Melanie Bradshaw joins us and shares with us, her expertise on relationships and partnerships in our industry. Now is the time to continue to build on those important relationships and the key is transparency!
In this earth shattering episode, best selling author, speaker and world class leader, Patrick Lencioni teaches us that this is not business as usual, but a completely different world. With COVID-19 in the midst of all of us, this global pandemic is reshaping how business is done, and how we treat each other. The worlds leaders are in the spotlight during crisis and its time to shine.
It’s a time for us to look at how we are leading and how we can grow for the future.
One of the things I like to say is that people are going to emerge from this and this will pass. It’s so difficult and we pray for the people who are affected physically. Organizations are going to emerge from this either stronger, because of the way they dealt with this, or weaker. It really is about figuring out how to use this time to improve ourselves. Sometimes we can do this with our customers, sometimes we need to do it internally. There are going to be some people who are going to try to survive and there are others that are going to thrive through this, grow and improve. You can improve during times like this. Find whatever ways you can do to get better. Work on the health of your organization.
A lot of what you talk about is organizational health. Help us to understand what organizational health is.
The health of the organization, we like to explain it as, there’s the smarts of an organization, the health of the organization is how functional it is. Does it avoid and mitigate politics, disfunction, do they lose people because it’s toxic? Are they productive and is moral high? None of this is touchy feely, it’s very tangible and real. We are convinced it is the greatest competitive advantage. The world today, people are pretty smart. None of the organizations I go to, do I find are too dumb to be successful. Are they able to tap into that intelligence by creating a culture, and environment where it’s used, or do they waste their time. It’s why Southwest Airlines has always been better, not because they know more, they created a culture that is their biggest competitive advantage.
There are assessments for health. It’s a qualitative process but can be informed by quantitative items. Here are 4 things a healthy organization does well.
1. Make the leadership team behaviorally cohesive.
2. You have to create clarity.
3. Over communicate
4. Put in place just enough structure.
The most important system is meetings, it holds everything together. There are different kinds of meetings for different purposes.
1. Daily/Regular checkin 10 or 15 meeting (what are you working on, how are you doing?)
2. Happy Hour socialize
3. Disciplined tactical meeting – Let’s go through our goals (60-90 min) twice a week during this time
4. Hangout meeting – you might have a strategic topic and just talk about it (60-90 min)
3 + 4 are very important right now.
The rally cry, explain that.
In the midst of a crisis you need to create a new clarity. People in organizations when things are uncertain they want their leaders to create for them and with them a new sense of temporary clarity for this time. We talk about this thing called the Rallying Cry. Its that one thing that rallies everybody. What’s the one thing that will be different when we emerge from this time?
There’s so many different leadership styles. How should a leader navigate informing a team without causing panic or swinging back and forth?
We are seeing the best in a lot of people. If leaders do the right thing: being vulnerable, human, persistent, and creative: we are pulling out the best in people.
This is a critical time, tell me more about that.
People are going to remember what we do during this time for years. People are going to remember that for years. During the pre crisis time, what you said in a meeting and did it was important but it gets lost in the wash. How we handle this, people will look back ten years from now and remember. It will be a badge of honor and a source of good pride and a good memory, or it’s going to be bad.
How do we stay optimistic?
Isolation makes people fearful. When we isolate it’s hard to be optimistic. Be around other positive people, reach out to them, let them reach out to you. For me personally, I am a follower of Jesus, I know theres a reason for everything. I cannot be afraid, my faith says that.
Pet Peeve: A speaker with a boring talk or a serious conference and nightclub music
Super Power: Stopping the 2 on 1 defense in basketball
Twitter: The Meeting Minds
Is change really possible? Or are we the way we are permanently? Ryan Estis shares with us how to actually change your life! Listen as an expert shares practical ways to enact change!
Tell us your story.
I started my professional career in advertising and communications on the sale side. I worked my way up through that business. The company was acquired, and the last job I had there was chief sales and strategy officer. In that role, I started doing a little speaking. I looked forward to it, those days became my favorite days. I learned about the training and education industry. In 2009 in the height of the recession I decided to make my move. When the world was falling apart I quit and there I was trying to figure out the next chapter of my life. Probably not the best time to do it, but in hindsight looking back, I call it the single best professional decision I’ve ever made.
Tell me about the passion to share messaging and using your platform to change lives.
Some of that was probably innate. Both my parents were school teachers. I have always been passionate about my own education, personal and professional development and growth. The sales background, presenting came natural. I got to a point where I realized, I lost my passion for what I was doing. I would lay awake at night and think, “Is this what I am going to do with the sweet spot of my professional career?” I would get anxiety about that, I knew there was something else and I wanted to take a shot. This is the time and if it does’t work out, I’ll be able to go back and reinvent myself in that world. I wanted to experiment and see if I can turn this into something. It’s evolved but that was how it began.
