How Can Business Improv Help You Be a Better Leader

How Can Business Improv Help You Be a Better Leader

Check out the latest episode below. Mr.Biz Radio provides business owners with the knowledge and insights needed to drive their companies forward.

Mr. Biz Radio: How Can Business Improv Help You Be a Better Leader

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz Radio! Biz Talk for Biz Owners. During the next half hour, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth, a leading business advisor, and two time best selling author will cover topics that'll help business owners run their companies more profitably and more efficiently. If you're ready to stop faking the fun and take your business onward and upward. This show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


All right. Welcome back to another episode of Mr. Biz radio with me, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth, and for those watching on our new channel Mr. Biz network, the Mr. Biz radio series this is our first actual we've loaded some shows on, but there were prior shows. This is actually the first show on the new network with the series of Mr. Biz radio series, we are hoping to be able to do it in our new studio. Unfortunately, as many people are experiencing right now, we had some shipping delays on some equipment. So we weren't able to have our guests this week in our new studio know. And for those watching on TV or on YouTube or wherever video wise I've got a new aerodynamic look. Yes, I have shaved my head and actually with the screen behind me, it makes it look even a little crazier, I think, especially when I do all this, but anyway this week we have a return guest and I wanna have Mr.


Peter Margaritis is back on the show because he has recently released a book that is going to be something that will resonate with each and every one of you, no matter where, if you're a business owner, entrepreneur in the corporate world, it doesn't matter. This book will resonate with you. I got an an advanced copy of the first several chapters of it. And gosh, I guess probably a couple months ago now, maybe three months ago now. And it's fantastic. So I wanted to have him on talk through the book cuz I know it'll be helpful for you guys. So without further ado, Peter Margaritis welcome back to Mr. Biz radio.


Thank you very much. I'm looking forward to our conversation.


Yeah. So, I mean for those who haven't if you haven't heard some of the other episodes that that Peter was on why don't you start Peter walking us through a little bit of your entrepreneurial journey. So what led you to where you're at now, by the way Peter margaritas is the accidental accountant should mention that as well. So, so, so, so maybe even tell the backstory on that as well.


Well, I, I, that's why I'm the account that detail was never really my forte. I, I, but clearly I can pass exams cause I did pass the CPA exam. So I'm, I'm good at test taking, but not actual doing the work <laugh> and when the partners at Pricewater, I was finally had enough with me. I went my separate way and went to work for Victoria secret catalog, not as a model, I keep telling you that Ken, not as a model, but I was there in the finance department. And, and one of my first reviews, performance reviews was my boss and I, my chiefs hadn't even hit the seat and she goes, how in the hell did you ever become a CPA? Cpas can get down in the deepest part of a spreadsheet. I can get you back. This part, you're an accidental accountant.


<Laugh> that was the nicest thing she had said to me all year long <laugh> but what I shared with her is that accountants have a stereotype with an organization. So CPA has a stereotype and we are in the information gathering business. So the more that I can be viewed as Pete, I know that guy versus, oh God, here comes the CPA from the county and finance cuz I was networking my way around the building so we could get information easier and faster. And using that time, my, my free time versus Pete critiques are never in the seat. Well, I'm trying to help our out in this place, but when you want something done, you always ask me to go do it for you. Right, right. Cause I knew people


Well. And I mean, I think it's a lot of your, your personality that comes through is that you are not at least in my view and my undergrads in accounting. I never went, I never did my CPA. I, I, my, my CPA story, Pete, and I can't remember if I told you this before I at lunch or whatnot. But I went, so I, I, I graduated and when undergrad was in accounting, I got a job in accounting and at, at bank one back then it was bank one mm-hmm <affirmative> and you know, the normal path is you go get your CPA, et cetera, et cetera. So I'm like, okay, so I'm gonna do this. I went to, and I don't even know, gosh, this is probably gonna date me too. But back then the, the top one, the top study group or study books and things like that for CPA was Becker.


Right? And so I went to a Becker, I signed up and I went to a Becker class and I saw the work and I had heard a bunch of horror stories. Of course mm-hmm <affirmative> and I really wasn't that into accounting. Be honest with you. I mean, I, I enjoy working with numbers, but that much detail was just a little much for me. And I think similar to you. Right. And so I saw it and I, I literally told a buddy of mine. I'm like, you know, I bet if you do all the work that they tell you to do, you'll pass, but man, oh man, it's gonna take you, you know, a bazillion hours a week to get through this. And I just didn't have the passion for forward. I'm like, yeah, this is not my path. So I I'd always planned on, I wanted to have my CPA and my MBA by the time I was 30 mm-hmm <affirmative> and CPA got scratched off the list.


