Today Mike McAllen of Grass Shack Events & Media interviews Doug Keeley of Mark of a Leader!
Please leave us a question or comment, which we will try to address on the show ASAP!
Email us at meetings [email protected]
or here on the MeetingsPodcast site.
Music by the http://www.delgadobrothers.com/
Audio mixing by www.RipTideGraphics.com
Brought to you by Grass Shack Events & Media
Copyright 2009 MeetingsPodcast
Mike McAllen: Welcome back to Meetings Podcast. This is Mike McAllen with Grass Shack Events and Media and today on the phone we have – or on the show I should say, on the show – on the phone is Doug Keeley, CEO and Chief Storyteller of The Mark of a Leader and hi Doug.
Doug Keeley: Hi Mike. How are you doing?
Mike McAllen: Good.
Doug Keeley: Great.
Mike McAllen: How are you today?
Doug Keeley: I’m fabulous. Thank you. Really good.
Mike McAllen: Excellent. Can you tell the audience and me a little bit about yourself and how you got into this crazy business that you are in?
Doug Keeley: Well my background is production. I started a production company and its called Multiple Images when I was 25 years old and I had been working my way through college working on the staging of events and back-end slide – multiple image slideshow production. And all of my life since then, I have as part of what I’ve done, produced meetings and events and my company in the 90’s, ICE was also a big player in the internet. We did a lot of brand meeting core and other corporate communications and you know, the truth is, I had a dream one day where I saw my gravestone and it said, “Douglas, a one-trick pony” and I decided I needed to do something else and the circumstances are on the business made that a good decision in the early 2000.
And my observation was that nothing has changed in the speaker business in hundreds of years and you know, if someone stands up and talk, and they talk about you know, what their expertise is or they talk about their experience climbing the mountain or sailing around the world or you know, whatever and that’s it. They talk for an hour. And I thought there’s going to be a better way to do this and I was passionate about leadership and wondering why some companies successfully breed leaders and others don’t and create cultures of leadership and others don’t. And I’ve always been a storyteller because my business has been communication so I put the two together and that’s The Mark of a Leader.
Mike McAllen: It’s fantastic. So how did you come up with the idea behind using – well tell us a little bit more about how The Mark of a Leader works.
Doug Keeley: Well the premise of The Mark of a Leader is very simple that today, leadership is the secret sauce that everyone can and must be a leader in a business. And we talked about something called five-level leadership at The Mark of a Leader and that’s it to truly engage people to work to peak performance. They have to be engaged on all levels with their spirit, their imagination, their intellect both sides of the brain, their heart, and their hands. And we – and as I mentioned a second ago I’m passionate about storytelling and I believe that stories are the glue that holds cultures together and we decided that we build a product that was story-based that dealt with how people can become better leaders and did it by telling stories of how others have done that successfully. And our thinking was there’s got to be a way to break that one hour mold and there’s a lot of conferences right now that particularly because production budgets had been cut, you know, and people are brought together and it’s dealt by PowerPoint for a day or two, you know, and you sit there …
Mike McAllen: Right.
Doug Keeley: … with the awful charts that have words on them and you know, and people are expected to be, you know, transformed or invigorated and it doesn’t work.
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Doug Keeley: So our thought was let’s do something that uses multimedia, that uses video and audio throughout and so I went out and I got a piece of software written which allows us to build all these stories that are all built in video and they all have music under them. And basically, I narrate them live and I have another storyteller who wonders if the two of us does it. And you can either build a keynote out of these stories, you can intersperse them through a conference, you can – we can build workshops out of them, they’re kind of like Lego blocks and you can fit them to your agenda or fit your agenda to them. It’s very flexible.
Mike McAllen: It’s very cool. And it’s such a great idea. I can see – what I – actually, your website, themarkofaleader.com is a really – I mean, it’s hard to kind of visualize this with – I’m thinking if someone is listening to this, how it works if we really go to your webiste themarkofaleader.com because there are some great videos that shows how it works and it actually, you know, at a conference or a meeting. How did you get all these video footage? That was one thing.
Doug Keeley: Well I’m building stories all the time so we went out and it depends. So some of the video that we used is public domain, most of that we buy from libraries, Getty Images or NBC or BBC or whomever. The corporate stories that we tell very often will be given the footage by the corporation. So we approach companies and say, hi, we’d like to feature you in The Mark of a Leader and all we need is we’ll write a script. You can approve the script and we just need some video footage which everyone has, you know, the corporate video footage and we build it from that. And we’re constantly building the story, some of them are historical, some of them are corporate, some of them are about people, some of them are about moments and time, I do – and one of my most popular thing, it’s just something that I do with my guitar and a bunch of audio sample about The 12 Notes of Music. So, we’re really trying and mix them up.