Now you’re speaking all over the world. How did you come up with your process and what do you teach on?
The curriculum is focused on 2 core things: leading an organization into the future, the other side is we talk about sales growth. My background is in sales. I am a student of selling. I was a pretty good sales person that’s how I worked my way up. I am pretty evenly split between sales and leadership conferences.
Change, you’re either a part of it or you’re against it. Share with us some of your philosophies on how you navigate change.
Some of it’s a mindset. Change is the new normal, it’s not going to stop. I tell people, at the individual level you want to have a foot in two worlds.
The drive to execute and preform.
Maintaining the discipline to continue to invest time in re educating yourself.
That balance you have to invest time in getting better each and everyday.
How do you take initiative everyday to make effective change?
What gets scheduled gets done. If you want to make effective change you need to block time for it. The things the best professionals in the world do, if you’re a meeting planner embrace that type of process.
The five hour rule:
Schedule five hours a week for self improvement. It’ll become a habit.
Is true change possible?
It is possible, there are great examples of people that have made instrumental changes in their lives. They have quit smoking, they are sober. There’s documented evidence that people have changed. You can grow and evolve or expand the best part of who you are. That to me is the idea. It’s easy in life to get overwhelmed or in a rut. Change is useful if people are in an elevated emotion.
How do you make sure you’re not numbing?
Being honest with yourself helps. If you have a container you can document, keep a journal, that’s so important. You can hold yourself accountable. Find a group of people to hold you accountable.
Tell us about a mastermind, that you mentioned before we started recording.
I understand the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Go on the internet and find people, they are out there. I promise you. They are there and they are hungry just like you. Part of this realization and awakening for me… My life looked good on the outside but on the inside I was falling apart. I ended up navigating that journey and ended up at a personal growth retreat.
If someone wants effective change, how do they make it happen?
Decide what you want, and decide what you don’t want. Take the time to think through that and have the discipline to write it down. You get to decide who you want to be and the things you think about. Then put tactics in place. Take it a level deeper if you want it to work and why. How are you going to feel in the future state? Who else is going to benefit if this change is realized? And the consequences of not changing? That’s powerful. What if nothing changes. Progress is success. A lot of reasons people quit, change is hard.
A lot of people deal with a negative cycle. What is something someone can do if they are falling in the negative cycle?
It’s part of the process. Setbacks are, it’s how you respond to the setback that’s critical. The setback is the setup for the comeback and the break through. Anticipate the fact you’re going to have a setback. Elevate your self awareness. Know yourself then confront yourself.
Super power: Hardwork
Cause: The Inner City Ducks innercityducks.org
Twitter: The Meeting Minds
He’s back! This week we share an episode recorded two weeks ago when things were starting to move in the events industry. Micheal Cerbelli shares his take on the current virus as well as the last time the industry was hit.
What have you been up to since you were last with us on our podcast?
It’s been an incredible year. I’ve had 155,000 miles of travel in 2019. We’re seeing some challenges with the Coronavirus affecting events, but other than that, I’m very excited to announce that we are officially signing with a brand new collaborative building in the event industry in New York City. The fourth floor will be myself and a great company called Elegant Affairs Caterers.
Who is your Demographic/Audience?
We’re looking at it as a spot to help promote all our businesses with our clients. What we wanted to do was create a space that anybody and everybody in the event industry could come to. We wanted to bring a space together so that our clients could be there, have their meeting, a get together with their clients, and be around creative people all under one roof and share their ideas with each other. From there, the client knows that there is a closer relationship there instead of jumping on a phone call for twenty minutes. We want to have collaborative experiences.
How long has this been in the works? Tell us what the journey has been like.
I’d been looking for a new space because our lease was almost up in NYC. About a year ago I said, “Let’s start planning.” We live in a beautiful area of New York City; it’s called Hudson Yards. It’s the newest hotspot in NYC; it’s booming. I think 40 office buildings have been built in this area throughout the past five years. There were four firehouses back from the 1800s that put out their own fires before the fire department was around, and there are two of these firehouses left. We have one now, and the other one is owned by Anderson Cooper as his home. It’s fantastic, I have a fire pole in my office, I’m so excited! It’s going to be officially called “24030.” That’s our address, 240 30th St. Manhattan. We don’t want to have one name on the banner outside; it’s a collaborative building, so why does it have to be one company? It’s all of us.
How are you dealing with the Coronavirus and how it affects you in the event industry?
