Matthew Necci

and Robert discuss the power of putting others first which is multiplied through mentorship and mentoring. It is important to live an intentional life, and keep the things that matter most to you a priority. Leadership in life and business is really about doing the right things and helping others do the right thing.

A little bit about Matthew...

Matt Necci is the author of the historical fiction novel,  "The Road Will Someday Bend."  The book was inspired by his grandfather's immigrant journey from Italy to America before later being drafted by the United States Army to join the battle against his former homeland during World War 2.

A litigator by trade, Matt has a penchant for social media and community building.  His daily musings about the UConn Huskies, the New York Mets, Greater Hartford, and the Adirondacks can be found on Twitter at @UConnNetch.  Matt lives in Glastonbury, Connecticut with his wife, Jen, his daughters, Abby & Riley, and his golden retrievers, Finn & Ollie.

Check out more of Matthew

LinkedIn: /matthew-necci 

Twitter: /uconnnetch 

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Matthew Necci
1:03:04
 
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Show Notes

Robert Peterson  0:00  

Today's guest is Matthew Necci. Matthew is the author of a historical fiction novel The road will someday be. The book was inspired by his grandfather's immigrant journey from Italy to America before later being drafted by the United States Army to join the battle against his former homeland during World War Two. A litigator by trade Matt has a penchant for social media and community building. His daily musings about the UConn Huskies New York Mets Greater Hartford in the Adirondacks can be found on twitter. Matt lives in Glastonbury, Connecticut with his wife, Jen, his daughters, Abby and Riley and his golden retrievers Finn and Ollie, Matthew Necci. Robert discusses the power of putting up his first which is multiplied through mentorship and mentoring. It is important to live an intentional life and keep the things that matter most to you a priority. Leadership and life and business is really about doing the right things and helping others do the right thing. Matt, thank you so much for jumping on the show today. I'm just excited to share this conversation and learn some more about you.

Matt Necci  2:05  

Thanks for having me, looking forward to it. Absolutely.

Robert Peterson  2:08  

Typically, I let everybody share their own entrepreneurial journey. I know it was a lawyer, you're working with a firm and you work with others, but it's still very entrepreneurial.

Matt Necci  2:19  

Absolutely. Lawyers, it's interesting lawyers, especially in private practice are asked to be a jack of all trades. They want you to be a good lawyer, they want you to be a good mentor for young lawyers. Then as you progress in your career, you're a business owner, if you're fortunate, and for a long time, I was fortunate to work in big law and become an owner at one of those firms. It is a grind. Early on in your career. It's easy to be gung ho and kind of come out blasting ready to knock the world on its backside. As you move on in your career, other things happen. It's important to find those ways to keep yourself going and find out what motivates you as you go along, for sure.

Robert Peterson  3:01  

Let's dig into that grind a little bit, obviously, that you mentioned, the grind. Sounds a little negative. Let's dig into the challenges of that.

Matt Necci  3:14  

Listen, it's not unique to any profession, particularly if you're a business owner. You have to work to make an imprint on where you want to go. You have to spend a lot of your time particularly early in your career outworking people, or billing, being willing to work in certain ways. Give up a lot of private time to do that. It's also incredibly rewarding. There's things I've been able to do for my family, as life has gone on, that I would not have been able to do. If I didn't work hard and really build that base and become a business owner. I have found as it progresses in life, you have to find that balance where you are growing yourself professionally. One of the things my wife and I talk about all the time is we work really hard and we go out of our way to try to whether it's being philanthropic or working with nonprofits or helping people on the outside, you can at the end of the day, no matter how successful you are, professionally, forget that you have obligations at home. We have young kids, and you have to make sure you're keeping that happy balance of continuing to challenge yourself professionally. While also knowing that you've got responsibilities to other people at home, I like the grind. Frankly, I think it's my personality. I thrive when I have a lot of things kind of up in the air. It's just the way my brain works. Frankly, if there isn't a lot going on, I find myself a little bored. I view it very much as a positive.

Robert Peterson  4:40  

Nice. You mentioned your family and your obligation to pay but you mentioned philanthropic efforts. How has contribution played a role in your growth and in your business, what's the connection between being able to be philanthropic and being a business sooner?

Matt Necci  5:01  

I was very fortunate. My parents were first generation Americans that were incredibly hard workers and successful at what they did, as they moved on in their professional careers. It was instilled in me, my brother and my sister that you have an obligation to give back and help who you can, how you can and when you can. I'm probably more fortunate than others. That was part of my DNA coming up. I'm very thankful for that. I find whether it's with clients or in my community, or frankly, at home, I excel when I'm in service to others. I do just at the bones of it, love being in the community, I'm currently the Vice Chair, I'll be the chair of Special Olympics, Connecticut, beginning in January. Special Olympics is an organization I've been involved with since I was three years old. It's surreal to be, four decades later, becoming the chair of that organization. Not everyone, particularly if you're in an organization in a business that you share with everybody with dozens of people, not everyone looks at the world that way. There does sometimes have to be a, what is the benefit to the business for us to be out there in the community, whether it's having our staff volunteer, whether it's putting dollars on the table, which I'm an advocate for? At the most basic business level, there is a benefit to having your name out there and being seen as part of an integral part of the community. When you're a business owner, there's always a challenge of how do I distinguish myself from others, it's very easy to say, to me, being authentic, being vulnerable, quite frankly, and showing people who you really are, you're more likely to do well, in business, particularly with your customers, if they feel like they really know you. For me, I've found being out in the community, being known as someone who's not just going to throw dollars at something, because I think that's great. You need to show up and be behind the mission that you're trying to support financially, that stands out to people, and they want to be around you, and they want to do business with you. I certainly don't work in the nonprofit forum for that reason. When you're discussing why people that you share businesses with and why they should share the passion that you have, those are the types of things that I talked to them about and said, Listen, there is a true business value for us to do this.

