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Success Story Podcast

How To Use Simplicity & Transparency To Do Everything Better With Chris McChesney, WSJ #1 Best Selling Author & Franklin Covey Executive

By June 27, 2021March 5th, 2022No Comments

About The Guest

Chris McChesney is a Wall Street Journal #1 National Best-Selling Author — The 4 Disciplines of Execution.

In his current role of Global Practice Leader of Execution for FranklinCovey, Chris is one of the primary developers of The 4 Disciplines of Execution.

Chris has personally been at the helm of the most noted implementations of the 4 Disciplines, including the State of Georgia, Marriott International, Shaw Industries, Ritz Carlton, Kroger, Coca Cola, Comcast, FritoLay, Lockheed Martin and Gaylord Entertainment.

Talking Points

  • 02:45—30 years with one company!
  • 06:27 — A brief history of FranklinCovey.
  • 09:58 — Lessons learned through Covid.
  • 12:14 — Covid & the human condition.
  • 14:28 — What are the four disciplines of execution?
  • 16:40 — Leaders of leaders.
  • 18:20 — Urgent / important matrix.
  • 27:56 — How organizations pivoted, during Covid.
  • 32:19 — 80/20 principle.
  • 37:08 — How to get people to adopt innovation.
  • 41:26 — How to manage up in your company
  • 51:53 — Advice for young professionals.

Show Links

  • linkedin.com/in/mcchesney4dx
  • twitter.com/franklincovey

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What is the Success Story Podcast?

On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.

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Read The Transcript (Machine Generated)

Scott: [00:00:00] Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host, Scott D Clary. And today I have an incredible interview for you sitting down with Chris Chesney. He is the global practice lead of execution at Franklin Covey. He is a wall street journal, number one national best seller with the book, the four disciplines of execution.

Chris leads, Franklin. International practice team and practice implementations. Franklin Covey, you may have recognized them from or the name rather from Dr. Stephen Covey’s book, the seven habits of highly effective people. This is the organization that Dr. Covey created. And obviously Chris is a part of the organization and he’s been there since day one.

He has. Implemented the four disciplines of execution. Speaking about leadership, transparency, simplicity in your life, in your business. He’s worked. On these disciplines with state of Georgia Marriott, international Shaw, Ritz, Carlton, Kroger, Coca-Cola Comcast Frito-Lay Lockheed Martin, Gaylord entertainment, largest some of the largest organizations in the world.

He’s the one that implements these practices that he’s written about and that he teaches. It’s a great show. Chris is an incredible, incredible charismatic individual. He’s one of Franklin Covey’s most sought after and requests. Speakers. You will love this episode. Stay tuned. He speaks about how to use transparency and simplicity to do absolutely everything better.

Thanks again for joining me today, I am sitting down with Chris McChesney, who is a wall street journal bestseller. He is the author of the four disciplines of execution. He is a leader at the Franklin Covey Institute. We’ve had two other individuals from this organization on the show. He has more than a decade in building out Franklin Covey’s design and development through these principles.

He’s worked in leadership and. Organized consultation. He’s helped organize organizations, both his own as well as as well as some of his clients grow and manage pre pandemic, but also the the tumultuous times we’ve had over the past year as well. So, you know, Chris, we’re going to break down what you’ve done to get into the spot you’re in now, where you came from, how did you align with an awesome organization?

And I can say that now, because. I’ve read the book, I’ve interviewed two of your peers and now you’re going to be the third. So how did you get into Frank Covey? And then also let’s talk about the book, how it, you know, how it applies to people pre COVID, especially throughout COVID and I’m just really happy to have you on, so

Chris: [00:02:56] thank you.

Thanks so much, Scott. Well, it’s interesting that you asked that question. How I got it with Franklin Covey because this month is 30 years. 30

I. I, I, I tell people I started as a, it was an Eagle scout project. I started doing that actually that’s a more credible, I, they would not interview me.

And I was, I was in college at the time. And Stephen Covey was the Covey leadership center. Stephen Covey was right down the street. I was a huge, I see the seven habits book right over your, your left shoulder there. Right. Just come out. He’d only been out about a year and I was dying. To work like this was my passion.

Like I had decided this was something I was going to do and they couldn’t, they wouldn’t interview me. And so I had this crazy scheme and I pretended to work for the local newspaper. And I told them I was writing an article on the fastest growing companies in the state. And could I interview Stephen Covey?

And they wouldn’t let me, they wouldn’t let me get near Dr. Covey, but I ended up HR. And then the second lie, I I told them I needed an internship and I really. But while I was there interviewing them, I said, I could use an internship. And they hired me as a, as an intern. The the newspaper published my article to keep me from being a complete liar.

And four months later I got called into human resources and they said, look, kid, this is what you’re doing is illegal. Like, we cannot not on your part. They said, There no internship. We found this out. You’ve just been a stole away for four months. You can’t. They said we don’t have the heart to fire you.

It’s funny. There’s an episode of Seinfeld where Kramer just goes to work for some company he doesn’t work for, but I did this before Craver did it. And unlike Kramer, they did not fire me. They, they hired me on in 1991 for a few bucks an hour. And that is how I got on with.

Scott: [00:04:52] That’s an awesome story, man.

I had no idea. That was your story before you just told me now that’s a great story that shows some tenacity. Now I would highly recommend everybody and you’re like exactly what you did, but there’s some lessons there. There’s definitely some lessons. And, and if you want it, go get it. And I would say that gets people’s attention.

If you start writing articles on them. Good for you, man. So, so this is your whole career, your whole careers with this organization.

Chris: [00:05:18] And yeah, I, I would say that’s, that’s fair to say this has been my yeah. 30 years and the education that I got as much as you’ve learned from being at Covey leadership and Franklin Covey, has it became a 97.

And that you’re surrounded. You’re always pushed. We always tell people that we say, you know, you are going to get pushed and stretched. The most learning really came from the clients. We learn a lot from the organizations and the leaders that we get to work with. If you’re paying attention, you can learn.

