As part of my series about the “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Cauveé.
Cauveé is a strategist-centered fulfillment coach known as the Inspiration Engineer®. Helping others to reach their full potential. Cauveé is a TEDx speaker, he’s been featured in Huffington Post as the Strategist to Watch, Thrive Global, Influencive, Hustlers Digest and many more!
He’s been featured on a large number of podcasts and his very first student broke 6 figures in revenue while working at Zillow a $64 billion dollar company.
His first concert at age 18 sold out at 1,209 people. Using the power of music, voice, and visuals, Cauveé says his purpose is to Inspire, Educate and Entertain to awaken the minds, hearts and spirits to what is possible for their lives.
Working with relatable, authentic, audience focused, once in a lifetime personalized edutainment legacy brands is his mission to empower and awaken dreamers, visionaries, and creators to make their mark on this world.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Absolutely! I started in music before I knew anything about sales or marketing. My father used to give me what I call the hero speech “son you can do anything you put your mind to.“ When I told him what I wanted to do at age 9, which was be a musician, he told me I couldn’t do that. Which gave me the fire and the fuel to prove him wrong.
I say my father gave me the gift of ferocity. I ended up selling out a concert of 1,209 people, and was locally famous, when I was 18 years old. Everybody in those days and still to this day, unfortunately, in hip-hop, sold drugs for capital. The 50 Cent’s, Master P’s, Lil Wayne’s, etc to make money and I didn’t want to do that so I started off organically sharing my music with my friends and putting on my own shows selling merchandise. I went on to then start a company doing my own events.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
One of the bands that I booked early on made me a promise on how many tickets sales they would do. I was doing an event called all around sound where we put hip-hop, R&B, and rock all on the same stage. I had the artists sign an agreement on their expected draw. I made everybody sell presale tickets but the rock band refused because they had a regular draw. I let them slide. I sold 80 tickets, the R&B act sold 75 tickets, and they sold nine tickets.
By the time it was my turn to go on stage everybody in the entire arena left. I was heartbroken. I learned that people have to pull their own weight. I have to be the authority figure and put my foot down, and not to let anybody tell you what is possible, but let them show you.
Additionally I learned that you need an operations manager and cannot be all of the parts, the talent, the customer service and the operations when people expect guest treatment from the talent. And as a headlining act and monetary backer, for my artists out there, be sure to take the stage when the arena is most full.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Excellent question! That’s quite an extensive list from my digital mentors which would include Jim Rohn, Les Brown, Tony Robbins, Eric Thomas and many others, to my personal mentors which would include Sean Douglas, Jay Menez, and all the fans that have been supportive of my career.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?
When I first started I didn’t know how to explain what I do so I would give people the parable and analogy, “imagine if Michael Jackson and Tony Robbins made a baby, I would be the baby.” It got a laugh about 87% of the time. That was the first way I started explaining edutainment in the beginning.
The why, originally was because people said you can’t, which related to my father and all the people who told me I couldn’t along the way. They told me I could not live my dreams. Like Arnold Schwarzanegger says, “don’t break the law, break the rules.” I was told I couldn’t do music, was discouraged from giving a TEDx talk from a “professional speaker” who hadn’t given one, to selling 1000 CDs, to helping my first student break six figures in revenue. I’ve always been the underdog and able to consistently prove people wrong.
Since then, our mission has evolved to the current reality, which is dreamers are dying because dreams are dying. Our purpose is to awaken and empower dreamers, visionaries and creators towards building a life they love. Leading by example and showing them what’s possible so they can build a legacy, leaving their mark on this world. We provide the inspiration, motivation, and the education to build their own unique personal brand.
Inspiration Engineering® — Drive Your Legacy
Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?
As the saying goes “tough times don’t last but tough people do.”
I believe that the first thing we must understand is that pain, challenge, problems a.k.a. turbulence is an opportunity for exponential growth. It’s all about perspective and how you CHOOSE to view your circumstance.
You can let it build you or you can let it destroy you…
Leaders Must Be The Beacon
If you’re the leader, then it is your responsibility to be the beacon of hope, light, excitement, even when you don’t feel like it inside. Everybody is looking to you to see how you’re going to react so you must be optimistic for the future.
What is the alternative?
Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive?
I’ve considered many times to give up. One of the toughest times I experienced was being homeless sleeping under the 290 Highway bridge in Austin TX. I was freezing cold and I ended up sleeping in the yoga room in my gym after hours scared to death I would get caught and go to jail.
Another time I considered quitting was after I had three hours of sleep from extensive ride share driving as a side hustle, while sleeping in my car, I needed 3 days to get caught up on payment but the lender refused and repossessed the car while I was asleep . I’ve had many turbulent times.
What has sustained me has been the vision, the amount of time I have already invested, and people like Eric Thomas who tell similar stories. Eric was homeless and eating out of trash cans. When you’re putting in near Steve Harvey years (this is my 21st year) it gets very unsettling, but then you remember it took 999 lightbulbs for Benjamin Franklin.
At least I didn’t have it that bad. It’s all about perspective.
What would you say is the most critical role of a leader during challenging times?
Most critical role of the leader is to continue to steer the ship. The leader must live by what he or she says, they must model positivity, they must model enthusiasm, they must model optimism, and they must execute during these times.
