In this episode, Michael K. Bigos Founder of Focis Branding & Design Solutions, LLC visits with After Hours Conversations w/Veronica to discuss project management and its impacts throughout his design journey.
Learn more about:
- Why brand identity systems are necessary to success
- The impacts of focused business requirements within the branding space
- Asking the right questions to bring out the client's true goals and objectives
For more branding insights contact Michael K. Bigos @
LinkedIn: Michael K. Bigos
Email: [email protected]
Learn more about project management at https://www.veronicalanes.com
15:11:38 Welcome to after hours conversations with Veronica.
15:11:41 I am blessed that you are with us today, and I am also blessed.
15:11:45 I get to have a conversation with Michael Bigos.
15:11:47 I'm so excited.
15:11:49 We actually work together.
15:11:51 It feels like we were working together for a good six months. Michael,
15:11:54 does that sound about right?
15:11:57 Seems about right.
15:12:01 I stopped counting tied and nodded and held on.
15:12:04 You know what, because that's what's necessary.
15:12:07 You're dealing with a project manager because I know that I'm not.
15:12:10 Always use a friendly.
15:12:12 Either way.
15:12:20 I was able to actually do a full
15:12:23 rebranding from the concept.
15:12:26 To the colors.
15:12:28 To how I feel about me, how I feel.
15:12:30 So my clients feel.
15:12:40 About me, what they've been saying, what words are tied to me,
15:12:44 what colors?
15:12:45 I found something out during that discovery process,
15:12:48 but from the beginning,
15:12:50 To the end.
15:12:53 There were steps. There were processes. There are things that,
15:12:56 that we went through in order for us to reach a
15:13:00 completion that I'm extremely proud of.
15:13:02 And I'm honored that I was able to work with Michael,
15:13:04 but he is with us.
15:13:05 I wanted to make sure that I was able to socialize him.
15:13:08 With our team, I will call us.
15:13:14 Our team with our team,
15:13:15 because I want everyone to know all of the great people that are a
15:13:19 part of my life. So, Michael welcome. I'm happy that you're here.
15:13:23 Thank you. Thank you. I'm always thrilled to be able to.
15:13:25 Chat with you.
15:13:26 It was always real great conversation.
15:13:27 So I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you once again,
15:13:29 on this platform.
15:13:30 It's going to be a good time. It's going to be a time to.
15:13:36 So when we first started talking, I wanted to learn more about you.
15:13:40 So I was, I was that person who tried to get co-signers.
15:13:44 Let's say I say, okay, so should I give him my money?
15:13:48 Yes or no.
15:13:53 And if I said,
15:13:55 what is it that I'm going to get from the S so as project managers,
15:13:59 there's usually something called.
15:14:04 A governance meeting.
15:14:05 Most organizations have some sort of a governance meeting where they
15:14:09 think about the initiative that they want to pursue.
15:14:17 They're going to think about what this business case is essentially a
15:14:19 reason for it.
15:14:21 And then they're going to talk to the executive team to figure out who
15:14:25 should move this project forward.
15:14:26 In lieu of an official executive team.
15:14:29 I reached out to those that knew Michael.
15:14:31 And I said, okay.
15:14:32 Is he the right person for this job?
15:14:34 Governance team.
15:14:36 And they said absolutely. Absolutely.
15:14:38 So what I'd love to do Michael is to provide you with the opportunity
15:14:41 to say more.
15:14:44 More about you as well as your company so that everyone else
15:14:48 knows how awesome you are. So pleased.
15:14:50 Well again, thank you.
15:14:53 I feel so different on this side of the table. Cause you know,
15:14:56 I was normally providing you with an opportunity to call and.
15:14:58 And drill you down a little bit. So.
15:15:00 I'm always happy to talk about.
15:15:03 Myself and as it pertains to brand new helping others, but yes,
15:15:06 it's my company and I started just last year.
15:15:10 It was called focus, bringing design solutions, LLC.
15:15:12 I've been doing branding for a greater part of.
15:15:15 Almost 25 years now, all over the world.
15:15:17 I started as a graphic designer, as most of us do.
15:15:20 And found that that wasn't helping clients.
15:15:23 Scale or grow their business.
15:15:25 So over time I realized I really wanted to help small businesses.
15:15:28 I really wanted to provide value to them and an affordable cost.
15:15:32 And something they can walk away with.
15:15:34 Feeling very assured and confident at the big 10.
15:15:45 Do you get news and grow their business?
15:15:47 So that's what led me just to turn to you. Specialize in branding.
15:15:50 I had been doing it since 1999 or 2000 when I started doing
15:15:53 logos. If you will.
15:15:55 And while people still ask me for logos,
15:15:56 I just find an opportunity to really great,
15:15:58 to help people get clarity.
15:15:59 Visual verbal clarity.
15:16:00 And with work, even with working with you.
15:16:02 As I always said, you always helped me learn more.
15:16:04 That's the cool thing about what you're working.
15:16:05 Veronica, my name.
15:16:16 Whether it be process, whether it be protocol,
15:16:17 whether it be documentation or, or, or just, you know,
15:16:20 providing a list of assets.
15:16:27 So that way we can both be successful. So that's what I'm doing now.
15:16:30 I'm helping small businesses, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, alike,
15:16:32 give verbal visual clarity,
15:16:33 understand that really the big significance behind.
15:16:36 Why they need a brand identity system.
15:16:38 That's going to also be coupled with their marketing efforts and
15:16:41 And then how they can actually use that to go, you know,
15:16:43 get out there in the marketplace, grow, sustain scale.
15:16:46 And in really it'll be, be valuable to their customers.
15:16:49 So, yeah, that's it. In a nutshell.
15:16:50 Well, we, as project managers are always in the branding phase.
15:16:56 This is, yeah, this is where we live.
15:16:59 So we have different specialties.
15:17:02 At one point in time,
15:17:04 my specialty was foreclosure avoidance programs.
15:17:07 Cause that was a thing.
15:17:14 And so we just wanted to make sure that we cause people
15:17:18 to be able to remain in their homes. So how, how can I do that now,
15:17:23 To do that. You have to have a particular personality.
15:17:27 Not everybody can take on other type A's right.
15:17:31 Because when you're talking about money and financing and
15:17:35 You really have to think about.
