Scott J. Miller is the Executive Vice President of Thought Leadership at Franklin Covey and has spent the last 25 years championing teams within the world’s best leadership firm, serving under the tutorage of Dr. Stephen Covey. He now leads the strategy, development, and publication of Franklin Covey’s world-renowned content & bestselling books including one of the most impactful nonfiction business books in history, 7 Habits of Highly Effective people, which has sold more than 40 million copies in 40 languages and empowered the transformation of millions of lives worldwide.
Although he has held many leadership roles from project coordinator at the Disney Development Company to the FranklinCovey Company Chief Marketing officer, he has seen plenty of failure and was even demoted from his first leadership position after only three weeks in the role at Franklin Covey. However, since then he has become an unfiltered leader thriving in a highly filtered corporate culture.
Being a renowned thought leader in the leadership and personal performance space, he has been featured in 100’s of podcasts, webinars, and articles in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Donald Miller's StoryBrand Podcast, Rachel Hollis's RISE Podcast, The ONE Thing Podcast and more.
Additionally, he is a multi-week #1 bestselling author of Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow which has been proclaimed as a new classic on authentic leadership by Seth Godin. He is also the author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller Everyone Deserves A Great Manager and wrote dozens of articles as a leadership columnist for Inc Magazine.
Distributed to more than 5 million business leaders worldwide, his On Leadership podcast features interviews with renowned business titans and thought leaders such as John Maxwell, Dr. Daniel Amen, Ed Mylet, Rachel & Dave Hollis, & Ryan Holiday. He was also the former host of the iHeart Radio program called Great Life, Great Career.
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I think humility is an underrated human competency. Humility is born out of confidence. Confident people can be humble. Humble people, collaborate, humble people, listen, humble people think of third alternatives. Humble people can be friends with people who disagree with them. It's tough. I'm not a very humble person. I work on it all the time. Arrogant people are incapable of showing humility of showing deference. So I think as we all evolve, humility is an underrated virtue value. And it may look different in different people, but humility means it may not be my time. I might turn the spotlight onto you. I have enough for you as well, enough to go around. I think I believe in the word humility as a way for all of us to better evolve and for the world to evolve too.
Want to hear another leadership expert share what it takes to be an effective leader? — Listen to my conversation with Jerry Colonna the CEO and Co-founder, of Reboot.io, Author of Reboot: Leadership and The Art of Growing Up, and is committed to the notion that better humans make better leaders.
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Scott Miller Interview
Brandon Stover: [00:00:54] Hey everyone. Welcome to evolve.
Today's guest has spent the last 25 years championing teams with the world's best leadership firm served under the tutor Ridge of dr. Stephen Covey. He now leads the strategy development and publication of Franklin Covey's world renowned content bestselling books, including one of the most impactful nonfiction business books in history, seven habits of highly effective people, which has sold more than 40 million copies in 40 languages and empowered the transfermation of millions of lives worldwide. Although he has held many leadership roles from project coordinator at Disney to the Franklin Covey company, chief marketing officer, he has seen plenty of failure. It was even demoted from him. It was first leadership position after only three weeks in the role at Franklin Covey. However, Since then he has been an unfiltered you're thriving in a highly filtered corporate culture.
Being a renowned thought leader in the leadership and personal performance space has been featured in hundreds of podcasts, webinars and articles in entrepreneur Forbes, Don, and Miller's StoryBrand podcast, Rachel Hollis's rice podcasts and the one thing podcasts and so many more.
Additionally, he is a multi week. Number one bestselling author of management MESS to leadership success, 30 challenges to become the leader you would follow, which has been proclaimed as a new classic on authentic leadership by Seth Godin. He is also the author of the wall street journal bestseller, everyone deserves a great manager and wrote dozens of articles as a leadership columnist for inc magazine. Distributed to more than 5 million business leaders worldwide is on leadership. Podcasts features interviews with renowned business Titans and thought leaders such as John Maxwell. Dr. Daniel, amen. Ed, my lead, Rachel and Dave Hollis and Ryan holiday. He is also the former host of the iHeart radio program. Great life, great career.
I'm honored to welcome executive vice president and thought leadership at Franklin Covey, multiple times bestselling author and a man who once interviewed himself at two in the morning and his boxers with a whisk, Scott J. Miller.
Scott Miller: [00:02:53] As odd as all that sounds, it's actually really true. Brandon. Nice to meet you. Thank you for the introduction.
We Don't Always Start As Leaders
Brandon Stover: [00:03:01] No problem. I really thank you for being on the show. And I'd actually like to start with that kind of transformative moment for you. When you had the interview with Eric Barker and you were standing in the, in the room interviewing yourself, what were you looking at your own life story and kind of disrupting that in yourself?
Scott Miller: [00:03:19] Well, apparently my boxers, according to you, let's see, it happened kind of serendipitously. I am privileged to host for Franklin Covey, the world's largest leadership podcast, weekly called on leadership with Scott Miller. And as I was preparing for interview with Viola Davis, the actress. in some preparation, I read from her about the power of knowing your own story.
