Carter Wade is an enthusiastic senior leader and client advocate at Veritus Group, with over 30 years of experience serving non-profit organizations in strategic planning, direct response marketing, and fundraising. He has developed and managed highly successful campaigns for a wide range of national and regional clients throughout the United States and clearly understands the importance of caring for and nurturing relationships with mid and major donors.
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
- Why Carter uses the "DIP" (drive, initiative, and push) philosophy to drive his success
- The important lessons Carter learned over his 30+ year career, how he developed his leadership style, and how to trust employees to rise to their roles
- How believing in and empowering the people around you is a crucial key to instilling a sense of ownership
- What tips Carter has to offer for delighting and surprising clients, and why robust client service requires intentionally focusing on being remarkable
- Why our "personal preferences" often cause us to be blind to the facts, and why we must learn to set those personal preferences aside
- What strategies Carter recommends for anyone struggling to better manage their time, and why owning and blocking your calendar is crucial
- Why "meeting creep" is a real danger that can unnecessarily eat into your time and your productivity
- Website: https://veritusgroup.com/
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/carter-wade-12973421/
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/veritus-group/
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/VeritusGroup
- Twitter: @VeritusGroup
Intro: Welcome to A Brave New Podcast. The podcast all about how brave entrepreneurial companies are unlocking their business potential using inbound marketing. Here is your marketing expert and host Polly Jakovich.
Polly Yakovich: Welcome back to A Brave New Podcast. I'm excited to have my former boss extraordinaire with me today, Carter Wade is one of those legendary bosses that you are still quoting and begging you to meet for margaritas years after you've worked for him. Thank you so much for coming on today, Carter.
Carter Wade: Thanks, Polly. Glad to be here. It's good to see you again. It's been too long.
Polly Yakovich: Carter has so many talents, from leadership to time management, to client service. I'm excited to really dig into some of these with you and just continue to learn from you, and let my audience learn from you as well.
Carter Wade: I'm happy to share everything I can. I've always been the type of person just to put it all out there and be as helpful as possible. Hopefully, people listening to this will find me nuggets of good information here.
Polly Yakovich: You will. I hope you hit on some of your catchphrases, and if not, I'll remind you of them.
Carter Wade: I'm sure.
Polly Yakovich: Because I literally, probably in every client meeting, I'm quoting you. You're always top of mind for me. I really want to talk with you about leadership because you are one of those people. Maybe it's not about leadership. Maybe it's just about relationships. You're one of those people that you're working again with people you knew 20 years ago, you keep in touch with so many people. Everyone thinks well of you. Tell me just a little bit about your career path and the journey you've taken.
Carter Wade: Yeah, for sure. Interestingly, I was one of those people who graduated in one field, but ended up completely in opposite one. I actually ...
Polly Yakovich: That never happens.
Carter Wade: No, never. I majored in Motion Picture Production back at the University of Arizona.
Polly Yakovich: I forgot that.
Carter Wade: Yeah. I was going to be an executive producer. My shades were so bright that I actually moved to Los Angeles right after college to get into that industry. It just so happened while I was over there, I was networking around and I heard about this agency that was hiring people for client service. I had no idea what it was and it was called the Russ Reid Company. It was a full service, direct response, fundraising agency. I had no idea those things even existed. I asked like, "What clients do you work for?" World Vision, St Jude's, and Habitat for Humanity, all these.
Carter Wade: I was like, "What do you actually do for them?" [inaudible 00:02:31] we do all this mass marketing and fundraising. Without really having a clue about what I was doing, and knowing what my journey was going to be, I joined them, temporarily in my mind, to go to work for them while I got into the motion picture industry. But once I actually got into it, I fell in love with it. 33 years later, I'm still doing client services. It's just amazing to believe, but I spent my first two years there and then I was hired away from Los Angeles. We were based in Pasadena and then I was hired by a company called The Domain Group and, Polly, that's where you and I first got to [crosstalk 00:03:13] that was at The Domain Group. I spent 20 years there leading our client services team and grew that agency from eight people to 130 people, not only in Seattle, but Atlanta. We had an office in Paris and London, and it was just an incredible ride and really getting to wake up everyday and what we had ... Our culture at Domain was we get to get up every day and help change the world.