15:17:36 How am I going to address this particular target market?
15:17:42 And the people who are behind the scenes that are doing it,
15:17:44 we're kind of drivers where we are driver type a personalities.
15:17:47 Yes, not for the, for the week.
15:17:49 No, not even a little bit.
15:17:56 So when you're working with the different personality styles,
15:17:59 you also need to know what kind of personality style you are.
15:18:02 Yeah, so that, you know, what is your ideal project?
15:18:05 What is her ideal client?
15:18:12 Who are your ideal stakeholders,
15:18:14 because it's not as if we're just casting out a net and whatever comes
15:18:18 back comes back, which is a part of why.
15:18:20 You are so good at the branding because you help us figure out
15:18:24 what our target market is.
15:18:27 As it is compared to our personality style of who we are trying to
15:18:30 bring in.
15:18:32 But most people don't ask you what yours is.
15:18:35 No, they don't, they don't.
15:18:36 And it's funny. I was literally listening and thinking.
15:18:39 At the same time, if that's possible.
15:18:46 About what my personality type would be. I honestly, as I,
15:18:48 as I reflected, like in like milliseconds,
15:18:51 I said, I think much personality types are the, the, the alphas,
15:18:53 because I love.
15:18:55 Let me see.
15:18:56 I don't shy away from confrontation.
15:19:02 I think confrontation is kind of a building block or,
15:19:06 or starting point for synergy.
15:19:08 And you know, you and I working together,
15:19:09 I could be picked up our very first call.
15:19:11 She's an alpha.
15:19:16 And it's funny because I think in life,
15:19:19 if we're paying attention enough,
15:19:19 when we get down to business and we started doing business on her own.
15:19:23 We've we've either been groomed for a thing or we've we've ran
15:19:27 away or shied away from the thing.
15:19:29 Based on whatever negative emotions are attached to that. For me,
15:19:31 my mom, I told you this, when we were working.
15:19:41 I didn't think anybody could, could, could,
15:19:42 could do me any harsher or stricter or direct or bluntly as my mom
15:19:46 could. And military for me,
15:19:48 when I was in the military was essential because I was like, well,
15:19:50 If a drill Sergeant yells at me.
15:19:51 It's not going to be like my mother, so I'm good.
15:19:53 So I never shy away from alphas because I believe there are hard
15:19:57 conversations to have, however, they're not combative,
15:20:00 but they don't have to be.
15:20:05 But they are necessary,
15:20:07 but they also are definitely hard because we're alphas.
15:20:10 We have a strong personality, a strong conviction, you know,
15:20:14 we're thinkers, we're doers.
15:20:16 We're motivators, we're innovators,
15:20:17 all those things we inspire people to do and take action.
15:20:19 So because of that, sometimes if you slept two of them together,
15:20:22 You think you are oftentimes you're going to have this explosion
15:20:26 nuclear thing going on.
15:20:27 But if they know how to communicate.
15:20:28 And they really know how to find a way.
15:20:30 Then I think what happens is what happened with you and I, in,
15:20:33 in as an example,
15:20:34 You know, two strong personalities coming together,
15:20:36 both fled by their convictions.
15:20:37 I understood where you were coming from.
15:20:38 You understood what I was presenting.
15:20:42 And we found an opportunity to be successful together in the journey.
15:20:45 And, you know, I'll let you do your job.
15:20:48 You inspired being,
15:20:49 you allowed me to do my job and that was inspiring.
15:20:51 Yeah, I just want to meet him.
15:20:54 It prompted me to want to do it more and more effectively because I'm
15:20:57 like, well, I can't have that with Veronica.
15:20:58 You know, and because she can't have stint with her clients.
15:21:02 It can't be haphazard. So I thought I felt I owed it to you.
15:21:06 And people like you.
15:21:07 To really give it.
15:21:08 Even more than maybe you.
15:21:09 And I anticipated.
15:21:17 You know, from the onset. So I enjoyed it.
15:21:19 I think I told you a couple of times I enjoyed it.
15:21:21 I miss it already because not everybody is like,
15:21:23 You know us in that sense. So.
15:21:24 Yeah, sorry.
15:21:25 I'm rambling on because it's such a good thing to talk about.
15:21:27 It is cool.
15:21:29 Well, when we work with our stakeholders,
15:21:31 this is what we have to figure out.
15:21:33 Yeah, right, because yeah.
15:21:34 Okay. And.
15:21:36 And the big picture.
15:21:41 Not like our business relationship,
15:21:44 but usually project managers, aren't paying these people.
15:21:47 Yeah. And they're not writing there.
15:21:50 That they have to figure out what that common.
15:21:52 Ground is.
15:22:01 To close this particular mission forest.
15:22:04 So the fact that you are in the military and,
15:22:06 and I'm sure that you've heard this several times,
15:22:08 I do thank you for your service.
15:22:12 I also come from a military family. So I,
15:22:15 I know what that lifestyle could potentially base.
15:22:19 So there are sacrifices.
15:22:20 And with those sacrifices though.
15:22:22 You're also able to bring people to where they need to be,
15:22:25 get the ideas out of them.
15:22:31 And point that towards their desired end result.
15:22:34 So that brings us to business requirements.
15:22:38 As your branding, big picture,
15:22:41 you had mentioned maybe the logos.
15:22:43 But you know that it's not just the logo,
15:22:46 that's going to take this particular client.
15:22:48 To the finish line where they want to be.
15:22:54 How do you socialize the existence of lore
15:23:04 That, you know,
15:23:05 would it be helpful to that person because you're truly adding to
15:23:09 their scope. They,
15:23:10 they thought that their project scope was going to be the logo.
15:23:14 Yeah, but you have actually said, well, your,
15:23:16 your project scope is a little bit broader than that.
15:23:19 How do you socialize that? How do you.
15:23:21 Introduce it, when I thought I was going to pay for this.
15:23:24 And now you're saying, well, actually,
15:23:26 You need this, this, this.
15:23:27 How do you do that?
15:23:28 Over the years.
15:23:29 You know, being in the military I had to, and then becoming a CA.
15:23:32 Government contractor after that.
15:23:33 It groomed me personally, to be able to.
15:23:35 Or have to present design.
