Through that failure. I was introduced to commercial real estate and you know, it’s been the greatest thing professionally that’s ever happened to me being [00:12:00] involved in this industry.

So, you know, that, that would definitely be, it was a failure. I was a disaster. Um, we came out the other side of it, but, um, you know, you’re used to being successful in everything you’ve done. And in this particular career, you’ve made a lot of money. You you’ve acquired some expenses as a result of the lifestyle and then, you know, to be kind of smacked down.

And, um, that, that was a very challenging, uh, time, time for me. And, um, you know, it was probably. A few months before I really started to, uh, to, uh, you know, get back on my feet. And I guess that ties into when I first got into commercial real estate, you know, I’d been managing teams of upwards to 20 people and with different corporations, different cities, different roles.

Um, and then I started at Avison Young and I was, um, you know, it was, I was a low man on the polo totem pole and it was a very humbling experience for me to go from being a somebody. [00:13:00] Or at least thinking I was a, somebody to just the newest cog on the wheel. So I would say that’s probably the best professional example.

I can give you a cop. Yeah. You know, it’s interesting because you know, sometimes our confidence can get shook in that moment. Right. Where you’re like, Hey, you know, as an athlete, you’re doing stuff. You, you do games, you do these things, you enjoy it. You started this craft, you got mentor, you do these. And then for whatever reason, a particular leader can really change that game for you.

Right. Where you’re just like, oh, I really thought I did all the pieces, which I think is what commonly happens. And so sometimes some leaders need to be able to recognize that they really play such a pivotal role in their organization. As we think about creating that corporate coaching culture that allows people to be flourished because I’m sure.

You’d agree with me. Hadn’t given an opportunity to be nurtured, to say here’s some autonomy, here’s some, you know, things that you could master and just given an opportunity to do it. You’d probably [00:14:00] would have done great things, right. I concur with that assessment. Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, you know, it’s going back to, to that failure call, you know, it was, it was money driven and that was a big learning lesson for me as well.

The, I made the decision based on renumeration immediate renumeration and, um, that was a really big learning lesson for me, because as other opportunities has to have a reason, you know, Money is important in business, of course. But, um, there are other factors as it relates to long-term success are far, far more significantly important than just the monetary and the short-term monetary aspect.

Yeah. I mean, and, and we appreciate those people when you don’t have money is a big issue of course. Right. But what you actually just said there, you know, Alexi is more around the sustainability can’t. Money-driven right. Because at some point you get to a level where then [00:15:00] what, like, if you have nothing else to show for that.

Right. And so what would you summarize as the bottom line around the silver lining from that failure? Right? Cause now you’re obviously doing quite well, you know, some will say, did that have to happen to you for you to be where you are today? I don’t know. I, you know what, it’s a great question. And I think to a degree it did have to happen because, um, you know, it’s, it was just such a nice comfort blanket and, and, and, and the money was good enough where I would have stayed at, I would have been happy.

Um, so, so had something really significant non of how. Who knows, but I suspect it’s certainly, uh, it would’ve come to an end. It would have come to an end longer. I would have had less energy to pursue this, uh, particular endeavor. And I mean, the silver lining is I don’t want to sound cliche, but, uh, you know, I’m, I’m kind of a spiritual guy and try to model myself as a spiritual leader, but, you know, [00:16:00] At risk of, and I will sound cliche, but everything happens for a reason.

I moved back to Calgary.
I moved back to Calgary.

I truly believe it. And you know, this is one of these ones. It brought me back to Calgary, which was a city I wanted to be back in city I love and a place where I could see myself, you know, growing and building my future. Um, it was an industry that I, you know, wasn’t long-term for me. And, you know, I really stumbled upon this and, um, you know, from a professional perspective, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me to be able to create a really great career, a really great life.

It’s out of this business and, um, you know, had that failure not have happened. This wouldn’t have come up. And it was really hard to imagine or anticipate at that time, because it was such a humbling experience for me. Yeah. I mean, I have to applaud you there Alexi, because I think you took an opportunity to create a silver lining for yourself.

That’s really what it is. And so the clients I work with, we see that quite often is when you saw that as an opportunity to say, listen, not only did I get knocked down, but I’m going to get back up and get back in [00:17:00] line. Right. And for those spiritual folks who are listening, yes, that is a line from a gospel song.

But you know, that’s a part of it, right. Is it’s getting back up as one thing. But just getting back in that line to say, how can I make something of this, is a part of it. Cause the fear of failure for a lot of people is that they don’t even want to get knocked down. Right. Instead of, you know, how do I get back?

You know, um, you may know this person’s a good friend of mine, uh, Oprah Winfrey, you know, when, when she got fired or people like hope, or if he got fired from a job before, you know, and they’re like, well, hold on. She wasn’t Oprah Winfrey. When she got fired from the job, right. She became Oprah Winfrey because she got fired from the job.

Right. And so those are the moments where I think that for leaders out there who think. How do I do this? How do, what if I get knocked down? What if I’m not there? How do I step back into it? That is all a part of it. So, one last question I had around this piece around corporate, uh, corporate coaching culture.

How do you ensure that the folks who are [00:18:00] on your team. Is in, when we talk about corporate coaching culture, uh, co corporate coaching culture is about making sure people have access to, to leadership, to their own development, that they’re in a role that allows them to really be inspired. Is there anything you could share that you would think that you have done in your organization on your team that allows for your people to be their better self?

If for. You know, I, I think Kyle, the reason, um, you know, there’s opportunities available and in our industry for, for, for bright, bright individuals with, with motivation. And I always tell them that I said, do you know, come, come interview with me. It, th th this is my deal. This is the way I roll this way operate.

It's not for everyone. It's intense. It's hardcore.
It’s not for everyone. It’s intense. It’s hardcore.

