Scott Miller is the EVP of Thought Leadership at Franklin Covey and author of the book, From Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenge to Become the Leader You Would Follow. Today we talk about management development and dig into Scott’s ongoing journey to become a leader you would follow.
Andy Paul: Scott Miller, welcome to the show.
Scott Miller: Andy, thanks for the invite and the platform,
Andy Paul: Well, all right. My pleasure to have you. So, you’re based where?
Scott Miller: Salt Lake city, Utah,
Andy Paul: Salt Lake City, Utah,
Scott Miller: Downtown Salt Lake City. Yeah.
Andy Paul: been there many times, so, what’s it like there? And then yeah, we’re recording this in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic. So it’s sort of unavoidable. I have to talk about it a little bit.
Scott Miller: Yeah. Yeah. I’m delighted to, I think it’s probably the best place you could be in the nation. I mean, you know, Utah is known as a very well prepared state. It’s arguably one of the most well-run States by those, you know, surveys, the very conservative States, primarily occupied by adult members of the Mormon community known as a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
So there’s a lot of preparation mentality out here. So like everybody, my wife and I kind of shut down about. Five weeks ago, we have three young boys, five, eight, and nine. So we’re blessed to have a large home and a big yard. So I think compared to some like you that are in a smaller, downtown Manhattan apartment, we’re quite blessed and we’re, healthy.
So, we’re not sure if it’s come and gone or if it’s not come yet, we’re just doing our share and staying home and, you know, listening to wise people tell us what to do.
Andy Paul: Alright, well, actually, so when we’ll cut for an editor thing, I think let’s just go to non-video cause our video, at least on my end has gotten pretty shaky of you. So. Sorry about that, but I’m so gonna miss seeing your face and your, your background there. so we’re gonna talk about your book today. from, I think I had the title here from management mess to leadership success.
So, as it same before as serve a brave book, right. Cause that management mess was you right.
Scott Miller: it’s true. I mean, not in every case, but the majority of the book is about after 30 years as a leader in a very prominent leadership development firm, I decided to write a book about how hard leadership is and how it’s not for everyone. Not everyone should be a leader. Heck I’m not sure Andy. I should have been a leader of people, but I am, and I have been, I’ve done some damage.
And I’ve created some success. And so I decided to write a book that would help others determine, should they be a leader of people? And if they are, or they want to be, here’s 30 challenges you’re going to face And most of them for me were messes. I think that generally speaking vulnerability, to quote you bravery, but I’d say vulnerability is a leadership competency.
And as a leader of people, the more you can own your own mess, because I don’t know of a leader who doesn’t have some mess going on or parent or neighbor or mother-in-law, or son-in-law, the more you can own your mess. The more you make it safe for others to own up to theirs and move towards success.
Andy Paul: Yeah. I mean, what you’re saying is, is that first of all, perfection is impossible in any, any realm, but especially in leadership. I mean, cause leadership is just an extension of, of, who we are as humans and our human conduct. And we’re never perfect.
Scott Miller: Or far from, I don’t know any leaders that’s even close to being perfect, no leader I’ve worked for. And I still have leaders that I report to that, you know, have blind spots and aren’t as self-aware, as we all hoped they would be and, and, and have other great talents. So the book really was inspired because I was, I, I host a podcast like you called on leadership with Scott Miller.
I was interviewing Stephen M Covey. He’s the son of the famed, Dr. Covey.
Andy Paul: He’s been on the show.
Scott Miller: Oh, has he? No kidding. Yeah. So you know him well and wrote the book, The Speed of Trust and I was interviewing Stephe,n of course, a friend and a colleague of mine and said, Steven, did you ever feel the need to write a book? Right? Being the son of Dr. Covey? And he said no Scott, because you know, I really didn’t have anything to say. Until I did meaning him and I, and I had this, I had this epiphany, you know what I had much to say, I was always kind of a behind the scenes, executive officer, chief marketing, officer sales, vice president sales manager, general manager.
And then I realized, you know what? I do have some things to say now. So I wrote this book. It did extraordinarily well. And it’s first printing. It’s already the second printing and I’m quite delighted with how well it’s resonated.