Scott: [00:05:57] Yeah, no, I agree. I think that that’s probably some of the most rewarding work when you’re working in a consulting or a leadership or an organizational consulting role. So let’s tee it up just for people like a quick sentence for people that don’t know what Franklin Covey is. What’s the organization trying to accomplish?

Why has everybody heard about the seven habits? And it’s sort of a 360, because I think a lot of people like myself before I started. Everybody on your team. I’ve read the book. I know the book, but I didn’t know the whole organization. So just a quick brief on that.

Chris: [00:06:27] Yeah. So the Franklin Covey is a, is a worldwide.

We have, we have over a hundred international offices and we’re pretty significant presence in the United States. Really leadership development firm. It’s probably a good way to capture what we do, whether it’s personal leadership or organizational leadership. And if there’s something that is unique about our organization, we are very focused on first principles on underlying truths.

Right. Dr. Covey was a big believer that best practices where a diamond does it, but if you can really identify a fundamental law truth, Avionics and flying an airplane. The four truths are lift thrust, weight and drag. Like if you understand those four principles or laws, you can go a long way. And so that’s sort of, if there’s one theme that runs through our work, it’s the understanding and the application of principles.

I think probably stupid.

Scott: [00:07:27] Good. Good, good good definition. And what do you do? What’s your, your day to day at Franklin cubby.

Chris: [00:07:35] All right. So I, right now, they they’ve in the last two years. They’ve said Chris, because I like to get in everybody’s business. I said, this is your lane, Chris, we have a lane you get to speak and you get to talk.

And that’s been really fun. So the last basically the last two days. I’ve been building a practice within Franklin Covey. So if you have ever thrown out the term, intrepreneur right. Somebody that’s an entrepreneur inside of an organization, that’s kind of been a textbook definition of my role for the last two.

Two decades has been building this, this portion of the organization, this execution practice within Franklin Covey. And now you don’t get to do that anymore. Chris, you get to, you get to write and you get to talk. They’re taking, I think they took all the nonsense from me. They could handle it. So doubt.

It’s, it’s very rewarding. I’m still very closely associated with the practice, but if it’s in more capable hands at the moment.

Scott: [00:08:33] Yeah. That’s because, yeah. That’s where eventually, you know, being in an Oregon, being in an organization for 30 years, the longest I’ve been in an organization is about seven or eight years.

So I can only imagine after 30. You, your quasi feel like you, you run the show to some extent just because you’ve been there for such a long time. And I feel like you’re a fixture, right?

Chris: [00:08:54] It look at the tickets is that the organization changed so much that it’s a different organization today than it was seven years ago and the seven years before that.

So even though, yeah, even though I’ve been there a long time, it’s it just keeps, you know, organizations reinvent themselves. And the more so it’s been, yeah. It’s, it’s not been, it’s not been redundant.

Scott: [00:09:15] No, it’s true. And that’s actually sort of a Testament to, I think how a lot of we’re going to talk about this.

And I was actually, I was actually listening to your podcast with Scott, which I’m pretty sure just went live today. It’s listening to it. I was working out this morning and one of the topics you brought up was pivoting and it’s actually, that was a beautiful segue, unplanned, beautiful segue. So pivoting staying with the times, let’s speak about.

Some of the things that you are witnessing with businesses because you deal with a lot of them, you learn a lot of lessons from the businesses that you consult with how they have managed themselves over the past two years. Now, God forbid, two years. What are some things that you’re seeing?

Chris: [00:09:58] Well, there’s a high level dynamics.

A really good question, Scott. I think, let me, let me start with what’s universal. What appears to be universal? What appears to be universal is that everybody seems to be at a pivot of some kind right now, which is unique over the last 20 years that we’ve been doing this work. You know, healthcare is always talking about how much change is going on there and this industry in high-tech complaints about the rate and the pace of change.

So there’s always that change dynamic, but nothing like what we’re experiencing right now. Coming out of the pandemic, whether you’re changing for survival more often right now, people are pivoting and changing to drive an opportunity. They’re trying to take advantage of something or their customer’s changing because their customer’s changing, they’re having to change.

And so everybody seems to be in this pivot spot. Well, the interesting corollary that goes along with that right now is that on a human level, people, the people that have to drive this. Are experiencing so much personal uncertainty and ambiguity and change. It’s like this kind of perfect execution storm where everybody’s got to move, but the people that have to do it are like, I can’t take any more crazy, like give me a break.

Would you add, so that dynamic, like when you talk about that, everybody goes through, camera’s like, are you spying on us? Did you, did you like, so that is the, now that it looks different. At different places, but that theme about moving, having to pivot and with a group of people that are pretty much yeah.

I’ve I’ve had about all I can take right now. Yeah.

Scott: [00:11:32] So, okay. So that’s about, that’s about the exact situation that’s probably occurring in almost every company in, in the world right now. Give or take, right. Except people maybe that already had something. Yeah. Optimized for say like virtual event providers or people that already were selling masks, pre pandemic, everybody else is trying to figure it out.

Right. So, yeah. So what are the, what are some of the ways that people are surviving? What are some of the ways that you see leading. Actually overcoming personal issues while simultaneously dealing with mental health, stress, pressure sickness sometimes. But also guiding their organization successfully because it’s happening.

Chris: [00:12:14] Yeah. You know, you know, they, they, the, the, the human condition is an interesting one. You know, people. People are capable of, of complaining under the best of times, right? We will, we will, we will take any luxury for granted. We have never been more prosperous as a right, as a world than we are right now.

And we’ve never been bigger belly acres, right. Even in a pandemic, people from a hundred years ago would go, what are you complaining about? Look at your lives, people. So there’s this one dynamic. Yeah, you can’t make people happy no matter what, but then there’s this other thing on the positive side, which is people are incredibly resilient at the same time.

