Mike Day was recently recognized as the No. 5 manager in North America for Dale Carnegie, and the franchise Iowa belongs to was honored as the No. 1 franchise in North America. Day has found a successful career in the business training world after spending the early part of his career as a news anchor and then a media and marketing consultant before joining Dale Carnegie in 2005.


Tell me about your role at Dale Carnegie

I lead a team of business development consultants from the Quad Cities to Cedar Rapids to here in West Des Moines. Our franchise (Norman & Associates) offers Dale Carnegie training in Minnesota and Iowa. And so in my role in Iowa, I lead consultants who are located throughout the state. What we really do is we go in and work with companies to first bring in some diagnostic assessment to determine where it is they want to be in the future, help them think clearly about where they are at now, and help them identify the gaps that exist between where they’re at and where they’d like to be. At that point, we help them design custom training solutions. For me in particular, I do a variety of things, not only hire and coach our consultants, but I also work with a select number of clients personally, and I am certified to deliver the curriculum that we offer.


What would you tell a businessperson who doesn’t know much about Dale Carnegie?

The key thing to know about Dale Carnegie is that we are in the business of helping your key people take their skills to a higher level so that your organization can succeed at a higher level. ... It’s interesting, because when we ask people, “What do you know about Dale Carnegie?” they’ll say, “Well, my grandfather went through a Dale Carnegie course 40 years ago.” And that’s the basis of their understanding. As they come to understand what we really do today, while maintaining that rich heritage from Dale Carnegie of really helping people on both a personal and professional level, they keep coming back.


What are the biggest challenges you see businesses face?

Sometimes we find that the challenges facing businesses are really related to about three particular areas. One would be leadership development, another would be employee engagement, and another is succession planning in its many forms. 


Why did you get out of the media?

I had a really tough decision, because I had worked for two television stations here in Des Moines. And the second station that I worked for was KCCI, where there was outstanding management, a wonderful team of people, and everyone acted with integrity, so I really enjoyed that experience. I was presented with an opportunity to leave Des Moines and become a television journalist in a much larger market for a lot more money. 

I had two small children at the time, and we made a family decision that we wanted to keep our children close to both sets of grandparents and aunts and uncles. That’s a decision that I don’t regret, and I never look back and say I wish I would have done something different. That’s how I ended up getting out of television: by making the decision that if I wasn’t going to go onto larger markets, I needed to look for a different career. 


What have you learned since leaving journalism?

One of my favorite quotes is from Benjamin Franklin, who said, “Well done is better than well said.” One of the reasons I really like that quote is because one of the things I’ve learned in business is to beware of what I’ve started calling fast talkers, slow walkers. 

In business, we need people who can communicate effectively for the purpose of promoting clear understanding and improving productivity.


What do you do for fun?

People always laugh when they come in my office, because sitting in the corner of my office I’ve got an old saddle. I grew up on a farm in Madison County, and we trained and showed horses my whole life. My brother still lives out near our home farm, so I try to get out as often as possible. I still ride horses. That’s really a passion that I’ve had my whole life. Aside from that, my wife and I have been married for more than 30 years.