Andy Paul: Yeah, so it seems like for a little bit in the book is it’s, it’s kind of confessional, right? I mean, we say confessional is good for the soul, but, but I think it had been an aspect of that. Right? Cause as you go back and you you’ve said you have these 30 challenges, he has numerous points in the book. And I was thinking, reflecting on my own own leadership failures over the years and successes is that. Yeah, it’s, it’s such a growth process that you never really perfected as you said before and, yeah, we all make mistakes that have we’re better off. If you said vulnerable and came clean on them.
Scott Miller: It’s very confessional. I’m a Catholic, so that was easy for me. Right? So it was easy for me to, you know, write down what I’d done wrong. It wasn’t meant to be a tell all, or, you know, a literary vomit by any means, but I, I share some successes and they’re there occasional success story. And I’ve had lots of success stories, but I believe philosophically we all learn more from our mistakes, from our messes, from watching other people’s messes. I actually learn more from seeing people fail and get back up and try again. Then I had trying to replicate something someone did really well. I just think that’s been my own learning journey. So I wrote the book as a gift to hopefully every leader that would like to avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve had.
You know, now at the age of 52, I’m older than some, not as old as others, but had a pretty, successful career by many measures. I’m an Ex officer in a public company. And I’ve learned a lot, not, not, not to mention being around, you know, a lot of fairly famed thought leaders and authors. So I admit it to be a help, a tome that would be relatable, raw, real.
I thought too many leadership books are academic and they’re maybe professoroial. They’re written by people who is hard to relate to. And I wanted to write a relatable book.
Andy Paul: Well, I think you succeeded in that. I mean, one of the key things I think, as you look read through the book is, is that yeah, people have different trajectories in the career and, and, you know, use you as an example. And I maybe use myself as an example, is had pretty good success at a pretty early age and then you find, you find yourself in these, these management roles, these leadership roles, and your job, competence, outstrips your leadership competence.
Scott Miller: Welcome to my entire career.
Andy Paul: Right? And I think this is really common. And, and so we, in sales, you came through the sales, the sales ranks. Is there’s always this trope about, you know, Hey, don’t promote your best seller to be a manager because oftentimes, you know, they can’t do it, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But it’s sort of forgetting the aspect of, well, yeah, there’s that management thing, but. Here’s the leadership thing, which is separate from managing. And so
Scott Miller: Yeah, can I riff on that?
Andy Paul: Yeah, go ahead please.
Scott Miller: Yeah, I think there is. I think there’s great insight in what you said is that principle doesn’t always apply here. Here’s what I’ve learned, Andy, and much of it. You just said it in a very succinctly is I think too often organizations promote people for the wrong reasons. We we lure people into leadership roles versus lead them in. That we promote, we promote the, you know, the, the best individual performers, right? The most efficient dental hygienist or the most creative digital designer or the most revenue producing sales person. We do that all the time. Well, I think there’s great risk in that.
I mean, I was a classic example of the highest producing revenue producer in my division. So naturally at some point I’m promoted as the sales leader, when rarely do the skills, the competencies that make you a great sales producer, make you a great sales leader. That there’s very little correlation, right?
I mean, if you look at my GallupStrengthsFinder, my two top strengths are competition And significance, right. I love to compete. I love to win. I love to be top of the scoreboard crush all the measures WIN the president’s club, right? All the bonuses. I liked the limelight on ME, focusing the attention. Those are not bad competencies for a great sales person. I think generally they’re horrible competencies for a sales leader. Sales leaders need to bePatient and empathic. And to, I recognize that their job is to get work done within, through other people, skilled transfer, coach, mentor, to teach other people, to build capacity, to check their own ego and take joy and validation in the success of other people.
