Employee Referrals and Kevin Bacon – Take Advantage of the Six Degrees of Separation

Jeff Meyer serves as Director of Solutions for ThreeWill, bringing leadership on consistently delivering great experiences to our clients, partners and associates. In this role, he leads relationship building with prospects, clients and alliance partners.

“Six Degrees of Separation” is the concept that all living things are connected by no more than six links or degrees of separation. Take any two people on the globe, and it could be possible to link them through six people that are connected to each other.

If you subscribe to this theory, then think about applying it to recruiting and hiring. Most people have worked with others we enjoyed collaborating with and some we didn’t enjoy working alongside too much. Wouldn’t it be great to work with your favorites again? Why is it so hard to find top quality candidates? If we’re all separated by only six other people, the trick is to figure out how you’re connected to the right person to hire.

ThreeWill has an employee referral bonus program. If you refer someone you know to interview for a job and they are hired, you get some money when they start and a larger payout after they’ve completed nine months with the firm. It’s a great way to help us find good people to join the company. The quality of candidates coming from our employee referral program generally fit our culture well, because someone knew them and knew they’d probably feel at home working here. Every company that’s growing and needs people should consider doing an employee referral bonus program.

The “Six Degrees of Separation” theory has been around since 1929 and it’s “friend of a friend” hypothesis is a foundation for many of our modern social networks. LinkedIn, for example, categorizes 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree connections to recommend people you may know or want to connect with for business opportunities. A 2nd connection is a person connected to someone you know as a 1st connection, so they have mutual connections with you. Following that logic, 3rd connections are people you might want to meet since they know someone you know.

The key to success in getting employees to spend time recruiting for your organization is more than just advertising the incentive on referrals. It’s a good idea to show your team how to search their connections and proactively think about recruiting on a regular basis. We all have connections with friends, family or business associates we’ve known throughout our careers. But, remembering who’ve you’ve met who might know something about Agile Development processes, for example, is difficult. Besides, if I made a connection 12 years ago and I’ve not stayed in touch all that often, the person likely has gained new skills and experiences since we first met.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (or MySpace, if you’re a musician I guess) are the keys to getting started finding someone you know. If you search keywords across your connections or friends, you might be surprised what you find. I had no idea, my old high school buddy, who majored in music in college was now an IT guy! Really?!?!  Hmmm… I should ping him and see how he’s doing. There he is on LinkedIn with an Information Team Lead title.

Just for fun, I took a sampling of 20 coworkers LinkedIn statistics. If all of them used LinkedIn to search for candidates for our job openings, how many people could we reach? It was astounding to find out that 20 people, myself included, had 11,290 1st connections. Granted, a small percentage of those connections could be candidates for the specific job openings we have. But, if we add in 2nd connections, those people that our 1st connections know, the number grew to 2,145,100! Another 4,516,000 people are added to the mix coming from 3rd connections. When you add up all those connections, just across 20 coworkers on LinkedIn, the total number of potential candidates for our open jobs might come from a pool of 6,672,390 candidates. That’s the equivalent population of what would be the second largest city in the United States, just below Los Angeles, CA at 8.5 million or so. And, we’re talking about only 3 degrees of separation, not 6.

Malcolm Gladwell is quoted as saying, “Six degrees of separation doesn’t mean that everyone is linked to everyone else in just six steps. It means that a very small number of people are linked to everyone else in a few steps, and the rest of us are linked to the world through those special few. Congratulations to Danny Ryan, here at ThreeWill, for having 2756 connections on LinkedIn. You’re our special one(but we knew that already.) You have more connections on LinkedIn than anyone else in our company. We expect to see some referrals from you, buddy. You referred me – so thank you for that!

Also, just for fun, maybe you’ve heard of the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game? The goal is to link any actor to Kevin Bacon through no more than six connections, where two actors are connected if they were in a movie or commercial together. Go to to check your answers and see the actor’s “Bacon Number”. This has nothing to do with recruiting unless you are a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, but it’s a great example of the power of connections.

So, we’ve spent all this time the last few years building up our social media with connections, friends, and post after post, time to capitalize on it. Earn a referral bonus, grow your company and work with people who are like-minded. Recruiting is everybody’s job. Why? Because you’re the best recruiters available.


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Jeff MeyerEmployee Referrals and Kevin Bacon – Take Advantage of the Six Degrees of Separation

Why Meeting in Person is Still the Best Way to Develop Relationships with Clients

Jon is responsible for selling solutions by developing and managing relationships with ThreeWill clients. Jon has a passion for getting to know and understand his customer’s or client’s true needs. He often quotes Stephen Covey, “We need to listen to truly understand, not just listen to respond”.

Virtual vs In-Person

I was just talking to a friend of mine the other day about meeting some new clients at their offices in Atlanta and visiting some existing ones as well. They brought up the question, “don’t you work in that I/T stuff? Can’t you just call them to talk or do one of those web conference things?” As I started thinking about it, so much of our world has started meeting virtually, whether it’s over the phone, or through an online video conference. People are starting to meet this way to save time, save money and to not sit in that darn traffic. But what are we really saving, or on that hand, what are we losing? Let me explain my view on meeting in-person and why I think that it is always the best way to talk to your customer!

Building a Relationship with Your Client is Key!

It’s very hard to build a strong relationship if you don’t ever meet them in person. Take online dating for example. You talk a little online or even by phone, but eventually, you want to go meet that them in person. But why is this? Its because you want that interaction, you want that experience that you can only get by meeting in person. The same goes for your clients. They want to see who they are working with, as well do you. I want to be there to build that relationship and strengthen trust in the beginning. Sure, there will be a lot of meetings and projects discussed by phone or web conference, but don’t forget to go see them every now and then.

Back in the day…

One thing that my grandfather would always talk about is how they would always make deals on the golf course. “Back in the day, the golf course is when deals are made”. He would tell me how this was how he was able to see his clients and top executives in person. He could see their reactions to questions, talk about future business and they would also joke around a little bit. This was a personable experience. Now I’m not saying that you should go buy a set of clubs, start taking lessons and become a member of a country club, but try to think of new ways to meet your customers. Go see them at an event or even take them to a place they like.

Will they Remember You?

Can you say that all of your clients will remember you? Did you do something to set yourself apart? Think about this each time you are going to see your client. Myself, I make sure to do something small each time we meet to make sure that they remember me. It could be something I wear, a conversation about similar hobbies or if all else fails, bring them a little treat. No, this is not a bribe, but a show of interest and appreciation. Remember earlier talking about dating, I bet you showed up with flowers or a gift of some sort more than once. This shows you care and you want to stay on their mind. Same goes for your clients, if you stay on the forefront of their minds, you will be the first person they reach out to when they need something.

In Conclusion

Show your clients that you and your company care about them and appreciate them. Yes, it will cost a little extra to travel and see them and you will spend some time in traffic, on a plane or sitting on the train, but go see them! You will be amazed at the difference it will make when you build that relationship and trust, just because you came to see them face to face. You will reduce the anxiety of the customer, deals will move smoother, faster and you will really enjoy seeing them, as they will you. They become business friends all because you invested the time to see them in person.

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Jon BradyWhy Meeting in Person is Still the Best Way to Develop Relationships with Clients

Talking about 4DX with Jeff Meyer

Danny Ryan

Co-Host – Danny Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Jeff Meyer

Guest – Jeff Meyer

LinkedIn – Twitter

Tommy Ryan

Co-Host – Tommy Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Danny:Hello, and welcome. This is the Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone podcast, and I am here with the other bald brother, Tommy Ryan. How are you doing?


Tommy:I’m doing well, good morning.


Danny:Good morning, and we also have Jeff Meyer here, how are you doing Jeff?


Jeff:Good morning, it’s great to be here. Two bald guys and a microphone, I hope there’s no follicle bullying going on.


Danny:No, no there won’t.


Jeff:I do have a little bit of hair, I know you can’t see.


Danny:Midway through, in that closet behind you there’s a razor, and midway through this thing, we’re going to take your hair off, okay?


Tommy:You will shave.


Jeff:That sounds like fun. I’m glad I’m here.


Danny:It could be three bald bros and a microphone. We can change it around. Who knows.


Jeff:I’m in.


Danny:Alright so, we’re just … We’ve known Jeff for years, way back from the Extreme Logic days of things, and for folks who don’t know, Extreme Logic was a great company where you just met a lot of folks who … It was just a great part of my career. It was great what Wayne was doing, and Keith, and everybody over there. Man there’s numerous folks from ThreeWill or at ThreeWill or from Extreme Logic, the same thing with Infrascience. There’s a lot of people from that company, it was just great place to be. So when you left, we had similar paths, right? Around the same time you started off Infrascience and we started off ThreeWill, you focused more on the infrastructure side of things and we were more on the app dev side of things.


Jeff:Which made us wonderful partners over the last fifteen years, in my opinion.


Danny:It did. It really did. It was nice to have someone who focused in on a certain area and wasn’t so broad. We did the same thing.




Danny:It was really kinda cool, just going back and forth and going into sales calls with each other. We compliment, I think we’re not very sales-y.


Tommy:True. That’s true.


Danny:So we like to solve problems and I think people appreciated that. I think we had the same style going into things. We recently caught up. Infrascience was sold to a new signature.


Jeff:Yeah, so it was acquired in late 2015.


Danny:In 2015, and …


Jeff:Yeah. Myself and my two co-founders were pretty excited.


Danny:Nice. Nice.


Jeff:And they were both former Extreme Logic guys as well too. Mark Pearson, Phil Bartholomew.


Danny:Excellent. Excellent. Then you have, you were there for a while, and then you’ve left?


Jeff:I have completed my commitment.


Danny:Completed your commitments.


Jeff:So we’ve finished transition and integration, and it’s time for the next challenge.


Danny:Nice. Time for the next challenge. It’s exciting, huh?


Jeff:It is, it is.


Danny:So I wanted to talk to you about. I guess, through our conversations, we, and you did, I guess you did listen to the podcast, thank you.


Jeff:I did, I did.


Danny:The 4DX, and wanted to talk through. I actually just learned from you a little bit. Since we’re on the early stages of this journey, what were some of the things that you learned as you were implementing it, rolling it out? Sounds like you did it for two to three years. We’d just love to hear from you about it.


Tommy:Up until we were acquired.


Danny:Okay. Up until we were acquired.


Jeff:The new signature organization is looking to roll it back out across the entire organization.




Jeff:At the time we were pretty wrapped up in integration and transition and so we decided to kinda park that. The new signature wanted to evaluate it, and they are going to implement it too.




Jeff:I’m a huge fan of the four disciplines of execution. I’ll back up a little bit and tell you how we discovered it. I was so excited to see that you guys are considering it as well.


