This year’s TMW Transforum was held at the Anaheim Convention Center in southern California and, as an opportunity to showcase TMW’s suites of fleet management software, it brought together TMW experts, partners, vendors, and prospects. Having helped several of our clients integrate their TMW products with our award-winning Quadrant fleet management solution means that we’ve always have an invested interest in exhibiting at the TMW Transforum over the years.
This year, TMW took the unusual decision to invite one of the great American screen actors of all time, Robert Duvall, to the TransForum stage for lunchtime chat entitled, “A Conversation with Robert Duvall”. For anyone who thinks trade shows are same old, same old, Robert Duvall, veteran actor brought an air of greatness to the event.
Robert Duvall, Award-Winning Actor, Director and Producer, is known for a string of legendary roles including Major Frank Burns, MASH; Tom Hagen, The Godfather; Boo Radley, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Lt. Col. Kilgore, Apocalypse Now; and revered by Texans for his role as Ranger Gus McCrae in The Lonesome Dove.
Duvall was interviewed by David Wangler, TMW Systems President. While Wrangler read from a prepared script, Duvall, like any good actor, answered spontaneously and extemporaneously. When Wangler asked Duvall about his early days driving trucks to support his early acting career in New York, Duvall quipped, “I did? Who does your research?” Despite Duvall’s casual style and dubious credentials as a trucker, what transpired over the hour-long chat was his winning attitude that can be applied to any field of endeavor.
Out of his talk, I pulled together Robert Duvall’s five strategies for Success:
- Do your research. From roles as diverse as Joseph Stalin to a US Marine, Duvall meticulous researched the characters, their times, and their environments to ensure he brought the characters to life in three dimensions.
- “Hobbies, hobbies, hobbies” – Throughout Duvall’s life he has always cultivated hobbies, most notably his passion for tango dancing. Hobbies point to his inner curiosity about life—at 82, Duvall is still willing to learn new things.
- Acknowledge everyone you work with. Time and time again, Duvall acknowledged the people he’d worked with from famous directors and lowly grips.
- Laugh – atmosphere is worth a lot. Duvall described the pranks and general hilarity on the set of MASH and how much it helped them work as a team—especially when there was stress.
- Trust the process. Although he starred in many, many films, there are many others he turned down. In his chat, he made a point of describing how he’d turn down a role that wasn’t right for him (or not right at the time), while trusting that the right role would fill the vacancy. His accomplishments now speak for themselves and to acknowledge his inspiring message.
In the end, what made the delighted crowd of sponsors, exhibitors, and fleet managers jump to their feet, was to be in the presence of Robert Duvall is to witness how infectious optimism can be. In his own words, “If you make plans, something will come from around the corner and surprise you”.