So even though we bellyache and we, we always like, you know, find ourselves complaining about even the best of circumstances, but at the same time, I’ve been really. Like, I’ve seen a lot of really great responses. Some organizations will tell us, you know, we’re, we’re executing on things today that we have not been able to execute on.

Like this shook us out of the Malays that we’ve sort of been in. So you hear that our, our advice and the, and the clients that we’re working with, we’re really trying to get leaders heads around this one idea that says, look, if we know you have to pivot, we know you have to. Can you do it in a way that doesn’t increase personal ambiguity and uncertainty?

Like what if the one thing you have to execute on right now? What if that didn’t spike uncertainty and ambiguity? The way that new goals usually do? What if the new thing felt like a winnable game? What if it felt like the one piece of sand. In an otherwise crazy world. And it’s been a really nice, that’s been a really nice way to utilize kind of our methods.

And the four disciplines is let’s take, let’s take ambiguity and, you know, gut wrenching, uncertainty out of goal setting and performance right now, this is really, this is a real, really nice time to do that. And so that’s been, that’s kind of been our angle and, and, and how we’ve been working.

Scott: [00:14:28] So let’s, let’s let’s cue up the, the four disciplines and what they’re actually, so four disciplines are four disciplines that are focused on executing, executing in a business context, in a leadership context.

This is what, obviously what the, you know, this is the book that you just rereleased. Today, actually today we’re recording it on Tuesday, April 20th. Yeah. So congratulations. That’s exciting. It’s very exciting. Actually, so what’s, what’s the, what’s the rerelease about like, if people have already checked out this book, what is the rerelease?

And then I actually want to go into some of the more tactical stuff, but I’m just curious.

Chris: [00:15:03] Yeah. Yeah. So the, the, if you’re familiar with the four disciplines, the rerelease about 30% new content, really a lot of focus, I’m where to use this approach and where not to use this approach. This is not, you know, vitamin C, this is not good for what ails you.

This is heavy medicine, right. And where do leaders apply these disciplines and where not to, how do leaders of leaders? We go into much more detail on how organizational leaders apply. We do a lot with leaders that are finding themselves managing projects, and they’re not project managers. How do you apply the disciplines to a project goal instead of a, of, of a performance type goal?

And then finally sustainability, a lot of organizations that have been at this for almost a decade. How do you keep it fresh? How do you keep it alive? So those are kind of, I guess, the headlines or the highlights of. Of what’s new in the second edition and they’re,

Scott: [00:15:56] they’re valid points because I can, I can tell you from personal experience, the, the leaders of leaders point is something that nobody really, nobody learns in school.

It’s a very difficult thing. It’s one of the most difficult things to figure out. And then also just the project management piece, when, again, another leader of leaders, things, when you’re managing tasks, If you’re in sales and you love selling and you move into sales manager and you move into director sales, then you move into VP sales.

Well, now you have to manage projects. And now, and actually that’s the, one of the reasons why some people don’t like those executive roles because there’s a lot of leaders of leadership type requirements. And there’s a lot of project management type requirement. It’s so far from the actual act. Right.

Anyway, it’s good. Good


Chris: [00:16:40] And we’ll, we’ll get it by the way, Scott, I’m glad you said that about leaders of leaders. I’m glad that no, because the one of the coauthors of the book, Jim Huling and I are actually starting right now, we had the same thought you did. We’re starting right now. Another work on leading leaders and we don’t know if that’s the name of the book, a good name chapter.

And we, we, we, we had to cut this chapter short. We had so much on this topic and, and we, we had to say, Scott, we said the same thing you did. There’s not a lot out there. There’s a lot on leadership in a general sense. But in terms of the specific dynamics of when you’re a leader and you have to lead another leader, that is not, at least, at least we’ve not seen a great deal on those unique dynamics.

So that is something that we’re looking at.

Scott: [00:17:25] Oh, that’s a good, it’s a good topic. And I know that the audience here, some of them, everybody here is career-focused trying to build something themselves. So I would just say if you aren’t leading leaders, right, right. Regardless of whether or not you’re starting a side hustle, building something, you’re an entrepreneur and you want to build something in an organization.

There will be a point where this will be applicable in your career. May not be today. Right. But figure it out. So you don’t have to go through hell and trial by fire when you’re actually living it.

Chris: [00:17:54] This will be the reward of success. Exactly. Exactly. We’ll be leading leaders. That’s right. That’s

Scott: [00:18:01] okay.

So. We’re trying to remove ambiguity. We’re trying to take on tasks that ambiguity so that everything’s clear, everything is comforting. We see the end result, we see the vision. So first of all, how do we do that? And then how do we apply? Sadie’s four principles to executing when we have that clear vision.

So first, how do we get rid of that ambiguity?

Chris: [00:18:20] Yeah. So let’s do this. Let’s let’s put up sorta two obstacles and then let’s maybe walk through the desks. So the one obstacle is it’s not that people, we think this, but it’s not that people necessarily resist change. We think people resist change because it looks like they’re resisting change a lot.

What they resist is uncertainty. People initiate change quite a bit. So it’s, it’s really unfair to say that it’s a human dynamic to resist change. What people resist is the uncertainty that often comes with change. Okay. So if you said uncertainty as sort of. Issue. And then the here’s the second issue that gets in the way of execution and it’s it’s urgency.

It took us a long time to sort of see this. This was hiding in plain sight. The, any goal that you’re trying to achieve, any strategic priority, anything that’s really important will always compete with the day job. And we’ve given the day job a nickname called the whirlwind, right? So this day job, this world.

Always feels urgent, immediate. Oh, I’ve got to get back to so-and-so. Oh, I promised them I’d have that done. Oh, I’ve got to do this. Oh, I’ve still got seven unanswered emails. Oh, oh right. And so we’re working all day long and you can live in the whirlwind and not move on anything strategic and, and here’s the other problem in the moment when a human being is confronted with a choice between something that’s happening right now.