I kind of thought, wow, I've never thought about that. Knowing, you know, owning your story. Like what's, I kind of dismissed it as like, you know, Reiki or yoga or things that are for other people. Right. And then that same week interviewing the famous social scientist, Eric Barker, he wrote a book called barking up the wrong tree.
It's a great book. And in that interview, he also talked about the power of knowing your own story. I thought, wow. Twice in one week. What's this idea about knowing your own story came home that night, 50 years old, I said to my wife, Stephanie, we're calling in bed. If you ever told yourself your story that keep in mind, we have three boys, right?
Six, eight, and 10. They all have my personality. So Stephanie, who was a full time mom and said, yeah, I don't care. I'm going to bed. Good luck with you and your story. So I get out of bed at like 10 at night, and then my boxer shorts. I go into the kitchen, they pull out a wire whisk as a microphone. And I walked around this very room.
I'm sitting in right now, my home here in salt Lake city and Brandon for the first time in my life, I told myself my own story out loud, kind of how I was raised. My parents, my parents' parents, my brother, my own journey, my struggles, my highs, my lows, the things that I had been told to believe about me that were true, that were not true.
The pads that I'd taken by choosing to play these other people or fulfill their vision for me. And it was that day at age 50 and a pair of boxer shorts and a wire whisk that I chose to walk around this room and the pitch, nobody awake, nobody listening, an outside, out loud just for about 10 minutes.
Repeat to myself my whole journey. It was really powerful, kind of just to hear all the things that I'd been through, the mistakes that I made, the good decisions that I'd made, the things that I was proud of things I was shamed of the things that I chose to leave behind that night, the, the, the issues that I've struggled with in life.
And it was that day that I decided to go out and get a radio program, an iHeart radio. I started writing for bestselling books and I'm hosting the world's largest podcast. And that day was really liberating for me. I highly highly recommend. And tonight, everybody listened to this podcast with Brandon Stover, going to kitchen, wear whatever you want.
I don't care. Pull out a wooden spoon wire with spatula, whatever you need to use as a microphone, Larry King style, and tell yourself your story out loud. Nobody else is listening to you because you don't want to, you know, edit it all. I found it quite empowering.
Brandon Stover: [00:06:13] Well, one of the pieces that I'd like to touch on your story is when you worked for Disney and you were asked, actually asked to leave. I'm wondering, knowing all that you know now about leadership, why maybe you weren't fit as a leader at that time. And what maybe you would say to your younger self.
Scott Miller: [00:06:30] Cause I was a jackass. That's why? Because I was a jerk. I was immature and I honestly, Brandon didn't really understand what culture meant in a company. Right? What everybody's contribution? The culture was that was a classic kind of 23 year old gossiper, busy body pointing fingers, politicking that wasn't a bad person.
I just was kind of irresponsible. It was managing my corporate credit card well and expensive, and just, you know, I was young and immature to quote one of our presidents when I was young and immature. I did things that were young and immature. Right. So. For me, Disney was an amazing opportunity. Hometown company from Orlando learned some great, great business principles around leadership, around quality, around focusing on, you know, kind of the guest experience.
A lot of that same quality training served me well as the chief marketing officer later on, I have nothing but positive things to say about the Disney company. My experience there, I was a bit of a wreck like ethically or on a wreck, you know? And like legal ways, just kind of a cultural reck that makes sense.
Learning From Leadership Expert Dr. Stephen Covey
Yeah. Brandon Stover: [00:07:43] afterwards you moved and spent 25 years, inside Franklin Covey and under probably arguably one of the most influential people in leadership. dr. covey, what was it like to work underneath them?
Scott Miller: [00:07:57] Well, he was a phenomenal man. Dr. Covey passed about nine years ago as the result of a head injury, but bicycle accident, he was wearing a helmet and his 80th year of life, but it wasn't tight enough. And he had some brain damage and he had been in declining mental health for some time. So in many ways you could argue as a bit of a blessing, but I mean that not callously.
I mean that with respect to him, he was the real deal. Dr. Covey would a book, as you mentioned called the seven habits of highly effective people. Sold 40 billion copies it's in its 30th year. He's the namesake of our company, Franklin Covey. And he was a man of impeccable character of congruence. He, he was a model, it was a light, not a judge, not a critic.
He was very friendly and kind, he was a man of great principles and character. We of course are from different religious backgrounds, but I really admire his commitment to his faith and his desire to kind of fulfill what he thought his mission was in life taught me a lot. And you know, he just, it was the real deal.
No, oftentimes in life you respect people and you realize, you know, what, they were having a fear for their assistance, right. Or this week we hear about all of the, you know, the issues happening with the Falwells right. And all that craziness. And you know, the man walked his talk.
Brandon Stover: [00:09:12] That's a, that's a great to have such a powerful mentor, you know, going through
Scott Miller: [00:09:16] it was, it was a blessing for 15 years. You had me amongst many hundreds of associates in the firm.
