Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
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Leadership Lessons From Las Vegas

Welcome to Las Vegas NevadaI’m flying back from three jammed packed days in Las Vegas, where I had the privilege of presenting a session at the Saba @Work Conference, to a room full of people interested in upping their game in the world of talent acquisition and retention. Here are some lessons learned while attending the conference, as well as my time spent on The Strip.

There is always room for improvement. Representatives from some of the top companies around the globe were in attendance for this three-day event. All were there to improve the way their companies operate. If each person returns with just one idea they can immediately implement, then I would say they have achieved their goal and then some.

What are you doing to improve your company? Are you putting yourself in situations where you have access to global thought leaders who can present new ideas and opportunities that you can apply at work? Are you actively networking with others so you have a pool of people you can access when needs arise?

Go big or go home. If you’ve been to Vegas than you know things tend to be larger and grander than anywhere else on earth. Take the shows. I’ve seen a number of touring Cirque de Soleil shows, which are certainly enjoyable. However, nothing compares to being in a theatre that is specially designed to accommodate the grand stage that is common in Vegas.

I had the opportunity to take in the Cirque Michael Jackson One show, which was certainly much larger than the touring production I saw in my hometown. Too many “ooohs and ahhhs” to count. But then again, this is Vegas and people have big expectations.

What are you doing half-heartingly in your organization and what can be done to step up your game? If something isn’t worth doing in a big way, then perhaps it’s not worth doing at all.

The recession is over. The last time I was in Vegas, we were in the midst of the recession. Cab drivers shared stories of declines in revenue of at least 30 percent. This time around, cab drivers were smiling and happy to declare that Las Vegas has come through the recession and is bigger and better than ever.

Is your company still operating as if you are still in the midst of the recession? Are you taking advantage of all the growth opportunities in front of you or are you still holding on tightly to your piggy bank? Now is the time to invest in your business. Wait any longer and you may miss the boat entirely.

Know when to hold and when to fold.  I’m not much of a gambler, but I do like to play the slots when I’m in Vegas. I usually set aside a budget of $25. (I know, laughable.) This time around was different. I placed a dollar in the first machine that I came to and wound up winning four dollars. I immediately cashed out my winnings, figuring that I should quit while I was ahead, and off to bed I went, smiling all the way to my room.

In my business, I see companies throwing good money after bad all the time. They bet on an employee, who clearly is a long shot and continue to double down, even when it’s apparent that this story isn’t going to have a good ending. Take my advice and quit while you are ahead. Put those resources into someone else who demonstrates every day that they are worth the investment.

Persistence pays. I don’t usually take no for an answer and I’m glad I didn’t when trying to score tickets to one of the hottest shows in town, Diana Ross. The opening night performance was sold out. I kept thinking clearly there must be a single ticket somewhere. I placed a call at 1:00 AM to the concierge at American Express to enquire. I was right! One ticket was available and in the time it took me to say, “I’ll take it!” it was gone.

I tried the hotel concierge the following morning to see if he could score a ticket for me. He kindly called the box office and was told there were no tickets. He tried one of his trusted brokers and again was unsuccessful. He knew I wasn’t leaving without a ticket in hand. He tried another broker and scored one ticket, third row, center for a reasonable price (well reasonable for Vegas). It was amazing show and I had the best seats in the house. I’m so glad that I didn’t give up!

How many times have you given up after the first no? What might have happened if you kept pushing until you got a yes? Like Diana Ross says, “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” and that holds true when you are in the pursuit of business. Go forth, push through and climb to new heights of success!

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