(0:09:43) KL: Every single time.
(0:09:46) CE: I want to pick your brain, Kris. Yeah, listen to my podcast because I’ve got a podcast for that.
(0:09:52) KL:It is super challenging. I actually talked about that this morning. For those who are trying to get ahold of super busy leaders and things like that, find unique and creative ways to get their attention. Every single LinkedIn message I get is picking my brain or going to breakfast, grabbing a coffee. The minute you start messaging me about things that I believe in and a cause and things like that are emotional, you get my attention. The minute you can sense someone is reaching out because they want to do business with you, you can feel it, and no one has any interest in responding.
(0:10:23) CE: I find the best business connections I make are when I am not being deliberate about that. If you hang out in the right circles with the right people business will happen. That is why social media is so huge because you hang out in these social circles. Social media equals business. You know Gary V. He talks about this. Commerce will always follow that. So hanging out in the right circles where you belong? That is exactly what causes commerce to happen not banging on people’s faces about it.
(0:10:55) KL: I think there is a lack of training, too. I don’t think at companies there is any sort of training on how you are supposed to prospect and what type of etiquette you are supposed to follow on social media. The buzzword is like social media and everyone goes, “Well, I have to get on social media and find business,” and you are literally trying to find business and people can feel it.
(0:11:15) CE: Instead of just being genuine and being yourself. It is funny, because I think of social media as a conduit to relationships. Relationships are what bring business, right? At the end of the day if we don’t have good relationships we just can’t build a good business. So you are totally right. “I need to be on social media” and it’s like yeah, but really want you need it to just be you and just be really good at what you do. People will seek that out.
If you think about the views on a video that you do on a post or the views that you do on a video that you do. Every single one of those views is eyeballs. Every single time someone puts a comment, a like, a heart, or any sort of feedback. That is like your round of applause. You are literally giving a speech on social media every single time that you do a video in today’s day and age. So, I think about when I am getting ready to post something or do a video, how much time would I put in to doing a speaking event to 40,000 people? Do I put that same amount of time into a social media post or a social media video? Most people don’t.
No, and what I have realized is the more genuine and authentic you are just being more human, the more likes and comments and things that you get. In fact, I made a post last night about how frustrating it is to put the kids to bed and how tough that time is and this morning I’m having second thoughts about this. Maybe people that watch my stuff and they know me as someone in the event business and that is how I really want them to see me, so I made a post and I said what do you think? Do you think I should make posts about real life, too? Or should I just show you pictures of events all day? And every single person who commented or messaged me back was like never cut out that stuff. We love seeing you frustrated over these things. That’s called life. I don’t want to see your events right now, I want to see you struggling like I am putting the kids to bed. You know?
(0:11:41) KL: That is so good.
(0:12:18) CE: Another thing is back to what you were saying about prospecting. For those of you who are listening about prospecting, think about this. Think about ways that are unconventional to get in front of your prospect. Here’s a good example. We started a podcast because we were just another event company trying to bang on people’s doors. People who would be great on content could also make great customers and we started a podcast and started inviting these people on and instead of soliciting them for business we built a relationship by having them on our podcast, and yeah, most of them don’t end up hiring us for work but it creates a relationship with someone who potentially could.
(0:13:05) KL: Yeah. I love that. That is really, really good. When you change the ask, and the ask isn’t really about the business first. That is the thing everyone can sense in today’s world. One thing that has really stuck out to me when we talk about business and we talk about you that I want to share is something just super short that happens to me on a regular and it it doesn’t matter to me the shop. And I go grab tea because I don’t drink coffee.
(0:13:06) CE: I don’t know how you do that.
(0:13:47) KL: It’s life, man!
(0:14:10) CE: You have so much energy. I am like, what the heck, dude!
(0:14:14) KL: But, this is so interesting and I think people listening can get big takeaways because once I share what I recognized, I want to share what I have recognized in you. Every single time I order a tea, whether it is loose, or it’s in a teabag, they put it in there and some places put a second cup underneath, so after it is done steeping you can put the teabags in so after you are done steeping you can take them out so you can drink your tea. But what has only happened to me once in the 7 years I have been drinking tea is someone told me how long the tea bags are supposed to be in there. Ever. I am talking every place I have ever been. They hand you this things and everyone who drinks tea, three to four or five minutes for a green tea is probably the max or you start to burn and get sour but no one ever says that and the second part to that is there has been different times when people have paid attention to the detail to take the seeds out of the lemon because there is nothing more annoying than putting lemon in your tea and having all of the seeds drop in there!
(0:14:15) CE: That is the worst.
(0:14:19) KL: I look at this detail and I have started to become obsessed with these details that are going on, but I don’t know anyone more obsessed with details than you. The way that you notice things. Shoes, processes, speakers. How did you get a vision to get so hyper focused on what things are happening around you and what do you do when you recognize something inefficient in a client or a potential client. I have noticed this from you over and over again.
