Episode 8: Are You Hanging with the Right People? (with Derek Grosso)
Who are you hanging with these days, in your personal life? Your professional life? Are you okay with it? When you think about the people you surround yourself with, is there a contentment there? Excitement?
We become the people we surround ourselves with. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, but it’s true. And even if you separate your personal life from your professional life, you should have the same process and same expectations from the people you spend your time with.
Join Betty Collins as she discusses this topic with Derek Grosso, CEO and Founder of the Columbus Young Professionals Club (CYP Club), a “for-impact” membership association made up of 25,000 young professionals, entrepreneurs, executives, and creatives who live in the Columbus region. Founded in 2005, the CYP Club is the largest membership organization of young professionals/millennials in the United States.
Derek Grosso, Founder and CEO, Columbus Young Professionals Club
Derek Grosso is CEO and Founder of the Columbus Young Professionals Club (CYP Club), a “for-impact” membership association made up of 25,000 young professionals, entrepreneurs, executives, and creatives who live in the Columbus region. Founded in 2005, the CYP Club is the largest membership organization of young professionals/millennials in the United States.
Through Derek’s leadership, the CYP Club has offered hundreds of events, established thousands of connections, volunteered more than 100,000 service hours, donated more than $500,000 to local charities, and contributed $2.7 million in economic impact in Central Ohio since its inception. Derek also advises young professional organizations and membership clubs around the country through The Grosso Group. He is an entrepreneur, a leadership consultant, and a public speaker.
Derek studied entrepreneurship and small business management at The George Washington University in Washington, DC and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He proudly serves the community as a board member for CYP Club Cares, Columbus Inspires, Experience Columbus, and Keep Columbus Beautiful. He lives in Upper Arlington with his wife Nicci and step-daughter Hannah.
“Inspiring Women” Podcast Series
“Inspiring Women” is THE podcast that advances women toward economic, social and political achievement. The show is hosted by Betty Collins, CPA, and presented by Brady Ware and Company. Brady Ware is committed to empowering women to go their distance in the workplace and at home. Past episodes of “Inspiring Women” can be found here.
[00:00:00] As I said at the end of our podcast we were going to introduce the CEO of Columbus young professionals Derek Grosso and Derek is just if there’s one person who knows how to hang around with the right people and get the right people to come together. It would be him. He’s built the organization pretty pretty quickly over a time period with 20000 thousand people in it. So today Derek I would like you just to talk for a few minutes about what you do and your organization.
[00:00:29] Well I’m happy to do so and thank you so much for asking me to talk with you a little bit more about the subject. When I first moved to Columbus which was back in 2005 I moved here I didn’t go to Ohio State I didn’t grow up around here so I always kind of say that I had two strikes against me. And so I moved here knowing one person and I saw a need for for myself to connect and network in the community and get to know the city. And I also saw a need for others to do the same. So the organization was born out of that simple idea and it quickly turned into something where a lot of people were engaged with the organization coming out to our event. So it turned into a full time job for me but the organization I took part is about connecting our members who are in their 20s 30s and some in their early 40s with one another with opportunities to network to meet new friends to plan sports teams to get back to the community and really to build their capacity of learning leadership and all the great things that there are in the city of Columbus in the region. If all those things and more we have a network of over 20000 making us the largest in the country we also host about 150 events a year. So there’s a lot of connecting we’re definitely trying to get people to hang with the right crowd at our events.
[00:01:39] And we also we we contribute a lot back to the community. We donate our time to the tune of about 10000 volunteer hours a year. There’s a lot of connecting and giving back in and around the city or sports league. We have two magazines that we publish. We’re actually also in Nashville Tennessee with a sister group that we started and we have a number of big events that range from a few hundred people to a few thousand people in attendance. You know I tried to learn as well as execute a lot of the ins and outs to let people know it’s not always easy to connect but it but it’s much easier if you put yourself out there you have a positive mentality and you also let people know hey you know I’m looking at this from the perspective of trying to interact and meet people not necessarily to take something from them and I think people appreciate that authenticity while at the same time they they’re looking for learn and grow and develop whether it’s in business or in any other area the same way. So it’s very important when I tell people be yourself but get outside your comfort zone in any area whether you’re trying to make a sale or you’re trying to get a new job or move to another city. Whatever the case may be. It’s about the relationships that you develop.
[00:02:47] Well obviously you’ve been very successful at not only having relationships in your life but doing a very successful organization. So I am sure no doubt that connections aided you to have that success. Tell us how you select which relationships that you develop.
