Flip the Switch

134: Measuring Burnout and Workaholism in College Athletics w/ Matt Huml

It used to be fun to work in sports. But like so many other industries, responsibilities have increased, often demanding employees to achieve more with less. The result, according to Matt Huml, can be burnout, workaholism, disengagement, and resentment. In this episode, we dive deep into Matt’s two most recent research projects: “The Effect of Remote Work on Family and Work Dynamics Within the Sport Industry;” and “From engaged worker to workaholic: a mediated model of athletic department employees”. 


2:43    Behind the Research

5:45    The Razor’s Edge Between Engaged Worker vs. Workaholic

9:02    What’s Wrong with a Team of Workaholics?

13:01  The Full Financial Impact of Turnover

20:03  Improving the Recruiting Pitch for Staff 

27:45  The Extreme Sacrifices

32:05  Evaluating Extreme Sacrifices on Your Team

41:09  The Radioactive Ring Around Coaches 


For more info on topics referenced in this episode:

Read the Full Versions of Matt’s research – 

The Effect of Remote Work on Family and Work Dynamics in the Sports Industry

From engaged worker to workaholic: a mediated model of athletic department employees

Books highlighted – 

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

Hear more about the outcomes from our workshop with Penn State 

Episode 96: How to Curb the Great Resignation in Your Organization

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Flip the Switch

133: How Mentor Managers Inspire Employees to “Love it Here” w/ Clint Pulver

After more than 220 undercover interviews with 12,000 employees, Clint Pulver is known as the leading authority on employee retention.  In this episode, David and Clint discuss the key attributes of mentor managing and the 5 Cs of leadership that result in employees saying, “I Love it Here.”


2:24     The Undercover Millennial Program

5:49     Behind the Book “I Love It Here”

9:24     The 4 Types of Managers

17:36   Assessing Your Leadership – The 5 Cs

21:43   Leading Through Transitions – Status Interviews

25:43   Finding Purpose

27:56   Advocating vs. Developing

32:06   The Power of Purpose

34:46   Individual Needs vs. Organizational Needs

42:28   To Don’t Lists

44:23   Be A Mr. Jensen


To connect with Clint Pulver, check out his website or follow him on social: 

ClintPulver.com | Twitter | LinkedIn | YouTube

Read Clint’s book I Love It Here 

For more leadership resources, check out Clint’s masterclass

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127: Finding Purpose and Building a Community w/ Gina Bianchini

When it comes to identifying your purpose or purposes, it’s all about having a clear intention for your time, your talents, your energy and your focus. What makes you happy.  But more importantly, it’s about turning your purpose or purposes into something actionable and making them matter.  After helping thousands find their purpose through her companies Ning and Mighty and her Community Design course, CEO and Founder of Mighty Networks Gina Bianchini joins the show to discuss the frameworks to finding purpose and manifesting it as a future story from her new book, Purpose: Design A Community & Change Your Life.

4:04    What is Purpose?

10:01    Key Insights Around Purpose

14:53  The Purpose 30 Challenge

21:58  The Intersection of Purpose and Community

27:00  How to Host a Community

33:46  Design and Scale Culture, Not Just Community or Content

37:15  Manifesting Your Future Story

43:31  Identifying Ideal Community Members

49:37  5 Elements of Community Design

56:59  Building Community within an Existing Audience


For more on topics covered in this episode:

To purchase Purpose: Design a Community & Change Your Life, check out Purpose.co 

Connect with Gina via email | Twitter | LinkedIn

Other books referenced

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Join the Sports Learning Online community

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126: Secrets to Success in Customer Service and Company Culture w/ Dennis Snow

Following a 20-year career at Disney, Dennis Snow identified 10 key lessons that all organizations could follow to achieve the same success in customer service and company culture.  Since leaving the magic, Dennis has spent the last 23 years inspiring organizations on how to adapt those 10 lessons and apply the core service principles to their operation.  

