Transcript of Theodore Bigby’s Harnessing Your Inner Motivation for Business Success presentation delivered to the Bay Area Content Marketing Meetup, Thursday, December 17th, 2020.
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Dennis (host): Hi everyone and welcome to the Bay Area Content Marketing meetup where we are now going far beyond the Bay Area. We have a presenter today who is based in London.
The presenter is Theodore Bigby, Theodore is a marketing consultant at More Than Venice, and he’s going to talk about harnessing your inner motivation for business success. Theodore, thanks for joining us and take it away.
Theodore Bigby: Hey, thank you very much, good evening everyone. Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to have a listen to me this afternoon.
So, harnessing your inner motivation for business success. We’re gonna discover how you can use your internal motivation to harness it in life, work and business. So we’ll look at:
- My motivation;
- How I found mine;
- Ideas on how you can find yours, and then;
- How it can be used in a business setting.
So, first of all, my why. What is my why and why is it important?
The Most Powerful Question
I think that why is the most powerful question. If you can discover why:
- it benefits you;
- your career and;
- your clients;
- It answers important questions and;
- helps you to grow personally.
It’s a very important question to ask.
So children ask about it and they learn why from a young age. I don’t have any children, but I know from taking care of them that they can ask why for everything. Why this, why that, why the other. And it really helps to get down to the basics of everything.
Lean Project Management Five Whys Example(1:39)
So here’s a good example. In lean project management, they have the five whys. It’s used to get to the root cause.
So the problem could be someone ran through a red light; they get stopped by the police.
Police Officer: why did you go through the red light?
Suspect: because I was late for work
Police Officer: Why were you late for work?
Suspect: Because I woke up late
Police Officer: Why did you wake up late?
Suspect: The alarm clock broke!
Police Officer: Why did the alarm clock break?
Suspect: I didn’t check if it worked
Police Officer: Why didn’t you check if it worked?
Suspect: Forgot to do it last night
So getting to the root cause, the end outcome is the way I like to look at it. Is asking those why questions. If you’re marketing an alarm clock, for example, instead of marketing it as “we have xyz technology which makes the alarm work”. You could do an advert based on somebody who was late for work and avoiding being stopped by the police.
So my why, it’s important because it’s inside me and I realised that along my journey in marketing. So why am I here?
My path, I guess started when I was an English major. So I feel as though I can tell a few stories here and there, so I thought “okay, I can go into marketing. This is gonna be fun.”
It was really the bright lights that attracted me. I know it’s more sales, but Glengarry Glen Ross, the famous scene ABC, Always Be Closing.
That kind of thing attracted me. It’s kind of amazing and you know, it’s gonna be the road to riches. I go into a client pitch and we say some stuff, we get some results, we get a check for $1 million, or £1 million.
I thought it was going to be great. However, my journey along the marketing Brick Road was not linear, as I guess it is for many people.
My first job had a lot of variety. It was more like a start-up kind of vibe and I was doing email marketing. They used to use faxes; can you believe it? But I started their email marketing, developed a few new websites with them.
We had in-person events, like the customers would come in to have sessions to explain how they use the software, things like that. We’d have charity runs that I organised. So hands-on everywhere and it was quite strategic.
However, there weren’t any learning and development prospects. So because I enjoyed what I did, I decided you know what? I’m going to pay for myself to do a marketing diploma. Thanks to that, I achieved a higher paid job. It was in the manufacturing sector, which is how I started to learn about lean project management and the five whys.
Everything was going great until we hit a roadblock and marketing was cut. Well, that’s unfortunate, but as with many things marketing was is first thing to go. So, I started in sales and telemarketing. I did try to get a few clients at that time which is where my brand started off, but I guess I wasn’t quite ready for it at that stage in terms of finding new clients and things like that. But what I did start to do is I started to question myself and ask why. I started a new phase of growth within myself.
