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Success Story Podcast

Roger Connors, Chairman of Oz | NYT & WSJ Best Selling Leadership Author

By July 1, 2020March 5th, 2022No Comments

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Roger Connors is a four-time New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. He is ranked by the Top 30 Global Gurus as one of the world’s Top 10 Organizational Culture Professionals. He has co-authored the most extensive body of knowledge on workplace accountability ever written. He is recognized as a leading thought leader on the topic of organizational and individual performance, bringing over 30 years of extensive expertise in assisting senior management teams all over the world.

As a pioneer in the performance improvement space, Roger has developed #1 award-winning content and has published and interviewed extensively, including co-authoring the bestselling books: The Oz Principle, Change the Culture, Change the Game, How Did That Happen?, Journey to the Emerald City, Wisdom of Oz and Fix It! He has appeared on numerous radio, television, and webcast appearances including Business Radio (powered by Wharton School), Soundview Live, Fortune 100 Executive Teleconference, CNBC’s Power Lunch, KWHY-TV Market Talk, and numerous other broadcasts. In addition, he was a featured speaker at the Executive Office of the President of the United States in Washington, D.C.

He is now the Chairman and Co-Founder of Zero to Ten, a coaching and leadership training company. He is also Co-Founder and former CEO of Partners In Leadership, which has trained millions of people in over 50 countries. While CEO of Partners In Leadership, his company was recognized with industry-leading awards from Chief Learning Officer receiving Gold for Excellence in Social Learning and Gold for Excellence in Content, as well as winning recognition as the number one E-learning platform in the world (which hosts over 1 million users). During that time, the company was also named to the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing privately held companies in America for two consecutive years, 2014 and 2015.

Roger is a graduate faculty professional member of Utah Valley University. He is an adjunct for the MBA program, Woodbury School of Business.

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Stories worth telling.

On the Success Story podcast, Scott has 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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Roger Connors, Scott D Clary


Scott D Clary  00:06

Welcome to the success story podcast. I’m your host, Scott Clary. On this podcast I have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, politicians and other notable figures, all who have achieved success through both wins and losses. To learn more about their life, their ideas and their insights, I sit down with leaders and mentors and unpack their story to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. Without further ado, another episode of the success story podcast. Alright, thanks again for joining me today. I’m sitting down with Roger Connors. Now Roger Connors is a four time New York Times and Wall Street Journal best selling author, he is ranked as one of the world’s top 10 organizational culture professionals. He has co authored the most extensive body of knowledge on workplace accountability ever written. He’s recognized as a leading thought leader on the topic of organizational and individual performance, bringing over 30 years of extensive expertise in assisting senior management teams executives all over the world. As a pioneer in performance improvement spaces. Roger has developed an award winning content and, and he’s published it across many works. He’s co authored best selling works, he’s written books himself, we’re going to speak about one of his most recent today. He’s appeared on various radio television, webcasts, podcasts. He has also been featured as a speaker at the Executive Office of the President of United States. He is the chairman and co founder of zero to 10, a coaching and leadership training company. He is a co founder and former CEO of partners and leadership. They’ve trained millions of people in 50 countries. He is a graduate faculty professional member of the Utah Valley University, an adjunct professor for MBA program at Woodbury School of Business. I’m just a very accomplished, really, really impressive guy. Thank you so much for joining me, Roger. I really appreciate the time to talk and, and give me some insight as to, you know, outside of the accolades, where did you come from? And how did you get to this list of really, really impressive things? What’s that? What’s your story?


Roger Connors  02:11

Well, thanks, Scott. It’s great to be with you. And I appreciate appreciate you having me on. So you know, it’s interesting, I think, as a young man, I probably I was maybe 10 years old. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my family having dinner each night. My dad was a middle manager at I think at the time it was either Farmers Insurance or State Farm and in and was an underwriter right, a field underwriter. So he was in the kind of the middle of this corporate mechanism, he would come home every night, and he was a wonderful man. But he would complain and grouse about his job. And sometimes he’d be so frustrated. And so irritated by what he was doing. I was watching this. And it left a really early impression on me that, you know, people are in jobs where they feel like it really sucks and their organizations aren’t working, and it’s not good for them. And I think that was an early impression on me that caused me to be interested in organizations and how you fix it. How do you how do you get that working better? That transition to the kind of a lot of interest around human performance in any field in any endeavor? And looking at how do you optimize human performance? So Mike, my career’s been, you know, really focused on that in terms of how do you scale improvement in human performance in organizations and in every type of setting charities, nonprofits, schools, wherever it may be? And it’s been? It’s been, it’s been a great experience. I’ve loved every minute of it. And,


Scott D Clary  03:39

and how, just from the, from the entrepreneurial aspects, so now, you know, you you’re sort of a thought leader in the space, I would say that’s something that I feel comfortable saying, considering them, like the body of works, you publish the mat, like the amount of effort and time and energy you’ve invested, you know, you’re talking about at this point, how did you get to this point, because although I think everyone who’s worked in a company ever sees a ton of issues with the way that organizational structure management, coaching training, there’s so many broken pieces in corporate I guess corporate what is known to be a corporate status quo. Yeah, but not everybody just built a career out of it. So walk me through how you got from So 10 years old you saw issues with middle management but that’s that’s a far cry from building out the the repertoire you have today. Yeah, where did you go from from there?


