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Fostering Human Connection Through Strategic Storytelling

Published by Summit Marketing Team on 20 Jul 2023

The Virtual CPA Success Show: Episode 87


Jeff Bartsch, founder of Story Greenlight, joins Jamie and Jody to discuss storytelling and how it can help agencies level up. With his experience working for various companies, such as ABC and NBC, he believes that ordinary messages can be elevated into something extraordinary and explains how that same approach can be used in business. Listen to find out how you can use strategic storytelling to cultivate a relationship with potential clients.



Jamie: Hello, everybody.

[00:00:20] Welcome to today's episode. Just based on the five minutes I've talked to this guest prior to this show. I think this is gonna be one of our most fun episodes. I think we're gonna have a really good time talking about storytelling and how it can help agencies level up. So I'm really excited to get to our guest.

[00:00:34] But before we get to Jeff, let's introduce Jody again. So welcome to the show, Jody. All right. So our guest I'll let him do with a big introduction for himself, but his name is Jeff Bartsch and he is the founder of Story Greenlight. And like I said earlier, he's here to help us talk about agencies and how they can level up and how storytelling can help there.

[00:00:51] But before we get into that topic, Jeff, why don't you just do a quick introduction about yourself and tell us your backstory. 

[00:00:57] Jeff: Sure. If we're just getting to know each other, my name is Jeff Barch. I'm a strategic storyteller and I believe that business thrives when it's driven by human connection. That human connection happens when we bring ordinary messages to life.

[00:01:10] And there was a moment where that really happened for me. If you'll allow me to take us on a time warp to the time before the internet. Year 1996, I was a junior in high school. Say what Jay? So it's 1996. I'm a junior in high school and I'm holding a VHS tape in my hand about ready to stick it into a VCR and hit play.

[00:01:36] And I'm absolutely terrified because I'm standing in front of a group of the single most powerful group of people in the entire high school. I'm about to play them a video that I've spent months crafting, writing, shooting, and editing. And it was featuring them. And they are about to watch it for the first time.

[00:01:54] And as anyone who's been in high school knows, the most powerful group of the people in high school are not the [00:02:00] teachers, it is the senior class. So the entire senior class was sitting in this room about to watch the video that I'd made about them. And I was just thinking, please don't look stupid.

[00:02:11] Please don't look stupid. Because unfortunately, in my life, in junior high and high school, I spent a lot of time looking stupid. Especially when I stepped on the athletic fields and anything related to sports. For most of my life I have sucked at most things, sports, and I figured out that if I could get a video camera on my shoulder, stand on the sidelines and point at the people who are doing the sports, I could make videos about them and make them look good, and I would just survive.

[00:02:40] So I was happy about that. So that's what I'd done with this video and this senior video. What it had been in the past was literally a slideshow, just showing pictures of the seniors. But what I'd done was upgrade it with pictures of the seniors as a baby, and a junior high and a high schooler, their senior picture.

[00:03:00] And then I had video pods talking about them goofing off, and then some of their sports journeys and stuff like that. And then the last section of this, you had some interview clips of the seniors talking about what they loved about high school, what they were gonna miss, what they're looking forward to. And I'd shot this scene.

[00:03:16] I had gotten a whole bunch of the guys and gals in the senior class to put on their caps and gowns, walk past the camera out the front door of the school at night. And when that happened I started showing that scene as you hear these people talking about what they're gonna miss about high school.

[00:03:33] And the last gal that said, last gal that was talking, she ended with the phrase, she says, “things will never be the same.” So you have the senior class walking into the night out the front door of the high school into their future, and you show a closeup of the light switch on the wall. Gal reaches up, turns off the light switch, cut to black, and you roll credits.

[00:03:56] Now, if you imagine the most, the toughest [00:04:00] crowd you've ever presented in front of. This was pretty much that. This is a pretty cynical crowd. And hard to keep their attention, but I was looking at them as the credits were ruling and they did not move a muscle. And there was one guy, the most popular guy in the school.