[00:03:05] I try to think that I’m a good judge of character. You know as everyone likes to feel that they are. And so when I’m interacting with people I’m always I’m always trying to you know offer up nonverbal cues. You know a firm handshake a smile looking people in the eye. And that’s just the kind of way that I would like for people to interact with me. Patrick DiNardo who has helped develop some of our program communication and and helped us you know speak at some events is a local author and speaker. He talked a little bit about building relationships and communicating with impact. And one of the things that stuck out to me that when I look at building those relationships and pursuing the right ones he says everybody knows the golden rule which is treat others as you would have them treat you. And he also he talked about the platinum rule which is treat people the way that they want to be treated. So it’s very important not just to think about how you would like people to treat you but also how they would like to be treated in return. And that’s very important when you’re pursuing relationships and trying to figure out which ones to develop. If someone’s really not into helping others or at least if they’re all about themself which way we meet those people from time to time and that’s ok sometimes it’s not a bad thing to just kind of look at that opportunity and just say you know we don’t want to we can’t focus on that control in that situation but we can’t focus on who we spend our time with.
[00:04:23] Well that’s great segway into kind of my next question. If someone is pursuing a relationship with you or you see this at your organization I’m sure its voice to you but you don’t see value in it whether it’s business or even personal. What do you do with that.
[00:04:39] You know it’s tough because we want to be polite. I’m always trying to be the nice guy. But sometimes you also have to you know make sure that you’re not you’re not focused on pleasing everybody. And that’s a that’s something in sales that’s something in relationships personal and professional. But I think that. Honesty and openness is helpful. So for example a lot of counsel I’ll be introduced to people adults and they’ll want to meet with me and that’s great. I love meeting with people I love interacting. If I can provide some value some connection but sometimes people just just want to get together because and there’s not like a real purpose behind it. And I know that everybody’s busy and the perfect might just be to get to know you a little better and that’s fine. But at the same time when you’re meeting with someone and you’re talking with them and you and you’ve made me feel like you don’t see value in it I think you can kind of emphasize some of your expectations while at the same time saying no you a lot of people have a hard time saying no to thing.
[00:05:33] And sometimes that’s a 30 minute coffee meeting oh you know what’s coffee. But if you take that 30 minutes and you value the time that you’re spending with yourself and really investing in what you’re doing I think you’re going to quickly see that sometimes you have to say no to these opportunities and sometimes being open are to say hey look you know I’m really excited to talk with you about this but maybe introducing them to another person would be a better a better step because if you can’t figure out what the goal is it’s really difficult for you to move forward without wasting everyone’s time. Ultimately I think that if everyone is focused on the value that they bring to the table you also have to you have to be focused on the value that you’re bringing to yourself. You don’t want to lose sight of that when we’re in these connecting opportunities because quite frankly there’s only so many hours in the day so many days in the week.
[00:06:19] Right. I mean I always say this. I could have lunch three times a day with the amount of people sometimes that want to help me or help my clients and they’re just not the Fed right. So I tried again on but sometimes act you know we’ve been talking a lot about hey the connection let’s make the connection. What do you consider Once that connection you decide I can make and pursue this or I’m not going to pursue it because now I want this to be a successful relationship. You know right. What do you do to build upon those relationships that you can see to success.
[00:06:53] Whenever I’m looking to build on relationships I always want to know not just what the short term value is but what’s the long term value. How can. If I’m in a room with somebody and I value my time I value other people’s time. I also want to value the future time that we have together. So if we’re just getting together and getting to know each other and building those connections I mean I’ve got plenty of folks who I’ve never met in person home connected with on LinkedIn and there’s a will there’s a way of betting or there’s a there’s kind of like another endorsement another person that I know and sometimes that’s helpful sometimes it’s not because you know if you don’t know someone in real life do you really know them in the virtual world. I think that you know when you really want to be successful in building relationships it’s simply that it’s how do we build this relationship. How do we help each other. And then the people who are connected with and I think that when you’re just thinking about what’s the next step what’s the next action.
[00:07:44] And that helps because you have a clear vision. You know I don’t mind grabbing drinks every so often or getting coffee or tea with someone to get keep rising. This book is I’d never eat alone. So there’s a lot of good gems in terms of getting connected you know as you’re as you’re mentioning are you hanging with the right crowd. You have to be reassessing that. A lot of times that changes over the course of your career or your life that you’re hanging with people who are connecting with the things that you need right now. And at the same time the things that you can provide for them and that relationship could change or or improve or evolve over years or over time. So I think it’s nice to think about what the future can hold and then you have a clear direction versus hey let’s just get together and see what happens when you really want to be successful in building relations with you really need to be a little bit more selective in the time that you spend just kind of hanging out.