Roger Connors  04:33

So after after I got my MBA my one of my went to a small niche consulting firm and I have a very curious mind. I mean, when I when I see something going on with people, you know, I love kind of watching people and how they perform or why they perform. And one of my first projects was Three Mile Island. I don’t know if you remember that from way back when but they had a nuclear power plant that almost melted down and My first task was to go in with the team and figure out what was going on in the culture and the human dynamics that actually allowed that to happen. My second project was over on the other side of the nation with Drexel Burnham Lambert, and it was with Michael Milken. And if you remember him, the junk bond king. And this was after he was taken out of the business I went in, the task was figure out how to how does this organization continue to run without him as kind of the kingpin of the organization. And I was, I was hooked at that point, it was like, Okay, these are really interesting things. And so my focus has always been on thinking about how do you get traction, like real traction organizations? I theory is interesting. But it’s not it’s not as interesting as actually helping people make movement. So after, after my MBA, and I went to this consulting firm, I just kept working on consulting projects, where, you know, the task was how do you create real movement, and after seeing people, teams, companies create, you know, billions of dollars of shareholder wealth? You know, I became very converted to the idea that culture in an organization and team can drive performance in a pretty significant way. Now,


Scott D Clary  06:08

do you find that you find that every organization that creates that wealth has an optimized culture? Or Or do you think that that’s something that maybe is more? When I when I think culture, and optimal culture and good culture, and people focusing on culture? Has that always been the case? Or is that something that’s more of a, like a relatively new phenomenon in terms of focusing on it? Not just not just having it by chance? Is that correct? Is that incorrect?


Roger Connors  06:36

No, that’s right. When I started 35 years ago, culture was like, not on anyone’s radar screen. And but today, it is a core competency for every leader, they’re all thinking about it. And you know, the way I define it as your culture is producing results. So you know, whatever results you’re getting our is coming from your your culture, the way people think and add, and that for the moment works, but it may not be working for what you need to have happen. You know, every organization today is going through is pivoting, going through some unique changes, what has to happen to is one of those changes has to be a coaching culture change. And that’s where our work comes in. Scott, when we talk about a coaching culture, you know, that’s a, that’s a unique aspect of a culture that really makes things work for people and teams.


Scott D Clary  07:23

So what So what does it so when you actually started building this out? What is a coaching culture? What is the standard status for coaching, like, let’s describe what bad is, or let’s describe what normal is normal, bad, maybe those are interchangeable in some cases. But let’s describe a bad is and then let’s let’s talk about, like, you know, what you do how you improve it.


Roger Connors  07:42

So normal for any organization, whatever, whatever field, they’re in whatever industry, you know, they’re all trying to figure out how do we get people to perform at a level that produces the results we’re looking for? And performance management is a process, you know, human resource organizations use to kind of objectify, you know, what are the things I’m going to focus on, and I get rewarded or compensated based on my performance. That’s this is pretty broken organizations today, there’s often a mismatch between the work I actually do and what everyone thinks we’re doing and setting objectives around. But what people are really looking for, particularly the younger millennial generation, is not looking for a command and control kind of structure. They’re looking for a coaching organization where their learning and development is fostered, and they’re able to get real time information about how to take the next step. So in most organizations, we’ve we’ve actually found in our research, that the average person has what we call 10, Coach ready skills, meaning Scott, if I sat down with you said, Okay, list your skills. People hate doing it, by the way, it’s a hard exercise, because it’s hard. You list two or three, and you’re like, Okay, what are my skills? And then if I said, Well, Scott, what are your skills for putting out a podcast, you probably come up with 50. Right? How to set how to set it up the technology, getting guests on? I mean, there’s lots of skills involved with that. So if I facilitate that conversation, you get to 60 or 70 skills. But now I asked you to get to your coach ready skills. What are you interested in coaching? Like of all those things, what do you what do you really want to coach on? And then secondly, where do you feel sufficiently competent to coach on? Now that’s an interesting conversation, because people generally feel like on a scale from zero to 10, which is the name of our company, by the way, zero to 10. On a scale from zero to 10. They think they have to be like a seven to coach someone like pretty confident. And what we found is that that’s not the case. Research shows that recency is more important than expertise and helping people take the next step. So if I’m learning how to golf I usually ask people when I’m when I’m in a workshop, I said, well, but do you want to play golf and everyone says Tiger Woods right? And I like Tiger Woods would go nuts trying to teach me how to play golf. Like he’s such beyond the 10 he wouldn’t be able to relate to my low level of competency. My best coach is going to be a two or a three. On a scale. If I’m if I’m a two, it’s going to be a three or four. Right? So we call that a level up coach. So when you introduce that concept, and you ask people, okay, if you need to level up coach, if you could be level up Coach, how confident do you need to be to be a level up coach, people used to say, a four or five. So on your coach ready skills, you’re willing to coach on it, and you’re at least or four or five competency wise, we can come up with 10, at least 10 per person. So let’s say you have an organization of 1000 people or a company of 10. You know, multiply that by 10,000 people 10 Khatri skills per person, that’s 1000 coaches that are just sitting there in your organization ready to be activated. And when you say, Well, what’s bad? Like, what, what are we not doing? organizations aren’t operationalizing that peer to peer collaboration around coaching when people need it, that there’s people all around you that have the skill to help you take the next step. They’re just not being being asked to do it. And so a coaching culture is when you unleash that, and you get those 1000 coaches working.


