The "Invisible" Keynote, Marcus Lemonis

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Invisible? Maybe. Memorable? Absolutely.

Marcus Lemonis’s keynote presentation had just about everyone wondering what was going on when he started out with the question, “What’s it feel like to be invisible?”--and the stage was completely empty.  “It is not a magic trick, it is how you feel,” he explained.

This very memorable opening was indicative of how the rest of his presentation would progress. “Down to earth and 100% brutally honest,” as shared by MHI President Brett Wood during his introduction, was spot on.

But the subject of his presentation, as shared ahead of time, was not. “We are talking about something very different than you expected,” said Lemonis. “ If you came here to learn how to improve your actual business, you came to the wrong meeting.”  Business is about one thing, and one thing only, he said. It is about people. In order to perform better or invest or sell, you have to understand what motivates people and why they think the way they do.  Everything in business isn’t about outsmarting someone, about winning, he said.

The series of “experiments,” examples and personal experiences he had in store, impressively illustrated his point.

Mike, an attendee, shared something about himself that nobody knew. Then, with Lemonis’s help, figured out how it has affected him, what it means and how overcompensation comes into play.  “We do it in business when we act like we always have the answer,” explained Lemonis. “As business owners, we don’t want to tell people or employees we don’t know.”  That’s overcompensation.

It is our responsibility to develop our employees, though.  “It is our job to make that 2.5 (out of 10) better than 2.5,” whether we like it or not.

There were also three ““firm mothers’ who took the stage to illustrate the types of conversations you might be having in your own head—though Lemonis “became” an 11-year-old kid who was being reprimanded for his behavior toward a stinky, poor classmate who wanted to be friends.  But, then he updated the specs and said this scenario actually represented how we might feel about someone with whom we work—someone we might wish we didn’t work with.

“There is not a person in this room that doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong,” said Lemonis. “We know it, we forget it.” He asked everyone to go back to their places of work and approach the “unwanted” co-worker. Then, be honest about how you feel and accept fault. Tell this person, “It is me and not you... it is my fault.”

He also asked everyone to break the habit of muscle memory—the tendency of taking prior bad experiences/relationships and casting this wide net over everyone.  He said to be yourself, be vulnerable. Then, define what your purpose is and walk to work with a different perspective. Trust the process, he said. “I am asking people to trust themselves. Believe in themselves…” When you lay your head down on your pillow, are you happy with yourself? When we go to your funeral, what are they going to say about you? What do you want your legacy to be?

Finally, write him an email telling him what your purpose is: “I want to know what it is that makes you tick. What void are you filling?”


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