Business Etiquette – with Entrepreneur and CEO Stephen Gillen Episode 61

Nathaniel Schooler 0:05
So today I’m joined by Stephen Gillen, and he is the CEO and executive producer of Shooting Stars Events.

Recently, he was nominated by the UKs peace ambassador for the 2020 ‘Sunhak’ International Peace Prize.

Nathaniel Schooler 0:39
Stephen Gillen is a globally successful entrepreneur, Stephen Gillen is an award-winning international public speaker and film-maker. He is a successful author, director, and producer. His documentaries have been viewed in over 140 countries worldwide. There has been wide global media coverage on his work and life journey. On the 29th May 2019, Stephen had the great privilege of being nominated by the UK Peace Ambassador for the ‘Sunhak’ International peace prize and works closely on many innovative, global & humanitarian initiatives. One of these is on the board of UniPharma, a global pharmaceutical company which is the exclusive producer/distributor of a new revolutionary medical device, whom Stephen is also Ambassador, that is set to alleviate the suffering of and save hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide in the open wound industry.

Nathaniel Schooler 0:39
WARNING — AI Transcriptions Below May Cause Grammatically Correct People Serious Stress and Lack of Sleep!

Nathaniel Schooler 0:39
So we’re going to talk about, we’re going to talk about business etiquette, which I think is a really interesting topic. And this is a tricky subject for me, because we’re global now right? So just as an example, my Dad when he used to run the winery, he had the Japanese come around. Because we used to sell rose petal wine in Japan. Okay. To to Mitsukoshi, the top department store chain in Japan. So these guys from Mitsukoshi came to England. And they came to the winery, like eight or nine of these guys. And each one of them bowed to my Dad and handed him a business card, right.

Nathaniel Schooler 1:29
My Dad’s like, what am I going to do? If I do this wrong….! Then this business card, right? Could be the death of this customer. So they’ve all they’ve all given him a business card. So what he did is he got a diary. And he got each business card. And he and he literally just put it right there in this diary. And then he looked at the card, he looked to the person and he and he nodded. And I think he said something in Japanese, he took a note and then he put the card in there. And then he folded that over that page over in his diary. And then he and then he took the next one. Yeah. And he didn’t put that away in his pocket, you see, because if he had taken that card and put that in his pocket, it would have been an insult to the Japanese. Right? Yeah. So that’s just one example of business etiquette, right.

Stephen Gillen 2:18
This is a this is a massive topic. And, of course, you know, the do’s and don’ts we could talk about all morning. But that’s a really interesting story. But you know, what I take from that in a simple way. Because we have to make things simple. Because look, this is a massive subject. And, you know, we can go into a little bit about CSR, corporate social responsibility, which is a driver for this, you know, because it does affect it, but it kind of comes in, and then it borders on, you know, then there is work, it does it has, it has an influence here. And really, I have noticed it is there.

Stephen Gillen 3:01
Maybe not one that you would notice, but it has a kind of funny influence, in a sense, because these practices are really being integrated as society moves forward. I mean, you know, it’s about this political correctness is another one. Yeah. Which can be closely. Yes, but this is kind of the same branches of the same tree. Where does it start? On? Where does it end? Really, and it really is ongoing, right. So you know, this word etiquette, there’s communication etiquette, there’s email etiquette, there’s dining etiquette, this all relates to business to know and it goes on and on and on, you know, and European international etiquette is a different definition and a different way of looking at it as we do in the UK. Yeah, you know, here, it’s more about social, it’s about social, you know, manners and environments, and the way that relates to the workplace and stuff like that. Pretty much here. Yeah. You know, we give or take on, in your opinion, that it’s more about the comfort and about creating, it’s more about creating relationships a lot more in Europe, it’s about creating relationships a lot more. And it’s more focused on, you know, having a comfortable environment for people in business.

Nathaniel Schooler 4:33
Right.

Stephen Gillen 4:34
So it’s more static in a way here, but means the same, but they say these slight translations in itself, can cause confusion. Oh, yeah. So really, for the layman, or anyone who leaves answers to this stuff in the practical light of day. You know, it’s about being conscientious is the first and foremost thing, you know, been really respectful as a person of the world, and conscientious and considerate to people when dealing with them.

