Originally from Palm Beach, Florida, Leigh Ann Miller is a veteran in the hospitality industry with 30 years in restaurants, hotels, arenas, and private clubs. She has a strong reputation of creating an environment of warmth for both her team and her guests. Because of this, many of those who have worked under her leadership has grown into management roles and have invested themselves in the companies she has been involved with.
Many who have left, often return to either regain employment or simply come to visit her. Longevity in the workplace is very important to Leigh Ann. Her focus is to provide constant growth opportunities and continuing education. She would never want to have someone leave because they were not constantly learning, improving, and growing. Her favorite phrase is “I can teach you how to do your job, but I can’t teach you how to care”. She is dedicated to defying this phrase and will spend her career proving it wrong.
Teaching is inspiring. Her management teams have all made this a part of their mission as well which has been successful in building strong teams that last. Leigh Ann knows the value of managing the newest generations of the workforce. She knows that if we are not willing to adapt to changes in the workplace, we will lose out on the newest and brightest candidates. There are ways of doing this while maintaining systems that have been proven to be successful for many years. She is very passionate about teaching ways of providing these environments and making people decisions the most important decisions made.
Leigh Ann has been classically trained as a vocalist and composer and has performed with many great talents and names in the music business. Knowing the importance of being on stage, combined with her unwavering dedication to hospitality at a very high level creates a “show” for her guests. They love seeing just how passionate her teams are, and how they are fully invested in the guest experience. Teaching this is something that is very exciting for her, and something she looks forward to sharing with you.
Connect with Leigh Ann on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- Top three issues facing the hospitality business
- Top three behaviors that need work 5. Fun stories of inspiration
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:08] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for workplace wisdom, sharing insight, perspective and best practices for creating the planet’s best workplaces. Now here’s your host.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:00:31] Welcome to this very special edition of Workplace Wisdom Stone Payton here with you this afternoon. You guys are in for a real treat. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast with Magic Learning Company. Ms. Leigh Ann Miller. How are you?
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:00:46] Great. So happy to be here.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:00:48] Oh, it is a delight to have you in the studio. Before we dove into for let’s let’s give our listeners a little primer. A little overview. Mission. Purpose. What? What are you folks trying to get out there and do for people? How are you trying to serve?
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:01:04] So, you know, there are so many businesses that have the right core values in place. They have the right mindset in place. Their intentions are fantastic, but the delivery of that on a daily basis is sometimes lacking, you know? And right now, with everything being such a challenge to bounce back from where we’ve been over the past few years, you know, now is just really a good time to hit the reset button or the reset button should have honestly been hit a while ago. But, you know, we’re still we’re still struggling a little bit. And, you know, there are opportunities to really make an impact on, you know, our people and, you know, really carry out the best that we can for our guests and our customers. But, you know, I really do believe that there.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:02:03] Are.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:02:04] Serious challenges right now that we’re all facing. And so that’s where we want to come in and help people out.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:02:11] It’s an interesting observation that you make about intent, because I can tell you for our company, I mentioned to you before we went on air that that I’m an investor and a managing partner for our network and my business partner, Lee, I can assure you we have some marvelous intentions. And, you know, between he and I, we’ve got these, you know, this great set of values and this vision and all that. And when it comes to effectively articulating that and and lining those things up, I’m sure we’re falling very short. And it sounds like that’s that we’re not the only ones.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:02:44] You’re not the only ones you know. And it’s we hiring is such a key tool, you know, it’s when we bring people on that have great interviews. It’s not about the interview. It’s about the day to day practices and the body language and the verbiage and everything that we do on a day to day basis and the consistency of that, that really makes the difference. And so the owners of the business and the CEOs and the CEOs, you know, they they all have the right intentions in mind. But it’s when they’re not around and when, you know, they’re not seeing the day to day operations that are taking place that are either making or breaking companies right now. And so that’s that’s a big a big point for the series that I just recorded to get those right people in place and to make sure that regardless of if we’re watching or not, that our visions are being carried out with those people.