It’s not for everyone. It’s intense. It’s hardcore. Um, you know, I expect huge, huge commitments out of people. So go talk to everybody else. If there’s a better fit for you for your growth, long-term please [00:19:00] take that role because if we’re not aligned together, it’s going to be more costly for me. It’s going to be a huge disadvantage for everyone.

So I always encourage everybody to say, I don’t have to be your first and last stop. Go see what, see what else is out there. Some people never come back and that’s all the power to them and no hard feelings whatsoever. Uh, but the people who come back. I know your program, I’m into it. I want to be a part of this excellent led let’s roll.

And I’m very fortunate that, uh, again, you know, the longevity, the tenure of, uh, everybody has worked for me. I mean, we’re, we’re, we’re in for life. Um, you know, together, I’m all about their development. And again, it’s their business development. It’s their personal development, as well as the relationships with their families.

It’s a holistic approach. I mean, the money, the business is an important side of things, but if that’s all I focused on with these interviews, You know, Alexi cares about is bottom line and that’s, that’s all he wants. Right. And I really, really, uh, look at each individual and they’re so different, especially at this point in time.[00:20:00]

What’s their individual drivers. How can I support them from a holistic level? And, you know, we talked about the spiritual side of things. Um, you know, I encourage reading where we’re always talking about, you know, um, you know, from that, from that level of development, I’m, you know, I’m into meditation, I’m into buddhism.

to a degree. I try to share that it’s, you know, some people like it, some people, you know, I’d be open to the idea of, you know, I think it helps, you know, long-term physicalities of things. That’s also very important to me. I’m an avid gym guy. Most of my team is, is, or has become avid. It was resolved, right.

You need the mind you need the spirit, you need the body without all three of those, you know, you’re gonna, you’re gonna burn out. You’re going to do something to yourself and you’re not going to be who I, I need you to be in this particular role. So, um, you know, it’s a very holistic approach. I don’t know if.

And appropriately you did. Yeah. Yeah, [00:21:00] no, you totally did. Because if you don’t have it create a culture where your people are not thinking about the mind, body, spirit, that whole piece of them, because it’s not just this one thing, because if you are not ready for it, and if you don’t create an environment, people can do that.

Then it’s, short-lived like you said, if you’re not looking all these factor, because if you’re just going and killing the deals and sales, and you’re doing all that stuff, but at the cost of alienating your team yourself, it’s not sustainable no one wants that. Right. And so, and you kind of touch on, you know, my last question was going to ask you around.

Want to up your game as a leader? Read.
Want to up your game as a leader? Read.

What could you say to an emerging senior leader, someone who really wants to up their game in leadership? Is there one thing, is there one thing that you could bottom line that says, listen, if you start doing this now, you’re going to be further ahead than trying to do 55. You know what my short answer, um, something that I can make sure to answer clearly after [00:22:00] this, my, my, my short as that turns into a long story, um, read books.

That’s, that’s, that’s the short answer. And it’s something that I put into my repertoire roughly a decade ago. Let’s say, give or take. I wish I would have. Sooner. And I invest a lot of my personal time into reading and, you know, before it was a lot of business leadership, that level of books, but now it’s very holistic.

And I think that that just opens up and builds your game to a degree that, you know, it’s. We’ve we’ve finished your Queens guide. McQueen’s guide. It’s like, okay, good. I’m smart. Now I can go and take over the world, but education changes and, um, you know, you’ve got to constantly be on top of everything that’s going on.

You want a holistic approach so you can understand individuals, uh, clientele, everybody. So. [00:23:00] Yeah, I love that. And to be honest, I think that’s up there. And my mom would say to me, when I was quite younger, you know, she’d often say, you know, silver and gold would vanish away, but a good education will never decay.

And how you stay, you know, top notch. How do you, you know, expand your mindset? Cause there’s times I read a book. Damn like, that’s what I meant. That’s I didn’t even know that that’s what it was. And, and, or I have no idea, like how the hell did this happen? How do I, how come I never notice? Right. And it really stretches someone.

And I think in leadership, it’s about being able to stretch a little bit. It’s not for it to be out of reach, but how do you distress? No, actually, I really appreciate you being on the show today. You’ve had a ton of insight today, just talking about the holistic approach and thinking about, you know, how do you connect your mind, body and spirit on those pieces and making sure that people look for the opportunities in these failures, because that is the silver lining, right?

Is how do we look for some opportunities? And you talk [00:24:00] about something that I really think a lot of leaders should be mindful of. Being humble, right? Because if you’re not going to humble yourself, make no mistake, someone will do it for you. So you better, you better get used to it because that will happen.

Um, Lexie, thank you so much for being on. I can’t tell you how helpful this is. I’m interested to hear from, from some of you folks, how has this really helped you? Is there one particular imperfect inspired action that you’re able to take out of our conversation here today? Let us know in the show notes.

And if you have not done so please share this podcast, please subscribe. And also do that download because we have so many fantastic leaders out there who’s willing to help and mentor you to the podcast. We’ll see you next week. Take care. There you have it. Thank you for listening. It’s our goal to build a global community of inspired action takers, and we can only do that with your help.

So if you love inspired action for imperfect humans [00:25:00] podcast, please leave us a review on your favorite podcasting app, provide a rating, download, subscribe, and share us under socials, new episodes. Every Tuesday you’ve heard from us. Now, we want to hear from you. Keep the conversation going by joining our private Facebook group inspired action for imperfect humans or go to inspired action and tell us what is the inspired action you took this week?

Next week on inspired action for imperfect humans. When you empower people to have a voice and you hear their voice, then they have buy-in and you allow them perhaps, maybe fall and skin, their knees, the odd time in whatever role they have. Yeah. They’re empowered. They have buy-in to the common goal that you have going.[00:26:00]