Keith Wilmot

I Brought a Live Tiger to a Meeting at Coke

Season  1Episode  262 MinutesNovember 20, 2023
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Get ready for an electrifying journey as Jeff Hopeck invites you to join him in this week’s exhilarating episode! Prepare to be captivated as Jeff sits down with none other than Keith Wilmot, the trailblazing founder of Ignitor Group.

Hold on tight as Keith regales us with tales from his storied career, which has seen him navigate the dynamic landscapes of iconic brands like Ocean Spray, Brock’s Candies, Pfizer, and Coca-Cola.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Keith dives deep into the realm of inspiration and innovation, regaling us with jaw-dropping anecdotes – including a heart-pounding encounter with a 600-pound Siberian tiger that will leave you on the edge of your seat!

But it’s not all thrills and spills; Keith sheds light on the profound importance of company culture, revealing how it can shape the destiny of organizations. With the Ignitor Group, Keith is on a mission to ignite the spark of innovation within companies, empowering their employees to reach new heights and fostering a culture where creativity thrives.

Don’t miss out on this riveting conversation that promises to spark your imagination and ignite the flames of innovation within! Tune in now and prepare to be inspired!

 


Key takeaways from Keith Wilmot:

  1. It all comes down to having the right people on your team.
  2. When it comes to marketing, know your consumer. Interview them. Spend time with them. Put yourself in their shoes.
  3. Choose a profession that you’re passionate about. If you’re passionate about what you do, it’ll make Monday mornings a lot easier.

 


Tune in to hear more inspiring stories from fascinating individuals.

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Timestamps:

0:00 – Intro & current stage of life

5:56 – Promoted faster than expected.

7:21- Bono and finding your Elvis.

13:04 – A love story with wife & career moves together.

17:32 – Working at Coca-Cola – IdeaNet and mass ideation.

21:09 – The culture transformation journey.

22:50 – Bringing a tiger to a meeting. Literally!

29:39 – What is your tiger moment?

32:00 – Experiencing Shanghai through morning runs.

35:07 – Habitual thinking and breaking habits.

38:12 – The power of experience with your customers.

43:12 – Transformational impact on culture.

46:39 – Constructive feedback and organizational culture.

52:10 – The role of innovation.

56:25 – Unique consulting approach.

59:09 – The importance of passion in the workforce.


Transcript:

Introduction snippet:

I called our attorney. I said, hey, listen, any precedence on a cat coming to a meeting? And he’s like, Keith, what are you, like a house cat? I’m like, no, a 600 pound white Siberian tiger cat. Literally, there was silence.

And he said, we didn’t have this conversation. And he hangs up the phone.

So my team is looking at me all defeated, kind of their heads are down, like, oh, this idea is over. I’m like, he didn’t say no. Right. He did not say no.

Transcript:

Jeff Hopeck:

Welcome everyone to episode two of Interesting Humans. I’m Jeff Hopeck, your show host today. I’ve been fortunate over the years to do some really cool stuff in my first 45 years. And along the way, I’ve met some really remarkable humans.

These are folks from F-18 pilots, retired Secret Service agents, Olympic sports coaches and athletes, entrepreneurs with varying levels of success.

And then you have today just a guy who colors outside of the line, folks. And I mean it.

Keith Wilmot, Coca-Cola literally created a position for him. And I’m going to let him go into that. This is a fascinating show today.

Multiple stories that are going to take us around the world. But it’s my belief that they’re going to truly inspire anybody. It doesn’t matter where they are in life.

So, Keith, thank you so much for being here today.

Keith Wilmot:

Awesome to be here.

Jeff:

So Keith and I go back a pretty long time. We met through our church, through Perimeter Church in Johns Creek, Georgia. Done a bunch of different business, social media projects together. What fascinates me about this guy, and I mean truly fascinates, he’s going to get into some stories today, folks, that just when I thought I’ve pretty much heard them all.

Keith is going to take us for a wild ride today. So Keith, why don’t you start off by just unpacking where are you at in life right now?

Keith:

Yeah, no, it’s a great stage of life. Married my high school sweetheart. So we have four children and are now grown. I’ve got two married kids starting lives of their own. A son who’s recently graduating from, from University of Tennessee. And then a daughter we’re sending off to college next year.

So it’s this really interesting stage of life where we’ve got grown children and it’s now kind of what’s next. And I read a book recently from strength to strength, phenomenal book, but it talked about as you look at your career, where you want to end your career is in the space of wisdom, not as much action.

And what we’re doing now with the igniter group and the impact that we’re making with companies and helping companies really accelerate great culture to bigger ideas and innovation is just our sweet spot and my sweet spot in life. It’s will get will unpack some of the stories of how we got there.

But it truly is a fascinating model. And we’re finding that most organizations really struggle with culture. And people are the difference makers in business. And that’s what we’re really helping organizations uncover and then unleash.

Jeff:

Sure. So people are not widgets then.

Keith:

They’re not only, they’re not only not widgets, they are the competitive advantage that any organization has. And honestly, you can, you can unpack that across any sector of industry. We look at teams like baseball is a fascinating story this year, the Texas Rangers being in the world series. You’re talking about a culture club there.

If you compare their salaries compared to the New York Yankees and the New York Mets, The Rangers are paying probably almost half per win to what the Yankees and the Mets paid this year. That’s incredible. And it’s just about culture. Culture drives success and performance. And if you hire the right people and then you get them working effectively together in a powerful way, that’s when magic happens.

And we’re right in that space today with the Igniter group and the IP that we have and helping big organizations kind of uncover that and then unleash their people.

Jeff:

OK, awesome. I can’t wait to get into some of that stuff. So, all right, we get where you are now. Let’s go all the way back to early childhood. Who are you? Who were you? Where were you born? Get us up to maybe the college years.

Keith:

Yeah, I appreciate that. Well, interestingly, we have a past that’s kind of similar. We’re from Pennsylvania, and we kind of, you know, haunted some similar areas as kids. So, I’m from Pennsylvania, grew up, I was an only child, went to a normal, typical high school, played baseball for my high school, went to Temple University as an undergrad, as I said, married my high school sweetheart, so I’ve had her, Ed Jennifer, in my life from the start.

Honestly, the first real cool job that I got was in a concept called trade marketing. It was with the Ocean Spray Cranberry Company. I was young, out of college, and got this great job to go up to Massachusetts and help Ocean Spray figure out how to market to their customers better. And then had a boss who just got behind me and promoted me a lot faster than I probably should have. And just had a blast of different opportunities with that company.

And then moved on to Brock’s Candies and Confections. And then on to Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. And then what got me here to Georgia is the Coca-Cola company.

