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Leadership is about persistence. What’s leadership about? Persistence. Did we mention that leadership is about persistence? — BTB #24 One on One

Behind the Billboard S1EP24

(0:00:00) Intro:Welcome to the Behind The Billboard podcast. Here’s your host, Kris Lindahl.

(0:00:06) KL: Are you willing to do whatever it takes to win? The word that comes to mind is ‘persistence’ and it’s so critical in leadership. For those of you that follow the Behind The Billboard podcast, you may not know this story, so I want to share it with you. The Minnesota Vikings were playing the New Orleans Saints and it was actually in Minnesota. Right before the game I posted on social media, “If the Minnesota Vikings win, Kris Lindahl will turn all of his billboards to purple.”

Now, what I didn’t expect to happen— I was actually at the game— was that we would win with five seconds left. Case Keenum throws it to Stefan Diggs. The defensive back for the Saints totally blew the tackle. We scored. No time left on the clock. They dub it, “The Minneapolis Miracle.” So, Change the billboards to purple in Minneapolis.

The following weekend, we’re playing the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game. We had just won this game. Everyone was talking about the Minnesota Vikings. This is the year. Everyone is passionate about anything that’s purple. So on Wednesday afternoon, I get this idea to put up a purple Minnesota billboard in Philadelphia. So obviously some of the words are trademarked and I had to be creative with the words that I could use. So what I did was say, “Purple > Green” and I used the ‘greater than’ sign. It was me in the iconic billboard pose that we have trademarked and it’s my arms out wide. It’s purple and gold. It just says,” Purple > Green.” It says Kris Lindahl and it says my brokerage name. So I decide I’m going to put this billboard up outside of the Philadelphia stadium because the game was in Philadelphia. But I want to share the persistence behind actually getting that done.

For one, it’s Wednesday afternoon. So I’m trying to figure out how am I going to get this billboard into production and completed and then get it up on a billboard.

So I want to walk you through what happened just to show you an example of persistence and how persistence can win in leadership.

So we placed the order with Billboard Company Number One — which I won’t name. Billboard Company Number One sells us the billboard. Thursday morning they seem the creative. They see the purple billboard. They see my name on it and they say, “You know what? We are rejecting your contract…”

We have a signed contract.

“… We are rejecting your contract because we’re worried that our billboard will8 get vandalized.” That’s the story that they gave us. I read through the contract. My interpretation of the contract wasn’t the same as theirs, but I didn’t have any time. I didn’t have any time to have a legal review or have a dispute on who was right and who was wrong so I was out. Time went. So we’re now into Thursday afternoon. I was set on this location. It was right by the stadium. I thought it was the best one. In my mind, I had already had this all planned out. It was going to be great. I was super excited. I knew a lot of people going. We had a lot of Minnesota Vikings fans that were going to the game as well. I thought it was a good thing to do. I was super excited. I thought that Vikings were gigot to win the Super Bowl. I was passionate.

So then, I get this “no” and the reason I bring this story up is because in life we all have those moments, especially in leadership, where we get the word ‘no.’

‘I can’t do that. No, you can’t do this.”
How many of you stop at that first no? Or many even that second no?

So, Billboard Company Number Two sells the billboard to us. We get the contract signed. Everything is good. Submit the creative. We’re looking good. Later on Thursday, things are feeling really good. They decide to unilaterally cancel the contract at about 8 or 9pm Thursday night. Keep in mind, the game is that weekend. So Thursday night, we are back to square one again.

Everyone around said, “You know what? I don’t think it’s going to work.” I mean, everyone. There wasn’t one person that said keep moving forward, except for me. I said no. Let’s keep going. There’s got to be an option.

So, Friday morning, we’re still at it. We’re trying to figure it out. We have the creative done. The board is ready to go. We just have to figure out who’s going to let us put it up. We now go to Billboard Company Number Three. Billboard Company Number Three reviews the creative ahead of time and says, “Yeah. We can’t restrict you from putting this up and we’d be willing to sell you one of our premium locations that went unsold.” — Most likely because the price point they had on it was too expensive for a lot of the local vendors. So we signed the contract and we were able to turn around this entire billboard process in less than 48 hours before the game. We went through two billboard companies where everyone told me it wasn’t going to happen.