Questions Are Currency(5:20)
I learned that questions are currency. In telemarketing, you learn when to listen. You learn when to ask a question. I’m not saying by any means that I’m amazing at that, but at least I started to ask the questions and that’s all you can do in life and in your career; ask the questions and improve.
So I wondered what is it that I don’t like about this job that I’m doing? What is it that I like about the marketing jobs I was doing before? It was because they were based on short-term goals. Sell xyz, or abc and sell five units of it, or get four appointments in one week or something like that.
To me, it’s short-term goals and there was no outlook, there was no strategy. Whereas before, I had my hands on a lot of strategy.
So, I decided then there I’m not going to give up, I’m going to keep going and I’m gonna see how well I can do with marketing. I managed to find myself a great new job. So everything was going really well, everything was on track. It was difficult, it was hard, it was tough.
Some days were really, you know, takes it out of you. But at the end of the day, I was working with people who were amazing people, they were very friendly, they were just like superb. And I was happy because I had a bit more strategy going on as well. But, #2020! We all know how that went don’t we? Or is going at the moment. So roll on 2021, I’ll be much happier when that comes about.
Why I’m Here Now(7:09)
So why am I here now? As I said, I like developing strategies, actioning plans, achieving goals, helping others along their journey. The last part I discovered while I was doing a bit of freelancing because I was helping small businesses to achieve their goals and that felt quite fulfilling.
So now I’m thinking about motivation. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. So which lasts longer? The image on the left is a box, the image on the right is money. So I’ll speak in dollars. So on the left, if you make a box, that’s intrinsic motivation.
You get the wood, you cut the wood, you sand the wood, you put it together, you varnish it; nice finish. That’s intrinsic. When you look back on that, you think “oh! So proud, I’m so proud of what I’ve done here”.
On the other hand, a bag of money. You win $1,000, £1,000, €1,000, whatever it is. That is extrinsic, it lasts for a short amount of time. Just like with telemarketing you get a bonus but you forget about that pretty soon. I mean maybe in 10 years, when you look back, you remember “oh, that’s great, I won £10,000 or £1,000 or $1,000.
You look back on the box and the feelings and the emotions and the time you took to make the box will come back to you. That’s not to say winning money is bad is bad or getting bonuses is bad, but I look past that to the inside motivation, the five whys remember. Go deeper. The money is not what is going to make us happy. It’s what we can do with the money. That’s what I believe.
Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivation(8:54)
So what drives you? Here we have intrinsic motivation and extrinsic. So extrinsic on the left this time. So we have Bryce Harper. I think that’s the Phillies he plays for. He used to play for Washington, I think it’s the Nationals.
I always get confused because they have a big ‘W’ on their shirt which looks like Wallgreens, so I keep thinking “is this the Washington Wizards?” But the Wizards is the basketball team I think? But hey, forgive me, I’m British.
So money, praise, competition, the threat of punishment is extrinsic; it comes from outside.
On the right, we have Lewis Hamilton, you may know him. Seven times world champion, one of the greatest Formula One world drivers of all time. That represents autonomy, control of your life, competence, being the best you can and that’s long lasting.
He wants to be the best he can be. He may say that he’s not looking at the records, but I think deep down inside, he wants to be the best he can be.
Now, for Bryce, he got $330 million I think it was for signing with I think that’s the Phillies. Forgive me again if I got that wrong. And the reason behind that he’s going to be to do with his family I feel.
Yeah, it’s short term, he took the money. But now his family’s set for life. His children can have the life that whatever life they want, it’s theirs is to make of what they will, which is great. That’s what I believe was driving him to take the money and to reject Washington.
Finding Your Why(6:46)
So, I guess that brings us onto you guys. Finding your why. Where is it?
So think about what’s important. So Maslow‘s hierarchy of needs, I do believe that this is reasonably accurate in terms of how we live life, so your personal performance will go up if you find your why. You will be more confident and you will be fulfilled.