So I’ve had this privilege of being a part of some very recognizable brands across food and drug, but ultimately brands that are meaningful for consumers.

Jeff:

Right. Something very interesting you said, you talk about humility, right? So on one of our last couple episodes, a gentleman that sold his company for a couple billion dollars used the same phrase you did. And now it’s got me really, really interested.

So you said, I feel like I’ve been promoted a lot faster than I should have. And he said that happened in a couple of companies in a row. Explain that a little bit.

Keith:

Oh, absolutely. I can literally remember the moment that I was offered a regional sales manager role at Ocean Spray. I was 24 years old and had no sales leadership or management experience. And my boss at the time, who was the national sales manager, literally said to me, you shouldn’t be getting this job, but John Emerson, the VP, thinks so highly of you that he’s forcing it.

And it was a broker management organization across four different markets and hundreds of million dollars of revenue that I was responsible for. execution against. And I remember walking into the broker office, the lead broker office, uh, the first day and the guy looked at me and he’s like, dude, how old are you? I’m 24, but I’m a very potent 24.

Uh, yes, I, I think, you know, sometimes with careers, you just, you have that mentor who sees something in you that, um, you’ve maybe not even be able to express yourself. Right. And man, that’s what we try to help companies do today with Igniter too, is find those people in your organization that are just extra sparks.

And if you can promote them fast and faster than what you normally would see, you get tremendous things out of them. We have a mindset called infectious energy. It’s one of our IP mindsets that we help organizations build inside their companies.

And the story is a phenomenal story. Bono, the U2 singer. When he would work with companies with his red initiative, he’d go to the CEO and he’d ask one question. Who’s your Elvis? And what he meant by that was who’s that person when they walk into a room, people just know they’re there.

And that’s the type of people that he wanted to work with, with his initiatives. And we have a concept called infectious energy, which is about inspiring people with passion, um, to get more initiatives done inside of an organization.

So we’ll, we’ll help leaders really find that, that their personal brand and their infectious energy, and then unleash that on their teams and their organizations.

Jeff:

That’s incredible. Incredible. Okay. So you mentioned mentor in the, in the first 25 years of your life, let’s say, did, does anybody stand out to you?

Keith:

Yeah, no doubt. I mean, each company that I’ve had the privilege of working for, I’ve had specific people in, in those organizations that saw something in me, um, reference to a guy named John Emerson. Um, and I, even more senior guy, Patrick McCarthy, who is now, who’s now passed on, but just great leaders that saw something in me as a young leader and really accelerated that.

A guy named George Mullenix in Brock’s Confections, I had worked with him at an internship that I had, and he saw something in me, and that was what moved us down to Brock’s and living in Chattanooga for a bunch of years.

And then at Pfizer, Pfizer is where I was introduced to the concept and this new role in an organization called Innovation. I had a, uh, that we had hired a guy named Jeff Semenchuk, who was the VP of, of innovation for Pfizer.

And, uh, we built, just built a relationship and, you know, I wound up working for his team and that’s ultimately what got me down to Coca-Cola as the VP of innovation for the company.

Gotcha. That experience with Jeff and Jeff just, again, I think if you look back in your life, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in an organization, whether you’re in sports, whether you’re just in terms of relationships, you find those people that just see something different in you, and when you look back on your story, they’re integral parts of where you are today.

Jeff:

We’re gonna get into that Coke story, which is just so fascinating, and then the other stuff, your travel. I want to stay back just in that first two decades. We have a good understanding now about business, school, etc. Tell me about Keith. I’m always fascinated to know. What were you like? What were you like as a child? What did you play with? What did you do? What were some early memories?

Keith:

Yeah, I mean, I love the outdoors. I’ve always been a big, huge outdoor fan. Fishing, hunting, water skiing, barefooting. I grew up on Lake Wollenpaupack and spent a lot of time in and around water and in the outdoors. So that’s core to who I am. I find a lot of rest and energy recharge when I’m outdoors, doing outdoor-type things.

I was always, I was an only child, so I learned the ability to stay engaged and focused without, you know, siblings. So there’s a, I’m very comfortable being in an alone space, but I also find a lot of energy when I’m with people.

So I would, I’d probably teeter, you know, both, you know, right on the kind of the middle spot of being an extrovert and an introvert. I can play in both spaces. In fact, if you, If you give me any of the personality tests, if you tell me you want me to be an extrovert, I can be an extrovert. If you tell me, I want to be an introvert.

So that’s incredible. Yeah. I don’t, I don’t take a lot of stock in those tests because I think they, you know, I don’t, I don’t think they effectively define people in the right way. I’ve always been hands-on. I’ve always been a very physical kind of hands-on type of learner and leader. I’m more of a kinesthetic learner than I am an auditory or, you know, reading things. I like to kind of experience.

And a lot of what we’ve designed for Igniter is to help leaders actually experience things. And I think that comes back from some of my childhood and just knowing how to learn. Um, I’ve had, you know, I have two parents that are both alive today that are huge fans and believers in me.

And I think that’s a, that’s a real, real powerful thing, you know, cause not every child has that. Um, they had parents that basically said you could be whatever you want to be and do whatever you want to do and we’ll 100% support you.

And that’s been a big driver of my success is certainly their belief in me and the standard that they set for success. Yeah. Okay.

Jeff:

And then where and how did you meet your bride, Jennifer?

Keith:

Yeah. So there’s a lot of stories that go with that. It was an eighth grade dance that I actually asked her to dance and we danced the entire eighth grade, whatever dance that we were at. And then that next Monday I asked her out and she said, no, Yeah, no doubt. So I was, it’s been like, you know, I was like one of those pursuit things where I’m going to win this, this battle. Um, yeah.

And then we started, we started dating when we were in 11th grade, beginning of 11th grade.

Jeff:

Was it no with an explanation?

Keith:

No, I just, I was kind of a dork in eighth grade. So like, I don’t blame her for saying no. I, I, I started to, I started to fill out a little bit and become more athletic and a bit more attractive by the time I got into my high school years.

My middle school, I don’t want to necessarily go back and relive. But yeah, so we started dating in 11th grade, and honestly, it’s been a rocket ever since. I mean, we’ve been married now 30 years, and I still chase that little blondie all over the house.

Jeff:

Right, which is such an incredible story that you told me about. You wrote her a book, right?

Keith:

Yeah, of our love story.

Jeff:

Oh, it’s incredible. Unpack that, take a minute.

Keith:

Yeah, sure. And I just, you know, we have this, it was weird. I was on a flight back from London recently and I’d never seen the notebook. I know it sounds crazy, but I’d never watched the notebook. So I’m like, all right, it’s on the flight. I’m going to watch this thing.