And again from my production background you know, I’m thinking what is the most successible conference we did – have done in my career are once were number – there’s interstitials, things happens through the conference to break it up and that may you know, that can be anything. So, we try to build the library of stories that are all different, they’re all inspiring, they’re all make you think but some are funny, some are tear jerker’s, some are kind the live interactive things, other are video and you can pick and choice based on your audience, your message and your business and how you want to use the stories throughout the conference.
Mike McAllen: So, you have some of that – or for a better lack of term but it’s like can do ones that you already have but then you also do not can, I guess, you what I mean, like you already have a bunch of them setup for an events that you could just plug in but then you also do, you would do it, you do – you’ll create them too for …
Doug Keeley: Well, we will create them but – and I invested an event recently where I created a bunch of them because it was a second year with the client and they wanted to talk about something different. We about 30 of this stories and the story range from sort to five to 10 minutes, there – on average of 10 minutes each. The only challenge when creating new ones is – then you’re into while, you know, you’re going to go produce the show, so you’re going to go buy the video and …
Mike McAllen: Right, right.
Doug Keeley: … pay someone to edit it and write it and so at that point and you’re back to the model of we’ll hire a production company to create costume modules for you, which is a great model but I think we’re solving a different market problem which either people can afford to do that because it’s very expensive, I pay a lot of money in the footage rights every year and I can only afford to do that because I amortize it over 50 plus events but to do it as one off, it would be prohibited expensive for most …
Mike McAllen: Right.
Doug Keeley: So, I neither solving that problem or I’m solving the problem because we do a tonic keynotes, tradition 60 minutes and I’m solving the problem of people have hired you know, some are like – all the great speakers out there you know, they’ve had the up-lead and they’ve had you know, I won’t name names, I just – they had those people and they want something different than just the person standing up and talking about their experience or doing their typical 60 minutes thing. So, what is unique, I think about The Mark of a Leader is, you can put together something that, that’s really focus on what your massage is and because my background is communication. What I love about spreading the story through a conference rather than just putting them in a one hour slot, is that I have fit through the conference and hear what else is going on and I’m the glue that holds all the messaging together and that’s very, very powerful because frankly 99% of the conferences that are going on out there, there is no glue holding the massage in together.
Mike McAllen: Right.
Doug Keeley: When I ask the client, what do you want people to walk away with? Often the result is did silence.
Mike McAllen: Yes …
Doug Keeley: Or you know, what we want them really prompt, well you know, and then give them 10 grain because I don’t get so much value too.
Mike McAllen: Yes, [00:08:48] as they walk out the door.
Doug Keeley: Exactly.
Mike McAllen: That’s funny. So, you can do a keynote or you can do a keynote and then have it interstitial in between days, your videos but are going up on stage each time with that?
Doug Keeley: Yes.
Mike McAllen: Is that how it works?
Doug Keeley: Yes.
Mike McAllen: Okay, so that’s very cool. That’s a great idea.
Doug Keeley: My result from my other guy, Don. So, we’re you know, that’s why we’re thread, so it’s narrated live so we can tailor the message of any story to the audience and you know, I just came of at two event that I was doing down in Pittsburg and you know, through the course of the even people – I get to know the people and I really understand what their business is about and what they’re going through, so – as I say, I’m connecting what their presenters are talking about, their company presenters are talking about – I’m really directly connecting that to the stories and sometimes we’ll pick stories in advance of a conference and then when we get there, I’ll say that’s the wrong story, you know, and that happened yesterday actually, the guy got – first he was talking about something specific and I went to my client and said, I’m going to switch story, I’m going to do something totally different here and they you know, the client usually say, “I trust you, that’s why we’re here” and that’s the beauty of this, it’s not just a stock, I’m coming up, I’m doing my 60 minutes and I hope you love it, go to go.
Mike McAllen: Yes, I see you know, as you know, as I know – having a production company is that, you know everything changes you know, to – they always coming on the executive with there you know, somebody they’ll talk first like the CEO will come in and then all the other guys that are speaking after him, I have to change all their PowerPoints because of what he said.
