“If you haven’t heard Mike Dominguez speak in the past couple years, well, you probably haven’t been at a meetings industry conference. The senior vice president and chief sales officer for MGM Resorts International regularly takes the stage to share his take on meeting and hotel industry trends (25 to 30 times in 2017 alone), he also currently serves as the co-chair of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, is on the executive committee of the U.S. Travel Association, and is a member of the Hospitality Partner Advisory Committee for the Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals, which, along with his day job, keeps him on the road about 100 days a year. Staying organized and productive wherever he finds himself is a must.
The Myth of Doing It All
“I think what people miss on productivity is taking on more without giving things up. I was in a fantasy football league for 12 years and enjoyed the heck out of it. But it takes a lot of research. I don’t do it anymore. I just don’t have the time. I used to watch a lot of sports, I’m a sports fanatic, but I don’t watch a lot anymore. It’s important to know what you’re going to give up as you take on more.”
Trust the Team
“I think it is impossible to be productive and be a micromanager. You cannot be productive as a senior leader without building a great team and trusting them to do their job every day. If you’re having to micromanage, you haven’t clearly identified the expectations and the filter through which decisions are made. Once I’ve defined that, the only questions I get are the ones on the fence for those filters—the exceptions, not the rule.”
“I start my day by 7 a.m. A lot of people start early to look at emails and catch up, I do it for appointments and conversations. The drive to my office is about 20 minutes. I usually have a 7 or 7:30 call with someone on the East Coast as I’m driving. I make good use of the time, and it allows me to catch up to their clock.”
The Value of Routines
“I have my routines. I like making my coffee at home and enjoying it on my way to work. It gets me into work mode. Coming home, I’m listening to news, sports, or anything that helps me check out. The drive is either getting me ready or it’s shutting me down. I like some routine because it gives me some sense of normalcy in the day. Routines carry into whatever habit you’re trying to form. For me, it’s helping make good use of my time.
“I have a different routine for the road. I can’t get to sleep before I get my clothes ironed for the next day. It gets me ready for the day and ready to sleep because I know I’m prepared.”
“Everyone struggles with email. I have tons of folders, so I always know where emails are going, but I think what’s important is that I have a system where my first four folders are for notes. In meetings, I type notes directly into an email then send the email to myself and put it in a notes file. Later, I just need to clean out my notes files. That’s about as simple as you can make it.”
In addition to notes, Dominguez sorts his email into four buckets: “Follow Up” (things that can wait a day or two), “Read or Post” (typically tackled over the weekend), “Requests” (requests for his time for a meeting or speaking), and “Meetings.” The latter has subfolders for all the people with whom he regularly meets. “Anything I want to follow up in their one on one, I just move the emails into there, so when we meet, all I have to do is pull up their folder.”
“My advice is to figure out what works for you. I’m very visual. People who work with me will tell you that I have a photographic memory, but I need to see things, which is why I still have a written calendar. I can see in my mind everything on my calendar for the month, but if it was a digital calendar, I couldn’t.”
Trade Weekend Time for Sanity
“One of the things I do that I think is important is that my weekend ends around 5 p.m. on Sunday because I start prepping for the week ahead. If I don’t, I feel overwhelmed from the moment I start on Monday morning.
“We’re always going to be behind but how you get rid of the feeling of being overwhelmed is to be as prepared, as caught up, as possible.”