Tommy:We’re just a little slow. We’re about four years behind everything.




Jeff:Careful. You’re very cautious and nothing wrong with that. That’s why you’re still in business. So I attended the … Worldwide partner conference. I believe it was in 2014 and Chris McChezny, one of the co-authors of the book was presenting at one of the sessions. Actually, I didn’t have this session targeted as one that I had planned to attend. It’s just that I ended up at a point in the day where I didn’t have any other meetings and I didn’t have a session, and I didn’t find, so I just quick scanned a list, and oh this looks interesting, and dropped in. I’ll tell you, it just changed the way I think about how we do business. It was a really compelling presentation. I really enjoyed it. Chris is a great presenter. Turns out, he lives here in the Atlanta area.


Tommy:I did not know that.


Jeff:Yeah. He goes to church with one of my business partners, Mark Pearson. We got to meet him. And have a chat and learn more about how they came up with the principles of execution. I think one of the things that really hit me as something that excited me about it, and so we should consider this in our own firm, was that he said, lots of MBA’s and PhD’s go to business school and they learn all at strategy. Planning and development of strategies and all that. Nobody talks about execution. Execution is what really makes a difference in getting things done.


I was very attracted to that. Our organization, we handed out the books to a lot of the folks on our team. People read it, we got to talk about it, and then we decided to bring in the organization and help us get it off the ground, accommodation.


Tommy:Nice. Did they do some training at first or what was, did they have a consultant, what did that look like?


Jeff:Yeah, the consultant came in, and the initial thing was to meet with the executives of the firm and try to understand what kind of value we hope to receive by embarking on this journey. They kinda helped us understand how we might get better value from it. Really be more thoughtful in our approach to implementing it, before we just dive in. We did that, and it’s kind of a two day exercise, where y’all sit around in a room together and you talk about different things going on in your business and what might be important to you, and those kinds of things. I think you guys are probably of a similar mindset, that to do well in business, you need to relentlessly try to improve.


Whether it’s new offerings for your clients, or a personal growth initiative, I wanna be a better public speaker, or I wanna be better at technology if I’m a consultant. There’s a variety of things and I think those people that relentlessly pursue that, are real professionals. They really have an opportunity to do something to make a difference. A lot of this 4DX is kinda based on that same mindset. It creates a form where your entire organization can jump on the bandwagon of relentlessly improving what they do. That’s a wonderful thing.


Once we went through the couple of days of consulting, we then charted out, you know, a roll out approach and education. That’s where we brought the team in, and just talked about the overall concepts, saw examples, heard stories about what other companies have done with it. Kinda wanted to rev people’s juices up about it and get them thinking, about how they might adopt it, because it’s a very team-based approach and almost individual approach as to what would you like to do, what kind of a goal do you wanna put in play, and then go out and achieve it.


Tommy:Where did, what was the process, because we’re going through it, and I’m asking this quite selfishly. We’ve been going through, talking about what the overall company wig is, and have been processing things and you, when we were preparing for this, you had mentioned you sort of did a theme for the year, each year you had sort of an overarching theme. You said the first year was about customer experience, was that the first …


Jeff:Customer experience. Some people might call it quality.




Jeff:But what we decided was that, by working with our firm, Infrascience, we wanted anyone and everyone to have a good experience. Whether that be an actual client, whether it be a prospect, that’s just evaluating us, whether it be one of our partner organizations that wants to go to market with us. You folks included, as we were partners through the years.




Jeff:What is it like to interact with our firm, and is it a good experience and how can we determine whether that’s true or not, and how can we measure that or things that we decided.


Tommy:Did you use net promoter score the first year?


Jeff:We did.


Tommy:Okay. Then did you just have, by this, it’s x to y by this date? So you had a certain score that you were trying to get to by a certain date?


Jeff:That’s correct. And I don’t remember the numbers off the top of my head.


Tommy:Yeah, that’s not why I’m asking you.


Jeff:But I wanna say it was something like a 70 or 75 overall score was what were shooting for that first year.


Tommy:By the end of the year that’s what you should want.


Jeff:Yeah. And of course you don’t know yet where you’re starting from. How steep of a climb is that, or is that not too bad? We were pleased to get 60, 65 score I think. Right out of the shoot on the first test. So we were like, oh this is gonna be something achievable.




Jeff:Well, it was harder than we thought, and that was what was.


Tommy:We have a perfect score because I only ask half the customers.


Danny:Selective polling is something that works well.


Tommy:Selective polling, it’s amazing. You can make the numbers look like anything. But I’m sorry, I joke, I joke.


Jeff:No, I know. It’s funny.


Tommy:But it’s so funny when you’re in with some customer service organizations, and you’ve had a bad experience, and they say, “Hold on the line to do this survey.” Then at the end of the call, it just blanks to, they don’t ask you any questions because you’ve had a bad experience, so.




Tommy:You can see them, what they do. So with this, let’s dive into that a little bit. It was about customer experience. Did you, for the individual, did you have like department wigs, wigs for the different practice areas, or how did you break that out? What did that look like?


Jeff:Yeah, our firm probably was organized pretty similar to yours. We have practice areas and practice leads based on certain technologies that they were focused on. But we had every part of the organization participate. From sales to HR, to finance. Marketing. Obviously their wigs were very different across, a lot of practices maybe were somewhat similar in deliver, but sales had an initiative to grow repeat business, you know, initially.




Jeff:So they started measuring that.


Tommy:We don’t want repeat business though.


Jeff:Yeah, right, and so they kind of came up with some things around questions that they would want to have a dialog with a client as they were finishing up a project. Kind of plant the seeds for the next one. Or maybe take a more strategic perspective in their conversation with the client, so that they’re trying to get a more long-term view of where the clients business is heading, so that they can then think about, “Hmm, what are the ways we could help them get there?” Versus just being transactional. That was kinda neat.


I know the accounting department and finance came up with one of their biggest challenges, that they think affects the customer experience, was our invoicing. Did it arrive timely, was it correct when it had arrived, was it concise? Many clients wanted customized formatting that made it go through their purchasing organizations smoother. Was that accounted for, and accomplished, and those kinds of things. They went about on a project initially to go and be sure that they were doing those kinds of things and asking those questions upfront versus just assuming. That the standard invoice would be okay. It greatly increased the interaction with our clients, which turned out to have a great side benefit that we didn’t even see. And that, they had relationships stand with people in purchasing, and finance and stuff, and our clients. They could just pick up the phone and call each other now that they knew each other. Relationships got built, that we didn’t see coming.


Tommy:How often did you do the accountability piece of this, where you were looking at. Was it weekly or was it monthly, or how did you … Part of the disciplines is, one is have a scoreboard and then the other one is making sure you’re checking back in on this. Was this something that the different teams got to … What did that look like, I guess?


Jeff:Every team built scoreboards. Actual, physical, fun scoreboards. With themes and characters and lots of fun things. I know the sales team had the wizard of Oz as their …


Danny:I think that’s so good.


Tommy:I think you went over to your … I think I saw this at your office.


Jeff:I know they had a picture of me, Mark and Phil as munchkins. Which is great, you know. Follow the approach. So it was a journey to more repeat business. It was really fun. Different teams came up with wildly creative ideas. We had a little bit of a challenge there in translating that to being more of a virtual organization, because we were scattered across six states in the south-east. But we took pictures of the boards and posted them. Created a site and share point, where we could share that. And keep it up to date and those kinds of things.


It was great for folks that work together in a local office though, to be able to have that scoreboard right there and walk by it every day, as a reminder. They did 15 minute weekly meetings, we were very strict about no more than 15 minutes. Get in, take care of business, have your conversation, share the information with each other. Ask for input and feedback if you’re struggling. Then close out the meeting and agree to meet next week. We used the online,, provided by the organization. We found that to be very useful, because it held people accountable. They needed to go in there every week and update their activities.


If you’ve made a commitment, that you’re going to call every client before you send out an invoice, or if you’re in a practice, one of the practices was updating their statement and work templates, is what they decided to improve quality. Each person had a section of the statement at work that they were working on, so they needed to put their commitment in, each week that they had accomplished what they had set out to do. Or not. Sometimes things happen, and that’s okay. But you put that in and note it.


Danny:One of the things, I think, Tommy and I really like about this, which is it’s, the world win is there. It’s, you have to do your day to day things. You have to take care of those things. But then, this is sort of why, it is a focus. It’s sort of like, what do we, as an entire company, what do we want to do, and focus on for this year, and make sure we’re successful at. I like it, because it’s not like drop everything. You still have to do your day job, but here’s some additional focus that we’re going to have for this year.


Jeff:Yeah. We would have monthly meetings, all hands meetings we called them. Each group would give a brief update of what their score was, where they were. Any activities that just needed to be covered broadly, we would talk about that. It really got people interacting and competing with each other to do better. You talk about the world win. I think one of the most valuable things that I took from 4DX, as we really started to make it a part of our everyday lives, was I did annual planning, our executive team did annual planning. Sometimes we did quarterly updates, to the plan, as we moved through the year. But we always had 10 to 20 goals that we wanted to try to do.


On the execution, it states clearly, if you have 20 things you wanna try to do, you will probably achieve zero of them, or maybe one at best. But if you say I only have one thing I wanna do, and I’m not gonna do anything else until I get it done, it changes your whole perspective.




Jeff:I think, they used the analogy in the training, I remember. You get a soccer field, and only one person is allowed on the field at a time. One problem you’re trying to solve. You kick that all the way down into the goal before the other player can come off the bench and come out there onto the field. And it puts your full attention on making a difference. That’s was unusually valuable. I think many people in the organization had a similar thing, even as an individual. “I got 20 certifications I want to do this year to be a better technician.” Or maybe it’s only 4, but still, it’s a challenge. That’s a lot of studying, a lot of work. If they just said, “I’m just gonna do this one, this quarter.” X to Y by when. They had much more success.


Danny:One of the things that Tommy and I have gone through a couple of times, and a part of it is for me to just try to digest it. If I can explain it to somebody else, I then understand it. I try to learn something, and then explain it. If I can do that, then I feel like at least I’ve apprehended at a certain level what it means. For me, the lead measures versus the lag measures has been an important part of this, because as we’re looking at this, the wig is a lag measure, and then we’re looking at what lead measures would impact that. A lot of what I’ve been trying to coach the team around, is everybody’s used to talking about all these metrics, which are lags measures. But you focus in on the lead measures. You can’t magically just make the sales go up. It’s like, what are you doing to make that go up. It was funny this past year. I think there were, in a lot of way, my marketing, I was trying to set up for this year, which is I had a marketing dashboard, which was just an excel. It had all of my objectives for the year.