So I watched it and it was a great movie and you know, certainly kind of a tearjerker, but, um, what it just sparked in me was like, man, I, I got a love story that rivals that. And, you know, I kind of just stole the idea.

I’m like, man, like, let me just sit down and just capture 30 years, well, 37 years of life with this woman who has been, you know, a part of who I am and she’s defined me.

And I, I think most, most leaders, um, and I know this is my, this may sound a little controversial and everybody not may not agree with me on this, but most leaders, especially male leaders, when they have incredible brides, it just makes things so much easier for them to be incredible leaders.

I’ve far too often in my career worked with people that have marital strife, and it bleeds into their work, no matter what you’re doing, whether you’re a golfer, a baseball player, and I think, as in there’s so many stories that go with that, you find yourself a partner in life that can go the distance, it’s super meaningful.

Jeff:

Yeah, special. Yeah. Thanks for sharing that, by the way.

Keith:

Yeah, no worries.

Jeff:

Wasn’t planning on getting into that. Yeah, that’s good. It’s part of the Keith story, though. Yeah, it really is. It’s part of the Keith story. It truly is. It’s fascinating. So, all right, the call comes in, the big call, the Coca-Cola company.

Keith:

Yeah, I vividly remember this. So I was working for Pfizer at the time, working for Jeff Semenchuk, my mentor that I mentioned. And Pfizer had just gone through a couple of years of tremendous growth, the consumer health care business.

And Pfizer corporate had a decision that they had to make. They either keep the asset and continue to grow it and take the profit from it, or a brilliant time to sell it. And they wound up choosing the sale route and sold it to Johnson & Johnson for three and a half billion dollars.

And, you know, in transition work, a lot of people get, you know, moved out, you know, this and my, my mentor had taken a job as the chief innovation officer for city group in, uh, in Manhattan. Okay. And I was literally in a cab on the way to his office to get a deal going so that I’d work for him for Citi.

And a guy from Hydrogen Struggles called and said, hey, your name came across the wires, and we’ve got this roll down at Coca-Cola that we think that you’d be a fit for. And I just pulled into Jeff, and he said, you have to go. It’s Coca-Cola.

You’ve got to at least check it out. And, uh, I remember going, I remember literally landing in Atlanta and driving in the cab from the airport. And I called Jennifer and I said, sweetie, I feel God’s presence here. I think, I think he’s calling us to Georgia.

And that was like, I was speaking Chinese to Jennifer. She said, she may be calling you to Georgia, but he’s not calling me to Georgia because Her parents lived an hour away. My parents had this brilliant Lake home an hour away. Her best friend in life were, were our neighbors. Our kids were all intertwined. Our church was growing.

We’re actually starting a new church, going into a building. I’m like, there’s like, there’d be the worst time for team Wilmot to pick up and leave. And so I go through the interview at Coke and honestly, the job was above me. Like I just, there was no reason why based on my experience and background, they would put me in this role.

And so I flew back kind of thinking, Hey, that was fun. Great. Got to see the inside of Coca-Cola, but there’s no way I’m going to get this job offer. Right. Literally the next day, the, the, uh, at Hunter called from, from hydrate and struggles that they love you.

They’re going to make an offer tomorrow. Oh my goodness. And it was a great offer. And, you know, it just, it was something that we really felt like God’s hand in. Sure. And, uh, and Jennifer, you know, submitted to my leadership and she’s like, you know, as much as, as it’s crazy to think that we would move our family to a place that we have no friends, no family, no network, no nothing.

And we had, we had four young kids at the time and, uh, she, uh, she did. And man, have we been blessed. so richly with that bravery of moving down here. That was 2006.

Jeff:

2006 you accept the position of what?

Keith:

It was VP of Ideas, which is a crazy, crazy role. Coke had this new technology that was called IdeaNet. And what IdeaNet was meant to do was take 850,000 system employees and almost become like the new technology of IdeaBox. So you could put an idea into this IdeaNet system and it somehow would be routed back to a team of people who could then execute ideas across the organization.

And when you think about big assets like the Olympics and FIFA World Cup sponsorships, we could do mass ideation across a lot of people very quickly to get to bigger, better ideas for the company.

What we learned really quickly in my first two or three weeks there was that it wasn’t about the quality of ideas, it’s not about systems and processes, it’s about people. It was about the culture that was getting in the way of creativity, of further creativity, and really big thinking innovation that was going to drive the next generation of growth and generation of drinkers for the Coca-Cola company. They used a process called Stage Gates.

It’s a technological and systemized process to manage innovation pipeline in an organization. And the pipeline was filled with packaging changes and product. Let’s put cherry in it, let’s put lemon in it, let’s put lime in it, and literally ran out of fruits.

And we systematically, over the course of a bunch of years, did two things. One is change culture. Got people to think differently about creativity, think differently about innovation. And then we also started to introduce a more democratized view of the innovation strategy of the organization, meaning it’s everyone’s role. It’s not a functional role.

Innovation isn’t a functional role in the department. I don’t care if you’re an admin in the company, if you’re a bottler, if you’re the division president of a division, your inherent role is to innovate. And we started to define creativity as doing things in new ways to achieve better results. And some of the ideas that started to come out of that process and approach change, were remarkable, and there were finance innovation and some supply chain innovation, human resource capital innovation.

So that’s where the democratization of it really made an impact.

Jeff:

Right. Give us an example of how that system works. So you mentioned like the FIFA World Cup. FIFA World Cup. FIFA World Cup. What would I type in? I’m curious.

Keith:

Yeah. So, you know, so we would, we would send out, um, kind of like, you know, different types of challenges out through a technology like that. So we might say something like, Hey, listen, you know, we have our core asset FIFA and we’ve got a, you know, world cup coming up in two years, you know, give us some big ideas on how you think we could drive further engagement and further interaction with, um, with our consumer base.

And you could be sitting at your office in China, and you could literally type in, hey, I think it’d be really cool if Coke did X. And then we would take all that information, vet it, evaluate it, and start to put processes around it.

The problem was that wasn’t the quality of the ideas were there. The issue was the culture that you had to break through to get those ideas actually launched. you know, someone sitting in China doesn’t know all the politics that were involved in, you know, North America and, you know, it’s just, that’s where it got really crazy.

So we, we flipped this, we flipped the script pretty quickly and we said, listen, we’re going to start building capability inside the organization, not just a better process. Now we still leverage the process and we still leverage the tools, but we introduced a suite of six behaviors and you know, some mindsets and then an approach to applied creativity and innovation that started to change mindsets around how to get there.