Scott D Clary  11:05

I and everything you you’re saying makes sense. The the I love that, quote, the recency over experience. First of all, I just I didn’t mention when you mentioned if someone to let you go, but I love that quote, that seems very, very impactful. Because how often do you see people that haven’t done it in 20 years, but they used to be an expert, trying to coach or teach on something. So that’s something that I thought was, that’s a really good one liner. But I’m the unlocking the, like the the peer network within a company. It makes a lot of sense. And I’ve seen it done in some circumstances, but not formally, I’ve seen people that seem to gravitate towards leadership, and they want to take on more, and they feel like they have something to offer, they step into that role, and they take on duties outside of you know, what was on the job description. But I feel like for some organizations, maybe some employees, I don’t know, is it you get pushback from the employees saying, that’s not my job? I don’t I don’t feel the need to do that. I I’m too overburdened with the things that I’m already doing in a day. Like I don’t want to take on more. And, and that’s like, the the confrontation that, you know, the the employer has at the employee when trying to implement something like this. Is that a is that a problem? Or is that not?


Roger Connors  12:23

Yeah, it can be I mean, that that’s why it’s a coaching solution, or a culture solution, not just a coaching solution. You’re creating a coaching culture where you create a mindset about you know, being willing to give and to get, but here’s the thing, this, this blows everyone away. Most people think there’s people will be resistant off, be willing to coach, that is not the case. All of our research has shown that 90% of the time, people are gonna say yes, when one case in point real quick, we had a it was a gifting attorney at a university and she wanted to get some help on something she was stuck on. And so she said, Okay, Roger, I’m gonna try this, I’m gonna reach out to get some coaches. So she reached out to 15 people outside of her organization she’d never met before, just knew of them in the industry, all 15 So they’d be willing to coach her. She was she was totally blown away. She’s like, okay, now I have a problem. Now I got to interact with 15 people, I wasn’t expecting this. But she said she went ahead and leaned in on it. Not only did she get an answer to her problem, she created a network of people who wanted to continue a conversation over time. And she got some ideas to bring back to university she wasn’t even anticipating. So usually, Scott, the coaching is what we call bite size, right? So there’s kind of three types of engagement from our research. The type one is a pick your brain, it’s a it’s a 15 minute session, like, it’s really quick. Type Two is like a go to lunch, we call it get some coaching, it’s about an hour long. And type three, is that work traditional, you know, Coach, long term relationship we meet often 85% of the coaching happens in type one and two, and 68% happens type one, meaning almost 70% of the coaching that occurs, happens under 15 minutes. So it’s really


Scott D Clary  14:04

like off the cuff like ad hoc, like, like, quite quick and yeah,


Roger Connors  14:09

yeah, we call that real time bite sized on demand and skill based. It’s not mentoring. It’s not executive coaching, is that skill based coaching.


Scott D Clary  14:21

And you And even though let’s Okay, so let’s look at other let’s look at other stats. So even though you see the majority of the coaching taking place, in that 15 minute, approximately, you know, engagement. Where do you see most organizations spending the time? So I don’t think from my experience, it’s in that 15 minute interaction.


Roger Connors  14:38

When it comes to coaching, they’re using the the older traditional model of hiring a coach top down multiple sessions, kind of the scope, there’s a lot of scope creep involved in that. That’s what people are thinking of when they think of coaching, the coaches, any advice, suggestion, knowledge transfer that helps someone take the next step. If I could just say That’s real quick, there’s, we found that there’s five conditions, where a coach needs to, you need to reach out for coaching. It’s anytime you’re stuck doing something for the first time, you’re trying to accelerate your performance, whatever it is, its strategic, or you want to crush it. If you’re in one of those five situations, you should reach out to get a coach. Now, we looked at a high performing team and said, Okay, how often does this happen? So we had to kind of kind of track how often this occurred for them. There were 170 coaching conditions for a high performing team of 20 people at any given point. And when what we found is that the average person has 12 things they can put into one of those categories.


Scott D Clary  15:43

It makes sense, because all those all those coaching conditions, they’re all points when you have to be, I guess, self aware enough to accept that accept that coaching as well. So the culture, I think the culture piece is probably one of the most important things that you mentioned. Because there’s, there’s all these different coaching strategies, there’s a point to people should look for coaching. But also, you have to have a culture that that enables and encourages and promotes peers to want to coach, but you also have to have that culture that encourages people to accept that they need coaching, they have that psychological security, because if you don’t have that, then people aren’t going to put their hand up and say, I want to crush this or I don’t know, or this is the first time because they think they’re going to get reamed out and get, you know, get in trouble. So the culture thing is, the culture thing is probably one of the most important pieces to get this right.