I said I was gonna do 10 blog posts per month. It had all the different, I was gonna send out a monthly email every month. Sorry. Let me hit my head here. How often do I do that. And just had other things like that, because I said that was my objective for the year. Then what I would do, is at the company meeting, is Tommy would just pull up the spreadsheet, and either I did it or I didn’t do it. And we go through, and we look at some different things that I was trying to, what I see I was trying to do, was trying to hit what my lead measures were and what I was focusing in on. One of the things that I’m trying to make sure that the team understands, because it’s difficult to get at first, is what are the lead measures?


What are the things that you do, what can you do right now, and so for this year I’m thinking, that blog posts, I can sit down today and write a blog post. I’ve seen that a lot of our marketing leads comes from our content marketing. That is something, having that whole idea of it’s influenceable and I can do it, is important, but it’s difficult because we’re so used to talking about lag measures. That to change the mindset of, well, what is it that you do, that will … I think people are a little fearful of choosing the wrong lead measure, because you don’t know if it’s gonna impact that lag measure or no. I don’t know if I can put all my chips on, if I do this, it’s gonna really have an impact on this.


Then telling the team like, you’re not set in stone, we can change this overtime, but you have to decide on something that you measure as a lead measure. What was that whole … Was that something that they covered in training, and then, how did the team.


Jeff:Yeah, they did cover it in the training, but we didn’t come out of the training understanding it fully. I’ll be totally transparent. It’s a little bit of a hit and miss, and experimentation and dive and try it. But then the dialog helps correct it if it’s not gonna make a difference. Or you can clearly see, as you start to roll it out, that, well, that’s nice, but it’s not gonna change it. So we assign, I guess you would call it an evangelist or a coach, in our organization, who met with each of the teams at a minimum monthly, sometimes more often. Also sat in on a lot of the week calls. To just be sure people were grasping it, answer questions and things like that.


This person actually ended up being a great coach then too, for kinda adjusting some of those things that people had set up, that aren’t gonna make a difference in the long run, as we went. Some of it was like, we tried it and we started doing it, then we realized it, and then it was like, okay let’s go back. Sometimes team members themselves say, “Wait a minute, I think I was close but I missed it.” I’m just gonna move it over a little bit to the right, and it looks like that’ll be better. That’s what happened. We definitely got better as we went. The key thing is just dive in and try it.


The beauty of the program too, I think it’s that it leaves it up to your team members to make those decisions and think about this very carefully. I was very pleased that they had so many great ideas, because they were right there in the field, doing that job every day. Stuff that I didn’t realize, maybe it was a little out of wack or wouldn’t make a big difference. Their input was probably much higher quality than I could have ever done as an executive.


Tommy:That felt good, I’m sure.


Jeff:Yeah, it really did.


Tommy:Yeah, yeah.


Jeff:And I think it makes your team feel really good because they have control and authority.


Danny:What did pushback look like. Did you have any pushback? It was just like, oh Jeff’s read some, he’s met some guy, and now he’s gonna come back and try to throw this stuff, and then next year he’s gonna read some other book.


Jeff:Yeah, different book, yeah, I’ll talk to Tommy. Yeah, there was a detractor in every team. I mean, it’s just a percentage, it’s like a bell curve. You got your adopters that are ahead of the curve, you got a lot of people moving along with it, maybe some  but they’re still doing it, and you got one in every team who says, “I just don’t know if I have time, I’m not sure it’s gonna make a difference.” Or like you said, fear that this is just another one of those things, and they come and go in every organization.


But over time, I’d say many many of those detractors came around, because they saw it was making a difference, and sometimes it was even just that it was making their job easier to do, and more fun. I think too that, it gives people that opportunity to kinda find their way towards it, versus just be forced. When it’s only a 15 minute commitment a week, you’re not asking for much. You’re really not. Time out of your schedule.


Danny:One of the things we were, when looking at the overall company wig, is, I don’t know if we’re not looking at this the right way or what it is, but Tommy and I wanna have something that gets people out of bed. That you’re excited about. I don’t know whether the company, how does this fold into who we are as an organization? Is that at a higher level, the company wig is more about execution. Just trying to fit this into, how can we make this a meaningful goal that motivates people, that they get excited about.


Tommy:Yeah, because what I’m hearing is, you created a theme as a company, and each of these departments came up with their wig, and then probably their lead measures to influence that wig. You didn’t have one central company wig; you had a theme that says, okay, what can you do to influence that theme positively.


Danny:But the company wig was the net promoter score, right?


Jeff:The net promoter score, which was a measure of, are you having a good experience with our organization in our opinion, so that was what we did.


Danny:That was the one company wig?


Jeff:For the first year, yeah.




Jeff:To your question, if I understand correctly. I think that one of the differences of this type of process to go through, compared to most and other things that you hear about improving quality maybe. Was that, it’s so simple to execute just the program. Because you talk about having lots and lots of goals, or lots of different ways that you can make a difference in your organization. You mentioned blog posts as an example for yourself, and that you wanna do them in a timely fashion, or a monthly newsletter or something like that. Well, if you only have one player on the field, you’re just reminding yourself every single day of the same thing, until you finally master it and retire it.


Because you go, oh, I’ve got that one figured out, I do that now, it’s actually a habit. That’s really simple. That’s not complex, that’s not that time consuming. It would be like, we were joking before we started the cast, about being forgetful, and our wives reminding us sometimes that we’re forgetful. If I just woke up every single day and said, “Today I’m gonna try to remember everything.” I don’t know if I’m capable of that, but if I tried, and just said, every day this is my goal, then maybe at some point it might get a little better. Then I would retire that and move on to some other quality that I’d like to improve upon.


Tommy:So it sounds like it’s a practice to form habits, which is, and that kind of the mindset. That the practices that you establish, you don’t throw those away as you onboard new habits.




Tommy:So we have like utilization. We’re a master about how do we track that, manage to that, but it doesn’t inspire us.


Danny:No, it doesn’t anybody.


Tommy:It’s a habit and a practice that, you don’t wanna throw that away.


Danny:It’s fundamental to your business, yeah.


Tommy:Yeah, it’s fundamental. So how do you add the layers of new and improved habits, that some of them might be displaced, older habits, but some of them you wanna keep, because those are good habits.


Jeff:So you’re back to your lag measures and lead measures with the example of utilization. I think of, okay, it’s an important term of business, we talk about it a lot in our organizations, but how can a consultant make a difference? Well, if he just wakes up every day and says, “I’m working on a project at this client, I don’t necessarily have total control over my utilization here, other than I’m assigned to this and I’ve go this work to do and it’s estimated to take this many hours.” But what if to every client I went to and every day that I went to a client and worked with them, thought about what could I do to find more work here for our team? That way overall then influence utilization for your organization, right?


I think one of our teams came up with that as one of the things, and it kinda fed right into the sales organizations thing, of how can we increase our repeat business. They were doing it by saying, “Every time I talk to the client, I’m gonna ask these three questions.” They came up with some questions. They thought that would lead to maybe a possible discussion. It always might lead to a future business, or at least I would better understand this client’s goals. And if a consultant adopted a similar type of thing, they might think about, I read something the other day about this new technology coming out, is this something that you think your business might use? I’m interested in learning about it myself, and just get a dialog going and that could lead maybe to some work for you guys, down the road.


Danny:For us, we use what are called product backlogs. It sort of has a queue of things that the customer wants to do. We break it often to two week sprints typically. One of the things I think, Tommy was implementing or has focused in on this in the past, which is backlog growth. As you’re going into a project, you know, a customer wants to do these 20 things. But as you go along, the customer will ask for, I want this, I want this, I want this. That’s shown as backlog growth. Those are opportunities that you might not get to into the next sprint or in this next phase, but once we’re done, we could come back to that backlog and say, here’s where can go from here guys, you wanna go after this?




Tommy:Yeah. And the beauty of what we do is, our customer is solving a problem and purchasing so many story points. The goal [inaudible 00:28:56] is to work on the most important things every sprint cycle. If there are better ideas, bring in those better ideas, and we’ll do those and we won’t contractually change things with you and go through this whole negotiation every time we have a new idea. No, we’ll implement that new idea, and then what you have left over, maybe that’s another project. Maybe you wanna do that next.


Jeff:I see, yeah.


Tommy:It’s not a typical waterfall of projects, you’re protecting scope. You wanna say, we don’t want to have scope creep. Because that’s dangerous in our project. We want scope creep, but it’s managed scope creep, in a way that we’re doing something better for you, because you’re letting those ideas flow, and we create a mechanism for those ideas to flow. I think that feeds into a lot of things like, that relationship, you want to do something better for the client. You don’t want to just do what they said initially. You wanna have this experience.


Jeff:Exceed expectations.


Tommy:Yeah. We understand you better. You got better ideas because you’re seeing what we’re building, and let’s make it even better than we first envisioned. That’s very powerful with the customer, and it’s not salesy. It’s investing in the customer.


Jeff:Yeah, and in the end you’ve achieved a goal of deepening your relationship and strengthening, and you’re working as partners with your customer, not as a vendor. And that drives utilization for you, in the end.


Danny:It’s a very …


Tommy:Yeah, you want that to be natural. If you’re doing the right thing, that’s gonna flow out.


Jeff:Yeah, that’s not forced, yeah.


Danny:And people need. There’s an aspect of it, where the tension is released from the room, if a client says, “I wanna go do this.” And they’re captured somewhere. They’ve been heard. It’s there and they can now control it. A lot of like when you go, or homepages, where we want clients to feel like they are in control of what’s going on, and a part of this just feeds into that. They listened to what I wanted to do. We’re not able to do it in this sprint, because of the structure of things, but if I wanted to, this next sprint I could focus in on this. We could probably talk for hours about this. One last thing before we wrap up. What was it like in the second year? What was the rollover and was there any impact to the customer service numbers in the second year, or did you stop focusing in on that? How does that work as you start, I’m thinking already about the next year, sort of. How does that work as you start to pick a new theme, if you’re willing to mention?


Jeff:We never retired the net promoter score, we adopted it, right? It was new to us, and then we retired it from the perspective of it’s a habit. We just kept that going and watched it, and paid attention to it. We changed our overall goal to looking at bottom line, and more of an internal focus the second year. And focused on how can we be sure that what we’re doing is profitable and that we don’t have errors, and rework, and things like that. It tied the quality from the year before, but it was a little more internally focused. But all the things from the first year stayed. Some people’s wigs as individuals might still tie into some of those things from the prior year, because they could be done. That relentless improvement that I talked about earlier. But then the company’s overall goal that we were trying to measure was, let’s look at increasing our profitability this year. So we did that in the second year.