(0:15:20) CE: Okay, so I have noticed this. Perception is someone’s reality. I know we hear that all of the time, but think about it. How you perceive something to be is how you believe to be real. In this whole world of audiences and events, we have to be considerate about how people feel. There are really easy tells to see how people are feeling. You can look at them. You can read their body language. Body language is an incredible tell. In mass, you can tell my behavior. So in an event you want to get people to text in something. You can put a slide on the screen that says text in 454 to our phone number to join our list and no one cares. They don’t. They are like, no more text messages, please. Or email is even worse, right? But if you really want them to take action what do we have to do? We have to move them emotionally here, but you can’t move them here unless you pay attention to the detail.
(0:15:21) KL: When you say here. People listening to the podcast, he is pointing to his chest but I realize there is not a video going on right now.
(0:15:49) CE: If you want to move their mind you have to move their heart first and the only way to get a window into that is to really pay attention to detail. People are comprised of detail. Every single little thing whether it is deliberate or not. I pay attention to the shoes you wear. That is a certain thing. There are all of these decisions trees that come off of every little thing, but it tells you about that person. I think that being observant and being self-aware and being conscious. You probably know this but the four levels of consciousness. I learned this a long time ago and I thought if I could master the top one I am going to be really set. Here it is. Number one, you are unconsciously incompetent, meaning you don’t know that you don’t know. You don’t know how dumb you are. Number two would be you are consciously incompetent. I am aware of my blind spots, I know how dumb I am and I need to work on it. Number three would be I am consciously competent meaning I am smart but I have to work at it to do it. The fourth one in my opinion would be you in many of the things you do and that would be which is you are unconsciously competent. You don’t have to think about doing great things because you just do because it is who you have become and all of that stuff stacks up to paying attention to detail. The people on number one unconsciously incompetent, they just don’t know. They aren’t paying attention. Those are probably people that you have already lost. Those are probably people who we don’t interact with much. So, you are absolutely right. In order to do well, we have to pay attention to little details. Now, you get into other little details like crunching numbers and things… forget about it. You can take my off that list. I am so bad at numbers and finance and luckily I have a great business partner, Mike Danielson, who is incredible at that stuff, but at the end of the day that stuff will work out if you get the right people doing that stuff, but the human element and how you feel… I thought about every time I go to something I want to show up with something with me. Think about it. You never show up empty handed. Today, I was out getting lunch, and I was like, you know, Kris invited me on his podcast. I know Kris likes nice things like I do. So I swung by my favorite shoe store for anyone who wants to get me a pair of these, and I got Kris a pair of Allen Edmond shoes. I’m their biggest shoe buyer, I’m sure.
(0:16:49) KL: That was an amazing gift, thank you! What size shoe are you in case someone wants to buy some?
(0:16:55) CE: Anyone who wants to send me a pair, I am an 11 1⁄2 D at Allen Edmond’s. They can look me up.
(0:19:16) KL: I am going to laugh is someone listening sends you a pair of shoes.
(0:19:19) CE: This actually came from Bill Svoboda, you know Bill. Bill gave me a pair of boots and I remembered how that made me feel and I will never forget Bill Svoboda when I lace up those boots. They last so long.
(0:19:27) KL: He was on the podcast. He is amazing.
(0:19:30) CE: He is amazing. I always think to myself don’t show up empty handed. You told me about a book called Giftology. I have like owned that book. Honestly, never show up with food because people have allergies and whatever and and liquor gets drank but, something that lasts and the best version of that thing. Again, I learned that from you.
(0:19:44) KL: That is so good. When Bill was on he talked about the Tom Ford boots.
(0:19:45) CE: That is Bill’s thing.
(0:20:07) KL: That is Bill’s thing. When we were both speaking at an event in New York, we took an afternoon and I did a couple of videos summarizing what I learned and discovered in New York. We went on a retail… I let Bill lead the way and he took me to all of the top retailers in New York, and then I did a video, which is on our Behind the Billboard Facebook page, summarizing what I learned and the different brands. It was fascinating to see the different brands. Some were at massive scale, some were boutique, but you could feel the difference in service from like a Tom Ford, who was a super visionary to like a Burberry. Not that it is right or wrong, it is just a different approach. Or Gucci.
(0:20:12) CE: One is more designer versus corporate.
(0:20:12) KL: They were like, “No, this is Tom Ford. This is how it is supposed to look and feel.” Such as my company and how EideCom is for you. It is always a different feel when you are in that environment.
(0:20:53) CE: We all have customers, right. If you are in high school, you have customers. They might be your mom and dad right now. At the end of the day, we all have customers. There is a really great book I recommend people read. It is called The Customer Rules by a guy named Lee Cockerell. He is the guy who designed the customer service experience at Disney. He worked at Marriot in Customer Experience. You know the Disney Customer experience is amazing. I listened to your Podcast with Tracy Kohl, and by the way, amazing woman and entrepreneur, and she spoke about Disney and no one does it like Disney, and at the end of the day Lee Cockerell wrote those rules. I think there are 39 rules in this book and if you master these rules, your customer base will be unlike anything else and like you said, that Tom Ford experience. Like, no, no. This is Tom Ford. It is different. The customer experience you can craft that better when you have more knowledge, and Lee wrote that book. He is really a great author.