Doug Keeley: Right.
Mike McAllen: So, that’s actually so great that you’re sitting there because that it can be an organic thing and keep changing, it’s fantastic, I think it’s great, great idea, fantastic. So, let me ask you, so let say, because most of the people listening are our people in production or meeting planners, what – are we kind the touch on this before we got on – pitch this to a meeting planner to their executive without feeling like you know, they’re going to loss their job, you know what I mean like – what’s – what were the process be for somebody to pitch this, I mean …
Doug Keeley: Well, I think you can come out – there is two ways to come out, the – a different, remember I said, I’m really solving two problems, one is I’m giving you a difference spin on the traditional keynotes speaker and two, I’m solving the problem if we don’t have enough money to go a production company and pay for a bunch “interstitials” you know, a little – there, little video or little circus, the lady acts or (sector) CD or whatever is it.
So, you know I think if you’re pitching the traditional keynote then you know, I would say to a meeting planner, should pitch this at, number one the overall method is leadership and if we’re not focus leadership we’re probably not in business and this is a totally different presentation style because instead of someone just taking basically it’s a storyteller telling stories of leadership and how other people have been successful using video and music throughout it, so you got a complete audio visual experience out of it but its highly customized to us and our message. So, it’s a really powerful opening or it’s a really powerful closing and basically you get all the AV stuff that Doug spent you know zillion dollars making and continues to make, you get all that as part of the package.
Mike McAllen: Right, so instead of one story, I climb the mountain and crave my arm off with the penknife, you’re getting a selection of stories and my point of view is throughout those stories we’re going to connect with everyone in the audience because it’s not all just one story, it’s bunch of different stories and we tie them all together. So, that’s the pitch against for a traditional keynote, the pitch for the kind the interstitial is – listen we now have the money to go to a production company and so this thing is going to be dealt by PowerPoint for a day or two and there’s this guy, this product called, The Mark of a Leader and the storyteller comes in and they do this mini acts and they’ll do kind of a traditional keynote or 30 minutes to 60 minutes off the top then another story after coffee, before lunch, after coffee, at the end of the day and so on and these are kind of reinvigorating the audience every time with another inspiring story but more important maybe that or in addition to that the storyteller Doug is linking all of the messages that we’re delivering through the stories and through the conference, so you get someone this kind as a glue or the thread that holds the whole thing together.
So, I think that’s the two pitches and ultimately the prefect pitch is listen, instead of getting the keynote guy doing one hour and the other six hour or just us with our PowerPoint, you know, The Mark of a Leader guys will do – will break it up anyway we want, you know, we can do 60 minutes, we can do a workshop, we can do interstitials or any combination, you basically pay us by the day and you can use this for as long as you want.
Mike McAllen: Very cool. So, if they were going to pitch, so they could send you the agenda basically and say – when would you come into the process for this? I mean, when is the best time?
Doug Keeley: Well, absolutely …
Mike McAllen: To give you an agenda and say, you know, hey how we do, what do you think you can do with this?
Doug Keeley: Absolutely, we do that a lot and because I’m in the Toronto area, I’m asked all the time to you know, go in and demo a story to executives so they can see it and I think you know, I’m safe in saying it – this pretty close to a 100% of the time when I do that executive go, “I got it, this is great. Let’s do it”
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Doug Keeley: So, that’s the way to do it, I get on calls a lot with group of clients because I do so much work in the US were I can’t do that demo thing and I – you know, walk them through the website, explain who it works, I look at their agenda, sometimes the agenda dictates the format because there are a lot of conference were there is you know, a morning keynote and then everyone is in breakout through the whole afternoon and they don’t come back together and they’re on breakout the next day, so there is a control to put on what we can do by just the number of time and places people together as one big group.
Mike McAllen: Right.
Doug Keeley: But, yes absolutely and I think the earlier year bring us in the better and you know our promises – our things called The Mark of a Leader if you want to use that as the theme of your conference, great we’ll give you the logo, instance conference theme.
Mike McAllen: Nice, that’s great idea. So, again I think people should head over to themarkofaleader.com because you can actually see it in action. It’s a very cool website too.
Doug Keeley: Well, thanks again – there’s a lot of stories samples on there. We don’t – there’s not any false story but there’s a little demo when you get on and it shows how it works and …
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Doug Keeley: … the reason we don’t have false stories on there is because we buy the footage that we use for use inside ballroom and you know, the way it works this days is as soon as you want to put the whole thing on the internet then you know, the price quintuples.