Your job is not to rush in and save the day or save the sale or save someone from themselves. You might save the sale today, but you aren’t building capacity. You’re not building the ability for other people to, you know, all achieve their own numbers. So I think, I think a key differentiator is when you’re considering promoting a sales person into a sales leadership role, or for that matter, anybody into a sales leadership role, recognize that the science shows that the average age someone receives their first promotion into management is the age 30. HBR wrote an article about this a year ago. And the average age that that same person receives their first leadership training, age 42. So I mean, what you’ve got is these otherwise, you know, well-intended high-producing people, wrecking havoc across cultures and you know, doing damage across people. Not because they’re sociopaths or because they’re bad people. No, they’re Scott Miller. They’re, high-producing well-intended people that don’t know how to lead other people. They don’t know how to get somebody else to achieve the same results. They think their job is to turn everybody else into their clone. Or their mini-me. So they go out, you know, killing people’s self confidence, trying to turn them into a versions of themselves. And not every case. I think an easy way to turn the tide on that is the next time you want to promote someone into a leadership role, be it sales or otherwise, sit them down and have a crucial high-stakes conversation: “Hey Andy, as you know, you’re our top salesperson and we’re considering promoting you to be a sales leader. Let me tell you Andy, on this chart pad behind me, I’ve drawn a T-chart. On the left side, these are the seven things you do really well. Andy, quite frankly, you’re best of class. You crush these as a sales person, and Andy, of these seven things, you literally have to stop doing four of them the day you become a sales leader, because what got you here, isn’t going to take you there. And here on the other side of the T-chart, Andy, our nine new leadership competencies that you currently, quite frankly, don’t possess. That’s okay. No problem. We trust you. We’re going to invest in you. We’re going to have a series of high-courage conversations with you and coach you in real time, but literally you will need to stop doing these four or five things and begin doing these seven or eight things, quite quickly, not tomorrow, but in the coming days and weeks and months.” I don’t think enough leaders have that courageous, uncomfortable conversation with potential new leaders. If someone had done that to me, I would have better realized, “Oh, you know what? That makes sense. Thank you. Not everyone’s job is to do this, this and this. I do that uniquely. I can’t force that into anyone. Oh, my job is to build their self confidence. Oh, I see. My job is to allow them to fail a couple of times and then have a really gracious, but brutal conversation around what went right, what went wrong? Give feedback, accept feedback.” So I think there’s that little bit that could vastly change the trajectory of people moving into management on their way to leadership.
Andy Paul: Right. So there’s, there are a lot of words in there. Let’s talk about some of those is so, you talked about the lack of training, right? We don’t, so for me, one of the biggest issues with leadership to your point, precisely as well as management is lip service at best provided to training people in either of those disciplines.
I mean, gosh, I, I had one management team, I got promoted early 23 to be a sales manager, working for big computer company. And I got two weeks of training. And that was it. Right. And that’s been it through my entire career now. Good chunk of my career was with venture funded startups. Yeah. Training just didn’t occur.
Right. I mean, you had, hopefully had a mentor that could help you in my case, I was fortunate, but, but we put people in these roles and then we just strand them.
Scott Miller: Well, I think two weeks is quite generous. I think you’re fortunate to have, you know, focused on that. I think,
Andy Paul: That was, that was 40. That was 42 years ago. Yeah.
Scott Miller: hear you, sir. I think that generally speaking, I think I would conduct less training on broad skills and more what we’ll actully move lead measures. Right. I don’t know that salespeople always understand their company’s money-making model and they understand a P and L and profitability and margin
Andy Paul: and –
No, they don’t that’s and that’s one of the problems. They don’t have the business acumen they need.
Scott Miller: That’s exactly right. So if I was leading a sales organization and I have, I might someday again, I would make sure that, you know, beyond just product knowledge, right. Or selling skills, I would make sure that our sales performers really understand what is our company’s moneymaking model. And they understand the profitability and the expense of, you know, selling to clients that we don’t want. Because not every client is a great client for us, for our brand, for our fit, reputation, for our business models. So I think it’s really important to make sure that we, you train and we educate. Maybe in a variety of things. It might be on EQ skills, might be on, you know, intuition. It might be on establishing rapport and understanding the behaviors of trusted partners, how important it is to both meet your quarterly, monthly sales commitments, but also not sell solutions to clients that aren’t going to end up repeating or referring or being our champion.
There’s so many, there’s so many skills teach. I would prioritize them typically, always around What do we need you to go out and do so that our company can thrive and build a thriving career for you? I think too often, we train on technical skills and features and benefits. When in fact, a lot of salespeople leave a lot of business on the floor because they lack the ability to understand really what is the job to be done. What is the client really hiring your solution to do? And Clayton Christianson who passed recently, prolific author researcher, speaker. A member of our board, right? I mean, he, he didn’t invent, but he popularized in his writings, this idea that people don’t hire you and they’re not hiring a screwdriver, right or a drill, they’re hiring you to place their photo on the wall. Right. So when they go to the hardware store, they’re hiring a three inch hole. Not a three inch drill. And that’s a cliche now, but I think it’s important, right? To really help your sales people understand what is your client’s problem and is your solution, the right fit. And don’t sell them something
Andy Paul: we get back to that business acumen thing though, I’m sorry to interject, but it’s just because I think it’s as important to lay out, is that, yeah, one of the real shortcomings is, you know, CEOs in sales, CEOs those overwhelmingly say that they, I think it was Gartner survey it’s like 80% of CEOs said they found no value in meeting with salespeople and it’s, and it’s not only because the salespeople don’t understand how their own company makes money, is they don’t have the acumen understand how their customers make money. And so this, this, how would this double sided thing where we’re not, not educating our sellers, to your point precisely. we think it’s enough to say here’s the sales process. I’ll teach you in the mechanics of the sales process and technology we use to execute it, but I’m not not going to teach you the things that really have value to the customer.