Carter Wade: That's really what we were about. We surrounded ourselves with a bunch of great people and we had a lot of fun. We worked really hard and we were just top-notch in terms of beating our competitors out for more and more business.
Polly Yakovich: What does it take to be great at client service?
Carter Wade: You have to have a very great attitude for one, because it's really easy if you're jaded to be able to put up with some clients, you know what I'm saying? Because some of them don't treat you all that well. But if you have a good attitude and you're constantly trying to stay on their good side, as much as possible, and just have that mindset every day, that just carries you forward in a very positive way. It's just a mindset.
Carter Wade: I think that's always what's been my mindset and one of my catchphrases, and you'll know this Polly, is because I always talk about being remarkable, and that whole being remarkable all started, and people who have known me for a long time will say, "You're going to tell this story again," but a guy named Seth Godin, who's one of the greatest marketers of our time, wrote a book in the '90s called Purple Cow. It was all about how to be remarkable. I've really tried to embrace that phrase, if you will, and that attitude over the years to how are we going to be remarkable to our clients, because there's all these other agencies out there who are trying to get their business, and they're trying to always be like sharks in the water to try to take the work away. But if you always stay a step ahead of them and stay remarkable, that really does set you apart. That's really been something I've been driven.
Polly Yakovich: How do you do it?, how do you stay non jaded? How do you stay motivated to be remarkable? You never seem to get tired. I know that's probably not true, but honestly, even now I look to you as, "Okay, Carter has been doing this long and he's still motivated to do it well." Is that just an intrinsic thing or ...
Carter Wade: It is. I don't know exactly how to answer it, except I've always been really passionate about serving clients outrageously well, and getting very strong results for clients, and also working with other people. I feed off of people, which is hard to believe that here we are on video conference and I can't really sit across the [crosstalk 00:05:59]
Polly Yakovich: With some margs. Margaritas.
Carter Wade: Absolutely right. I've always just had that passion and that energy, and that drive. It just has always been part of who I am. I always try to stay upbeat, as you know one of my catchphrases also, as we went into any client meeting is, "Let's have a great meeting." We got out of the car every day, pumped up.
Polly Yakovich: We still say that to each other now just to keep the spirit alive. Honestly, you make work so fun. You always did. I think maybe part of it too, is a competitive spirit that you have, not only with other people, but with yourself. It feels you're always trying to beat yourself yesterday.
Carter Wade: Absolutely. A hundred percent. One of the other things that I've always thought about and really try to practice over my entire career, really from day one of getting into the agency business, was this. Don't do something the same that other people are going to do. Here's what I mean by that. If you're one client services person and you're going to be making a presentation internally to the leadership at the agency, they'll have a standard format or standard thing that everybody's supposed to do. I always took that and said, "Not only am I going to do that, but I'm going to layer this on top of it to really stand out." And it works every time because you come and it's the unexpected that catches people and says, "Now they went above and beyond." That is great motivation. "Who is this person?" That's how I've always been. I always encourage folks to do in the client services world.
Polly Yakovich: What lessons stand out to you the most about your career journey? What were me of those turning points and what decisions did you make that are worth passing on?
Carter Wade: I really rose to the occasion a lot of times. I mentioned my very first job at the restaurant company, I was coming in there and I was doing things in a very, very different way. After three months, my boss was saying, "You've only been here three months and I would to promote you to a role that you have to have at least one to two years experience with. I can't actually do it right now." But at about month eight, I was able to get promoted because I showed that initiative. What I always talk about is dip, drive, initiative, and push. Always have dip and think about how you can use that, day in and day out. If you have dip and you're driving strong initiative and push, amazing things happen.