Roger Connors  16:35

Yeah, and that and that means leadership, you know, whoever the relative leadership of any organization has to buy into the idea that look, we want to encourage people to raise their hand if they’re stuck or doing something for the first time. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a strange, like, that’s a core competency. You You know how to get a coach. The other thing we do that helps us as we flip the model, it’s not top down, it’s bottoms up. So the learner, we used to be called the coachee. We call it the learner, they take accountability to go get the coaching they need when they need it. So now it’s my job as a learner to reach out and get a coach, get the information I need, and then move on to the next thing. So now I’m in charge of that no one’s no one’s doing that for me. And that self accountability seems to help be a key factor in that culture you’re talking about, you have to have that understanding that we want people to do that.


Scott D Clary  17:28

Now, get a coach be a coach, this is this is the book that that, like we were speaking about ahead of this call. And this is the book that has a lot of this modeling in it. Now for for this book. Who is this for? Is it for the business leader? Is it for the individual maybe who wants help? wants a coach wants a mentor? Or is it for everybody? Like what’s what’s the what’s the core premise of this book? And let’s put some models from this book. So I’m looking at this PDF. And there’s a lot of stuff here some of the stuff you mentioned, but I want to know who like benefits from this? Most?


Roger Connors  18:01

Yes, so we had everyone in mind, like there isn’t a dividing line between personal and business. When it comes to coaching. For example, I played the guitar. I played the guitar for 50 years. And I have a nice guitar collection. And I played I have to tell people, it’s more like I played the guitar for one year 50 times because it creates the right expectation when you hear it I played for 50 years. But I play the guitar and I like I love Eric Clapton love his songs. There’s a song I love Leila. You may know the song. And there’s a lead line on Leila. It’s a little bit complicated. So I’ve tried it on YouTube, right? And at this, it’s hard to get. So you know what I think now is okay, who can I get to be my coach? To help me learn the lead line on Leila? I don’t need a guitar teacher. I just need someone who knows how to do that. So the concept is like you can use these principles everywhere for anything building a house playing a guitar, moving a team, these principles apply that to everyone.


Scott D Clary  19:04

And, and how do you so the principles are good, and that makes a lot of sense. Even the example you gave me before, which I think is a valid example. Like, you know, like you’re remodeling your home. And and you mentioned that actually, put Tell me tell me the story again, because it’s a good example, like the guitar home is good, but I want to really drive home the context of why it’s so important have like these little coaches, mentors, whatever you want to call them in every aspect of your life because I really do believe that if people can first adopt the concept of a coaching business, that’s step one, and that’s a lot of things that people don’t do already. But then take it a step further adopt that concept of a coach and a mentor in so many aspects of your life and it’s not just a one person like you said, you’re gonna have one person for your but you’re gonna have one person for your professional, you’re gonna have one person for perhaps, if you’re doing a side hustle, you’re running a podcast, you know, you’re gonna have one person maybe for your relationship, maybe one person for you know how you work out at the gym, what you eat so many different aspects. So just the one you mentioned before is a really good another A good example of like, just like practical day to day.


Roger Connors  20:03

Yes, so that I’ve spent a lot of money in my remodel kind of fixing things at the very end of the project. And one of one of those things that happens, I walked into a room and the baseboard, as I looked down line of sight, it was looking like an S curve, you know, like a snake. And I’m like, I think that should be straight out. Like, that’s right. So I talked to the contractor, he said, Yeah, that should be straight. And he we were talking about what happened. He said, Well, you know, the finished guys, when they put the baseboard on the wall was crickets. So they’re blaming the drywallers. And the drywallers, kind of, you know, blame the framers and said, Well, if the framing was done correctly, it would have been straight. And I don’t know who the framers of blame the wood guys cut the trees down, I guess. But I talked told a friend about this, Tommy the experience, and he had built two or three homes and he said, Roger, you shouldn’t you should have come to me right at the beginning, I said, why? And he said, why could I could have told you what you do. Every every night, when the framers are done, I go in, and I run a streamline on walls that need to be straight, and I make sure it’s straight. And if it’s not, they fix it the next morning, then every everything else that flows from there is no problem. I’m like, geez, you know, I should ask him a long time ago, that would have saved me a lot of money and grief. So now I think Coach Scott, I think Coach by Benson for the first time, I think, coach, and because they’re 15 minute exchanges, I don’t get one, I get two or three people to give me input. And it’s it’s really a game changer in terms of performance improvement, for sure.


Scott D Clary  21:31

And, and Roger, the one thing that I really liked, he pointed out was, it doesn’t have to be so much of an investment, it can be very, like casual. And, and the ability to understand that and to put yourself out there knowing that, you know, you don’t have to, you know, you’re not becoming this person’s you know, you know, best friend, and you’re spending 40 hours a week with this person, you’re just getting little bits of advice. You’re getting little bits of advice from people with experience, and insight. And you know, YouTube is good, but it’s good to a point and YouTube can’t provide experience, right? YouTube can give you a transactional relay of information, it can tell you like step by step how to do something, but it doesn’t give you like, it doesn’t give you what you just mentioned with the framers. It doesn’t give you that insight, after years of experience and 15 minutes can save you like Well, to be honest, like a couple $1,000 Not more. Yeah. So it’s, it’s incredible. Like just and just this is, you know, regardless of what you’re in, just put yourself out there and ask, like, I can’t remember who I got this from, but it was just like, just be an asshole. Like, just like, like, don’t care about asking, I just don’t care about asking. And I was on a call this morning with with a with a guy who works at FreshWorks. And he reached out to me on LinkedIn, and he just said, Hey, Scott, like do you mind? You know, putting, if I can just chat with you for a few minutes. I want to talk about my career. And I said yes. And I didn’t mind it. And you know, I probably could have found work to do this morning. I’m never having, you know, enough hours in a day. But he asked, I said yes. And he got some value out of that. And I hope you got some value out of that. But it was just asking, and it was like one of those super casual, like ad hoc, like, I just need a little bit of advice. I saw what you did on this, and I want to ask a question about it from my career. So it’s super, super easy to do, you just have to do it, you have to put yourself out there.


