March 2, 2014








During a recent formal (wink) board meeting, I encountered a moment I’ll never forget.

Each month, I meet with my Board of Directors. We’ve never met at a boardroom table or even in an office. These monthly board meetings are conducted at a local bar, over dinner or during a walking meeting through our downtown Las Vegas neighborhood.

I digress . . . this post isn’t about board meetings, but it was necessary picture to paint for the plot of this post.

One of my fellow board members has this ‘project‘ going on, which I’ve written about and mentioned several times before. It’s a $350 million, privately funded, mission to change a city in a way that’s never been done.

This project is to the local Las Vegas media as a political election is to late night TV and SNL. The daily articles about the project put the efforts in a heroic light during the morning press and then in the afternoon they claim all is evil. The local media, bless their cotton socks, seem confused and exhausting at times. If you don’t live in downtown Las Vegas it can be tough to have a clear lens.

Whether you agree with the Las Vegas “Downtown Project” or not, is not my point.

What happened during our (walking) board meeting the other day explains it all. A homeless gentleman approached one of my board members who happens to be leading the efforts of this project. The man walked up to him, patted him on the back and made eye contact. He said, “Good job, Tony. You’re doing good work down here.”

Tony flashed his famous barely-there-half-embarrassed-of-the-attention humble smile and said, “Thank you.” Then he kept walking and we resumed our board meeting.

Thinking back, the gentleman probably didn’t have a place to sleep that night and he likely doesn’t know where his next meal will come from. However, he showed gratitude and grace because he’s been given hope.

It occurred to me that my board meetings aren’t necessarily about my business. They’re subliminally teaching me about what it means to create and implement a Vision beyond what you can see. Each month guides me. It’s pretty unique to live in an environment where you witness the art of a Visionary every day. It sure does serve as great curriculum. If you “live it”, you will learn it.

Visionaries don’t predict the future. They place bets on their ability to form and create what the future looks like based on their previous experiences and lesson. There’s a difference between betting against the house while gambling blind and placing a steep calculated bet on the belief in yourself and the belief you have in the team you’ve attracted.

Nearly two years ago when Tony Hsieh asked me to move my company to downtown Las Vegas he shared his vision with me. None of his vision yet existed in plain sight. Today is a different story. Nearly 2,000 jobs have been created and our neighborhood looks completely different.

Turns out, it doesn’t matter who believes in the Visionary because they believe in themselves enough to draw the right people around them and create physical proof for others.

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