#122- LAMP Main Stage Presentation
John (Intro): I have been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good. After running companies small and large for the last 20 years, today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name is John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic: What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader.
John: Alright, hey. Tomorrow’s Leader. So let me set the stage for you on this one, no pun intended. This was a main-stage presentation that I did at LAMP conference in 2019 in front of 3,000 people. And you might remember from one of my earliest podcasts, I told a story about this. So let me tell you kinda what was happening just moments before I went on stage.
John: So here I am, with this huge audience and I had prepared this presentation. I was doing two of them that day and this was the largest audience. I was set to go on I think at like, 11:30 that morning. So I’m sitting there and the session starts at 9 or whatever it is and I’m in the audience. I’m way in the back. And maybe about, I’m watching one of the speakers who’s getting close to the end of her presentation. It’s about ten o’clock and I’m realizing I’ve got another presenter, a full presenter at least before I’m getting called up there. I knew the order and everything like that. Well, this speaker is wrapping up and all of a sudden my phone is starting to buzz furiously. I’m looking at the texts and it’s from the conference organizer and she’s saying “You’ve got to be up here, you’re literally going on next. You’re going on stage in like, just a minute. Where are you? We need to get you mic’d up”. And I’m like, “What are you talking about?” I’m thinking I’m not going on for another hour. So immediately I’m all stressed, my heart is starting to pound. I just handed my wallet and everything I was carrying in my pocket to Debbie, who was next to me and I go running to the back, really fast, all the way to the side, and all the way to the front. I didn’t want to walk in front of this whole auditorium.
John: I’m like, you know, panicking, and I’m looking at the guy and the mic guy is looking around furiously for me, trying to figure out, makes eye contact with me. I get close to him and he’s a nervous wreck. He’s like “Oh, my god. Okay. Come on, they’re going to call you
up.” He’s running the mic through my shirt and attached to my belt buckle and everything like this. And my heart’s pounding and I’m like, “Okay, this is not the way I wanted to be going into this huge presentation.” So my mind is racing and I’m like, what? All of a sudden, I just calmed myself down and I’m like, “Okay, you’ve got this. Let’s go out there and have fun. Just have fun. You got this!” So I took a deep breath, maybe 5 or 10 in the few moments I had. The other speaker walked off the stage, the announcer the MC began my introduction. I walked up on stage and here’s where you’re gonna see. By the way, would love to get your feedback on this and if you want to know the CORK trick I teach in this, it’s at the end, let me know. I will tell you the CORK trick, I will show it to you. It’s a really cool trick. So anyway, enjoy!
John (start of presentation): So who can tell me who this is? Any guesses? That’s alright. Don’t feel bad, this is Viktor Troicki. Viktor is the 100th ranked tennis player in the world.
Some of you know tennis, you know, the rankings are weekly. So we average about one 100th last year. Victor earned $400,00 in prize money in 2018. Not bad. What’s an interesting stat about Victor, is Victor wins 49% percent of the points that he plays. So just under half of the points earned him 100th place, 100th ranked, $400,000. Even if you don’t know tennis, who can tell me who this fine gentleman is. Shout them out if you know. Novac.
John: Novak Djokovic, he is a four-time Wimbledon champion. He is 15 grand slam titles. What’s interesting about Novak Novak was Victor back in 2004. He had the same stats, he actually had 49% percent of the points, one conveniently that also coincidentally 49% percent of the games won. He was also ranked about 100th and was earning at that time about $300,000. Again, not bad playing tennis. But what he did is he focused in that next year in 2006 on can I make a small little difference in one area that’s going to make a dramatic difference in overall results? What he focused on was the fundamentals of his game.
John: He hired a new coach and he drove that just by three percent. That points one. What difference do you think that made? Huge. He was up now to 79% percent of his games and what that did is catapult him to number three. In the world took his earnings to $5,000,000 a year. Now, Novak didn’t just stop there, he said, OK, if I did it once, maybe I can do it again. So in 2010. He hired another coach, went through some fundamentals, and was able to
drive it up again, another three percentage points that take a look at this, the difference that made took his games percent up to 90, catapulted him by far to number one in the world. And at that point, earning a small sum of about 14 million dollars a year, capping out at over $23,000,000 million dollars last year, pretty good stuff, huh? Now, Novak again, you’re probably curious to see what’s he doing this year for those who follow tennis? Well, he’s at it again. He’s on his way to do it one more time. Interestingly is that 91%. Still at number one, obviously, he’s projected to earn $31,000,000 a year. Unbelievable, right? Crazy.
