How do you know you work for an amazing company? When you and your colleague, @richviii, are encouraged to attend the @Inc #iconictour15 in Washington, DC! A truly inspiring event meant for entrepreneurs but absolutely valid and important for management professionals in any organization. An awe inspiring lineup telling their stories from the ground up. The best part was the salute and tribute that Inc. and all of the speakers gave to our Veterans. Coming from a family where my father, uncle, and grandfathers are all veterans, and having served two years in ROTC at GWU myself, I felt the honor and the gratitude as keenly as all others in attendance.
I have always believed that if you can come away with even one nugget from an event, then that event was a success. There were tons of lessons learned and many ah ha moments for both Rich and I. In fact, way too many to cover all within this blog but I’d like to focus on some of the key themes from the event – Failure, culture, social cause, and emotional intelligence and connection.
Fear of failure, it’s a powerful mind trick that can derail any person, any team, and any company. Bob Parson’s (@DrBobParsons), founder of GoDaddy, best put it “You need stones.” He is 100% right, as any successful entrepreneur will tell you. This crosses over to any sales professional as well (a role I identify with). Confidence and the ability to take calculated risks can help any sales team perform beyond expectations. But the message doesn’t end there. This is for an entire company, not just sales. It also means managers giving their teams a project, and then trusting them to run with it without having to constantly to check in.
Next up, culture. In my opinion Eric Ryan (@methodguy), co-founder of Method, described culture the best. His lighthearted humor entranced the audience as he described the culture at Method. Weekly meetings are not run top down, but by a randomly selected individual. There is no one single “receptionist”, as it is in every one’s job description. This truly helps create a culture where no one individual is better than the other. Everyone is an equally important piece to a very large puzzle. The icing to the cake, the last step in the interviewing process. This is where future employees of Method show their weirdness, and oh my, were some of his stories weird. I LOVE THIS! The weird in us is what makes us stand out and what brings uniqueness to any company. Embrace your weird.
In this day and age it seems everything and everyone is tied to a social cause. This is obviously not bad as it looks like there is still hope in humanity. At #iconictour15, I believe Bert Jacobs, co-founder of @Lifeisgood, as well as Kenneth Cole (@mr_kennethcole) stated it best. From changing the face of humanity to believing in hope and optimism to battling the HIV/AIDS epidemic before many others, these two individuals and companies push humanity to being better than just good enough. Starting meetings off with the positives from the week before were just one of the ways they transformed their organizations to always look at the bright side first. Creating global advertising campaigns that subtly pushed a social cause while keeping the organization’s branding in mind was another way. The key message I gleaned from them was that no matter what your social cause, make sure to it ties in with your core competencies to help make earth a better place for the future.
The event ended on what at first seemed like a therapy session but in the end had a powerful message for us all. @marcuslemonis taught us all the power of emotional intelligence and how we can help connect with other business leaders emotionally to help further your own business as well as theirs. It’s not a tool to use and abuse but a piece of yourself to help connect with others. Doing business with those you trust was the nugget taken from this lesson.
Lastly, let us not forget about all the other fantastic speakers @kevinolearytv, @soulcycle, @UnderArmour, @RenttheRunway, @danlub, @HonestSeth, @JBryantHowroyd, @BayardWinthrop, and @lippincottbrand. All with great words of wisdom, great advice, and fantastic stories.