Brandon Stover: [00:09:21] Yeah. was he always your dream to kind of work up the corporate ladder and then to a position like that?
Scott Miller: [00:09:27] Wow. What a great question. You know, I started at Franklin Covey 25 years ago. I was a frontline sales person, became a sales leader, became the company's first ever chief marketing officer for eight years. By the way, the average tenure for that role is 4.1 years in the U S I doubled it. I'm now the executive vice president of thought leadership.
And I've earned some street cred as an author and speaker and host. You know, my path was always pretty deliberate. I thought I wanted to be the CEO of a company. And so I knew that from research, you know, if you want to be the CEO, it kind of needed to be in the executive C suite. I need to own sales, product development, marketing operations, supply chain have some international experience.
So I tended to work my way up, pretty deliberately in the ladder. And I'm not going to be the CEO. that I'll probably leave the firm at some point on great terms and I'll be a contractor or a consultant. I'll go and build my own thought leadership and books and authors. So I think, I think I was very deliberate and friending up to career strategy.
I highly recommend, I have always associated myself with people who are smarter than me. More educated, more cultured, wealthier, more successful. I can learn from them. And in my career, I always associated myself with someone round up so I can learn from them and they guided me up and I'm trying to do the same by pulling people up behind me as well.
I'm a pretty deliberate person. So might call me maniacal or Shrew. But I think if you know me well enough to know that I may be pulling on somebody's coattails, but somebody's pulling on mine. Well, and we're all leading each other up.
How To Navigate Your Professional Career
Brandon Stover: [00:11:01] Well, I'm about half your age in a different generation in a talk at a time of like massive uncertainty. so I'm wondering just from a different perspective, I think your principles speak to, you know, it's universal. It goes across all time. But what do you think for a younger generation, how best to navigate their career?
Scott Miller: [00:11:24] Well, I think it depends on what your career looks like. I read a book a few months ago and I interviewed the author, David Epstein. He wrote an amazing book that I highly recommend called a range, R a N G E. And in this book, David Epstein talks about the difference between being a generalist and being a specialist.
And that, you know, a lot of us early in our careers, we see people be specialists, right. They decided to get a medical degree or be a chemical engineer, or becomes, you know, a six Sigma black belt or an accountant. And for those people, that those career paths work very well for them kind of once a specialist, always a specialist, I don't know a lot of commercial airline pilots or anesthesiologists that are changing careers, midterm, right.
Kind of ones, the anesthesiologist always going to see the gel physiologists. And then there's all the rest of us that are generalist or in sales or in marketing or project management we're in leadership or communication. We're not quite sure what it is we're doing. Right. But we're kind of, you know, stumbling along in our twenties and thirties, kind of jealous of those who are specialists, right?
The engineer, the lawyer, the doctor. It's what I would, I would argue as, are you a specialist? Are you a generalist? If you're a specialist great for you. You're going to be very clear in life, on your path. You're gonna always have your path. If you're a generalist, you're going to be jealous of the specialist.
You're going to wish you had that certainty and that trajectory, that confidence and that security, but don't let that jealousy eclipse your ability to aggregate knowledge and skills because in your twenties and thirties, when you're paying off your student loans at a slower rate than the specialist, maybe.
You will be assimilating Vince amounts of information. You'll be making mistakes. We'll have successes, we'll try a different career. And I think, at some time in your forties, when it'll all start to come together, right. You'll start to realize what AMI you'll care less about your title at a dinner party and nobody experimenting.
So my advice early on is, you know, be comfortable with being a specialist. Or being a generalist. And if you are in general, sorts of the vast majority of us kind of are these days, right? Increasingly so right. Brain creative types, learning different things, trying different things, not trying to be a 25 year veteran at Exxon or whatever it is, be comfortable with the Rocky journey.
That is the journey Wunderlist, because you will come into your full, you will gain that confidence skill. Late thirties, forties. For me, it was late forties. I'm 52 now. And I think I find it had, I known someone told me that someone told me that I was a generalist, I would have said, okay, I'm not quite sure what that means, but I understand I'm not a specialist and I'm okay with that.
And I'm going to build my skills. And at some point they're going to pay off a, not quite sure when that would have been valuable for me to know, 20 years ago.
Brandon Stover: [00:14:21] Yeah, I think it's really important to kind of get comfortable with that ambiguity and realize that
Scott Miller: [00:14:26] Yeah. Embrace it, right?
Brandon Stover: [00:14:27] yeah, there's no loss time or everything that you're learning will eventually build upon each other. And those skills transfer.
Scott Miller: [00:14:33] I don't think I could have articulated that in my twenties or maybe even thirties. I was kind of driven by fear. I was, you know, had imposter syndrome always say I was gonna be exposed as not being competent when I was just as competent as anybody else. And we always think people are smarter and better spoken, but they're not right.
You're generally speaking. If you invest in your skills, you're just as competent. I learned that later in life, too late, too. Maybe not too late, but later than I should have.