Robert Peterson  7:35  

I liked that you've taken it to a piece of your authenticity and vulnerability, that choosing which nonprofits are important to you is a reflection of who you are on the inside. Authenticity and vulnerability are challenging these days, especially in this tech space now, where I can hide behind a computer screen, and I can pretend to be anybody I want to be. Pretend to have these characteristics. I have the protection of this wire that goes between us. It's challenging for business, or it's tempting for business owners to pretend to be something they're not.

Matt Necci  8:22  

That's true. I also think the way you're qualified, it's tempting. People can tell if you're not being yourself, I really do feel that and maybe that's just because of the profession I'm in. Lawyers, particularly litigators, can tend to read people really well. It's tempting, even the business, I'm in any personal services business, there's a temptation because technology has made it so easy to communicate quickly, whether it's through text messaging or email, where you lose some of I've been practicing going into my 17th year of being a private litigator, and the amount of face to face time and I don't want to use COVID as an excuse, people have been using COVID as an excuse at this point. It was just easier to transition to being remote and not getting together. People wanted to be together. When I started off in the early 2000s, it was still a business by hanging out together, and getting to know one another. As email became more prominent, and businesses focused more on things like social media and their websites, a little bit of that went away. First you went from not seeing people in person to doing more phone calls. Then more phone calls just turned into two second emails. Sometimes we can use technology as a crutch. You have to get out there and show people who you are. The reason you and myself do things like this is so that people can see who we really are. We don't need them to just read an article or read a tweet that we're putting out on Twitter or something on Instagram. This is a different forum using today's technology to let people truly know who you are. It's fantastic. Stick.

Robert Peterson  10:00  

Absolutely. Let's dig a little deeper into that character issue litigators can tell, you've learned because that's an important skill. Character in business overall as a reflection of who a person is. Character development is an important piece of that business journey, what has helped you in developing your character?

Matt Necci  10:29  

Again, having a great background with my family has been invaluable, having an incredibly supportive spouse. invaluable. It's funny, I had a conversation, I got a phone call from an attorney today, who had been connected by someone I've had many cases with. She's very early in her career trying to decide what she wants to do. She asked me, I don't feel like I have mentors. Did you have mentors through the way? Do you have people that helped you? I said, of course, we all do. It really had me take a step back and say, there are people I've worked with who I believe the relationships we've built, whether we work together now, or we don't anymore, have been invaluable. It's taken work for me to make sure those relationships continue. I've also worked at a business where again, five or six years ago, before a big experiential learning person, I want you have to try things to see if they work, early in my career when I was a young owner at a big law firm, trying to create a mentorship program there, where we were trying to figure out ways to retain young talent. Mentorship would be a great way to do that. What I found was, mentorship can't be forced. We tried some things where we matched up people that didn't have any natural connections, the relationships that have worked, for me have been the ones that have been, grass roots, developed over time. It's like marketing a client, it's not something that sometimes you hit off with a person right away. Usually, those types of relationships are at least the ones that last take years to develop. It's sitting down and not sending them a text, but sitting in their office and having an hour and a half long conversation and realizing that, maybe I'm not, there's work I can be doing right now. This is a professional development. For me, I'm learning from someone else, or I'm giving a colleague feedback. For me, it's been, again, the background, where it was important for my family where they were just sitting with very basic values. Having people that I shared similar values within the workspace, and then trying to live up to that and be accountable again, at home, I want my kids to have the same values that my wife and I have developed. As you walk up the door of our house, we have a framed quote that says, work hard and be good to people. We think people that work hard, sometimes there's a perception, sometimes real, sometimes otherwise, that working hard means you have to be, we use the word grind earlier, you have to be a bully, or it has to be the only thing that you do. I'm a proponent that you can be a really hard worker, but you can be a really good person, because at some point that builds a relationship that's going to help the work down the road. We'll see if that's working, I've got a 10 year old and a 12 year old, right. There's moments where you question yourself, the foundation is being built for sure.

Robert Peterson  13:31  

You're gonna have more questions soon. Obviously, you mentioned connection and the power of connections. Let's talk about the power of connection in personal development, but in building your business and building an audience of people who use your services?

Matt Necci  13:54  

The big thing for me where that starts is accountability. As people talk about various forms of leadership, my style of leadership was to try to find someone that I hired that was talented, and that I didn't have to babysit. I wanted to know that they knew I trusted them, and I let them do their job. I tried to be the same type of employee when I was in the employee role, you're not going to have to worry about whether or not I'm living up to my obligations. If I tell you, something's gonna get done, it gets done. It's not. I'm going to call you at the last minute at a deadline and say, Can I have a few more days? If I think it's going to take more time than what someone tells me for the deadline? We have that conversation when we have the initial discussion about the work I'm doing so I have found that and it's a blessing and a curse. If you're accountable and you get things done, you tend to get a lot more work, both from the people you work with and from your clients. There's an expectation I like people knowing that they can count on me. That counts at work, that counts at home. That counts with my friends. I don't want to be known as a flake. That's like one of the worst things, you could be called a flaky person. It's only because I have expectations for myself that I know that if I have a goal, I'm going to reach it. I also want people to feel like they can rely on me, I love the whole concept of being part of a team. That's one of the things I've struggled with early on in my career, when we were talking about developing your own business, there is a team component to that, but a lot of it is you getting out there and putting yourself out there and working. That's fun. I also very much enjoyed doing that as a team process, and everyone has their role to play. As long as we don't have to babysit each other, let's get the right team together. Then let's work together to be accountable. Accountability has been the focus of everything I've done professionally.