Roger Connors  23:27

And there’s this logical principle there, too, that’s working when you kind of compared it to YouTube or Googling, right? And it’s coaching coaching a coach the brain. That didactic kind of experience causes you to learn differently, you know, I can sit and read something, or even watch a video. But there’s a there’s when it’s when it’s engaging like this, even even through video like this, you know, you coaching me, I coaching you, it includes my brain differently, I learned and process differently, that translates into action. So there’s a role for all these these learning mechanisms. But if you don’t have coaching, you don’t have the most important piece of that learning process. And it’s true for I can’t I can’t tell you the number of organizations have gone through like sales training, and they’ve done sales training. And then they go try to operationalize it in the field and they see they’re not firing on all cylinders. It’s like what’s missing? Well, it’s that coaching piece that causes people to really deepen their learning and understanding of what they need to do.


Scott D Clary  24:29

Now, the one piece that that we spoke about was very important, but we didn’t get into the into the weeds on it, we figured out you know, coaching and some there’s some really like actionable takeaways. So, he mentioned five times when you should go get coaching. There was a few other like, list items that you know, knowledge transfer, collaboration, closing skills gap, all these different types of things you mentioned, not only enabling peer to peer coaching but also accepting coaching and and accepting and every part of your life. So these are all like very coaching center topics, obviously. Oh, this is it first time stock accelerating strategic are crushing it, those are like the coaching triggers. So that was another another good list. But how do you how do you fix the culture in an organization? Just so the obvious answer is leadership, but say leadership is willing to learn, because that’s the first step. So leadership is open mind. So what does leadership have to do to start changing the culture? Is it just leading by example? Is it the way they hire the people they hire, they have to do a revamp, you know, fire everyone and start fresh, like, Well, how do you? How do you change that leadership culture so that coaching is core?


Roger Connors  25:37

Yeah, so let’s start with the team, because a team culture actually is a great microcosm of an organization. And it’s actually more important than the enterprise culture. Because you have a culture on your team, it all happens there. I’ve been involved in large scale culture change on my career. And the bottom line is you can’t affect team leaders, you can’t affect anything. So we’ll take a team, for example. So what a team leader would need to do is say a couple things and mean it like number one, we want people to raise their hand, when they hit one of these five coaching conditions. Like that’s the way things work around here, we, we want you to do that. And we tell them, we tell them share coaching, call outs, and a coaching call out is at the beginning of a team meeting, you use examples, you you, you say hey, Laurie raised your hand the other day, she’s doing some for the first time, she’s doing an Amazon AWS, and, you know, needed help. And she got connected with Frank. And that was a great thing. And that’s what we want around here. So the coaching call outs as a focus on, you know, these are important to us. The second thing is that you have to begin to create a coaching culture by having people know who to reach out to. Now, one way we do in our business, we have software, so we come in, like if we went into IBM, we create an IBM coaching culture, we teach them these principles that we’re talking about, then we have software that matches people together. So you know, you go in and in Scott, you say, hey, I want to learn about podcasts or whatever and, and you hit submit and then the the algorithm returns all the people in the company who have experienced so that you can reach out to offer coaching. So some form of facilitating that is important in a team in an organization. But but no question if the leader is not reaching out, and getting coaching to that modeling is absolutely critical. And our research has shown by far, leaders are highly ineffective at modeling that coaching process to their teams, that’s a great place to start in terms of letting their their teams know they’re reaching out getting coaching, what web CEO most of the CEOs I’ve worked with in my career have professional coaches and many have multiple last one I just worked with had three different coaches they work with these are paid, you know, executive coaches, but the concept is everyone ought to have several coaches on these topics. Like you were mentioning, there’s several things you can get coaches on that you’re working on. And having leaders demonstrate that is really key.


Scott D Clary  28:01

Now,there’s there’s one concept in here that I saw the connector, the connector manager leader, I saw that it mentions four roles of a connector manager leader, it says Ignite, coach, connect and lead. What is that? What is that? Is that in ignite Ignite, what what’s that kickoff point? And what does this framework really mean? I want to understand this a little bit more, because I know there’s something to it. I just I just don’t understand it.