15:23:39 And you're presenting design two mines that are very.
15:23:50 Stringent, you know, and very mission-minded mission oriented.
15:23:53 They've got a number of different things that they've got to take us
15:23:54 to duration.
15:23:56 So what that did for me in part was helped me understand that there
15:23:58 are problems that they're trying to solve.
15:23:59 And while they, a lot of times clients,
15:24:01 especially young entrepreneurs, I say young men, not age,
15:24:03 but just young and entrepreneuring.
15:24:05 Or small businesses. They often self diagnose.
15:24:08 And they, they call them and say, Hey.
15:24:09 I read enough books. I watched enough webinars, seminars, whatever,
15:24:12 and I was like, here's the problem? I think I have.
15:24:14 So I've learned to where I was a graphic designer.
15:24:19 I would just be an order taker. And I say, okay,
15:24:21 tell me what colors you want. Tell me what fonts you think you're.
15:24:23 You're thinking about. Tell me the type of things.
15:24:25 That inspire you.
15:24:26 And again, after so many times of doing that,
15:24:29 I realized that doesn't help.
15:24:34 I can sit up here and talk about me and my accolades,
15:24:36 but you as a client,
15:24:37 you're not really interested in that so much as you are.
15:24:39 If I can help you.
15:24:40 So like you and I started out, you came to me and says, Hey,
15:24:42 here's what I've got. Here's what I'm looking to do.
15:24:44 I says, okay, great.
15:24:48 I still know the bottom line is even if people that are first in their
15:24:52 there's still things that they probably aren't thinking about.
15:24:57 So socializing these things in his moments is just being willing to be
15:25:00 the prick. If you will, and ask the one more question.
15:25:04 Get the more information.
15:25:05 So that way I can understand what really is the problem you are trying
15:25:09 to solve.
15:25:10 And am I number one in my, the person to help you. But number two,
15:25:13 if I am then what, and then how.
15:25:15 So much.
15:25:16 Project management,
15:25:17 where I've worked with great project manager and then not so great
15:25:19 project managers and the same.
15:25:21 You know, climates.
15:25:23 I realized that sometimes the questions aren't being asked.
15:25:25 So parties.
15:25:34 I got up the military Ronica is because I realized there's a better
15:25:36 way to do things.
15:25:38 And I feel like I can offer that way if I can't and I move on. But.
15:25:41 Being able to get them from.
15:25:49 Here's what I believe I need to. Oh, wow.
15:25:51 I didn't think of it like that. Or,
15:25:53 you know what thank you for helping me see it a little bit deeper,
15:25:55 more. That's what, for me, the real benefit comes in.
15:25:58 The joy comes because yeah, I can design all day.
15:25:59 And, you know, there's other people that can design.
15:26:01 Just like, I can't better than I can.
15:26:03 But helping them understand where they're going to get the most value
15:26:06 from the engagement with me is where the value is lies.
15:26:09 And then we start talking about money. Money becomes this.
15:26:14 This thing that we have to talk about, but it's not,
15:26:17 it's not the thing. That's going to be the deciding factor anymore.
15:26:20 And that's a beautiful thing because a lot of times entrepreneurs,
15:26:22 especially don't have a lot of working capital.
15:26:24 So, because I know that then. Okay. What are we really trying to do?
15:26:26 And I'd rather spend time doing that then.
15:26:27 Yeah, I can do your logo.
15:26:30 But it's not what you need.
15:26:32 Yeah, it's been a fun process,
15:26:34 but it's a painstaking process as well at times,
15:26:36 depending on who you're talking to.
15:26:37 I can only imagine I can only imagine.
15:26:41 Because when you have all of these different stakeholders and they
15:26:44 self diagnosis, like.
15:26:46 You had said.
15:26:49 But you're focusing in on what the root cause you are,
15:26:52 you are doing a root cause analysis. Yeah. Yeah.
15:26:55 We weren't doing the root cause analysis and you're also paying
15:26:59 attention to what.
15:27:00 The constraints are.
15:27:01 Yeah. So you have the budget or the money part of things.
15:27:04 You also have they.
15:27:07 Resources or the people side of things.
15:27:11 Well, so have the time, right?
15:27:14 The time part of it. So.
15:27:22 I know as a product manager,
15:27:25 that there is a inverse relationship to those.
15:27:28 Constraints. So if we don't have all that much time,
15:27:30 There's probably going to cost you more because I need to bring in
15:27:32 more people.
15:27:34 Right. Okay. So money is never the driver.
15:27:39 To getting something done. Money is the bye.
15:27:41 Byproduct of what you just said that.
15:27:44 That you want it to do so when you socialize it.
15:27:48 A way that they get it.
15:27:51 And like, well, you, you want this.
15:27:57 Based on our conversations and that lot equals
15:28:01 So now you are.
15:28:02 Moving forward.
15:28:04 I always liked to think about things.
15:28:10 Within that scope, right?
15:28:11 Because you fill our conversations.
15:28:17 You are still separating yourself from project management,
15:28:20 but I tell you what everything.
15:28:22 You ever say is exactly what project managers do, right.
15:28:26 Some of us have the title.
15:28:28 And some of us don't, but we're doing the thing. So.
15:28:35 When did you find out that you're actually a project manager,
15:28:39 even though you don't give yourself that title?
15:28:41 I think it was only, you told me no.
15:28:42 I'm just teasing.
15:28:43 We w we Veronica stamped.
15:28:45 And he is when I says, okay, I am in.
15:28:47 I can't exactly recall to be quite honest.
15:28:59 I again, when, when you're in a big project, when, you know, again,
15:29:02 when I was a government contract and we had multimillion dollar
15:29:05 contracts and projects that we're working on with sometimes small
15:29:08 teams, sometimes big teams. And as you mentioned,
15:29:09 There are always the burn down where it was,
15:29:11 was the big overwhelming thing. You know,
15:29:13 how much money are we going to spend in this period of time?
15:29:14 For the deliverable.
15:29:15 And I observed, I observed a lot only because every time I was,
15:29:19 you know, in these opportunities of contracting.
15:29:21 I was always trying to pull out.
15:29:22 You know what I could use when I was going to jump out there and do my
15:29:25 own thing.
15:29:26 And so I don't know exactly when.
