In this episode of 15 Minutes With Charlie, Charlie Mechem sits down with Russ Meyer, a dear friend of Charlie’s and quite possibly the best Private Aviation Executive in the world.
Russ is the Chairman Emeritus and former Chief Executive Officer of the Cessna Aircraft Company. He has been awarded the Wright brothers Memorial Trophy, the Collier Trophy, the Meritorious Service Award from the National Business Aircraft Association, and has been inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. He graduated from Yale and then law school at Harvard and was a close and long time friend of Arnold Palmer, who in addition to being a noted golfer was also a Cessna owner and pilot.
Russ uses his unique experiences in the world of aviation to reflect on anecdotes from “Total Anecdotal: A Fun Guide to Help You Become a Better Speaker and Writer.” You can learn more about the book at charliemechem.com/book, or find it available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and perhaps your local bookstore.
The Pace of Change
The way people communicate and access information these days is constantly advancing and changing. Russ looks back on 1954, when he was a senior at Yale University. At the time, he was traveling in DC3 and DC4 aircrafts, yet somehow just 15 years later Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon. Change and progress occur at a fast pace, Russ says, and the older he gets the more he sees how fast that pace truly is.
Let’s Make a Deal!
Russ recalls a friend named George who was a brilliant real estate entrepreneur. When Russ came to make a decision about expanding into a larger office, he called George for advice. First George suggested he offer a very low number to the real estate agent for the property, to which Russ said he could never offer such a low number. To that, George gave him a piece of advice he will never forget, “No matter the number, you can never embarrass a real estate agent.”
Negotiations are tricky. A negotiation should always be about making a deal, not about showing who is the toughest in the room.
To the Moon and Back
Russ was once offered an opportunity at Pan Am, the company that swore it would be the first to fly to the moon. However, Russ mentions in hindsight, Pan Am has been an example of a company in an industry that was changing constantly who could not keep up with that change—as Russ mentioned previously, change is happening at a constant and impossibly fast rate. You must be able to go beyond to keep up with change and thrive in it in any industry you’re in.
Hard Work is the Key Ingredient
Whether it’s in construction, in a law, or trying to start a new airline, there is no replacement for hard work, Russ says. In law, the guy who wins the lawsuit is not always the smartest, but he is always the best prepared. The outstanding performers in sports are not only talented, but those who work hardest. Hard work is everything in success.
Having a Vision
There are a huge number of people in the world, but there are only a few that truly have the vision, the imagination, to do something groundbreaking. Sometimes that vision can seem crazy to others, but that does not make that vision any less valuable. In fact, sometimes the craziest visions and ideas are those that create the greatest successes. It is vision, and hard work, of course, that have truly driven humanity to make the many great advancements that it has in such a minute period of time.
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.