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Posts by Mike Rayburn

Mike Rayburn- What Are You Grateful For?

By Mike Rayburn | Jan 04, 2021 | Comments Off
Virtuoso Practice #8_ Gratitude and Learning_ Thank You, 2020!!!

Many things have been said of and about 2020. What I say is, thank you. See, 2020 gave us some fantastic gifts. It taught us all what we're really made of. It showed us all how to do more with less. It taught us that it's when the going gets tough, the successful get creative.

It taught us all to be more creative, which is near and dear to my heart. It showed us all whether or not we walk our talk. And if our talk is worth walking in the first place.

More than anything, what I hope for you, and what I create with clients, is the sense that 2020 was an awesome launching pad. Now you can create a fantastic 2021 and beyond.

And if there's any way that I can partner with you in making that happen, please let me know. In the meantime, have a fantastic new year. It's going to be great!




Mike Rayburn- Dr. No VS Dr. How Can We

By Mike Rayburn | Oct 14, 2020 | Comments Off

Are you a Dr. No or a Dr. How Can We?

Toward the end of every presentation, I always ask for someone from the audience to stand up and share a new idea. Maybe something they got from the message or something that would move the group forward to a resolution. And one day, I was presenting for a group of CEOs and facilities managers. I asked that question toward the end, and there's a little bit of a pause.

Finally, this really strong guy raised his hand, he stood up, and he said, "You know, in my organization for the past 20 years, my nickname has been Dr. No, because I'm the guy who always says, No. No, we can't do that. No, we can't afford that. No, we don't have enough time. No, that's too much of a risk."

He said it's not working. He said morale is down, and revenues are down, and something needs to change.

He knew that as a leader, that needs to come from him.

So He said, "I'm saying this so everyone can be my witness. From this day forward, I am no longer Dr. No... I am. Dr. How Can We."

Well, there was an audible gasp in the audience because he got it, and it was so powerful. I ended up giving him my backup guitar to commemorate the moment, which I do now in every program.

I give away a guitar when someone shares an idea. Because it's so important to remember that, especially post COVID-19, we need not just leaders who are Dr.No. We need Dr. How Can We's!

We need entire organizations of Dr. How Can We's! It's my mission in life to create this.

So my question for you is, who have you been? Dr. No or Dr. How Can We?

And how could you become a Dr. How Can We?




Mike Rayburn Takes the Stage

By Mike Rayburn | Oct 11, 2020 | Comments Off

It's been seven months since Keynote Speaker Mike Rayburn and his guitar have been on stage. COVID 19 drastically transformed the meetings, conferences and events market. The entire industry found itself moving, delaying and outright cancelling functions to accommodate the secluded life of quarantine.

While the world learned to connect with people and businesses virtually, we found ourselves missing physical gatherings' simple pleasures. Like Ariel sang in the Little Mermaid, we wanted to be where the people are. We wanted to see 'em dancin' and walkin' around on those (Whad'ya call 'em?) oh - feet, instead of just their far off faces flooding the screens of our handheld devices. After 7 months of conversing with cameras, addressing audiences from his home studio and urging attendees to ask questions in chat boxes, Mike was ecstatic to hop on a plane to Great Falls, Montana and engage directly with people.

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This two-time TED Talk presenter, successful entrepreneur, member of the speaker hall of fame and a featured artist on Sirius/XM has been on stage almost every week of his adult life until the pandemic hit. Human connection is an integral part of Mike's What If Experience and Become A Virtuoso talk. Still conveyed powerfully through screens, the action only amplifies and strikes a more resonant chord delivered in person.

Mike Rayburn-  First Live Gig


The Montana Electric Cooperatives' Association hosted a noon-hour presentation for their Annual meeting for electric cooperative utilities. There are 25 co-ops in Montana that deliver electricity to about 40% of the state. The Governor gave permission to the cooperatives' association to host the 250 people in attendance. Some masks were worn, and tables were safely distanced from one another.

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The event was a huge success! One attendee wrote ...

Thank you very much for autographing your book and guitar. I just finished the book and am looking forward to sharing it with my family. As you point out in chapter 16, You Will Have Help!