How To Become A Leader
Brandon Stover: [00:15:00] Yeah, well, so many of our listeners are actually first time founders, early entrepreneurs, and by default, they are first time leaders. So can you share some of the fears that you had as a first time leader and maybe the important lessons
Scott Miller: [00:15:14] I sure can.
Brandon Stover: [00:15:15] first stepping up?
Yeah. Scott Miller: [00:15:17] here's the premise. I don't think everyone should be a leader of people. Just like not everyone should be a dental hygienist. Not everyone should be a plumber. Not everyone should be a leader of people. It doesn't mean people don't have leadership capability in them, found the company, set a vision, raise money, lead a project, develop a product. That's different than leading people because you are the founder because you are the owner because you mortgage your home does not necessarily mean you should be leading people.
So the first thing I would encourage your listeners to think about when you can scale enough to hire someone. That might compliment what your talents are. If your talents are not leading people, if your talents are not necessarily developing new relationships or building culture that's okay. Your talents might be as a chief revenue officer or the chief innovation officer, or as the founder owner creator and chief technology officer, maybe you hire somebody else to be operations or the chief people officer, or even the CEO.
Well, even the president of people or something like that, you get the point. I think don't try to be all things to all people. Not everyone should lead people. Leading people takes tremendous amount of courage and diplomacy requires you to have high courage conversations, move outside your comfort zone.
Discuss the undiscussable about communication styles, about tardiness, about collaboration, about personal hygiene. About self-awareness, it's not for everyone a lot, a lot, a lot of founders owners don't do that well. And then you might ask yourself, do I need to learn that skill is that is my skill and my precious hours of bandwidth, better allocated at invention creation and innovation ideation and partnerships and funding and growth.
They had, you know, nurturing coaching and mentoring, because if you're going to be a leader of people, they have to have a leader's mindset, Brandon and a leader's mindset means that I achieve results with, and through other people. That's profound. An effective leaders mindset is I achieved results with him through other people.
And when you believe that mindset, you realize, you know what? I understand the importance of relationships I need to slow down. Be more patient, be more considerate, build capability, build capacity in people. I don't need to be the smartest person in the room. I don't need to be the genius. I need to be the genius maker of others.
The genius igniter, the genius releaser. That's not easy for everybody. Wasn't for me. I didn't discover that until my mid forties. I'm not sure I should have been a leader of people. I exed some carnage across some cultures. Right.
Brandon Stover: [00:18:15] yeah, I think it takes a lot of self awareness, a lot of humility to look back and say, what are my skill sets and is, you know, being a leader of people, one of those. And if it's not, I think it's highly important that you find, you know, somebody that can step into that role and then you can be a partner with them.
Scott Miller: [00:18:30] Or, or, or to compliment, they may not be your skillsets, but is it worth it for you to learn that? Right? Is it worth it for you to take the time? You know, I probably could become a mechanical yeah. Engineer. I mean, probably not, but like give me some hope, but it would take me a decade. I'm struggle with it.
I would crater me and I wouldn't be the best, so it's not worth it for me to be a mechanical engineer. Right. It's just too hard. Let alone, you know, a web developer, right. Or any kind of physician. Most of us could do most things. The question is, does it make you happy? Do you find joy in it? Is that a natural thing that interests you?
Do you want to pay the price? It was a good questions to ask youself.
Brandon Stover: [00:19:09] Absolutely. so for the people that maybe don't want to be leaders and maybe want to follow a leader, that's still want to make change in the world. How do they seek out the leader that would best fit with who they want to follow that would lead and take that charge?
Scott Miller: [00:19:24] that's deep. I see a lot of things. Brandon. I think, I think that, you know, your generation has more choices and .Options than mine did. Right? I mean, my generation I'm 52. My generation was more kind of the tail end of the traditionalist and baby boomers. Right. We valued respect and hierarchy. We value tenure and loyalty.
I don't know what the, I don't think your generation has worst values. They're just different values, right? Your generation values more. creativity, you value, purpose and mission. You value collaboration, you value disruption, you know, for you. It's no problem having a two or three year career, right? For me, it would have been heresy 25 years ago.
That is, are glitter or bad. They're just different. So what you may be looking forward to leader is very different than perhaps what I might be looking for. You may be looking for a variety, right? I might be looking for stability. So I think it's very important as you enter your career to think about.
You're going to adopt a lot of the behaviors of your leader. Good and bad. So you want to associate yourself with someone who has all of the good things you want and all of the good things you need, because you may not know what you need. You need someone who has high character. You need someone who actually has high standards.
It doesn't cut the corners. Doesn't cheat, lie, steal, manipulate, spin opps, UK politics, gossip. You may not realize you need those things, but you do because we tend to grab the tape to the lowest common denominator of behavior. So make sure that you deliberately think about what I want. My, my now might be different than what I need later on.
So be thoughtful about, I might be, I might want fun, but what I might need is courage. What I might want his creativity, what I might need his ethics. Right. Am I leader? So we thoughtful about the type of leader you model yourself with. Don't be afraid to disrupt yourself. Don't be afraid to fire yourself.