Or spending energy on something far more important, but less urgent. The human default does not go to importance. The human default goes to urgency. This is the great barrier to strategic execution. We’re not wired for it. We are wired for immediate. So you think about those two factors, this, this resistance to uncertainty and this, this whirlwind of urgency that we have to execute through.

So if you just think of those two things and then the, what are the, what are the four disciplines? All right. Well, the first one is called discipline. One’s called focus on the wildly important, and it’s a decision that L that a leader or an entrepreneur or a professional person makes when they. I am going to give something disproportionate energy.

I’m not going to ignore it. Doesn’t mean I got to ignore everything else. Everything else can go into whirlwind, but something’s going to get disproportionate energy and I’m going to, and not only am I going to narrow the focus, but I’m going to it’s a little bit like focusing a camera. I’m going to bring it into focus.

I’m going to give it a starting line. I’m going to give it a finish line. I’m going to give it a deadline. And there’s a whole science around how you do that in an organizational setting and how you do that between levels. But that’s what the first discipline is all about it. The first discipline is all about targeting really clear on, well, let me, let me give you a quote.

I really liked this, this, this was something that was said to us 20 years ago by the gentleman who’s now the president of Chick-fil-A. He was VP of operations at the time. His name is Tim topless. And he said, when I meet with him, Has he got one of the, yeah, one of the planet’s really good operators, right?

He said, when I meet with a leader, the first thing I want to know is where is that leader? Pudding, disproportionate focus, this, where are they bending? Like, I don’t want to know your seven priorities. I want to know. Well, number one, I want to know what’s your big bet. What’s your play, right? Otherwise, I know if they don’t have that, they’re on the defensive, they’re just, they’re just trying to see buyers.

Right. They’ll put out fires. They just want to get through it the week. Right. And he says it really helps me know where a leader’s head is. And I think that little statement started to influence the way we use the discipline. So, so it got discipline. One is about what I’m going after. Discipline two is called act on the lead measures.

So if discipline one is about the principle of focus, discipline two is the principle of leverage. It basically says, look, I’ve just, I’ve just identified something that by definition I can’t move. Otherwise I wouldn’t have identified. I’ve just deliberately picked this really important thing. That’s really hard.

And so if you think about a rock that’s too heavy to move. Yeah. And then you picture a lever, you can get a fulcrum and you get a lever under there. Right. And you know, what are the characteristics of a lever? Well, a lever, unlike the ride, you can move it. The lever is influenced. And when the lever moves, the rock moves.

So the lever is predictive. And so for 20 years we have been our, had our heads into this idea of where’s the leverage. Okay. So the classic example that everybody gets is weight loss. So people know, okay, if losing weight is the heavy rock, I’ve just not been able to accomplish right. Diet and exercise. We really are the lever.

Right. I could add, I don’t always act on it, but I can. Right. And they’re predictive if I stay with it, it works right. We don’t believe it works, but it works right. So it’s predictive and influenceable. What we found is that in every field of human endeavor, if you can get the targets low enough down to where the work is happening, you can find leverage points.

You can find what we call lead measures. Now a li so at least we measure predictive and influenceable. It’s not the same as a predictive indicator. Just one little distinction on this. If I was trying to grow corn, right. And crop production was my wildly important goal. That’s what we call the targets and discipline one, we call them wigs are wildly important goals.

My wildly important goal or my lag measure, right. Was crop growth, like similar to weight loss, a predictive indicator of crop growth would be Raymond. Right. We have, we have a lot of rainfall. We’re going to have a good crop growth. Okay. Well, you can’t control it. Okay. Very good Scott. Right. It’s predictably, but it ain’t influenceable.

Right? Lead measures are not predictive. Indicators. Lead measures are true. Leverage they’re influenceable and they’re predictive. All right. So, so getting, so you might have an organization with eight, nine different teams, each team. We, we really limit you to one wildly important goal per team per work group at a time.

This is what we found people get handle the day job plus one, right? So they got one wig. That team has been very involved in creating the lead measures. Disciplined three. Now it’s called keep a compelling scoreboard. And it’s really about for me, it’s about throwing the game on screen. Like that’s, to me, that’s a, that’s a tangible, it’s a binary switch when someone goes, all right, it’s live game on.

Right. And I engage. And the hypothesis that you’ve created a discipline one in discipline two, doesn’t put it into motion, but the minute you go game on, and for us, that’s been a scoreboard. So we have an app for DX, O S that we’ve got over a half a million people on, right. Utilizing and in very simple terms, it’s not like it’s not like a business scoreboard.

It’s not like a spreadsheet. It’s not like w w like a coach. We, we think of it this way. It’s not a coach’s scoreboard. You, you need those. You have those, this is a players scoreboard. Okay. So if you think about the scoreboard, right. Athletic event. It’s much more like that than it is the spreadsheet. They hand the coach at halftime.

So that’s disciplined. Three does the T can we take what we did in disciplines one and two? And can we make it go game on? And the discipline four is create a cadence of accountability and that is every week, right? Every team that owns a scoreboard, each individual making commitments, and then reporting the next week.

Like in addition to the a hundred things, I gotta do this. What’s the one or two things that are going to ensure we do the lead measures. Like if my lead measures are diet and exercise, right. What would a commitment be? We’ll do diet and exercise. No, no, no, no, no. We know that my commitment might be it’s going to rain next week.

So I’m going to get that gym membership because I hate running in the rain or I’m going to go to whole foods because I’ve got these recipes, but I don’t have the ingredients. Right. And I’ve got to reg. Right. Want to make sure that I’m not eating junk and then I’m hitting that calorie lead measure. So discipline one, get the focus discipline to get the leverage discipline three game on, and then discipline for if you’ve ever heard the adage force against leverage.

That’s right. That’s applying that force. So what we found is by doing it. We’re able to drive activities into an otherwise schedule of urgency and do it in a way that it doesn’t feel overwhelming to people where they’re like, I don’t even know where to start. So now we have breaks it down.

Scott: [00:27:11] Yeah. So this is, this is the formula to overcome that.