Roger Connors  28:33

Yeah, I’m glad you asked that because that this is really key. So like we were talking about team leaders are key in making this happen. So the basic premise is, look, the old model was it’s your job to solve problems. If you’re a leader of a team, the new model is it’s not your job to solve problems, it’s your job to make sure problems get solved. That’s a different orientation. In the old model, i Everyone brings me their problems, they can’t solve them trying to fix them, I’m coaching them in the new model with spans of control organizations are flat, being paper being furloughed, whatever it might be, you know, there’s no way for me to reach everyone with the coaching they need. So I need to connect them as a connector manager leader to the resources that could coach them to help them solve the problems that they’re facing. So Ignite is a whole idea of having a leader introduce this concept to their team, and start building this coaching approach where we’re self directed. So remember flipping the model learners in charge. So in the old model, I come if you’re my boss that come to you and say, Hey, Scott, your team leader, and I can’t I’m stuck on this problem. What would you do? How would you fix it? You’re going you’re scratching your head going? Well, let’s see. Let me remember how I did that. You know, what else would I do? In the new model? I should be coming to saying, Scott, here’s the problem I’m working on. Here’s the three people I reached out to for coaching. And here’s what I’m hearing. What else would you give me to say? And you’re like, Well, this is great Roger on the right track, I would consider reaching out to so and so and, and then if you have some input you give it as well. So that’s your neighbor. That’s a real flip of the model. Yeah. That’s what ignite means.


Scott D Clary  30:05

And then and then coach. So then obviously coaching is is enabling, you can give feedback, but you’re letting people come to like their own conclusions about what works and what doesn’t


Roger Connors  30:13

Yeah, and, and you’re right, you’re directing a self directed process so that there are times when you need as a leader to just give your coaching that you give. But there’s some watch outs with that in terms of making sure you’re not taking the accountability in the situation to solve the problem, you leave with that with the team member who’s working to solve it.


Scott D Clary  30:36

Now, the only other thing that I wanted to that I wanted to understand, as I’m going through all the concepts, because so we hit the coaching model, coaching triggers, engagement types, that’s one thing that I didn’t bring up before. So the three types of engagement, the 15, minute 15 to 60 minute and then the ongoing sort of like mentor, then we got, then we got the the way to enable and basically lead your team as an effective leader. There was one thing that that we didn’t touch on, that I really want to focus on, because it’s something that I think would apply to everyone. And that’s the skill index and leveling up. Oh, no, we did speak on that. Sorry. That’s when you say you just go to like one level ahead of where you’re at, when you go to one level ahead of where you’re at. Oh, okay. I understand.


Roger Connors  31:27

I wouldn’t be Tiger Woods, Kochi, they’d be it’d be someone really basic.


Scott D Clary  31:32

And then okay, so then my question would be for that. So how do you find somebody who is the right level for for coaching you? How do you find that mentor?


Roger Connors  31:41

You know, that’s that that actually is a good question. Because it’s hard to do that without some kind of technology to help. Meaning, like, when we use our software with the client, they input their skills, you would you would input your 10, Coach ready skills, and you would put a level on it from zero to 10, you’d say I’m a seven or a six, or a five or whatever. And so when I’m looking for a coach, I can actually see, you know, where do you say you are. And if you’re a 10, and I’m a four, I probably I probably would reach out to you, I’d reach out look for someone who’s a five or six. So without that, it’s more of a concept where you’re thinking, Okay, I could go to Joe, everybody know, Joe’s the Pro, or maybe I’ll go to Mary instead, because she’s maybe not not as far as fast as Joe, but she’s, you know, she’s closer to where I’m at. That’s more of the thinking that you would have without some kind of software facilitating that.


Scott D Clary  32:35

And I also, I also, um, one thing that I’ve noticed is a indication of a good coach is that it’s when somebody can describe something without confusing you. So somebody can describe something in very layman’s terms, even if they are much farther ahead. Not much farther, like you said, you don’t want to align with somebody too far. But if somebody can be a good coach, if somebody is right for you don’t have to overcomplicate the process, and they can, they can effectively break it down, because they’ve done it so many times. That’s, I think, another really good thing to look for. So you have an understanding of where people are at what they’ve accomplished. You obviously, you’re having a conversation with them, you don’t have some like, software system to figure it out for you. But then also just somebody who, you know, who can actually teach it over properly, somebody who can break it down and put it into a concept or layman’s terms, you can understand somebody who you vibe with, and somebody who’s relatable, and somebody who you enjoy working with. Like, I think that’s something that people don’t take into account, you can have the best coach in the world. But if personalities don’t match, like that’s going to be a inhibitor towards your learning. So there’s a whole bunch of things you have to look for. But I think the the overall arching, high, high level message is just to start looking for these people and start incorporating them into your life.


Roger Connors  33:49

I think that’s right. But you know, what we’ve also found is that most world class experts are not world class explainers. So you know, they may be really good at what they do, but trying to transfer that to as difficult as you’re describing. Yeah. So what we do in the flipping the model, Scott, we actually have teach the learner how to, it doesn’t matter how good the coaches at explaining, we teach them some techniques to get whatever they need from any coach, whether they’re good at it or not. And we start with the just real quickly, we start with the ABCs. We, when we when we were developing our content, we had I don’t know maybe 15 focus groups over about a year, we were watching people explain what coaching they need. And we were just, we was dismal. I mean, after about 10 minutes, like you are not clear at what you’re asking your coach. So we came up with the ABCs of coaching, it’s really simple. It might be like, Scott, I’m learning how to manage a matrix team. I think I’m a two on a scale from zero to 10. I’d like to be a five by July, I’ve read one book called Managing matrix teams in 30 seconds, you know, okay, I’m the wrong guy for you, or I’m the right guy, or at least suggest this person or here’s what I would do next. And then and then we teach them to use one of the high five coaching strategies, and just use one so those are tough. Three questions. So I come to you and say, Scott, I have three questions I want to ask in the next 15 minutes, here’s what they are. So I’ve set the agenda. Or I’m saying, Scott, like for you to model this, you know, show me how to do it. Or I might say, Scott, I want to show you how I do it and get your input, we call that practice perfect. Or we look at game film together, you know, look on a, on a on an iPhone or recording, you know, we’re watching that together. But those strategies combined with the ABCs helps people get what they need from a coach, even if the coach is bad at explaining things.