You might have to move on and move out to, you know, try different styles of leadership. So you see what works and what doesn't work, what you want to read, what you want to model your career after, which you don't want a monitor crafter. And I think in your generation, I think. The demands of what leaders offer is higher than ever.
Right? The new generation for good, they'll not tolerate a massagist or racist or a belligerent person or person that is belittling to people. You won't tolerate it. You'll call them out. You'll Sue them, you'll quit. Or you'll sit them down and say, you know what? I want to like you, but I don't to be there.
You need to change. I'm going to quit there, conversation that your generation will have, but mine would have had.
How To Express Your Vision
Brandon Stover: [00:22:08] Right. Absolutely. Well for the founders that are creating this culture and, you know, they often have this lofty vision that they're trying to share. And one of the challenges in your book is to create a vision. So how do we clearly articulate this vision and clearly articulate our cultural values? So that our team can rally behind them and, you know, get over some of that mistakes that maybe you made along the way.
Scott Miller: [00:22:33] Such a great insightful question, you know? Dr. Covey said many wise things. One of them was no involvement, no commitment no involvement no commitment. Meaning if you don't involve your team in the creation, the ideation and the identification of values, behaviors, what are your core guiding principles?
What are the tenants then? They're just yours thought up in the shower and now you're voicing them on the team. So sit down with your team and say, Hey today, let's talk about how we want to behave around here, how we want to treat each other, how we want to be treat it. Is it different between the golden rule and the platinum rule?
The golden rule is, you know, treat each others how you want to be treated. The platinum rule is treat each other, how they want to be treated. It's a bit, it's a subtle but profound difference. So this idea of no, no commitment is probably universally good for any founder creator, upstart leader. Same time.
You probably are going to be thinking of the vision for your company in the shower. Right? You're probably thinking a lot of showers where do my best thinking right as the morning, or my creativity comes out. I'm an early riser. But what I've learned is I've been thinking about it for weeks and weeks. I talk in the shower.
I role play. I give my speeches out loud. But because it's perfected in here, does it mean it's perfected over there? Their heads, right. So you got to sit down and you got to clearly. Fundamentally simply communicate to others. What is your vision? Where are we going? What are the steps? What are the pivot points?
What are the challenges going to be? What does success look like? Tina? What does success look like for you, James? What is success look like for you? Ebraheem you get the point? You got to repeat it over and over again. Simply then. How do we have them? Repeat it back to you, Tina. Repeat back to me what you heard.
Cause they don't really know it. Are they the same page or have they maybe even misinterpreted something or innovated something even better? I'll tell you. I do think leaders can over-communicate look at the president not to get political. I think most people wish the president would talk less, whether you're approach president or anti British talk less.
Right. Because he's an expert at everything it gets into. You can over-communicate remedy, simplicity, clarity. Stop all the PowerPoints stop all the algorithmic charts. Stop all the lunch tables, put it all away, sit down. And then how many simple words can you communicate your vision, your strategy, your culture in ways that everybody else viscerally understands it.
Me share one last thought on this. This is helpful.
Brandon Stover: [00:25:22] Yes, absolutely.
Scott Miller: [00:25:24] One of our cofounders said something I think is insanely wise. He said, and listen carefully. Nearly all, if not all conflict in life comes from mismatched or unfulfilled expectations, nearly all, if not all conflict in life comes from mismatched or unfulfilled expectations.
So if you want to eliminate conflict in your life, mother-in-law brother tenant partner, employee investor, do hire. Clarify repeated again, declare your intent because absent facts, people make stuff up. So speak very simply. I think a key leadership competency is the person that can communicate ideas and 10 words or less with single syllables.
Right? I think the purse that complicates things with all these flowery words, I have a big vocabulary. I read a lot, but I find that I tend to intimidate people. I don't tend to actually build resonance or loyalty if I get up there and I talk in super multisyllabic words, but what I am simple and I'm clear, and it's resonant.
Everybody gets to work executing like wildfire because everybody is super clear on what needs to happen. That's a leadership competency that every founder upstart owner should resonate with.
How To Find Your Values & Communicate Them
Brandon Stover: [00:26:51] One of the biggest challenges that startups face is co-founder conflict and it's one of the reasons that a lot of startups will fail. And I think a lot of it comes to unexpressed the values on each side. And so I'm curious how you best, formulate your values to others, but then also hear them express theirs
Scott Miller: [00:27:12] Well, it's a multi part question, right? I think there's a lot of conflict around partners and owners that comes typically from Not setting the standard that we are going to, you know, bruise hard and heal fast, right? Bruce hard and heal fast that we're not going to take things personally. I have your best interest in mind and you have my best friends.
I'm going to protect you and you protect me. And occasionally I might need to protect you from yourself. So, you know what, once a week, let's agree, we're going to grab a coffee and we're going to walk around the complex. We're going to walk around the neighborhood. We're going to walk around apart and we're just going to have a safe zone.