(0:20:57) KL: You mentioned Disney, and I didn’t say this when I had Tracy one but I actually saw something go wrong at Disney when I was there with my daughter Victoria about 3-4 years ago. It was fascinating their response. I had never seen something go wrong at Disney.
(0:21:13) CE: Did Donald Duck’s beak fall off?
(0:22:19) KL: No! So, you know, every day at the Magic Kingdom they have the parades, and they do such a good job at traffic control. They know when to reroute you or detour you or close certain sections or sidewalks off. Well someone that works for Disney failed at their traffic control piece and what happened was everyone started walking through the parade, which was not by design and it was interesting to see the emergency response team of this whole thing of all of these people who had to go. When you have that many people in an environment, trying to control traffic when they enter an area they are not supposed to is almost impossible to fix once it is broken and they had all of these people slowly redirecting and they fixed the problem but for the first time ever watched something go wrong where really it was she just forgot to put up the rope and people kept going and it threw the whole thing off, but the response to the whole thing and the systems behind when something goes wrong, and how fast they were able to spin it and fix it. It was incredible.
(0:22:33) CE: Yeah, the practice component is really important. Something I really admire about Disney is everything is really thought out. Every single little direction and issue and opportunity is really thought out and I think we can all do that in our own lives. Especially in our businesses. We can take that time and really look at, well if this happens, what happens? And if this happens, what happens? And how do we deal with that? I think it is just pure like… I don’t want to say laziness, because I don’t want to say people want to be lazy when it comes to improving their business, but I think we become complacent. We are going through this whole EOS thing with our business and traction, and it has been eye opening to look at all of the blind spots that we have had as an organization by hiring an implementer. It blocked us.
(0:22:33) KL: This was such a good segway into your business. Things go wrong all of the time. Audio.
(0:23:37) CE: Well, not in my business.
(0:24:30) KL: No, everything goes right for you. Except for one time.
(0:24:38) CE: Yes. That was years ago though.
(0:24:39) KL: So let’s just share that one time. No, but things go wrong at Disney and everywhere else. And a lot of times it might not be your fault. There might be other people of the job or there might be equipment from an event space that you are using or there might be client demands and they didn’t take your recommendation because they wanted to save money.
(0:24:43) CE: Can you use duct tape instead?
(0:24:44) KL: Maybe just explain a little bit about when you are doing an event and the type of people you have on the job and what decisions they make when things go wrong. I think there are a lot of people listening to our podcast that are in a leadership position and they are doing events and I know from speaking all over the country that I get on stage and sometimes things are not working right and we still have to move on and we still have to go.
(0:25:07) CE: These are physical and technical things, and technical things break and things happen. I think number one that is most important is communicating and treating people like they are intelligent. If your customer is going to notice it or the audience is going to notice it, don’t treat people like they are stupid or keep them in the dark, be honest about it. Here is what happened and here is why it happened. If you don’t have an answer, “Hey, we are working on the solution and the answer right now.” Hopefully in the events business you plan on the redundancy to back things up. In our business, we treat it kind of like systems backing up systems backing up systems backing up systems, but it also comes down to the competence of the people. I would say that I built EideCom with the attitude that being lazy and complacent or doing it the way it has always been done is unacceptable. If you want something to go to the next level, you have to look at everything all over again. We have just recently won some really big events. Some really big stuff, like national groundbreaking events. My goal someday is to do the Olympics, so if you are hiring for that, let me know. My point is, I think the reason we have won this is we question the status quo up front and say we want to look at this all over again with a fresh pair of eyes. I treat every single technician the same way on our team. I say, “Don’t just do it that way because that is the way you have always done it. Do it that way because it makes sense or let’s do it another way.” I think that is the way we win business because we have high-end stuff and everything is redundant and backed up and thought through.
(0:25:10) KL: For us, we don’t always get it perfect. Anytime you have human beings involved. I have made a ton of mistakes in my career for sure but the one thing is that we have to own it and we look at failures like learning opportunities like what can we learn from it? Now, if you have someone in your organization or my organization that continues to make the same mistakes over and over again that is a problem, but encourage them to make a mistake allow them to because I have seen a lot of leaders who put the clamps down if someone makes one mistake it makes people feel stupid and uncomfortable and insecure and they don’t want to work there.
(0:25:30) CE: Especially publically. There was a TED Talk that a guy who used to be part of a fighter squadron did. If you look it up just look up fighter squadron TED Talk, but he talks about when they go on training exercises the training exercise might be an hour or two long, it is not very long, but then they spend the next five days debriefing this thing and they go through every single little decision and thing that happened and break it apart so this exercise maybe an hour long but it took how many days to go through it to go through it and evaluate these things and learn from them.