[00:04:18] He was so emotional that he could barely even talk at that point. And he told me later that as he was watching this piece, it wasn't just a regular video, it was this message that had transported him to a place where he was realizing, as excited as he was about the future and everything that was to come, he was remembering all the good things and all the bad things and all the people that had walked alongside him all the way and how much he was gonna miss them.

[00:04:50] And so I realized that this is not just something where you're just making a video. You're not just putting together a video. It's possible to learn how to put something together that transports people into a place where they see the world in a different way. And that's what I've literally been doing my whole life.

[00:05:13] For the first 20 years of my life, I was known as Jeff, the piano guy. Then, I ended up learning about video in high school and I got into college, went to film school in Los Angeles, and I ended up spending 20 years in Los Angeles crafting content for ABC and NBC and Universal and Disney and Apple.

[00:05:32] And I have come to learn that when you take ordinary messages and you elevate them into something extraordinary, incredible things happen. And the even cooler part is you can do the exact same thing in business. You can take what some people might consider ordinary or boring, you connect humanity to it and you can literally drive results in your business in the process.[00:06:00]

[00:06:02] Jamie: Great. So I guess my first question is I've seen a couple of those videos from the nineties that have made their way to YouTube. So does that, is that video living on YouTube now and all that they can go back and relive that moment? 

[00:06:13] Jeff: Not unless someone from the senior class uploaded their copy.

[00:06:19] I have not seen, I've not seen, heck, I haven't even looked for a copy of it, but, I have the edit master in a box somewhere. 

[00:06:27] Jamie: There's your homework assignment to either find it or maybe upload it to YouTube and let people relive it again, cuz I, it's pretty cool. I've seen a couple of those videos out there where people just had a camcorder walking through high school in the nineties and even though they're not my high school, I'm like, oh, that is my high school in the nineties, it's the exact same people are wearing the same stuff and acting the same way.

[00:06:40] So it might be a cool project for you to do. 

[00:06:46] Jeff: A hundred percent.

[00:06:49] Jody: So with that story, which was great. So how do you take that to the business level?

[00:06:54] Are we talking about storytelling to clients? Are we talking about storytelling to the team? Are we talking about storytelling as you're mixing and meeting with prospects? How do you bring that to that level? 

[00:07:07] Jeff: The crazy thing is the answer is yes to all of that.

[00:07:12] Which is why storytelling is something that it seems very simple because we are all innately familiar with it because when you actually dig into the definition of what a story is, we are all ourselves living the story structure ourself right now, but that's why we all feel super familiar with it.

[00:07:35] But when you actually have a specific audience and a specific goal, that is how you can use specific storytelling tools in a presentation to an investor, in a presentation to your board, in a presentation to your team, in a message in your marketing, your public facing messaging.

[00:08:00] Jody: Yeah. So like for instance, stories. So a lot of times I create stories a lot and that's how I, when I do public speaking, that's pretty much what I talk about is just stories. The funny thing about it is that the story is the same, right?

[00:08:13] So if you're talking 10 or 15 different events, they're the same people hearing the same story. How do you get away from that so it comes across different in a way the first time that someone's heard of versus second or third? 

[00:08:28] Jeff: That would depend on, so in your case, you're talking about public speaking?

[00:08:32] And so you're giving the same presentation in different venues? Okay. So what is the chance that the same people are attending the same presentation more than once. 

[00:08:46] Jody: I would say there's probably a very good chance, so probably maybe a quarter, the quarter of the people probably have heard the story.

[00:08:52] Jeff: Okay. And so in that kind of a scenario, if you are giving the same talk to the same audience in a different place, the bulk of the time, the bulk of the time, there is very little to be lost by telling the same stories again. Okay. How many times do we sit down and watch a movie more than once?

[00:09:16] If it's something that we've crafted, spent time crafting and it's very specifically tailored to a specific audience for a specific goal, then I think it's we are much more likely to get tired of our stories than our audiences. Let's just put it that. 