Scott D Clary  35:31

That’s really interesting. And I like that framework a lot. Because that’s, I’ve never I’ve never, I’ve never heard of like a put it so succinctly. I’ve always found that, even for myself, like when I’m trying to get something out of someone, it’s like, it’s exactly like those focus groups that you mentioned. It’s just an absolute shit show. Like, no one knows what’s going on. And you’re trying to verbalize but you don’t know what you don’t know. And it’s very hard to ask, if you don’t know what you don’t know, from the coach. Did you find that some of the lessons that you learned, you know, you just I’m curious, because you work in coaching and you work in organizational management? Do you find that some, like sports teams have better practices in place, either thoughtfully or by accident, then organizations in terms of coaching and and I guess, like culture that would enable coaching, because I’ve seen a lot of, I’ve seen a lot of,


Scott D Clary  36:21

you know, football analogies for coaching, and a lot of prolific football or basketball or hockey or whatever coaches write books on leadership and coaching. And I’m just wondering, if there’s some, if there’s some, I don’t know, camaraderie that enables a higher level of communication or something along those lines?


Roger Connors  36:40

Yeah, it’s interesting, because if you took that, that sports analogy, and you change the name from coach to boss, it just doesn’t seem to work, does it? I mean, like, okay, the boss of a basketball team is here, what do you want us to do, boss, but because we say, coach, we know that they’re in charge, right? The coach is in charge, but they’re in charge in a way that’s different. And in organizations, I’ve seen that work where instead of thinking boss, we were thinking coach, and, and it had a profound impact on the organization. But that’s a major mind shift that needs to happen in organizations today. bosses need to become coaches. Bottom line, that’s what needs to happen.


Scott D Clary  37:19

Yeah. And that’s part of that culture piece, too. I like that a lot. And that does make a lot of sense. When you when you think about when you think about the best leaders are servant leaders, right? They’re not people that are our stock ranking against their employees, they’re people that are on that same level that are enabling what he said serving coaching. Very good. So just before, I want to ask you a few more questions just about insights that you’ve sort of garnered over your career. But before we move on to the topic of coaching, and some of the some of the practices that were mentioned in this book, was there anything else that you wanted to bring up this sort of relevant to coaching culture, for an individual or for like a leader of some sort?


Roger Connors  37:58

I just don’t I just think there’s no time better than now to get started at reaching out, you’re going to be amazed that the response you get, you know, when I do my MBA class, I have the students, you know, text immediately, like in the class, okay, text, five people that you could reach out to on this problem, see what happens. And before the class is over, they’ve got responses from at least three, and they’re like, yeah, totally willing to help. You know, that’s the idea that look, people are willing to help you. And they’re going to help you become more effective, more successful in that MBA class I was talking about, I had 13 Professional MBAs. Six of them received promotions within the first two months of the class simply by practicing the principles of getting coaches. So I would just encourage your listeners to don’t wait get started is something you can do right away?


Scott D Clary  38:46

Yeah, yeah, definitely. I’m now just pivoting back to to your career and things that you’ve learned because you’ve had a very long career. So I always like asking sort of these, these wrap up questions. What would be one life lesson that you’ve learned over your career in particular, that you could give over the could be agnostic of industry that would help someone sort of improve themselves professionally.


Roger Connors  39:06

Organizations are designed for people to not tell the truth. There’s too many, too many political issues going on and other conflicting motivations that cause that to happen. So when you’re in an organization, if you want to know the truth, you’re going to have to really work hard to get it. Don’t expect that what you’re hearing is what’s really going on at any level of the organization. So I kind of kid with my MBA class, I start by saying just one of the principles you should know is that in organizations, all people are liars. And it’s, it’s true because there is design into the system. Like I can’t really tell my boss what I really think. I can’t really tell HR when I really think there’s too many ramifications that come from it. I’ve learned in my career that if you really want to hear what’s going on in the organization, how people really feel you have to go on a campaign to convince them If that’s the case, it’s not going to come easily. That’d be one insight that I’ve had.


Scott D Clary  40:04

That’s a good insight. I’ve never heard that insight on this show before. But I think that’s something that a lot of us have experienced, unfortunately, is there, do you notice that you work with a lot of companies, you notice that some are a little bit more transparent? Is there something that like people can look for? When they’re looking for moving into the next, you know, rare opportunity, job changing companies, there’s something that you should maybe build into your own interview process that you can sort of vet the transparency of a company, or is this just like something that plagues everyone past, you know, 10 people,


Roger Connors  40:34

I think it’s a common human condition. But I think it’s less less present in when an organization is not super command and control. So one of the things that I would look for in interviewing is getting a sense of, is there still a strong command and control kind of leadership style and approach in the organization, if so, you can just expect that there’s going to be those kinds of issues going on, where an organization has been able to collapse that, then you do have more transparency, more authenticity, and your ability to collaborate, but definitely would be on the on the watch for that.