Jeff:

Right. I’m starting to get a really good feel of how this culture thing, how this really came about just for you as a person, as I hear you explain it and talk about it. I mean, I’m really starting to get a, like, I’m getting, it’s running through my veins now. It’s incredible.

Keith:

Yeah, and the cool thing is we, I’ve seen the life change of, you know, interaction with, you know, our igniter process and our approach. you know, now what we’re doing now, Coke at the time saw so much value in what we created. We branded it, we called it Igniter at Coca-Cola. And I vividly remember the day that we made the decision to brand the logo Igniter as non-Coca-Cola.

Because what Coke did is they offered us up to McDonald’s and Yum Brands and all of their global customers as this kind of internal added value consultancy that was pro bono work for our clients and our customers.

But then we would work with those brands, which amazingly paid out for me today. I was able to get the asset back and launch the company called the Igniter Group. And we used all of the assets that we had created at Coke, and all of that IP came with it. And now we’ve since expanded the model and expanded the intellectual property.

We’ve added behaviors. We’ve added some attributes and values. We’ve added some mindsets. We’ve enhanced tools. It’s grown since where it was. And in a lot of ways, it’s like getting the baby back and now offering it up to the world.

Jeff:

Right. To the world. I can see why you’re just so passionate about it. It makes total sense. All right. Three incredible stories. Yeah. You, you put them in whatever order you want. So you got a Siberian tiger, you’ve got the middle of the desert story, and then you got Morocco. You’ve got the story about where you went down to Morocco, how, why you did that in the major problem that you solved there.

Keith:

Yeah, so we’ll start with the famous one, which some people still question whether it’s true or not, but we have pictures to prove it.

Jeff:

You have pictures? I saw the pictures.

Keith:

We have pictures to prove it. So we had our chief creative officer at the time, a guy named Jonathan Mildenhall. Phenomenal leader, phenomenal creative. Honestly, probably, you know, for the last decades, even up to today, has made the most impact on the brand Coca-Cola. He called me out of the blue. We had a relationship, obviously, inside the company, but he said, listen, we’re getting stale. I feel like my team isn’t being brave enough.

And we need a spark. We need we need some igniter and would you spend a day with my team and really ignite them on? what’s next for creative for the coca-cola company and You know, I got back with my team and you know, this is the tip of the spear of creativity I mean, these are folks that have been around the world twice talked to everybody once you know, it’s it’s a group of people that that are the ultra creatives and the question to me and myself and I challenge my team was is how do you how do you work with a group of people like this and spark new creativity and bravery?

And we connected to a story that we just love about a guy named Joe Rhodes, who is the chief imagineer for Disney. And he ultimately launched the Animal Kingdom Lodge. And the first presentation to the board for Animal Kingdom Lodge got turned down. And it was for all the right reasons.

Zoos were in decline, zoo attendance was in decline, et cetera. But Joe is so passionate about this idea that he got a second opportunity to present in front of the board. And at the board meeting, you know, he brings this, you know, white Siberian tiger to the board meeting and the deal was signed off that day.

And, you know, some would say, well, people are afraid of being eaten. But what Joe did is he sparked bravery, he connected to realness and, you know, showed that board of directors what it was like to be that close to an animal like that.

And Animal Kingdom Lodge is now the most successful most highest revenue profit producer for the Disney organization since, you know, since the launch of Disney. Wow. So I’m like, we got, we got to find a cat. So amazingly, uh, I’ve, we, we work with these great insight, we call them insight provocateurs. And what they do is they find us crazy things, find us crazy people.

They help us design experiences for leaders that are just different and allow them to really kind of connect to their inner, inner source of, whatever behavior that we’re trying to build inside that team. So we find this 600-pound white Siberian tiger named Dallas in Dahlonega, 40 minutes north of where we’re sitting today.

And I remember the conversation with the guy. I called him and said, hey, we’d like to bring Dallas to a meeting. Are you able to travel with him? He’s like, well, this is the first time I’ve ever gotten this request. Yeah, I think I can get them down to Coca-Cola.

And I said, great. Roger that.

I hung up the phone and then the next call and my team was sitting around, we’re not squawk box in my office. My team is, I called our attorney that I work with and, uh, of his name, I’ll leave out. But, um, I said, Hey, listen to any precedents on a cat coming to a meeting.

And he’s like, Keith, what are you like a house cat? I’m like, no, a 600-pound white Siberian tiger cat. Literally there was silence, Jeff. And he said, we didn’t have this conversation.

And he, he hangs up the phone. So my, my team is looking at me all defeated, kind of their heads are down, like, Oh, this idea is over. I’m like, he didn’t say no, right. He did not say no.

So yeah, we, um, my, my team was, was pretty adamant about not doing this. And I just said, no, we’re doing this. And we were able to get Dallas down to the world of Coke. And the interesting thing was the, the, the, obviously the reveal and the impact that the tiger made with that team was, was astronomical.

And it, um, it gave them the, you know, the permission for bravery and wound up with, they wound up doing some amazing, amazing campaign work following that meeting. Now that meeting itself, wasn’t the, you know, only driver of, of that success, but it was a big point in. that movement towards open happiness campaign and all the great campaigns.

And they won a lot of awards out of the work that they did post that tiger meeting. Because it just, it gave them that kind of internal belief in themselves when they were that close to that animal. But Jeff, getting that animal into the world of Coke was hysterical.

The guy shows up in a truck and he’s attached to the truck is a cage that he’s just basically in a trailer. And the cage is empty. And it’s a, it’s a pickup truck with a cab, you know, like a cab pickup truck. And I said, well, where’s Dallas? He goes, oh, he’s in the cab.

Can you help me get him out of the cabin into the cage? I was like, excuse me? He goes, yeah, yeah. We overfed him. He should be okay.

Jeff:

Oh my goodness.

Keith:

So he, he, he opens up the back of this cab and there’s like this cat. I mean, you know, it’s just, you can feel its presence. You can, you can smell its breath. I mean, it’s like, it takes over the, it’s the true Elvis there. I mean, it’s like, it’s insane. So, and it’s literally hooked on both ends of the, of the cab.

He unhooks on one and I can grab the other. We walked this cat down onto the street and now we’ve created a, like a mayhem, like cars are stopping. People are getting out and taking pictures. I mean, it’s, It’s nuts.

We walked this cat up into its cage, locked the cage, but they put the cover over the cage and you know, we, he, it’s on a roller and he rolls this right into world of Coke. And you know, the, the reveal was, was pretty spectacular.

You know, we, I tell this story and I walked the team out and they unveiled the cat and, and, uh, it was pretty, it was pretty spectacular.

Jeff:

Do you have a picture you can share with us?