Inherent human need to focus on the urgent and then align it with that north star metric, those business goals. This is the formula that allows you to action. It’s actionable now. All right, this is, I like this a lot. I like this a lot. So this is, this is what you have been working on with organizations to pivot.

Yeah, but also

Chris: [00:27:36] let’s put a line at the holy grail we’ve been looking for, for some time you’ve been working for ages. Yeah. 20 years we’ve been fighting. We’ve been refining. We remember what I said about Franklin Covey and principles. Like these are the principles, focus, leverage, engagement, accountability.

I love

Scott: [00:27:56] it. Okay. So What has that been doing for organizations in COVID that are trying to pivot let’s let’s let’s work through some examples or your experience in case studies, whatever you want to go into so we can see the results because yes, these are great. They make sense. You’ve probably used them

Chris: [00:28:10] on companies.

Yeah. One of the things we’ve been amazed with is how universal they are. So, you know, we’ve had organizations that are trying to create a new file. At Kimberly Clark. Right. Which is like weird science. Like you’re trying to create matter. That’s like never really even read, never even seen before. Right.

And, and you’ve got these research and development engineers. So I’m one end of the spectrum. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got one of our coauthors BJ Walker goes around now. She’s sort of famous in her own, right? She goes around state government on ridiculous problems. She used the four disciplines 15 years ago to reduce.

Check this one out, reduce, repeat cases of child abuse. She lowered it by 60% across an entire state. Georgia went from having the biggest backlog of social services cases to having no backlog at all. Like she’s a weapon. And, and so like, they’re there, the application of this was way broader than we first, like we were thinking, you know, we want to have a more consultative sales approach or, you know, we were thinking.

Just pure like business terms. And it’s amazing in those, in those areas, if you do it right, like it’s like anything else, you got to it, how do


Scott: [00:29:28] how do you do it right then?

Chris: [00:29:31] Well, all right. So how do you do it? Right? That’s what’s in the second book is like, we put this thing out there, right. It sold a million copies and we got people trying it.

Right. We have our consulting practice. So we have a number of people. W a big chunk of what we do is helping people with this. There’s a lot of people doing it on their own with the book and we learned, wait a minute. Oh, we know what we said, but what we said, isn’t always what they heard. So the second book gives us a chance to say, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

So when we say wildly important, we don’t mean your biggest goal. Like we know rev, we know that profitability is the wildly important goal in a sense, but that’s not what we meant, what we meant. What’s the targeted objective. What’s the specific objective it’s it’s increasing subscription revenue in first time buyers.

That’s the wildly important goal. Like, like we were, we were talking about what’s the, what’s the most critical chapter in the book. That’s your wig. They would give us the title of the book. And we were like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, you can’t. If you start with the title of the book, there is no lead measure for that.

It breaks down. So there were just these ways that we started pivoting around. So, so I would say, how do you do it? Right. You’re getting tactical with it. You know, really picking your battles. Truly focusing was a critical piece. Lead measures, let the teams own the lead measures, even if you’re sure as a leader, you know the answer you ruin it.

If you, in this sense, if you just give them the answer, because you took all the engagement. Let them crack the code, let them own it. Like, one of the things we say is this is for four disciplines is for goals that you can accomplish, just because you’re the boss. Like if you can fix it, if you can mandate it or buy it, then mandated or buy it and be done with it.

Okay. For the exits, for the stuff you can’t mandate and you can’t buy, if you can’t mandate it, you can’t buy it. And you’ve got to get the hearts and minds of your people involved. That’s where this. Really makes an impact. So how to utilize your people. So there’s like, there’s like little subset rules inside of each one and people, people aren’t always great at it.

The first time they try it, but it’s like any game you learn, we think of it like a game once you’ve played it, a couple of rounds, you’re like, ah, okay, I got this thing now I know what to do with this thing. So don’t give up. If you get frustrated, don’t give up.

Scott: [00:32:03] I could see that because this, like you said, if you can mandate or if you can mandate it or you can buy it, do that, but this is meant to align the team, to bring the team in, to get them, to see the vision, to get them, to see the goals so that everybody can execute.

Right. But

Chris: [00:32:19] let me add something to that. Scott there, 80% of your work is like already locked in like the day job. Right. And then all the fight, you know, all the investments we make, all that’s boss decisions. So four disciplines is for that, like 20% of the effort where we say we’ve got to have a breakthrough.

Yeah. Right. Like everything else. But when it’s a breakthrough, that’s where he’s.

Scott: [00:32:45] No, I was just gonna say it’s a big deal when you’re trying, especially in a pandemic environment, when you’re trying to realign the org towards something that could save your business or your org. But one of the things when you’re doing major realignment is getting that buy-in and maybe not everybody read the book and maybe you say, Hey, go check out the book.

And they don’t, they don’t want to read the book and they don’t buy into it. So what do you do? What do you do when your team’s not buying into it?

Chris: [00:33:13] We wrote a, wrote an article recently kind of for non-book readers called the five five traps that leaders fall into. And it was sorta like without getting into the full methodology, there’s just some things that leaders can be very clear on. Even if, even if you haven’t fully dove into the full method.

So we would stick. So let’s maybe let’s do this like dumps, like here are the things you don’t do like so, so there is no four disciplines of execution, but as a leader, don’t do this. So first of all, don’t gang tackle goals. Don’t over goal the organization. Now you may have a lot of changes that you can make and excuse me, there may be a lot of changes you have to make.

And if you can buy some of those changes, okay, we’re going to need new equipment. Yeah. The back room, duh, duh. We’re going to need a, we need to hire a new marketing partner, without a doubt. We’re going to need, we’re going to need to buy that ad campaign. We’re going to need to write stuff I could buy and then stuff I can mandate.

Okay. We need a new structure. Okay. We’re going to have the ICS reporting to the RPLs and you know what I mean? We, we, we can, we can write those things. Yeah. We can handle the number of those, but when it comes to breakthroughs, when it comes to. This is a goal either there they’re either going to be into this or it’s not going to work.