I have been thinking of what to put on the break room whiteboard at work. I'd been searching the web for something catchy the last two weeks, and now I will be writing 'What if...' and see what employees add. Coincidence? Keep up the great work you are doing."

Book Mike for your virtual or live event today



Three Moves EVERY Successful Company Is Making - Mike Rayburn

By Mike Rayburn | Sep 02, 2020 | Comments Off

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The teams, companies and organizations who are thriving right now are all doing these three things:

  1. They discover new opportunities, particularly trusting their front lines.
  2. They change quicklydrastically streamlining their processes of development and implementation.
  3. They act decisively, with extreme determination, allowing autonomy in stepping beyond what they’ve done in the past.

Here is what YOUR GROUP needs to be doing right now:

1. Discover opportunity through frontline innovation: Your teams, sales people, service providers, frontline associates see what is happening in real time. They see the daily needs of your customers and clients. So… why not trust them? Why not encourage their input, their connections with the full needs of the customer, not just what they’ve always done? Why not grant them the authority and autonomy to serve beyond what they’ve done before? Instead of a formulaic drone response, why not dig deeper, expand your offering, care for the full needs of your customers?

Solution: Arm team members with the “What IF?” Mindset. What IF… your teams expand from “service providers” to “problem solvers?” What if instead of doing what you do, your teams do whatever needs to be done? What if you used a given product or service in a new way? What if you could solve the entire problem, not just the one you've always solved, how would you do it?

2. Change quickly. This requires first a mindset change, which leads to a change in actions. Regard people who are uncomfortable with change as being uncomfortable with success, but humanize the change by talking openly about their fears regarding change, balanced by the great results which come from it.

Solution: Arm team members with the mindset to “create change" or "lead change" instead of just managing or embracing it. The questions What IF and What NOW??? work amazingly here. Create a sense of openness and urgency to change.

3. Act decisively. Decide and act. Determine your next course of action, your "change," allow some due diligence, but cut through your bureaucratic crap, lose the fear-based thinking and get on with it. Yeah, you need to be a bit less cautious. Not stupid, but bold.

Solution: Imbue your teams with the “Succeed Anyway” mindset. We’ve never done it? Succeed anyway. We don’t have enough money? Succeed anyway. It’s an untested solution? Succeed anyway. This is what is working right now. From Walmart and Amazon to Orkin to credit unions to your local churches and schools, those who are successfully navigating a post-pandemic world have the mindset to 1. Discover opportunities; 2. Change quickly; and 3. Act decisively.


Consistency in your thinking - Mike Rayburn

By Mike Rayburn | Sep 02, 2020 | Comments Off


Read instead of watch:

I'm out here in the Arizona wilderness and I'm struck by something that might sound kind of unusual; the power of consistency. I believe it's the most powerful human force on the planet.

Here's what I mean: water and wind blowing consistently over rock has done more to change the earth than all the earth moving and blasting equipment ever.

Investing a little bit of money each month has done more to create wealth than all the Vegas lottery winnings in the world.

What is it that you do on a consistent basis that improves your life and consider what you do on a consistent basis that might not improve your life? I want to share with you what I believe is the absolute most important consistent habit - your thoughts.

What is it you think about on a regular basis? I believe you get what you think about most often.

I want you to take intentional control of your thoughts and do it on a consistent basis.


The advantage of your problems

By Mike Rayburn | Mar 13, 2020 | Comments Off
The advantage of problems-Mike Rayburn



Set Bold Goals - Write Music You Can't Play

By Mike Rayburn | Jan 15, 2020 | Comments Off


Setting Bold Goals

The way I use the question “What if”  is to think outside the box and set goals that are crazy. I call it write music that you can't play. Set goals for yourself where you don't know how, but you know what. Don't start with what's possible. Start with: what's cool, what's right. 

When you have a goal like this, from my experience of goal setting, three things are going to happen:

#1: When you set this goal, you'll have a completion date, and you probably won't make it. We usually don't make it in time. Why? You've never done it before. This is a new thing. So you're setting out to do something that's not been done and you don't know how long it'll take. Be ready for it to change. 