We're going to share what's on our mind. We may not use the right words. We may not say it the right way. We're pre forgiven. Our intent is to help each other. Our tid is to minimize conflict. Our intent is to provide feedback. Our intent is to discuss each other's blind spots. Our intent is to trust each other and that whatever I said in that block, Nobody harbors bad feelings, nobody blames the other person.
We're just, we're here to add an open dialogue. And if you do that every week, you'll have less people losing. They're losing their, you know, or blowing their emotions, right. Or, or, or things being pinned up or unexpressed frustrations. That's advice I give to every owner's schedule it every week. 30 minutes say what's on your mind.
No holding grudges. Right? Say it in a respectful way for pre forgiveness. If you say it with the wrong words, your tent is pure. Doesn't mean you're right. It means we're feeling it right. We all tend to confuse our emotions, our opinions, and our fields of facts. Facts are facts and emotions are emotions. And sometimes we confuse the two.
I think when it comes to clarifying your values, which is the other part of your question, I think most people don't know what their values are. I think we use this word really free, right? Like what are your values? I don't know. Liberty peace, happiness, financial security.
Tuesday. What are your values? I don't know. Joy love hap I mean Wednesday. What are your values? I don't know. Democracy inner peace print. Take the time to sit down and identify your values. Really think them through, write them down. I know my values. It's an acronym. P H I L P a L positive. Tiffany, this health loyalty, integrity, abundance.
I know them very clearly. They're the same as they were eight months ago as or eight years ago. And I know them and an acronym Phi LPL, the first P is actually purpose. Like what is my purpose here? Health integrity, loyalty, positivity, abundance learning. These are my values and I try to govern my behavior through those values.
We tend to use the word values. Like you throw them around. Don't do that. Be delivered on them. Okay. And engage your team on what do we think? The values that should govern our behavior, our decision making our hiring, our terminations, our promotions, our funding. Be more deliberate with that word would be on my advice to your listeners.
Brandon Stover: [00:30:31] That's excellent advice that I, I think this applies to not just know a business relationship, but any relationship that you have. My wife and I actually take every Wednesday and do an hour walk together where we basically talk to each other, you know, no hard feelings whatever's coming up in the relationship, good or bad or whatever we're going to work through it.
And so I think it's a, that's an important skill that you have to practice with whatever relationship you find most important.
Scott Miller: [00:30:58] You know if it's true. Can I tell you Brandon that's so well said. I think in organizations, we often fall into this trap of thinking that people are our most valuable asset. We hear that a lot, right? People are the most I've lost it. It's not true. People are not an organization's most valuable asset.
It's the relationships between those people that are your most valuable asset. It's subtle, but it's profound. If you really value relationships, you slow down. You listen, you move off your own agenda. You become more vulnerable. You stop trying to ask questions on your own timeline, but you listen to what it is they're saying with their heart and their eyes and their soul.
It sounds hokey, but it's not. Willing to admit your mistakes more freely. I think what you said is great about your legend with your spouse, right. Is, easier said than done in an organization. It's the same way.
The Importance of Listening To Others
Brandon Stover: [00:31:53] Your third challenge in your book is actually to listen. And so I'd like you to expand on that and maybe speak to some of those stories where maybe you weren't listening as well as you could.
Scott Miller: [00:32:03] Well, that's every story in a light brother. So where would I start? Yeah. So in this book management mess to leadership success, I list out 30 challenges that every leader faces. These aren't just made up. These are 30 after 40 years of Franklin Covey working around the world with literally millions of leaders.
And the third challenge is called listen first. And you know, dr. Covey popularized this as the fifth habit habit five. Why seek first to understand then to be understood. I think generally as leaders, we are, we're taught to communicate. We're always in persuasion mode, influence mode, selling bode, right?
Mission, vision, and values. And these are the goals. Repeat them, repeat them. We're taught to speak from stage and be charismatic and well spoken. And we're taught to communicate, communicate, communicate. That's true. The flip side is, as if you're talking, you're not listening and listening is quite selfless.
Talking is quite selfish, can be. So I would argue that most of us listen with the intent to respond, not to understand. And when you actually internalize that, that most of us listen with the intent to solve someone's problem. One of them. Duplicate their story. Identify with it. You're not listening.
You're interrupting your one up and your one besting. And most of us listen, like I said before on our own agenda, on our own timeline, on our own frame of reference. Oh, I dated her. Here's how you deal with that. Oh, I've worked for him. Here's how you saw that. Oh, I've shopped there. Here's how you return that.
It's well intended. Because most of us want to solve people's problems. But the fact of the matter is both people don't want us to solve their problems. They just want us to validate them and listen, they want to feel understood. So I would say stop asking questions, questions as leaders we're taught, you know, to peel the onion, right.
To get to the root cause those are really good skills, but they're not good at relationship skills. They're good skills for the P and L. They're good skills for calculating EBITDA or projecting revenue, but not relationship skills, stop asking questions because most people will tell you what they need for you to know.