In this episode, we unpack the lessons from his two books, “Lessons from the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life” and “Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service”.

Show Notes

3:40     More Than a Summer Job

6:56     Empowering the Magic

10:33   Lessons from the Mouse

12:40   Everyone Has a Customer

13:35   Don’t Be a Customer Service Robot

19:14   Figure Out What Ticks Off Your Customers

28:01   Language Matters

35:04   Hiring vs. Coaching Empathy

37:41   Unleashing Excellence and the Service Improvement Team

41:29   Internal Improvements vs. External Training

44:38   Accountability

48:03   Drafting Job Descriptions

50:58   Onboarding and “Brag worthy” First Days

59:11   Define What the Experience Should Be


For more information on topics covered in this episode:

Connect with Dennis

Snow Associates | Email 

Dennis’ books

Lessons From the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life

Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service

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125: Bringing Greater Hospitality to the Ballpark w/ Eric Weisberg

The baseball business is a relationship business and has the same core values as any other hospitality industry.  It’s a practice that Eric Weisberg preaches as the Vice President of Fan Experience.  In this episode, Eric discusses the influences roles with Disney and the Kansas City Zoo has on his career in baseball, his “Fan Host for a Day” program and how to show up for a job in the sports industry.  

3:43     Eric’s Career Journey to Tampa

11:09   Hiring for Skill Sets over Industry Experience

13:44   Fan Host for a Day

21:02   From Negative Experience to Brand Ambassador

26:45   Reviewing the Savannah Bananas

32:12   The Tech Driving the Future MLB Fan Experience

34:27   The Effect of Promotions and Theme Days

43:07   Influencing the Fan Experience Vision Across Departments

45:45   The Best Fan Experience: Naturalization Ceremony

48:46   Breaking Into the Industry

55:46   Parting Advice: Place Emphasis on the Staff


Connect with Eric via email
Join Sports Learning Online –  a cross-functional community of sports business professionals coming together to share best practices and foster professional development.

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124: How to Intentionally Serve Your Premium Clients w/ Lisa Holladay

In today’s episode, we’re joined by Lisa Holladay, Chief Experience Officer at Tiger 21, a high wealth membership organization.  Lisa has spent her career in service hospitality, with stops at Mercedes-Benz and Ritz-Carlton.  By viewing customers as owners, guests or members, each of these brands have created more personal relationships, resulting in more memorable experiences.  

We break down the principles that make these brands synonymous with guest experience, from their customer framework to the strategies that empower staff, encourage trust and enable transparency within the memberships.  


Show Notes

3:12    Lisa’s Career “Homes”

6:00    Guests vs. Owners vs. Members

8:09    From Rational to Emotional Purchases

9:47    What is Tiger 21?

15:18  It’s the Little Things That Matter 

20:38  Curating Trust and Transparency in Community

26:28  KPIs to Building a Successful Community

29:30  Recognizing Loyalty

34:16  Joshie the Giraffe and Empowering Staff

40:00  The Value of Kudos

41:28  Linking Experience to Brand Promise

46:35  Hot Take: Fake It ‘til You Make It


For more on topics covered in this episode:


Ritz-Carlton and Joshie the Giraffe

Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn or Instagram

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119: Reframing Retreats & Resetting Your Operation w/ David Millay and Katie Rudy

In the daily grind, it’s hard to find time to work on the business when you are working in the business.   

Staff retreats offer teams the opportunity to reset, reframe the operation and define goals for a new chapter.  

In this episode, David Millay and Katie Rudy break down approaches to team retreats and key activities to include to break the cycle and improve your operation.

We cover:

  • Defining goals of the retreats
  • Establishing success metrics
  • Evaluating realities of your industry
  • The role of a facilitator


To find out how we can help you reframe your staff retreat and set a new path for the year, email David or Katie for a free strategy call.