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Doug Keeley: So, we’re allowed to put samples on but that’s about it.
Mike McAllen: So, tell me about the book, The Mark of a Leader, how does that fallen from (adult) list?
Doug Keeley: Well, the book is companion piece, it is the book of stories that sets up the premise of The Mark of a Leader and there’s a couple of dozen stories in it which are some – in some cases there are stories that are part of the live event and in other cases there are stories in the book that aren’t in the live event and the reason for that is you know some of the things that we do live and interactive don’t work in a book and what’s a good example, Florence Nightingale, the story that’s in the book and finding good Florence Nightingale video is very, very difficult. So, it’s not a great event story and a lot of clients, so you know the way it typically works and how I think it works ideally is that you know the book is used as a giveaway to attendees in an event or sold that in an event, you know, and I’m again one of those guys have – we have client you know, I don’t remember any thousand of pens with the clients names on them that’s been giveaways or t-shirt of coffee mug and I’m one of those people that thinks you know, give them something a value that whether actually going to learn something out of it.
Mike McAllen: Right, right, right.
Doug Keeley: And the books design for attention deficit people like me, it’s all stories, you can read it on flight between Toronto and Los Angeles, you can probably read the whole book, you can skip and you know, flip around and hopefully they’re all inspiring, they’re all challenging and our promise is – my goal of every story is I want people to say at the end of it, “I had no idea, I did not know about that” and I love doing stories like I did The Oprah story and it’s popular story and you know – I think is I got to find out some things about Oprah that everyone’s doesn’t already know and tell it in the way that people go, “Wow, that’s the niche spin on” someone everybody knows about it, you know.
Mike McAllen: Yes. So, also you a have blog [00:18:30] is really fun to read them because I start reading them more often I did.
Doug Keeley: Well, yes, okay confessional, the blog is pretty out of date, I going to find it very difficult to keep up with the blog, so I have to confess – we have a monthly meeting that we send out and I do that really in place with the blog now.
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Doug Keeley: And we just send out a story once a month if you’re on our list, there’s no sales pitch. We just going to find a cool story about somebody or something and send that out a you know, brief little read, I have a – just I miss one of those guys, I’m traveling so much and I’m trying to build new stories all the time that I find that the discipline of blogging is something that I’m not good at.
Mike McAllen: Yes but if people understand that to, it’s the good thing about blog, so people know, you don’t have too do it everyday, you know, you can do it once a month or something too.
Doug Keeley: Yes.
Mike McAllen: That’s – I mean, I’ve notice that about people I have a bunch of them that I read that some of them I’m always like e-mail it and would you post something.
Doug Keeley: Yes. Well, I will be one of those guys, “Oh Doug, are you there?”
Mike McAllen: That’s great.
Doug Keeley: But I think people are more use too, you know, I’m not sure that the meeting planner community are heavy bloggers yet and so I …
Mike McAllen: No.
Doug Keeley: … probably work on the basis of you know, what once a month you got a story in your inbox and you’re able to read it then which will take you five minutes or you know, you’ll fill it somewhere and come back to it and go, read you know the Mary Kay story and it’s a quick read and hopefully at the end of it, you go, “Wow, that’s (mean). I didn’t know that”.
Mike McAllen: That’s great, I figure it out.
Doug Keeley: And as I jokingly say, you know, if nothing else with The Mark of a Leader, you’re going to be more interest in your next cocktail party because you’ll know a bunch on this stuff.
Mike McAllen: That’s great. Okay, so how would someone get a hold of you? If they wanted to get more information or hire you or.
Doug Keeley: Well, you can contact us directly at the website there’s an 800 number there or 866 …
Mike McAllen: Great.
Doug Keeley: … 703-9098, there’s an info at themarkofaleader.com the e-mail address or you can e-mail me directly at [email protected] You can contact Roma in my office which is [email protected] We’re really easy to find.
Mike McAllen: Okay, great and I’ll have all the links on our Meetings Podcast site too, so …
Doug Keeley: Great, thanks.
Mike McAllen: … and click on over and I want to thank you a lot for talking to me today Doug and maybe we can talk again some other time to see what you’re up to.
Doug Keeley: That’s a great. Mike thanks. I appreciate it.
Mike McAllen: And so thanks again and I will talk to you later.
Doug Keeley: Okay, thanks.