And many of us are interrupters and the linguistic science Brandon shows that the reason we tend to interrupt people's because. Linguistically psychologically, each of us have a subconscious alarm clock that goes off in our heads. When we think the other person should stop talking and it's different for everybody, right?
You think I should talk for one minute and 12 seconds. You think that, you know, just send us your talk for 48 seconds. You think your wife should talk for four seconds. We all have this different sense. When that alarm clock goes off in our heads, we interject and be in a rush. And the best way to do that is the next time someone's talking.
And you're tempted to interrupt. Just close your mouth. Let your upper lips touch your lower lip. No grimace. Don't make it noticeable. Gently. Let your upper lip touch your lower lip and count to 10. I on everyone listening right now. You can't see me likely, but I want you to very gently put your lips together and we're going to count to 10.
That might've been painful for some of you, but the linguistic science shows, if you can resist interrupting someone during that ten second period of time, the odds that they will finish their point, stop talking, land their point, or even disclose something especially important or sensitive or intimate.
That will then give you a cue as to what they need from you. Next is exponential. This will change your relationships. If you can resist the temptation to interrupt and just let people talk for as long as they need to. It's a great leadership,
Brandon Stover: [00:36:16] I think it a really. Allows you to take a second and from the stimulus to your actual response, because cause sometimes the thing, things that you were saying or what you feel you need to get off your chest rather than actually, you know, maybe in response to whatever they just said.
Scott Miller: [00:36:35] Or it might be something they said early on in the conversation that elicited an emotional response to you, but wasn't there a real point, right? How did you let them finish? They would have used that to talk about something else that they were working on, concerned about fearful of excited about.
How To Lead Through Change
Brandon Stover: [00:36:51] Well, I'd like to talk about, one of the other challenges in that is in both of your books and it's to lead through change. Right now we're in COVID 2020 has been quite an immense change for everyone. How do you best be through challenging times of change?
I think there's a couple of points that are fundamental to leadership as it relates to change. Two in particular. The first is that change is a very emotional process. And, and that sounds like, OK. Yeah. Duh, Nope. Let that sit a second. Everyone deals with change differently. No, my parents had been in the same home for 57 years.
Scott Miller: [00:37:31] I've owned three homes in five years, I can sell homes. Like I can go to strengths, right? I don't, I mean, it's easy for me pack up and move on and make some money. And my parents had rocked their world. My parents slowly can not move out of their home. They're in their eighties. They need to be in a retirement home.
They have this large home, all this land change, rocks, their world. My dad worked for a company for 34 years. So I think it's important as a leader to not expect everyone to assimilate. To change as fast as you do, because oftentimes you've been thinking about it. You've created the change. You were the impetus for the change.
And so for you, you may not recognize it, but change has been in your mind for some time, days, weeks, months, and now you're communicating it. And you expect everybody to get on it on board when you went thinking about it for days or months, and they're hearing about it for the first time. I'm not saying they need days or months, but be thoughtful around how fast you expect people to accelerate, to change adoption as fast as you do, you buy different fears.
People moved as army brats all their life, and now they may love change. They may hate having their office move. Right. Don't infer that people had the same journey as you change is a very emotional process. And I mentioned earlier that most change. Comes with fog and conflict, right. And absent facts.
People do make stuff up. So the more you can clarify, the more you can disclose, the more you can declare your intent. I know this is why we're doing this. This is my motive. This is my agenda. Will there be some unintended consequences? Probably. Have I thought them all through? Probably not. Am I smart? Yes.
Am I human? Yes.
Talk to your people. I think the other thing around change Brandon is that I think a lot of leaders try to protect their team from change too long. It's well-intended right as well. This will, this will stop. or this too will pass or this overture will end. So I'm just going to protect my team so they don't get impacted.
But the problem is, is those leaders, although well intended a protect their team too long from change so that when real change, real change comes like Colby. And you're forced to go home. People aren't as mentally agile or as intellectually or emotionally nimble enough to be able to turn on a dime because you've been protecting them from any kind of change for a long time, because you love them.
You care about them. You want to keep them focused. You want to keep them from distraction, but you know what? Some distractions, some people as good. Because it tests people's muscles, right? Your intellectual, mental, interpersonal, physical muscles, if you will, in terms of where they're working with their doing.
So be thoughtful around sometimes your motives, although well-intended don't serve people. Well, especially when it comes to change.
Brandon Stover: [00:40:26] Hmm, for the people that are changing themselves right now, you've gone through, you know, different times of change yourself. you've talked about how you kind of get bored after a little bit and even a little bit of a career change. Can you talk about how you've disrupted yourself and you know how to do that in a proactive way, rather than reacting to something like
Well, so other than my stint at Disney, I've always fired myself. I've always kept myself about a year or two ahead of the proverbial boot. I'm quite politically astute, I think. And I don't know. I tend to believe my own press. I don't live in my own reality. I actually very much live in the reality. So I'm very cognizant of kind of where the winds are headed and when I'm overstaying my welcome in a certain role, Scott Miller: [00:41:13] I'm rather ambitious.