Other topics referenced in this episode:
Greg McKeown: Where You Learned to Handle Conflict

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116: The 5 Key Elements Impacting Powerful Customer Experiences w/ Elizabeth Dixon

To design a first-class customer experience, it starts with the mindset, the stories we’re telling ourselves internally and the framework for how we’re viewing the world and aligning it with what we want to create for people around us.

In this episode, David sits down with Elizabeth Dixon, entrepreneur and business leader at Elizabeth Dixon Speaks.  Elizabeth has worked for or alongside several customer-centric organizations, including her current role of Principal Lead of Strategy, Hospitality and Service Design at Chick-fil-A corporate.  Combining best practices and insights from her career, Elizabeth shares the 5 key elements of a great customer experience. 

From mindset, we discuss the differences between service and hospitality, customer clarity, defining what makes your organization unique and innovating to meet customer needs.


Show Notes

3:27    Applying Strategy and Design to CX

5:03    5 Key Elements of Great Customer Experience

6:52    Elizabeth’s Career Path through Chick-fil-A

7:53    The Difference Between Service and Hospitality

15:09  Choosing Your Mindset

22:15  Recovery Situations and Broken Processes

26:15  Disney and Ritz-Carlton’s Service Recovery systems

29:55  Create Your Culture

35:19  Know Your Customer

40:24  Define Your Differentiator

43:20  Pursue Innovation


For more info on the topics covered in this episode, check out:


Connect with Elizabeth on Instagram or LinkedIn

The Power of Customer Experience: 5 Elements to Make an Impact

A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger

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Lessons from Leaders: How Jesse Cole and the Savannah Bananas Create the ‘Greatest Show Possible’

If you don’t know by now, we’re big fans of the Savannah Bananas.  

Inspired by Walt Disney and P.T. Barnum, Jesse Cole had a vision and has turned an independent collegiate summer baseball team into a global phenomenon. 

That vision is projected everywhere, from the ownership group (Fans First Entertainment) to the mission (“Fans First, Entertain Always”). The dancing players, Banana Nanas senior dance team and experiments like Dolce & Banana underwear have captured the attention of fans around the world, with  500K+ followers on Instagram and 2.7 million followers on TikTok.

This week, we welcome Jesse back to the podcast to discuss his newest book, Fans First: Change The Game, Break the Rules & Create an Unforgettable Experience. Jesse has 5 Es to building a Fans First organization, which he illustrates through dozens of stories about fans and from fans.

What Jesse understands above all else is, “The first fan is yourself.  You can’t create fans until you are a fan of what you do.”

Here’s how Jesse and his front office have become fans of the Savannah Bananas:

Eliminate Friction

What is it: From the start, Jesse strived to eliminate the macro friction of “baseball is boring.”  Fans are entertained from the second penguins guide them to park in the parking lot, through the player pre-game parade, promotions every half inning and a dance party with the players when they leave.  On a micro level, the Bananas attack the little things – ticket fees, convenience fees, shipping fees, buying concessions, standing in line.  Even the necessary pains, like paying invoices, they make it fun.  

How to approach it: Start with the things that drive you crazy as a fan – parking prices? Ticket fees? Concessions prices?  Make a list and just start tackling it one-by-one.

Entertain Always

What is it: In sports, we talk about the “driveway to driveway” experience, but the Savannah Bananas look at the 7 stages.  The first stage is the first impression fans have – navigating your website, what’s on your social media, the messaging in your confirmation emails.  The team sends videos to celebrate ticket sales and sends you a driving playlist to psyche you up for the game.  The last stage is the last impression – which is not pulling out of the parking lot.  It’s how you communicate with them after the game. Hint: It’s not an email with a postgame survey.  

How to approach it: Think about the different stages of your fan experience.  Take it one stage at a time.  Start with one item that you could “plus up” that will have an impact on the fan experience.  