15:29:28 I kind of had the unofficial title of project manager.
15:29:31 Outside of just, I started managing small teams.
15:29:36 I had to be cognizant of budget. I had to be cognizant of people,
15:29:38 resources and time and deliverables and, you know, okay.
15:29:41 If this is a time-sensitive thing.
15:29:43 Everyone generally wants to pull this money, you know,
15:29:45 the money tag and put the money.
15:29:46 Tag on it.
15:29:47 But the reality is, is that.
15:29:52 In the latter part of me doing this,
15:29:53 I realized there was no there's a big gap in symmetry.
15:30:03 Of logic. And what do I mean by that rock? I say, well,
15:30:07 I asked the question on,
15:30:08 on social media just yesterday and I got some interested in your
15:30:10 cause, but I says, Hey, when you're looking to hire.
15:30:12 Or a funeral.
15:30:13 Build a project out or hire a designer.
15:30:15 What is your ultimate determining factors? If money, is it time?
15:30:17 Is it, is it value or the relativity too?
15:30:20 You know, the project you're doing.
15:30:21 Or is it time, you know,
15:30:22 And people said budget.
15:30:24 He says, okay, well that sounds risky.
15:30:30 You know, you, when you and I talked, I gave you,
15:30:32 I believe I gave you tears. I said, okay, Hey,
15:30:33 based on what you're saying, we can do this, this or this.
15:30:42 You decide as a client, you decide as a team, you decide sometimes as,
15:30:46 as the other end of the receiving of, of the deliverables,
15:30:48 what's most valuable to you and how many,
15:30:50 how much you want to pay for it.
15:30:52 And I say symmetry of logic monitor because I look at society and.
15:30:54 And, you know, men will buy 200, sometimes $300 sneakers, right?
15:30:58 Women will sometimes buy two to three to 500 to $1,200.
15:31:03 We'll buy things that we value.
15:31:06 For a reason, you know, whether it's self-esteem,
15:31:08 whether it's prestige.
15:31:11 But when it comes to our business,
15:31:12 We sometimes put the cap on it.
15:31:16 And we say, well,
15:31:17 I don't value that maybe because I don't understand its value.
15:31:22 Or because I don't quite understand, you know,
15:31:24 how this plays a factor into what I am doing.
15:31:27 So being a project manager in the light is understanding.
15:31:30 And I think at every turn you can possibly find them.
15:31:38 You know, what does this add to the project? What does this take away?
15:31:40 What impediment does this bring? What, you know, what helps too.
15:31:43 Expedite this process.
15:31:48 And finding ways to do that.
15:31:49 So whether it's a web project or a branding project, or we're,
15:31:52 we're crafting some type of Oh,
15:31:55 Infograph to, to communicate an ideal process.
15:31:57 It doesn't really matter.
15:31:58 You just have to understand it holistically as possible and,
15:32:01 and realize that.
15:32:04 Even within uni's one in one engagement, you know,
15:32:06 I'm the service provider, you're the client in these,
15:32:08 in this instance.
15:32:09 I always approach it like a partnership because I have to give and I
15:32:12 have to receive.
15:32:19 If there's an equal,
15:32:20 healthy exchange going on in the project management process to where
15:32:24 you're getting information, analyzing it, then.
15:32:26 You know, pushing out something else to help the team along.
15:32:29 You're going to find that you don't have to dictate.
15:32:31 You don't have to,
15:32:32 you're going to have to have other people around you that know.
15:32:34 So it was something different than you do.
15:32:36 For everybody to be successful.
15:32:37 And that's what you did,
15:32:38 even for me in this small engagement that we had. I told you before,
15:32:41 I'm learning as I'm, as I'm servicing.
15:32:43 And that isn't always the case.
15:32:45 You know,
15:32:47 When it is, it's delight because wow. I feel like this is great.
15:32:50 We're both winning.
15:32:52 And everybody wants to win. Nobody wants to lose.
15:32:54 So, Hey.
15:32:58 Sorry. That was a little long-winded but yeah, that's, that's.
15:33:00 It's so it's so wildly important.
15:33:01 You know, as, as I've learned.
15:33:04 I'll put a star.
15:33:09 As, as we work through all of the projects and way.
15:33:15 And we deal with different clients.
15:33:17 We said that we have our ideal clients.
15:33:21 We have those that aren't ideal, but we can manage anybody.
15:33:38 That's just how, how we are. We ever Taipei's we have our Taipei's.
15:33:42 We always work within the limitations of whomever we are speaking
15:33:46 with. Right. Because if you go outside of that,
15:33:49 then they'll be uncomfortable and then you won't be able to move
15:33:54 It's not only their personality styles though.
15:33:58 Of course, we also have to figure out, okay, well, are,
15:34:01 are they used to.
15:34:03 Speaking to.
15:34:04 A person.
15:34:06 The opposite.
15:34:07 Gender as them.
15:34:12 Are they used to speaking to a person who's the same gender as the
15:34:17 because we also have those implicit biases that
15:34:21 are in.
15:34:23 In place to yeah.
15:34:24 When it, when it comes to your industry, have you had to.
15:34:28 Deal with or encounter those types of things.
15:34:31 And if so, how did you navigate it?
15:34:35 Do we have time for a short story?
15:34:36 Oh, of course we do. Okay.
15:34:37 So the last, the lab.
15:34:42 As I recall, they didn't the last contract I took,
15:34:44 I was working as a us special operations command here at MacDill air
15:34:47 force base in.
15:34:48 And there was a in long story short.
15:34:50 This was at a time where it will Sama bin Laden.
15:34:53 We're still at large and they were closing in,
15:34:55 on his location in the whole seal.
15:35:00 16 Was going on,
15:35:01 but this was right before that the government has spent a lot of
15:35:03 money, billions, to assemble these what they call it,
15:35:05 operation planning teams.
15:35:08 And the long story short is, is that they had stood up a,
15:35:10 quite a number of them and they didn't have success.
15:35:12 And they brought in this one last, this effort, kernel.
15:35:13 To say, Hey, this guy has got all these accolades.
15:35:16 It's way in that way.
15:35:17 And we want them to come in to lead this last opt as they call it
15:35:19 operation planning team.
15:35:20 And he's going to have success.
15:35:22 So he solicited our media team too.
