Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What I learned from a Seattle Sunbreak

I learned a lot yesterday.

Here in Seattle we had a rare occurrence. A day of glorious sunshine in April. After several months of grey, Seattle residents become euphoric at the first sign of a huge yellow spherical object in the sky, and head for the outdoor bars, beaches, parks etc.

Jeff Nitta, Treasurer of Weyerhaeuser Corp, and Ivan Braiker, CEO of Hipcricket compare notes at a Cheese & Wine evening at the Center for Energizing Leadership, April 29, 2014

Great news for everyone. Unless you planned an indoor marketing event for that evening!

My predicament
Coincidentally, that evening, the Center for Energizing Leadership was holding the first in a series of Cheese and Wine events put on for the purpose of educating the market about our innovative Energy Cabinet program. The big idea is an Energizing Leadership Development program for accomplished entrepreneurs that converts into a New Business Incubator.

Our initial event was “sold out”.  As soon as I saw the early morning sun, I knew that the event would experience many no-shows. 

Where to turn for advice
I related this concern to my work-out buddies at the local LA Fitness.  

Immediately, one of the most seasoned of the group, an elderly retiree (with a general phobia towards new technology) told me that this was a “good” thing.  Say what? He pointed out that any prospect who failed to show up due to a "Seattle sunbreak" was unlikely to be a good prospect to join an Energy Cabinet. He told me to think about the time I would save, by not wasting time with “flaky” prospects.

The outcome
So what happened later that evening?

Kara Hamilton, Smartsheet Inc; Jennifer Olsen, Resourceful HR; Amy Allen, Morgan Stanley enjoy meeting each other at the Center for Energizing Leadership's Cheese & Wine Evening, April 29, 2014

As I had feared, several people were no-shows. But overall, we had an excellent turnout of quality CEOs and senior executives. Due to the reduced numbers I was able to spend quality time with the right prospects.

What I learned
So what did I learn? Three points worth sharing:
  •          Although I am an optimist by nature, sometimes it takes a third party to point out that you can view the same set of circumstances through “a glass half-full” lens or “a glass half-empty” lens.  
  •         Just because someone is computer illiterate doesn’t mean they are not business savvy.  There is a great deal of untapped wisdom among our grey-haired retired friends.
  •       Don’t be afraid to share predicaments with others. Sometimes the wisest advice comes from the most unlikely sources in the most unlikely places.

My other take-away was that when it comes to marketing events, quality of prospects is far more important than the quantity.  The Energy Cabinet program is a winner. Those leaders who attended quickly grasped the concept.  Due to the unexpected Seattle sunbreak we had the right people in the room!