(0:27:02) KL: The question that I learned a lot time ago is in certain situations in our real estate business. It is a very emotional time for families, and if there is a mistake, even if it wasn’t our mistake, we will still own it if we need to, even if it wasn’t us just to make it right. We always ask the question, what can we do to make it right? Because the problem is as human beings the natural thing we want to do is fight and go into defense mode and we want to argue and we want to debate and say it wasn’t our fault. A lot of times it wasn’t our fault but if you could provide an experience where the customer doesn’t even know that mistake wasn’t yours but you owned it. Sometimes they know, like I know that wasn’t on Kris Lindahl Real Estate. That was the title company or the mortgage company or the other real estate brokerage or someone else or the home buyer or home seller whatever it may be, but they owned it and they fixed it and we moved on in a very stressful time and I think that is something I see over and over again. We are not trying to help and make things better in a society right now. We want to fight. We want to argue. We are not trying to meet in the middle or figure out how do we fix this and come to a point where we can move forward together?
(0:27:40) CE: I listen to your podcast regularly and I think that was one of the most profound things that you have said. You say lots of incredible things but to repeat what you just said was huge. Asking people, “Okay, clearly, we made a mistake. How do we make it right?” That right there. That little sentence. That question is absolutely foundational in solving problems because you know how this goes. You said it yourself. People just want to move on and if we keep the battle going and fighting about it. You are all resourced, and being that way lets you fix problems all sorts of problems. When you say, “Hey, I am willing to do whatever it takes even if it is not on us to fix that problem.” Dude, that is gold.
(0:28:13) KL: It is counterintuitive to who we are as humans in most cases when someone is attacking the natural thing is to fight back and it gets worse. Especially in a business where you have a client relationship. The minute you start fighting back with a client or a consumer, you lose.
(0:29:23) CE: Well, and think about the litigious society we like in. Everyone wants to remove liability and responsibility from themselves and remove risk from themselves. It is the world we live in. I was in Poland doing an event for the Pope in the Tauron Arena in 2016.
(0:30:13) KL: That is amazing.
(0:30:30) CE: It was so cool. We had all of these lighting instruments and we wanted to haze the room, and they were like you can’t haze the room. We found out that no one wanted to take responsibility if there was a fire or if something happened. No one wanted to just take responsibility and finally, I was like, “Guys, if no one is willing to take the responsibility for this risk, I will.” They were like, “So, if the building burns down it is your fault.” I was like, “Yep. Sure. I’ll buy you another arena.” No, I can’t buy another arena, but I knew that the risk reward factor made sense and taking responsibility is huge. I think in a world where everyone is running from responsibility be the one to take the responsibility. You will always rise above when you do.
(0:30:49) KL: I want to bring this up because I think it is so critical to leadership and growing not only in business but also professionally. It is something that stand up with you. You have referenced Podcasts. You have referenced TED Talks. You have referenced learning. What does learning look like to you?
(0:30:50) CE: So this is something that is one of my favorite topics so I will be carful not to run on forever about it because I think that this is huge. I think there is this fine balance of learning and then execution. We need to continually be learning. I don’t know of one amazing leader in this world who isn’t a student first. We have to humble ourselves. If I am going to be better, there is clearly someone out there who knows this stuff better than me, no matter who you are. I don’t care if you are Jeff Bezos, or Warren Buffet. Somebody can give you some more. None of this stuff is a secret. A lot of people say, “Can you just please tell me the secret to success?” It is not a secret. Everyone is sharing it. It comes down to the execution. How many people do you know, Kris, and I know many of them myself. They are like seminar junkies. They go from seminar to seminar with no execution.
(0:31:36) KL: No execution.
(0:31:51) CE: They go to every seminar. I don’t go to that many, but I see them on social media going to all of these seminars. It is like, what is their business? They don’t really do anything. They go to seminars. They are stuck in neutral. Their engine is all revved up but it is going nowhere. There is a balance between becoming better and educating yourself, but execution will win every day, even if you knew very little you took the execution all the way you would win every time.
(0:32:42) KL: How do you have time to learn for those listening and saying I feel so overwhelmed right now. I don’t have any time.
(0:32:45) CE: Totally. Time is a fluid thing. I have realized the people who are super busy also know to get the important things done. If you prioritize and this is an important thing, you will get it done. I look at drive time in the car. I know that you guys are going to laugh at me when I say this but the radio is generally chewing gum for the mind. It does not nourish you at all. It just passes time.
(0:33:20) KL: Unless you are listening to a Kris Lindahl commercial.
(0:33:24) CE: Yes. Exactly. But my point is, think about it. The best education you are going to get is in your car. I literally call it the university on wheels. You can download any book. Please don’t make it Hunger Games, even though it is a great book and listen to audio books in the car. My assistant, Mel, when she first started with me, she was like “What is this?” And I was like, “Oh, I listen to audio books in the car.” It’s getting to the point where she is like expecting it. She gets in the car and she is like, “What book are we listening to?” Ultimately that is where you want to be, is a place where you are using that liquid time. If you are not on the phone in the car, you should be listening to a book and not just chewing gum. That’s just me.
(0:33:50) KL: The on-demand world that we live in with podcasts and books on tape, or books on devices for the most part now, or smart speakers. That has evolved as well.
(0:33:51) CE: People think that things have significantly changed and they haven’t. They are just now on demand whereas before you just stuck a tape in the tape deck or CD.