Robert Peterson  16:01  

Nice. It sounds like you're a go-getter and a doer and people start to know that integrity is important to you. Let's dig into integrity and the word no.

Matt Necci  16:18  

Being accountable, being able to say no, is a hard thing to learn. I did it. Again, early on in my career, I wanted to say yes to everything workwise. In the non-work, but professional setting in the nonprofit world, because I am intellectually curious and write and I want to be part of the conversation. I've also seen people get burned out by doing that, too. It was important to me, part of accountability, we say we're goal oriented, sometimes being goal oriented, is also setting yourself up so that you're not setting it up for failure. You don't want to do something where it's so overwhelming that it's not achievable. The most aggressive attorney, hardest working attorney of all time, at some point needed someone's help. You have to be able to say, I need your help, or I can't do this right now. Here's what I can do. I've found, if you say no all the time, that's a problem. If you're known as someone who's accountable, and you say I really can't do something now, no. Your integrity has built up the credibility where you can do that. It's not gonna mean you're not going to get the question again, down the road, on a different project or in a different issue. They take you seriously. Something that again, I can, it's a common thread, whenever I talk to people about issues like integrity and professionalism. My background, I had parents that were very good at what they did, my father was an executive of a large utility company here in Connecticut. One of the best things I saw at his retirement party was the number of linemen and kind of stage one level employees that came to his retirement party, because they had such a spectrum, because his mantra was, I don't care if you're the CEO of the company, someone that works in the cafeteria, an intern, everyone needs to be treated with the same level of respect. I'm sure you know, when you're in the professional world, it's pretty amazing. How much that does not happen. It always boggled my mind. Irrespective of where you are on the food chain and accompany the reality, you're all adults there. Why aren't we all treating each other with adults? Sometimes it's shocking in the corporate world, how little that happens. I found if you live your white life, that way, people don't forget how they're treated. Even if they move on to other jobs or other careers. They never forget how they were treated. for good and for bad, quite frankly. Even if you don't work at the same organization, maybe your paths are gonna cross again, down the road. That's the other thing. It's shocking how many people are short sighted and try to ruin relationships, when you're going to run into each other again. I've always tried to live my life in the way that again, you treat people that you want to be the way you want to be treated. Although you should respect certain levels of a profession, it doesn't mean you treat a person differently just because they have not practiced as long or they haven't achieved certain things in their career.

Robert Peterson  19:39  

I learned early on that gender is the most important person in an organization because if your bathrooms are dirty, that customer is not coming back. Whether that's a restaurant, a church or I assume even a law firm. Yes, here's telling me that

Matt Necci  19:55  

I was just gonna say in the law firm, I say all the time. My paralegal is more than poor. into me than any attorney I can work with, if I have some, because they know everybody at the firm, they know everybody outside of the firm. I can't practice without them, I'll take a very good paralegal over a couple of good attorneys any day of the week, any day of the week.

Robert Peterson  20:18  

The reality is if you don't want to clean the bathrooms, you need to be respectful of the person that does. That idea of treating somebody with less value than, you know, than you want to be treated is astonishing to me, as well. Yet you hear stories, and you see it happening in organizations, and it's incredible to me that we would demean people or devalue people just because they do a different job than you do doesn't mean that it's less important than the job that you're doing. 

Matt Necci  20:59  

I try to have a really good perspective. I'll do my shameless plug, it's somewhere over one of my shoulders here. During COVID, I wrote a book. That's a historical fiction book that was very loosely based on my grandfather's life. He was an Italian immigrant whose family sent him to the states in his early teens, he didn't want to come he loved, he lived in a small village, south of Rome, due to a combination of economic reasons, and because of what was happening in Europe, and Mussolini in Italy, everything going on his family sent him to the states, again, against his will. A couple years after settling in the States, he got drafted by the US Army and had to go back to Europe and fight against the Axis powers, including his home country. Again, my book is very loosely based on that story, but my entire life, my grandfather's passed on, but he never talked about that. The whole concept was always just stunning to me. The idea of if my family moved, when I was 13, the idea of coming back and having to fight against the United States, is I just don't know how you do that. I tried to keep perspective that no matter how overwhelmed I am, or no matter what situation I'm in, personally and professionally, two generations ago, 18 year olds were going to Europe and trying to keep the world free. Nothing is that big of a deal. I also saw the things that my grandfather was sacrificing for other people. If you can have that level of humility, and frankly, altruism, you're helping others that you don't even know. I can't be a professional person at work. Treat people with respect. I do try to keep that in perspective. Sometimes I get over my skis, when we all have a good run, and things are going great. At work, all your friends love you. You get a little over your skis. Sometimes you need to get punched in the chin to settle yourself back in. 

Robert Peterson  23:08  

got it as a way of taking care of that.

Matt Necci  23:10  

Absolutely. I tried to use that kind of background to keep myself grounded for sure.

Robert Peterson  23:18  

It is important. You mentioned gratitude a few times, being grateful for the sacrifice that your grandfather made. Being grateful for the opportunities of your parents that have paved the way and gratitude is a really powerful grounding tool. To keep us on top of our skis. You know it. A lot of people take a lot of those things for granted. Especially when they're zip up the company ladder. They start feeling like it really is a ladder. Then they start to look down on people. It's a slippery slope.

