Charlie Mechem sits down with Mike McCarley, a successful American broadcasting executive and the President of Golf for the NBC sports group. Mike is a protege of former NBC Sports & Olympics legend, Dick Ebersol. He has deep connections in the golf world and sports world in general, and, under his leadership, has helped the Golf Channel grow and prosper. Using his prestigious sports background as reference, Mike responds to anecdotes from Charlie’s book, “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.”
Deep Passion Sparks Confidence
Confidence and arrogance can sometimes be mistaken for one another, but they have some distinct characteristics. Everyone knows someone who is never in doubt, even though they are wrong sometimes—these people are arrogant. There are others who understand the importance of communication and have a deep passion for what they do—these people are confident. In the world of sports and broadcasting, there is no doubt that there are a few, if not many, arrogant individuals—though there must be an equal amount of passionate and confident ones, such as Mike, as well.
Five Floor Pitch
It’s so important in today’s day and age to be able to communicate and get your point across quickly and effectively. Mike tries his best to teach all of his young employees that they need to have an “elevator pitch” ready to go at a moments notice. If you had to sell yourself, your ideas, and ambitions in just the amount of time it would take to get from the first floor to the fifth, how would you do it? He stresses that while you can have a vision, it’s only so good as your ability to articulate it effectively. Communicating effectively is about getting your point across as briefly, yet descriptively as possible.
Admit Your Mistakes and Fix Them
It’s important to admit when you’ve made a mistake. When speaking to his young up and coming executives and employees Mike always tries to teach that you must let people know if you’ve made a mistake because that is the first step in fixing the problem. He recalls a moment from his early 30’s when he messed something up with an important partner. He admitted this mistake to his boss. His boss then asked if he’d told the partner. When he told him yes, his boss told him that since that was said and done, it was time to start resolving the problem. A failure is only a failure if you don’t try to fix it. The quicker you admit that there was a mistake made, the quicker you can work to fix it. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s how you handle them that truly matters—it’s impossible to “bat 1000” on everything, Mike says.
If you run a business or have an idea, you have to have a vision for where you’re going. You cannot expect people to invest their time in you if you can’t articulate your vision. Mike recalls a story about his and Charlie’s friend Arnold Palmer in the early days of the Golf Channel. He and Arnold had been talking about some of the upcoming new programming. They spoke about a lack of appreciation for college golf, and how Arnold had always had a vision for what the channel was going to be in the early 90s. Arnold wanted the channel to be all parts of golf—not just professional, rather, golf as a lifestyle. Mike finds this story to be important in stressing that if you don’t know what your vision is, you’re going to end up somewhere else—and it usually won’t be where you want to be. Arnold never gave up, was passionate, and had an express love for golf, even if he wasn’t always winning; it was these characteristics about Arnold that made him as great as he was.
An Idea is One Thing, Success is Another
Many people can talk a good game, but they don’t always have what it takes to actually play the game. Nothing beats hard work, Mike says. While you may have a great idea, you should note that that’s just the very start of the process, there’s a long road ahead. You’ve got to work very hard to get to the finish line and achieve true success. There’s no way to cheat hard work, you either work hard or you don’t. Charlie and Mike agree that no truly successful person has ever not worked hard.
The Product is Everything
If your audience, customer, or consumer doesn’t like the product, they’re not going to bother buying it. Mike’s job has been to produce and promote some of the biggest events in sports, and from his experience he knows that by watching the audience he can determine if he was successful or not. Mike takes it upon himself to try to do his very best to please his audience, not just succeed, but go above and beyond. However good you may think you or your product is, you can always do better—you should always push yourself to do better.
If you’d like to listen to more episodes of “15 Minutes With Charlie,” please visit the podcast page or search for “15 Minutes With Charlie” in your podcasting app. If you are enjoying the show you should check out “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.” Learn more on our book page, or find it available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and perhaps your local bookstore.