Scott Miller: I think that’s why some of your most effective sales people have an insatiable curiosity right. They’re more curious about their customers legal than they are their own. They’re more, more invested in helping their customer meet their annual revenue goal. Then they are meeting their own. It’s a great question to ask, right?
It’s ask all your salespeople. So raise your hand, who can tell me your own quarterly goal? I hope every hand will go up. Keep your hand raised. If you can tell me the quarterly goal of your top customer. And I’ll bet you, every hand will go down and that’s a mindset. Yeah, that’s a, that’s a belief system is if you believe, and this is could be cliche it, try it because you can, you can customer service yourself out of a job.
If you don’t eventually sell something, right. Or you can ask so many questions and peel the onion to the core, there’s nothing left to dip your chip in or put it in your burger. But this is, this requires a mindset shift for your salespeople to be obsessed with their customer’s performance or obsessed with researching their prospect and not just looking at the website and, you know, but I mean like deeply looking at their 10K and their 10Q in their report and their last investor call and really deeply understanding what the prospect or the client is trying to accomplish and try to find a good match.
Andy Paul: Yeah, well, even if they’re not a public company, they don’t have access to those, those filings. you still ask the questions right? Without to your point without peeling the onion all the way to the nub. It’s just. How you start that conversation. You have it, but we’re not this my point. That’s sort of in the book I thought one of things that I wanted to see more of is this idea of how, how should we be investing in developing our people? I mean, you have a lot about coaching in there, but yeah, probably in sales, in the sales world, particulars coaching’s really become this bastardized term. Right. Is it doesn’t mean what people think it means it’s become taken over red people think it means I’m just going to coach you how to win this deal. Right. It’s become opportunity coaching as opposed to how Michael Bungay sat in your has in his book, the coaching habit, which is all around development of the individual and their abilities to solve problems.
Scott Miller: Right. I mean, to your point, and this is a broad topic, right? Coaching has taken on a life of its own, you know, player, coach, coach has leader and beyond. I look at the sales force at Franklin Covey. I mean, if you look at, when we have a large sales force, you have, you know, 200 boots in the ground here in the U S and other, you know, 40 or 50 in the education system.
So a Salesforce are two 50, not massive, but you know, a sizable organization. Yeah. It takes probably, you know, three hires to keep one, right. We lose about a. About two thirds of all new hires and that’s probably, you know, better than some industries, worse than others, we start with fit, right. We really start to make sure that there’s a cultural fit, that we’re the right fit for them, and they’re the right fit for us.
And that they really have passion around our mission, that we communicate our mission. We set really clear standards around behaviors. Activities around understanding the mechanics of, you know, the sales process to your point, but also really, you know, really searching, like I said before, for curiosity though, do these people have an insatiable desire to help their clients succeed?
Andy Paul: How do you screen for that? That’s I mean, this is a great question for me, cause I, yeah, I, I have written about this, this use, this exact term. I came out of college with no discernible job skills, except I had an insatiable curiosity and a competitive streak, a mile wide. So I went into sales, and you know, for me, I was like the two basic things you needed to have is insatiable curiosity. But how do you, how do you screen for that when you’re hiring? This is, this comes up all the time.
Scott Miller: Yeah. Yeah. A lot of questions. I mean, I think questions I’d ask is, you know, tell me the five books you’re reading right now. And don’t tell me the Bible. I mean, literally, you know, what, what three newspapers did you look at this week? What, what can we, the 10 magazines that you’re subscribing to that don’t tell me, you’re listening to podcast and you subscribe to blogs.