It’s there. If you look at the news today, Facebook and Microsoft cancelled events that they had coming up. I had a name talent, and I’ve worked with this guy four times. His camp had started to question about two weeks earlier, and when we came to them and said “it’s official, we’re postponing it, we’re going to pick a new date,” they understood. “You got it, safety first. Let’s work out these dates and see what we can do.” We’re flexible, we’ve got it, everybody is working together as a team on this one event that I’m seeing, and I’m seeing that in other areas too. I think people are starting to understand that in the world we live in, stuff happens. You know what I actually want to say, but “stuff” happens, and that’s what we all understand. My client is actually having more pullback from the actual attendees; they’re more upset than us in the event industry, so I think it will affect events. If everybody can work together, and those clients can work with us to help manage some of the losses(maybe airplane fees, paying someone for their time because they lost it). We work together as a team, and I think that’ll be great for all of us.
Has this sort of situation been something you’ve seen previously in your career?
Yeah, I can definitely 100% go back to the financial crash of 2008 when people were cancelling like crazy. I had a client cancel, and there was no reason for them to cancel, but they didn’t want to be perceived as a company spending money during that time. This was going to be my first event ever in Dubai. Huge spend, monster spend, and they just cancelled the whole program. Back then, there was a panic. “We all lost, what are we going to do? How are we going to recoup?” I think now we understand this. We don’t want you to hurt. We don’t want to hurt. How can we all work together? That’s the difference I see immediately from everybody. In 2008, people panicked. I think that’s why it hurt harder. I think we’ll know in about a month from now if it’s going to affect us hard. Macro, not micro; let’s look at the big picture right now. Let’s keep calm and cool heads.
What’s been going on with you aside from everything else?
A corporate client let us create a magical circus theme; it was called Under the Big Top. I’ve done this event for seventeen straight years, and every year has a different theme, and this one really stood out. There were people flying through the air, tightrope walkers, we used their colors instead of the red and white stripes. It had a very “NYC Circus” theme to it, from the video invitation to leaving there with a bag of popcorn and Crackerjacks for the kids. It was probably one of my favorite events of last year. This summer was an incredible 50th birthday party at one of the most beautiful homes that you could imagine. We took them through a musical journey through 50 years of music festivals. It went from Woodstock in the 60’s, the 80’s and 90’s Lollapalooza, today’s Coachella, and to a big concert onstage in their backyard.
What advice do you have for people who are brand new to events?
I could be sitting for hours and nothing’s coming to me, and I’ll wake up at 3:00 in the morning and I’ve got to write it down. That’s how my head works, but although it’s in my head, I can’t do it without a team. I’m very lucky, and there may be newbies that don’t have a team. Take what you see, look around you, think about these moments. It doesn’t always have to be black and white. How can you change it? How can you come together as a team? I may be a producer, but I don’t own anything. Reach out to your vendors too, maybe they have something creative. Partner with the right people. My whole thing is collaboration. When you’re going to work with someone, does it all have to be you? If you take advice from your creative partners, that’s what leads to a great event. So many people are like, “It’s my event, I own it, this is what I want to do.” Ok, that’s great, that’s good for you, that’s not good for me. I love my team, I love my partners, I love their ideas. We all like working together because we feel we’re part of one.
What are your pet peeves?
My biggest pet peeve is the person that doesn’t plan properly; the people that panic onsite. When someone says “I’ve thrown a party before,” that’s great, but have you thrown an event where you have to know how people get on the loading dock? If you think about every step along the way, how everybody has to come together to manage this one event, that’s the strength on an event planner. The person that doesn’t know that is the person running around panicking at an event. Don’t tell me you’re an event planner if you’re not an event planner. It comes with years of experience, learning, getting dirty, working 40 hours in one day to get everything done for what you need. Notes, contracts, insurance. If you don’t have that, you’re the one panicking. I can point them out at any event.
Any last thoughts for our audience?
In two weeks from today, it’s the official 19th anniversary of Michael Cerbelli’s “The Hotlist!” If any listeners want, please reach out to me, I promise I’ll try to get them seats for the show. It’s going to be an amazing show this year.
Tell us about you.
Growing up, my dad was a business owner, so I always kind of pictured myself owning a business or something that way. I started my first business out of my college dorm room in 2003. I had a bad t-shirt order and my roommate, Ryan looked at me, “Hey, we should start a business so nobody else has to go through what you just went through.” I was naive enough as a 19 year old, I was like, “how would we do it?” He goes over to our dorm room door, shuts it, and he pitches me the idea and I’m like, I’m in. That summer we worked hard. Thew next fall we started business, from there, by the time I sold that we had done about 500,000 pieces of apparel.
It opened so many doors. What I liked about running an online custom apparel business was, I built it from the dorm room where people had no idea that I was in 19 or 20 year old kid. They thought I was like a 40 or 50 year old man. What I liked about it was I practiced my skill of customer service or customer care in a way that, I built it so I would never have to meet my customers. I learned the soft skills of phone and email just as it was getting going in 2003, 2004, or 2005. I fit a ton of experience into those few years in college and then just grew.