I like to disrupt myself and learn new skills that are afraid of change. I have three boys and a wife that are dependent upon me financially. So I can't just cavalierly quit my job Willy nilly. Right? I mean, I have a lot of, I have a tremendous amount of responsibility and her personally, not to mention those who work for me and have tied to their brand and vibrant.
I take that with great care and thoughtfulness. I think the best advice I would give is this idea of act or be acted upon disrupt yourself or be disrupted, you know, have a plan. Or be part of someone else's plan. And so all those things have really always kind of haunted me. And I love this idea from Harvey Mackay, the famous author and speaker, where he said, you know, dig your well before you're thirsty.
I always have my well dug before I am thirsty. I'm not caught off guard now. I'm not like a neurotic political, you know, you know, Parana. I'm not always wondering what, and I just I'm wise and thoughtful. Keep my ear to the ground. And I kind of look around and say, where's this going? Is that where I should be going?
Are they thinking, am I zagging based thinking, should I be zigging? Right. And I'm, and I own the consequences of my behavior. I've made some good decisions, bad decisions, but generally here's good advice, perhaps less advice for the owners and more advice to the employees. Rarely are you in the room when your career is decided for you?
Right. Rarely as an owner. Are you in the room when your funders are talking about renewing or pulling out? Right. So I think it's so important to not rest on your laurels. Don't be surprised by anything, expect the unexpected always be willing to not be caught off guard, always be willing to not be caught off guard.
And that has served me well,
Brandon Stover: [00:43:12] you.
Scott Miller: [00:43:12] surprises me. Chippendale dancers could come in here right now. Right? My wife could come in the helicopter. I mean outrageous stuff, but I just, it served me well to just expect the unexpected, by the way, I don't need Chippendale dancers at my house. My point is I just am always prepared for the unexpected and I don't let anybody control my life.
I control my life. I'm in charge of my life.
You mentioned you have three boys. What are you teaching them about leadership in their own life?
Well, they know who I'm voting for, for the white house in the fall because they know what I expect out of a leader. I expect high character. I expect an abundance mentality. I expect that leadership is about others and not yourself. I expect that leadership's about apologizing when you're wrong.
Speaking respectfully to people. Leadership is about not being a know it all, or the genius on every topic. Leadership is about having the vulnerability to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and be comfortable not being the smartest person in the room. I'm a lifelong Republican, and I'm quite passionate about character battles with competence.
And I generally find reprehensible leaders that think they are the smartest people in the room. Cause usually you're not we're we're Catholics. So my boys are being raised with a great sense of reverence for their creator and why they're here and uncovering their purpose in life. And perhaps even creating their identity versus letting somebody else create it for them.
Like what, what is their purpose? Why are they here? so without getting too political, I think we have a great example right now of what leadership looks like and what it doesn't.
Brandon Stover: [00:45:04] Hmm. Well, so, well, before I get to my last question, Scott, where can everybody find you and the books?
Scott Miller: [00:45:11] Well, my wife will tell you it's hard not to find me because I'd pretty much easy to be Googled, right? You can visit Franklin covey.com. Subscribe to my leadership podcast for the Franklin Covey company called on leadership with Scott Miller. I'd love to have any of your guests or listeners that matter feature guests.
Follow me on LinkedIn. Connect to me on LinkedIn. I write a column each week for inc magazine. And I host, like I said, the podcast for Franklin Covey, you can visit dot com. The books are for sale everywhere. I have four books, two that are out there that are coming out and there'll be many more books coming out in the mess to success series.
I'm launching marketing mess to brand success next year. And I'm writing now job mess to career success. Next will be communication message influence success. Parenting best to launch success, Libya, a whole series about 10 best of success books out over the next seven to eight years.
Brandon Stover: [00:46:06] Sounds like you're covering all bases.
Scott Miller: [00:46:08] I got a lot going on my friend.
How Scott Believes We Can Push The World To Evolve
Very nice. Well, my last question is how can we push the world to evolve?
Gosh, where do you start on that? Right. I mean, I think,
I think humility is an underrated. Human competency. Humility is born out of confidence. Confident people can be humble. People, humble people, collaborate, humble people, listen, humble people think of third alternatives. Humble people can be friends with people who disagree with them. It's tough. I'm not a very humble person.
I work on it all the time. Arrogant people are incapable of showing humility of showing deference. So I think as we all evolve, humility is, is a underrated virtue value. And it may look different in different people, but humility means it may not be my time. I might turn the spotlight onto you. I have enough for you as well, enough to go around.
I think I believe in, on the word humility as a way for all of us to better evolve and for the world to evolve to.
Brandon Stover: [00:47:17] Wonderful advice, Scott, I really appreciate you coming on the podcast today and sharing all your wisdom.
Scott Miller: [00:47:22] Brandon, my honor. My pleasure. Thank you for the invite.