[00:09:30] Jody: Right. No you're probably right with that. Cuz I know I've been on podcasts before and some of 'em are on the same day and it's like, “gosh, did I tell that story?” Do I need to elaborate or change it around a little bit in case I did. But yeah, I think stories are huge. That's how people remember, when people hear this podcast, they're gonna remember, they might not remember your name, but they'll remember, they'll talk about, the trip through the high school. How that touched everybody in that story. Which I think is what resonates in people's heads.

[00:09:58] So I think stories are [00:10:00] huge. Yeah, so continue talking about this is this exciting stuff. 

[00:10:04] Jamie: Yeah, I have a question to jump into that. Yeah I just to talk about Jody a little bit and his experience, and Jody and I do a lot of networking together and we do a lot of speaking together and I can almost make a bingo card of Jody's stories and when I'm in a conversation with him, okay, this is what the person brought up, like which story is Jody gonna tell?

[00:10:21] He does a great job telling it and is always very passionate about when he is telling those stories. And is that something, and I think I've done, I probably do similar where there's probably like seven or eight stories that I have, and then occasionally I'll create a new one because, oh yeah, someone brought up a different question that makes me think of a different story and oh, actually it went pretty well.

[00:10:36] I'm gonna add that to my Bingo card. So is that something you recommend that's having arsenal stories that you can tell in different situations? Because you already mentioned that you need to be able to tell stories to employees. You need to be able to tell 'em to customers, you need to be able to tell 'em to public speaking events.

[00:10:49] So is that something you recommend as having that arsenal of stories or is one or two enough?

[00:10:52] Jeff: Hundred percent. What I call 'em is power stories. It's that very specific crafted stories built around a specific framework with a very specific audience and a goal in mind.

[00:11:08] So if you wanna talk about, if we wanna pull back the curtain a little bit, I very specifically planned to tell that story at the beginning of this podcast with you guys here, because my goal is to let you guys in on a little bit about my background. I know for instance, we talked a little bit before we started rolling.

[00:11:32] I know you guys are big into sports. I've always sucked at it and the fact that we're laughing about that right now. That's a point of human connection. So when we can drop that kind of stuff, that's one of those things. It's “oh yeah, the story guy who sucked at sports and ended up making videos, and that's what he did the rest of his life in terms of shaping messages.”

[00:11:54] So when you talk about your arsenal,  don't weird yourself out by saying you have to [00:12:00] have 50 different stories. A lot of people will say that depending on your goal and depending on the venue, you need to have a story about yourself as the founder or as introducing yourself.

[00:12:14] You should have a story about your specific ideal customer, have a story about the impact of your product or your service. And there are certainly, there are other places where you can go from there, but when you have a just a core group of two, three stories about yourself and your product or your service, you are in super solid shape.

[00:12:40] And you can tell those stories over and over and over. 

[00:12:45] Jamie: So the question I have with this next is so oftentimes when. Try to tell stories or when I'm in a conversation like this and I'm like, okay, it's my turn to tell a story. That's what you're thinking about and you're talking, it's a lot of time about yourself, and you're not asking the questions, A, I guess the first part of that question is how do you avoid that trap where you're only talking about yourself? And then b, the story, how many of the stories should be about other people or be about things you've seen or things you've witnessed and say, “okay, this is something that I've seen. This is similar to that situation or a fun thing that it's not actually about me.”

[00:13:15] Jeff: That depends on what your goal is. So if you are in a presentation and you are wanting to create a connection with your audience, a hundred percent tell a story about you. Now, obviously, if you're gonna be standing in an elevator for 30 seconds, it better be super quick.

[00:13:36] If it's gonna be a five minute conversation, have it be a few sentences. If you're gonna be on a podcast episode and there's gonna be an extended conversation, give yourself a little leeway to talk about yourself a little bit more, and then talk about here's my product, here's my service, here's what our company can make happen for you in the business.

[00:13:59] Jody: I think one thing that [00:14:00] I've done over the years is that depending upon the audience, and depending upon my timeframe, that same story could appear in three different manners. A very quick one. Abbreviated right to the point. Or it could be more of an extended one. Or I know I've got more time to really draw, bring in the attention of the audience.