Keith:

I do. Yeah. A hundred percent. Yeah. We have great, great shot to prove that we actually did it. It’s unbelievable. And now how we use that story, Jeff, is it’s not about bringing a live cat. I wouldn’t suggest anyone go out and try to find a live cat and bring it to a meeting. I think when I look back on it, it was kind of a little bit risky on our part.

If that cat obviously would have gotten out, I’d probably be, you’d be doing this from a different location. Let’s just say that. But what it is about is what is your tiger moment? So every time you have something big that you’re trying to accomplish, a major presentation, you wanna look for those tiger moments that just set apart the impact of what you’re trying to get across.

So oftentimes with our leaders, we’ll ask the question, what is your tiger moment?

Jeff:

What is your tiger moment? All right, I’m gonna ask the question, because I know the audience is gonna wanna know how much does it cost to get a tiger brought into your boardroom?

Keith:

Crazy, it was $2,500. Really? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that was inexpensive. Yeah. It was super interesting, especially for, you know, for the budgets that we were working with to try to drive innovation and creativity that the company when, and when he said, Oh yeah, it was $2,500 to, you know, transport them down there. I’m like, yeah, Roger that done. Right. Right. Yeah. The only story. Yeah.

The only, the only risk was if that did get out, we would have, you know, we would have had a real serious problem on our hands.

Jeff:

I love it. Great story. Let’s move over to your choice. Morocco or the middle of the desert? Two stories I love so much.

Keith:

Well, interestingly, they’re both kind of connected. So it was the middle of the desert in Morocco. Okay. So I’ll just tell the desert story. We were on a project. in Morocco, and I just had, I’m a big believer when you go to markets, I have had the privilege to travel to 42 countries with Coca-Cola.

And I can say to you with accuracy that every single country that I visited, we really pushed the limits of experiencing the culture. Because I think far too often, executives usually, and this is targeted more towards executives, but they do a lot of business travel. And they fly into the airport, they take a cab or an Uber now from the airport to the hotel or the office, and then they’re back to the airport.

And they never truly experience the market, they never truly experience the landscape, and what that market truly has to offer with both its consumers and its experiences. And one of our Igniter principles that we promote is, hey, listen, when you are doing business travel, make sure you set time aside to truly experience the area in a normal, in sometimes deep and maybe sometimes strange way.

Cause you can learn a lot from the consumers. You can learn a lot about where you’re traveling for though of all the markets that I went to, I always did that.

So when we are, we are flying into China, you know, we would, you know, make sure that we did this one thing that we love to do, which was, you know, stay in a hotel in a kind of a small hotel, not a more recognized hotel, but a small local hotel in Shanghai, grab their business card from the hotel and every morning get up right at the crack of dawn and go for a run and run as far and as wide and weird as you possibly can, knowing that you’re never going to find your way back.

So you find a cab, you hand them the car and they get you back. And I experienced the streets of Shanghai and what Shanghai had to offer in such a more powerful way by being intentional about that. The behavior that we have is called freshness. It’s the uniqueness of quality of stimulus that leaders bring into any kind of creative or business model that they have.

And the harder you push freshness and experience, the more insights and better ideas that come out. So that’s a big part of it.

So in Morocco, we had a weekend that I had to really invest into Morocco. So we were based in Casablanca, so took a train to Marrakesh. So I was on the Marrakesh Express for the CSN guys that are out there. and took a Jeep from Marrakech. Well, Marrakech itself was incredible. The Grand Bazaar there is just like nuts. Monkeys and just craziness.

So I highly recommend anyone who has the opportunity to go there, they should. It’s just a phenomenal place. But we took Jeeps over the Atlas Mountains and then horseback and camel rides into the Sahara Desert.

And you know, we’re in an area where it’s just it’s desert and you can see the mountains in the in the distance, but it’s desert and we kind of come over and over a hill and go into a what’s called a Berber tribe. They’re nomads. They’re they’re traveling nomads and They just basically go from, you know, spot to spot to spot.

And, you know, they have this one group and this one outfit that has access to one of the Berber tribes and you’re, you can stay over and spend an evening in their tents and, um, had the opportunity to do that. And, uh, you know, so, you know, long horseback full day, you know, you’re, you’re kind of getting, you’re getting thirsty and you’re driving up over the mountain.

All of a sudden you see this kind of oasis of camp. That’s and it’s like it’s like almost like then an old Native American Indian kind of with teepees. And I mean, it’s just it’s insane and Get in get off my horse walk into where the elder tribesman is and he hands me a coke Get out. Yeah. I mean, literally in the middle of the desert. Now it wasn’t, it wasn’t a cold Coke. It was a warm Coke, but it was definitely a Coca-Cola.

And then they designed this really cool, um, in Arabic with this outer outer kind of like model thing, this Coca-Cola bottle, which I still have today. Sure. And, uh, it’s just an, you know, a keepsake that I’ll keep the rest of my life. We’ll post a picture of it too. Yeah. I can, I have a picture of that too. Uh, but just an amazing, amazing story. But I think the, the, The point is, like what’s the point? The point is is you, I think we get too caught in rhythms as people.

We listen to the same things, we watch the same types of movies, we drive the same road to work. We get, what we call it is our rivers of thinking. Leaders get so bogged in how things should go and how they’ve always done things that they get caught in those rivers. And I think that applies to how we live our lives too.

You know, it’s like you wind up having it, we’re very habitual beings, and it takes intentionality to break those habits. Because those habits can be sometimes good, they’re sometimes good habits. But if you get caught in your rivers of thinking, is what we call it, that’s when leaders get really stuck and they can’t really think differently about a business problem.

Now there was another city that you solved a major problem for. And as it relates to business, I mean, this is definitely in the top couple of stories I’ve ever heard. Yeah, it was actually, it was, it wasn’t that specific project that we were in Morocco, but it was funny enough. It was actually Morocco itself was in Casablanca.

We had, um, the division president at the time had called us and had an issue with Coca-Cola red. It was in decline and, you know, specifically around the low-income Moroccan families. And we show up on scene in classic Igniter fashion.

One of the first questions that we always ask leaders is, when is the last time you were that close to that consumer that you’re trying to figure out how to get to drink more or whatever you’re trying to do in terms of whether you’re a service provider or a brand or whatever? When’s the last time you actually spent time, real time with consumers?

And of course the answer was no you’ve you low-income Moroccan families You’re not gonna have a lot of interaction as as senior leaders of a coca-cola company. They live in different neighborhoods It’s like, you know, it’s it’s complete disconnect.

I was like, well, how how are we gonna actually develop strategies when you really don’t even know the consumer? So I said, well, we’re going to change that. So over the next, I said, call your spouses, call your mates, whatever. T

he next three nights we’re living in homes of low-income Moroccan families. So we worked with a local agency in Casablanca, Morocco and found families willing to house Coca-Cola executives for consecutive nights. And it was all low income.