Carter Wade: That's one of the big thoughts that I have just still to this day. I always embraced even assignments given to me at a very young age. I was asked to lead a group of radio talk show hosts overseas to China and Romania, and Vietnam, as part of a big client campaign. I was a 26 year old kid. Did I know what I was doing? No, but did I act like it? Yes. You better believe it. I figured it out. I made it happen. I think in terms of lessons that I've learned over time, is don't be afraid to step up and act like you know what you're doing. Because you're probably not going to fail. If you have that mindset, you're really going to be able to pull it off.
Carter Wade: I also think another thing that I learned, this took more time because as you're young and you're starting out, you don't really realize this, but the point is the client's not always right. You need to be able to say back to clients, "Listen, I'm open, I'm transparent. I'm real. I need to push back on this because this actually isn't the case," and that comes with experience, but that's another big learning. Then don't take yourself too serious, and have fun. I bring that to people that I work with as well as to clients. That really keeps you going as well.
Polly Yakovich: I know, I think that's one of the things that makes you memorable, not only to people that you've managed, but to people that you've worked with across all sorts of different organizations is you just remember the people that made you feel good ...
Carter Wade: THat's right.
Polly Yakovich: That were fun to go to dinner with and do a thing with. No one wants to be with the factual but non memorable person. I think that's a key part of client service. It's not just about doing the things.
Carter Wade: Exactly. Yeah. That's a really good point. It's about those relationships, both in the office and when you're working side by side, but also being able to take it outside of the office and having fun.
Polly Yakovich: It's that 'je ne sais quoi', that special something that just makes somebody fun to be around.
Carter Wade: Exactly.
Polly Yakovich: What would you say are the values that are important to you now that you might not have thought of when you're first started? If you could go back and tell your younger self, "Don't worry about that," or "Focus on this instead."
Carter Wade: A few things, and this may weave into some of the other stuff that I just mentioned before, but one of the things that ... As you're growing up and you're younger through the agency, you think that you need to hire people and surround people that are perhaps beneath you. You know what I'm saying? You're in a role and you know you could go hire somebody that's going to make you better and make your team better, and make the client results better. But you have this mindset that, "Well, I could never hire somebody that's going to make more money than me," or "This person may make me look bad." I had the opposite. It did take time because there's that little hurdle you have to get over. But surround yourself with people who are ultimately going to be stronger than you are. That's really, really important. The other thing is, not everybody makes a good manager. Never believe that for a minute because I've seen it happen over and over, where somebody is really, really good in their role. Then they're thought of, "We got to make you a manager." There are different kinds of people that make good managers, and some terrible managers. Don't be afraid not to make somebody a manager. Just keep elevating them in their role because that's important.
Polly Yakovich: I think that's a really good one. In fact, you are a great manager and you've built some incredible teams that still ... Exaggerating, but if you called them today and were like, "I'm putting together a super team to do X, Y, Z," half of them like me would be, "Oh, okay. I'll consider it."
Carter Wade: I appreciate that.
Polly Yakovich: What does make a good manager, and how did you develop that leadership style and skills?
Carter Wade: One of my big styles that I brought to bear, not only because I try to keep real and I also trust people to do work, there's no worst manager than somebody that basically directs you on exactly what to do, and then keeps you in control of exactly how you do it. I've always been a big believer in trust the person to actually be good at leading, whatever it is you assign them to do. Tell them you're there for them along the way, but actually trust the fact that they're going to do good. Most often they're going to rise to the challenge because they're going to say, "This guy is letting me actually do what he's asked me to do in a way that I want to do it." That's very fulfilling to people. That's one of the management principles I've always followed.