Cause <laugh> because honestly I, I went and talked to a mentor and I said, you know, he said, well, what, what type of career path do you plan on, you know, working in a, an accounting firm for your career? And I said, no, absolutely not. And he said, you know, honestly, if you, if you're not going to do that, getting your CPA, probably not gonna, you know, your MBA or your ma or master's degree in some sort of financial field will probably do you much better. He said, you know, go do that first. And then if you decide if your career path changes go and do the CPA. So anyway that's my, so, so you had much more gumption even as the accidental accountant than I did, cuz I, I chickened out after one lowly Becker class <laugh>


I, I, I never took a Becker class. I self studied and I had this I, but I developed a strategy that I didn't even really put a whole lot of work into studying the first time I wanted to see how well I would do cuz I was just getting out a graduate program in accountancy, how well I would do. Okay. So I didn't pass anything, but I saw where I was close. I focused on those two sections and I focused on the other two sections and took me about three, three different times. But I grew up in an entrepreneurial, me I'm Greek American. I really should be in the kitchen, Ken <laugh> I, I should be. And actually that's what I thought I was gonna do. I thought I was gonna be a Reau tour that that's and I still have that passion for it.


But you, the hours and things and opportunities just kept presenting themselves in, in a different way. And I probably had about eight or nine different careers in, in my life where a lot of people just have had one. I mean, again, somebody would've told me 10, 15 years ago that I would write three books and be a bestselling author and, and my friends go without crayons. I went, yeah, without crayons. I would've never, I would've never, but it's just being in the right place. It's the right time and having entrepreneurial spirit and not, and, grasping onto the fear, leaning into the fear, because that takes us out of our comfort zone, where our dreams come alive, hanging out in your comfort zones, where your dreams going die.


I agree. I agree. And look, I look Peter, I'm the same way. Like I, I, I cannot stand writing and I've, I've written two books and I'm, I got a third that's coming out here in a few months and I've got a fourth it's in drop mode that I kind of put in the back burner, cuz I'm wanted to change the order of releasing and all stuff. Same thing. I mean, I cannot stand writing, but I, I developed little system of, of how to write a book for me that works for me. It's, it's still painful, but it's not as painful. And but, but I, but I get it. Like I, again, back in my corporate career, before I left JP Morgan, if someone would've told, you know, said, oh my gosh, you know, I mean, I just left JP Morgan.


It's been six years, almost six years to the day. I mean, I'm a couple weeks shy of a six years that I would've written a couple books and all this other crazy stuff that has happened. Like you said, it's just, you know, you roll with the punches and you kind of figure things out as you go along. And I think that's the interesting part about it. You, so I should mention, so we got ahead to a break here, but go out to to find out more can see the book there, which the name of the book is "Off Script, Mastering the Art of Business Improv". But if you got to Pete, there you go. There you go. If you go out to, you can find out more there, follow Peter on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, of course. Uand we're gonna come back after the break. We'll give the Mr. Biz tip the week. Of course. And then we're gonna dig into this book and we're gonna talk through in the third segment, of course, how to master the art of business improv and what that means. Like, what the heck does that mean? You know, you see these improv shows and comedy and things like that. What does that mean? So we're gonna hit a break now, come back after the break. Continue to talk about Mr. Peter Margaritis


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All right. Welcome back to the show sign for the Mr. Biz tip of the week in this week's tip is actually a quote from one of our former guests, none, the Mrs. Elena Cardone, Grant Cardone's wife, and she I've heard her speak. And she mentioned this at I can't remember if it was at growth con or where it was, but I immediately jotted it down. I'm like, man, I gotta, I gotta use this as a, so it's first time it's been a tip. So we, you know, we change up the tips every year and everything, but the quote is be tough enough to take a hit and strong enough to deliver a blow, tough enough to take a hit strong enough to deliver a blow. Obviously not metaphorically speaking not talking about, you know, violence. We don't need any of that, Peter.