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:03:53] Bad hires are they’re expensive. And when I say bad hires, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad people. In fact, I’m sure they’re not. But but making a hire that that’s not fit in aligned with what you’re doing. I mean, this really does affect the bottom line. Yeah.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:04:10] Yeah. And, you know, you have to find out what their vision is for your business. You know, you have to figure out what it is that they’re passionate about because, you know, right now, you know, especially in hospitality, it’s one of those it’s it’s one of those industries, regardless if you’re in a hotels or, you know, major sports venues or concert venues or restaurants that, you know, people think that there is something else on the other side. And so they leave for a period of time to go pursue, you know, their other aspirations. And then they come back, right. And, you know, you always say you can’t leave the restaurant business, you just can’t do it. But when people do and when they come back, it’s usually because they’re comfortable. And your best hires aren’t comfortable, they’re passionate. So when you bring people back in because of a resume and because they have so much experience and, you know, that’s a wonderful thing. But at the same time, you’ve got to keep their passions in check and you’ve got to make sure, you know, everything’s so interconnected hiring, training, inspiring, treating, firing. You know, we’re hanging on to people for too long, right? Because we can’t hire enough people to cover those places. And so we’re when we hang on to people for too long, that’s a cancer. You know, that’s a cancer to your organization. And it’s it’s difficult because you want to keep the people that have been there for so long that know the ins and outs of your business. But what are they honestly doing for it? You know, are they just comfortable? And they have the repertoire of, you know, of the spiel and the shtick and all that other kind of stuff, or are they really driving passion for people around them? You know, we’re hiring greener than ever.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:06:11] Yeah, I guess you’re right.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:06:12] And, you know, because people are out there, you know, that have been in business organizations forever and then they decide that, hey, listen, I want to be a part of the restaurant business. They they go to bartending school or they go to, you know, because it’s it’s honestly, you know, it’s not discounting. The industry, but it is an easy in for people. Yeah, but sometimes the most green people that you bring in carry the most passion because they’re seeing things through brand new eyes. And so you get inspired by them. Yeah. So if you keep the people that are so comfortable in it because they just don’t leave. You know, what are they doing to those passion levels that are new and are going to bring innovation into your organization? So it’s really, really interesting watching how this unfolds for so many organizations right now.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:07:10] Well, I got to I got to say, it must be prevalent. I mean, yes, definitely in the hospitality arena. But I can tell you the professional services arena, I think we got we we have those same challenges. I know when it comes to conducting an interview, I don’t know. I am I find myself really pulling for the candidate and I think maybe seeing things that aren’t there or I went to a workshop one time and the lady she talked about hiring in your own image. And I think maybe I’ve made that mistake too. You know, like this guy is like me, you know, we’re going to have a lot of fun. But it was, you know, that was, like, not the right thing to that was not the right thing to do at all. So these these terms that you mentioned a moment ago, the hiring and inspiring and so on, is that a pretty good description of the the framework for the conversations and the work that you do when you engage with the client?
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:08:09] With a client? Yes. Yeah. With an interview, you know. Yes. But, you know, interviews are going to always give you the right answers. Right. You know, but when I’m dealing with clients right now, I’m seeing massive trends, you know, and one of which is hiring.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:08:29] Mm hmm.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:08:30] And it’s not about not necessarily about getting the bodies into the position.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:08:35] Mm hmm.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:08:36] It’s about getting the right people. And like I said, you know, sometimes we play off of resumes. Yeah. And we miss the conversation. And the conversation is going to tell you so much. And it’s also, you know, your Achilles heel, too, because you don’t want to, like you said, hire in your own image. But, you know, getting caught up in a conversation sometimes. Will lead you to great people, but not necessarily great candidates. So it’s it’s difficult because when you get wrapped up in those conversations and you enjoy the conversation and they make you laugh or you making them laugh, you know, it’s important to a sell the company, but not so far that they’re now interviewing you.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:09:30] Right.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:09:30] Which that can happen a lot. And especially right now, we’re throwing incentives and signing bonuses like we never have before for positions that. Really shouldn’t have those things. You know, and so some people are interviewing at multiple companies to find out where the incentive is for them. And they’re missing the mission statement. They’re missing the passion of the company were were now just trying to buy people to come in. Just to have the bodies in place. And that’s so scary. It really is. Because where does it end?