Nathaniel Schooler 5:07
But then there is then there is the the other side of the coin we are in business. Yeah. And we get stuff done. Right. And, and, and we might, we might be a manager in a business, we might be an employee, you know, right at the bottom. Yeah, we might be the CEO. But, but at the end of the day, it’s difficult, because we want to get stuff done. And we don’t want to upset people. And it’s really, really hard to write that email. Yeah. As an example. Yeah. Like I’m working on my style with emails, yes, it’s almost like, you’ve got to write the email with no emotion, and then adding a bit of fluffiness around the edges to make it a bit more friendly. Instead of write the email into your normal, polite manner, which you may have just as an example, and be too polite, that nothing gets done.

Stephen Gillen 5:57
Yeah. That is really good. I get that. But again, I mean, for me, really, I mean, the people close to me would say, I have a really pragmatic style, okay, of getting straight to the heart of it. And I don’t really care about certain things. As long as our aims our goals are noble, and I want it done, if you want to really yeah, you know, the problems? Yes, we get there. Let’s look at it and go straight to the solution. And we’re always guided by doing the right thing.

Nathaniel Schooler 6:24
Okay.

Stephen Gillen 6:25
It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that. Chris, you know, we can all work on this until it’s right. Yeah, you see, this is this, this is my clarity of vision. And I’m, you know, I always lead from the front and that way, but this is, you know, I mean, I’m a CEO, and I have to be very decisive on what I’m doing. Have a real clarity of purpose, I have unbelievable responsibility. But I didn’t just arrive as that person, I’ve been forged as that person. Okay, by falling down and getting up and doing all this.

Stephen Gillen 6:55
There was a thing about CEOs, for instance, you know, and there was a there was an academic study, you know, about CEOs by Gsmart, who, you know, they studied 316, top executives, pretty much in private equity. So they looked at the characteristics of people like that, as adverse to the successful ones versus the ones that were not so successful. And what was the difference between them? So it comes down to characteristics, you know, and seven showed me there were 32 characteristics. And in this study, seven showed more distribution. Right, you know, you know, they were persistent, yeah. You know, persistent work ethic, openness to criticism, yeah. Flexibility, you see, you know I can go on, you know.

Stephen Gillen 7:50
There’s a certain stuff to that, but, um, this is, so this is important when you think about, okay, because there are different levels of management, I’ve got to be really honest, for me, having come from the bottom all the way through different ranks to where I am having experience with that, sometimes where the real model happens is in the middle management, yes. Okay. Because there’s a different forces going on there. And different pressures, you know, you have managers who are unbelievably good at what they’re doing. That’s why they’re there. But let’s be honest, they’re still learning to go straight up to the next thing.

Stephen Gillen 8:12
Okay, so they would have a, they would have a different kind of set in a way of business kind of etiquette than someone, although they wouldn’t. But to them, it would seem different. Because it does change, you know, it does change slightly. You see someone say on, you know, on the shop floor. Yeah, they would just be under pressure to look, we have these targets, and in as many as possible, please get it done. Because we need to be hitting so much today. Or this is very serious. Yeah. So there’s a lot of fear attached to that, because they have their job and flight, so they will hit under under unbelievable pressure to hit their targets. Yeah. Now this will affect their business etiquette, there’s no question,

Nathaniel Schooler 9:20
Because the pressure is stressing them out. And they may send that email before they’ve thought about it. They may type it quickly. They might be brusque.

Stephen Gillen 9:29
Yeah, exactly.

Nathaniel Schooler 9:31
I’ve worked with some really brusque people. Yeah.

Stephen Gillen 9:33
Yeah.

Nathaniel Schooler 9:34
But at least you understand the fact that they don’t have any manners.

Stephen Gillen 9:37
Yeah, yeah, kind of is what it is.

Nathaniel Schooler 9:39
But but they are who they are. And, and, and that a lot of top people are like that. They’re just like, well, this is how it is. Just leave your emotions at the door. And we’re gonna get on with business. Right? Yeah. Like, and I struggle with that, because I’m a bit, I’ve just always been used to a bit more of a friendly approach.