Right? We don't need any of that. No. But again, quote from Mrs. Elena Cardone, I love that. And I think it's very spot on with entrepreneurship as a business owner. You gotta be able take those hits, cuz they're gonna come. It's just inevitable. I don't mean to be negative. It's just the reality it situation. And then you gotta be ready to, you know, deliver that below, see seize those opportunities when they come and present themselves just like, you know, Peter and I were talking about during the first segment of writing books, like neither of us ever expected to do any of that kind of stuff. So so that is a Mr. Biz tip of the week. So Peter let's let's, let's talk about the book. So, so first of all, I mean, and then third segment, I want you to give us some tips on how to master, so, so I don't want you to any of that stuff, but what led you? So after writing your first two books, what led you to this book? What, why did this, this topic sort of speak to you and you wanted to write a book about it? Well, the, the first book was improv was no joke. So when I wrote that it


Was my first book and people get, he said, Hey, very nice. I really enjoy, I really enjoyed some organizations. I, I would go in and help them with it. They were, that was the, the first step into busting that myth of improv is not about comedy. And the way I'm looking improv is, is a leadership tool. And when I was done with it, I had people come up to me and go, you know, you need to, you need to put a little bit more business into it. You can write a more towards the, the business audience. And another person would say that. And then my brother-in-law Clyde said, Pete, love the book. You need to write it for business, go get it done. Yes, sir. <Laugh> I great guy. And, and, and what I did was is I, I, I put of taking the number out of numbers before that, because I needed time to research and dig and find articles and stories to really break that myth that that improv is made up.


And I came across this one story about how Martin Luther king improvised the, I have the dream speech. And that's how it's taught in forms. That's how it's actually tied on. There's so much written about it. It's, it's the worst kept it's the best kept secret because as I kept digging and digging and digging, yeah, the night before, the big, the March, he and his people were working on the speech. And one of his handlers said, let's take out this. I had the dream piece, we've been using it for 6, 7, 8 months. Let's put something else in there because the tie of the speech did was normalcy. Never again. So if you watch the video that day, you can see Dr. King, his head up and down, up and down, he's reading it, but he's not getting the response back from the audience that he hold for.


Now, two thirds of the way through he, he hesitates for a moment. You don't hear it on the, on the on the video, but, but ha Jackson was the gospel singer for him that day. And she said, I'm about to dream Martin. Now, people around her heard her say that. And, and at that point in time, Dr. King looked down at his notes and pushed them aside and brought in the, I have the dream piece. She, he didn't have it in his prepared notes, but he improvised it. He brought it in, in order to engage that audience. And wouldn't that be great if business leaders could do the same thing, realize that the script that they've written is not having the impact on the audience and change their cadence, change it up to impact the, but a lot of times we're thinking about ourselves and this is what I've written, but it's not about you. It's about the impact that you have on that audience. And to be able to adapt to something different, to inspire, to motivate, to move them


Well. And I mean, look, all the business owners out there that started your business and everything went exactly as you thought it was going to be, raise your hand. <Laugh> okay. Exactly. That, that that's the whole point. Right? And so improvisation is whether you realize it or not is an absolute necessity as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, as a parent, as a spouse, as a, as a son daughter, as a, as a, you know, as, as everything in life. I mean, you know, it doesn't always work out most of the time. It doesn't work out the way you expect. I mean, unless it's some, you know, small thing that you can, you know, pretty, pretty well predict, but so that, and that, that's a, what meant in the outset, when I said this is gonna be something that resonates with everyone, it doesn't matter what you do.


You don't even have to be a business owner because again, you know you know, Grant Cardone talks about everyone's a salesperson mm-hmm, you know, you might not realize it, but you are selling your kids on eating green beans. You are selling your wife on the certain movie. You wanna watch you are, you know, you are selling and, and selling requires improv. Right. You know, just like we talked about before. And so I think that's critically, critically important. And so, so I guess let's, let's talk about a little bit, so you, again, you written two books prior  And, and so how long did this take you? What was the process like compared to the first two? Well,


This one, I, I had put it off in my mind for maybe 22, 23, and then the pandemic hit. And then after, you know, getting outta the fetal position after the first couple of days and going, you know, okay. Improvisers improvise the scene that you're in, not the one you wanna be in. I started redesigning my business to, to absorb any type of hits like this in the future. Got done check next on my list, I developed a virtual improv workshop that I've, I've launched in 20, 20 and 2021 launched in a new one in December. And then I didn't have anything on my to-do list. And this was like August of 2020. And I went, well, guess I'm gonna write the book now, cuz I had done a ton of research in the accountant. I had a spreadsheet with a tab for articles, a tab for YouTube videos, a tab for books, a tab for, you know, Ted talks, all of, and I said, I've got enough to sit down and just start writing it. And I, I, I sketched out an outline and just tried to push out about 1500 to two words a week, whether that's in one, one posting or two postings on the topic until I got to about 35, 40,000 words, which is gonna be about 180 to 200 pages. Clearly I went past it because we're at 312, right?