(0:34:38) KL: It is the same. It is the same. People ask me this question often. Should I listen to lots and lots and lots and lots of book or should I listen to one really good book and master it? My question is, well, what if you wanted to get good as singing a song. Would you listen to that whole album a few times or would you pick that one song and rehearse it over and over again? I really believe if you want to understand a concept you should be able to recite it back without listening to the book anymore. Back in the network marketing days, they were like listen to the tape until you wear it out and then do that again. The same exactly tape over and over again because you don’t learn it by just listening to it one time. I mean how do you know the words to your favorite song? You’ve heard it 10,000 times.
(0:34:59) CE: That is spot on and I think that is where people get so distracted. Distraction is a massive part of this whole thing. How do you starve the distractions and stay focused?
(0:35:43) KL: This is really a challenge for me. I am a creator type of person. I really think number one is have a schedule that works and work that schedule. Be really serious about following the calendar. I hate saying this but I kind of live and die by my calendar. If it is on my calendar it is happening unless I call it off. Live and die by a schedule. Make sure that it is precise and accurate and make use of your time accurately. Now that I have been doing this for several years, I can say all right, look, I am only going to take three meetings a day at the very most. At the end of the day you have to think about how serious are you about managing your time? It is the only thing you can’t get more of. We all have the same amount of it. Living and dying by that calendar. If it is empty, fill it up. Don’t fill it up with coffees with your friends from high school. You know? It is really fun to catch up with people, but at the end of the day make it count.
(0:35:50) CE: A lot of that is universal. You could apply that to a different business or product. That is where the distraction comes from. Wow, if I just took what I learned here and did that to 70 businesses…
(0:36:48) KL: You have probably had this happen to where someone approaches you with a great opportunity. I would say a lateral competitor; I wouldn’t even say a competitor, in a similar space of ours. They put the business up for sale and then all of the sudden I am like I can buy this business and I could totally turn it around and make it so huge. I could make it enormous and then you start going wait a minute, why don’t I just do that with my own business and do it again and again and again and again. It is easy to get distracted by shiny objects or things like equipment. I am a pilot and part of the year there is a lot of icing in the sky. The distraction of buying an airplane is extremely time consuming. So, this fall, it was like, either grow the business or spend a bunch of money on a new airplane and a ton of time. I was like how about I will fly Delta if I have to right now and we will focus on growing the business. And we did. We doubled last year in one company and 35% in the other.
(0:37:02) CE: You mention the airplane. And I have had the opportunity and I am grateful that I have been able to fly with you and even be the copilot. Even though I think I am under qualified.
(0:38:09) KL: You are a good pilot. It is a lot of fun flying with you.
(0:38:19) KL: Tell me about when you started flying and obsessing with planes and how it helps your business.
(0:38:38) CE: I was in high school and I was not good in the studies. The studies. Not good at the studies. My dad was a pilot and he sold sail boats in the great lakes and he would use his airplane to go back and forth and be home for dinner and be with the family. It was really nice because instead of having to stay overnight in a hotel all of the time, he could be home. When I was in high school, he said you know, “You are not very good at the studies, do you want to get your pilot’s license?” I said “Sure! I think girls like that.” So, I ended up going and working on my pilot’s license and getting it while I was a senior in high school. I learned that flying when you are not using daddy’s credit card costs a lot of money. There was a period of time where I didn’t fly at all until I sprung it on my wife, I was like, “Honey, I don’t know if you knew this. You knew I was a pilot, but anyway I am starting flying again.” And she was like, “Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa.” I was like “No, no, no. This is a passion of mine.” So I started flying again and eventually we ended up buying a plane and we fly all over the country meeting with customers and clients and using it as a relationship tool two-fold. One, so I can be there in person and learn from you what you need as a customer of ours and I can be there at your beck in call. Can you be there? Yes. I will be there. I hop on the old airplane and fly my way down. So you have those opportunities but the other thing is my family. I am able to use it to be home for my family instead of waiting overnight or going to leave at a certain time I can be home for my family and that is really huge. That is why I call it the relationship machine because it literally adds time to your life. You know this, but people listening probably don’t know this. People that fly on private aircraft it is not for the glam. Sure, it is glamorous. Honestly, it is for the time. It saves time and that is one thing that we cannot get back. Flying private has changed my life. And being a pilot, that obsession is… well, it is what it is. We have had fun with it.
Oh we have had a blast. In some ways I was like, “Gosh, Charles, I think you should buy a faster plane so we can places faster,” but as the same time I enjoy our conversations on the longer trips where we can have deeper conversations about things that are going on.
It lets us have real talk and not have… the other thing I really love about doing this with you is we have given away a couple of charity things where I will fly the couple and you will buy their Hamilton tickets. It is a fun thing to be able to give that experience to people, and we have had fun doing that together, but being able to give back to people and organizations is a big piece of it.
Experiences are such a big part of learning and growing as well. As you are growing the people side of it, that is the part that I would say I was most unprepared for. Life showed up. Challenges showed up and some people opted that this isn’t going to work for me I am going to go here and I am going to go here or I am going to go there. A lot of people listening that is probably their biggest challenge.