I mean, I want to hear more than that, right? Tell me some examples of when you know, you went into a client. What, what does that look like when you go in, what do you take with you? What kind of questions do you ask? And by the way, I’m looking for self-awareness, you know, you may ask very few questions. You might just be listening.
What kind of, what is your, what is your prep process? What is your research process? You can learn a lot about someone by just letting them kind of, you know, trip all over themselves. So I think one of the ways you screen is by really understanding what is the way they develop their own skills. You know, most people, I don’t, most people I work with don’t read a lot. I think reading well, I think, I think the younger generation is now moving towards, you know, podcasts, and the web. And I mean, you know, I like you, I host a podcast every week. I’ve read four books this week because I’ve had four interviews. Like I literally covered a cover, have read four 230 page books because I had four interviews for my podcast. And you would recognize four of the books that if I mentioned them right now, but I think as a sales person, well, and was not yours, cause I did not interview you this week, but if I do, I would read your book cover to cover me. Let me share a great example of curiosity. Right? I was interviewing Brian Grazer, the famous Hollywood producer director writer, author, and he wrote a book, A Curious Mind. And I strongly advocate that book to your audience. And he wrote a story in this book about how, I don’t know, a decade ago, Brian Grazer was doing some research for a movie he was considering optioning. If I had the story. Right. And so he found Isaac Asimov, right? The famous, I think it was a physicist scientist author of dozens of books. Right? If you were, if you are under the age of, or over the age of 30, you know who Isaac Asimov and he passed away, I don’t know, five, six years ago or so. Anyway, Brian Grazer through his clout got Isaac Asminov to go to lunch with him and Isaac Asimovm brought with him, his wife, his current wife. I think he had several, I think he had many and midway through the luncheon conversation, Brian Grazer, this face seemed, you know, imagine entertainment, Ron Howard, you know, huge list, huge list of major motion, pictures to his credit midway through the lunch. Brian gracious asking Isaac Asimov questions. The wife stands up and basically says, this meeting is over. This is a waste of our time. You clearly have not done the research on my husband’s work by the nature of your questions to warrant this meeting going any further. And they got up in and they walked out and they left. Brian Grazer sitting there at the luncheon tableI think it was the Ritz or something. Some hotel in New York city. And of course, who wouldn’t be offended?
And then Brian Grazers, you know, humility, he says, you know what? She was right. And he said since then it has instilled in me a level of preparation, pre-work, research, curiosity, to make sure that I do that I deserve the attention, whoever I’m sitting in front of it. And it had a profound impact on me that now whenever I podcast or have a podcast, I also host a radio program on iHeart radio, and I interview people. They deserve me to read their book and watch four or five interviews on you know, other podcasts they’ve been on and look at it, look at it, come up some of their white papers. And I do my best to spend, you know, multiple hours prepping for a 30 minute conversation. Sometimes I don’t do as well as I’d like, I think that same skill should be transferred over into every sales person.
I once heard Rudy Giuliani back before he went sideways. I mean, he’s just, he just, he disappeared didn’t he.
Andy Paul: Yeah, he has in the
Scott Miller: loving a coronavirus. Your greatest gift. Rudy Giuliani was the coronavirus. I used to be a big Rudy Giuliani fan. I am not anymore. He lost my respect, but I was a big follower of his, I know his career.
I heard him speak once at the world business forum. And Andy, he said that as a federal prosecutor, he was a very, very successful federal prosecutor in New York city. He said he, he spent for every one hour, litigating in the courtroom. He spent three hours back in his office, preparing for the trial.
And that always set set me as for every, you know, one hour in front of a client. You want to be doing three hours of preparation, learning, listening, fine tuning your skills, making sure you’re have a system to capture all they’re saying, and you weren’t asking dumb questions, like, well, so tell me your goals for the year and I read your inner report and I see where growth,
Andy Paul: hat up at night? The worst question.
Scott Miller: what keeps you up at night or yeah. How many people work here? I mean, you know what good grief.
Andy Paul: What are your pain
Scott Miller: points?
I hope, I hope I need all that to be inspiring. What are your pain points? Right. Good grief.
Andy Paul: I want that question. I want that question banned from sales.
Scott Miller: No one would dare ask me that what’s my pain point meeting payroll next week. What do you got for me? Right. I mean, come on.