Workplace Wisdom: [00:10:09] And long term, what kind of damage is that going to cause? Right.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:10:13] Well, yeah, I can tell you exactly. You know. You know, say this. Business across the street is saying, okay, well, after 90 days, you’re going to get a $500 signing bonus. Well, then the business across the street is hearing about that and they’re like, well, we’ll give you $750. And then, you know, one down the down the road is upping the ante again. And, you know, after a while, like, where does it end? You know, and to the loyal employees that you have currently that didn’t get those incentives, what does that say to them? Where does it place their value? And you’re now driving them out because now they’re going to go out and say, well, okay, well, there’s no incentive to stay. Then I need to go somewhere else that’s going to pay me to sign on. And then you’re just you’re losing, you know, in some cases, the people that have stayed too long, but in other cases, the people that are your biggest advocates, because they’re just what was what was the point, you know, and also the training programs that are in place. We’re shortening them. We’re making them so short that now people can get through so quickly, whereas we held the people that have been with us long as so accountable in some businesses anyway. That they’re wondering why we put them through that whole rigmarole to to hop on board. And now we’re just shaking hands and saying, come on. And it’s it’s it’s such a catch 22 in so many places. And, you know, where people are placing value, you know, where their biggest needs are right now is terrifying.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:12:01] So in your words, you’re bringing some some discipline, some structure, some rigor to that process, some some repeatable processes and transferable tools so that a layperson like me whose day job is over here but I’ve also got to be involved in in the recruiting. That’s part of what you’re doing in your in your client work are a big part of it, it sounds like.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:12:21] Yeah, exactly. It’s trying to teach where the balance is because we’re all suffering from this. So and it’s not the it’s not the future employees or current employees fault or problem. It’s ours. It’s our responsibility to the people that we’ve committed to by hiring them to create that work environment to where they feel like everyone is accountable and everyone is held to the same standards and to also treat them in a way that they don’t want to leave, to go find something else. They want to be a part of the training process for the future employees to harness and protect what they have come to value.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:13:10] What incredibly rewarding work this must be, that must be a lot. What do you find the most rewarding about it? What are you enjoying the most?
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:13:21] Honestly, I still I’m actually going to a wedding tomorrow for two of my former employees. But staying in touch with the employees that saw that value and felt that value, even though they didn’t like it at the time, because I was I wasn’t easy on them, you know, but people that have come to appreciate those standards and the fact that they were held accountable to those standards. Mm hmm. You know, and then now I’m seeing it in the businesses that I’m working with, you know, and hearing back from them, those same things. And so it’s really the feedback from the employees, you know, or your team members, I’d rather say, yeah, you know, that come back later on. And it’s not just for that business but for how they manage their life else side of the business too, and the standards that they set for themselves. People joke all the time because we used to have these this is such a small minute portion of it, but we used to have these throw pillows on, you know, whether it be in the hotel or in the private clubs that I was in or the restaurants that I was in. But if you had the opportunity to fluff and chop a pillow and I still have employees from 20 years ago that will take pictures of their couches or their bed. Oh, and send it back to me and say, see what you did to me. Like they’re doing it still, you know? But you know, like I said, it’s a menu thing. But the way that they manage their own companies now, you know, because some people have gone on to open their businesses and hearing back from them. What it is that they took to implement for their new employees is just that’s the greatest thing.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:15:08] All right. I got to know your backstory a little bit. How in the world does one find themselves in this line of work? Did you know you were going to do this?