It’s the biggest challenge but it is also the most rewarding. Money is a byproduct, right. If you are doing business right you are going to make money. But the most rewarding part of it on the business side is really the people and being able to pour into your people and share that fun growth with them and bring them on in a ride. I mean small business. We can take our staff on the ride of a lifetime building a business whereas they would not get that experience with some of these really large organizations. Obviously building a larger organization is a little different and they still have people things. I think the people side is the most rewarding. It is being able to take a free market here in America and reward people who really want to have success or really want to be the best lighting
technician. It allows us to resource people to become their best. Yeah, it has challenges. People make their own assumptions. You and I were talking on the phone earlier about the assumptions that sometimes people make about the revenue of a company. They are like all this money this whatever million dollar company. I’m sure the owner is just stuffing that cash in their pocket and taking it down to the boat. It is not true. Think about profits… 40 or 50% goes to taxes and then a rainy day fund and then maybe if there anything left over, then the owner that has all of the risk takes it. There are a lot of assumptions in education but I think the people component is the most rewarding piece of it because you can literally see the growth in a human.
A lot of times for us it is mindset. We have amazing people and amazing human being in our organization and when someone steps in they go wow! It is like stepping into the super bowl championship locker room the following year, and they are bringing back all of their players and their coaching staff. This feel good and it is intoxicating to be in this environment.
You have curated an incredible staff of people. Every single person I have met. You have a knack for choosing good people. I don’t mean just good skill. Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless. If you can find those people who are passionate with you, and you have done that. It is amazing.
This is the most difficult time arguably ever. We have such a labor shortage where most candidates can write their ticket to where they want to work. Anyone who has a high level of talent can pretty much interview at several companies and have several job offers in a short amount of time.
That is one of the downsides of an up economy, right? The job market is really an employee’s market right now. That is great. That is why I think remaining dialed in with the relationship you have with your team is really important because if they don’t like you, they are not going to be there long. There is no perk or benefit that if they don’t enjoy it, they are gone. So making sure that the team aspect and the culture is really, really put forward. Or, put up on a pedestal is important.
You mention culture. I had a conversation and our company meeting and I talked about culture and watching it take a life of its own and not being dependent on me or on our leadership team anymore so that it has it’s own legs. We have our own culture committee that decides what we are going to do.
You have a culture committee? I love that.
Yes. It was voted in. We were not part of the voting process on the leadership side of it. And then every month we do an event that they plan.
I remember the first month that we did it… and, I know that a lot of people from our company listen to the podcast, so they are going to laugh. I won’t name the people that made this mistake, but it was actually kind of enjoyable to see them make a big mistake. I don’t know the details because I was not a part of it, but they planned out an event without looking at any conflicts or calendars or anything and sent out a calendar event to the entire organization only to retract and realize that half the people couldn’t be there. But that is leadership!
Well, and letting them learn that.
It was like one of the most amazing things that have ever happened. To watch others in our organization grow into a leadership role in this culture committee. It is nice that the pressure is not on me. I just show up for the events and I don’t even know what is planned.
That has got to feel great. I think what a lot of us don’t realize is leadership is really painful. It is really, really painful because you are constantly growing and I remember growing up and getting growing pains in my legs. This hurts so much. It sucks. It is messy and there are emotions. Leadership is the same way. It is so worth it when you see those incredible gems that you started with become these beautiful diamonds that are polished and incredible. They are not stupid. They know where they got that. You know?
At some point you will have people that will leave your organization. Most of the time people leave leaders they don’t leave companies. That is almost always the case. Anytime that we have someone that decides that life is taking them in a different direction, the most important thing in our organization is that they leave better than they came. Right? So they leave the organization stronger and better and it is very rare that we have someone leave our organization but life shows up in different ways. Relocation, job changes, sickness, all kinds of different things. I can tell you that the most rewarding thing is to watch someone leave just literally flourishing. It is like watching someone do a sport for his or her first day at practice and then 10-12 years later you are like wow, they just won the championship.
Yeah. I think that, like I said earlier. The painful part of leadership is nothing compared to the pride and joy and happiness you get from seeing your people doing well. It is all worth it, ten times over. Even if I had to go through double the amount of frustration that I did, it is worth it just to see them do well. So I have two salespeople at EideCom right now and both of them have a unique story about how they came to our organization. I have decided it is my goal to make them better at sales than me. So we spend time working on this stuff and it is amazing to see the personal growth that happens through that process. Hey, I want you to listen to this book and then I want to talk about it. Okay, now pitch it. I remember Paige who came onboard. She is the newer of the two. Lisa has been with us longer. Paige came onboard and I said, “Alright, Paige, we are going to go rehearse.” We built a presentation theatre. I said, “Alright, go up and stand up there. You are going to rehearse.” It was super weird and awkward but she did it over and over and over again and all of the sudden it became natural and now she is really, really polished. So, to see her get comfortable though. It was so rewarding for me. I would do this all day if that is all I had to do.
I am fairly certain when you said she got up in front of you and practiced, it made people cringe.
Oh, yeah. And it is made you cringe, maybe you should think about practicing, honestly. We have to check our ego at the door.