15:35:25 Provide him with some, some media solutions.
15:35:28 And in the midst of it, we did this presentation and all that.
15:35:36 And I know the Colonel types, the big brass as we call them, you know,
15:35:39 the guys that are, that are, you know, 25 plus years in the military.
15:35:42 We call them green suitors.
15:35:43 They're still wearing a uniform.
15:35:47 I know the type they're very strong minded and strong willed.
15:35:50 And a lot of times, you know, being a minority.
15:35:53 There are a lot of times they're they're Caucasian.
15:35:54 A lot of.
15:35:55 And that's just the way the system is.
15:35:59 So I know that as a contractor,
15:36:02 I'm up against a number of different things to even have a voice.
15:36:05 But again, I just talked about my mother earlier.
15:36:13 My mother was a retired master Sergeant in the army and her last
15:36:16 station was at the Pentagon.
15:36:17 So I had a strong black woman who was a real professional that I,
15:36:20 that I had the pleasure of listening to.
15:36:22 And, and observing. So I knew that there was a way.
15:36:25 So anyway, in the midst of all this.
15:36:27 The opposition that I had in talking with him was saying, Hey, sir,
15:36:30 you know, I knew the protocols.
15:36:31 I said, may I speak freely? He says, well, absolutely.
15:36:33 I says.
15:36:34 You you need, and this is great.
15:36:38 This was the us special operations command. I said to him,
15:36:41 this was my first big epiphany of like, Oh, I can do this. You know?
15:36:44 I said, sir, you need a brand.
15:36:45 I said right now, you're all over the place. You have this initiative,
15:36:47 that website, this website.
15:36:49 I said nothing is aligned.
15:36:54 I says you need one umbrella,
15:36:56 like a city group where there's all these different things that are
15:36:58 going on, subsidiary companies under there, but it's all managed.
15:37:00 Under one umbrella, you need that umbrella.
15:37:03 And the funny thing is that there was a command Sergeant major that
15:37:06 was standing behind him in this room.
15:37:08 Full of high ranking officers and enlisted.
15:37:12 A high ranking government service professionals and contractors.
15:37:15 And here I am the lowly contractor.
15:37:17 A black contractor at that.
15:37:18 If you will.
15:37:22 Hey having this, this,
15:37:23 this moment and the CarMax or command SAR major says, who's this guy.
15:37:26 Literally out loud. Who's this guy.
15:37:29 And one of my supervisors said who I was, he was like, okay.
15:37:33 You know,
15:37:35 Well, would you know that.
15:37:37 Fast forward.
15:37:38 I was actually had the opportunity.
15:37:42 To not only share that with him, but he says, come on downstairs.
15:37:45 Talk to my people, explain to us in detail what you're thinking.
15:37:51 And we'll see what comes up. So I did that. I led this campaign.
15:37:53 This was a 99 country.
15:37:56 Campaign they did at the temple convention center.
15:37:57 I was the art director for the whole thing.
15:37:59 We splattered the convention center.
15:38:05 Full of the newest Signia we had designed,
15:38:08 we did DVDs and videos and all kinds of things,
15:38:10 and I got to lead this charge.
15:38:14 And then he went on this same,
15:38:16 Colonel Veronica went on to start another initiative.
15:38:18 This was called international special operations forces conference.
15:38:21 I saw, you know, military, those are acronyms.
15:38:23 He started the global special operations, our foundation.
15:38:27 They weren't having success with these countries before of aligning
15:38:30 them. But once we did this.
15:38:32 Presented them with a literal brand streamlined idea.
15:38:36 Thought way ahead.
15:38:37 They're like, okay,
15:38:38 now we're on board that happened over the course of 12 months.
15:38:41 So the power.
15:38:42 You know, Oh, voice is important.
15:38:48 The power of brand is even more important because it has the ability
15:38:51 to align where otherwise you may have been a miss.
15:38:53 So, yes.
15:38:54 Confidence is one thing. Sure.
15:38:56 But when you really believe in the way.
15:39:02 Like for instance, in project management, we really believe that no,
15:39:05 if you get these things in line,
15:39:06 We can be successful.
15:39:08 I believe if we can just streamline this narrative,
15:39:11 we can be successful.
15:39:12 I didn't really care about the alignment of the countries.
15:39:14 All I cared about was branding.
15:39:25 But I was able to pitch it in a way to where it made sense for them
15:39:27 and solve their problem, which is, again, it wasn't about, Hey,
15:39:30 I've done this, I've done that. I've done this.
15:39:31 I'm a really great designer. No, you have a problem.
15:39:33 Here's why I believe the solution is.
15:39:35 We can do it and yes, without how is almost irrelevant.
15:39:39 Being able to speak to someone that has a contradicting point of view
15:39:43 or just kind of disposition.
15:39:44 Don't be limited.
15:39:45 And then think that that's an impediment to you.
15:39:47 That's an opportunity.
15:39:48 Not to shine.
15:39:49 But that's an opportunity to shine light on. I believe.
15:39:52 And that's the story. The rest is.
15:39:54 You know, as they say history,
15:39:55 but it was a good history and it was a fun process.
15:39:58 No man, we had so much fun doing it.
15:39:59 And learned a lot too, so that's cool.
15:40:02 Very good because how it started off.
15:40:06 It sounded as if there was a bias of that person.
15:40:17 But how you socialize it, the words you use,
15:40:20 knowing who your audiences.
15:40:25 And it sounds as if you would,
15:40:26 you would start it off with where you believe that they want it to go.
15:40:33 And these are the obstacles that are prohibiting you from
15:40:37 getting to your desired end results. So communication.
15:40:42 Is huge in the big picture. There are a lot of people who don't.
15:40:45 I get the offer.
15:40:47 Not because it will have the knowledge.
15:40:50 But it's, it's because of how we communicate, how we share.
15:40:55 What we know there, there is our technical side. Right.
15:40:59 So we know how to do all of the things. Yeah.
15:41:07 But who you're talking to, it's,
15:41:09 it's known that you know how to do all other things because you would
15:41:12 not be a part of that conversation if you didn't have that. Yeah.
15:41:15 But you're working with people.
15:41:16 People. Yeah.
15:41:17 Keith keyword.