Don’t do more than one of those per team at the same time. So that’s, that’s right. That’s like a leadership law. Like, even if you don’t buy into our whole methodology, like don’t violate that law who, the other one don’t substitute concepts for targets. It’s very easy for leaders to get attached to concepts.

Right. We have got to be more consultative with our customers or says the boss in the memo that they forget about 30 seconds after that read it. Right. That’s a concept, right? What’s a target, right? How do we, how do we be more? Okay. You know, how many accounts do we have where we’ve, we’re talking to multiple contacts at that time.

I don’t know. I just do that. Right. But, but what, like concepts don’t execute targets execute the language of execution. So be sure that whatever you’re pushing, isn’t a concept. It’s a target. That would be something you don’t do. Oh, here’s another one don’t confuse. Don’t give you is persuasion with engagement.

Okay. Oh, that’s a good one. That’s a good one. In other words, like I’m a leader and I like, I I’m so guilty. As a person, as a human being. I am so guilty of this, but don’t live under this myth that if I can just convince them how right the answer is, they’ll do it. But oddly has very little to do with whether go through it.

They’ll sit there and go brilliant. Chris. That’s fantastic. Fabulous key to our future. And then they’ll forget they ever talked to you and they’ll go back to the day job. You don’t. Right. It’s more about, can I involve them? Can I engage them well, can I get them to help me find the answer as opposed to, you know, convincing them that I’m smart and I’m a good boss and my strategy is good.

Like, geez, I had to learn that one the hard way. And the people I worked for it will tell you. Yeah, we’re not sure Chrysalis really learned that. Well, no, it’s just these, like, there’s just these, there are just some sort of higher level. Laws about right when it comes to when it comes to execution?

Scott: [00:36:47] No, it was, I was just going to say that’s probably the hardest thing to do it’s to it’s to get people to buy in and you always have, and I actually didn’t, I didn’t mean get leaders to buy in.

I actually meant get your team to buy in when you have like naysayers on your team as well, because that’s incredibly difficult. If you haven’t shown the results. Yeah, talk to what

Chris: [00:37:08] they’ve been doing. That’s right. And so one thing on that we’ve realized too, is that if you look at an average team, you have sort of a spectrum in terms of adopt something, we call an adoption curve, right?

So there’ll be, let’s say we get a team of 10 people. This is, this is like a wild generalization, but you’d be surprised how often it’s done. Right? So you have a team of 10 people and you’re trying to do something. You got two of them that are right in there and supporting you right out of the shoots, you know, more than set it.

They would matter if they might’ve been doing it before you said it. Okay. Those are what we call the models. We’d love to model everybody after them. Then on the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got two people. They’re not going to do it. No matter what. You, it may right there, we call those the nevers. So you get the models on one end, you got the never’s on the other, inevitably you’ve got these six folks in the middle who are the, not yet.

They’re not yet there, but they say all the right stuff. They’re like, yeah, I get why you’re doing it. I understand it. Totally support what you’re doing, Chris, but then they don’t do anything. All right. So you got, so you got models, not yet nevers. Here’s the irony. Most leaders. Fixate on the nevers, because they’re this visible example of what you don’t want and they fight with you and they argue with you.

But the truth is the nevers are no different than the, not yet. They’re all not doing anything. Yeah. And we fix it. And so the first thing we tell leaders is let go of your energy around the nevers. They’re never coming over. Promote them to customer it’s one of, but don’t give that your. And by the way.

And so then the second place that leaders tend to focus after they’re done, focusing on the nevers is they focus on the models because the models are so rewarding and they’re so exciting to be around. And they’re such a validation of your great strategies, but guess what? The models are already doing it.

There’s no opportunity there. All your opportunity is with the sixth. And those are the people that get the least amount of attention. So one of the mantras that we have an execution on to your question, Scott is moved the middle. Don’t like if I got to work with the nevers, I got to deal with human issues and I got to deal with why you didn’t get the promoted.

Why I got the promotion, why you didn’t get the promotion? Why you disagree with this all you’re like, no, like, don’t give that your energy right now. Your number one objective is the six people in the middle who could be doing it. Do I have the ability to do it, but are so lost at the day. And that’s a great place to start.

Matter of fact, this same, the same bell curve works across franchises, where you have hundreds of units working for you. Move the middle. You’re always going to have we tell leaders this, you are always going to have variables. You’re always going to have pockets of great performance. And you’re always going to have whether you are Marriott or whether you’re the worst hotel company in the world.

You’re going to have great performers and you’re going to have variability, but leaders just because you have variability does not mean you have to accept the shape of your curve, right? You want to move where you want to be as you want. You want seven modeling, one still in the not yet. And two never.

You get all the results you can handle with that formula like that. So that’s just, it’s a mindset around how you tackle those objectives that require that human buy-in. It’s very, very high level cursory cut. But did that make you? Oh,

Scott: [00:40:45] it’s a good advice. It’s good advice because I know that that’s, there’s, there’s just speaking from experience.

Like these are the issues that I’ve dealt with in my career and I see other people struggle with leading it. Yeah. And getting buy-in. And the only thing that we actually didn’t touch on, that’s also a, a huge pain point. When you’re trying to strategize in an organization, you have some sort of leadership position.

You have to figure out how to manage up. And that’s another thing. If you read this book and you love this stuff and how do you manage it? I don’t know. That’s a whole other show maybe, but that’s also a pain in the ass, right?

Chris: [00:41:19] Thought on that

Scott: [00:41:20] one. All right, let’s do it. Cause that’s also useful for people.

Chris: [00:41:26] And just, this is more personal than the four disciplines. There’s one, there’s one insight we know from four disciplines when it comes to managing up. First insight is be very aware of where you have a concern versus where you have influence, you know, that, that seven habits book over your left shoulder, his predominant model in there is the circle of influence, circle of concern. Right. People who are highly effective, do not put energy against things just because they concern them just because you don’t like it, just because you’re angry with it just cause you think it’s stupid just because it hurts.

