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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Dec 14, 2016

Co-hosts Jan Rutherford and Jim Vaselopulos interview Scott Friedman. Scott is an internationally sought-after professional speaker and author. As a motivational humorist, Scott inspires and entertains with fun-filled interactive and content-rich programs. Scott’s main area of expertise is employee innovation, customer experience, and using humor and celebration as a strategic tool. In addition to being Chief Celebration Officer at Scott Friedman & Associates, Scott has written many books on celebration, humor, audience engagement, and creating happier and healthier workplaces. Jan and Jim talk with Scott about how good humor, good communication, and good leadership align; some traits that are shared by successful CEOs; the power of stories to build connections; the power of celebration to build employee engagement; and the power of gratitude to inspire philanthropy.

Listen in to learn how leadership, celebration, and engagement work together with good humor to result in consistently successful outcomes.


Key Takeaways

[3:53] Three characteristics really stand out in becoming a great communicator: First is authenticity, second is vulnerability, and the third is a sense of humility.

[8:40] Scott quotes Terry Paulson, who said, “When someone blushes with embarrassment, when someone carries away an ache, when something sacred is made to appear common, when profanity is required to make it funny, when a child is brought to tears, or, when everyone can’t join in the humor, it’s inappropriate.”

[11:03] Jim Collins studied companies, and found 11 that sustained greatness for at least 15 years. Their CEOs had two traits in common: a professional will to succeed, and a sense of humility and a self-effacing style.

[14:30] Stories and humor transcend cultures. They are tools for connecting with authenticity, vulnerability, and humility, in a global community. Great leaders are good storytellers.

[15:18] In your story, make others see their own stories. Make your story about them, as well as about you. But don’t tell too much of the story — less is more.

[19:01] Scott Bemis used to ask in interviews, “If you come here to work at the Denver Business Journal, can we make an agreement that this will be the best job you’ve ever had?”

[25:20] Celebration leads to engagement. Engagement leads to higher productivity and performance. Treat people right, and they will engage.

[27:39] Richard Branson said, first he takes care of his employees, then he takes care of his customers, and then he takes care of his shareholders. In that order, everybody is taken care of.

[31:01] Consider starting a meeting by saying, let’s celebrate for a short moment — what are we doing that works? Bring up the best of the best.

[38:55] The Together We Can Change The World Foundation reminds us we are members of the lucky gene club. We have a lot of great things just by how and where we were brought up.



Quotable Quotes

“Good humor, to accomplish well, is as difficult as good leadership.”

“The best leaders truly care about their people, and they set them up to win.”

“The reason celebration fails in most companies today, is because it becomes institutionalized.”

“Gratitude is the fastest way to happiness.”

“The life you change will be your own. ― Together We Can Change the World Foundation”



Books Mentioned on the Show

Happily Ever Laughter: How to Engage Any Audience, by Scott Friedman

Making Humor Work: Take Your Job Seriously and Yourself Lightly, by Terry Paulson

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't, by Jim Collins

Celebrate: Lessons Learned from the World’s Most Admired Organizations, by Scott Friedman

A Celebration a Day: 365 Ways to a Happier Healthier Workplace, by Scott Friedman (to be released in December in the U.S.)

Stop Screaming at the Microwave: How to Connect Your Disconnected Life, by Mary LoVerde

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare




Scott Friedman, CSP, travels more than 250 days a year for his fun, which is a humorous approach to workplace motivation and innovation through speaking engagements. For three decades, Scott Friedman has combined his improvisational comedy experience, and the art of storytelling, to help his clients achieve their objectives. A certified speaking professional, and trusted member of the speaking community, Scott continues to have a strong presence, both domestically and globally. Scott is a former president of the National Speakers Association, and was the 2013 recipient of their distinguished Cavett Award. Active in many philanthropic projects, Scott is committed to helping people lead more fulfilled lives.

Friedman’s speaking career is impressive, but his foundation, Together We Can Change the World, might be his legacy. "At this stage of my life, I get the most satisfaction from the volun-tours with global speakers to Southeast Asia to build schools and homes, awareness, self-esteem and hope for the future," he explains.



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