Carter Wade: The other part of it is make sure you're focusing on what the person's strengths are. What do they do well? There's a book called Now Discover Your Strengths. I'm certainly sure a lot of folks have heard it and read it, but it really is true that stop trying to fix people's weaknesses and let them do what they do well, and then manage around those weaknesses in other ways, because we all have them. But you should focus on trying to pour into what they're strong with and what they're going to do best at, and not try to manage around their weaknesses. By the way, one of the weaknesses is being a manager, because not everybody's cut out to do that, but I have found the blend somehow to do both leading and managing. That's trusting people, ultimately, which sounds so basic, but there's a lot of mistrust out there where people are really high control and they're insecure. I'm not one of those people.
Polly Yakovich: One of the things that I always am channeling you, because when I think about how to be a good manager, you're one of the people that I think of, one of the things I think I struggle with a lot, is you know that old marketing adage or tale about not taking the monkey? It feels everyone now is trying to hand off the ownership. How do you instill that ownership in people? Like you said, beyond the trust, how do you instill ownership?
Carter Wade: With the people that I delegate to?
Polly Yakovich: Yeah.
Carter Wade: I think it's something that happens over time when you start empowering people to actually do the work and they see that they do it really, really well and you affirm them for that. Don't be critical. Even if somebody doesn't have it exactly right, I'm not a critical one that comes in and says, "Well you really blew that." Not at all. It's, "Hey, this was this way. What if we did a little bit different [crosstalk 00:15:30]?"
Polly Yakovich: I do remember in one meeting, I wasn't the [AE 00:15:33]. I think I was getting a handoff, and you'd texted my fellow AE like, "If you say we messed up one more time in this meeting, I will come across the table." But honestly we had such a good relationship so you could joke around with us.
Carter Wade: Absolutely right. I remember who that person was. You're exactly right. I was, "What are you doing?" There's a time to be open and transparent, but this is not it. There is a way to tell too much like that. But at any rate, I think in your comment about the ownership is the more you invest in people and you actually give them work to do, and they get to do it the way they want, they feel that ownership grow over time. I've seen that with people day in and day out. That's just how it works.
Polly Yakovich: You and I were reflecting before this call, I feel this is such a challenging area when you talk about the generations and work style and commitment, I'm really torn because, like I shared with you earlier, I think some of the generations below me have really good boundaries and I respect them. I think that they're better about managing their mental health. Then sometimes I'm like, "Come on, can you not just take ownership and finish this project? Where's your work ethic,? Dig in. I'm not asking you to work overtime every day. Occasionally can you kick and give me a little extra, or give what it takes to get over the finish line?" What do you think about that? Is that just a youth growing up thing that we forget that we were that way as well?
Carter Wade: I really do think that's part of it. I really do. It is true that the generation is also different when I was young. I didn't have all the social media at my fingertips and not able to goof around as much, I guess I would say. Basically, your path was back in my days you went to college and you went right into the workforce, and that's just different now the younger generation. Not everybody does this.
Polly Yakovich: You were valued for working 60 to 80 hours.
Carter Wade: Absolutely.
Polly Yakovich: You were praised for it. In some ways, I feel it's a healthy pivot but it's also, I think, challenging.
Carter Wade: It is. I have some clients now at Veritus Group that we work with some younger people and they've really surprised me in a really, really positive way, because they've come on board and they've become major gift officers. Some not having even asked for a gift before. They've said, "Just take me under your wing and tell me what I need to do and let me follow that." Fortunately, they've done that and I feel great about it, that they've been really successful. It's the attitude of, "Hey, teach me."
Polly Yakovich: Yeah. Humbleness. Being coachable.
Carter Wade: Absolutely. Coachable.
Polly Yakovich: I love that.
Carter Wade: Yeah. That's for sure.
Polly Yakovich: I want to talk a little bit about client service because it's always been this tricky situation in agencies. Either they've overvalued client service, or we don't need client service, anyone can talk to the client. What do you think about the value of client service and the agency relationship, which has changed a lot?