Matt Necci  24:04  

What I try to tell people again, talking to this young attorney today. Who knows how long you're here, you should want to do the best type of work, irrespective of your profession that you can because you should hold yourself to a high standard and want to challenge yourself. However, a year after you've left, whatever your career is, nobody's going to remember the work you did. Maybe they will if you're that exception to the rule, I hope to live a long life where I'm sitting on a beach somewhere. When I'm in my 80s Nobody's gonna think of me as an attorney. I hope they don't. I don't think that speaks poorly about what I want to do in my career. I want them to remember me, how I treated them, the things we did together. If I'm only known for how many cases I've settled or how many times I want to trial. To me, some people value those things and God bless them. It's too surface level. There's so much more I want to do with life than focus exclusively on that.

Robert Peterson  25:06  

John Maxwell, he shares the story of, do you think you're important at your job? The challenge is that as soon as your funeral is over, they're fighting over the potato salad and nobody's even talking about you.

Matt Necci  25:20  

I'm a big, UConn alum and supporter and football fan, and he's no longer coach of the team. Bob Diaco, who coached the football team for a while not to a successful run. He always quoted this poem called The Indispensable man. It basically ended with there is no indispensable man, you put your hand in a bucket of water, as soon as you take it out, the water fills that gap. I try to look at things the same way. I'm really good at what I do. I'm not so naive to think that I'm not replaceable. Everybody at a professional level is replaceable. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do your best work. I do think it means you should help keep the people that you're working around. Whether it's perspective or just knowing what's important in life, do good work, but be deeper than what your work is.

Robert Peterson  26:12  

Absolutely. You mentioned gratitude, are there some daily routines that help you stay grounded and help you stay growth focused?

Matt Necci  26:23  

I have to run. I love running and it could be for an hour, it could be for a half hour. From the time I was a little kid, at my best I can work out problems. When I'm aimlessly exercising, and thinking about stuff and talking to myself in my head. Even if I'm not running, I tried to take the dogs for an hour walk doing something that lets me internally spit some stuff out, I may be having a perspective on something and then you work it 1000 times in your head. By the 1,000th time you've either said, Yeah, I've been consistent here or you said, What the hell was I thinking when I had that initial reaction? Exercise is incredibly important to me. Dinner at home every day, it's harder to do now. Between work, it's not even my schedule anymore. My kids' schedules are so much more exhausting than ours. My wife and I want to have dinner with our kids every night. Family's important, making sure you're making those phone calls to my parents. That's not always going to be available. Keeping that in perspective. I'm pretty obnoxious with UConn related things. No one wants to have to take a step away from something. I obnoxiously dive into Twitter and the Yukon Twitter world which can be a rabbit hole sometimes, but it's also pretty entertaining. 20 years ago, people read tabloids. It's my tablet. It's where I can kind of just veg out a little bit.

Robert Peterson  27:59  

Nice. You mentioned that dinner at home as a boundary. Let's talk about the power of boundaries to protect those things. Those you mentioned values earlier and really, to truly protect the things that we value. We have to put boundaries around them.

Matt Necci  28:53  

The reality is that I may have said this a little earlier. Very early on. I wanted to say yes to everything because one I wanted to be known as someone who got stuff done, but I also wanted to be involved. I also saw and I had to thank God for my wife. She's kind of been like the center of gravity. That brings me back when I'm again getting over my skis. You could be known as being out there helping the greatest, most deserving nonprofits in the world. If you're spending all of your time doing that, it's really valuable work. Life at home isn't making sense. You're not spending time with your kids. You're not going to their soccer games. My kids are huge in soccer. We're traveling all the time. That's a problem. They've earned the right they didn't ask to be here. They've earned the right for you to be part of their lives. One I don't think it sends no matter how well intentioned you are. It does not send a good message to your kids if you're only doing things to enhance your professional life. Without taking advantage of the time that they're at home. As my kids have gotten busier and grown older, that's kind of been a guiding principle where I tell people in my job, I'm on call 24/365, even when I'm on vacation, if there's an emergency, and I get a call, I have to deal with it. Which sometimes means, at three o'clock, if my kids have an event, I'm leaving, I don't care, if you're not happy with me, my work is going to get done. I've proven to you, that's going to happen. I'm not going to have this opportunity forever. That's important. The other guardrail for me is just being my wife's my absolute partner, and everything I do, no matter how passionate I am about something, or how much I want to do something professionally, or socially, because I don't do that without having a conversation with her about it. She gives up enough of my time where she's entitled to be part of that conversation. Sometimes that means not doing things that your buddies are out doing. They look at me like I'm crazy, but I don't care. She's who I'm going to be with in 30 years, when they're all not with me and living in different parts of the country. That's always been really important. We tell our kids, and this was a line I got from my parents, too. We love our kids more than anything in the world, except each other. That's always been a guiding principle is that, don't try to play us off one another. Don't try to get us to battle with each other. That's the most important relationship in our lives no matter what. Everything else comes after that. For me, that was how my parents lived. It's helped my marriage, quite frankly, that we make each other a priority. It also has helped keep work, kids and other things in perspective, for sure.

Robert Peterson  31:57  

Oh, absolutely. My wife, and I've always been committed to it's her and I against the world. That includes our kids, it's her and I against the kids. The kids were a temporary assignment. We totally just had to get through that. They had a message, your time is coming. There's the door. Don't let it hit you on the way out, some people I don't know, our goal was to always be for our kids to be our friends when they were adults, not when they were kids.