So I literally slept on a mat for three nights in Casablanca. But here’s the power of the insight. So we had a couple of orthodoxies. One was Coca-Cola was within arm’s reach of everyone. And in some ways that was true, but first two mornings that I woke up, we went to a local sook, which was about a mile walk. And that entire mile walk, I didn’t see any Coca-Cola during that walk.

When I got to the sook, the Coca-Cola products, because we had, the marketing organization at the time was kind of more focused on larger packages. sizes and bigger bulk items and things like that because of the, you know, the cost per liter was cheaper.

So we thought that that would be a good strategy for low-income. All we didn’t realize is the heaviness of the product. You’re not going to have a low-income Moroccan family who’s shopping for the day’s needs in a local souk. carry that product a mile back to their homes. And oh, by the way, their home is like a box.

So there’s no room for storage and they have a small little tiny refrigerator that keeps just basic essentials cold. So it was a complete mindset shift. And when, when the team got back from that experience, they were just transformed because they, they’re like, we had, we had so many different orthodoxies going on and we just didn’t realize until we actually experienced right. Low-income rock consumers.

That’s when the big insights happen. And man, we find that with everything, you know, companies today are, are really set on building this idea of growth mindset, right?

You want leaders with growth mindset. Well, growth mindset is almost near impossible to train. You have to experience it. You have to put leaders through an experience that they can see the power of growth mindset versus a fixed mindset.

You can’t just send out materials and say, hey, read this, and now you’re going to become a growth-minded leader now. It’s all about experience. And everything that we do with Igniter in helping organizations build great culture is about putting their leaders and their teams through different experiences that get to better culture, better creativity, bigger ideas.

Jeff:

Another fascinating story. It was a call center. I won’t mention the company name. It was a call center that was given out. If you came and worked there for a couple of months, take us through that.

Keith:

Yeah, so one of our major clients had an issue with a really important role in their organization. It was kind of a call center type of function. And the problem was they were losing a lot of them. The turnover was pretty high. And, um, you know, again, it was, it was fascinating.

It’s kind of like where, when’s the last time you actually put on a headphone and made some calls and put your, as an executive, put yourself in their, in their shoes.

And by putting the team through those experiences, we uncovered some things that were pretty profound and putting the team and working them together through those experiences and looking at insight differently. Some big ideas naturally came out of that.

Jeff:

Right. Yeah. Was it, Were they, was it more them doing something they weren’t supposed to do, or was it they weren’t trained properly, or how did it pan out?

Keith:

Yes, the training wasn’t the issue. The training was actually a really powerful thing. They had some issues in terms of how they were compensating training, which I won’t go into, but that was a big insight that by putting them through a process that uncovers insight and then turns those insights into platform ideas and those platform ideas into actual launchable ideas, that process opened up a lot of insight. but the biggest insight was putting headphones on and actually working as a call center person for, you know, a day and watching what they go through and some of the issues they had with technology and platforms.

And, you know, there was some just fascinating things that came out of that. And it always surprises me, like, you know, you work for a company and you work for a brand and you don’t really experience how the consumer experiences.

So like if, you know, if you’re an executive at like Domino’s pizza, I guarantee if I went to the, the offices of dominoes and the executives, how many of those executives never go into stores regularly.

Incredible. Like how you can’t, you have to, you have to experience your consumer in a powerful way. Um, and we, and we’re, we’re, we’re always about pushing the limits. So like recently when you, you had called me, you had a really cool offer to go to the white house. Right. And I turned you down partly because I was in Utah at the time with two companies.

And their brief that they had given us was, hey, we’ve got this customer, this trade partner. We really want to build a stronger, collaborative team culture together. But we also want to get to some big platform ideas on how to innovate and really transformationally innovate. I’ll leave the names of the companies out.

And we designed this experience in Park City, Utah, in the mountains of Utah, around horses. Because there’s a lot of interesting connection between how horses work with each other, work with their rider, and how they signal and communicate.

And we put them on horseback and went into the Utah mountains with these executives. And most of them either had never ridden a horse, or were just like in an arena doing kind of a nose to ass ride. And here we are, you know, saddling up and going into the Utah mountains.

We got within, you know, 50 yards of a bugling elk. I mean, it was just super powerful, but we then translated the experience into these behaviors that we have to accelerate great culture and bigger ideas. And man, transformational impact on their relationship together. but also what they created out of that was just profound.

And it’s a, it’s a, it’s a really, it’s a really cool story. And I’m, I’m so excited about where those ideas are going to take those two companies. And it’s pretty powerful.

Jeff:

I can’t wait to hear about the check-in when you have the net, what is it in three months?

Keith:

We’ll do a three, six, nine month check-in with them. And, and yeah. And, and I, I think the other thing too, is So often we get feedback that, you know, certainly the IP that we have with behaviors and attributes and things like that in our process certainly can get teams to better culture and bigger ideas, no doubt.

It changes who you are as a person too. I vividly remember being at Coke. And having a very senior leader come to me and say, Hey, Keith, you know, this session you put us through that we, we had talked about green housing.

How do you nurture new ideas in an organization as a leader? How do you get to the point where you can say no to something and have your team be as excited as if you said yes. And that’s really good green housing.

And he said, Yeah, you’re gonna transformationally impact the culture here, but I wanna share a personal story with you. You said, I have a 15-year-old daughter, and I’m not a greenhousing dad. It’s pretty much no. And my relationship with her sucked. So I left your session and said, yeah, I get it from a leadership perspective, but I’m gonna apply this to my relationships, and specifically my relationship with my daughter.

And I started to greenhouse her more. And I started to use concepts like yes, and, and, you know, and really nurturing kind of things that she would bring to the table or want to do. And it doesn’t mean I said yes to everything. I mean, certainly put limits, but I was a better greenhousing dad. And he said in a month. It’s impacted my relationship in a positive way.

And this guy is a senior executive, literally has tears in his eyes because of the personal impact that he had around these behaviors. And I think that’s, that’s my passion, right? My passion is to. bring this not to make the company better. It’s about the people that circles all the way back. It’s the people that make the difference.

And if we can make an impact on the lives of people to get them to think, behave, lead differently, that’s when, you know, we’re, we’re loving what we do. And, you know, and the value of what we bring to an organization is, is profound because once you get culture, right.

Jeff:

Yeah. Sky’s the limit. That’s incredible. Walk us through a time where it didn’t work out great, or there was a failure or a miscue.