Carter Wade: Yeah, it has changed a lot. One of the big things, and I don't know if you've seen this, I've certainly seen it across the industry, one of the hugest things that's different from when I was in it and I stopped being in that world about five years ago, is the one stop agency. They're being divided into multiple agencies. You might hire one agency for digital, one for direct mail, one for print, et cetera. It's very much split apart now. That's one of the big differences that I see today. But I think that there's still huge value in client service because you have to be a certain kind of person in order to finesse your way with the client, on behalf of the agency. Let's just say ... Because this was one of the real things we had at Domain.
Carter Wade: I remember there was a time where the creative folks were saying, "You know what? You just got to go do a better job selling for us because you just roll over and the client doesn't like my work," or whatever. I get that. I would never subscribe to the fact though that a client services person doesn't need to be there to finesse it, but maybe we bring the creative person alongside of us to sell the ideas. We started doing that more and more, and it worked great. There's that type of thing as well, but I've seen client service be challenged in the past but, at the end of the day, it still is a very, very important role for an agency to have. They're a different skillset. They manage time differently, they think differently, and that's important.
Polly Yakovich: I would say, too, in the life of our agency, which is still young, it's been five, six years now. At first, people are like, "What's the value of client service?" will be the strategy team. But really, without stating to people that your job is to manage the client and to delight them, and to protect their work, and to protect the agency's work, there really is a unique skillset there ...
Carter Wade: Absolutely.
Polly Yakovich: That I think you miss if you try and make everyone a strategy person or a production oriented person, there really is a skill and a nuance to helping lead clients. Because it's about relationship building.
Carter Wade: Totally. Hundred percent agree. When you think about, even in everyday life, you think about those customer relationship experiences that you have. Those that are really, really great, always stand out to you. Those that are really, really bad, you're like, "How in the world is that person in customer service? They're terrible." You learn some valuable things along the way, and you say, "Man, that was such a great experience." There's something magical about that. If you can provide that same experience to your clients day in and day out, they're going to stick with you. They really will, through good and bad times.
Polly Yakovich: How do you think that agencies can delight clients? What are the things that still work? Honestly, I feel like such a dinosaur when I say like ... You would take clients golfing, I've taken clients to the spa. Those things don't happen anymore ...
Carter Wade: I know, ain't that sad?
Polly Yakovich: At least not my environment. You used to do more things to build those relationships and pass some of those costs through, so your clients get to do something fun.
Carter Wade: Hundred percent.
Polly Yakovich: What are ways that agencies can really delight clients? What things are meaningful to them that you're seeing lately?
Carter Wade: Not only the one that you just mentioned, which is try to entertain your clients when you get together, when you actually meet face to face, which I know we haven't been able to do in the last year and a half, but let them have some fun and take them to do some fun things, because they are real people too. Even though they're your client, if you treat them as real individuals, you have relationships you want to build that [crosstalk 00:22:25].
Polly Yakovich: You also learn so much more about one another when you're doing those fun things and you are in a meeting.
Carter Wade: Totally. Hundred percent.
Polly Yakovich: I think it's easy not to value those things, but then when, pardon my French, the you know what hits the fan, those are the relationships you're going to need to draw on.
Carter Wade: Yeah. You're going to fall back on when ... Because there's always going to be hiccups here and there. That just is part of it. That's certainly part of agency life, but a couple things that I've used over the years that are still true. Try to bring one new idea to your client every month.
Polly Yakovich: Great. Such good advice.
Carter Wade: I know that sounds a lot to do, but it's really important. It doesn't have to be some earth shattering idea, but it's one new idea every month. Try to think about that, because they'll realize you're thinking about them and they'll be like, "I didn't even ask Polly to do that and she came to me about that idea," and they're not all going to be good, but a new idea a month is really important. Also, show interest in them as an organization and try to learn more about their competitors, if you will, than they know themselves.
Carter Wade: You might see articles about what another organization that's similar to them, and what they're doing. You could figure out, strategically, wondering why this other group is doing this and why aren't you. What if we did that and did ... You're always taking a strong interest in them beyond just the day in day out work. Like, "Okay, here's my project. I'm going to get the project done. No, I'm going to go outside of the project. I'm going to be presenting new ideas and talking about their competitors and sending interesting articles and things that." That's robust client service right there that really, really works well. Makes it more sticky.