So I didn't realize realized I had that much, but that was through the editing process. And really from start to finish, it took 14 months, which is about the same time as it took the second book, taking the number outta the numbers. But I will tell you this kid, I had more fun with this book from start to finish through the grueling part of editing than I've ever had with any of the other two. There's something about this book that just resonates with people, resonates with entrepreneurs.


Sure. Yeah. I can imagine. I can imagine.


And to some degree it allows 'em to be strategically silly in their businesses to help generate a variety of different ideas. Yeah. And do we need some silliness in our businesses these days?


Absolutely agree. A hundred percent. <Laugh> we've only got about a minute left, but I, I got asked this question for me personally. So between all the research you did and then actually sitting down in, in doing the writing mm-hmm <affirmative> so that's where I, I stalled out on this particular book mm-hmm <affirmative> so I did, I was much like you and it shows my, my numbers, nerd mentality, but I have the same kind of thing. Maybe organized a little bit differently, but very similar to what you described. But I did all that. And then I was like, in some way I checked the box was like, oh, I'm, I'm kind of done. Like, and I paused before actually getting started.


Yeah. It's I, I, I was, I was, I was destined to do this book, this, like I said, this was a lot of fun and, and, and people have asked me, I mean, you should work on number four, you get that and I'm going, yeah, I'm actually ask, can those who read my book, just supply me with their stories. I'll interview them whatever. And combine all these stories into another book. A second edition of it, telling these business stories in this, as it relates to this


Book. Good stuff, good stuff. But we're gonna hit a break. We're gonna come back and Peter's gonna give us tips on exactly how to mask the art of business improv.


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To submit questions to the show, email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Now once again, here's Mr. Biz.


All right. Welcome back to the show. And again, this week we're talking with Mr. Peter Margaritis author of his third book bestselling author. I'm gonna throw that in there. Can't forget that part. Very, very important and very impressive bestselling author of now three books. The third book that we're talking about today is called off-script mastering the art of business of, and you can find out more at, Ufollow him on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on the Gram, as they say, as the kids say Instagram,uand, and Facebook,uyou can find him on accidental accountant on,uhis Facebook business page. So Peter, now we've talked about this you've, you've kind of enlightened us a little bit. I think a lot of people, as you mentioned, think of improv as being funny,uand, and, and humorous at all times, which it can be, of course, even in the context, what you're speaking, but tell us some ways, give us some tips on how we can master


That art in our businesses. Well, it, it starts with the foundation and this foundation is critical. It's a foundation of respect, trust, and support. And I like you a lot, but I don't have to like you, but I have to have respect for you. If I have respect for you, things get done. Now, a situation where neither side has respect for one another is called our us political system. It's my way to highlight. Right? Right. And we have to be trustworthy. We have to trust our team and we have to provide them support and they need to support us. If one of those elements are missing the foundation crashes and this doesn't work. Okay. So after that at, we all need to become better listeners, listening, to understand, not listening to respond, which means you need to park your park, your ego over there and be completely present, which is the second part of this present in the moment.


So you can understand what the person is trying to say by getting rid of a lot of the distractions that are going on in your head. When we do that, we can adapt to any situation in the moment when it comes to us. But here's the, here's, here's the critical piece. Two magic words. Yes,And. Not know,because . Not yes, but. Yes,And about agreement, but not always agreeing. Yes, and is about empathy. Understanding how somebody feels in their shoes. Yes, and is about creation. Yes, and is about opportunity or think of it this way. Ken, you're going, you're on vacation. You're sitting at the beach at 5:00 AM. And when that suns, isn't the sunrise, the ultimate, yes. That we've got another day. It's another opportunity. What am I gonna get done today? Because without the sun, we can't survive. And if we take that yes.


And approach and go, okay, well what someone say, well, what if it's raining? The sun's still out there. It's still there. Right? We just have just like, just like the, the turbulence and, and, and, and stuff that happens in our business. We still have to keep that positive mental attitude. Yes. And, and, and that's what has helped me in my business because I lean into that fear. I lean into that unknown. I take risks. Some of them know work. That's fine. I fail first attempt in learning. I remember that and I'll go back and fix it and fix it and try to it's having that. And it really comes down to how well a listener you are, how well that you understand what somebody else is saying. And, and really, really hard because we have biases that, that we have, we, we have agendas. We have egos that we wanna see done.