15:41:20 And we have to figure out how to communicate with those people.
15:41:23 Now I know that my cadence, when I speak.
15:41:27 Is different when I'm out.
15:41:29 Fouling and I'm teaching. I cannot share with you how often.
15:41:33 Someone will ask me what country I'm from.
15:41:38 Where, where are you from?
15:41:40 Because we were talking about it and it seemed as if you're from
15:41:43 Europe. Are you from Europe?
15:41:44 Like, you know, what.
15:41:45 I get that so often that I just have to ask you. So why do you think.
15:41:49 I'll tell me Europe.
15:41:50 And they said, well, because of how you and your words.
15:41:53 Your words and up.
15:42:01 They don't go down when you speak. They actually go up.
15:42:05 I say interesting because I never thought about it.
15:42:07 This is just how I speak. This is how I communicate.
15:42:11 But when you're in front of other people,
15:42:14 They're paying attention to things that you probably have never paid
15:42:16 attention to about yourself.
15:42:18 Has someone else provided you with that?
15:42:20 Aha moment. Like, I didn't even know I did that.
15:42:23 I have the nickname of the Bishop.
15:42:28 I can, I can at times sound.
15:42:31 For better lack of words, preachy.
15:42:40 I guess the way I made them feel. And it's,
15:42:42 it's not about a whole lot of people,
15:42:43 but the people that have been brave enough to share with me, I guess,
15:42:46 They, they, they say, yeah, you know, it feels like that that uncle.
15:42:51 Or that deacon or that Bishop in the church, you know,
15:42:54 where it's like,
15:42:55 there's this cadence and there's this influction or deflection.
15:42:57 And I'm like, Oh, okay.
15:43:01 I tend to mumble as I get kind of in my mode, I tend to mumble.
15:43:04 So I'm always having to remind myself to, to, to.
15:43:07 You know, project.
15:43:09 Especially when I'm giving talks with different things. But yeah,
15:43:13 that's, that's about the consistent thing that I've heard.
15:43:15 Veronica is like, you know,
15:43:17 Like Bishop, like, are you are.
15:43:18 Are you a pastor might know I'm nobody's pastor.
15:43:20 That's for sure.
15:43:21 Nobody's passed it, but, but I mean, I take it, I take it.
15:43:30 I appreciate it. Let me say like that only because if,
15:43:32 if I make you feel that comfortable in the moment we're talking about
15:43:35 your business.
15:43:36 I want to encourage your audience as well.
15:43:38 You know,
15:43:39 knowing what I do know about how and what you do and who you do it
15:43:41 for. And with.
15:43:42 There are some young folks out there and I say, folks,
15:43:53 but there are some young professionals out there that feel as though
15:43:56 they don't have enough experience or they don't have the wherewithal.
15:43:59 And who am I? And again, my story is like, well, this is.
15:44:02 We were known as dirty contractors, you know, where I was like, well,
15:44:04 the fact of the matter is,
15:44:05 is that I can really understand who you are,
15:44:07 where you are and what you're doing.
15:44:08 You realize that, well, you guys could do this job.
15:44:11 You wouldn't have needed to hire us. Right.
15:44:13 But not in a prideful.
15:44:14 I just sent an assurance.
15:44:15 So the people that are out there that are listening to these podcasts.
15:44:17 I, the message I would give them in these moments is, you know,
15:44:20 He breathe.
15:44:21 You know,
15:44:22 Be bold.
15:44:27 Every journey has a beginning, you know, and there's a,
15:44:29 there's a path into the unknown.
15:44:31 And if you're willing to just take one step.
15:44:34 Like one, just, I'm going to raise my hand this time.
15:44:37 I'm going to object.
15:44:41 I'm want to share what I believe the solution is.
15:44:42 I got to saying that I say all the time Ronica is like,
15:44:44 if you have a solution, say.
15:44:45 Say so period.
15:44:47 It may not be the solution at the moment.
15:44:50 Maybe it's like, Oh, okay. You don't have enough insights.
15:44:53 Sounds good. But not now.
15:44:55 But trust me, those moments are our stamp there.
15:44:58 I would put them in the garden.
15:44:59 You just kind of let them take root a little bit.
15:45:01 And kind of fester.
15:45:02 And grow a little bit.
15:45:11 But definitely have confidence.
15:45:12 And why you signed up to be a project manager because you see the
15:45:16 world a little bit differently than others, and that's important.
15:45:18 That's valuable.
15:45:19 So don't minimize it.
15:45:20 You know, like I said, working with you, I gained.
15:45:24 Deeper understanding beyond, you know,
15:45:26 beyond the literal and practical project management experience of
15:45:29 being on a project.
15:45:31 I got to understand more about.
15:45:32 The people.
15:45:35 The humans. Right. And heuristics is a real thing, as we know,
15:45:38 but in each industry,
15:45:40 I want to say focused, not on.
15:45:42 The task itself.
15:45:46 But if you spend more time trying to understand the problems.
15:45:48 You're going to find yourself.
15:45:51 Asking questions to problems that people didn't even know they had.
15:46:04 And therein to me lies the little pot of gold,
15:46:06 where now the sudden you're getting called into a meeting where the
15:46:09 rest of your peers are not. And they're going to say, well,
15:46:12 what's so special about Jane.
15:46:13 Jane knew what questions to ask.
15:46:14 Or knew how to ask or when to ask those questions to understand.
15:46:17 A bigger picture or a deeper root through to things.
15:46:20 Yeah, those are exciting times when I can ask, I always ask him,
15:46:22 is there something I'm not asking you because.
15:46:26 Man. I, I liked the drill. I liked, I liked to ask,
15:46:29 I want to get into your pocket.
15:46:30 You know,
15:46:40 Not your, not your money pocket. I'm gonna tell him your back pocket.
15:46:42 I want to get into where you're the thing that you're not quite sure
15:46:45 to say.
15:46:46 I want that to come out because therein lies the root of what we need
15:46:49 to be trying to tackle him. So.
15:46:52 And, and you're, you're getting.
15:46:53 To know the people.
15:46:56 Right. So when you know who you're working with,
15:46:58 You can find ways to service them.
15:47:02 To make them better. Right.
15:47:05 Most people.
15:47:06 And there is something that my father has always said is like,
15:47:09 no one wants to work with someone who come claims.
