The Thursday morning portion of the Club Industry show in Las Vegas was highlighted by the Lifetime Achievement Award presentation to Joe Cirulli and the keynote address by John DiJulius. Besides having similar sounding names, the two would be linked again later in the day.
I had the honor of introducing both Cirulli and DiJulius that morning. It was great to see Joe so touched by our surprise video featuring several of his colleagues wishing him congratulations. To show that great minds think alike (or just a quirky coincidence), Joe also had the notes of his speech tucked away in a plain manila envelope, just like I did! (I'm glad there wasn't a switcheroo once he left the podium.)
As I introduced DiJulius, Joe sat back down, knowing he had an appointment next door at our CEO Summit. But out of politeness, Joe decided to stay and listen to DiJulius's address on customer service, which Joe really liked, as did the attendees.
Here's where a little change in plans ended up being beneficial for all. DiJulius also was slated to be the lunchtime speaker at the CEO Summit, and he prepared a slightly abridged version of his address for the CEOs. DiJulius talked about how employees at Starbucks see their company's mission stitched on the inside of their apron every day. He suggested club operators set guidelines, not policies, for their members, as guidelines allow staff to make exceptions when appropriate and allow staff to promptly respond to unique member demands.
At the end of his address to the CEOs, DiJulius asked for any questions. Joe, being the only one of the CEOs to have seen all of the DiJulius address earlier that day, suggested he put in the part about his son, a young wrestler who had grappled with a crushing defeat in a national youth tournament. (DiJulius later encouraged his son to keep working harder, leading to a victory over the same wrestler who defeated him, a big step toward earning a wrestling scholarship at Ohio State University.) DiJulius quickly revised his presentation to add in the part about his son, and it was a major hit with the CEOs, who already were impressed with him.
Come to think of it, making adjustments on the fly for the betterment of his peers is one reason we recognized Joe with our Lifetime Achievement Award.