Andy Paul: But I think what you’re talking about though, is this, this desire to prepare is which I, I agree with you a hundred percent on that. And I do that for, I think one of things that sets this show apart and the sales realm from all the others is that I do read the books. I do prepare, I’ve got the whole five pages of questions here that we, if we had two hours, we had spent talking about, but it’s, it’s not just respect, I think it’s also something you talk about in the book, quite frankly, is humility. It’s not the assumption that I know enough to have this conversation without preparing. It’s not enough. I think this one thing, a huge failing on the part of too many salespeople is this assumption that you we’ve prepared them with personas.
And we know we know what their, what the customer thinks and feels supposedly at a reset. So if I ask you something, I start to know what you’re gonna tell me ahead of time.
Scott Miller: I have two quick thoughts on that. Jim Collins and I have become friends through our company’s a dear friend of our CEO and one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard, Jim Collins say, and this is pretty profound and that is spend less time being interesting and more time being interested.
Andy Paul: Yes. Well, tell you, make yourself
Scott Miller: A great sales, so yeah. Or, or, or, or, or, you know, be interesting at cocktail parties, but be interested when you’re sitting with a client. And I think that’s a, that’s a profound mantra for salespeople to remember. The second thing came from another friend of mine, Liz Wiseman, right. She wrote a book called Multipliers, phenomenal book. She endorsed Management Mess. Franklin Covey now has the license to her content. But Liz Wiseman really taught me the concept and, and millions of others around stop being the genius, but rather be the genius maker. And I think I spent too many years of my career trying to be the smartest person in the room, trying to be the genius in the room.
I have a great story. If we have time for it around some humility, I learned from reading Liz’s book, but I think great leaders, great sales leaders, great sales professionals, aren’t trying to be the genius, but they’re trying to be the genius maker, your intent, your mindset, your belief system, your, your, your motivation is to make your client a genius in their organization.
That really changes everything you do, how you spend your time, your motivation, when you call them how you help build up their credibility, how you make them win.
Andy Paul: and the same thing goes for the people that work for you, right. Is you want to make them geniuses within the organization, you know, you gotta make them win the same thing, right?
Scott Miller: Can I build on that?
Andy Paul: Yeah. Go ahead.
Scott Miller: You know, I’m 52. I was the Chief Marketing Officer for Franklin Covey. You know, this was a legitimate, legitimate job. And I owned the brand for the whole firm. I also was at the same time, the EVP of Business Development. So all I didn’t own sales. I owned, you know, keeping the revenue pipeline going for the company worldwide and I always felt like as the Chief Marketing Officer, my job was to be the smartest person in the room. There was a joke, best idea wins as long as it’s Scotts. And so I felt like my job, my contribution was to be the most creative, the most hardworking, the most, sightful, the most well read. And to some case as the Chief Marketing Officer, you’d hope that you have some contribution, you know, after reading Liz Wiseman’s book multiplier realized. Oh, my gosh, I’ve done a disservice. I’d done a disservice to our entire team, to our clients, to our company, to our shareholders, that my job is not to be the smartest person in the room. My job is to be humble enough, confident enough, that I am secure enough to go out and hire people who are palpably more capable than me. That are, that are noticeably more talented. I think for too many years, Andy, I hired people who were nice and amiable and competent, but that day that I did not think they were smarter than me because I feared that they would eclipse me. Now they probably were more competent than I gave them credit for, but as I began to hit a turning point in my life, late forties, frankly, early fifties, I realized, Oh crap, that’s not my job.
My job is to actually go out and find the world’s best expert on Salesforce.com, the expert on Google Analytics or on marketto or on marketing automation, whatever it is and bring them in and left them immediately eclipse me, let everybody realize everybody here is smarter than Scott. Scott’s job is to build a culture where he can recruit them and retain them.
And so that’s a massive, massive mindset shift for me. And I’d say to sales leaders as well, don’t be threatened by hiring more competent salespeople than you. Go after them and, you know, lay down the red carpet and your job is to not just get them in, but keep them. By training them, by educating them, by cutting out the red tape and the bureaucracy and making sure they have all the tools they need to go out and crush it for you. Make sure every one of your salespeople is a better sales person at some point than you are. That should be your job. They should be earning more money than you. If you’re doing your job right.
Andy Paul: Well, let me, let me ask the question to start to expand on that. Because one of the things that you hear from millennials, a fair amount is that we don’t have enough opportunity because anytime a new job opens up management level or whatever, the higher-in for it from the outside, as opposed to developing us and giving us those opportunities.