You like the whole world has fallen into this crazy victim mentality that is just giving energy to the circle of concern. Right. The circle of all right, what can I actually influence? Where is this leader actually listening to me over which results do I actually affect? And the rule is when people put energy against their circle of influence, that smaller circle, it gets bigger.

When people put energy again, against all the things that concern them, their circle of influence gets smaller. You can watch that is the number one. Most I, in my opinion, most useful mental model for managing a career, putting energy against your circle of influence. Okay. So that’s rule sort of that the dominant rule with number one, one of the things that you can do when it comes to managing up is understand the agenda of your leaders.

Be less concerned about persuading them and be more concerned about understanding them. All right. Maybe I don’t like what you’re doing. Let me understand why like, like people are really useful. You can feel as you listen to people, the greatest need of the human soul is to be understood when you take the time and you invest in a leader that you think is crazy, what you find.

First of all, they’ll give you the time. If you’re really interested in understanding them and you don’t have an agenda other than to understand what is it they’re really trying to accomp. They’ll talk. Right. So you feel your influence start to expand, right? As you, first of all, you recognize where you’re going to give energy.

And second, you really invest in understanding third when it comes to what you do, even though a leader, let’s say a leader has got ridiculous number objectives that they’re piling on top of you hear this one. They want me to do this and they want me to do this. They want me to do this. Yeah, yeah, yeah. If they can think of more things, put more things on you as well.

They can only think of 12. That’s why you got 12. If they could think of 20, you’d have 20. All right. Here’s the rule. No, they can put all those on you. Mentally put all those things just in the day job. Give it whatever you can do the best you can, but you leaders, you still get to pick what’s the word?

Within your own circle of influence. You get to say within your own team, you get to say, Hey, I know they want us to do these 12 things, but guess what? We’re doubling down and subscriptions for first time users. And we think it’s going to have a halo effect on a whole bunch of other stuff. We had a, we had a plant manager at Frito-Lay tell us, after we presented the four disciplines, he said, I just got plant manager of the.

He said, I didn’t know anything about your four disciplines. He said, but last year, and that’s kind of where I got the 12th from. He said, he said they gave me 12 critical objectives, but our team only focused on one and we were plant of the year because the one thing that we hit had a nice halo effect.

They don’t know that we didn’t spread our energy evenly across all 12. So anyway, that’s just some top of mind, you still get to it doesn’t matter who your boss is. You still get to apply these points. Within your circle of influence. And the best way to manage up is what Dr. Covey teaches around habits four, five, and six, you know, and, and, and have it five that’s code four.

Think win-win seek first to understand and synergize.

Scott: [00:45:31] Very good. Very good. No, very good advice. I appreciate you filling the gaps. I don’t remember what four or five and six are. I’ve taught mine. I

Chris: [00:45:40] was like, oh shit. Yeah,

Scott: [00:45:43] no, that’s good. That’s good. Okay. So we, we went through a lot of stuff with the book.

I want to just ask a couple of rapid fire just about your career and some lessons you’ve learned before we, before we move off. Is there anything else that you wanted to just. Plug speak about book otherwise that we didn’t go into.

Chris: [00:46:02] No, this is, this is great. We’re very accessible. If you’re, if you’re, if you’d like more on this, if you want to do con we do a lot of virtual conferences.

Now we do live, we’re getting back into live conference. Chris McChesney 40 x.com. If, if you, if you, if you’re interested in having if you need a speaker, that sort of thing, or you think this is a good topic, and then Also the, the, the, just Franklin covey.com the website for any of the tools on this, if you’re interested in the app you can learn all about that at, at at Franklin covey.com.

Scott: [00:46:33] Nice. Nice. Okay. So, phew. I’ll put some, you’re going to send me some links or we’ll get some links. I’ll put them in the show notes too. So you can go check that out. No, no, it’s my pleasure. Thank you for coming on. Okay. Some quick, some quick. Rapid fire one piece. Yeah, for sure. No, no, no. So one piece of advice that you’d give somebody who wants to pursue a career in, I was going to say similar to yours, you have to define your career though, before you give advice on how to pursue it.

Chris: [00:47:02] Well, there are a lot of people that wanted to, I wanted to do this 20 years ago and it took, I took a while. My one piece of it, first of all I followed some mentors, Jim Stewart, around execution, Stephen Covey, Mohan, CALSA. Like I, I found the people that were doing the work that I really wanted to understand, and I found ways to support them and help them and learn from them.

So it was this, I heard it when I was in college, there was a speaker and the speaker said, stand on the shoulders of giants. And man, that, that was some advice that paid dividends.

Scott: [00:47:43] I’m going to add an appendix to that. What you said was not only do you learn from them, but you help them. And I think that’s where people miss the mark, they don’t offer any value and they just say, Hey, can you jump on a call?

Can you teach me something? And some people will do that, but you really want to stand out because if the, if the person is worth the time, there’s a hundred other people asking them that as well. So sometimes you got to write an article about it.

Chris: [00:48:07] I was going to work for Stephen Covey or I was going to go to jail.

Yeah, no, it’s cool. Your quote attributed to Einstein, which is there, there are a few problems that can withstand the constant onslaught of human thought. The good quick you want to do something. You keep working the PR, maybe you don’t get the thing you’re after, but you’ll get something close. Yeah.

Scott: [00:48:31] Good.

I like that. Okay. What’s a, what’s a myth about leadership that you’d like to debunk.

Chris: [00:48:41] I think the one that I was talking to a minute ago that that the key to leading people is persuading them.

Scott: [00:48:50] Good,

Chris: [00:48:51] good. Right. I think it’s, it’s sort of an unstated myth. You know, the key to leading people is valuing them. And engaging them and listening to them and letting them influence you. And persuasion is kind of a by-product of all of that.