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:15:17] No cost. No. And most people don’t. Now it’s different thanks to, you know, like the Food Network and, you know, you know, master chefs around the world that have, you know, made a name for themselves. And now there’s shows all over, you know, television that, you know, honestly glorify the restaurant industry or the hotel industry or, you know. But, no, I went to school for music. And, you know, my my goal was to become John Williams. One day I wanted to write film score, and I wanted to conduct. And that’s. And it’s neat the correlation between conducting and running a business because you think each department is another voice part or another instrument or another section of an orchestra. So when you make them all work in harmony, it all kind of comes into play. So that was my justification for myself of not actually doing that. It started out as a justification. Now it is absolute passion. You know, it’s seeing all those things work together.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:16:28] Mm hmm.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:16:29] You know, if you’re in a hotel, you see, like, you only see the highlights if you’re a guest. But all the things that go into it, the logistics and like the boards where you’ve got housekeepers, like running certain things and how that’s managed and how they know where to go and what to do in the catering departments. And you’ve got weddings out the wazoo and you’ve got buffets, you know, the next morning and you’ve got people staying until 1:00 in the morning, resetting furniture, you know, for the event that day. And all of those logistics are just so fun to watch.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:17:04] But they can all be failure points, too. Right.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:17:07] Absolutely.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:17:08] There’s so many moving parts because I am a layperson in this regard. I guess it never really dawned on me until just now how much is going on behind the scenes I shared with you before we went on air, my wife Holly and I and my brother in law and sister in law. We’re going on a Viking River cruise. It’ll be our second. I got to tell you, I think the Viking folks, at least our experience when we went in 2017, was, I think they really do a good job. And so from a guest perspective, they were doing all those things. But there must have been all kinds of crazy stuff going on in the background. When we were out playing in the Port of Call, they were back at the ship making things right.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:17:45] Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And that’s the that’s the greatest thing ever. I mean, you know, I have I have like my heart is in the Disney Corporation and like when it comes to the way that they make things happen without you seeing a thing in the way that their training program is so in place, you know, somebody drops a piece of trash. You know, there’s a reason why receptacles are placed where they’re at. It’s part of the show, you know, and if if a business like you mentioned Viking, like if they’re putting on a good show, then you’re not seeing the logistics that go on behind it. If you’re in this business, you want to you want to take a tour of like, you know, of how they go about their meetings during the day and how.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:18:35] That would be.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:18:36] Cool. Oh yeah. Like you want to see exactly what goes into the way that they they speak together and the way that they, you know, the questions when someone raises their hand to say, okay, well, how are we going to make this happen? Okay, I want to hear I can’t wait to hear that answer. You know, it’s just it’s really, really neat. But it’s all about logistics.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:18:59] Well, there’s a pro tip. If you get a candidate coming to you and you’re talking about hiring them or thinking about hiring them if they have worked with Disney. Plus that’s that’s definitely goes in the plus column, doesn’t it?
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:19:10] Yeah, it does. Well, I mean any major corporation I mean, there’s there’s an amount of failure that has to happen to get you to.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:19:21] Yeah.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:19:21] A high level. And that’s why, you know, people will say, well, you don’t have enough experience. Well, a lot of new candidates and people coming out of college and they don’t understand that statement like, well, you haven’t failed enough. Yeah. Why is that a good thing? Well, it’s because you don’t know the why. Behind the ask is a basic statement to that question. Like, you have to know the why behind it, and the best leaders will teach you the why while they’re training you. Because if you don’t, you know, if we are hiring greener and we’re not hiring, you know, experienced candidates and you’re expecting them to perform to the standard that you’ve set in place, they have to know the whys behind the asks. Right, in order to not do them. You know, I’ve often said to chefs, you know, when they’re hiring green candidates because their labor costs are what they are and, you know, they can’t necessarily afford to pay the top dollar amount, even though now we currently are part of the incentivizing thing that we talked about. And that’s going to be a very hard thing to bounce back from. But yeah, you know, when we’re hiring the greener candidates and for chefs, you know, you catch people on their phones constantly on Instagram and Facebook and everything. Okay, well, that’s fine. You know what? Let them do that. But give them people to follow, you know, tell them to follow. You know, I don’t want to go too specific here, but, you know, there’s plating experts that show, you know, what it is to make a beautiful plate or, you know, famous chefs that you want to emulate or restaurants that you hold at a higher caliber. So, you know, say, okay, fine, if you’re going to have your phone out, you know, you’re not on stage right now. None of our guests can see you. Follow this person, follow this restaurant. I followed this hotel, follow this, you know, concert venue, you know.