But if we can take, this was a, a quote that I, I came up with the collective knowledge outside of your office, far exceeds the collective knowledge inside of your office. Go seek out the solution. But a lot of times leaders want to leave from the top down versus going out and getting feedback from their people. We see this with the great resignation know, Jamie Diamond said, Hey, everybody's coming back to the office and people come out here. So everybody, your people talk to your people have that respect, that trust and that support form. Cause Ken we're in the people business, without people, we have no business. And, and that is the essence of improv leadership.


And Peter, I gotta tell you, so, you know, I I've heard that heard before, you know listen to understand, right. Mm-Hmm, <affirmative> not not to respond. I I've heard that before, but I think especially with what you're talking about, it's critically important because as you were saying that I was thinking about it and, and kind of mulling it over. And it's like, you know, if I, if I'm listening to you waiting to just say whatever my side is, or my piece, or, you know, whatever, I can't you improv because I've already thought of what I'm gonna say. So I'm not even listening to understand what you're saying. So I can't improv. And therefore the communication, the two way communications is gonna lack because of that, because I'm not improving or adapting to what you're saying, because I'm not understanding it. Cuz I've already made up my mind. I'm gonna say these three sentences. And so it, it breaks that all down. I love the yes. And I, I love that concept of, of the yes. And so if you could, if you could walk us through like maybe a quick example of, of how that works,


You know, so let's say you, you walk into the CFO's office. I get this great idea. So it costs about a million dollars the CFO go. Mm, no, because it's not in the budget or yes, but it's not in the budget versus to see if I goes, yes, I, I, I'm interested in let, can you tell me more about your idea? So now we're entertaining the idea and then gets to a point where that, well, you know, that's really interesting. Have you thought about this and the person? Yes. I've thought about that yet. And so yes, I hear what you're saying. And did you think about this and then you get to this one critical point, did you? Yes. I, I understand what you're saying. And have you thought about putting yourself in my shoes, how I'm gonna sell it to my boss and they go no back to work, <laugh> come to me with how I'm gonna sell it upstream. And then if I can, we'll get it done like


That. And, and here's why I love it. And, and I, I, from reading an excerpt from the book and, and talking with you, as you were sort of finishing up the last final stages of editing and things like that, no kidding. One of the Mr. Biz of the week is start with yes, yes. Is, is because people, so often that, that scenario you ran through in so many situations, especially the CFO, even myself being a CFO you know, the first thing is spend money. No, you know, the first answer is no. And so no start with yes. And, and, and by the way, from what you're saying, it's even better. It takes it a step further. Yes. And right. So I'm gonna start with yes. And there's always something else after it. And the yes, but is almost a yes, no. Right, right. So I love the yes. And because it's considering things, you know, it may end up being that when you consider it, it's not a risk you're willing to take, or maybe you just don't have enough money in the budget, even if you try to create space, but you're at least considering it, you're not starting with no, you're starting with yes. And I think that whole mindset changes everything.


It's also the willingness to listen to somebody in their ideas. And that's another show appreciation and people leave work because how do you feel if somebody's not listening to your ideas or thoughts or anything, just kind of dismissing them. And, and, and to the point of listening is the willingness that someone's thoughts and ideas might change your opinion or might change your mind. It's that willingness to accept. It might change when, as you described, if, if I'm not willing to change, I'm not listening. It's it is dually monologues. I think that I just butchered a quote from Alan Alda from years ago, but that's basically what we're saying. It's, it's letting someone talk to you in a way that you'll actually consider and maybe change your mind.


Yeah. I think it's super important. And again, that whole, you know, we run into this and I know we're running out of time here, but real quick, I want mention is there, I've seen this in businesses that I work with as a, you know, as a fraction CFO, is that the boss or the owner says, we want your feedback. And then as someone brings them feedback and rate Ray, it's no, that's a terrible idea or what, and so guess what happens, no ideas come in because people go, oh, well, I know how that's gonna be received, so I'm not gonna do it anymore. So again, this is another way for owners, entrepreneurs, leaders, to be able to implement this and actually get feedback from the people that, that it matters most from. Because, you know, as I say, happy employees, equal happy customers, happy customers, equal, happy owner. <Laugh>


Absolutely. Absolutely. And it's just being willing to, in that process, take your ego and take it out out of, out of the game for a while.


Well, Peter, look, we ran out time, super fast here. Go out to Follow on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Peter. Thank you so much for coming on show. I really, really appreciate it. Well guys look go out and get the book "Off Script, Mastering the Art of Business Improv" on Thanks for listening guys. Have a great week. Don't forget as always cash flow is king.


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