Matt describes himself as engaging, hilarious, and unique. Those who listen to him speak agree. And he comes from a family of comedians. Both his father and his brother were stand-up comedians for a number of years.
For the last decade, Matt worked as a leader in various roles for a Fortune 50 company.
His experience is as diverse as he is entertaining.
Marketing, employee retention, and management are some core areas he enjoys discussing.
In this article, you’re going to get some candid answers from Matt on questions surrounding business, generational warfare, and leadership.
But before you get to know Matt, watch his sizzle reel:
Ask The Expert: Matt Havens
Question #1: What are some of the most pressing issues businesses face today?
I believe the challenges facing business today aren’t much different than they were 20 years ago. We’re dealing with the same stuff: change, technology, transfer of knowledge, etc. But what is drastically different today is how pervasive technology has become in our personal lives. It’s affecting how we work and communicate with each other and having a significant impact for organizations as it relates to hiring, culture and engagement. It’s really up to us to understand those impacts and make conscious steps to remove the negative aspects and amplify the positive.
Question #2: How does your father’s career as an entertainer influence your speaking career?
I grew up watching my Dad perform in comedy clubs, well before I should have been allowed in the doors! It was always interesting to be backstage minutes before he went on stage and then witness the transformation take place when he stepped through the curtains. It truly was a performance and I always try to keep that perspective in mind when I’m speaking. I want my audience to walk away with a message, but equally important, I want them to be entertained and feel like they just witnessed a performance worthy of their time.
Question #3: What are some major catalysts of generational warfare and what should we do about them?
Almost without fail, the generational issues we see in the workplace come down to either a lack of perspective or a desire to be right. We see what other generations are doing and we make blanket assumptions without trying to put ourselves in their shoes. For example, older people typically get a bad rap for being resistant to change. As a young person, I have the option to buy into that stereotype (which too many people do) or I have a responsibility to understand why older people typically move slower on new ideas. The answer? Experience! Odds are the longer you’ve been around, the more you’ve seen fads come and go or change initiatives fail to launch. As I’ve gotten out of my 20s, I’ve seen firsthand how experience will shape my perspective and I think we’ve all got to be intentional about searching out new perspectives to help influence our own.
Question #4: How have your leadership roles in a Fortune 50 company informed your mission as a speaker?
My time in Corporate America certainly informed my content as a speaker. I’ve led big teams and small teams, virtual operations, and worked directly with C-suite executives on enterprise-wide initiatives. When I’m talking with audiences, I’m sharing solutions and ideas which work because I’ve proven them out in the real-world. But my time in Corporate America also taught me we have a habit of over-complicating the solutions needed. I’ve seen how amazing ideas can get over-engineered and “committee’d to death.” My goal is to help simplify the conversation and refocus efforts on the solutions everyone has the ability to enact regardless of your role or where you work.
Question #5: How practical can leadership be, and how do you think most leaders complicate things?
Most leaders think leadership is inherently difficult. It’s not. Leadership has always been, and will always be, about the people we have the privilege to lead. But it’s become over-complicated because we’re training leaders to focus internally on their personal attributes. There is no shortage of leadership assessments and philosophies which will tell you what your leadership really is and what shape of fruit it exemplifies! My advice for any leader is focus less on yourself and more on the people you lead and you’ll be amazed at how quickly and easily your team succeeds.
Here are the key takeaways from Matt’s answers:
- “I believe the challenges facing business today aren’t much different than they were 20 years ago…what is drastically different today is how pervasive technology has become in our personal lives.”
- “I want my audience to walk away with a message, but equally important, I want them to be entertained and feel like they just witnessed a performance worthy of their time.”
- “…the generational issues we see in the workplace come down to either a lack of perspective or a desire to be right.”
- “My time in Corporate America also taught me we have a habit of over-complicating the solutions needed.”
- “Leadership has always been, and will always be, about the people we have the privilege to lead.”
- “My advice for any leader is focus less on yourself and more on the people you lead and you’ll be amazed at how quickly and easily your team succeeds.”