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:21:34] And because that it really that’s a learning modality, a learning channel for people in that age group or that demographic. Right. That’s how they communicate and take on new. And from that, what a great idea.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:21:46] And when they do it’s it’s amazing because they get inspired. Yeah, you know, they want to do those things and then they realize that there is another level out there, you know, that they may not have been exposed to. So how can we ask them to deliver on something that they’ve never seen before unless we’re putting it in front of them and putting it in front of them in a way that’s fun and a way that they can relate to.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:22:10] Now, as I understand it, one of the things that you’re doing to introduce people to this this framework and some of these very important topics, you have a maybe have more than one, but you have a series of is a videos where you’re talking to say more about that.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:22:28] So we decided when I say we, this is the magic learning company and also leadership magic that are that are partnered. And so I flew out to meet with the owner of leadership magic to film videos. And so we decided to do a six part series called Let’s Be Right. And it’s like I mentioned, it’s in six parts. Hire right, train right, treat right. Inspire right. Include right and fire eight. Inclusion is such a fuzzy word right now, and a lot of people just really don’t get it. You know, we all want it, but making it happen is a very difficult thing. And that word is often misinterpreted. And so that that one’s very important to me. Also firing. Right. So a lot of people really don’t know how to properly fire someone. And it’s not just about what’s on paper and a list of things to do. It’s realizing the audience and the dignity of these people that you once committed to, to bring on. And you have to know that you did everything in your power to help them succeed before you even get to that point. Mm hmm. And that’s also a training, too. You know, I’ve known business owners that are holding people accountable by giving them information and expecting them to pass tests on their own time without guidance and without.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:24:09] Like I said before, like the why behind right what the ask is. And so they’re left kind of flailing on their own to succeed. And then if we’re not impressed with the outcome, then we’re just letting them go. Our personal investment and the people that we hire is so important and they have to feel it. They you know, when, you know, I’ve only worked truthfully and in small businesses, you know, I haven’t worked in major corporations before. So there’s certain things that I was privileged to have the time to do, you know, and one on one sessions. A lot of major companies don’t have that privilege to do that, but they do have people and teams to do that. So following up with them and making sure that they’re carrying it out in a way that is really going to set people up for success is is a major deal. You know, if we’re just hiring people and then hoping that they get the job done because they say all the right things, that’s just. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:25:21] And going back to the bottom line, my personal experience has been and this these fruits were are not the product of Lee and I being geniuses. We just, I think got lucky on a couple of occasions. But the compound returns you get on a highly motivated, passionate team member are just beyond measure. I mean, it just keeps paying and paying and paying. Yes.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:25:45] Yes, absolutely. Well, you know, and it’s so funny because, you know, we think that it’s you know, and it absolutely is our job to inspire people to get people excited to be in your business. But when they get excited about it, it often renews our investment in and renews our energy and our passion for it. So it just it’s constantly reciprocated. You know, it’s just like a 30, 60 sort of situation to where, you know, maybe one of us isn’t having the best day or one of us is like losing the passion for what we’re doing because we’ve been doing it for so long. And yeah, you know, to be reinvigorated by the people that we bring on and then to see other employees, you know, get excited again where maybe they lost their passion. It’s it’s wonderful to see. And yeah, it’s not always about the experience. Sometimes it’s just about the passion level.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:26:45] So I’m sure you’re seeing patterns and maybe we’ve already touched on all of them. But I’m going to ask anyway, are you finding that your clients that there are a handful of things that you’re seeing over and over that you know, these are the challenges right now? Yeah. Yeah.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:27:01] Oh, yeah. I would say the top three things that I’m seeing over and over and over again is hiring like we talked about.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:27:09] Right.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:27:10] And like I said, it’s not a yeah, we, we all needed to get creative to bring in candidates. But that only takes you so far and it’s not sustainable. So hiring is truthfully the number one thing that I’ve seen.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:27:29] Okay.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:27:30] Firing is another one because because of the hiring process, we’re hanging on to people for too long.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:27:38] Right.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:27:43] Training is is the other one. And there are those those last two are equally balanced, I would say. And it’s because of the fact that most of the time right now we’re hiring people because we have an absolute need and it’s a911. Got to get people in there. We got to get the bodies in there. And so we’re just pushing them into a situation to where we’re not taking the time to really spend with them. You know, and it’s multi department. You know, everything is interconnected when it comes to all the departments of your business.