Yeah. Any sports organization. They are on the biggest stage and the work has already been done when they are on the stage.
Yes. That is exactly right. The people who do the best just do it more than anybody else.
That is it. I think that is one area where leaders do not put much focus on the practicing. A lot of leaders I have seen across the years, some I have had the opportunity to work with or others I have seen in other organizations as I am traveling around the country… we preach. Like, hey do this, do that, instead of allowing people to practice and make mistakes and get uncomfortable. That is where the real growth is.
It’s preaching versus coaching. A coach will be like, okay, run it back again. The best coaching opportunities I had were when I had to repeat it over and over again. In fact when I was a kid I played piano. When you made a mistake you had to start at the beginning and you couldn’t finish your practice until you finished perfectly. You would be there for three hours. It was crazy, right? The other big thing I think when it comes to rehearsal, and I don’t know if you were ever involved in theatre, but theatre is so good for rehearsing and learning how to humble yourself and set out there and put it all aside and just do it and then screw it up and do it again. So, if you struggle with it, then I don’t know, go get involved in community theatre. Humble yourself.
Wow. Such a great idea. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to do that but I wish I would have because I remember when I recorded my first video eight years ago. I cringe when I watch it because it was so bad, and it was bad for a long time but I kept doing it and kept doing it so to your point when you compare someone’s end of the marathon to someone else’s journey or entire marathon, they look entirely different.
Totally. The think about the journey is it is going to look really long and scary but you are not going to be believe it is possible, but I promise you, if you did it over and over again, it will happen.
You know, when I think about Jerry Rice and I think about when they asked him why he doesn’t do this huge celebration in the end zone, he said “It’s because I have been there before.” There is this humility side of it as well and you could watch it not just as athletes in general, but leaders as well. There is the maturity process. The way that we mature as leaders and some of you listening are really experienced leaders and some of you are emerging. You mentioned something earlier about control and I was thinking about mindset and sort of control your mind and manage your ego. Being able to control that when someone is attacking you and something didn’t go right and being in a spot of maturity where you can say I have been here before and I know what they want me to do. I always think how does someone want me to respond? In most cases, do the opposite. Usually, you are set up for something and they are like, okay we want them to respond this way. I think about the discipline of a Tiger Woods or a Jerry Rice and so many more. It makes such a huge difference in leadership.
If you think about it in today’s social media world, every response is immediate right. You make a comment and someone is commenting back.
And they are taking a screen shot of it. It’s public information forever.
Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes it is like, just let it simmer. Let it sit. Think about if Warren Buffet made a post and then all of the trolls came out. Do you think Warren Buffet would sit on his computer and worry about every stupid thing
someone else said? No. He made his post. He might make a follow up but that is it. Like you said, growing into the maturity and being more secure in yourself. That will come with success, it depends on the level, but you become more comfortable with yourself. When you are doing things you are going to have people who hate you. It doesn’t mean that you suck. There are people who hate Tiger Woods. That doesn’t make him a lesser golfer.
I think the other thing too is society now and how entrepreneurship has evolved, a lot of people have glamorized haters. Haters have started to get a lot of attention. Haters and naysayers and doubters. Those things don’t bother me anymore because I realized a long time ago when someone is acting a certain way it is about them and not about you. Maybe you are in a leadership position but one negative thing can happen and it can derail everything about you and all of the heard work that you have done because are so focused on that one thing. How do you handle the doubters when they come up in your world?
Honestly, I am a human so I still get that…
Oh, it stings.
Yes. I still get that thing like, dang it, that sucks. But at the end of the day, as long as it is not impacting your team and how they are feeling about everything and I think that is really having a good relationship with your team then you are good. Now, if it impacts your team and how they feel about things, which it might impact them more than you, then we need to make sure we are spending our time helping them understand the situation or what is going on. Ultimately, once you start doing anything of value you are going to have people hate you or criticize
you. I have never met or seen a public figure, or celebrity or businessperson that doesn’t have somebody that dislikes them. You have to learn to be okay with it. It sucks and it stings, but it is part of life. Honestly, I think people as a whole they are smart enough to realize if someone is being a bully or they are picking on you for no reason. Everyone around sees when someone else is being unreasonable or being stupid. The truth always comes out and if you are a good person and people will stand behind that because it is true that you are a great person and a great leader you will have armies of people standing up and defending you and these people will seem small.
You mention people and what you are really like will come out. I can always tell what a company looks like with their people. Really, from the people who are the newest or who are struggling a little bit. That is where you learn everything out about an organization. The most important thing to do would be to ask people in an organization how they feel about the leadership of the organization. Don’t go ask the leader because they will say things are great. They are rosy, they are amazing.
Oh, I’m great.
Right. That is how you learn right. Also, what you said earlier about the people you have interacted with in our company. That tells you everything you need to know about a company, about the leadership, about you. I watch that all of the time and there are some local organization and one that comes to mind is Target. Target continually develops super strong leaders. I was at an event today and I met a Target leader. That is something that happens over and over again. They have super strong leadership. It is less about the actual leader and more about
the other people in the organization and that is where the leadership really shows up.