Danny:This was a great conversation, thank you for doing this.


Jeff:I really enjoyed it.


Danny:Yeah, it was fun, thanks.


Jeff:It was great to catch up with you guys.


Danny:Absolutely, absolutely. Well thank you everybody, if you’re still listening now, god bless you. You are a committed person, thank you for taking the time to listen to this, hopefully it was interesting. I think other small business owners, why wouldn’t they want to listen to this, because this has so much to do with, I think it has to do with enabling your employees. It’s not a commanding control. It’s, yeah, we’re setting out, I think as a leader you’re setting out what’s our focus for this year, but then we are hiring smart people, we are hiring confident people to come in and don’t check your brain in at home, bring it with you at work. And how can you do this and think about what you’re doing. I just like the structure that this provides for doing something like that.


Jeff:If you’re a small business owner, I think one of the things that’s very attractive about the four disciplines of execution is that it maps to any size of business. You read some of these books, and you think, “Oh gosh, that’s only for big companies.” This one translates well, because it boils right down to the individual and how can they make a difference.


Danny:Yeah, yeah. Awesome. Well, thanks, Jeff, for taking the time to do this. Thank you, Tommy. And I thank you, everybody, for listening and have a wonderful day. Thank you, bye bye.


Additional Credits

Podcast Producer – Oliver Penegar
Intro/Outro Music – Daniel Bassett

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empty.authorTalking about 4DX with Jeff Meyer

ThreeWill’s Plans Moving into 2018

Danny Ryan

Co-Host – Danny Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Tommy Ryan

Co-Host – Tommy Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Danny:Hello and welcome to the Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone Podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan. I’m here with the other bald brother Tommy Ryan. Hey, Tommy.


Tommy:Where it’s all. It’s Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone. Wow. 2018, huh?


Danny:Oh gosh.


Tommy:It’s another year. They go by way too quickly.


Danny:They do, don’t they? They sure do. They sure do. I wanted to get together with you and talk about sort of put a recap on last year and talk about some plans for this upcoming year. I really enjoyed getting together with you and the others at ThreeWill and these podcasts. Just a chance to getaway and have a nice conversation about different things going on at ThreeWill. Last year some of the things that we did besides rebranding it as Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone Podcast is we started to do some client interviews. I enjoyed that. I think we should continue to do that. What do you think about that?


Tommy:Oh yeah. That’s a win-win all around.


Danny:Absolutely. Win-win. Ding. We also did some books. We did the Danny reads the book and shares it with Tommy and Tommy gets hopefully some of the fruits of what comes out of the book. I especially like …


Tommy:Yeah. Especially the X stuff. It’s good. We’re talking about that a lot in our business planning.


Danny:Yes. Yes. That be some good things for us to hit maybe later on as what was the impact of reading some of these books. Yeah. It’s nice for me. I don’t really understand something unless I try to teach it to someone else. It has a lot of benefits to me as well. I think we continue to do that. What else? What else went well with last year as far as the podcast? Any thoughts?


Tommy:I think we talked about our values. I thought that was good. I mean it’s always important. It’s kind of core to what gets us up in the mornings. To not just talk about technology the whole time is good. I thought that was a good thing to do. Also, we continue just to rehone in on the practices in why do we do the things that we do so we can solidify that in our mind and be clear to our customers of why we’re doing it.


Danny:The quest to be best in the world at something. I think that’s what … Just something where we’re providing such an incredible service. To do that, we can’t be generalists in sort of what are we honing in on and where are we able to really have the capacity to blow something away. It’s fun seeing how this is evolving and seeing what’s coming out of that. I think the evolution of the practice is is sort of how we’re tuning into that.


Tommy:Right. We had a lot of expecting and adapting. Trying to have some consistency, but at the same time understand where your market is going so you can respond to that and not push an idea that is before its time or maybe not an idea worth pursuing.


Danny:Yup. 2018. What’s your overall? You feeling optimistic, pessimistic, beyond like status quo? How are you feeling right now?


Tommy:Feeling good. When we went back and looked at some of the data around how our make up of our customers have been over the years and some of the things that we’re doing that provide stability and growth, it looks like a good year. I think we’re trying to repeat what we did this year that we did so well and do it in a scalable way. I think that’s one of the themes, and not burning ourselves out. I mean it was a great year, but a tough year I think for the organization because we did not catch a break the whole year.


You want to make sure that production capacity are not killing the goose that has the golden egg to continue to nurture the environment that we have and make sure that we consciously do things that keep us in balance as we are having a healthy pipeline of business.


Danny:You keep on bringing this up, which is really important to folks, which is part of the … We’re a services firm. Like it or not, it’s utilization times the bill rate.


Tommy:You make it simple.


Danny:Make it simple. Along with that, how we try to build in. You’re not supposed to be billing 40 hours a week. You’ve got four hours. Sort of built into this is some way of looking at the production capacity side of things as well, but people get busy on projects. Oh my goodness. You and I know. We used to be on projects. We understand that, but we also understand how important it is to stay up on the latest technology, refine your skills, learn new things as well.


Tommy:Right. Right. No one wants to be on the bench. I think there’s a sense of I want to be … Bring me in on the court. I want to play. I don’t want to sit on the bench. There’s always great things to do on the bench, but I think there’s a sense of I want to add value. I want to be doing something for a customer versus doing something that is in between those customer engagements. That’s just the DNA of a good consultant wanting to be in on the game and making a difference.


Danny:Tell me some of that because one of the conversations we’ve been having recently has been about we’ve got a primary … Part of my marketing goals is to bring on enterprise clients, so larger clients that are typically want to buy the types of services that we have to offer. We define those as being companies with an annual revenue of a billion dollar or greater a year in annual revenue. We’ve been having some conversations recently of sort of the which do we continue to do, all that type of work for enterprise clients versus a mix of small and mid sized clients. Tell me what the thought is there.


Tommy:I think historically we’ve had quite a few mid-small sized clients. From the beginning, we’ve worked with the large companies. Our business hasn’t been geared around a small to medium sized market. It’s always been the enterprise market. That’s really where we get the bulk of our stability as an organization. The way we can serve those clients the best is the smaller companies are the ones that can go into the newer technology sooner. When we go into an enterprise situation, they don’t want to be doing it for the first time or they don’t want us to be doing it for the first time.


Having the smaller, medium sized businesses that Office 365 and Azure is strategy for them, we can try things that are going to be a big impact to them and it’s worth the risk of taking on newer technology. It’s a little bit easier to put your arms around for these smaller sized organizations. That’s been strategic and also it’s fun with some of these smaller clients where you’re working with the leaders of the organization and you can go after some pretty strategy, high impact type problems. We’re passionate about that. We love solving problems and solving problems that we’re solving for our customers.


You can get into these large organizations and a lot of times it’s hard to be connected to the true value and the excitement of the impact that you’re making in these bigger projects with larger companies, but you can get that typically in the smaller sized business. As a company our size in the work we try to do and the way we structure things, it’s not healthy for us to have all small company work. It’s not scalable. It’s not viable to us at this point.


Danny:Yeah. The analogy is is we serve up three hour Italian dinners and we’re not a fast food restaurant where you’re like coming in and get this, get out, get in, get out, get in, get out. For smaller clients, that’s really what they’re looking for is just give me a small intranet on Office 365. Get in, get out. We’re much more focused in on what typically large clients are doing where they’re building out line of business applications and really investing in Office 365 and Azure as a platform.


Tommy:I think it’s natural because of our desire for how we sell. We want to sell based on how we deliver and building relationships and that transactional sell, that small transaction where you have to keep cost of sales down really low to be able to turn a lot of small things and the efficiencies that have to go into turning a lot of small things. We like the larger ones because it gives us the opportunity to build relationships and it plays to our strengths where they want us to do the next project. If you’re with a smaller company, they can’t always afford that next project.


It’s good to be with organizations that can continue that relationship almost ongoing year after year on a continuous basis versus engaging, having to keep in contact. Four years later we’ve got the next project. That’s a lot harder to manage in a company our size.


Danny:Tell me about your process that you go through with the annual planning of looking at sort of like the revenue. Talk me through what goes on there.


Tommy:Well, there’s a little bit of an iterative process. You got to pick something as a goal and do some litmus test to say is that a viable goal, is that the goal we want to set, does it reinforce what is important to us an organization in terms of long-term where are we going as a company. We set typically looking at previous performance and saying what do we want to set as the next set of performance. We’ll do an HR plan around that to say, “Okay. How do we achieve that in a way that is viable and won’t burn us out?” Don’t plan on 110% utilization. Plan on something that’s a 100 or 95 that allows you to have some margin there to kind of adapt to.


Not overshooting what you’re trying to do as an organization. We really care about providing an environment that if everybody’s doing their part, that it’s a stable environment. As you know out there in the larger company environments, there’s a lot of overshooting and a lot of cutting back where it … I think that it’s naturally what they feel like they need to do because it’s easy for them to lose touch in the quality of their people that work at their organization. To cut 10% for them is a healthy thing to do, but for a company our size, we really put a lot of work into getting good people and wanting to keep those good people.


As we look at setting goals, it’s setting goals that will stretch us, but not put us in undue risk to having to let people go. We look at that goal. That goal comprises of a make up of hiring people and then also working with contractors to mitigate some of that risk too, but give us the capacity to go after the things that allows us to grow. How do we look at the work that we’re doing and how can we do that in a more scalable way? How can we respond to the market wanting more of something that maybe today we don’t have the capacity to do, but we can quickly ramp up to that based on we’re ready. We’ve done some homework to be ready for that scaled need of capacity.


Danny:You’re mentioning not wanting to overshoot. I think another thing that’s in the back of our mind as well, we were talking about values earlier, is not to have the culture change when you’re bringing on a bunch of people. It allows for us to bring people on, assimilate them to the ThreeWill way. No. Just be able to continue the great culture that we have. I’ll put it that way. If you’re bringing them on at a steady clip and not hiring 10 people at a time, 20 people at a time, that allows for the culture to stay around. Let me put it that way.


Tommy:I’m glad you’re saying that because that really is an implicit thing for me all the time. In the back of my mind it’s all about the culture because at the end of the day, that’s what keeps me coming back to ThreeWill. If we didn’t have the culture that we have today, it’d be the showstopper. We’re always making sure that that’s front and center. This year we put a value wall up, the ones that you see in some of the startup high tech companies, chalkboard type painting in a sense. That way we see it. We pass by it everyday.