[00:14:17] And so I try to, when looking at my stories, I try to come up with abbreviated stories, something really quick and something more more lengthy. Is that something that you recommend or is it just something I just fell upon myself and lucked into, or I guess what's your thoughts on that?

[00:14:32] Jeff: Yeah. There are absolutely different versions of your power story. That you can tell. You can tell the elevator pitch version of it. You can tell the two-minute. And maybe something longer than that if the occasion makes sense, but yeah, absolutely.

[00:14:52] The thing is, when it comes to shaping the stories, you wanna make sure that you have a framework that you can wrap your head around. So it doesn't get y'all get y'all tripped up because storytelling can become complex. If you want to hold people's attention for a super long amount of time that's where all the crazy fancy storytelling structure stuff, film school style comes in.

[00:15:19] And most times in business, the good news is you don't have to go there, nor should you. So yeah let's keep things to the point and go to a super, super focused kind of a framework that people can easily put their hats on. 

[00:15:35] Jamie: Great. So let's go back to the agency world here and let's just give you an example and let's see how how we can apply storytelling to helping them get to that next level.

[00:15:43] So let's just say I'm a client. I'm an agency here and I've been pretty successful. I've hit the $2 million revenue mark. I have 15 employees and I'm really doing well, but I want to get to that next level. How would you recommend using storytelling to get me to that next level? I know it's a pretty generic example here, but what if you were just meeting [00:16:00] this person for the first time?

[00:16:00] What might be some examples you'd give them?

[00:16:02] Jeff: I would ask what the next level means to them. So does the next level mean increasing your revenue by 20% next year? Does it mean increasing your employee retention? Have your people been jumping the ship and you don't know why.

[00:16:20] So that's the number one question. What does going to the next level mean? But say for the sake of conversation that, okay, we want to increase sales. So the, so the first question, let's just, and let's just call spade here. If you're at $2 million in revenue per year, you know what you're doing.

[00:16:42] There you have all the systems in place. You have your staff. And all the systems are working together, so that's awesome. So the question is, if you want to apply more humanity, more human driven storytelling to drive more sales, then the first step, of course is to document what you have right now.

[00:17:04] What are your numbers right now? What are your units shipped? What's your sales cycle? What's the lead flow coming in to the top of your marketing funnel? All these things. So document that. Get yourself a baseline and then start saying, okay, “do we have do we have a place where we can introduce a new message?” Start testing a new message and saying, “okay, we're gonna run a test with X product or X service.”

[00:17:33] And say, “okay, how can we add a specifically crafted human-driven story to this?” Attach that to the messaging with our marketing collateral. Attach that to whatever scripts our sales department might have. That kind of a thing. Make sure marketing and sales are all talking to each other. And say, “okay, does the introduction of this message change things?” [00:18:00] Because if you were to go on Google and look at storytelling in nonprofit fundraising, you'll be absolutely drowning in case studies of people who said, “okay, we're putting on a fundraiser for our organization and it was bumping along and then we added human driven stories to this and revenue jumped by 50% the next time we did it.” It's literally the primary driver of non-profit fundraising is human story driven messaging. 

[00:18:42] So when you have that in business just as a point of reference, have creative agencies, for instance. There are lots of creative agencies around. So why should people choose this creative agency? An example that comes to mind for me is not specifically with agencies, but it's with bread. I was standing in my kitchen looking for something to eat for lunch one day, and I pull out a bag of bagels.

[00:19:06] And I start reading the side of this bag of bagels and I start having feelings in the middle of the kitchen with standing there with a bag of bagels. I'm going, “what on earth is this?” Because it's the logo for this company who makes this bread. It's this dude with a big black ponytail holding an electric guitar and it's called Dave's Killer Bread.

[00:19:25] And it tells a story of how the founder of this company took the wrong path in life, spent 15 years in prison. Got out of prison and his brother gave him a second chance to work at a family owned bakery. And when he got that second chance, he decided to make the best bread that they had ever made in their company.

[00:19:47] He did it. And now not only do they make killer bread, over a third of their workforce is is made up of people who have criminal backgrounds and are trying to turn their lives around. So if I walk down the grocery store aisle and I'm looking at 50 kinds of bread, I have no idea which one to pick.

