SOA keynote speaker Scott Miller shares key lessons in life and business

By Faye Bartle |

2023 SOA keynote.

Leadership expert Scott Miller (third from left) delivered the keynote address at the 2023 Summit of the Americas conference earlier today.

High-profile speaker and best-selling author, Scott Miller, got the 2023 Summit of the Americas conference off to a strong start this morning with a keynote address inspiring duty free and travel retail stakeholders to ‘to think and act differently’ to keep pace with the rapidly evolving business world.

As Senior Advisor on Thought Leadership at FranklinCovey, Miller drew upon his wealth of experience in being an ‘unfiltered leader in today’s highly filtered corporate culture’ to craft a session full of talking points and practical advice.

He spoke of the quest to find purpose, encouraging conference delegates to question their purpose in life, while sharing stories of his experience of meeting incredible mentors from different walks of life.

He spoke of the beauty of living life through a lens of’ ‘I get to’ as opposed to ‘I have to’ or ‘I ought to’ to reframe the mindset on everyday tasks, as well as the bigger picture.

“I am unclear about my purpose, but I am fiercely clear on two things in life,” he said.

“The first is that the key to a happy life is gratitude. That’s not epiphany – that’s a reminder. If I have learned anything for interviewing world-renowned thought leaders for my podcast is that they key to life is gratitude.

“The second thing I have learned in life is that the number one human competency, professionally and personally, is the ability to develop relationships.

“Every company is now a tech company, and everyone is in the relationship business, whatever you are selling. Everyone here is in the relationship business.

“Your contribution to your company is your ability to develop relationships. It requires you to be self-aware, to exercise humility, to sometimes slow down and change the pace at which your mind works and your decision-making, as not everyone works the same way you do.”

He summarised: “The key to a happy life is gratitude and the number one human competency is the ability to develop relationships.”

2023 SOA keynote.

In his keynote, Miller explained to 2023 SOA conference delegates how the being seen and heard is “the greatest human need” and went on to explain various ways in which this could be leveraged in the business world.

He asked the audience to delve into their sense of purpose by opening up the pack of his Master Mentor Cards placed on their seats.

The cards feature transformational insights from 31 of the impressive roster of people who have been featured on FranklinCovey’s global podcast, such as Martin Lindstrom, Turia Pitt and Julian Treasure. (There are three volumes in the series of cards).

Each mentor has an incredible story to tell and, during his speech, Miller shared a selection, including that of Zafar Masud, who was one of two survivors of a plane crash in Pakistan.

He asked the audience to consider, if they were the sole survivor of a plane crash, what they would do and how they would approach life differently.

“What’s next after you survive a plane crash?” he asked.

While the audience contemplated the question, he went on to describe how vulnerability is a top leadership competency.

“If you believe you are in the business of developing relationships, developing vulnerability is key to building trust,” he explained.

“Everyone needs to be heard and to be seen,” he added.

“This is the greatest human need: to be seen and heard. Yet, one of the skills of developing relationships is being comfortable with silence. And sometimes you can be a transition figure in person’s life, by telling the something positive about their character or work has have a big impact on their life.”

He described how a CFO he formerly worked with once pulled him aside and told him he was a creative genius, giving him the confidence to believe that he was.

2023 SOA keynote.

Left: Miller was introduced by Rene Riedi, IAADFS Chairman. Right: Practical mini workshop sessions characterised Miller’s 2023 SOA keynote.

Practical mini workshop sessions characterised the keynote, sponsored Stellar Partners, with audience members sharing their thoughts on some of the soul-searching questions posed to Miller, with the delegates seated next to them.

For example, he asked delegates to workshop what they would change about the relationship style to boost their performance in the relationship business.

“Over the next few days, I want you to ask people what’s your purpose in life?” he summarised. “Your goal is to find out how the other person listens and connect with that, because different people need different things to you.”

Miller was introduced by Rene Riedi, IAADFS Chairman who gave an overview of the passenger rebound globally and in the region.

“It is expected that 92% of global passenger traffic will return in 2023, with a full recovery in 2024,” said Riedi.

“In some destinations., such as Mexico, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, passenger numbers have already surpassed 2019 levels by a good number. In North America, is looks like passenger number will make a full recovery by the end of 2023.”

“Uncertainty remains omnipresent,” he stressed. “But we have reason to be optimistic about the future.”

Stay close to for more coverage of the 2023 Summit of the Americas.

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