And so it seems like part of the leader’s job should be is yeah, if I’m doing my job well, is I should have a higher fraction people that I’m developing and promoting into these roles rather than having to recruit from outside. Unless it’s something new, distinct competence or something it’s not on the company, but in general, you know, there’s this sort of groundswell that yeah. Give us a shot at those jobs.
Scott Miller: Are you speaking about getting your shot at leadership roles?
Andy Paul: Yeah. I mean, it’s developing people into management and then into leadership roles is, yeah, there’s been research on this and, and I’ve had guests on the show have talked about it and I’ve talked to millennials about it as well. And yeah, it’s, I feel like anytime there’s a, especially you see this in like tech startups, we need to bring it getting hire new manager for sales. Oh, let’s hire somebody from the outside. and, but it’s not just startups. You see it in organizations more generally.
Scott Miller: Yeah, I think a couple of things on this, and this is not my expertise, but I do have 30 years of real experience facing this exact decision. So perhaps I do have some expertise. I don’t care if you’re inside or outside. Right. My job is to make sure that I’m hiring the person with the right leadership competencies and leadership competencies draw upon not just technical skillset and not just interpersonal immaturity, but also understanding our culture, our mission, how to get things done inside of our organization. I’ll tell you a Franklin Covey, like everybody organization has a very strong culture. We have very little success hiring in senior leaders from the outside because they can’t thrive in the culture because they can’t understand.
Oh, how to get things done in this culture. So I, I, so I’d say the vast majority of our senior and mid level leaders have in fact been promoted internally because they had to learn the culture. The culture spits them out. The culture of a company is going to always be arguably bigger. Then bringing someone from the outside, look at Michael Ovitz, perfect example at Disney, right.
Perfect example cultures. I mean, a guy with a insane career as CAA, right? It didn’t last a year or two at Disney Disney. In fact, I think it was the board that almost forced Michael Eisner to move and, and, and, and Michael lasers had, or Michael Ovitz has had, I think, a good career since then. So I think the, the question may be more about who, you know, what are the right leadership characteristics to promote in this particular culture? Because I might be really great at Franklin Covey. I don’t think I’d be a great leader to be hired in Oracle. I said, I think I’d be a horrible leader at Oracle. I might be a great leader of Red Cross. No, no. So I think the fit both ways is important, you know? Do you fit here and do we fitwith you?
I also think, and this is not an, any way to diminish younger audience. I do think that the younger audience can learn a valuable principle in life. And this is at millennials, gen Xers, gen Y, Z, that the Corono generation, whatever we’re going to call in decade from now, is that there’s this thing called the law of the harvest and the law of the harvest is a principle that’s farmers have to follow. and that is, there’s a time to plant and there’s a time to harvest. And that if you interview potato farmers from Idaho, they will tell you that every couple of years they don’t plant potatoes. They, in fact, they plant a money losing crop, like alfalfa, where they don’t make money on it because they have to put nutrients back in the ground in order for next year’s potato crop to actually work. As they stripped the soil of its nutrients, they want to build and, and, and, and, and grow a better crop next year, they have to follow the law of the harvest. So I convert that to great career advice, which is honestly, I think too many people of the younger generation try to harvest too soon. Now, it doesn’t mean you stick around like me, it’d be a dinosaur for 24 years, but you know what? I’ve had nine careers inside of Franklin Covey. Every three years, I disrupt myself and I moved myself out of my job into a new job. Some of them have been lateral because I need to learn a new skill. I need to learn a new competency. Maybe I’m not ready or ready to take on that senior role yet. So I just tell people all the time, what are you doing to build your own capability, to make sure that you are a viable candidate for that leadership job? Because leadership really leadership is about vulnerability and confidence and intuition, looking around corners, connecting with people, recognizing the difference between being efficient and being effective, slowing down with people, recognizing that this idea that people are a company’s most valuable asset.