And it often happens with people who still disagree with you. And they’re like, yeah, if I was in your shoes, I wouldn’t do what you’re doing, but you’re really a great person. And you’ve really helped me. And you’re sure I’ll support you, Chris. I think you’re crazy, but I’ll support you sometimes. That’s what it looks like.

Scott: [00:49:22] That’s a good lesson. That’s a good lesson. Okay. A resource could be books, podcasts that you’d recommend people. Go check out

Chris: [00:49:29] the other book right over your left shoulder. Let’s move one down to from seven habits to atomic habits. James clear dude is audit. That’s why I got my kids reading. We’re gonna have a dinner, this, this this when their home.

And they know the only people that get to go to that dinner are the people that have read the book. I have seven children, so they know you don’t read the book. You don’t go to cheat. I’ll go to cheesecake. I like

Scott: [00:49:53] that. That’s a, I don’t know if that’s persuading or if it’s just like mandating,

Chris: [00:50:02] right? It’s like, it’s like, you don’t have to read the book, but also when we go to cheesecake factory, we’re talking about a topic habits.


Scott: [00:50:08] And cheesecake factory is damn delicious. So I wouldn’t miss that.

All right. A lesson, you’d tell your younger self.

Chris: [00:50:17] Oh.

Really be okay with failure, really be okay with failure, that it was going to feel like failure most of the time. And you know, if you can just stay in the game even when it looks like you’re failing right. It’s the, it’s the quitting, that’s the real failing. And it, it, it emotionally, it feels bad feeling does not feel good, but all growth seems to be on the other side of that.

Scott: [00:50:54] I like that like that a lot. And then last question what does success mean for you?

Chris: [00:51:01] Oh, I had this conversation with my oldest, with my daughter yesterday, so you’re good. You’re set

Scott: [00:51:07] up for this.

Chris: [00:51:13] I really like, first of all, let me tell you, I, I like the journey and I keep reminding myself that I like the journey. Like it’s okay. Even though, even though everything isn’t where you want it to be. It’s okay. Like maybe the journey maybe loving the journey is succeeding. Maybe there, isn’t a point where you get to the top of the mountain and you say all the kids are happy and the business’s rolling in on its own.

And you’ve got the perfect life balance. And, you know, you know, I’m a big water skier and I’ve been able to ski consistently at the, you know, all six buoys at 34 miles an hour. And duh, maybe there is no sense. Maybe success is really loving the journey. And I sounds a bit cliche, but I’m kind of there.

Scott: [00:52:01] I think that it sounds cliche, but it’s true because I know people that at every level of their life they’ve been successful, they’ve been the definition, the classical definition of success and you make a hundred.

Yeah. And there’s more, you make a million and there’s more, you make 50 million and you’re still doing something else. You exit your company. And all of a sudden you’re building a new company because now you’re bored with your life. Like people never stop. And I think that’s really the,

Chris: [00:52:30] I watched a YouTube clip on Floyd Mayweather and watching boxing, YouTube clips lately.

And, and it was never ending. Like I thought, you know, come on a hundred million, 500 million really wasn’t, you know, he, he still wanted to scratch that. It’s just all it’s gotta be about. It’s gotta be about the journey

Scott: [00:52:47] it has to be. And, and people that are struggling it’s I don’t want this to come across as unsympathetic to the reality that a lot of people deal with.

Chris: [00:52:58] I know that too. Yup. But

Scott: [00:53:01] seriously, there is no. So I I’m aligned a hundred percent get to a point where you’re happy, where you’re safe, where you’re healthy, and then that should be your benchmark. And then from there, enjoy the journey, but hostile to get to that point,

Chris: [00:53:17] somehow Spotify put a song on my playlist, or you don’t have it.

It’ll give you suggest you songs and stuff. One of the title group of songs is called the richest guy in the center. Yeah. I don’t want to be there to be the richest guy in the cemetery. Like, like that’s the song right. With just out there and that if, yeah. Now, but let me say this too. One of the things I’ve told my children is that I don’t care if they struggle in their careers, but I don’t want them to be complacent.

Like, just like there’s no, you know, maybe there is no summit at the same time. I think settling is an equally bad. Sort of a problem. Like I think, I think this whole mortal existence of ours is really wired to growth and stretching is a very good thing. And I think part of enjoying the journey is not to be stagnant.

Like I I’ve told, I’ve told my kids, I’ve got some son-in-laws now as well. I’ve got a bunch of adult children and I’ve told all of them, like, I want something. I want something that will really challenge you to your core. Like maybe you’ll make money, maybe you’ll struggle, whatever. Or you probably do both, probably make some money, then you won’t make some money.

Right. Then you’ll make some money, then you won’t make some money. Right. Whatever. Right. But like, I like people being tested and I love the growth that comes with that. That’s part of the that’s part of, I think that’s a really important part of the human journey.

Scott: [00:54:42] Yeah. I agree. And I think that it’s not.

Philosophical or theoretical because you see people that retire and they die. They die when they retire, they die. When they have nothing else to do.

Chris: [00:54:53] Right. We’re

Scott: [00:54:54] now built like

Chris: [00:54:56] right away. Yeah. Right, right away. It’s not, it doesn’t take long. It’s an 18 month, like death sentence. A lot of times, like you have got human beings are built for.

Progress and growth and contribution. Right. And, and we, we atrophy really fast if we’re not clear. Yeah.

Scott: [00:55:17] Yeah. No good advice. Okay. Last thing, before we close up, where do people connect with you online? You have socials that you want to plug in the show.

Chris: [00:55:25] LinkedIn is my favorite. Yeah, just, just Chris McChesney on LinkedIn and and then that if you, if you want to reach out my business manager, Nick Smith, he’s great guy.

He responds to all the inquiries on on the website. Chris McChesney, 40 x.com. And you can get me through the Franklin Covey website as well. And. Just Scott. It’s been a pleasure, man. I really enjoyed our conversation today. It was, it was really, it was, it was unique conversation, man.

Scott: [00:55:52] I appreciate that.


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