Stephen Gillen 10:01
You see, this is where this area is really a tough, really tough area, especially for businesses. You know, what they like to translate it to now, which is a good system is our culture is in our culture is we are… Facebook is great. Microsoft is great at it. Google’s another one, you don’t even need to go home. Because we have the best and even better of everything you wanted here. Right? You can be with the guys. You can work. You can even sleep here.

Stephen Gillen 10:32
You know, you can come and go as we want when you want. We just want it done. Yeah, it’s masterful. Yeah. So everything is there, which is conducive to getting the work done to a high level, that’s unbelievably masterful, because we’re dealing with human beings here. So they’ve been unbelievably insightful at taking away a lot of this stuff, you know, obviously done a lot of thinking on how to make this a lot more appropriate and conducive to what needs to be done. Yeah. So this is a different kind of innovative thinking. Yeah, you see, a must be honest, as well, corporate structures, whether they are tall, or whatever it can be. There are different ways the information and the communication is shared within the systems. And this is what I’m talking about where a lot of the problems are.

Stephen Gillen 11:20
Because then you’ve got middle management, they have a different view, they have the people at the top really watching them if they’re not hitting it, of course, yeah, you know, there’s going to be repercussions to that. But what they’re doing is, then they’re passing that down, but then, of course, they want to go up. So they’re not to the point, but they still have the same pressure. But these are people are always looking to improve and get a little bit better. So we can expect just a little bit more from them, and they are middle management.

Stephen Gillen 11:51
But then look, you know, what I can say myself as being a CEO, and mixing in these areas, for a long time, and having a lot of experience of it is for me, is you know, and I’ve worked with unbelievably wonderful people. And you know, the truth of it is, is that when you’ve gone through the real blood, sweat and tears of all this stuff, Nathaniel really, and I do it quite regularly with people are going to be potential partners of mine, or we’re gonna go into business with and really go into it with in every sense of the word, one of the main things I’m looking for is that we connect with people, you know, as people, and when I do that, because that can’t be bluffed. Now, I already know who they are, what their businesses and you know, we’re already well checked and well versed even before we’re sitting at that table, but the real stuff that is is the stuff that makes us a family because a bit more than a family or a marriage when you go into a really heavy business relationship with people is long term.

Nathaniel Schooler 12:56
Yeah, it is. Yeah, it really is.

Stephen Gillen 12:57
So you know, they need to be have a character that is right for you. And for me, I like really good people. I like pragmatic people. I like visionary people, innovative, a lot of people a lot to take risk. But ultimately I like really, really, really decent people. You can say, well, that’s a person you love. This person got you got you. Do you tick them boxes, and that’s really something. So I hope that that helps in some way.

Nathaniel Schooler 13:26
Yeah, I think so. I think that’s, I think that’s really, really super. Yeah. So there are also other things, aren’t they with etiquette? You know, I mean, it’s it’s sort of like it’s, it’s a huge is a huge topic. It’s, you know, for example, if you go into a meeting, I don’t know at Oracle or IBM head office.

Stephen Gillen 13:49
They’re are rituals.

Nathaniel Schooler 13:50
What are you going to wear? Well, yeah. Are you going to risk turning up in jeans? For the first meeting? Probably not. You’re going to wear a suit aren’t you. And it maybe a warm day, but you gotta wear a suit because they’ve got AC in there. That is part of business etiquette. Yeah, shaking hands when you first meet. Looking at looking at them in the eye smiling, not interrupting.

Stephen Gillen 14:13
Yeah. Which can be a hard one.

Nathaniel Schooler 14:15
Not it’s not easy for me.

Stephen Gillen 14:17
Listen, obviously, you know, I mean, I I really believe in accountability as a person and say:- “Well, look, you know, is this what it is? You know, we’re not perfect!”

Stephen Gillen 14:27
You know, but that is a real skill in itself. Yeah. And this is where lives can get muddled really easy. And, you know, and people can get one of the problems with this, I think is really, really unfortunate and does more harm than good to progress in people’s lives and businesses and, you know, and so forth, is there are always elements of people that will bring other factors into something that really is just a slight mistake. You say that, but they will take it as a slight because there are other factors, or maybe it’s part of a design, even they cause a lot of trouble over something that is not really there got you know, and they’ll use that against people, which is really unethical. Yeah. I mean, we know this goes on, and that is a real.