It’s easy to kind of get caught up in the business of the day-to-day and just the stress of the day-to-day that sometimes you can lose sight of your values if you don’t reconnect to them. In our planning, we talk about those values as it relates to some of the things that we’re trying to do. We want to provide value for our customers, so there’s some proactive things that we need to do, and how do we squeeze that in as a consulting company that sets a goal of utilization that can fly on the face of some of those things that you need to do to stay healthy.


Danny:I also like that each month like most companies do they have like an employee of the month type of thing. You relate it back to one our values, which I think it’s a good reminder as we go through the year of what those values are. Not only having them up on the wall, but also looking at people because values are displayed through people and being able to call out a person and call out a value. We even do this up on the website, which each of our values have a statement by a person because people display … I mean they have certain values. I think that’s pretty cool as well.


Tommy:Yeah. Anything else about this upcoming year that you want to discuss or any thoughts on the upcoming year?


Danny:We like things in threes.


Tommy:Yes, we do.


Danny:We had four practices and we’re going to three. The tension we had there is there we have the migrations, portals, applications and sustainment. We kind of see that as a flow where not every customer has to come through the migration first, but it’s where we’re seeing a lot of our growth is through that migration as the first engagement, and helping people migrate to the cloud in a lot of cases. We see that. That could be the final migration for them for a while. Probably not forever, but I think these SaaS based companies are trying to make that a potential be their last migration.


We’re putting a lot of effort into that and that flows into okay, now that you’re in the platform, that migration, the value of that was to be positioned in a new platform to get more out of that platform. Just migrating to it is not where you get the value. It gives you the potential to get the value. Then we want to do … We say portals, which is the out of the box and the information architecture, all the foundational pieces that you can use the platform properly. Then building those applications on top of that either being something in Office 365 and SharePoint or in Word, Excel or websites in Azure.


As we look at building those things, a lot of our projects it’s a mix of a portal and an application. It’s not always clean to be one or the other. We felt that let’s bring that together because we don’t want to put too much emphasis on just helping people maintain their SharePoint environment. That’s not where we have our passion. I mean do we help people do that? We do, but it’s not something that we’re hiring and trying to say, “What can we do better at in terms of maintaining a SharePoint environment?” Because of the cloud, that’s really put in Microsoft’s hands. They’re trying to make sure you have a healthy farm environment.


We’re not putting emphasis on helping people do farm environments. That’s something that we think there’s people out there that can do that. We can partner with them. If they don’t want to add another partner and they want us to help, we have help there, but we see getting into the cloud and providing something that kicks it up a notch. We’re not complacent to just get the portal in place and start sharing documents and stop there. We want to take them further. We want to enforce business process through some types of workflow type applications, be able to collect data and share that data, and make sure you’re making good decisions around that data.


That’s what we’re passionate about. We kind of pulled that together so we’re not putting too much energy in just portals, but it’s really custom portals at the end of the day we’re trying to create for folks. What we’re grappling with, which we think all organizations are at this point, is okay, what should I be doing now in the cloud. I think we’re starting to see that turn where people are starting to do things in the cloud and we’re very anxious helping some of those smaller customers and some of our larger customers just to get more value out of the Microsoft stack.


Azure is one that we’re putting more energy in understanding the authentication, proper authentication and just all the services, and what are the key services we want to be the best at that will allow us to create those custom solutions. There’s a little bit of a guessing game there. There’s a little bit of inspect and adapt. We’re going to learn this. Talk to our customers about it. Does it get traction? No? Okay. Let’s look at something else. That creates some anxiety, but we’re there to take the journey with our customers and do as much proactive as we can to be ready for them when they take that step.


Tommy:It’s the innovator’s dilemma, right? There’s always something new coming out and what do you use at the time and what’s the right appropriate technology to use when you’re going after these projects and when you’re doing it. Great.


Danny:You try to keep that tension. I think we’re very practical to use what is going to work and not take too much risk with the customer unless they want to take that risk. There’s a little bit of concern of let’s keep on pushing ourselves because technology moves quickly and things that were the right thing to do three years ago maybe are not the right thing to do today. We continue to challenge ourselves to say are we doing the right thing and we approach a custom solution.


Tommy:I’m excited about this year. It’s going to be fun to repeat that we did last year and build on it. I think that’s the way you grow a great organization and hold onto the culture that you have. It’s going to be a fun time.


Danny:Yeah. We’ve got a new account manager onboard. That’s exciting to have the opportunity to have more …


Tommy:Shout out to Jon. Shout out to Jon.


Danny:Looking at ways that we can have more … Build better relationships. The way you scale that is people. You have to have good people that are caring people, that want to find ways to help and gosh, John is one of those guys that’s so anxious to help people and is not shy getting in front of people and helping them understand kind of what’s the next step. Excited to see that and start growing kind of our sales organization and have a better sales organization. It’s been a while. You and I do a lot of that and really everybody sells here of course, but there’s a part of it that is the sales professional role of keeping those relationships healthy.


We care about that, so it’s nice to be able to afford and add another person to the team.


Tommy:Nice. Thank you everyone for listening. Thank you for doing this, Tommy.




Tommy:I hope everyone has a wonderful 2018 and thank you so much for listening to this podcast. Have a wonderful day. Bye, bye.




Additional Credits

Podcast Producer – Oliver Penegar
Intro/Outro Music – Daniel Bassett

read more
empty.authorThreeWill’s Plans Moving into 2018

What I’ve Learned About Teams and Teamwork at ThreeWill

Jon is responsible for selling solutions by developing and managing relationships with ThreeWill clients. Jon has a passion for getting to know and understand his customer’s or client’s true needs. He often quotes Stephen Covey, “We need to listen to truly understand, not just listen to respond”.

A team consists of multiple players. These players are all paying together to accomplish a shared goal. This goal could be winning a game, achieving a sales goal or completing a project.

In the definition:

noun: team; plural noun: teams

a group of players forming one side in a competitive game or sport.

    • two or more people working together.

a team of researchers”

    • informal
    • two or more animals, especially horses, harnessed together to pull a vehicle.  “a team of horses”

Any way you look at the definition, it states that there are multiple people or animals, banded together, to complete a mission. They help each other in a “push / pull” fashion. If one person fails or falls, there are others there to help pull the weight. Others are there helping by pushing the people in front of them, giving them guided support.

In my time here at ThreeWill, I have seen this day in and day out. People help one another with their projects, meetings, and tasks. It doesn’t matter if they are at lunch, just got home from work or even on vacation, they lend a helping hand because we are a team! I believe that this is what makes ThreeWill so strong and the best at what we do.

When you hire ThreeWill for a project, our team makes your goals our goals and everyone work together to make sure that those goals are met. Team ThreeWill is strong, confident and willing to take on a challenge!

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Jon BradyWhat I’ve Learned About Teams and Teamwork at ThreeWill

Summary of “The 4 Disciplines of Execution”

Danny Ryan

Co-Host – Danny Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Tommy Ryan

Co-Host – Tommy Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Danny:Hello, and welcome to the Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone Podcast. I am sitting here across the room from Tommy Ryan.


Tommy:Yes. Keep your distance.


Danny:Why? Because … Yeah, because I’m getting over something. You’ll probably hear it in my voice, but hopefully on the latter stages of the crud that’s been going around and you’ve already had it.


Tommy:I have.


Danny:I don’t want to share it with you right before you head of to Hawaii. I will get in trouble with a certain lady.


Tommy:You will.


Danny:She will be very upset with me, so keep your distance over there and I’ll try to keep mine.


Tommy:Plenty of Purell after this one.


Danny:Yeah. You have to take a shower in Purell. Last time we talked about four disciplines of execution and we … I think I got a little bit not the weeds because we were going through the first part of it and talking about what the four disciplines were. Just for folks who are listening to this and maybe have not heard the other one, the four disciplines of execution are from the good folks over at FranklinCovey. So you know it’s got to be good. It’s basically applying a lot of the concepts from Covey into the business world and specifically around executing in the business world. The four disciplines are, the first one is to focus on the wildly important. The second is to act on lead measures. The third is to keep a compelling score card, and the fourth is to create a cadence of accountability.


Last time we were sort of walking through what each one of these things, what they were and starting to talk about what I like doing in these podcasts, because anybody can read the book. It’s sort of like how do we apply this to what we’re doing at ThreeWill? How does this apply to a small company? We’re getting to the latter part of the year. This is probably the last podcast for the year, I’m assuming. So we’re doing our annual planning for the upcoming year, and this is the book that I’ve asked for other people at least to take a look as we focus in on this next upcoming year.


And so looking at that, the first discipline is focus on the wildly important. With that is you focus in on no more than two of these at a time. This sort of rolls up where the overall company has what’s called a WIG, wildly important goal. And so people … different departments roll up into that upper level one. Senior leaders can veto, but they don’t dictate what it is. All WIGs must have a finish line in the form of x to y by win. So it’s like a smart goal. So you’ve got things well defined.


Then discipline two, we were going to act on lead measures, the lead measures versus lag measures. Lag measures are sort of what shows up as a result, and so those are things like a revenue. A lot of the things that are typically on the score card are lag measures, and then the lead measures are the things that you can do, things that the team can do that would have an influence, and that’s the tricky part; it’s trying to decide what are the things that the team could do that would have an influence on the lag measure. And the WIGs are written as lag measures, but you want to be focusing in on what those lead measures are that the team can do. The compelling score card–this is getting what we’re doing. Basically teams like to win, and they like to know what the score is, and so getting this up in front of the entire group so that everyone can see. When I think of this, I think of for us it’s the utilization goals. That’s probably the obvious one that jumps out.


Tommy:Right. We have the company health metrics too.


Danny:The company health metrics?


Tommy:Is another one that kind of shows the pipeline.


Danny:For folks who don’t know, what’s in the company health metrics?


Tommy:We look at the total opportunity pipeline, what’s been close for the month, our delivery backlog, and then the utilization. All those things lead into the next thing. They’re lead measures to a lag measure. So the number of opportunities will influence how many able … can be closed. And from what’s closed, influences are backlog, and then that feeds into our utilization, which is the key, I guess, lag measure within the organization is are we hitting that utilization goal? Are we doing the right things that help us get to the point where delivery has that backlog to work out.


Danny:So what’s interesting is as you looked at, and it was neat having the conversation with John about some of the things about how this was implemented in different organizations that he’s worked in. And as we look at this, it’s sort of like, number one, it’s a lot of stuff we’re already doing, and they’re actually say it’s kind of, if you’re already successful, that makes it more difficult to implement this because it’s sort of like why do we even need to talk about this? But with that, it’s thinking of … It’s applying some thought to, okay, if really what our WIG is around utilization, what is it that delivery can do? What is it on a day-to-day basis that they can do that we can measure that they can have an impact that would have the most impact on utilization? So what is that?