John: So here’s the thing that’s fascinating. This is such a small difference. Who in here plays tennis? See some hands, so you may have done the math on this, what does this really amount to? This is such a small difference is 3% incremental change. It amounts to one extra point every four games. Think about it, it’s crazy. It’s not like one point every game, it’s one point every four games. That’s the difference and that’s what’s fascinating. And that’s what that edge is all about. The 3% edge means everything in sports means, everything in leadership. And ultimately, it means everything in life. But why do some people do it? Why can Novak do that and why do some people really never harness that ability? Well, there are reasons that stop people. And ultimately, it comes down to a few things.
John: First is they focus too much on their weaknesses. We all have weaknesses, right? Who has a weakness? Of course, we’re not perfect. Nobody is but successful. People figure out how to turn that weakness sometimes into a strength. They overcome it. They don’t let themselves stop it. You’ve got people, for example, like Princess Diana. Princess Diana thought she was too tall. She was suffered from major self-esteem and felt like she was awkward. Yet she became the personification of grace. It actually became a style icon. You’ve got other people on the other side of the height spectrum at 4’11, Mother Teresa. Who had that small stature had a giant level of impact and influence, right? You’ve got other people like Richard Branson. Richard Branson suffers from dyslexia so bad his teachers thought he was lazy or dumb or both, and it also cost him his life. He was skydiving.
John: And instead of pulling the ripcord, which was on this side to release the parachute, he pulled another cord that actually detaches the backpack. Which I don’t know why that’s even an option, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t write the rules on skydiving, but it was strange, but here’s the fascinating thing. What Richard Branson says to this day is that was an advantage for him. The fact that he has dyslexia would have forced him to do is delegate, which opened up his brain to focus on the bigger picture and focus on strategy and vision and unbelievably successful business person. You’ve got other people like Thomas Edison, you may not know, but Thomas Edison was legally deaf, 80% in one ear, 50% in another. He was offered the ability to do an experimental procedure that would correct his hearing and he turned it down. He turned it down because he said his deafness was a strength. It was an advantage and enabled him to focus more and concentrate more. And his creativity was bigger. And he was one of the most brilliant minds ever.
John: A strength or a weakness became a strength. And you’ve got people like Gandhi. Some of you may not know Gandhi actually started off as an attorney, he had a law practice, yet he failed. And the reason he failed was that he couldn’t speak in front of the public, in front of a group. He couldn’t speak in front of anything more than two people. He would get anxious. He couldn’t do a closing argument, and his law practice failed. Yet somehow he was able to command in only his style an entire nation. To protest in a nonviolent way, unbelievably impactful person. And we just heard from Phil Hanson. Let’s give it up for Phil Hanson. Unbelievable, right? What a great example of somebody who had a weakness that turned it into a strength, this a nerve disorder that now actually I would say is he’s now a better artist and he was even before. Would you agree with that? Unbelievable. Absolutely. Fascinating story. The second problem is they care too much about what people think. This is the second thing that holds people from finding that edge. I don’t know if you know Chester Carlson if you could tell what that is in that picture there. But here’s the interesting.
John: Chester came up with an invention and his first rejection letter. Read this. He wants the copy document on plain paper. It may know what this invention was. Well, he went on to start Xerox, he didn’t care what people thought. OK, you got other people like Fred Smith. Fred went to Yale. He wrote a paper proposing an idea. About reliable overnight delivery. He had a Yale professor who had some pretty clear words form, his Yale professor, said the concepts interesting and well-formed, but in order to do better than to see this idea has to be feasible. I mean, come on, give me a break. Well, Fred decided to respond the only appropriate way and start the tiny little company called FedEx. Great example.