Polly Yakovich: That's amazing. Yeah. Gosh, that's such a good reminder. Any other little tips and tricks from you that you can think of off the top of your head?
Carter Wade: I guess the other one is I always remind clients about how well we're doing.
Polly Yakovich: That's a great one.
Carter Wade: You know what I'm saying? Because if there's this void, then they might be just thinking to themselves, they come into work and they're like, "I wonder how we're actually doing." But if you constantly remind them about how well things are going, and it doesn't have to be like you're just blowing it out of the park. But the fact is you're keeping in front of them realizing, "We're doing really, really well". That translates to them is, "My agency's making me look better. That I'm a smart person for bringing them on board. That was really good." That's another one that I think is important to do.
Polly Yakovich: You're putting on a clinic right now. I think one of the things I learned from you, and this is going to lead to me being able to drop one of your catchphrases I use the most, both internally and with clients, but you always kept it light. It's very fact-based, but when you're correcting a client, you keep it really light. In meetings you would always say, "Facts are friendly."
Carter Wade: Yes I did, and yes I do.
Polly Yakovich: Because we're operating from the data and it's not a personal thing. You may disagree, but the facts are friendly. We'll just operate from this set of data because that's what we should do. Moving right on.
Carter Wade: Case closed, yeah.
Polly Yakovich: It's such a good one, because it's true and it's light and it doesn't have to say like, "You're wrong. I think you're wrong."
Carter Wade: Correct. That's still true today. I use that a lot.
Polly Yakovich: You should definitely use 'facts are friendly' if you are listening and looking for a way to lightly tell your clients about their personal idea that their grandma loves doesn't matter in this situation.
Carter Wade: Exactly.
Polly Yakovich: That's another thing too, I think is a marketing principle that I learned, but that you really drilled into us as well, is that it doesn't matter what you like, or what your preference is.
Carter Wade: I call that the power of personal preference. Exactly. How many times, and believe me, I didn't want to believe it either, but when a client said telemarketing doesn't work and I would say, "Okay, just humor me and let us try telemarketing to your donors." Every time, and granted, it's not as strong today, but back in the day, which seemed they would say their personal preferences, "I don't want to talk to a telemarketer." But if you put the personal preference aside and you actually test it, and you do it, it worked. That's a great example of, "Hey, it doesn't matter if you like the color of this envelope, or you don't like the language of this, or it sounds gimmicky. It works phenomenally well, you've got a strong ROI and net revenue, so the facts are friendly. It did work." So, that's another key one.
Polly Yakovich: I love it. I want to pivot just a minute because you do something so well that I really struggle with still, and this is time management skills. I'm wondering, I've never seen anyone manage their time or stay on top of things so well, who had so much going on. I would walk out of a meeting with you and then get an email of, "Don't forget these four bullets" and I'd be like, "How does he do that?" For those of us who are busy and juggling a lot, which is almost all of us, what are some of your tried and true tips and tricks? How do you keep yourself organized in a way?
Carter Wade: Here's a very, very top recommendation for anybody that struggles with time management, is remember, you control your calendar. You need to block time every day, for an hour if you have to, that's your time. It's funny. Even with clients today, they're like, "I get called into all these meetings." I said, "But you actually control your calendar. Do you not?" "Well, I guess you're right. When I sit here and think about it, it's true." Now, if the president of the organization comes in and wants to meet with you every day at 8 o'clock, you can't necessarily block that. They're not going to want to, by the way.
Polly Yakovich: No one wants to meet with you at 8 o'clock.