It’s something the team talks about. The team decides. The team works through that and talks through the different things that they can do. This sort of gets into the whole, well, we think it’s this, and you go after this. And it may or may not be that. But then you iterate on it. Then you find the thing, and then it becomes really trying to get to the point where it becomes a habit, and then you move on to the next WIG that you’re going after. So it’s all about a process. And then creating a cadence of accountability: I think of this as this is for us is the monthly company meeting where you’re showing the health metrics. You’re showing all of that information to everyone.


Tommy:Yeah, and weekly we end up posting the utilization result. So that’s measured weekly.


Danny:Yep, and part of this is the cadence. They’re typically suggesting you do this once a week. So, it’s interesting that they’re saying that, but-


Tommy:And if you think about our company health metric, we’re getting into that detail on a weekly basis with a smaller group in our pipeline meeting. So we are learning that-


Danny:You’re absolutely right, yep.


Tommy:… total pipeline what’s closed and what’s the delivery backlog look like.


Danny:So it’s great. I mean, it was funny because the talking with John, I was like with this, from a sales standpoint or if we focused just on sales it’s like, “Okay, we need more great opportunity. We need more larger opportunities.” “Okay. Wonderful. That’s, yes, we do. Okay, so what is it that we need to do?” We had a little conversation about that. What is it that would lead towards more of that? Well, if I had more one-to-one appointments with people. So you can set up an appointment for next week where you meet on site with someone.


So I said, “Yeah, that might be the thing that we measure that leads towards more opportunities.” He sort of saw it with, “You guys are going around right now and going and meeting with clients,” and you know what, just naturally what comes out of that: “Hey, you guys, I’m thinking about going and doing this.” “Oh, you are?”


Tommy:Yeah, and I think we definitely focus more on lag measures, and the lead measures were not as disciplined except for you, I think. I mean, your mindset-


Danny:You’re going to make me blush.


Tommy:In marketing I think it’s heavily focused on being the influencer to be able to get opportunities. So a lot of I think marketing activities are naturally lead measure activities. So how many blog posts do you get out there? Well, blog posts don’t … It’s hard to say a direct correlation with opportunities, but it’s an important activity that will factor into those seven or so factors that someone contacts us. But I think there’s even more things like the migration workshops and the advertising you have to get people to get to that information, which leads to a real opportunity. We know that influenced an opportunity. We know we get a call or a chat session starting on the website because that content is there.


Danny:Absolutely, and it’s funny because as we look at these different what can I do as we decide sort of what is the wig for next year, what are the one or two things that we want to focus in on, it’s like I’m excited about this because I’m like, from a marketing standpoint it’ll give me some focus on what I really want because marketing you can do … Any given day you have 100 different things you can go and do. It’s sort of like what do I want to decide to focus in on? Once you have that focus, it can be … Marketing is experimenting with things. It’s trying new things and seeing if they work or not. And sometimes they do; sometimes they don’t. But the most exciting thing is when you try something new and it doesn’t work, and you’re like, “Oh my God, I want to repeat this. I want to see how I can turn this thing that I know will work into something that’s a repeatable process.” Go ahead.


Tommy:Yeah, and what I struggle with like utilization being a WIG is it’s a little bit boring. I mean, it’s a business operational, yes, that’s got to be a foundation to pay the payroll and to make sure that if we have that as a motivation and we’re approaching that and hitting that or just shy of that, we’re going to be fine. So you don’t want to lose sight of that. It’s important to measure that and stay on top of that, but trying to find I think goals that bring more of your heart into what you’re doing because utilization doesn’t … I mean, it motivates people from a standpoint of they don’t want to miss their goal. That’s a motivation, but that’s not a deeply heart and soul, “I’m so excited about what I’m doing here because I’ve got a utilization goal?” No. It’s because I’m trying to achieve something that we’re all excited about. The Work Together Better has been kind of a theme. Choose To Succeed has been a theme of why we’re here. Are culture is an aspect of that.


So for me, looking at this is, and what I’m struggling with is what are some WIGs and lead measures into those WIGs that say, “Oh, we’re excited we achieved that?” It might be looking at what we’re doing with migrations, and I think we’re turning the corner of there’s a level of excitement of we’re really helping people with this, so what is a goal that will influence things like utilization but give us a clear sense of this is the milestone we want to hit as it relates to this practice because we know if we do that, people are going to feel like they’re making a bigger impact. We’re going to have a higher value to our customer. We’re going to feel like we’re doing something that no one else can do. And that’s exciting, and to try to find those things, I think we naturally talk about them, but we’re not as formal about measuring them like we do with things like utilization.


Danny:Part of it, we want the whole person, and finding the WIGs that have, I would sort of say it has a soul to it. It has something like-


Tommy:That’s right.


Danny:… “Sign me up for that.” When I think of some of these things, I think of we are trying to created an environment here, so some of these WIGs are there in order for us to create the environment that we love to work in, and a large part of that is providing for our family. So I think a lot of people who are coming here, it’s a part of I understand in order for us to have a great environment where we feel like we’re the best in the world at doing something and where we feel like we are able to be … to provide for our families, to be able to really enjoy, be passionate about what we’re doing, there’s just some things. Like, if we’re not able to pay the bills, then we’re not even … It’s like the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs here. You have to take care of the lower ones to get to the upper ones.


But, yeah, I think a lot of the … This is why I think it would be interesting as a team to talk through what that could be. And so they sort of, when we look at installing sort of part two of the book, they say the five stages are getting clear, launching, adoption, and optimization. Then they turn into habits. So that’s sort of what happens at a high level with regards to behavioral change.


What I think I’m interested in sort of getting into is in installing discipline one, the focus in on the wildly important, we’re talking through what is the … Consider the possibility. So I’m on five, if you want to take a look at that, step one, five, and brainstorming with peer leaders about what is the organizational WIG that we want to go after, talking with the team members. And there’s a couple of different ways that we can do this. And really everybody, a part of it is everybody needs to be involved in that because we all need to be committed to it. It’s not your WIG; it’s everybody’s WIG. It’s what we’re all signing up for.


Then they’re talking about when you’re satisfied with your list of candidate WIGs, you’re ready to identify the ideas that promise the greatest potential impact, so test top ideas. Is the WIG aligned to your overall WIG? And this is probably talking about departmental wigs. Is it measurable? Who owns it? Who owns the game? Also going through the step four is defining with it. So begin with a verb. So cut cost or add one plant. Define the lag measure. So the lag measure here is from x to y by win. Keep it simple. So don’t do anything vague, complex, pretentious. And focus on what, not how. So you’re not getting into how we’re going to do this. We’re just talking about what we’re going to do. Thoughts on that, Tom?


Tommy:Well, I’m looking at add one plant, and then looking at that correlated to what we’re doing. A utilization is very generic, but I think when you can hone in on something like let’s do five enterprise-level Jive migrations where the reason that we’re doing that is we’re putting so much investment in the assets that we have that we bring into the projects we’re working on process and all those things that you do to be prepared for that, you want to have something on the other end that says, “We’re doing all this work. We’re getting ready for all this, and we can execute on that.”


The things that we’ve done with building the offshore team to support us to make it more of a factory mode, to bring down costs for our customers, to give us the ability to service them quicker, and maybe it is looking at what’s a stretch goal that says, “Gosh, if we do this, we’d be so proud of, able to come together as a team. We did the right marketing sales and delivery that allowed us to hit that milestone.


And when you do that, it also takes care of a revenue component and a utilization component, and that’s a lag measure that says we’re still healthy as an organization, but to hone in on something specific, tangible, practice-related. And I think it in some way is tied to practice, and it’s in the spirit of who we are as a organization that’s important. A lot of these, they end up being almost too sterile to me, and so that’s what I struggle with is something that will bring the heart component into it, where it gives us some why to what we’re doing versus what. Why do we want to have five enterprise Jive to SharePoint migrations? Why would that be important? Why would that make a difference in how we get up and go to work every day? That’s where I had a little bit of struggle because it’s easier to find those sterile, “Let’s go after and win this much business.”


I think trying to bring in the aspects of craftsmanship, of building out the tooling, the ability to ease people’s pain, that transition into migration, those are some of the hardest projects because you’re not giving them anything new. A lot of times you’re deprecating. You’re moving the cheese. You’re spending a lot of money, so ways to do that in a way that delight our customers. And I think we have folks here that that’s what really makes them happy is using their skills in a passionate way that delights our customers.


Danny:Along the work-together better theme, if we feel like what we’re doing with migrations is we’re putting them in a better position to work together as teams and as departments, that’s a part of … I think you sort of have these measures that are out there, and then you put sort of the why for the measure.


Tommy:Yeah, you tie it together with that.


Danny:You underline it with, well, this is what we’re doing, and this is why we’re doing it. What’s going to come out of this if we do this? If I looked at this past year, my wig was the three or greater enterprise clients that we onboard. I remember last year sitting down with you, and you’re like, “If you could do this, I think it’s going to be …” It’s one of those, “Let’s go figure this out. If you can do this, this is going to be a good thing for the upcoming years.”


Then I sort of retrospectively looked at the blog post thing and said, well, that’s probably the most influential … something like an influence on a day-to-day basis. But there were a lot of other things that I’m measuring as well that are out there. I think we have to look at it and say if this is what we’re doing and this is why we’re doing it, and tying that into the two. And you’re right. I mean, nobody wants to wake up in the morning and just say, “I’m excited because we’re going to go meet a utilization goal.” It’s like, “Well, what does that mean?” Well, part of it is, to us is we’re able to have a stable environment where people are secure. This gets into the emotional and physical needs of just people at work where they feel like they’re in a secure place, they’re able to do things that they’re passionate about, provide for their family.


Tommy:It goes a long way. It’s not a bad measure because the folks that I talked to, they say, “Yeah, I’m busy, but I prefer this. And this really helps me get excited to have something in front of me to go after.” So it speaks to our DNA. It’s just trying to kick it up that extra notch that there’s more to it than just a sterile utilization number.


Danny:But some of it is just reaffirming, why is that important?


Tommy:That’s brings some soul to it because the whole idea of having something in front of us keeping stability so I can provide for my family, those are things that are important to our folks here.


Danny:So once we’ve decided on a WIG, installing discipline to act on the lead measure, one of the things they point out is that this can be the most difficult aspect of doing this, which there’s three reasons why: Lead measures can be counterintuitive. Lead measures are hard to keep track of. Lead measures are often look too simple.