Keith:

Yeah, one specifically in South Africa, we were with a team and we’re rolling out our culture transformation work, specifically it was when I was at Coke. And we kicked off the team and the morning session started and you could just tell the vibe was off. you know, like they weren’t really engaged. Um, you know, the, the normal kind of interaction that we get with team members just wasn’t happening.

And it got to the point where, you know, we were on a break and I said to my team, I said, I need to call a timeout. I need to see what’s going on. Cause it’s, it’s either us or something’s going on that we’re just not aware of. Yeah.

So I literally got the session back together and I said, guys, listen, we’re going to, we’re not going to move forward here. I need to know what’s going on or is what we’re bringing to the table. Not resonating. Is it just, is it not impactful or are you too busy? Like what’s going on? And they said, No, it’s pretty much the opposite.

Everything that you’re saying, we love our boss is just an a-hole and we’re, we feel like this is a waste of time because he is not going to, he’s not going to act like this. He’s not going to be like this. So why are we spending these multiple days learning all these new concepts that we’re going to get excited about and then ultimately shut down by him? Wow.

So we shifted gears pretty quickly and, you know, really kind of like what’s working, what’s not, let’s, let’s, let’s get some really good feedback. And then I just called him that, that evening and say, listen, dude, we gotta have to, we have to have dinner.

There’s a major issue and sat down and gave him the feedback. Amazingly, he was not overly open to the feedback, but what he did communicate, which something really interesting is, he never got the feedback.

And what we’re finding, Jeff, in a lot of organizations is a lot of organizations and teams really struggle with providing constructive feedback. They don’t know how to. I mean, most people are really comfortable giving positive feedback. But when they have to address something constructively, they either don’t. And then what happens is people, that’s where baggage starts to build.

And you said something to me six months ago and blah, blah, blah. You never said anything to me about it, so how am I supposed to know that I heard? So part of our process with Igniter is we’ve got some tools to help teams build better feedback loops and mechanisms in place. We call it GIFT, good intention feedback technique. And it really teaches executives and leaders.

How to properly give constructive feedback that’s good intentioned. Because when you have a team that is really comfortable with giving each other constructive feedback on a regular basis, man does it impact culture positively. And that was a big learning for us is when you don’t have that feedback loop. you know, these concepts are great, but if they’re not supported by senior leadership, that’s when, that’s when it fails.

And we hit that a bunch of different times. Um, you know, Norwegian cruise lines is a great example of our current client. We, we started in, in their finance organization and did some great work with their finance teams. And coming out of that was like, Hey, our leadership really needs to go through this. Right. And you know, we’ve now since been working with the leadership team and they’ve bought into the behaviors and the value anchors and, It’s going to be some transformational work for them, but it often has to start from the top.

If you don’t have a senior leader or senior leadership group in the organization that believe in the power of culture, believe in people as the competitive advantage, it’s hard to break that because people will emulate. their leaders. And if you’ve got a leader who’s an a-hole, you’re likely going to get a team of people who act like that.

Jeff:

So for you, was there a pivotal point in your life that you would credit why your brain works the way it works? Or do you just feel you were sort of born like that?

Keith:

Mmm, I think some of it is some of it is inherent, you know Like some some leaders inherently can think outside the box more quickly than others can I do I do believe with passion that it is a buildable skill So if you take these, you know, eight behaviors that we have and you truly start to apply them with intention, you will see a remarkable difference in how you look at the world, how you look at creativity, how you look at your business challenges, and it’ll force you to think differently and use lateral thinking tools to get to, you know, to better insights.

Edward de Bono is a big believer in this. He’s an author on creativity. And he talks about rivers of thinking, we had mentioned that previously a couple minutes ago. And executives through experience form deep rivers.

And those rivers can be very helpful with things, but they can be very hurtful when you’re trying to do new things. or powerful things that are different. So you have to, what we call river jump, use lateral thinking techniques to get you to think differently about a business challenge.

So recently we were hired by a company to help them with, they had a, it’s Gildan, Gildan brand. It’s a phenomenal shirt company. And they had these incredible ESG stories that they’re doing around the world. The problem is they’re just not telling those stories.

What’s the issue? It’s the environmental impact. Okay. Like so sustainability and environmental impact. Like there’s some things that we learned through this that every Gildan shirt is made with less chemicals than any other shirt in the market.

Wow. I mean, so think about what you’re putting on your body. Like, I didn’t know that. So every time now I go to a store, I look and see if the Gildan label is there because like, listen, like they make, they make this product with less chemicals. That’s awesome. They’re massive supporters of, of us cotton farmers, like massive supporters, supporters. I mean, they, they basically the, the us cotton farm industry is sustained through Gildan.

And I’m like, these are incredible stories. So what we did is we looked at storytelling differently. They’re like, all right, where else in the world would stories be impactful? Or who has a deeper relationship with stories? Like one of them is a magician.

Let’s talk to a magician and let’s understand how they look at storytelling. It’s always looking outside of the norms to try to get to better insight. And then we translate those insights into ideas that are relevant for Gildan and the company and what they’re trying to do as an organization.

So it’s always looking outside of your traditional areas. We call it related worlds. Like, where else in the world is someone dealing with this kind of similar challenge that we’re dealing with, but from a very different lens?

Jeff:

Let me go back in time a little bit. So you were at Pfizer, and then you go to Koch, VP of Ideas. What did Pfizer use your brain for?

Keith:

Marketing to start. Okay. So yeah, it was marketing to start. And then when I met Jeff Semenchuk, they had hired a chief innovation officer and I was just fascinated by, um, this role of innovation. Like there’s now a role in our company that’s responsible or for driving innovation. And Jeff introduced me to, um, the processes of innovation thinking differently.

Certainly we started to introduce there some of those behavioral elements of human behavior and how when you get the human behavior right, it can actually lead to better insights, more creativity, how you define creativity.

It’s not just artistic. It’s looking at things in different ways to achieve better results. So he kind of was the formation of that, of who I am today in terms of going from a marketer who was you know, an operator, but, uh, but on the creative side of, of marketing, um, to more of an innovator, which is really looking at businesses differently and looking at the models differently so that they get the better results.

Jeff:

Right. What did he see in you, I’m just curious, what did he see in you when Koch said, hey, VP of ideas? Is it him that saw the innovation in you?

Keith:

Well, no, Jeff was at Pfizer. Jeff was at Pfizer. But he suggested you went to Koch. No, it’s an interesting question. I don’t know how hydrogen struggles got my name. Yeah. No idea. Okay. That’s what I’m trying to hone in on.