15:47:13 Criticizes or condemns.
15:47:15 So they don't want those three CS. So if,
15:47:17 if that's a part of their personality,
15:47:19 And that would be something that you would want to put to the side,
15:47:21 because are you taking someone's energy?
15:47:24 Or are you giving them energy? There is a shift.
15:47:28 That takes place when you're in that leadership role.
15:47:34 Then when you're in that front line role, when you're front line,
15:47:37 you're getting em.
15:47:40 You're getting the energy from whoever is leading,
15:47:43 but it's still.
15:47:44 You get into that later, said space.
15:47:46 Now your, the energy giver, right?
15:47:49 Yeah. And how much energy.
15:48:00 Are you providing, how do you want them to show up?
15:48:03 How do you want your project to go?
15:48:06 Because you want them to focus in on that desired end state,
15:48:10 which is what you're talking about in the beginning.
15:48:11 In the beginning, when we were figuring out what, what is in scope,
15:48:14 what is out of scope? What is your root cause?
15:48:16 Yeah. How, how can I give you what you need?
15:48:19 It almost sounds like we're all in sales.
15:48:21 Not only are we.
15:48:25 Project management, but we're also in sales. So what do you have,
15:48:28 what do you like about what you have?
15:48:30 If you could make it even better, what would that look like?
15:48:33 And then you would take a look into your.
15:48:35 Dora or Diego backpack.
15:48:37 And then figure out, okay, well, what,
15:48:39 what are the things that I have,
15:48:40 and now I'm able to provide that to you.
15:48:43 I would also like for you to share with our listeners and our.
15:48:49 What was the thing that you said, this is really hard.
15:48:54 This is a hard project. This is a hard thing, but I know I can do it.
15:49:03 I just have to think of myself in a different way.
15:49:07 So that other aspect of me shows up because people are
15:49:13 How you maneuver the uncomfortable thing. Should we have our,
15:49:17 our ideal clients,
15:49:18 but we also have those that we still want to work with.
15:49:21 But it's more of a challenge.
15:49:24 So what was that time when you had to do a shift in yourself?
15:49:28 So that you could show up,
15:49:29 even though whatever you were currently doing was not your choice.
15:49:33 Yeah, I I've got mixed emotions about that. Oh my gosh.
15:49:36 There is a time where I had a project.
15:49:38 I was being asked to do something very.
15:49:42 Very unorthodox and challenging where it brought me to a place.
15:49:45 You know, we say it brought me to my knees.
15:49:47 Literally brought me to my knees. I had to pray.
15:49:50 But also.
15:49:57 you said to me reminded me of something that you were sitting saying
15:49:59 earlier. And I wanted to say before I forget.
15:50:01 We focus a lot in business world, especially as entrepreneurs.
15:50:04 On on a target audience.
15:50:07 I want my ideal client and I of course drill my clients as well.
15:50:11 And I say, drill.
15:50:12 Working on compassionate love.
15:50:13 To focus in on trying to get an ideal client.
15:50:21 I'm learning or have learned,
15:50:22 or I guess I'm learning still that I find much more fulfillment and
15:50:27 In finding ideal problems.
15:50:29 Clients are going to be.
15:50:30 Because people are going to be polite.
15:50:34 And polite sometimes equals false narratives.
15:50:37 We're going to transparency and vulnerability. You.
15:50:41 Kind of be quick to courage and just grow.
15:50:43 I'm finding more of that.
15:50:46 I want my ideal problem.
15:50:47 I'm going to solve the ideal problems in an organization.
15:50:50 Or culture or particular brand.
15:50:56 But to address your initial question.
15:50:58 I was asked by my employer to.
15:51:00 To design a.
15:51:03 A flyer for the community, but a specific audience in particular.
15:51:06 And basically it was, it was pimps and prostitutes.
15:51:10 And inviting them into.
15:51:14 At my church at the time, and this is inviting them to church.
15:51:18 We want everybody.
15:51:19 Sure we do.
15:51:21 But how do you invite such people?
15:51:25 Right without being offensive or turning them off.
15:51:29 In many different ways. So.
15:51:35 I had to dig deep within myself and find a place that I had never been
15:51:39 to in design world. And I say a place meaning.
15:51:41 The most empathetic.
15:51:42 Most empathetic.
15:51:43 And nonjudgmental place. I could be.
15:51:46 To communicate an invitation.
15:51:50 For something that we believe as an organization would help change
15:51:52 your life forever.
15:51:53 And we did it.
15:52:01 I kept the flyer printed it out and it was the most,
15:52:03 it's still to this day for me,
15:52:04 the most challenging project that I've had, because.
15:52:06 How do you communicate?
15:52:07 Very abstract.
15:52:08 You know, an unseen thing.
15:52:09 In a very tangible touchable, visible world. Right?
15:52:13 How do you do that?
15:52:14 Well, they're in.
15:52:15 Eliza superpowers.
15:52:17 Nowadays my super power, my super power was be able.
15:52:21 See the unseen. I can visualize things. I've seen like Google images,
15:52:24 you know?
15:52:25 When people say things or see things.
15:52:27 They're not like this super Tiffany thing, but no,
15:52:29 I really see images.
15:52:34 Those are the types of challenges for me, where, again,
15:52:36 it's not about the audience.
15:52:38 It's about the problem of a gap.
15:52:40 Of communication.
15:52:47 There's there's something in between us like space and opportunity and
15:52:50 you know, an invitation, if you will, how do you invite.
15:52:53 A person.
15:52:54 To a place.
15:52:55 Where they otherwise would maybe want to go, but never would go.
15:52:58 That was part.
15:53:03 But we did it. I did it.
15:53:05 And I was thankful that I went through the process because again,
15:53:07 what I pulled out over here was Mir.
15:53:09 But passionate empathy.
15:53:10 For for, for people that I otherwise wouldn't associate with.
15:53:15 Well, I could only imagine.
15:53:18 The challenge.
15:53:21 That would be tied to that because there's a, does a social set.
15:53:25 Stigma into all of it.
15:53:33 But we're all people and we all go through changes that other
15:53:37 people might not go through some by.
15:53:44 By the environment where they happen to be,
15:53:47 but either way, we are still trying to figure out how to communicate.