Matt Necci  32:30  

That's the best thing. I love that you said that because this is what was going through my head. My relationship with my parents evolved. When I was a kid, very young, we were your parents, not your friends. Don't ever forget that. Then as I was getting older and becoming a teenager and then going through college, and even early in my career, they became mentors. If I had questions, they could provide answers. Now I'm 41 years old, my mom's 68 My dad's 70. They are like really good friends. That's if I can emulate that. That will be very important to me, but I love how you put it because that's very much the guidance I had coming up.

Robert Peterson  33:10  

I was blessed that way too. It was interesting, because when I got out of the Marines, and I took over a scout troop and my dad wanted to be the assistant Scoutmaster and wanted me to be the Scoutmaster. Everybody's like, how can your dad be an assistant, instead of the leader, and I was like, because he recognizes that I'm the leader, and he wants to empower me to be the leader. He wants to support me in that and he and I have been friends and I've been mentoring him in the last 20 years. The challenges he's faced with my mom, he's allowed my sister and I to come alongside him and support him and lead him, so he calls us for advice. It's been an interesting transition, like you said that, that friendship. Opportunity is so powerful. I'm blessed at this point in my life that both my kids have moved out and they're adults and my wife and I joke that they call and ask for advice more now than they did when they were living here. It's like, stop calling you literally, no more. We're done. We don't want to talk to you anymore. Go away for a week.

Matt Necci  34:23  

You gotta figure it out on your own. There is a component of that. I don't think that bringing it back to businesses and entrepreneurs, I don't think that should just be your family life. People that are business owners or corporate leaders need to look at their jobs as leaders the same way there should be an evolving relationship. You should be if you stand out earlier in your career, and you're given whether it's a committee assignment or group assignment, support those people don't put them down, encourage them to come up, but also know when it's time to take a step aside and promote the next generation of leaders. I don't think enough people at the most senior level do that. I get it, when you've been doing a job for five years, 10 years, 20 years, you feel like you've earned it and you have, but for the place to continue on after the fact, particularly if you own a business, if there's not another generation of leadership coming up behind you, I feel it's your obligation as those senior people to take a step aside, and then, again, evolve from that boss, to mentor and then to again, champion, you're championing the next generation of people coming up. Some businesses, the really successful ones, get that example. It's incredible. We do it at home. Why? That's where my most successful relationships are. If you can take that into the workplace, to some extent it's only going to benefit your business.

Robert Peterson  35:57  

Oh, absolutely. You can see where the most unselfish leaders, the business dies, when the CEO dies, and moves on, or they fired the CEO, because not enough is happening, but even for entrepreneurs that are solopreneurs, the idea of working yourself out of a job, the idea of replacing yourself, creating a business that can run without you that that that's absolutely what leads to scaling what's leads to success. No, it doesn't happen overnight. If you create that model from the beginning, you assign yourself as the CEO, and then you want to shift yourself to the shareholder role, where you've actually put a CEO in place and, and now you're a shareholder sitting on the beach, because you don't have to worry about day to day operations. That's an excellent analogy of how every business should be thinking about passing it on. Training up leaders, developing your staff, developing the systems and processes to allow more staff to come in and be involved. Even that mentorship where you're directly mentoring or coaching to shifting to friend and supporting, shifting to hands off shareholder that says, you do it, I'll vote you in or out at the end of the year.

Matt Necci  37:15  

It's not an easy transition to make. I don't mean to speak of it like it is, it's an evolving one. My experience has been the best leaders, even if the transition isn't smooth, they can at least identify it. You can talk about it. I don't think enough people like to see themselves being vulnerable, or they're not sure what they want to do when they're done with work.

Robert Peterson  37:40  

For that idea that it's weak, that idea you need to be training somebody else to replace you, or that you're gonna get replaced too soon it's too corporate minded versus long term. Fewer and fewer companies are thinking about the infinite game versus what's in it for them right now.

Matt Necci  38:01  

That's probably a better way to put it. When you're a business owner, we all want to make money. We all have taxes, we have to pay, we all have families to feed, if you're solely living quarter to quarter to pay your taxes and only focus on the short term gain, and don't invest into some of the things that are required for long term benefit of your own growth and your companies. That's where I see people get in trouble. Absolutely. 

Robert Peterson  38:27  

We have the market to thank. Thanks for that. The CEOs, and the bonuses are being driven by financial performance, literally week to week, and they took away long term thinking for no corporations.

Matt Necci  38:47  

In law firms, it's incredibly prevalent. I was talking to this young attorney, and we were talking about what private practice and big law is. There is a benefit, people want to get the biggest raise, and the biggest bonus every year and I get it right. I've come out of law school with loans and have a young family. You want it to do certain things you want to do if you're going to work so hard, you want to be able to go on vacations. Then as a lawyer, you end up if you're on the right track becoming an owner eight to 10 years in. You have these attorneys who are crushing it numbers wise, so that they can get the highest bonuses, they're not putting 100% of their time into billing. They're not putting any of their time into marketing and developing those relationships it takes to develop their own business. Then all of a sudden, they're eight or 10 years in, they've hit a ceiling with what they can collect financially because the business says, your overheads are too high and you're not bringing your own clients to the table. I see that in the legal world all the time. Marketing is not easy, and it's hard to tell someone again, who's in their mid 20s or early 30s. You have to take a little less money now, because it's going to pay off in the long run. It's hard for someone that's got bills to really appreciate that. The ones that get it realized, the long term game when I'm in my late 30s, early 40s, based on me having developed this business, makes the early stuff that I missed out on well worth it.