Now granted, I’ll take the blame for the last-minute idea. I know a lot of you listening have had crazy last-minute ideas in leadership. So I’ll take the blame for that. We didn’t have a lot of time, but I never took no.

There are pivotal moments in your career, there have been in my career, where I haven’t taken the word ‘no.’ I’ve been persistent and I went right through the word no knowing that I would get to the outcome that we needed to get to. So, we got the billboard up. It. Got national coverage. What we did was leverage our following, my following and everything that we’ve built media-wise, and everything that we knew. It went viral on social media. It was covered by local and national news. Everyone picked it up.

We obviously have huge physical presence of billboards locally here in the Twin Cities, and have for years, so we have a lot of equity int hat strategy. By no means am I sharing that this strategy would work for you or that’s the strategy that you should do, it just happens to be the strategy that we’ve been playing the long game on. We were really persistent about what we believed in. I just didn’t take no for answer. I bring that up because there are going to be so many decisions that you have to make in leadership and in life where you are going to get that no but what is going to happen when you get that no? What’s happening right now when you get that no? Are you going through two or three or four objections before you give up? Or are you never giving up? I ask you those tough questions because leadership is about persistence. What I know about people— and what I know about people that want to be a part of an organization— people want to be a part of certain types of leadership styles. They don’t want to follow a quitter. I can tell you that, point blank. Period. People don’t want to quitters.

So if you’re easy to give up easy. Your people are watching it. Their families are watching it. Your competitors are watching it.

I can tell you right now that I won’t stop. My persistence is at the highest level. We’re going to win I will out work every single person. That’s just the personality I have. I’m that persistent. So I bring that up and share that with you because in leadership, you have to be persistent. You have to be motivated and you have to be focused.

You ever been around a leader who is just so focused and so persistent that you’re just like, “Wow!” You can feel that energy! If you can feel it, so can people in their organization. So can their clients, so can the community, so can their families. Everyone can feel that. You never want to give up. You want to be persistent. You have to have that reputation the you wont give up because that’s what people want to be apart of. They don’t want excuses. They want to be around someone that has that burning desire that is going to win. That we’re going to figure it out. I’m not saying you have it figured out. And I’m not saying that those ‘no’s’ aren’t tough. But you can’t give up. You can’t give up.

Those pivotal moments in my career have been some of the most important parts of where we are today. It’s where we had those dead ends and there was no progress. It didn’t appear that there was going to be a solution. But we never lost faith. And we never gave up. Because we were persistent. And we knew there would be a break through. So, you might be at that point in your career where you don’t know if your’e going to come up with a solution. It seems like theres only dead ends and there’s not progress.

But here’s where persistence and win. It’s were you adjust and adapt. You don’t always have the answers but there are a lot of clues along the way. So if you go hunting for those clues, at some point you will find the right clue which will help you have a break through. But the only way you’re going to have that break through is if you have that persistence to actually break through it.

There’s one thing that stood out from a lot of the interviews I’ve had on the Behind The Billboard podcast. A lot of the successful leaders talk a lot about learning and being a student first. If you’re going to adjust and adapt, you have to be student first. You have to be willing to learn. You have to be willing to fail. You have to have those learning opportunities, those failures, so you can actually get that information and you can adjust and you can adapt.

I can tell you right now, as leaders, we are always going to face resistance. I have it every single day. I have it online. I see the comments. I see the naysayers. I see the doubters. I see what they say. I hear what they say. I know who they are. I know I have resistance. I know they don’t believe in me. But what we have is we believe in being persistent. No one is going to stop us. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. There are going to be major roadblocks where it doesn’t look like theres going to be a solution. It doesn’t look like you’re going to win. But I’m telling you right now, the person that is persistent, the leader that is persistent, the leadership team that is persistent will win every single time. We’re just going to outwork everyone. We are willing to go at it a lot harder with more persistence than any other company. And that’s why we’ll win. And that’s why you’ll win.

So I wanted too share with you that story and I wanted to share with you some of things that we’ve been through about that whole persistence because I’ve seen so many leaders that I don’t believe in that aren’t that persistent that if I was in that organization, I wouldn’t want to stay because, like I said earlier, no one wants to work or follow a quitter.

(0:10:53) Outro: If you loved this episode, give us a great review, subscribe and share us socially so we can spread the word and build a community of “difference-makers” and ifthere’s a leader who inspires you, send your suggestions for future guests to Kris’ team at so we can get better.