15:53:51 With everybody so that we can bring other people to that next level.
15:53:54 I will tell you.
15:53:57 That in our work space,
15:54:00 dealing with my particular project.
15:54:03 Which was my full rebranding. It wasn't just my logo.
15:54:06 I wasn't just.
15:54:08 It was all of the above.
15:54:12 It's been such a pleasurable process.
15:54:18 I don't know that I've actually shared that because I know that I'm
15:54:21 more of a.
15:54:22 MLM. Right. So I have a hard candy shell.
15:54:25 But I taught goodness.
15:54:31 But definitely a hard candy shell. So.
15:54:39 I am the last,
15:54:41 because of the work that you did.
15:54:44 And I know that my clients.
15:54:47 Are going to be blessed by the services that you've helped
15:54:50 me present out to them.
15:54:53 And the same thing holds true for the listeners and the
15:54:58 Of after hours conversations with.
15:55:03 Is there anything that you want to make sure that they learn from you?
15:55:09 Prior to this episode, coming to an end,
15:55:14 You have the opposite.
15:55:15 I appreciate it.
15:55:16 I, I, I can't say it enough cause you, you, you, you know,
15:55:18 Over here, spitting gang to me.
15:55:19 And I like it.
15:55:20 But yeah.
15:55:22 You and I is engagement.
15:55:25 It was, it was one of the first real.
15:55:30 I want to say not long, but it was like the full,
15:55:33 like a full gamut of.
15:55:34 Rebranding that I had done late last year.
15:55:37 And frankly, I want people to know.
15:55:39 The importance while Veronica has given me kudos.
15:55:41 And I'm so grateful for them.
15:55:46 And humble. You gotta know that as an entrepreneur.
15:55:50 Or as a small business as.
15:55:51 As a, as a, just an industry professional.
15:55:55 You gotta be willing to go, you know, in jump a little bit and.
15:55:59 Veronica pulled me through.
15:56:05 In times in the process as a professional, you know? And,
15:56:07 and that's why I, like when I deviate a little bit, because, you know,
15:56:10 The difference between amateurs and professionals, professionals.
15:56:12 We show up and doing work.
15:56:13 And Veronica showed up.
15:56:15 Dare I say.
15:56:17 You know, as raw as she wanted to be, you know?
15:56:32 And since I'm here, it's not a clock,
15:56:34 but I'm here and we're going to do this. And I'm like, you know what?
15:56:36 I'm here to, I got on my t-shirt and my ball cap,
15:56:38 and we're going to get in there and we're going to do the work.
15:56:40 And because we committed to the work that commit to the process,
15:56:43 committed to the journey.
15:56:44 It made such an impact on me as a professional and understanding even
15:56:47 how to do what I do better.
15:56:48 For people like you. So I was appreciative of that.
15:56:50 But one thing I do want to let people know out there, whether you're.
15:56:53 You know, looking, you know,
15:56:54 Capitalize on the big dream or where the you're kind of finding your
15:56:58 way through what your dream actually means or looks like.
15:57:00 You know,
15:57:03 I pulled these things because I I've done it enough with small people,
15:57:07 small businesses, small, you know, small, personal businesses.
15:57:09 Companies, and I've gone to for big fortune one in 500 companies.
15:57:15 I want to say it nicely, but I want to say truly.
15:57:17 Stop basing everything on price.
15:57:20 Trying to find value.
15:57:21 And what you're doing.
15:57:26 You can, as long as I believe, as long as you're breathing,
15:57:28 you can make.
15:57:29 Not a dollar.
15:57:30 All right.
15:57:32 And it may sound cliche, but I found it to be true.
15:57:34 As long as I'm breathing, I can find them.
15:57:35 A creative or intuitive way to make a dollar.
15:57:38 But life is indeed short for.
15:57:43 For what it is. So, so capitalize on it.
15:57:44 Don't make your decisions on your business, especially with, you know,
15:57:47 just on money.
15:57:48 Alone. It's important. It's a tool. It's a resource. Yes.
15:57:51 And you have to factor. Yes.
15:57:53 But why I believe Veronica.
15:57:55 Our engagement was very successful. It was because.
15:57:57 Part of the conversation started about money.
15:57:59 And people are ruling.
15:58:02 You know, reluctant to relinquish it because they don't know.
15:58:08 What is on the other side of what they're going to get for the dollar.
15:58:11 You're trying to assess value.
15:58:14 Have a conversation, ask your own questions.
15:58:16 Be willing to sit in there a little bit longer.
15:58:19 To understand what you're getting and base your decision on value and
15:58:21 not just price.
15:58:29 That's the biggest thing that I've the competitions that I have with
15:58:31 people when it comes to whether they want to do or not do a thing
15:58:33 where they know where to miss me or not.
15:58:35 You know, be neutral, right?
15:58:37 As a, as a, as a business professional service provider be neutral.
15:58:40 I don't want it. Don't not want it just be there.
15:58:42 You know, and understand what's going on.
15:58:44 And if I had to leave a note in a box,
15:58:46 that's probably what it would be.
15:58:50 Well, I want people to get in contact with you. I'm not shy.
15:58:57 They get in contact with.
15:59:05 With you ask you more,
15:59:06 more questions or try to weigh what that business relationship would
15:59:10 look like. How can I do that?
15:59:12 I have, of course the professional website focus, branding.com.
15:59:17 Oh, C I S branding.com.
15:59:19 I'm at focus branding on social media on LinkedIn. It's Michael.
15:59:24 K B goes B I G O S. And unfortunately,
15:59:27 this meeting send me an email focus [email protected]
15:59:29 I'm all over the place in a sense.
15:59:30 I'm not hard to find, but.
15:59:32 Oh, yeah.
15:59:34 I love to answer questions because I like talking about branding.
15:59:37 So, yeah. Thank you.
15:59:41 I really, really,
15:59:42 really appreciate talking with you to feel like I'm just, you know,
15:59:45 We're just sitting in a bus stop somewhere. It's always cool.
15:59:56 I was so happy that you were able to take the time to speak
16:00:00 to me as well as our listeners.
16:00:03 I'm thankful for you. I appreciate you. You do great work.
16:00:12 And I am sure that we will be hearing a lot from you in the future