For example, chose this lead measure for driving sales. Limit out-of-stock on top items to 20 or more or few per week. So it’s just sort of one of those things that they’re trying to do. The key concept here is leverage: What is that thing that is going to have the most leverage? So when we’re installing this as a team, you’re going to brainstorm about what the possibilities are. After you’ve got a list of what those possible lead measures could be, you’re going to rank them by impact, so probably a forced ranking on impact.


Then you’re going to test the top ideas. You’re going to say, “Is it predictable? Is it influenceable? Is it an ongoing process or just once and done? Is it a leader’s game or a team’s game? Can it be measured? Is it worth measuring? And then step four is define the lead measure. So we’re tracking team or individual, lead measure daily or weekly. What is the quantitative standard? In other words, how much, how often, how consistently are we suppose to perform? Excuse me. What is the qualitative standard? Does it start with a verb?


So this is the, I think the tricky part is deciding on what those lead measures are. Then from here it’s creating that score board. They’re saying choose a theme for it. Design it. Build it. Keep it up to date. So everybody, we know how to create scoreboards. I’ve got my marketing dashboard that’s just an Excel spreadsheet that’s usually constantly open, and sort of having some way, I think this is the impactful thing, which is having some way that everybody can see where are we? What’s the score? Where are we in the grand scheme of things? And I think that’s … People want that. I mean, it’s a feedback cycle that they’re looking for.


Then discipline four is a cadence of accountability, so talking through this, they want to … Things that can undermine accountability is competing whirlwind responsibilities, holding WIG sessions with no specific outcomes, repeating the same commitment more than two consecutive weeks, so somebody said they’re going to do something. They didn’t do it, and then they said they’re going to do something, and that’s a problem, accepting unfulfilled commitments. So in step one you demonstrate respect: “I want you to know what happened last week was a huge success, and without you it could’ve been a disaster,” and reinforce accountability, encourage performance. So these are at the actual, in this case the weekly meetings that you’re getting together with.


Then we’re finally here at the end. This is sort of the best practices that they have for recommending from working with customers and rolling this process out to customers. A couple notes, and then we’ll wrap things up here. Some key aspects of their approach for disciplines is implemented as a process, not an event. It’s implemented with intact teams. It must be implemented by the leader. So there’s a six-step installation project that results not only to results but an adoption of the operating system.


Clarify the overall WIG. Design the team WIGs and lead measures, leader certification, team launch, execution with coaching, and then quarterly summits. So these are some of the best practices that they recommend as they roll this out to different organizations. And that, my friend, is all I’m going to say about that. So what are your, as we’re wrapping up here, what’s your overall thought on this? Is this more of the same? Do you see some things here that would be helpful to us? How does this correlate to what we’re doing today with I think we have like the way we’ve run, even managed the business is we almost used a modified Scrum to how we’re going after and taking on things. How does this fit into sort of our operating system today?


Tommy:I mean, I think we’re doing a lot of these things. What it makes me think about that maybe we’re not doing today is thinking about concepts around the lead measures, and then with wildly important goals to try to find something that brings a little bit more of the heart into it. And I’m not sure if they are necessarily pulling that out. But as I’m reflecting on goals, that’s something that as you go through annual planning, you kind of look at the same thing over and over again. We’re hitting this revenue goal. We’re going to hire this many people. We’re going to have this amount of utilization. This is what the profitability margins. And all that stuff is good execution that I think we do well, some things that we can improve. But overall it’s getting a sense of what are some of those lead measures, in a sense for me, some of the sales lead measures that I think are implicit.


But as we’re bringing more people into the sales organization having a little bit more structure around what those lead measures can be so they can give a sense of priority of … If we can be consistent with this, and keep this in mind, and measure these lead measures, then the things that we’re doing today, we can have better success. We’ve got the pipeline, and that’s great, and we got a good discipline that’s a weekly thing that we do. We’ve got good stages to kind of move it down the pike. I think it’s some of the activities that help the lead generation, that help bring the conversations and the activities that will lead towards, “Okay, how can we help you next?” or, “How can we help you for the first time?”


That is an area that I think we can improve on, and having more help allows us to start putting an emphasis on that. So excited about that, and I think this stirs that up for me. And to what can be frustrating is that getting more opportunities. We’ve experience the highs and lows the business and especially when we’re in the lows where you feel like, “I don’t know what to do to get that next opportunity to pop.” I’d like to be more proactive where we’re getting more of those lag-type or lead-type activities that we can minimize that risk more.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative), where you know what to focus in on, and you know it’s … I think that’s one of the most frustrating things in the world is trying to move something that you can’t move. And with the lag measures it can be very frustrating to try to … when you don’t know what to do in order to make something change. And that’s why I think the hard work is coming up with what are the things that I … Where are the leverage points? and then measuring them, and then this is sort of a system for doing all that.


Tommy:Yeah, and I feel like I’ve got some creativity and resource to figure that out for the things that I do. What I’m challenging myself is to think about, from a scaling standpoint, how can we have other people help and give them the guidance that they need to say, “Here’s the high leverage activities that we want you to focus in on,” versus someone struggling and not knowing what to do.


Danny:Some of this discussion about sort of like trying to have more of a heart behind it and what is ThreeWill’s overall WIG for this upcoming year, I’ve sort of, when I stand back and look at it, I sort of try to look at who the company is and sort of like what’s the core thing that we’re trying to do as a company. You and I have talked about this a couple of times, and I keep coming back to this, the name of ThreeWill, giving people a choice, and how I think that’s one of the things that does motivate us highly is that we like coming into a situation where if someone doesn’t feel like they have a choice, and I think with these migrations, we’re sort of feeling like, no, we can. You do have a choice. You’re not stuck in something. I think that is something that’s a highly motivating thing for us as an organization in giving them that ability to make a choice of, “Yeah, I can stay with this, but I also can move to this other thing, and ThreeWill’s going to give me that capability to move to that other thing.” I think that’s a highly motivating thing for a lot of us.


Tommy:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:So it might be that the WIG is we move five large customers from x to y and by this day. So the reason why we’re doing that is because we want to give people, let people know they have a choice. It’s up to them if they want to … what they thought that they were stuck on, they weren’t stuck on, and they weren’t … I think we’re seeing this a lot with the adoption of the cloud, which is, “Yeah, move all your stuff onto our stuff, and, oh, by the way, you’re not going anywhere, period,” and being that capability of saying, “Well, you do have options, and we can help you with that.” I think that’s something that’s pretty … I know it motivates me.


Tommy:Yeah, and I think another thing that leads into is what we’ve talked about is having these migration clients turn into partners, and to be able to say not a one and done, but let’s get this done. We understand now your foundation of what’s over in SharePoint. Let’s help you get the most value out of that.


Danny:And that comes from us wanting to not only move them but move them to a better place.




Danny:That comes from like, yeah, you have a choice, and, oh, by the way, this choice is better than what you have today. Five years, if talking to a Jive customer-


Tommy:You can’t do that just with the migration, though.


Danny:You can’t do that just with the migration.


Tommy:You got to go beyond just the content.


Danny:We’ve got to help them … Yeah, you’ve got to build in the capabilities for them to go beyond where they are today. I think that’s something that is really we’re … That’s something that keeps me up at night. I mean, I want to move, not only migrate people, but I want them to be in a better place than they were before. And how … What can we do to make sure that they are in a better place? I think everybody here would get motivated by that. And how it ends up looking like on paper might be number of folks that we moved or number of people that we move. It may be we measure people. It may be the number of users that we move from one place to another, or maybe something that … Because we all want to make an impact on the everyday lives of folks inside these large enterprises is the number of users that we’ve moved. So if we go after the larger ones, yes, there’s a financial implication, but there’s also the implication of our decisions that we make will have a bigger impact on a larger number of people, which everybody cares about.


Tommy:Yep. I think it.


Danny:Cool. Alright, thank you for taking the time to do this. You’ve got the summary printed out there for you.


Tommy:Thank you.


Danny:And it’ll be fun. I appreciate you sitting through this, and I appreciate everybody. If you’re still listening now, congratulations: You made it the whole way through, and thank you so much for your time. Have a wonderful day. Take care. Bye-bye.




Additional Credits

Podcast Producer – Oliver Penegar
Intro/Outro Music – Daniel Bassett

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empty.authorSummary of “The 4 Disciplines of Execution”

Real World 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) with Jon Brady

Danny Ryan

Co-Host – Danny Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter


Guest – Jon Brady

Bio – LinkedIn

Danny:Hello and welcome to The Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone podcast. This is your host, Danny Ryan and I’m not here with another bald brother. You got some hair there, what’s up with you buddy?


Jon:I’ve got some left.


Danny:Keep on to it, hold on to it with all your might. I’m here with a new Three Willer, Jon Brady. Welcome.


Jon:Thank you, thank you.


Danny:And we are, if you guys are listening to the podcast, we’re going through a book. And that’s the Four Disciplines of Execution. We’re big Franklin Covey fans … Stephen Covey fans around here. So, once I heard that this book was out there and it was sort of … Had the background of it being something that’s Covey related, related to business, I was like we gotta look at this thing and, take a look at it. So you found out that we were going through this book and, so you’re like hey, I’ve got some real world experience with this.


Jon:Yeah, I’ve … Actually, in my previous career I used this a bunch with multiple employees, getting them engaged. Actually, a really great tool across multiple platforms of different businesses.


Danny:Nice. That’s nice. And so, if you’re new to The Four Disciplines of Execution, I’ll go through them. So there’s obviously four of them, and let’s hit those. The first one is, focus in on the wildly important. The second discipline is, act on lead measures. And you saw the other day in the company meeting how I was helping people to find lead measures and lag measures-




Danny:And some of that stuff. We talked about that. The discipline three is to get this out in front of everybody’s face, which is create a compelling scorecard. And then four is, you have to have some way to … Some cadence along with this and scrum where you have the two week sprints and the retrospective. And, you have to have a way of creating the accountability as part of what the system is as well. So what did you … When you first started using this, did somebody introduce this to you, or how did this come about?


Jon:So, this was introduced to us just really to help us understand our goals.




Jon:In this previous business, it was really hard … It was a retail environment.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:So, trying to get everybody involved, and really understand what the goal was-


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:And making sure everybody’s on the same page.




Jon:They wanted to implement something that really gave us some good guidelines.


Danny:Yep, yep.


Jon:So, this was … It was a great tool. It kind of unified, brought everybody together in an understanding. And, it helped everyone else see what was going on as well-


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:Inside the company.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:So everybody knew what goals, what we were reaching for.




Jon:So, it was really, really helpful.