So there’s nothing that stops you from looking for your why no matter where you are on this pyramid, but I would say that a gentleman like Bryce Harper is probably around the self-esteem area. So he’s got his psychological safety and security sorted. He’s got a family, so love and belonging.
Self esteem with a sports star, with anyone, it goes up and it goes down, but at that point you need to be looking at self actualisation which is where I feel that I am right now. I’m trying to find that why.
Think Back (to a Project)(11:44)
So I think back. What project are you especially proud of? How did it make you feel at the time and how does it make you feel now? I suspect that it’s going to be something more long-term, something you had to fight for, something that was difficult.
(Live) Your Best Life
So you wanna live your best life. Ways to help you to get to your why or just live your best life, which I’m also starting to look more into now, are:
Just making time for yourself
What I would like to try to do now is meditation. Some people have said they do yoga to relax and that’s great. I’m thinking maybe meditation. At the moment I enjoy going for runs. I used to enjoy cycling on my commute to and from work a few years ago, but I don’t cycle any more.
It’s that exercise that gets me going. I challenge myself to get to work in less time and beat the times on the splits, you know I’ve got a recording software to see how quickly I’m going. So that’s how I keep myself going, but we’re all different.
“paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental well-being.”
And I think essentially that’s what I did when I went into the Telemarketing environment. I started to think more about how I felt.
Think About Your Customer’s Why(13:15)
So translate this into your customers why, ‘cause customers like you, they’re like me. So customers and prospects also have a why. Their emotional state is the reason that they buy from you. It may be logical.
They try to be “oh you know I’m buying this because it’s the cheapest, it fits in with my budget” or “this is the best product for the job”. But I think people make emotional decisions and justify them with logic that’s something I’ve heard along my journey.
So, create a persona for them. In the past, I used to do that by saying where do they live, how much money do they earn, what car do they drive, what’s their budget going to be for set items? But that was just creating a target audience.
I didn’t realise that at the time, but now I understand it’s about the why. Why people are buying. It’s not about we’ve got these great features and that’s why they’re gonna buy from us, there’s going to be a deeper reason.
They want to solve a problem, they want to make sure they don’t get stopped by the police for going through red lights, so therefore they’re gonna have an alarm clock that will make sure that doesn’t happen.
So I focus on the outcomes as I said. I think of it as an outcome, the end goal that the customer or the client wants to achieve. So target audiences are great and there is a place for those, but the why is what moves them to action and I now try to tell the full story.
So in a business, why is also essential. So a business benefits from knowing it’s why. Why? Because it’s NUMBERS focused. It’s focused on profits, it’s focused on loss, but that’s not all that exists in the world of business.
People matter. a business also connects with people. If you can connect with your target audience, then they will just be giving you money. “Shut up and take my money!” I mean obviously, this is real life, it doesn’t happen quite like that, but once you connect with them, you’re more likely to get people to buy your product. Your marketing messages will resonate better with them.
So, let’s look at business sizes from small to large because that impacts the why.
A small business is a direct reflection office proprietors, often family owned, born from necessity or a dream. This means that the small business owner is very close to the people who are working for the business.
Often, maybe they’re the only people working there, so the customers understand the why, the employees understand the why. It may not be written down, but they know it because they’re speaking to the people who embody the business.
Medium Sized Business
But as a business starts to grow, then it undergoes an identity crisis. What I mean by that is with even up to 100 people maybe, the business owner can know the name of everyone who is working in that business. It’s possible, 100 is pushing it, it’s difficult.
Once you get to 200, I think it’s impossible. I’m sure there are a few people out there who have that photographic memory, they can just remember everyone’s name, but that’s getting difficult. But also the more people there are, the further away the founders get from serving the customers, they then should be working on the business, not in the business.
And so they don’t meet all of the employees, they are not necessarily hiring them all and at that point, the why becomes more important for the business. So a distinct business identity starts to form.