Stephen Gillen 15:11
So this is where these these lines are, they’re very strict in some companies, for certain reasons. Right. You know, and it is very, very, you know, it’s always pays to be safe.

Nathaniel Schooler 15:24
Yes.

Stephen Gillen 15:25
Be safe, and let your character and the work do the talking. Yeah. I mean, that’s, that’s the advice. And, you know, if you’re dealing with another, you know, because we’re global as well, you know, I mean, I’m lucky, I have people on my team, they’re very international. So they’ve lived abroad, but there are little nuances of cultural differences and ways of say, eating or greeting people or when we have a meeting, or how that would look like and you know, how you would present something and gentle when you would sign the paperwork? Or how you would address someone.

Stephen Gillen 15:59
Now, do your research is taught to someone who’s gone through that process? Yeah, there’s no one better? And they’ll tell you well, you know, I’ve done that. And what I found is, just be aware of it is a really easy one to that’s what I would definitely advise if you’re unsure. Make sure you know what you’re doing with this. Check it.

Nathaniel Schooler 16:22
I agree. I mean, if you go to Denmark, right. And it’s your birthday. Yeah, you are expected to pay!

Stephen Gillen 16:33
Right? Yeah, Hahaha.

Stephen Gillen 16:43
Life is for living?

Nathaniel Schooler 16:44
Well, that’s the thing is there is there’s all this etiquette. Yeah. Actually, if you connect with people in the right place, at the right time, in the right way, all that etiquette, is this kind of more personal, isn’t it? It’s more you either to get over people you don’t right. And if you’re not a people person then you need to become one.

Stephen Gillen 17:07
Yeah, well, look, you know, I mean, in business, it’s just a clear fact, let’s not go around the houses about it. But it’s a clear fact, interpersonal skills, or maybe interpersonal skills was one of the one of the seven attributes I didn’t finish, because was big. But that was one of the attributes is interpersonal skills, you need to be good at communicating to people. Yeah, for obvious reasons. Yeah. But you know, look, none of us are born with a full tool, the skill set of anything, right? You know, we all come into the world. And, you know, it’s a blank sheet. We’re not a hot shot anything! So it is about it is about being prepared to learn stuff, you know, people like this, and they, you know, they have a real easy time and go really further in business, really, because it’s very key. How, people and are considerate towards them.

Nathaniel Schooler 18:03
Yeah, and active listening, not just like waiting to say the next thing as well. And that’s the toughest, it’s hard, because you’ve got some, it’s so interesting. And you know, it’s really interesting, and you really want to say it, right? But actually, if you’re not listening, it you kind of, you’ve almost disrespecting the person, but you can’t help it because the brain always wants to talk. Right? And it’s a really interesting one.

Stephen Gillen 18:28
Sometimes, but here’s the thing about that. And, and that’s really interesting, because it’s like, any other skill, which we integrate, or we hope to improve on channel and they do say, look, you know, you know, some of the best be, they will learn 60% of the time, and they’ll speak 40% is the is the, the thing for that right, is the guideline. No, but look, you know, I mean, if I say it’s different jobs as well, for me front of house, I do a lot with the media, and you know, and all of this stuff, and I’m front of house and I’m negotiating all the time, and you know that, you know, you have to have a certain way of getting this stuff through, right. So, you know, I get that. But when I look at my team, and the people around those people how unbelievably good they are listening, I realized just how powerful that really is. They get my attention, right, just by their really engaging, really wonderful listening skills and intuition in the area. It’s an unbelievably powerful talk.

Nathaniel Schooler 19:28
Yeah, very much so very much. So. Well, thank you. It’s been really interesting. So how do people get hold of you if they want to find you and see what you’re up to?

Stephen Gillen 19:37
Well, you know, I mean, we have different websites, one would be shooting stars events, and it’s www.shootingstarsevents.co.uk. You know, and the email is the same bandwidth Hello@shootingstarsevents.co.uk. And, you know, there was lots of content online about me, Nathaniel, lots of stuff, so people could go on there if you don’t have a look. And of course, you know, if you want to get in contact with us, there are many ways to do that.

Nathaniel Schooler 20:09
Okay. Thanks very much. It’s been fun.

Stephen Gillen 20:11
Thank you, Nathaniel it has been fun, thank you.

Sheri Hinish 20:18
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