I love Co-Ed Monkey, still buy shirts now. They have great customer service.
I’ll step back quick and say in 2008, when the economy tanked, every business really struggled. I stepped back and I went into debt. It was bad, and I looked at my business and I hated life. I was a probably 20, $30,000 in debt and had no idea how I was going to pay it back. And I looked at the business and I hated it. I hated waking up in the morning. I hated answering emails. I hated every single thing about my business. I remember I sat at Starbucks, I kinda hit this low point and I call it my Starbucks experience.
In business you’re always told like dream about, you know where you’re going to be someday. I pictured a corner office and all these things and what we would be building. And I realized that amidst all the busy-ness of business in the dreaming, the one thing I forgot to dream about was my customers and what they should expect out of my business. I thought about how much money I would make, everything and I forgot about the customer. So I call it my Starbucks experience because back then the internet at Starbucks was very bad. So I couldn’t answer my email, I couldn’t do anything. And I sat there with a white piece of paper and I just go, if I could build a company for my customer, what should they expect? That changed everything. I started dreaming and before I knew it then that changed everything about my business. I looked at it, there’s either customer service or there’s customer care. Services is reactive, cares is proactive. Once you find the thing that you do different. Once you find thing though, you’re one, two, maybe three things different than your competition. You double down, double down, double down.
How do you stand out? How do you make your events stand out? How do you make your business stand out?
Let’s break it right down to the event thing. I think today’s events, it’s not about putting on events, it’s about curating pieces that people will talk about. I think it’s about somebody that comes to your event. They go to how many events, how many galas, and they see how many MCs and MC is an MC. They’re all funny. The stage is now in the middle or it’s up front. You know like you can only do so many different things, but I think there are the little touches that make people go, how did they think of that? Like when the speaker says, I want you all at your table, I want you to stand up and shuffle around. Now I don’t want you to just to sit at your table anymore. And actually forces networking. It creates touch points, elbow rubbing moments where now you’re forced to meet people you didn’t come with.
It’s like the flowers. You know how many events, especially if you’re talking about weddings, it’s like “who did those flowers? Who did that?” I think as an event planner, I would want people going “who did that?”. I’d want so many “who did that” moments coming out of my event because that’s what makes people go, I want to go back to their event. It’s not just coming up with something new, but it’s more thought and it makes that needle and thread through your brand and every event feel like it’s the same thing.
It makes me start thinking about how do you create the standout moments in all of the elements of a show?
A great thing that is totally under utilized the events space, cause I get to speak at a lot of events, and one thing I started offering to any place I speak at I say, “Hey, I love it coming into your event to do the keynote for you.” I go in there just like every other speaker. I do the speech for 45 or 50 minutes. And now what I like to say is, “Hey, I love the idea though of your people going back to their people and talking about what I talked about. So for you, I want to offer a webinar. You plan it, it’s going to be an hour long. They can invite anybody they want on it. We’re going to talk about what we talked about that day. And the event’s going to keep going.” Everybody gets pumped about that. 25% of them actually do it. These people already move on to the next thing and then they wonder why their event struggles later.
It’s because they’re not doing the little things that separate them from every other brand.
So the question is how do you set yourself apart from being lazy? I think one of the big things you talk about that I really enjoy and maybe you could go deeper on this is how do you make your yourself stand out as an individual?
I think it’s holding yourself to a standard and going, when people hear my name, what do they think about me? Maybe it’s not all what you want, but I think we can strive for that. My team at CloseSimple, that’s my real estate software, we basically created like a pizza tracker for the home closing process. Before this there was nothing. What’s been really fun is we’re instilling culture now in our people and we’re having them read the Gary Keller book, the guy who founded Keller Williams One Thing. Now my entire team has their one thing. Each person has a different one, which is different than in traction, the rocks that they might be doing. This is my one thing for my job, not for company, but for my job that’s going to push the company forward.
It’s clarifying what your one thing is. If you can only accomplish one thing this week that’s going to actually create momentum for you to do other things, what is that? If I’m going to do an event, what’s the one thing I can do leaving this event? Outside of the typical stuff, there should be a checklist. If I’m going to be exceptional and something that people actually want to be a part of, what’s something additional.
What other books do you love?
I think a great book, just one of the best books of all time. If you’re looking for that next idea, how do you stand out? Made to stick. It’s why do some ideas stick and some don’t. It’s unbelievable. Chip and Dan Heath, brilliant guys. If you want to get the book awesome. I love the book, but this is one of the rare audio books that you listen to and are like, it’s better audio than reading.
Super power: I am amazing if I’m at a conference or business, looking what people wear, sizing them up exactly and knowing like where to shift the conversation based on like what they’re wearing. Often it’s going to start with what they’re wearing, it creates the conversation.
Twitter: The Meeting Minds