[00:20:08] But when I see Dave's Killer Bread, I pick up the bag of that stuff because they believe in second chances and so do I. So when we're talking about creative agencies, the founder does not have to have spent 15 years in prison, clearly. 

[00:20:24] Jamie: Good start point, 

[00:20:26] Jeff: Let's talk about a virtual CFO firm. You have the CEO of a virtual CFO firm who shows up on LinkedIn and his LinkedIn picture shows him sitting next to a crystal ball. Tell me about the crystal ball man. Yeah, crystal ball. 

[00:20:43] Jody: That's we're looking into the future of our company, the future of our clients and not looking in the past.

[00:20:49] So we're not looking backward, but we're looking forward. So that's the idea of the crystal ball. 

[00:20:54] Jeff: That is super cool. And I guarantee that there is a specific moment that that idea about the crystal ball came to you, when you when you had some sort of a prediction when you were looking into the future on behalf of a client, when you were looking into the future on behalf of your company and you're saying, “oh wow, this is important and I want to do this.

[00:21:17] This is important to me. I need to do more of this. In fact, this is what I want to be known for.” And, so you can absolutely craft a power story around that. And to be fair, I'm pretty sure I saw your LinkedIn picture, Jamie, you hanging from gymnastic rings? 

[00:21:34] Jamie: Monkey bar yeah. Rings. Rings. Yep. So I'd like to do tough mudders or I did tough mudders for a wide part of my life. And so it was something I identified as and someone that likes to do adventure races. 

[00:21:45] Jeff: One of the things that you may not know about me, I've actually edited on, I've shaped over 300 stories for athletes who compete on American Ninja Warrior.

[00:21:55] There you go. Yeah. So that's awesome. So one of those things is [00:22:00] the core thing that story does is it makes people care about the person and therefore what the person does afterwards. It works on the Olympics, it works on American Ninja Warrior, it works on America's Got Talent, American Idol, all that stuff.

[00:22:17] And it works in business because I promise when you are in a client meeting and you talk and they are beside themself because the numbers are not matching up and they feel like this is an obstacle that they can't overcome. “Tell me, have you ever encountered any obstacles running a tough mudder?”

[00:22:38] So when you can craft, when you can craft a story about how you were at the point where you just wanted to die. You wanted to just throw the towel and you dug down deep and said, “okay, this is not happening. I'm going to finish this. I'm going to make a way, and I know that we can make a way here too,” guaranteed that client will care about you more than any CFO he's ever worked with or she has ever worked with.

[00:23:08] Jamie: Yeah, definitely. And I can tell you I've connected with a lot of clients and potential clients that have done similar type events and maybe we've shared the story, right? “Oh yeah. I remember this one obstacle, how hard that is. And you definitely have that, that shared story with people.

[00:23:23] And I'm just gonna jump in real quick here and I'm sure Jody has some insight to add as well, but I think the important thing when it comes to a sales story, is it has to be your own. And I'm gonna tell a little bit of a story here, but like, when I first started at Summit, Jody brought me in and I started doing events and speaking events pretty quickly.

[00:23:39] And at first I was telling Jody's story. I was saying, “okay, this is the story of Summit. This is the story of how Summit started.” And you could see people glazing over and you could see people being like, “okay, there was just wasn't a passion there.” And then eventually after four or five events, I started telling my story of how I came to Summit and how that led to what we do as a company as well.

[00:23:58] And that story [00:24:00] just hooks a lot more. So when I'm telling my own story versus telling Jody's story, and I think that's one thing as a salesperson for a company that you're not the founder of, or you're not the, you're not the creator of, you can still create that hook without telling someone else's story.

[00:24:13] Jeff: Yeah. I was just thinking about this the other day. Disney has been around for a century. Clearly they're doing something right when it comes to maintaining the history and traditions of the company for it to be around for a century. And it's by no accident that every single employee of the Disney Corporation goes through a class called Disney Traditions.