And this growth and requires consistency. Because of the distance that’s growing, the consistent look and the consistent service needs to appear and let’s take a look at Pizza Hut and see. For example, it was the early 60s this was happening around 1962. I believe they started in 1958 around there.
Pizza Hut didn’t have a consistent theme. Their shops, their stores, their outlets were not all the same. The service levels were probably not the same, the menu offerings I don’t believe were the same in the beginning. But Shakeys had a theme.
Shakeys started to move east from Sacramento and the Pizza Hut head founders I believe, they went to a Shakeys and they had a good time there and they thought ‘well, this has got a theme, maybe we need that?’ So Pizza Hut set about creating a signature brand. They needed consistency to connect with their why and they even created the signature building that you see in the picture in the background there with the kind of hat that represents Pizza Hut.
Now, this is the kind of thing I try to do when building a website for a client. I find the why to try and improve the end result. So they need to understand who they are, which is important. They also need to understand the clients they help and how they serve them. In the real world, this means for example, a lettings management company, who are they letting to?
They could be letting to tenants, the end users. They could be dealing with people who are landlords, or they could be dealing with property investors. There are three different distinct segments and within those, there are different demographics, different target audiences.
So for tenants, if it’s a family, then you have pictures of families and people being happy together. If it’s a student, then maybe you have pizza? You have pictures of students in parties or enjoying pizza together or watching TV. That changes everything.
Business Why Elements(19:35)
Now, the business why elements. The mission statement is very very important because you can’t speak to the founder when the business becomes huge, or it gets sold. The branding elements are also vitally important; they communicate the why without having to speak.
So, branding elements like fonts and colours and customer service. I believe customer service is part of the brand. You decide how you’re going to approach the customers, how are you going to treat them, and that is vitally important to write down and have in a document that people can see.
How to Find a Business Why(20:18)
So how do you find the why? That’s important. It’s the same as our why really, but for a business that is not a living breathing human being, you can go back to the founders. Why did they start it? Who were they? What did they want to be? So did they want it to solve a problem for somebody?
Maybe they had a problem, they could solve it and they thought ‘great, I’m gonna sell this to other people because other people will find this useful and buy it.’ Then, you need to consider, what exactly is it that motivated the founders if it wasn’t providing that service. Did they wanna make money? Provide for their family? There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s fine to go there. Just make sure that we express that and we’re truthful about it.
Define What You Are Not(21:15)
So, something I learned earlier this year is about defining what you are not. So define what you aren’t to find what you are. What do you reject? We reject pollution. So instead of saying we are an environmentally friendly company committed to preserving the environment and recycling, you can instead say we actively preserve the environment, by making sure the choices we make lead to a better world.
We always encourage our employees to go out and do say litter picking, recycling initiatives every month. That is, that’s, I think that’s amazing. I think that’s amazing. Instead of a generic we value the environment. Say what it is that you value.
So as I’ve mentioned,…
More Scale Means More Why(22:13)
…more scale means more why. A greater divide from the workforce means a greater need for why. So that means, you need to make sure you’re plugging that gap. You’re looking at reasons why the company exists and delve deeper. Delve deeper to the real reason.
Finally, it’s time to celebrate finding your why. I guess we can celebrate, but as well as celebrating, we also need to recognise it’s an ongoing process. Yes, you can find your why, but we’re changing. Business world changes all the time as well. So, the why is not something that you set it and forget it, you find the why, but you keep questioning over time.
The mission statement is something that can stay quite solid for a very long time, but make sure you’re still looking at what the why is and how you can find it.
So, that is all for today. Thank you very much for listening. I’m happy to take your questions and comments now. If you want to catch up with me, you can do so with my Twitter handle and also on LinkedIn as well. Please do connect with me, I’m very happy to do that. So, thank you very much for the opportunity Dennis I appreciate it.