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:28:17] Mm hmm.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:28:18] So we spend so much time training them for their task, but they don’t necessarily understand the tasks of their partners and other and how it fits in. So you might have somebody in the accounting department who’s getting frustrated with this person over here because they don’t know the why behind the how they’re doing it.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:28:42] Right.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:28:42] And how it affects other people in their day to day, you know, timelines or timelines. But when it comes to the operational aspect of their job and how it affects those around them, we’re not spending enough time training on that. You know, and if everyone had a mutual understanding of how each department worked and why it might be like, this deadline’s not realistic for me because I’m relying on this to take place before this. This other department’s going to have a better understanding of that. You know, and so it makes a much more cohesive environment when we take the time to properly train people not just for their task at hand, but for how the inner workings of the business take place.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:29:29] Well, it makes complete sense to me, and it occurs to me that even if you somehow get your onboarding and early training just nailed right, and we get them that that training or maybe the desired outcome competency is really it’s a moving target, right? Like the bar, the goal line keeps moving. You got to keep pumping the handle. You can’t just do it and then be done.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:29:54] And be done. It’s never ending. You know, it’s continuing education. You know, it’s you know, you know, take the IT world.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:30:04] For.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:30:04] Instance. Oh, my word. Like, I still don’t know that I know how to properly work a DVD player. And I used to make my make fun of my parents for not being able to work a VCR, you know, and you know. So it’s constantly changing and every business is constantly changing in their own way. And you have to develop those people into the new whatever’s happening next.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:30:30] Right.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:30:30] You know? And culinary is a perfect example of that. You know, there’s innovations with culinary, you know, and hospitality. Mm hmm. You know, what people want and what people value is different now than what it used to be. You know, people want to experience you know, it’s not just about food and beverage. It’s not just about how comfortable your pillows are in the hotel room. It’s not just about where your seats are at a concert venue. It’s about the entire experience.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:30:58] Right.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:30:59] You know, and take concert venues for an example. You know, I’ve been very fortunate in my life to know a lot of people who are in the music business that travel and tour and and they are going to choose where they tour based on the hospitality levels of where they’re going and not necessarily for themselves, but what their guests are going to experience and what memories are going to bring back from those shows and those experiences and those sports venues and those, you know, what are our guests going to experience and are they going to want to come back? And what are they going to tell 100 of their friends on Instagram tomorrow? Right. You know, and it’s there are so many levels of hospitality within every business.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:31:45] All right. So let’s talk about the work and actually, let’s even go further, further upfront than that. How does the whole sales and marketing thing work for a practice like yours? Have you been at it long enough now that your phone rings, or do you still find yourself out there marketing and selling and that kind of thing every day? Okay.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:32:04] Every day, you know, it’s LinkedIn, it’s social media. It’s which I’m so bad at social media. So if you start following me, I’m so sorry, but I’ve got to get better about that. But there are people that are wonderful with it that, you know, that really impacts their business. For me, you know, it’s going into places and then maybe sending an email saying, hey, listen, it was wonderful to be at your establishment. You know, these are the things that I noticed, you know, and not handing them a, you know, a playbook because that’s rude. But, you know, really sharing with them like, hey, listen, these are this is the reason why I continue to go back to your establishment because of this. And these are the things that we’ve noticed. And hey, so-and-so may have been, you know, a little off last night. And, you know, but I just wanted to give you a heads up from one business owner to another. And, you know, and sometimes it’s welcomed and, you know, you just have to be careful with those things, you know, when you’re giving feedback. But I don’t feel like, you know. The Internet is necessarily a place to give. Having been in the business for so long, I always appreciated a phone call or an email from someone to say, Hey, listen, these are the things that we notice, but we respect you enough to to say, hey, you know, we hope that this improves versus putting it out on those sites.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:33:33] I’m with you. Yeah, I’m the same. And I would be appreciative of that. You know, if someone were to to get to me about any of their experience in any of the 35 community studios we have. So, no, I can see that. Okay. So you have this conversation. You bring on a client, talk a little bit about the work, particularly the early stages. How does how does this relationship in this work get started?