[00:24:37] And it starts with the story of Walt Disney. And then it goes from there. But yeah it's absolutely possible to tell a well-crafted power story about the founder, even if it's not you. And it's even more personal. It's even more likely to be personal when you have your own story that you're bringing in in your own origin story as well.

[00:25:05] Jamie: Is there anything to add to that? I know you tell the founding story very well, so anything to add to those? Have you seen other people do it and other people sell our brand?

[00:25:13]  I'm mad that you don't wanna tell my story, but that's okay.

[00:25:16] Jamie: I'm sure you are. It's a great story. Just but better when you tell it. 

[00:25:17] Jody: I'll get over it. No, I a hundred percent agree. I think the story has to be, it has to be originated from yourself. You can't copy somebody else's story. It does, just doesn't doesn't come over genuine. And I think the story, like when we're like, when we're doing talks and people ask, “what do we do?”

[00:25:36] And I try to think of not explaining to them exactly, “hey, we are CFOs. We meet with you, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” I try to tell a story that kind of relates to what we do. I met with a client the other day and here's what the client was talking about, and here's what happened, and here's how we help the client.

[00:25:54] That's the type of story that I try to portray when I'm with a client, when I'm with an employee. And [00:26:00] I'm talking about from changing the way that people think about accounting and how we're doing things differently and how we don't wanna work overtime and all the great stuff that we do there and how that kind of came about because my kids are, I coached hockey and I couldn't work the hours cuz I was off at three o'clock every day.

[00:26:17] I didn't want anybody else to do it. And so that's the story that relates to that. And I was thinking with clients, clients are always, I always bring in when talking with a client, this is when I was actually coaching, being a CFO for clients.

[00:26:30] I'd always bring in my experience, what my experience was. Even though it's a completely different industry. Those experiences are huge and I think, to wrapping back around, I think that's the important part about it, right? And so the stories are all from internal, just like your high school story.

[00:26:45] It was an internal story. It wasn't somebody else's story that you're telling. I think that's what resonates more with clients. And so you can go clients, like you mentioned there, you can go employees and you can go prospects. I think the storytelling overall is super important.

[00:26:57] I think you hit it right on the nose with that. 

[00:26:59] Jeff: And the thing to keep in mind is, it is very tempting to look at storytelling as something that's squishy and intangible, and it's really hard to put numbers to it, and it can be. Not gonna front on that. It absolutely can be squishy and undefined.

[00:27:17] However, when you think about what happens in business, anytime you introduce human beings into the equation in business, things get squishy and messy and undefined because that's what human beings are. When you have a time when you need someone to understand or say yes, or to pull out the credit card or to hit yes on the draft or whatever, that squishy, undefined stuff has to happen first.

[00:27:47] When that does, that enables the numbers to drop the way we want them to. So it's not that it would be a mistake for business minded folks to say, “business is just [00:28:00] about numbers.” I could not disagree more firmly because business is ultimately about human beings.

[00:28:10] And human beings have to be interacted with in a human way in order for business to thrive. 

[00:28:17] Jamie: And that, I think that's as CFOs and as accountants, what you said is exactly how we feel, right? Like there's a story behind every number, right? Every month when we talk revenue, there are clients that are paying in those revenue.

[00:28:28] There are projects that we are completing. There are websites that are being built. So yeah, there are definitely stories behind every single number that comes in. So with that, I am gonna go to the next part of our podcast here. I'm really excited for this one and I'm always excited for this, but this one's especially exciting for me because another podcast I listen to is re-watchables.

[00:28:47] I'm not sure if you guys listened to that podcast. It's a Phil Simmons podcast, but basically he talks about movies that you can watch over and over again. I know you mentioned this a little bit early, Jeff, so I wanna bring that back to that. Again I'm stealing from another podcast, which is my favorite podcast, which is why this is fun for me.

[00:29:00] But what is one movie that you can't get enough of and wanna watch over and over again or what's the movie you've watched probably most in your life? So I'm gonna start with you, Jeff to talk about what's your most re watchable movie? 

[00:29:13] Jeff: If I may, I'm gonna put a slight tweak on that.