Like, and you know, hydrogen struggles is a executive search firm and they are, you know, they’re built to find people, you know, they, they find interesting people just like you’re, you’re, you’re now doing a podcast on interesting people, their, their organization, the Spencer Stewarts, the hydrogen struggles, they, they are basically executive search firm talent. You know, they find talent. and somehow they got ahold of me. I don’t know, I don’t think Jeff gave them my name. He may have. I mean, I never really asked him, honestly.

He wouldn’t have wanted you to leave. He was encouraging me to obviously highly consider the role, because it’s Koch. And he cared more about me than he did about himself. And that was just the type of leader that he was.

And I think that’s one of the commonalities of every mentor that I’ve ever had, and I hope to be in others, that you care about the person, about them more than you care about yourself. And if you mentor like that, you’ve got a great relationship.

Jeff:

That’s awesome. Books, favorite, recent? Did you read anything recently that’s awesome?

Keith:

Yeah, no, I mean, I’m a voracious reader. I mentioned the book from Strength to Strength. I’m 53 years old, so that book just spoke to me because I was launching Igniter and launching the Igniter group. you know, anytime you do something more entrepreneurial, your question, is it the right time? Is it the right, you know, and just that book really affirmed, you know, my passion and desire to now try to, in some ways, give back all of the experiences that I’ve had the, the, you know, the privilege of being in doing.

And a big part of what igniter is, is just Keith kind of like all the stories and all the craziness and all the things that we’ve did now reapplying it and helping organizations get to that, they get that as well.

Another book I read is, I don’t know, it’s interesting. You asked me the question and all of a sudden now everything goes blank. Listen, I’m a big believer in reading the Bible. I take a lot of Most every every morning. I have a very disciplined morning routine and it starts with scripture, you know It starts with some level of truth.

So that’s a book that I you know that I’m you know Constantly, you know reading and learning and it’s amazing how you know a verse in that was relevant 15 years ago becomes newly relevant today. It’s one of the only living, breathing, active books that’s truly alive, and it’s a big part of my reading portfolio.

Jeff:

No better book than it, right?

Keith:

Yeah, no doubt. We would argue, right? Yeah, well, I think it’s still the best-selling, most-selling book in the world as well, so I think it’s still relevant today, no doubt. It’s awesome.

Jeff:

All right, so the next 20 years for Keith, what does that look like?

Keith:

Yeah, I’m in my sweet spot. What we’re doing today with the Igniter Group is our sweet spot. We’re starting to expand consultants, and I think this is something that we can certainly grow. You know, I do think that we have a model that really works. I think what we do is very unique in the industry. I don’t think Deloitte’s doing this. I don’t think McKinsey’s doing this.

Some of the big kind of more consulting, you know, firms, the feedback that we often get from our clients is you actually put, you know, kind of boots on the ground and you get into the fight with us. And that’s very different than a consultancy that just kind of gives us PowerPoint decks and strategy and, hey, you need to do this, this, and this. We’re not that. We are kind of the anti-consultants.

We believe that your people are the power, and it’s our job to unleash that and put them through experiences so that we unleash the creativity and the culture in them so that then they can go drive it in their organization. it’s not about igniter it’s about your people and we in in a lot of ways we’re a white label consultant yeah meaning we take our ip and we speak it through the lens of whatever the company that we’re working with whether it’s coke or gildan or or um or Norwegian Cruise Lines, it’s through their language, not Igniter’s.

So I think the next 20 years is really building that. I think we’ve got a really powerful story. I think we’ve got a lot of lyrics to write and a lot of songs to sing with companies. And we’re already starting to see some top hits coming out of that work.

And, um, you know, we’re really excited about it. And I just, I love people, you know, and I love working with people and I love, I love seeing people, you know, get to different levels of thinking that, you know, then get to better levels of greatness.

And, uh, that’s, um, that’s something that I will do as long as I can physically do it. And listen, where it ends, who knows? We could just continue to grow this and it continues on way past me. I do have a passion for this organization being more than just Keith.

I think there’s a global story that’s powerful and I think we can make an impact in a lot of different sectors. I look at our client base today and it’s very cross sector. We’re working with food companies, we’re working with entertainment, we’re working with, service providers or working with technology work with banks we like so it’s it’s very it’s very ubiquitous in terms of our clients right now there’s not a specific area that we’re focusing on but it’s again the commonality of all of those businesses is that it’s their companies that believe that people are the most important asset yeah And our job is to try to help them unleash that asset in a more powerful way in the organization.

Jeff:

That’s incredible. Alright, let’s end on this. So 25 to 35, getting your career started, what would Keith advise to that age group?

Keith:

You know, I think it’s it’s interesting. I There’s a I saw a model once that looked at kind of like this passion profession and then you know opportunity kind of matrix and you know The center sweet spot was where you or you should really focus your attention on and I have some power and belief in that I think it I think passion is a really important part of profession.

Like if, you know, I saw, I saw a study recently, I think Deloitte may have done it. One of their, one of their divisions that only 13% of the U S workforce would consider themselves passionate about their role.

Wow. And, and that just like, it breaks my heart, honestly, 13% are passionate about their jobs. And in reality, and knowing that passion, Like I would take passion over intellect every single day. I want to surround myself with people who are passionate about my brand, passionate about our, about what we do, passionate about the, you know, making a culture impact.

Like if you, if you have someone, if you have a leader that’s truly passionate about what they want and what they’re doing, I think that you’re going to see great results. So, you know, I, I would, you know, advise any young leader to not just take a job, find something in industry, a role that they wake up on a Monday morning and it’s always going to be work.

You know, there’s aspects of my current situation that I’m like, yeah, you know, try the travels, not the best, you know, being away from Jennifer and like, it’s, there’s aspects of any job that you have that are going to suck. Sure.

But if you’re passionate about what you do, it makes Monday mornings a lot easier. So I would definitely assess when you’re about to say yes to a role, is this something that I could be really passionate about? And if it’s not, then find something else.

Jeff:

Awesome. Incredible. Great advice. Well, I’ll say, bottom of my heart, thank you so much for taking the time. Always a good time to be with you. I mean, this was incredible.

Ladies and gentlemen, Keith Wilmot, and I’m sure you’ve seen in this interview, so much more than just a successful businessman. There’s so much more, and you can hear it in his voice. Loves people. You can just feel his passion. I mean, just a great, great guy.

So if you want to check him out, it’s Igniter Agency. And Keith, are you on Instagram or anywhere else?

Keith:

Yeah, so Igniter Agency is on Insta, it’s on LinkedIn, igniteragency.com or theignitergroupcup.com. Great. Igniter spelled I-G-N-I-T-O-R. Okay. Yeah, we’re on every media channel and we put content out regularly that kind of gives an idea of what we do and how we do it. And yeah, certainly reach out to us. We’re open for business.

Jeff:

Awesome. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

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