For the past six years I’ve been a member of the Vistage community, and in that time I’ve had the opportunity to hear inspiring business owners shed light on optimization, leadership enhancement and action in business. Every year my understanding of what it means to run a successful company grows and I feel fortunate I made the decision to join the community years ago.
One of the benefits of membership with Vistage is the annual Executive Summit — where top-notch speakers share insight into running a business, communicating with your employees and customers better and making hard decisions.
Here are a few of my takeaways from the Vistage Executive Summit 2017:
- Plan, Execute and be Opportunistic Along the Way
As expressed by Jed Hoyer, GM of the Chicago Cubs, going from America’s “lovable losers” to the World Series champions teaches you how to deal with unexpected problems. As a leader, you need to be prepared for anything to happen, but leadership also requires the foresight to predict problems that come with the success you strive for.
The Cubs designed a great plan, had support and buy in at every level, and they were opportunistic when it counted. You’re never done planning because opportunity or adversity can strike at any time.
- Be Grateful!
Seth Mattison touched on a range of topics, including how CEO’s can manage and share information to navigate change, as well as how the age range of technology users continues to shift younger and younger. Tapping into this group for insight into what’s coming next is critical as we move forward.
He also touched on something I think is often lost when you’re in the weeds navigating the day-to-day challenges of running a business: try to focus on how fortunate you are and all that you have, instead of fixating on challenges. I really liked his tip to start meetings with a quick conversation around this. At Switchfast, we are fortunate to have an unbelievable team of people that truly enjoy helping our clients and each other every day. I am fortunate and humbled to able to lead them.
- Switch to the “Story Default”
Kindra Hall gave an interesting presentation about the power of storytelling. Leveraging storytelling has practical applications in marketing and sales for sure, but it can also be applied to internal communication – getting everyone in the organization to understand the “why” of what you’re doing and where you want to go. I found her insight that people want stories, not history lessons, to be pretty compelling.
The friends and advice I’ve gained from Vistage have helped cultivate Switchfast into the company we are today. As usual, the Vistage Executive Summit helped illuminate some opportunities for me and my company, as well as confirm some of the paths we’re already on, and I’m excited for what’s next for us at Switchfast.