[00:29:16] All right. I really don't. Yeah. My opinion is there are so many stories. There are so many movies. It's really hard for me to say I'm gonna watch them over and over and over and over because there's so many more that could be seen. But I will tell you the number one movie which stuck in my head is a movie called The Road to Perdition starring Tom Hanks.

[00:29:37] And the reason that when I watched that movie, I was in my early twenties. I was living in a tiny little studio apartment, just west of downtown Los Angeles, single, wanting to not be single, really wanted to be a dad. And when I saw that movie, [00:30:00] it's basically at its core, it's about a father who will do anything he has to to protect his family against evil.

[00:30:13] While still being part of evil itself and desperately trying to escape it. And it just left a mark. It just absolutely got it in me. I was the one who could barely talk at the end of it.

[00:30:25] Jamie: Great storytelling for sure. In that movie. 

[00:30:28] Jeff: It was an amazing movie.

[00:30:30] It just stuck with me ever since. 

[00:30:32] Jamie: All right, Jody, what about you? 

[00:30:33] Jody: Yeah, one that stuck for me was Miracle, with the US hockey over and over. And the reason why that stuck with me a lot and it's funny cuz anytime it turns, I'm flipping through the channels and it's there, I don't care when it is, I'm on it for 15 to 20 minutes before I realize that I didn't turn the channel again. It's one of those flipping things. And the big thing about that is that, I think with myself, I've always felt like I’ve always been the underdog with everything.

[00:30:57] And with that trying to accomplish something much bigger and being told that you can't do it. And under all the different pressures and that sort of thing. And of course I didn't want a gold medal or anything, but that's what’s shifting the way that we created Summit over the years, now Anders. 

[00:31:12] We went from a story that everyone said, “no, there's no way that this can be accomplished. You can't do that. People aren't gonna.” All that kinda, yeah. What is that? It's not even real. All that kind of, you hear it and then it's we also wanna do X, Y, Z and people are like, “no, you can't do that either. You have to bill by the hour. That's how accountants do it. And you'll go out of business otherwise.” And I was  like, “well, what about the 40 hour work week? Oh, they've gotta work at least, 50 hours during tax season.” So, I don't wanna do any of that. So kind of the underdog approach all the way through to eventually, hopefully hitting that that gold medal then where our gold medal was, getting the recognition and really thriving as a successful company and bringing all these great people on and thrive alongside us.

[00:31:51] It brings all that memories, all that motivation and memories back. So again, Miracle’s probably one of my favorite plus kids both played [00:32:00] college hockey and so that's always a big part of it. And hockey was always a sport that I love.

[00:32:04] Never played, but loved to watch, loved to be a fan of. 

[00:32:08] Jamie: I do love that movie. Yeah, I do love that movie. But the one that makes it a little less rewatchable for me is the fact that it's almost three hours long. It's hard to sit down for a three hour movie.

[00:32:18] But no, I've definitely seen that movie several times, but my most re watchable movie, and I'm not gonna tie it to anything cause I'm not sure why. I can't really identify any part of my life as Tombstone. For some reason, that movie. Every time it's on, or if I'm bored, I'm just gonna pop it in and watch it.

[00:32:31] And I've probably seen that movie over a hundred times and probably 60 of those times were in college. Like we just always had that movie on and I just think a lot of it has to do with the acting. Obviously Val Kilmer is amazing in it. Kurt Russell was great, but it was just I'm not a big Western guy, but for some reason that movie just identifies with me, and I've actually heard a lot of stories about it since, and it's funny how Kurt Russell was essentially the director on it and took no credit for it. The director just basically bombed while making that movie and so Kurt Russell stepped in, did the whole thing.

[00:32:56] So that's a movie that I just absolutely love and have watched, like I said, hundreds and hundreds of times. 

[00:33:00] Jeff: I guaranteed were we to dig in, we would find some themes in that movie that that connect with you on a deeper level. One of the big things that I talk about with my clients is a concept called the thing under the thing. Jody, you just talked about it.

