How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

Everyone knows the old joke.  How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice, practice, practice.  The implication being that the only way to get to the top is through a lot of hard work and practice.  But the joke doesn't tell you how to stay on top once you get there.  I have witnessed two great examples in the last ten days and am happy to share. On Friday March 9, I was lucky enough to attend the Bruce Springsteen concert at the legendary Apollo Theater; the first show supporting the new album, Wrecking Ball.  As I was leaving the show, I noticed the equipment being loaded in to the trucks behind the theater.  The next day, I was down the shore with the family and drove past Convention Hall in Asbury Park where I saw similar looking trucks.  I thought it was a coincidence until I received an email from a friend saying that Bruce's gear was being loaded in for a few quick rehearsals before they hit the road.

I don't know the specifics, but I have to imagine that there was a significant cost just to unload and reload the equipment as there were several tractor trailers.  Also, the band had rehearsed for several weeks at Fort Monmouth before the show at The Apollo, but Bruce obviously thought that the band would benefit from two more rehearsal sessions before the next show in Austin, Texas

Bruce Springsteen is arguably one of the greatest live performers in rock music history.  The E Street Band, while augmented on this tour by a five piece horn section, percussionist and two back up singers, has a core in place that has played together for over 35 years.  However, one of the reasons why he's one of the best of all time is his willingness to put in the extra hours when no one is watching, honing his craft, working his band, and making sure that he delivers his best every night.  In 1978, he said, "The whole idea is to deliver what money can't buy".  He cares enough about his audience to put in the time and effort to give them the best show possible.

Thinking about Bruce's promise to over-deliver, it made me think of how we are taking a similar approach to our business.  I am part of a team that is preparing for a major presentation this week.  Leading the team are two of the most successful brokers at CBRE.  There's easily 100+ years of real estate experience on the team including some of the largest deals in New Jersey and New York, and if we wanted to, we could walk in to the presentation with a couple of pretty maps, some generic market statistics and our resumes.  And if we did that, we might have a good chance of winning the business. 

However, this team is taking a different approach.  We are trying to figure out what we can do to be creative, what we can do to differentiate ourselves from the competition.  There's a lot of time and thought being put in to the message and how it's delivered.  Everyone on the team is taking time away from pile on their desks to focus on this new opportunity so that we put our best foot forward and show the client that we cared enough to develop a presentation that is specific to their need.  The work product is almost done and it's exponentially better than the first draft.

Whether we win or lose this week, I know that when we hit our stage Thursday morning, we will be prepared to deliver something money can't buy.  That's what it's all about...right?


Speaking of Bruce, I would be remiss if I didn't share the link below.  He gave the keynote speech at SXSW, one of the world's leading music conferences.  He spoke for about 50 minutes about the artists who influenced his music including Elvis, The Beatles, The Animals, Motown, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie.  If you are a music fan or want to learn about music, it's worth the time.  There's also a great lesson in how to learn from those that came before that is applicable in not only to music, but to business and life in general.  Enjoy.

Link to Bruce's speech.