It requires an unparalleled amount of discipline and vision to not only survive, rather thrive during the toughest of times.
When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate and engage their team?
The reality is life has always been unpredictable pre-Covid. Most of us take life for granted, myself included at times. Any single one of us could pass away tomorrow so we have to live it up today. We have to get the most out of the opportunities life gives us today and regularly practice gratitude for all the things we have.
For there is no guarantee of tomorrow which makes life all the more beautiful. It gives us a much deeper appreciation and awareness for everything we have if we are attuned to it.
It’s important for a leader to create a culture that employees feel safe, respected, vulnerable, and can be transparent with their lives. In corporate American culture, we separate our work life from our personal life which to me is silly. Nobody has two lives. Everything we do in our personal life is going to impact our professional life and vice versa.
I believe that a real leader coaches and advises in all aspects of life. Or at least can be a sounding board for someone to share. At the end of the day, everybody wants to feel heard, seen, and respected.
By enabling people to open up we’re able to have those conversations that are uncomfortable which can do tremendous wonders for your team.
What is the best way to communicate difficult news to one’s team and customers?
One of our core values in Cauvee Global is 3000% transparency. We live by this! We do not necessarily give bad news during the heart and spirit of the day unless it requires so, but burying bad news under the rug is not going to serve anyone.
I think the best way to share bad news is to prepare those listening that they are not going to like what they’re about to hear, deliver the news and get it over with. Rather than focus on the bad news, you focus on the solutions to turn the bad news into a case study for good.
How can a leader make plans when the future is so unpredictable?
As stated before, life is constantly unpredictable. Not one of us knows what tomorrow holds so we have to do the best with what we have today. We have to make the best decisions with what we can forecast and see tomorrow. However, we must be adaptable and flexible to adjust with whatever tomorrow provides.
Is there a “number one principle” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?
I think one of the most powerful things we can do is look at the companies that have been successful during past recessions and turbulent times. It is possible, depending on the type of company you have, you may need to make a radical pivot. AirBnb had to make a major pivot as the CEO shared they had to position virtual exclusive events with key public figures. The most important thing you can do is NOT hope it will pass or be stagnant. We have to be proactive vs. reactive.
Figure out where you can make the shift, make the shift, and get back to conducting business. However, modeling those before us is wisdom. No excuses, adjust and accelerate.
Can you share 3 or 4 of the most common mistakes you have seen other businesses make during difficult times? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?
I think one of the biggest mistakes companies make, which is the mistake that humans make, is staying too rigid. I don’t want to specifically throw any one company under the bus, it’s a principle that I see too many companies making large and small which is not allowing themselves to be fluid. I love the quote from Bruce Lee, he says “transform your mind, water can flow, water can crash, be like water my friends.“
Improper forecasting by not having enough vision can be detrimental. It was the unseen glacier in the water that sunk the Titanic did it not? We must be better prepared for threats while seizing opportunities. We must have backups for our backups and make fail safe planning.
The last mistake I see is people choosing to wait it out. I know a lot of brick and mortar businesses like coffee shops are hurting during this time if their products aren’t positioned online. I was speaking with a friend who owns a coffee shop in Austin and he told me that they don’t qualify as a restaurant so he can’t have visitors come in. I told him, choosing to wait it out and only make a pivot for “take out” is failure. This principle applies to many businesses.
Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
I’m not a big fan of maintaining. I am more aligned to taking action and finding the strategic advantage of the circumstances at hand. That may look like creating something new for customers and fans. For example, any company could have made masks with their brand on the mask even if they don’t sell merchandise. For a company that doesn’t sell merchandise, this is a new revenue stream.
Although the margins may not be high in this example, there’s always a way if we look for it. What other products or services may compliment your primary offer? How can you bring something beneficial to the marketplace you haven’t yet thought about?
This is why we need to always be thinking, how can I innovate today?
Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? Please share a story or an example for each.
Just look at the NBA what they had to do in order to restart the season. By comparison, we have not had to make nearly that type of adjustment but this is a great example for any business to consider
Once you have determined where you can focus, pivot and go full steam ahead. We did this with our Community by hosting free consulting calls and giving a ton of value. Additionally, we started reaching out and supporting articles just like these writers by giving more information as to how people can make pivots and adjustments.
At the end of the day people want to know is everything going to be alright. We did this by relating a message to the team that we were going to pull through, the adjustments we were going to make, and we open the door for any concerns or questions.
With the news so harmful and negative, we made sure that our team members were not distracted and reinforced all the positive things going on internally and externally. You want to be able to keep people’s attention and Spirit in a positive place.
We made our pivot with a new message, a new outlook, and have not looked back..
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“You don’t have business problems. You have personal problems that are reflecting in your business.” — unknown
It is always going to be up to you, the leader. Leadership is not given to those with a title, leadership is living by a certain standard and quality.
It is never going to be the circumstance or the situation, it’s always going to be how you handle it, what you do, and when you act.
For every failure is an opportunity for a new lesson learned.
How can our readers further follow your work?
Your readers can best follow us by connecting on whichever social media channel they prefer or simply by going to Cauvee.com or connecting with me on their favorite social media platform.