Experiment Constantly

What is it: The Savannah Bananas are not afraid to try anything. They put their rivals’ logos on toilet paper in their restrooms.  They sell Dolce & Banana underwear.  Every game has 5 – 10 experiments.  With every experiment, they measure how the fans are responding to it, what are they doing, what’s working, what’s not and they learn faster.  What’s critical is how they learn.  They don’t learn by surveys, they learn by observation.  2 years ago, they took a picture of the grandstand every 30 minutes to track fans’ behavior, which led to the 2-hour Banana Ball game.  Every single night, a Savannah Bananas staff member goes undercover.  They park with the fans, walk in with them, eat with them, stand in line with them and report on their experience that night.

How to approach it: What’s the worst parking location, the worst seat, the worst food section in your venues? Go experience that for yourself. Become an undercover fan and figure out the friction points, the frustration points and the Fans First moments. Tackle the friction points one-by-one. Fix one concessions stand at a time, improve one gate flow at a time.  Take it step-by-step.

Engage Deeply

What is it: With such an emphasis on personalized experiences, it’s easy to become overwhelmed or stuck on how to deliver a unique, heartfelt experience for everyone.  Start by doing the unscalable – call a fan and thank them for a purchase, send a fan who is battling an illness a motivational video. From there, try and find ways to make it scalable.  One of Jesse’s other favorite references is from Darren Ross who runs the Magic Castle Hotel – “Listen carefully, respond creatively.”

How to approach it: The Bananas believe in the mindset of Andy Stanley, “Do for one, what you wish you could do for many.” Make one phone call / email / text to a fan per day to thank them for a purchase.  If fans comment on social media that they are coming to the game for a special occasion – first visit, birthday, anniversary – find a way to make that memorable for them. 

Empower Action

What is it: The Savannah Bananas staff are all empowered to create Fans First moments.  If you follow Jesse on LinkedIn, he continuously shares these stories, from his nightly walks on plussing the experience with his Director of Entertainment to one of his ticket staff noticing drain covers could use a Bananas face lift. If you are clear with the vision, then trust your staff to execute it.  If they go overboard with it, that’s great. It’s better to push them and rein it back from there.

How to approach it: We emphasize this all the time, lead with purpose over task.  Define your vision and how your staff can contribute to the execution of it.  Allow them to create experiences for your fans that align with your vision.  

Jesse often cites one of Walt Disney’s quotes, “Money doesn’t excite me. Ideas excite me.”  

For even more ideas than we could possibly share in one email, check out the full conversation and purchase Fans First for your summer beach read, book club or team idea generation session.

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115: How the Savannah Bananas Create the ‘Greatest Show Possible’ w/ Jesse Cole

Our only three-peat on the show, we welcome back Jesse Cole, owner of the Savannah Bananas.  In previous episodes, David and Jesse have jammed and brainstormed, but in this show, we unpack the Bananas’ 5-E-Framework that has propelled their Fans First model into a global phenomenon.  What the Bananas lack in detailed processes and metrics, they make up for in intentionality, in-depth knowledge of their product and fans and the impression they leave through every step of the in-person and virtual experience.  


Show Notes

4:04    Fans First: The Savannah Bananas Story

5:08    Capturing the World’s Attention

10:47  Balancing Attention and Intention

12:49  The 5 E Framework 

13:16  Eliminate Friction – What Hurts the Most

20:01  Make the Small Bets

21:52  Entertain Always – How You View Things is How You Do Things

23:43  The Last Impression

29:34  Experiment Constantly

33:11  Collecting Data and Feedback

35:48  Undercover Fans

38:11  Engage Deeply

45:19  Empowering Action

49:23  “The First Fan is Yourself”


Want more from Jesse Cole and the Savannah Bananas?

Fans First: Change The Game, Break the Rules & Create an Unforgettable Experience
Find Your Yellow Tux: How to Be Successful By Standing Out

Connect with Jesse: Twitter | LinkedIn

FindYourYellowTux.com |  Business Done Differently Podcast

Follow the Savannah Bananas: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok | YouTube

Check out Jesse’s other appearances on Flip the Switch:

Episode 14: Fans First

Episode 44: A Culture of Experimentation and Innovation

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