John: You’ve also got people like Oprah Winfrey. Incredible talent. Well, not everybody thought she was when she started. She was fired from her first anchor job for being, quote, dull, for being stiff, and lacking talent. Yet that didn’t stop her. She won 16 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Talk Show host. And by the way, cumulated a paltry 2.5 billion In net worth along the way. That’s pretty good. Not too bad. And then lastly, one of my favorites, you got J.K. Rowling. Any Harry Potter fans out there? OK, well, the first 12 publishers, I have to tell you, we’re not Harry Potter fans. She was rejected by 12 publishers. One of those publishers, she said in the rejection letter, published it and it recommended that she take a writing class at her local college. Well, Harry Potter went on to earn 20 billion, not a million. That’s billion. That’s correct. One of my favorite quotes, “It’s impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived it all, in which case you fail by default.” How true is that? Lastly, what plagues us as leaders from
finding that 3% edge or that 1% edge, what holds us back? There’s a common problem that holds leaders back, and one of them is they lack versatility. What does that actually mean? Well, they lack the ability to adapt their leadership style.
John: They get set in a box and they use the same leadership style every single time with everybody. They lack versatility, which in essence is almost like a pitcher for a baseball fan. I had to do my Boston Red Sox reference there. Boston, yes, there we go. But it’s like a pitcher with only one pitch, right? That wouldn’t work. Or a singer with one note. That wouldn’t work either, right? OK, we know this, yet 54% of leaders use the same style of leadership. In every situation with every single person. Why? Only 1% of leaders are fully versatile and how we define that is they can use four different leadership styles at different times at the right points. Unbelievable difference. If you’re asking yourself, how do I get into that?
John: We’re going to explore this today at 2:45 in my breakout session, we’re going to dive deep and we’re going to go through what the leadership styles are, how to identify readiness. We’re going to talk about situations where different styles can be appropriate. And most important, we’re going to have a lot of fun doing it, too. But guess what, gang? It’s time to adapt. Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering, OK, well, am I already part of this 1%? Maybe I am already there. Who would like to figure this out right now? Let’s figure out actually, if you’re in the 1% because I actually came up with a test that we can do right here to figure out if you’re actually in the top 1%. I know you walked in here and you’re wondering, OK, what are these corks for? OK, well, you have a cork on your seat, take these out for me right now.
John: Now, I will tell you, this took me a lot of time to prepare. We got to get this right. This was a lot of bottles of wine I had to drink over the last few months. So let’s make this count. OK, so here’s we’re going to do all I want you to do and we’ll get the camera to zoom in on
- I want you to just take your corks. And all I want you to do is hold them up for me like this. Put them in your hand like this. Pointing toward me and toward you, everybody got them. I see a bunch of hands up, OK? Now I’m going to demonstrate this for you twice. Just watch. I’m going to demonstrate and I’m going to give you 15 seconds to do it. You don’t have a lot of time because some of you will be able to do this, OK? All I want you to do is using your thumb and your point, your finger. That’s it. Not these fingers. Now that these guys just your thumb and your point, your finger, that’s it. And you’re only allowed to grab the ends of the cork.
John: What I want you to do is reach in. And pull them apart, that’s it. OK, now all I want you to do is that now I’m going to demonstrate it one more time for you, OK? Now I’m going to give you 15 seconds to try this out. You’re just going to reach in. And grab it and pull it apart right when it is ready to go. All right, 15 seconds. Let’s go. All right, time’s up. All right, who did it, honestly? OK, I see a couple of hands stand up if you did it real quick, OK, we see about 1%. OK, here’s the deal. Congrats to those of you who did it. Some of you may have seen it before, but here’s the deal. Don’t lose faith. If you didn’t get it, that’s OK, because I’m going to make two promises to you. Everybody wants to know how to do this. Kind of a cool trick. At 2:45 come to my workshop. I’m going to make you two promises. One, I’m going to show you how to do this trick and I’m going to show you what it has to do with leadership because it does. There’s a tie in. The second promise I’m going to make you are you will
leave a better leader than you came in because I’m going to give you the tools to be a versatile leader and be part of this 1%. Thank you, everybody.
John (Closing): Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader. For suggestions, or inquiries, about having me at your next event, or personal coaching, reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org Once again, that’s email@example.com. Thanks! Lead on!