[00:33:14] It's not about kids playing hockey. It's about being the underdog and overcoming insurmountable odds. I'd be willing to bet Jamie that Tombstone is about, at the very basic level, it could totally be about being the hero. Being willing to stand up and fight against 

[00:33:35] Jamie: Yep, the thing about, I think where it probably is loyalty. And so when you think about Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp like the loyalty that Doc Holliday showed for Wyatt Earp throughout his life and I've read books on Doc Holliday, so yeah, now that you mentioned it, there is probably that part of it where you see the loyalty there and it's something I've always been pretty Stan been important for me.

[00:33:54] So yeah, now that you go to the thing under the thing that's probably that movie definitely brings home for me. Yeah. 

[00:34:00] Jeff: How long have you been married, man? You've been married to your high school sweetheart, yes? 

[00:34:03] Jamie: Yes, my high school sweetheart. Been married for 20 years this summer.

[00:34:06] Jeff: That's a loyal man. Congratulations, man. 

Jamie: Yeah. So yeah great episode here. I wanna make sure we get a chance for final thoughts. It gives both Jody and Jeff a chance to just throw out their final thoughts. We'll start with you, Jeff. Final thoughts for our listeners and also how they can you.

[00:34:24] Jeff: Sure. I would say storytelling is something that we all know something about, but there is an incredible power to it that can be unlocked in many different areas of business and in life when we become a story of it. And one of the core elements, the whole point of storytelling is that the definition of that, I tell people what a story is.

[00:34:47] It's about a character who wants something, overcomes obstacles to get it and experiences change or transformation as a result. And so, when we are agents of change in the world, we are forces to change the world for the better. And that is an incredibly powerful thing to be part of.

[00:35:10] Jamie: Great. Love it. And how can our listeners find you for more information?

[00:35:14] Jeff: You know what, if you'd like to learn more about how this actually works, some frameworks, how to wrap your head around it, have some special resources specifically for listeners of the podcast here, and you can find that at storygreenlight.com/vcpa in virtual CPA, so storygreenlight.com/vcpa.

[00:35:36] That's the place to go. 

[00:35:37] Jamie: Love it. All right, Jody, what's your final? 

[00:35:40] Jody: Yeah. Jeff has been a great time. I've enjoyed the conversation. Stories have been something that I've incorporated in. Basically my DNA for a real long time. And it's one of those things that they're, I guess, they're hard to come up with by yourself.

[00:35:55] So I think having somebody like yourself right there, just asking questions and probing [00:36:00] and getting more out of it, no different than. What you did with Jamie up there, he loves Tombstone, but had no idea that it was a pizza instead of no idea why he liked it. And that, I think that's the key, especially when giving speeches, when giving talks, having your elevator speech, all that you really, you absolutely need a story attached to it. Cause that's what people remember. They don't remember the 10 things that you do, the tasks that you do, they remember the story that you told them. And that resonates for a long time. And I, e even though I've told the same story over and over, I'll get on with the prospect that I met maybe 10 years ago or eight years ago, and they'll, “hey, can you tell me that fish tank story that you had mentioned about how you started at, I want my partner to hear about it.” And that's what resonated with 'em. And I think that's the important part of what you do. So I commend you and I wish you the best of success on getting this across to as many folks as you can because I think what you're doing is a very important function or a very key to business owner success.

[00:37:00] Jeff: Awesome. Thank you so much. 

[00:37:03] Jamie: Yeah. And I agree. That's my final thought as well. I think you need help to bring these stories outta you. I think a lot of times when I've had these conversations, cause we try to train our CFOs in storytelling as well, and when I've had these conversations, people think it needs to be some Oscar-winning story or some huge significant event in their life.

[00:37:17] And I think it oftentimes what using someone like Jeff will help you realize is this moment that seemed pretty insignificant. You can actually build a really good story around that resonates with people. So I think that's why having someone like you would really help any company that's looking to tell that story or looking to build that story.

[00:37:31] Definitely appreciate you coming on and I think this is gonna be a well listened to episode cuz there's lots of stories and lots of fun conversations that happen throughout. So I definitely appreciate both you guys. 

[00:37:40] Jeff: Appreciate you man. 

VCPA - Episode 87 - Jeff Bartsch




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