Orlando Magic’s Pat Williams on Infusing Storytelling into Leadership, Business, & Marketing

In this week’s episode of the Garlic Marketing Show, Pat Williams, co-founder of the Orlando Magic, joins us to discuss what has brought him success as a business owner, marketer, and team leader.

Pat Williams is no stranger to success. In his lifetime he has managed numerous successful professional sports teams, authored 100 books, and established himself as an influential motivational speaker. In his personal life, he has climbed mountains, run marathons, survived cancer, and even has wrestled a bear.  

Today he discusses the art of storytelling in communicating and how selling the experience in marketing while emulating an admirable persona will lead to success in business and in building a brand from the ground up.


Character Carved in Stone

In Pat Williams’s most recent book, Character Carved in Stone, Williams exemplifies the storytelling narrative in his interpretation of leadership qualities in select West Point graduates. Beginning with a single word, each chapter develops into an intriguing tale with the ongoing message of leadership woven into it, holding the reader’s attention while providing a lesson. This storytelling approach can be expanded outside of literature to any area of communication, including marketing. 


Compassion in Leadership 

Just as the first chapter of Character Carved in Stone illustrates the importance of compassion in leadership with an often unknown, sympathetic depiction of Union General Ulysses S. Grant, Williams explains that an empathetic nature is one of the primary qualities regarded in a leader. If you care about the people and know and encourage their talents then you are already well on your way to effective leadership.   


The Key to Successful Promotions

Without promotion, there is no event. Pat explains how marketing is a part of selling teams to fans, and intelligent promotions center around elements that can be controlled. Williams references Bill Beck’s influence when suggesting that selling an experience, or in his case, a promise of a good time whether the team wins or loses (and following up on this promise), will keep people returning game after game. 


Inheriting Admirable Qualities of Others

Effective leadership requires reflection and self-improvement. Study your mentors and leaders, practice what they’re doing well, and infuse these qualities into your own life. In Pat’s experience, he recognized the wisdom and sophistication of his mentors, including Bill Beck and John Wooden. He followed in the footsteps of his predecessors by reducing marketing to fundamentals, by shaking hands with the people, and by indulging in personal communication with his team’s fanbase. 


Use Consumer Attention Wisely 

“The most offensive thing you can is to bore people.”

Pat explains that the best leaders and communicators are also excellent speakers. They are storytellers, the ones who recognize that we are enticed by legends and hard-wired to remember narratives. 

His advice? 

Learn to speak effectively. Tell your story.


Click here to download the transcript.


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