#2: When you get back home and you start to act on your new goal, you will have a plan in the beginning and it will not go according to your plan. You have to have the plan in the beginning but it's going to change. You have to be flexible

#3: I want you to remember this for the day you get back at work. To do things you have never done, you have to start by doing things you've never done.

One of the boldest goals I ever set for myself was to learn how to play Bohemian Rhapsody on the guitar. It took a lot of work and accepting these three things as they happen.


Become a Virtuoso - Mike Rayburn Keynote Experience

By Mike Rayburn | Nov 19, 2019 | Comments Off

In Mike’s brand new keynote,“Become A Virtuoso,” your teams will receive the vision, mindset and daily practices that will make them world class, high performing teams…their personal best in both career and life. And the inspiration to act on it!

In “Become A Virtuoso” your teams will not only learn and make this decision, they will gain the visionmindset and daily practices it takes to become world class performers. 




The Mike Rayburn "What If" Keynote Experience

By Mike Rayburn | Oct 23, 2019 | Comments Off

When an organization wants their team to focus on innovation, change and performance, they usually go to business “gurus,” or sports figures. Rarely do they go to artists. But for artists, these are their life blood! As a mega-successful artist and entrepreneur Mike Rayburn is uniquely qualified to teach artistic principles in a business context. To supercharge your team’s results!



“What If" Strategy Success Stories - A Case Study with Orschlen

By Mike Rayburn | Oct 23, 2019 | Comments Off


Our first “What If" Strategy success story comes from Ali Barton in Warrington, Missouri at a Orschlen store. Ali and her team decided to apply the “What If Strategy” by saying, “what if we think outside the box, particularly about some of the challenges that we have on an ongoing basis, like freight processing?”

The challenge is if the freight is not processed in time, it draws time away from one on one customer interaction. So she asked “Hey, what if, on the freight days, we show up at four in the morning?” So she put together a team that does that. 

The freight is all processed before 8am at opening time, which optimizes time during regular hours for customer service. One of the most important points she shared was that they didn't stop there. They continued to ask “what else can we do?” “well, what if we have merchandising mornings, some of the other tasks that need to be covered, which also draw time away from time with customers? What if we come in early on other mornings to achieve those tasks?” That's exactly what they did. 

So she applied the what if strategy, and had her entire team apply this to two challenges that had drawn away time with customers, and it worked. So I'm going to ask each of you: what if you think outside the box about a challenge that you have right now? What if there's a way to overcome that challenge?

Applying the “What If" Strategy During a Crisis

This story is one of my all time favorite “What if” success stories not just with my client Orschlen, but in the 15 years I have been teaching this. It comes to us from Evan Crouch manager of the store in Seward, Nebraska. Recently, Nebraska dealt with horrific floods. One morning Evan and his team showed up to find most of their parking lot underwater, which had frozen to ice over night. They opened the store to find two inches of flood water throughout the store. It had receded. But it left everything a muddy mess. There was no way that they were going to be able to open that day or potentially even the next day.

Here's the challenge. Not only is that a day's revenue lost, but more importantly, the community was depending on the products that Orschlen sells in order to recover from the flood. So in the face of every adversity, Evan gathered up his team, and in essence said,

“Okay, guys, I know this is crazy. But what if we could open today by 8am? How would we do it?” 

From a Problem to a Solution

Pause the story for a second. Here's what happens when you do that. Everyone's focus was on the problem. When he asked that question, it changed everyone's focus to a solution. Then you’ve got a team of problem solvers. This is a way to tap into that resource.

So here's what they did. They directed people to park in the clear part of the parking lot. There was no way they were going to be able to clean out the whole store, but they could clean near the registers. So they brought customers inside to the register area. An employee would ask what they needed, gather up the products requested, bring it back to the registers, and ring them up so the customer could be on their way. All on a day they thought they were going to close. Instead, they stayed open until 8 pm. They made $5,000 in revenue but more importantly, they created a great bond with the community. The community saw all these workers go out of their way just to serve. That is the power of the “What If" Strategy.

So, what if you use this the next time you have an unexpected challenge?