Carter Wade: Exactly. You're your own worst enemy if you don't block your calendar yourself. I did that and I've done that for a long time. In all the years of agency life, I would probably, because I was there earlier, I would block from 7 to 8:30 as my time. I would never let people schedule meetings, because that was my time. Over time, they realized, "Well, Carter can't meet until 8:30." They would just learn that. Then they'd stop asking. Then I was able to get a lot of work done in that time. That's one principle. The second principle is I challenge people. This happens everywhere. But there's just an endless number of meetings that are not worth meeting about. You know how you'd get into a meeting and start talking and somebody inevitably says, "Let's set up a second meeting to talk about this." Then you're into another one. I'm telling the agency, life was endless meetings over time.
Carter Wade: One of the things I started challenging was, "Do we actually have to meet or can't you just make a recommendation for what you think we should do? And let's do it."
Polly Yakovich: That's brilliant.
Carter Wade: Especially if people on your team, like some of your people that you're delegating to, if they wanted to make a meeting with you, I'd say, "Why don't you send me what you think we ought to do? Let's not meet." It would take five minutes instead of an hour that they'd have blocked. It happens all over the place, these meetings after ... Just to meet and people ... The other thing, you get invited to meetings where you're not actually needed there. I know it comes with time, but that's really, really important on how to get your time back. So, that's more time management. Then I think, just in terms of staying organized, I tend to be very attentive when we're in meetings that make sense to your point about coming out and saying, "Here's the four things to make sure we're focused on," and being keen about listening to those. But also, I try to keep all my 'to do's' on my calendar. I try to schedule myself to do my 'to do's', instead of just putting them off to the side. I really try to be intentional. Even though I sometimes have to move the 'to do's' to the next day or whatever, I really try to stay on top of those. That works really for me, in my case.
Polly Yakovich: I would say that meeting creep is so true. Recently we just made an embargo on meetings over 30 minutes. Because everyone is tempted to schedule an hour. Then of course you're going to fill an hour.
Carter Wade: You do.
Polly Yakovich: Because you have an hour meeting and you're going to chat for a bit, and feel you need to fill it up. It's like, get everyone what they need in advance. It should not be more than 30 minutes.
Carter Wade: Agreed. I've heard people talk about, "Let's do standup meetings to try to keep them shorter." There's things like that you can try. But the number one thing for me is, I would just challenge, even if you're newer in the world of agency or client service, it's okay to ask the question, "Am I really needed here? Because there's 20 people in this meeting and I was invited, and I really am not providing any value. I'm really just daydreaming in here. Maybe I don't need to come the next time." Then you start getting permission to exit some of those. All of a sudden you'd be shocked about how much time you get back. That's really important to do.
Polly Yakovich: It's true too. I was grimacing when you were saying it, what you can't see on this podcast. But, even for me, it's like in client service. It does take a reminder that I own my calendar.
Carter Wade: It does.
Polly Yakovich: Because you often feel like client's on my calendar, all the people who report to me on my calendar, I am theirs. I am theirs to be used at their service. Then you find yourself having to work between the hours of 9 and midnight to do your work.
Carter Wade: You're not telling yourself the truth, because you do own your calendar and it's so easy to lose sight of that. You're right. I didn't learn that until later in life, by the way, I sound like, "I knew that from day one," I didn't. Because I was the guy that was in all the meetings. I would do my work from 6:00 AM to 8:00 AM and I'd meet from 8 to 5 and then work more from 6 to 8, or 9. That was agency life. But then over time, you are going to burn out if you keep going in that direction. You just got to take control of your calendar. That's one of the biggest things.
Polly Yakovich: Absolutely.
Carter Wade: Really helps.
Polly Yakovich: I love talking to you. I could talk to you forever. Thank you much for coming on. Any last words of wisdom as we were talking that you feel in these topics of leadership and management?
Carter Wade: Yeah. I go back to what I started with, Polly, and that is, "What are you doing day in and day out to be remarkable? How are you standing out, not only from your peers you work with, or representing your agency?" I also tell every client I work with, "How are you going to be remarkable to your donors today?"
Polly Yakovich: For your clients.