Scott D Clary  41:13

Good,good points and good things to look for. Because I think that, you know, that’s one of a lot of the stuff that we’re speaking about, like the whole culture shift in an organization. I can’t imagine a command and control structured organization being as open to revamping their culture and, and enabling people and all these different good things that you want to see in a company in 2020. I think that they’re probably like the last adopters. So I think that, you know, if you can sort of figure that out, and I always tell people like when you’re interviewing when, when somebody is interviewing you, it’s just as much of an interview for the company. Because if you land in the wrong position for an extra 5k, or 10k, you aren’t going to enjoy it. So don’t make that move unless you really are sure. And if you aren’t in the you’re in the best spot, then try and make the move, obviously, when when things are a little bit easier, and the economy isn’t shut down. It wasn’t so much an issue. But right now, it’s a little bit more stressful for people. But still, when things are back to normal, for I made that move. Um, last question, I like to ask, what would be one, it could be podcast, it could be book, it could be mentor, you’re not allowed to name any of your own books that you want from?


Roger Connors  42:29

Well, that’s it that’s a that’s a good question, I’d have to think about that. And that there’s been so many inputs, I’d say, as a mentor. Very early on in my career in consulting, I had a leader, his name was John Childress. And he was exceptional, at kind of looking past the obvious, and seeing what was really going on kind of root kind of a root cause guy. And that trained me early on to say, Look, don’t believe what you’re seeing, don’t believe what you’re hearing. Go deeper than that. And you will find the root cause. And I’ve had companies pay me a lot of money to do that, for them to not believe what I’m saying, to not believe what I’m hearing, and to find the root cause and really discover what what’s going on. That’s, that’s,


Scott D Clary  43:19

that’s a difficult skill to master. But I think that can benefit a lot of people and a lot of companies. But it’s funny that it’s funny that companies pay someone to look under the hood of their own company when there’s a trust transparency issue. And, and I bet, you know, I bet in most cases, if people were more if companies were more transparent, they wouldn’t have to bring in that outside counsel. Yeah, you know, look under the hood, but they just have that issue being honest and open. So they need someone else to tell them what they’re doing wrong, which is unfortunate. But I think that’s just like he said that command and control structure, sort of, it reinforces it, not in a good way.


Roger Connors  43:55

I’ve also seen the opposite, by the way, where a company’s gone swung from command and control to kind of a holistic, where they have no leadership, it’s all self directed. And honestly, Scott, they have just as many problems. They’re there all sorts of transparency issues. And you know, they trust people to work, work whenever they’re going to work and come in where they’re going to come in. And it’s not any better. There’s just some basic, good principles about how humans work together. If you get that right, then everything’s gonna be fine. But I’ve also found that lazy, but sorry, I just say either extreme doesn’t seem to do the trick.


Scott D Clary  44:34

No. And I also think that a lot of it comes down to if you’re if you really want to go into go into the weeds on this, I think it comes down to hiring the right people, hiring for certain behaviors, figuring out, you know, are these people are they going to vibe and work with the culture that this organization is? And if you can figure out and hire those people, which is obviously a huge effort, and it’s timely, and it takes a lot of time and energy and it’s very costly, like you can’t just rehire your whole organization. But to start from here, if you’re if you’re hiring people, yeah, maybe understand how you hire people, what you look for, are you just looking for, you know, 20 years industry experience and certain KPIs have been outlined on the job RX for the past 10 years? Or are you looking for behaviors that are going to guarantee success in whatever industry this person steps into? And is this person focused on growth? Is this person focused on being a team player? Is this person like tying all these like cultural points that are so so key to success? Right? And if you have repeated hires like that, that’s when an organization wins. Regardless of the management structure. There’s some that played better, or worse, but I think that people are people first. Always, always always. I also think we don’t know how to hire, most people don’t know how to hire properly, because they’re totally right on. Last Last thing, where do people, you know, get in touch with you? Can they email, LinkedIn websites? You know, where do they get the book? If they want to go read the rest of the book? What are the best places?


Roger Connors  46:00

Yeah, so our website is zero to zero to 10. So zero to t And then you can hook up with me on LinkedIn, Roger Connors on LinkedIn, or send me an email and that’s Roger Connors at zero to The book is, is coming out was coming out in August has been delayed because of COVID. Actually, the publishers pushed all their books back to January. So comes out January, we have the dance readers copies, we can supply anyone who’s interested. So just get in contact with me. I’ll get that to you.


Scott D Clary  46:31

That’s all for today. Thanks again for joining me on another episode of the success story podcast. You can download or stream this podcast wherever podcasts are available, including iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, I heart, radio, and many others. You can also watch his podcasts on YouTube. If you haven’t already. Please subscribe and share this podcast with your friends, family, coworkers and peers. Please leave us a rating on iTunes takes about 30 seconds as it allows other people to find our podcast and lets our amazing guests reach even more people with their message. And remember any rating is fine as long as it contains five stars. I’m Scott clarity from the success story podcast, signing off


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