Robert Peterson  40:19  

That's a combination of building those relationships, and building that reputation. All of those pieces. Serving in the community can be a piece of that. There's so many pieces that we've talked about that lead towards creating a reputation, creating a list of people who know what you're doing, networking that you've done, to creating connections that are going to lead to the value. You don't get dollars upfront, but you're creating value and putting yourself in the community that that adds up for that eight or 10 year mark, where you're a more valuable asset, because of all these pieces that you've put into place.

Matt Necci  41:00  

In 17 years of practice, from a marketing client or new client perspective, where you've hit a home run just out of a shot in the dark, you were in the right place at the right time. That is the exception to the rule. I do think businesses sometimes think, I've spent X amount on marketing, it did not return that amount in revenue. I'm not going to do that. We're right being out there. Marketing is about repetition, relationship developments, showing that you're not a flash in the pan, but you're there for years. I keep using the word it goes back to perspective, is that marketing or spending time out there? Is that an expense for you? Or is that an investment for you? You have to be willing to say not everything's going to work, but it shouldn't just because it didn't work this one instance, keep you from trying it again. That's probably something I see too, where I think businesses give up on that a little too easily. Where they didn't get the immediate gratification of I put a commercial out there. I didn't get 100 calls the next day. It takes time. Do you want immediate short term growth and no long term growth? Are you willing to take a little bit of time investing so that you're building a sustainable foundation where business continuously comes in?

Robert Peterson  42:19  

Nice. Now I know you're a fiction author. What has been the impact for you of being an author writing your first book?

Matt Necci  42:31  

A few different levels, personally, was something I always wanted to do. I'm actually starting the process of going on to my second book, because I was at UConn, I was a history and a journalism major. I loved researching, and I loved writing. Frankly, that has helped obviously, in my legal career, from writing a trial brief for an appellate brief. From a personal perspective, it's like running a marathon. Sometimes people think they can get overwhelmed by the idea of running a marathon and they don't want to start the initial training for me. I've run one marathon, I'm not sure I ever want to do it again. Book writing process was the same thing I knew if I got started, I'd finish it. I had the base of the story. It was also personally helpful for me, I decided to write this when I was 39, in the middle of COVID, with a goal of publishing it by the time I turned 40. It was my thing, I couldn't control what was happening in the world. This was something that I could control, I didn't have an excuse not to write, if I wasn't writing it was because I was making a conscious decision not to do so, with the support of my spouse, and she said, go for it. I did that. It was incredibly rewarding and helpful, frankly, to me, during COVID to have that outlet, when you were spending so much time at home. From a professional perspective, frankly, when you go out to these conferences, where you're an attorney, you're marketing to people, you're everyone wants 200 attorneys swarming one person to get the same business. d I don't want to be known as the cold call guy. That's not who I am. Either. We've gotten to know each other over the years, or there's something that I can use to stand out. When I post on LinkedIn, I have this book, and it's selling really well on Amazon and all these places, all the sudden, and I've sent copies to clients and potential clients. They could read it, hopefully and enjoy it. They know who I am a little bit more of who I am. Now all of a sudden, it's oh, let's talk I read your book, and we can have this conversation, right. From a business perspective, there's help there where it helps distinguish me from the other 200 attorneys that I'm competing with for business. That's not why I wrote the book, certainly. Once it was out there in the world, we certainly were going to use that to my advantage. The amount of comments I'll get on LinkedIn or phone calls I get from people I love your book. Let's talk about it. It's not any different. I used to have these conversations with people, we talked about their dogs or their kids, and that would lead to business. We still do that. Now we're talking about other things. It shows a different side of me, it shows that I'm a serious person. This is something that doesn't just happen overnight. It took real thought and dedication. People can see, going back to authenticity, they can see a little bit more who I am as a person.

Robert Peterson  45:28  

You shared that line in there, it was something I could control. Let's talk about one of the big things of being responsible and one of the biggest levels of personal development is taking responsibility, but then knowing the things you can control, knowing things you can't, and being willing to let go of those is powerful in emotional stability.

Matt Necci  45:58  

It was my buddy Carl Fix, who introduced us to a great guy. Carl loves quoting, usually 70s Rock and Roll artists, but I'll go in a little different direction. I grew up in the 80s and 90s. I'm a big Pearl Jam fan. They have a song Eddie Vetter has, I know I was born and I know that I'll die, but in between his mind. I've always loved that phrase, because we all know we got here, we all know, someday we're not going to be around. I'm not going to let someone else dictate what happens between those two points. I've always thrived on goals. I've thrived more on goals that people have expressed, they doubted I could complete something that was something I love just ticking people off to do something for the sake of doing it. I love that level of control. I do think people in general waste a lot of energy focused on things that are completely out of their control. I'm guilty of it as well. My general sense of how I litigate, and how I do client relations is get out, you have to get out. I'm here as a sounding board. Now that you've said what you've had to say, here are your options. Here's my recommendation, because this is what we can control. You have to make the decision. At the end of the day, it's not my decision to make the client the client. I do that, with all my problem solving in life. I veg out and complain about what I have to complain about, then we have our come to Jesus moment, settle down, here are my options. Here's my preferred choice. We are not going to debate for the sake of debate, we're going to have an honest conversation about the various options. I am not going to do the paralysis by analysis and overthink something, we're making the best decision and I move forward with one integrity. I'm very deliberate in how I do things. There is an intention with how I do things and people know, because I've thought it through and I'm happy to explain it. This is what we can do. This is what we can control: stop worrying about stuff that you have no control over.