It’s total bunk. It’s not true. People are not a company’s most valuable asset. It’s the relationships between those people that are every organization’s killer app, because Andy can and be a black belt in six Sigma. And Scott can have a road scholar degree from Oxford, but if. Andy and Scott can’t get along, we can’t go on a client meeting together. We can’t one up each other. We can’t compliment each other pre-forgive each other. They’ll need you. And the same goes with sales, right? You can be the best rogue, independent sales producer in the company. But if you can, can’t be on time to staff meetings. You can’t coach other people. You can’t have an abundance mentality and lift others up quite frankly. I’d rather take two B performers that are collaborative and trustworthy than one rogue, a performer that’s in and out. I don’t see her for another two or three weeks and I’ve been through enough sales cycles, sales quarters to stand by that.
Andy Paul: Yeah. And I think there’s something in what you’re saying too, that I think should be brought out is, is that you can’t rely on the company to provide all that for you, you know, that you have to take responsibility. You did, you you’ve, you said you’ve had nine different disruptions and you’ve reinvented yourself. I look at my career, I’ve done at least nine times. But I took the initiative to do that. And I sat and read books at night. I listened to tapes in my car as I was driving, as I was learning how to sell, you know, hold on Earl Nightingale tapes and Zig Ziglar tapes and so on is-
Scott Miller: Yeah,
Andy Paul: Yeah, I wasn’t handed that.
I, I did it and I think there’s this perception that somehow the tools to enable you to become, to achieve at a certain level are going to be handed to you. And I think the lesson I, I I’ve always had in my career, and I think you’ve experienced as well, as you have to find those tools yourself and enable yourself as much as you expect from the company.
Scott Miller: Andy. I could not believe, believe that, or support you any more than you just said it. And this isn’t, a diss on any generation or any demographic at all. I think you have to take control of your own career. You have to be responsible for your brand, your reputation take responsibility for your own professional development.
Don’t blame the company. Don’t blame the culture. Don’t blame the leaders. I don’t blame anybody for any of my outcomes. I own every aspect of my outcome in life. I am responsible for that. I always kick myself out of the job before I’m too stale in it. I always am one year ahead of the boot. I’ve seen too many people.
Including inside Franklin Covey that overstay their job. Cause it’s good enough. It’s comfortable when people are talking about it. Right. And eventually they have to have a little bit awkward conversation. No, no, no, no, no. Don’t put your boss in that position. You take responsibility for your own role and you disrupt yourself when it’s time for you to move on.
I interviewed Whitney Johnson a few months ago. She wrote a book called, just that, Disrupt Yourself.
Andy Paul: She’s coming on in a couple of weeks.
Scott Miller: I wish. Yeah. Great, great interview. And Whitney talks about how, you know, the average lifespan most people have for a job is about three years and that doesn’t mean for a company or for a culture or for an industry?
But I think the more people take responsibility for when are you getting stagnant and how much of that is your job to constantly reinvent your skills? Educate yourself, train yourself. I mean, at Franklin Covey, I can’t tell you last time I’ve had some professional development. I’m an executive officer. I’m empowered to do it on my own, but. My CEO is not asking me to read the Wall Street Journal every day. He’s not asking me to read Fortune and Forbes and Fast Company and Inc and Wired. That’s my job, right? It’s not asking me to go on a plane and go to the world business forum and not everyone can afford to get on a plane, but I think people need to like, to your point, own your career. Dammit. And own your own training and then hope for the best in your organization, but take responsibility. I would never complain about somebody else investment in me. It’s just a mindset. No, no. I am Scott Inc and my job is to be responsible for all of my actions and all of my outcomes. And if somebody else offers me something that icing on the cake.
Andy Paul: Love it. All right. Well, Scott inc. We’re out of time.
Scott Miller: Imagine that Scott Miller talking too much.
Andy Paul: No, no. Believe me. It was, it was fine. It was fine. We had a great time. So, tell people how they can contact you or learn more about your book.
Scott Miller: Yeah, my wife says it’s kind of hard not to find me on the internet this day. you can just Google Scott Miller, Franklin Katia. I’ve actually authored two books. Now I’m privileged to have both of them become bestsellers. The first, which was today’s topic was management mess to leadership success. You can find it on Amazon, every bookstore in America, Barnes and noble has it.
And the second book that I coauthored is called everyone deserves a great manager, the six critical practices for leading a team that also debuted as a number three in the wall street journal list. You can follow me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook kind of hard not to find me go to Franklin covey.com and you’ll find me there too.
Andy Paul: Alright, Scott. Perfect. Thank you very much for your
Scott Miller: Thank you, Andy. Thanks for the time, man. Appreciate
Andy Paul: We’ll look for doing this again.