The leadership is kind of the result of the organization, in a way. Well, it is symbiotic. The good way to get a good pulse is to talk to the people who are a part of that group. You can tell a lot about the leader by the people who are in that group and who hangs around and who doesn’t.
This is exactly why I started the podcast to have actual conversations about actual life and challenges and those things were, because I know my journey has not been easy. Leadership is messy and hard and painful and I have made a lot of mistakes and I hadn’t always got it right. I have used the sports analogy a lot today but I always think about the manager of your favorite sports team and they have to many a big trade or a big signing, or they signed a lifelong contract to someone and initially it looks like wow, we got him! Wow, we got her it is amazing. Then four years later injuries show up and guess who is on the chopping block? That GM. Like, well, that wasn’t the greatest decision. They shouldn’t have done that. Let’s get them out of town. It’s like this whole thing and these conversations are happening over and over again. On the flip side, there is this absolute grand slam and the GM is the hero. Every decision we are going to make as leaders is one that everyone is going to agree on. Some of them are not going to be right. At all times people have these opinions about the GM and it is not always right.
If someone is doing the right way and they are doing it ethically and with the right motive, the good will always outweigh the bad, always. Always. Every single time. That is why I think you see a lot of ownership of sports teams hesitating to change management right away because they know this person is consistently
good, and they know that yes, anomalies happen but this person is a good consistent person who delivers and we just need to give them time. Think about it, the owners are far, far better business people than the rest of the general public. They know this principle and they know they need to wait because they know that this person is going to deliver.
So, question for you. The future. You have some big plans. What are you most excited about for the future of your organization and businesses that you own and have founded?
I want to continue to expand our reach and how we change the world. My personal tag line is changing the world one event at a time. This week alone we are doing six different events in different industries. In different states. We will probably do 90-100 events this year. Really, I want to be able to take the events world and change the way our part of it does interact in the event world. I think the sky is the limit. There is so much room for growth. With Forever Bride, it is an incredible brand that I think is just starting to see the fruits of the last 7 years of work. They are getting to the 10 years to become an overnight success type of thing. The reputation they have in Minnesota that they have right now, if you want to check it out it is foreverbride.com. They built a lifestyle brand for brides. It is just going to continue to explode. Some of their big competitors, WeddingWire just bought The Knot. There are tons of mergers and acquisitions going on and maybe someday we will sell it but right now we are here to build great brands and have great people on the team.
(1:00:33) CE: You mention one event at a time and one thing that came to mind is we had Mark, the CEO of Feed My Starving Children on the podcast and he said some of the best advice he ever received is “The children are going to die one by one,
and we need to help them one by one.” I think too often you have this huge audacious goal, like we are going to redevelop the event space, but if you do not take care of one event at a time, it gets too big and too overwhelming where you don’t do anything good.
I have had to sit down with my team and say I know we have six shows this week but let’s just take them one at a time and we can rock it. We will. We do every single month. Our January this year is enormous filled with Fortune 50 companies. Big shows. I know we can do it because we take it one event at a time. That is exactly how you build anything. It is one client, it is one relationship, one smile, it is one signature. It is one at a time.
(1:01:09) KL: I love it. So what advice do you have to someone who is looking to do an event?
(1:01:13) CE: Like produce an event?
(1:01:15) KL: Yeah. I mean just an event in general. Some might be doing an event for 5 people or some might be doing an event for 5,000 people, but what is some advice around events and what that looks like for people who are listening?
(1:01:24) CE: I got it. I think the most important think you can do is consider the audience and what you want them to walk with. Whether it is 5 people or 50, or 500,000 or 5 million. I mean we did an event in 2016. We were part of a larger thing called World Youth Day and I believe there were 3 million people there. At the end of the day you have to ask, unrelated to that particular event, you have to ask what you want your audience to walk away with. What is the point? Do you want them to walk away moved? Do you want them to do something? Be apart of something? What do you want to happen? If you don’t go into it making every decision around that thing, you lose. You spend millions of dollars or tens of thousands of dollars on something that does nothing. None of us want to be a part of something that does nothing. Know what you want the outcome to be and then make every decision around whether or not it will move you towards that outcome.
(1:02:27) KL: Okay, last question. If you could give advice from where you are today to a younger Charlie who was running around all crazy all over the place. What would that advice look like?
(1:02:37) CE: Stay consistent. Don’t give up when people say no to you. People will say no to you a lot. A lot more than they say yes to you. Don’t be afraid to go for it though and don’t be afraid to find other people who can mentor you along the way. A lot of the reason I have what I have today is because I have great mentors. Educate yourself and stay smart.
(1:03:07) KL: I just wanted to say thank you so much for being on the Behind the Billboard podcast.
(1:03:04) CE: This was so much fun. thank you for having me, Kris. You are a great host, and an incredible friend. I am honored.
(1:02:57) KL: I just want to say thank you for everyone who listens to the Behind the Billboard podcast and supports us. I am grateful for all of the support. It is really what keeps me going because hosting and holding a podcast is not easy to do so all of this positive feedback, I absolutely love it, so keep it coming and stay tuned in.
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