Robert Peterson  48:20  

I assume there's a large number of clients that come in with a lot of emotional expectation that are similar

Matt Necci  48:29  

They don't want to hear me say this, stop worrying about that. I've had bad conversations, experiential learning, a good thing about clients after time, you can have that heart to heart pretty bluntly. Then you have the other clients you have to be a little bit more diplomatic with. That's an art that you can't just learn on day one. It's developing a bedside manner that comes after handling 1000s of files. People do appreciate honesty, you hear I love. I'm not completely into reality TV besides below deck on Bravo. I also love these real estate shows. The real estate shows, they always talk about well, I can give you the I can tell you, I'll sell the house for the price you want. I don't want to come back to you in three months and say this is the real price and try to get you to lower your price. I'm a little bit the same way. Expectations to me are incredibly important because they play into the accountability thing we were talking about before. If I'm telling you something and then I go completely in a different direction a month later, I'm not going to be known to you as being someone accountable. I tried to set up very realistic expectations by saying here are your options but here's why this is my recommendation. People know what they're getting from me. It's authenticity. I'm willing to say when we're going to get hammered. We're going to get punched in the face and I'm willing to say where this is where we need to take an educated risk to write this. At the end of the day, it's not my choice. I've had to do things ethically and legally, but I've had to do things that I would not have done if it was my money. That's not always easy to handle as well. You figure it out, the more you do it.

Robert Peterson  50:19  

Absolutely. You ultimately represent the client. Permanently is the client's choice. It’s not up to you.

Matt Necci  50:30  

That's hard. That's a hard thing, especially when you think you're successful at what you do, they have people to answer to as well. You don't want to get in the habit of CYA, where you're doing things or documenting things because you think you have to pay for a file. When I have a disagreement with a client, I make it very clear, ultimately, it's their choice, but you're going to hear out why I think that's the wrong choice. Then hear me out. Take a breath. If you still want to go the way you want to go, that's what we'll do. Once you decide that, it's on me to completely buy into that path, going to authenticity. If I'm in front of a judge, and I'm making not the argument I want to make but the argument half heartedly that someone else wants to make, they can see through that, too. I'm not advocating for my client like I'm supposed to be.

Robert Peterson  51:24  

Then you're committing fraud.

Matt Necci  51:27  

Committing malpractice. Attorneys have an actual legal standard that we have to meet. 

Robert Peterson  51:34  

Let's go on a lighter note. What's your most memorable date with your wife?

Matt Necci  51:41  

Can I give two answers here? 

Robert Peterson

Sure. 

Matt Necci

The funny one is the first time we did not like each other, we met each other in high school, we did not like each other. Some friends forced us to get together. The first time we ever went on a date, she beat me playing Monopoly. I was completely devastated for weeks. It slowed down the relationship.The most memorable and a good way is I went to law school in New York City. In my first year, I lived in Brooklyn, which was great for me, because it's where my family's from, it was nice to go back. I vividly remember my first year of law school. This was 20 years ago. My wife came to visit me. She was my girlfriend at the time, it was Halloween. It was one of these crazy 75 degree Halloween, awesome days. I remember walking through Park Slope, Brooklyn. It felt like the most perfect thing in the world. Frankly, parts of that evening are in the book. Because of the book, there's as much of me in there as my grandfather's story. That day, I remember the restaurant, we were at the food we were at the stores we were walking by, which probably don't exist anymore, because it's 20 years later in New York moves a little quicker than that. That was just a special special night.

Robert Peterson  53:04  

Nice. In your business and personal development, how important is playing fun?

Matt Necci  53:13  

I think it's important. It's becoming harder to do. clients in the line of work I do, which is a lot of insurance litigation or not. I live in the Greater Hartford area, which is the insurance capital of the world. We still have big insurance companies, but not as many as we did 50 years ago. It is harder, particularly post COVID. To get to see people. What I tried to do is, if there's an excuse, I have clients in Nebraska, if you kind of make the College World Series, we're gonna go have fun hosting them in Nebraska. If I can get them to events like that, the Travelers Championship, which is the big PGA Tour event in Connecticut, can usually get them out to do things like that. It is admittedly becoming harder and harder to do because we're just not as physically close to our clients as we used to be.

Robert Peterson  54:10  

Got to figure out some options.

Matt Necci  54:12  

I completely agree. I'm happy to receive any recommendations.

Robert Peterson  54:17  

Maybe you need to expand beyond UConn.

Matt Necci  54:20  

It's tough for me to do. There's only so many hours in the day. I think a lot more with it. Rob is more of the conversations that you're having. I do find it's important to get to know people beyond the surface level. Those phone calls are really important. One of the good things about Zoom is you got away from emails and you got away from telephone calls, and we had some real you could get something a little bit more for people when you can see their face and their reactions to things. I've got a pretty dry sense of humor. Some clients don't like that, but many do. We do things like that, but for me I guess from a professional perspective It is important for me to try to see people that I work with or used to work with and maintain those relationships. It's incredibly important for me to continue to see people, my buddies from law school who are now all over the country. There is some marketing aspect to that, because we have some overlaps in business. It's the relationships that you want to keep going. There's nothing better than going out and having a big steak dinner for four hours. As you know, I love that type of thing. Definitely, I need to get more of those on the date on the calendar with clients for sure, though.