Carter Wade: It sounds like a [crosstalk 00:33:06]. Or to your clients, "What are you doing to be remarkable?" Because it seems so daunting. It sounds like, "Wow, remarkable." That sounds so amazing. No, it actually just means, think about your client and then reach out to them and provide something of value. Whether it's a new idea, doesn't have to be revolutionary or that you heard about them on the news, or I heard the coolest thing today because I know your passion and interested in golf, or whatever their thing is. You make them feel like they're important to you. That's being remarkable, because very few people do that in life. It's just so true. That's just one of the big things that if you just stay focused on that day in and day out, I guarantee it's going to make a big difference in everything that you do.
Polly Yakovich: It's odd, because with the proliferation of all the things, and the channels, and the messages, and the whatever, it feels it would be harder to stand out, but it's actually easier because you just have to be thoughtful, and that stands out so much.
Carter Wade: Yeah. One of the things I do at Veritus right now in my role, is I make sure that every single quarter, I check in with leadership on how we're doing. I'll set up a time to talk. I know it's quarterly, that doesn't seem very frequent. But in my role, in my position, that's actually quite frequent, which clients love the fact, and I can't tell you the number of times they say, "Thank you so much for setting this up. It meant so much to me, just for you to ask how we're doing and how we think your team is doing. You guys were fantastic," et cetera. It's things like that. That doesn't maybe sound like, "Oh, you're being remarkable." But the fact is most agencies don't do that. They just get the business, they delegate it to the youngest person. Then there's errors and all, it goes sideways. Try to stay on top of that stuff and treat clients like individuals and as true partners. That really will serve you well. You will be remarkable.
Polly Yakovich: In the spirit of being remarkable, I close all my podcast interviews with this question, which I love. What would you say is your super power?
Carter Wade: My superpower. Probably, I use the term, if I get knocked down, I dust myself off and get right back up. I guess it would be indestructible, if you will, because you can knock me back and knock me down, and I'll get back up. That's just who I am.
Polly Yakovich: I was going to say optimism.
Carter Wade: That's true too.
Polly Yakovich: Which I think is the same, it's in the same realm. You can't be defeated. You'll always find a way to be optimistic.
Carter Wade: I try to be optimistic, and then I try to surround people and help them be optimistic as well, and encourage them to do the same, in a good way.
Polly Yakovich: You have many strengths. Thank you much for coming on. Where can people find you? Are you writing lately?
Carter Wade: Not a lot right now. You can find me at email@example.com and that's V E R I T U S.group.com, not A S. firstname.lastname@example.org, and feel free, honestly, to send me a note and ask me whatever you want. I'm really accessible.
Polly Yakovich: He will literally respond to you within 24 hours.
Carter Wade: I will. It won't take even that long. That's just who I am. You know that about me.
Polly Yakovich: Yes. It blows my mind.
Carter Wade: I will be very responsive. I will make myself available to you if you want to talk.
Polly Yakovich: He'll meet you for a margarita.
Carter Wade: There you go.
Polly Yakovich: When I worked for Carter, I learned who made the best margaritas in every city we traveled to, because we always wanted a margarita. I was like, "I'm going to be drinking margaritas all around this country. I'm not going to be doing it in [inaudible 00:36:52]. I'm going to be finding the best possible margarita in every town.
Carter Wade: Hundred percent agree. You never guessed where we were going to go out and eat the night we had in town for a client meeting. You would never have to doubt.
Polly Yakovich: Nope.
Carter Wade: [inaudible 00:37:05] out ahead of time.
Polly Yakovich: Carter and I are your joint recommendation for best margaritas in this country.
Carter Wade: Hundred percent. Can tell you whatever you need to know. Thanks for having me on. Hopefully, people who are listening to this found some helpful nuggets, like I said earlier on, and hopefully this can help you in what you do in your client service life, as you go through the years ahead.
Polly Yakovich: Thank you much, Carter.
Carter Wade: My pleasure.
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