Dennis Shiao: Sure thing that was a great talk, Theodore. I was curious about, I really found your personal career journey interesting, and I just was curious about the current state. You mention you found an exciting job, and then 2020 hit, but you’re excited for 2021. Tell us a bit more, is More Than Venice you own agency or what is 2021 looking like for you in an ideal sense?
Theodore Bigby: Okay so I was previously working for a hotel, but they made me redundant unfortunately because of 2020; COVID-19. So, I decided to go freelance again. In the past, I mentioned I did a little bit when I was doing Telemarketing. But now, I started a proper company, you would call it an LLC in the States we call it just a Limited Company in the UK, and this is my own agency.
So I aim to provide marketing services but towards the SEO website side of providing strategy solutions on how you can reach your target audience and linking into that from using email and social media to link into your website. 2021 is looking good, I’m just going to have to keep approaching people, getting their inbox speak to people on LinkedIn, do talks like this, so it’s looking bright, so I’m happy.
Dennis: Excellent, congratulations. A bunch of in the meetup group that are online right now are in similar roles, we are freelancers and we work on consulting and freelance projects for clients.
Dennis: Anyone else out there have questions?
Theodore: Any more questions?
Dennis: Or comments?
Which Side Does Bryce Harper Bat From?(25:43)
The thing that I think I was stumped about was, I’m a baseball fan, I thought that Bryce Harper batted from the left side left side, but your image has him batting from the right side. He was a switch hitter in the past, but I don’t think he batted from the right side in the pros, so I’m stumped.
Theodore: What I did was, I flipped the image because I thought it would look more attractive to show the movement towards the upwards rather than showing it in the opposite direction, to lead everyone that way.
Dennis: That’s funny!
Rich Schwerin: That’s a really good eye Dennis, I love that. I didn’t notice that because he’s not a San Fansisco Giant, so really who cares?
Theodore: I wanted to thank you for your presentation, your time, given that we’ve got eight hours on you as you head into your Thursday night. How did you, and maybe you already explained this before I joined a little late, but
Rich:How did you find out about the [Bay Area Content Marketing] meetup?
What’s your connection to Dennis and the [Bay Area Content Marketing] meetup?(26:43)
Theodore: I saw the meet up at the beginning of the year, I think actually it was around March. I don’t know if you missed it, but I mentioned my why. I started questioning myself, what I wanted to do, what I liked, what I disliked. So continuing that in my life, and then earlier this year I thought, you know what, I really want to start getting back into public speaking because I really enjoy it and I did a bit of it before, so I looked up, what’s that speaking gig? Toastmasters.
So I looked up Toastmasters, I started looking at Twitter. I thought okay, I wanna become better at Twitter as well, so it was part of that drive to do that. And I looked at Twitter, I found meetups and I thought okay. Like Twitter chats, sorry, Twitter chats are a great way to get involved. Previously I believe I’d interacted with the Content Marketing Institute and so that was a couple years ago. And then I started looking at #CMIWorld. and the other Twitter chats and I believe that’s where I met Dennis and Dennis saw me making some comments.
I hope I don’t embarrass him when I say he has a terrible sense of humour which I fully share. So, I think he saw some of my terrible jokes and he took pity on me and I think one of the things I was talking about was probably related to this chat and he said “do you want to give a speech about it? And I said “yes please”. And I came to a couple of the meetups earlier in the year, but because I was working at that time, then 8 o’clock wasn’t always the best time because I come home from work, I cook, I go to sleep so that’s why I haven’t been on so many. But yeah, that’s how I got to know about this.
Richard: Very good. Well thank you, I was on listen only mode only here at the post office, you know, we’re last minute shipping of Christmas gifts but I survived that. A final note, I appreciate your reference to the classic David Mamet Glengarry Glen Ross, which is somewhat hard to watch, I think the script is malevolent, but I chatted in “coffee is for closers”. I can still hear Baldwin: “Hey! Coffee is for closers, put that down!” Anyway, thank you, thank you so much
Theodore: No I appreciate it even more that you guys actually took the time to watch and listen to me.
