Founder of recording studio keynotes annual Business Appreciation Breakfast
By Craig Young
LOVELAND -- The keynote speaker at the city's annual breakfast for business leaders Wednesday played a little guitar, dropped a few celebrity names and imparted some pearls of wisdom to the crowd.
Robin Crow, founder of Dark Horse Recording in Franklin, Tenn., told about 350 local businesspeople at the Business Appreciation Breakfast how he went from being a guitarist and recording artist to a best-selling author, inspirational speaker and the owner of a destination recording studio that counts Taylor Swift, Neil Diamond, Tim McGraw and Matchbox Twenty as its clients.
But first he warmed up the crowd with an energetic guitar solo, and three times during his talk he provided instrumental guitar backdrops to videos showing mostly nature scenes and inspirational quotes from famous people.
Using the example of a 1972 airliner crash that killed 101 people, attributed to the flight crew's distraction, he said, "Too often, business leaders allow themselves to be distracted away from mission-critical functions."
Those critical pieces of success are his "magical formula":
• Adapting to change.
• Developing intense customer loyalty.
• Creating a culture of passion.
"Change is the new normal," Crow said, and yet, "we're afraid of change."
"Holding onto what's good for you now may be the reason you don't have something better," he said.
He told of practicing the guitar as a teenager for 14 hours a day until his fingers literally bled.
"Eventually when I picked up a guitar, I knew I could make it talk, I could make it sing," he said. "You've got to practice until your leadership fingers start to bleed."
Crow said he learned the importance of customer service when working with country recording artist Faith Hill. He said he would put considerable effort into making elaborate deli sandwiches for Hill's producer, and he learned that the sandwiches and his attention to his customer made an impression.
"I thought I was in the business of high-tech recording," he said, "but in reality, I'm in the business of serving people."
Exceeding people's expectations is his secret weapon, he said.
To create a culture of passion, he told his audience, they should surround themselves with brilliance — find people who are passionate, show appreciation for people and "swing for the bleachers, think big."
"There's nothing more exciting than a team that's on fire," he said.