The centerpiece of the annual luncheon for The Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, was the official retirement celebration of CEO Butch Spyridon, who has held that position for the past 30 years. In any business that’s remarkable. In the convention and tourism bureau industry, known for its “musical chairs” of CEOs from one city to the next, it’s extraordinary. The 800+ attendees were treated to Butch’s unique perspective on Nashville over the last thirty years, in addition to the lessons learned over that time. And that is: you don’t have to be big, to win big.

Butch Spyridon says you don't have to be big to win big

Butch’s perspective is unique indeed. Imagine the city of Nashville in 1991, when he arrived.  “A one trick pony (Grand Ole’ Opry)”, he said during the luncheon, and 30 years later, has skyrocketed to one of top US destinations for visitors in and outside the USA. Butch not only envisioned many of the amazing hosted events, venues, services and logistical improvements – he executed many of them directly, and by leading others (and occasionally dragging some along until they could see the same vision).

Here are a just a few great management takeaways from this unique leader:

  1. Results Matter. It’s fine to push limits, take chances  and think outside the convention, but be sure you can measure or quantify it in context. As was often stated during my own sales career in tech and media: You can’t sell it if you can’t measure it.
  2. Celebrate and Amplify WinnersHitmakers! Every month, the Nashville CVB awards a local service provider (anyone in the hotel, transportation, food, music, entertainment / event space) as that month’s “Hitmaker”. Someone who went above and beyond the call to make a visitor feel welcome or specially attended to. In addition to the monthly award, there’s an annual “Hitmaker of the Year” (along with a “Gold Album” trophy, which is beyond cool). This viral goodwill recognition program inspires winners – that inspire celebration – that inspires winners…etc etc. Who are your company’s Hitmakers?
  3. You don’t have to be big, to win big. Nashville is big today, but as said earlier, certainly wasn’t 30 years ago. But if you want to host events, be important, even iconic, you simply have to DO IT. Don’t wait for complete agreement across every channel. Push, inspire, cajole, pound a fist on the table every now and then – but demand action on your big ideas. Those turn into realities and those lead to larger dreams and realities.

There’s a lot of button busting pride in Nashville these days and certainly it’s no hidden gem any longer. But if you’re following the news, there is so much more still to come….Oracle is moving a huge campus directly across the river from downtown. The city government has passed the final vote to move forward with an incredible new stadium for The Tennessee Titans, which will not only be a joy for Nashvillians, but visiting teams and guests as well (except when the Titans win of course, which we anticipate will be often!). But bigger than that…a possible Super Bowl, World Cup and on and on.

When Butch was asked “A Super Bowl ?! How do you go about landing that?” His response “I don’t know exactly. But once again, we’ll figure it out, and get it done”.  You don’t have to be big to win big.

The Ganon Group offers communication coaching for executives and employees across all departments: C-Suite Leadership, Sales, Customer Experience, Technical / Product Development, to improve their communication and presentation techniques. We believe everyone can “up” their game when it comes to communicating initiatives and ideas within the organization, outside to new prospects, to existing clients, or to outside media and trade organizations.