Tod Cordill: I have a question. So you established your personal why, and then you went and created a business and that process.
Is the why for your business the same as your personal why or have you got a whole separate why for your business than you do for yourself?(29:31)
Theodore: I’m trying to develop a why for my business, however, I think that will come from my feelings. The reason for that is I mentioned that I didn’t have learning and development opportunities in my first company. And I felt as though I was in competition in many ways with an agency I was working with, so I would like to make my agency into one that works with in-house people as well, to empower them.
So I guess I want to make it more into its training and developing in house talent and using my company as an outside consultant. So, at the moment, it’s related to my why, but as I mentioned in the presentation, if I want to scale it, and I do want to scale it, I want to employ other people.
I’m not sure how soon I can do that, or how long it will take me, but I recognise I need to then separate myself from the business and the business needs to have its own why, which I think will be along the lines of what I mentioned.
Todd: It makes sense. If you wanna stay a solo-preneur and have that , you’re a freelancer. A huge overlap between business why and your personal why. The more you wanna grow your business, the more those are probably gonna diverge. Makes sense.
Dennis: So, Theodore,
tell us the background behind your company’s name, More Than Venice.(31:13)
Theodore: Ah, More Than Venice. So, I am from a city called Birmingham. Probably not many people have heard of it in the UK. It’s about 110 miles away from London, on the motorway we call it. And it’s said that Birmingham has more canals than Venice. Now, it’s a famous saying about the city, the truth is, Birmingham has more miles of canal in Venice. So our canal network is more extensive, although Venice’s is more intricate.
So I took that as my idea because I want my business, again the why of the business, I guess I thought about all those years ago, was I wanted to be associated with Birmingham and I wanted to help the city of Birmingham to grow. At the moment, I’m not sure how that’s going to look, so I don’t know if I’m going to keep that in my business why, but I think it will be nice to do that.
Dennis: Excellent, that’s a really interesting story. I’ve been to London, but not Birmingham.
Is [Birmingham] structured similar to Venice, with it’s all canals and there are no real roads?(32:21)
Theodore: No, in that sense, the canals are very much off, out of the way. You don’t see them really, except in the centre of the city where they started to make them focal points. It’s more that they are long. If you imagine like railway lines. Because the intent of the canals was to transport goods across the UK.
That’s why Britain at the heart of the industrial revolution developed a canal system because the roads were terrible. So, that’s why our canals are long and usually, they’re a bit out of the way although you do cross by them at certain places in the city.
Dennis: Got it, cool. Any others with comments, questions? Holiday wishes? I guess
I am gonnna work on one why for 2021(33:21) ,
happy holidays Carol, which is why is my sense of humour so bad? So I’m gonna be working on that.
Theodore: Maybe I can help you on that, or maybe you can be a consultant to help me improve mine?
Dennis: Yeah, improv. I think the key is improv. To be more, what’s the word? Improvisational
Rich: It’s not that it’s bad humour, Dennis, it’s what our daughters would call dad humour.
Dennis: Yeah, I know! We’re of that certain age huh, dad jokes. But Dad is one word away from bad, so there you go. That was a joke!
Theodore: That’s true, it is. One word, it was two letters away.
Dennis: What? Did I say word? Yeah, one.
Theodore: Yeah one word, it’s two letters away.
Dennis: Two letters away, I think I meant to say letter.
Theodore: See, we do have the same sense of humour!
Dennis: Yeah I’ve got to work on the delivery. Well, Theodore, thanks again for joining us, and best wishes with your freelancing and consulting work next year, or now and into next year. Thanks everyone for joining, this is the last meetup of the year, but we’ll have more coming in 2021. So stay safe everyone and.
Todd: Yes, thanks, Theodore. Happy holidays.
Theodore: Thank you.
Dennis: Happy holidays.