Robert Peterson  55:36  

I like it. What do you love to do in your free time besides chase your kids soccer field games?

Matt Necci  55:44  

Besides the kids and besides, UConn, the occasional golfing thing again? It can be boring. Sometimes we have a big pool club in our town. We have a few of them, just hanging out with friends around there. The boring answer, but the true one is my wife and I, she is my best friend. We love going out to good restaurants. I'm blessed in Connecticut. We're right on the ocean. Going out and having lobster rolls or seafood. We love going to different breweries and wineries in the area and restaurants. That's where we have a lot of fun doing things like that, which now that my kids are getting older and they're eating oysters and things like that, dinners are becoming a little bit more expensive than they used to be. Definitely like wine drinking. New England's kind of the Napa Valley of American IPAs right now. We're pretty spoiled in that way. Then just hanging out. I have two Golden Retrievers hanging out with my dogs for sure.

Robert Peterson  56:47  

My wife and I did a six state tour

Matt Necci  56:52  

this awesome

Robert Peterson  56:54  

New England area in the middle of COVID. Our cruise got canceled or the trip got canceled. We tried another trip. I said alright, where can we go with the same plane tickets that they keep pushing off. We flew into New Hampshire and drove down to Boston and then drove down to Rhode Island and toured the mansions and then crossed to Connecticut. My wife's favorite moment of all of those was the Essex dinner train. Awesome area. If you and your wife haven't done the Essex dinner train, I highly recommend it.

Matt Necci  57:26  

We've done it. Not only have we done it in the winter, that's Santa Claus going to the North Pole train. I've done that. There you go. It's great that you could do that. One of the things I do get when I visit clients, particularly clients in the Midwest, or the south, everything is so spread out down there. Whereas in New England, as you just said, in a day, it would be a long drive. In a day, you can be in every state in New England in like four or five hours driving to all the states and see great ski mountains. You could have the ocean, you have beaches, you have some small New England cities that are not as it's not as big as I guess Boston is but you're not in New York. You're an hour and a half from New York, where we live. We've got some access to great things up here that I've tried to get the governor to continue for our tourism budget to keep promoting that because I think it is a great area to live for sure.

Robert Peterson  58:16  

We did it from the train. We went back up to Vermont, across New Hampshire, down the coast of Maine, all the way up to Canada. They wouldn't let us in. We went right by there. It was just a crazy 66. Day tried again.

Matt Necci  58:32  

My family has a house in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, which that's another area I love being out on the boat on the water there. Montreal is about two and a half hours north of there. Definitely get up to Montreal and Quebec if you can. Those are really good.

Robert Peterson  58:46  

This was COVID. Border closed. We're just curtaining the edges.

Matt Necci  58:51  

Prime Minister Trudeau is pretty tough about the COVID stuff for sure,

Robert Peterson  58:55  

man, I'll tell you some of the rules are just Wackadoodles. I had a friend whose daughter was going to school in Canada. If they flew into Canada, they would be quarantined for two weeks and take tests on both sides. They could fly into New York and drive across the border and not do any of that like, Okay, there's a rule that is absolutely meaningless except for we're enforcing it if you fly, we're not enforcing it. If you drive like okay, that's ridiculous.

Matt Necci  59:21  

I'm all in favor of being safe. I agree and extreme both ways. Consistency. My favorite rule is being on a plane and it's changed now. When you had to wear a mask unless you were eating and drinking

Robert Peterson  59:36  

My wife doesn't even eat peanuts, but she sat there with the peanut package open pretending she didn't have to put her mask on. Absolutely.

Matt Necci  59:43  

I'm sure I stayed away during that six to eight minutes. I don't think we're ever going back to that. I think part of our world is going to be adapting and figuring out, certainly not ostracizing people that want to be safer than others, but I'm trying to make sure we as businesses, because businesses took it on the chin. Absolutely. Even with government help, businesses took it on the chin for sure. Hopefully we don't go all the way back again. 

Robert Peterson  1:00:12  

Matt, what's the big dream?

Matt Necci  1:00:16  

The big dream. Certainly, professionally, at some point in my career, I'd like to go into public service. We live in a really interesting time. We need more people that are hardworking and credible. Although it's not the most financial savvy thing to do to transition into the public life, I do think when you when you talk about guardrails in my life professionally, we need some more people to go into public service just to make sure you know, I'm an attorney, I live and breathe by the Constitution and the rule of law. It's easy to expect other people to run for office or to become judges or to run for mayors of towns or town councils. At some point, it's just like writing a book during COVID. It's easy to say the reasons why you can't do something, thank you for your service, better than anyone. At some point, people have to step up and do it themselves. My dream would be at some point to go into public service for sure.

Robert Peterson  1:01:22  

Good for you.You spent the last hour sharing with a young lawyer about starting his own business and you want to leave him with Matt's Words of Wisdom, what would you share?

Matt Necci  1:01:33  

I'll finish kind of the way I started. Whatever you do in life, work hard and be good to people. My personal experience and the people that I've that I respect, there's a lot of successful people that I would just respect for what they've done. The people that have done it the right way, and have done it with integrity, and have done things for themselves, but in a way where they helped others and certainly didn't put others down. It's very easy to help others along the way. Work hard to be really good to people.

Robert Peterson  1:02:07  

Absolutely. Now, thank you so much for being on the show. I appreciate all the wisdom that you shared. I appreciate you taking the time. 

Matthew Necci

Thanks for the opportunity Robert.