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:33:57] So my business is is run by custom leaders or is run by leadership, magic and magic learning company. But my business is actually called custom leadership, and there is a reason for that. And I don’t even think I spent 2 seconds thinking about the name of the business because it’s exactly what I want it to be. It’s customized to what the needs are. So some people are fantastic at the delivery of their hospitality. Some places need a little work and, you know, one area versus another. And, you know, that’s where it’s really listening to what their challenges are versus telling them where their challenges are. And I never want to go in and and forgive me for this because I hate this word as a consultant, because I feel like that’s the most overused job title that’s out there right now. And I don’t like it, but. I want to listen to where they think their challenges are. And I want to spend maybe a week or two working alongside them in their business to maybe see things that they haven’t seen that hands on. Oh, absolutely fantastic. There’s no other way to go in and tell somebody what to do other than to get your hands dirty. You know, you’ve got to. And that’s out of respect to them and also the validity of your work. My words only going to mean so much. It’s going to be fuzzy and white noise over time if I keep saying the same things over and over again. And, you know, if if they truly want to get something out of it, then I have to be willing to go in there and do the work and talk to their employees and find out where they think their challenges are, because it might not be what an owner or CEO sees. You know, because floating in a helicopter above doesn’t necessarily mean that we know the challenges that our people are facing.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:36:00] So I mean, your passion just comes through on the airwaves, I’m sure, certainly in this room. But I mean, you’re human. You got to run out of gas now and again. When you do, where do you go for inspiration? How do you recharge the batteries?
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:36:17] That’s a great question.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:36:20] This travel for me and Holly.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:36:21] That’s travel is a big deal for me to live. Music is a really big deal for me.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:36:26] You know, until I moved to Woodstock, I’d forgotten how much I love life. And now on the weekends especially, just walk around.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:36:32] Yeah, I’ve got three shows that I’m trying to decide between tonight. All right. I just went to Augusta a couple of weeks ago to see a friend of ours play. Well, a friend of ours, someone play, you know, the most amazing bluegrass show ever. And now we’re getting ready to leave to Saint Augustine in a couple of weeks, you know, to see other people play. And yeah, that’s that’s my big passion. And it’s just it’s awesome. You know, I studied opera and classical music for a very, very long time. So the circles that I travel now in are very, very different from that.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:37:04] I’ll bet.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:37:05] But yeah, that’s where my batteries get recharged for sure.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:37:09] And back to much earlier in our conversation, you also get to witness firsthand, I bet you some pretty inspiring stories in these client systems, right. When you’re when you’re in that, you see some really fun, inspiring stuff.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:37:23] Oh, yeah. And, you know, some things that they forget to put value in. So, for example, in the training process, one of the things that I talk about is talk about your struggles and the company history and how hard it was for you to get where you’re at now. Because they’re going to appreciate that. They’re going to say like, Well, this isn’t just a company asking me to drink the Kool-Aid. Like they had to make the Kool-Aid first before we were drinking it. And, you know, some people’s stories are just so inspirational and the things that they had to overcome, you know, some people came from absolutely nothing. You know, I was fortunate enough to be working at a private club down in Jupiter, Florida. And the members of that club were all very hand-selected by the person I’d say owns it. But, you know, I would hear stories from these people that have multiple businesses all over the world, you know, talk about how they lived in their car for X amount of time beforehand and wow, like those stories like, well, if you can come back from that and. You know, we’ve there’s no excuse, you know what I mean?
