Yesterday, I did my motivational humorist thing for the good folks at Stewart Title of Colorado Springs. It was a great group, and a fun group and a wonderful day.
One of the main reasons this group invited me to speak to them is that they needed (and I mean needed) to laugh. Over the past two years, they’ve had more changes in their management and leadership than they would have liked.
Add to that the recent woes that all title folks have experienced recently with the increase of interest rates resulting in layoffs and a general downturn in business, and what you get is a bunch of people doing good in difficult situations.
My mission? Come in and show them the “other side of the coin.” Show them that in spite of their genuine difficulties they’ve experienced, life —and their work — is still good. That a fun and humorous workplace is still available to them; and essential for them.
How did we do it? What did I talk about? In addition to all of the same tips and ideas I share with most groups about learning to take ourselves lightly while taking what we do seriously, we went straight at the pain. We joked about the turnover in presidents. We joked that the current President, David Dickard was probably temporary too. (David gave me his blessing to joke about him.) We joked about the multiple sales managers, the loss of business due to the interest rates, and we even joked about what we ate at the lunch 42 minutes ago. We joked about how the new software was more of a pain that they would like. We even… check this out… mentioned the layoffs. (You’d be amazed at how many clients with recent layoffs instruct me not to mention the layoffs… as though their staff might forget them?)
I had two choices: either avoid talking about the problems they have had and go for the “life is good” bit, or go straight at the recent problems and difficulties, shine a light on them, and try to live with ‘em. We went for that second choice and I’m glad we did. Yup, things have been hard. Yup, the rates are up and that makes business harder. Yup, there have been layoffs. Yup, the leadership has shuffled more then they’d like. Yup, the new software package isn’t what they had hoped. “Now, what are we gonna do to 1) make sure that doesn’t happen again and 2) how are we going to try to stay sane (and happy!) in spite of the problems?”
One of my favorite parts of yesterday’s program was watching the difference in the group’s mood between where they were at the beginning of the keynote, to where they ended up. At the beginning, they were smiling, but still weary and guarded. At the end, at least from my perspective, they were just relaxed, “in the moment,” and in a much better (and louder) mood. Seeing the change in their body language, their faces, and even their volume was absolutely wonderful.
Hey Stewart Title of Colorado Springs! Favor? What was your “ah ha” from yesterday’s keynote speech? What did YOU take away with you? Can you comment below?
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