[00:08:33] Yeah definitely. Now here’s a tougher question and hopefully you can share honestly but not use names again. So have you ever been in a relationship that went sour and how did you end it did you end it gracefully did you know. How does that play out. Because sometimes they’re just they’re in. You’ve got to detox your life.
[00:08:56] And it does happen. And when that does happen sometimes I was looking to every opportunity as a way to make a good impression. Every opportunity to meet someone to interact to promote my business my brand. But sometimes it just doesn’t work and that could be the the really trying not to focus on things you can’t control. If you did something wrong apologize for it. Move on. If you do something that is destructive you start to reexamine what it is you’re doing in these relationships. I’m burning bridges is never a good idea no matter how upset or pissed off or disastrous it is for the bottom line. I will say though when you’re dealing with unreasonable people that’s a different story. But ultimately you know you’re in a relationship in the community with the community. And so all of the people who talk and don’t and don’t talk it’s always nice when people can say nice things about you when you’re not in your room because that amplifies your you know your relationship building and interconnect ability. But it also it sends the right energy out to the universe I think. And so if these things happen you know if it’s your fault sometimes it’s not always our fault but it seems like it is. So when a relationship or if a relationship goes sour maybe it’s salvageable or maybe it’s not. But I think you have to if you did something wrong apologize for it.
[00:10:11] Learn from it. There are things you can’t control and many of those things are other people’s perspective or other people’s minds if you’re trying to sell them something or you’re trying to offer them something and they just don’t get it. You can’t really be in their earbuds in too much because then you start to become the person who is too aggressive or too obnoxious right. And so sometimes just taking some time to have some quiet time. I like to recharge the battery and sometimes spend time alone or with others who you we really can kind of pump you up not yes men or yes women but people who really you know have your best interests and so really focusing on on the positive versus the negative that can help you get out of the situation but also can help you reflect and make sure. Oh man I did something wrong. Don’t do it again and realizing that there are gonna be some times where other people are just going to not not be worth your time quite frankly. Or maybe they’re just acting or or they’re unreasonable. You know there’s a lot of good people out there there’s also a lot of idiots out there do. So you know we don’t want to waste our time trying to convince somebody when they’re just never going listen or they’re never gonna understand your perspective.
[00:11:17] Well you know I appreciate you being very honest with that because it’s it can be hard to. Something or to realize this is not the relationship you want in your life but you know we have different relationships in business for sure. I mean the owners that you work for or maybe owners that you are partnered with your managers that direct reports your peers your clients prospects people you think you want to get to know and then organizations that you volunteer and if you can give us one takeaway today on and giving some advice to our listeners. Just one really strong take. How could you be more strategic in developing relationships.
[00:11:57] That’s a great question. I can give you many many tips and suggestions but the one thing I’ll say is when you’re trying to build and develop those strategic relationships I think you do need to fit in and spend time whether it’s during the day during the week or maybe it’s like a retreat session. Take the time as an individual whether you run a business whether you work for somebody whether you’re we’ve got a side hustle whatever it is that you do take some time so that you can figure out what it is that you want to do. Get it clear in your head and then go for it. There’s a lot of books that are on my bookshelf and someone might get a chance to read the whole the whole book and sometimes I get the Cliff’s Notes or spark notes version. But ultimately I think that if you’re focusing on time to learn and sharpen the saw and really try to be strategic and get a lot of self reflection that’s what we put out what we get back what we put out to the universe when we’re connecting with people. I think that when I’m connecting with someone if they make me feel good about myself or what I’m doing I want to talk with them more I want to converse with them I want to send them business.
[00:13:00] It’s not something where you want to have people that are brown noses but you know that’s not what I’m saying I’m saying people who are complementary and make you feel good and positive about what you do because we all do great things. And some of us do things better than others and we can continue to learn. But the one advice I would say is surround yourself with the right people as you mentioned. You’ll get an internal gauge. The more people you interact with who are the people who you really connect with who are the people who are in your neighborhood that they’re not just that you want to do business with but these are the type of people who you feel this is an important part of my life. And it makes me feel good and it makes me self reflect in a good way not looked down at my shoes and be embarrassed or be sad or be depressed and upset and when you’re talking to people I think if you’re positive if you’re uplifting and if you have something important and valuable to say they’re going to respond and you’re going to help them in many ways just as much as yourself.
[00:13:50] Well there’s no doubt that you know how to hang with the right people started with one in 2005 and now you’re at twenty thousand more. So I just so appreciate you joining us today and talking about this subject because I think it’s just important for people to have some perspective on it. And we wish you the best of success in what you’re doing with your local sister place in Tennessee. Appreciate. Have a good one. You too. Thanks.