Workplace Wisdom: [00:38:32] And I can wash dishes for a little while while I work on being a sous chef or what? I mean, I’m not I don’t know what I’m talking about, but. Yeah.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:38:38] Yeah, yeah. It’s amazing what people are willing to do with grit and, you know, some great business owners that are even based here in Atlanta. I listen to their stories and one of which, you know, she talks about how she only had $5,000 in her pocket or in her bank account, for that matter, when she started her own business. Wow. And she would, you know, the the groundwork that had to take place to get her to where she’s at now is unbelievable. And you talk about grit and the things that you’re willing to do. You know, like don’t ever ask your employees to do something that you didn’t have to do to get where you’re at.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:39:21] That’s a good discipline to live by. Yeah. All right. Before we wrap a couple of things, one, do you intend to continue doing some of these these video series things? Right. You got some more stuff coming out on that front?
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:39:35] I do. I’m about halfway through writing. It’s as opposed to the six part series. This is now a 40 part series.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:39:42] Wow.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:39:43] Yes. Ambitious hands are full on that one. Well, it’s to honestly, it’s to replicate in small business terms one of my mentors and I’d like to say hopefully that hopefully that would be well received. We’ll see. But he’s definitely a mentor. But he wrote a 40 part series in hospitality of and it really gets into the whys behind everything. But he’s more big business. I like to focus on the companies that are much, much smaller, that have the same luxuries that I did in terms of the interactions with their people, and I can speak to that obviously better. I’m not going to go into major companies and act like I know what I’m talking about. But the smaller companies that are really trying to get out of where they’re at or can sustain where they’re at, you know, that’s what that’s where my heart is. And so this 40 part series is all about hospitality and really fun stories and some major mishaps and some stupid mistakes that have been made over the years. You know, one of my favorite stories with that and this is going to be a part of the series, there was a couple that came into a restaurant that I was running at one point in time, and there was a courthouse right across the street and they were from another country. And so they had all of their family and friends come up from that country to celebrate with them. And we were going to be hosting their reception. So they got up to the window, apparently at the courthouse, and they said, I’m sorry, you just missed your deadline.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:41:24] And it was like on a Friday. And so Saturday, Sunday weren’t going to happen and all their family and friends were going to be flying back and they specifically wanted a certain date. Some people are very date specific, lucky numbers, you know, family history, whatever it is. And so we decided at that point, we’re like, we’re not going to let this happen. So they were she was almost in tears. She threw away her bouquet. I watched her throw it in the trash. And so we ended up calling a regular guest who is an actual judge. We said, what are the odds of you actually coming up to the restaurant to marry this couple in the restaurant? And so we ended up sending people out to the local grocery store to buy flowers to build her another bouquet. We pulled her dad into my office and they said, Hey, listen, your daughter’s getting married today. He’s like, No, no, she’s not. You missed what happened. We’re like, No, no, we didn’t miss anything. This is what’s about to happen. A judge is about to walk up the stairs and marry your daughter today. And so to like finding moments of magic like that in a way to make an impact on people is the greatest thing that any of us can do. And, you know, we we we think so specifically to the hospitality industry being hotels, restaurants, you know, major event venues. But we forget that regardless of the business that you’re in, you’re in the hospitality industry.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:42:47] Yeah, well said. All right. If our listeners and I’m sure they will want to have a conversation with you or someone on your team or access some of this content that you’re creating for them. Let’s leave them with some contact points, whatever you feel like is appropriate, whether it’s email or websites or any of that kind of thing.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:43:04] Sure. So I’ve recently gone up on a site called Learn Desk, which huge fan of anything from health and wellness to school to anything you can you can learn about on there. But it’s learned. Escort us and you can find my series there. Let’s be right. Or you can also put in my name Lee and Miller, and that will guide you to that. You can also, if you want. Emailed me directly, I’d be happy to receive your emails and its custom leadership at gmail.com.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:43:34] Fantastic. Well, it has been an absolute delight having you in the studio this afternoon, and we may need to do this again. Have kind of an update when you get on the other side of creating your your series. It might be fun to check in with you.
Leigh Ann Miller: [00:43:48] Yeah, I’d love to do that. Absolutely.
Workplace Wisdom: [00:43:51] All right. This is Stone Payton for our guest today, Liane Miller with Magic Learning Company and everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying we’ll see you next time on workplace wisdom.