Danny:Well it’s interesting in the book, one of the examples that they have is about … Is a retail example from down in the … I think its either Phipps or Lennox. And, they were describing a store, and them trying to make better year over year revenue. And, how … I think a part of this that Tommy and I are experience is trying to distinguish lead measures from lag measures. And, then the all important one of, which lead measure are we going to focus in on, ’cause we don’t wanna pick … It seems like if you pick the wrong one, then you’re in trouble.


Jon:Oh yeah.


Danny:But, for this one they basically looked at the amount of revenue per salesperson, and they had … One of then was off the charts, and it’s like what is that person doing? And it was a lot of things like they would spend extra time with the customer, bringing them multiple pairs of shoes out, they knew more about … So there were some core things that, that person was doing different than everyone else.


What’s really interesting is that if you went through what that person did it’s like, oh no … It’s common sense. Yeah, if you just did that but, then everyone wasn’t applying the same thing.




Danny:And, so that’s part of the key of this, is focus.




Danny:It’s what am I gonna focus in on. So, how difficult … So, when you were first off, with coming up with the wildly important goal, was that something you did as a team, or how did you guys come up with that?


Jon:So, it was done as a team.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:And, with that being a team effort, it’s step one.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:Everyone is involved in creating the goal. It is not one person saying guys, this is what we’re gonna do-




Jon:It’s hey, everybody what do we want our goal to be, what are we shooting for?




Jon:And you know, this first discipline, everybody has goals. Everybody has that point they wanna meet, and we don’t wanna it to be business as usual, that’s bad.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:That’s not an improvement. So, setting the goal was an extremely important step, and I think that’s why they have it as step one. This is … Setting a wildly important goal is a fully involved … Everyone together, this is what we wanna do.


Danny:Was it always a revenue goal, or was it just different type … What was … It was just a mix of different types of goals-




Danny:That you had?


Jon:Yeah, it was a mix-




Jon:It was … Very rarely was it involving revenue.


Danny:Okay. Was it customer service or-






Jon:You know, our … As we progress, customer service … That’s one thing you wanna make sure you don’t lose.




Jon:Customer service is key to growing your business so, a lot of our focus was one customer service-


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:And making that our goal. The revenue follows.




Jon:So that was a huge … Trying to get everybody’s mindset in the right spot. So again, this being the first discipline. Setting-




Jon:That wildly important goal, really unifies everybody and what everyone as a whole wants to achieve.


Danny:Nice. And you and I are working together on the customer satisfaction surveys-


Jon:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:And we’re using … did you use Net Promoters score, or was it some other measure that you had as far as measuring the customer-


Jon:We did-




Jon:We … Yep, we sent out customer satisfaction emails after every visit. And, we would get feedback, and that would in turn feedback to our guys there in the store.




Jon:And a lot of times, our WIG, our wildly important goal, was based around our score.




Jon:Why didn’t we get that 10?




Jon:What would make it better, things like that. And, what our goal was gonna be. What was your goal?


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:Oh, I’m … 90% of the time, I want tens.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:Whatever that is.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:Whatever the case may be.


Danny:And then … So, you’re lead … what were … Remember some of your lead measures. What were some of the examples of those lead measures?


Jon:Well, I’ll tell you right now. Lead measures is one of the most difficult things to wrap your arms around-




Jon:Even if you’ve made hundreds of them.




Jon:Because you’ve gotta ask yourself multiple questions.




Jon:Okay, so step one is wildly important goal. Well, what’s my lead measure gonna be? Well, let’s say our goal. I’m sorry.




Jon:I’ll say my goal is to be … I’m going to get 90% 10 ratings-




Jon:On every email.




Jon:Okay, what’s my lead gonna be? My lead is gonna be, to make sure I get those 90%-


Danny:And that’s not-


Jon:It’s not a lead.


Danny:Yeah, yeah.


Jon:The hardest thing for people to really wrap their arms around, or wrap their heads around is, a lead is prior to getting that score.




Jon:The score is your aftermath, your by-product.




Jon:It is your, what am I going to do beforehand to make this outcome-




Jon:Be exactly what I want it to be. So, that may be hey, I’m gonna stay in contact with my customers. I’m gonna send out five emails a day-




Jon:To five different customers, and I’m gonna do that five times a week. You set yourself up really some timelines-




Jon:you set yourself up some quantities. And, really make it so even if it wasn’t you walking in looking at the scoreboard, which is one the other-




Jon:Four disciplines. If somebody was able to walk in and look at your scoreboard, they can look at the WIG. Wow, that’s their WIG-




Jon:What’s their lead? Oh, the lead is this. And it has to be understood by everyone.


Danny:Yeah, yep.


Jon:So again, the lead measure is just as important, if not more important than the WIG-




Jon:Your wildly important goal.


Danny:And I … I think reading through the book, one of the examples that they gave, which helped sort of solidify this, which was let’s say your WIG, and this is a personal WIG may be to lose weight. I wanna lose 10 pounds, everybody-


Jon:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:That’s … Everybody wants to lose 10 pounds. And so, what are the lead measures that you can measure to see well these … And they were one of the obvious ones. It’s either the input or the output of calories.




Danny:And so, you could measure number of minutes exercised, which would show are you out there burning calories. And then the other big thing is, the amount of calories you have coming in. And it’s sort of like there’s this … I know there’s lots of theories out there that-




Danny:About [inaudible 00:09:44] diets, and all sorts of crazy diets. But it is … It’s an input and output thing at a general high level. And so, they’re like well, if you measure the amount of time you exercise, versus … And measure the amount of calories you’re intaking-




Danny:Those are key things that are leads towards how much you’re gonna weigh when you go onto the scale tomorrow morning.


Jon:Yeah, absolutely.




Jon:Well put it in … Let me turn it into a different scenario.


Danny:Sure, sure please.


Jon:Let’s do shoes for instance.




Jon:Let’s say, somebody is like, you know what? I wanna expand my shoe collection. I’m using this so we can use a good quantity-


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:And set it up right. So, if I wanted 365 new pairs of shoes in my closet by the end of the year, that is-


Danny:Alright Imelda Marcos.


Jon:Yeah. It’s huge. So anyways, that’s your WIG.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:So what am I gonna do? And, everybody’s original answer is, I’m gonna buy more shoes. Well, that’s not really giving you-




Jon:Quantities and times, anything like that. If you’re gonna … And I used 365-


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:Odd number but, it’s how many numbers are in the year. So-




Jon:I’m gonna buy one pair of shoes everyday from January first, to the end of the year, and that is gonna help me reach my goal.




Jon:That’s my lead. That’s what’s gonna help me get there.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:But again, if we step back into understanding that in a simple area, the weight loss. Everybody’s like, I’m just gonna watch my calorie intake-








Jon:I’m gonna exercise more. Okay, well me exercising more and you exercising more, and you exercise … That can mean multiple different-




Jon:Times, and what type of exercise. So anyways, you wanna set up … If I’m gonna lose weight, I’m gonna drop my calorie intake to X amount, and I’m gonna do that six days a week, ’cause I gotta have the cheat day.




Jon:And, I’m gonna go to the gym, and I’m gonna work … I’m gonna do cardio for one hour, three days a week. And I’m gonna workout with weights and everything two days a week. And, just really set yourself up. Those measures that are gonna get you to your goal-




Jon:Of losing weight ’cause-




Jon:You can’t use that simple answer of oh, I’m-




Jon:Just gonna do it.


Danny:And they said that the lead measures have to be X by X by this day. And so-


Jon:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:Typically, you’re trying to set up well, I’m gonna move from this to this by-


Jon:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:Or … Yeah. The weeks have to be set up that way, I could be getting that wrong. So you wanna set it up in a appropriate way. But then, trying to … I think along with this … Yeah, the other day, at the company meeting again where I was talking about lead versus lag measures, I was sort of reflecting on my marketing dashboard. And I said, I think for this year, I had … My lead measure was the number of blog posts that I did per month, ’cause I had an aggressive goal of doing 10 blog posts per month. And I say that because it’s gotta be … That lead has to be something that’s … It’s measurable, it’s influencible, it’s gotta be something I can say well, today I could go write a blog post.




Danny:I can go make an impact on that. It will probably lead towards getting more leads, which is what marketing is all about.


Jon:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:But that is something I can show, the number of blog posts that I did this month. Really, I was sort of … when I looked at my marketing dashboard, I said I think this could be my lead measure, and this might be the thing that I measure into next year. And, may get more aggressive with that. Or, maybe we … My WIG for this past year was three new enterprise clients by the end of the year-




Danny:And an enterprise client was defined as a company with a billion in revenue or greater. And so, it was well-defined-


Jon:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:And we did four of them this year, so I exceed my goals, which is why I’m taking off the rest of the month of December. I’m just kidding, I’m not. But, it was interesting to reflect on sort of the things we’re already doing. And I’m also interested … I’m having the … We’re doing annual planning. And so, part of the reason for this book was to look at how did my marketing goals roll up into the company goals? ‘Cause, we’ll have an overall company WIG that we have and then, delivery will probably have a WIG-


Jon:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:And, marketing will have a WIG, and sales will have a WIG. And sort of, how do they work together and to support the overall company WIG?


Jon:Sure. Well, you’re … And one thing you talked about, you’re actually talking about your dashboard.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep, we should [crosstalk 00:14:42} get to discipline number three, which is-




Danny:Create the compelling dashboard.


Jon:So if you think about it, you said lag measure, that’s a big thing-




Jon:In this book. The dashboard is one big lag measure.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:That’s already happened.


Danny:Yep, yep.


Jon:You can’t change it, it’s there. Easy way to think about a lead measure is, can I see and touch it right now?




Jon:No, ’cause the see and touch right now is already happened-




Jon:It’s a lag measure.




Jon:I ended up in this room, on this podcast.




Jon:The lagging measure. I made it, I’m here.


Danny:Well you’re doing this podcast will end up turning into a blog post on the website.


Jon:There you go.




Jon:There you go. So … And I think this is something that is extremely helpful to one, everybody listening to this-




Jon:Because again, WIGS, leads, and lags-




Jon:You’ve gotta be able to differentiate what they are, and-




Jon:Everybody wants to look at their dashboards, and their scores-




Jon:And their scoreboards. And, that’s your lag, it’s already happened.


Danny:I really think the key with this is applying the thought around what should the lead measure be.




Danny:‘Cause for instance, sales. You’re in sales.


Jon:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:I can’t go to you and say, oh go … Just go make more sales. Well-




Danny:There’s things that lead up to that. And I think what’s nice about this is the process of discussing what it is that we’re going to focus in on. Like I did before when I worked with … This was probably five, six years ago. Someone helping me out with sales. We were measuring the amount of communication with clients. So, we were looking at phone calls, we were looking at the number of emails that were going out one to one. And so that was our … I think back then, that was … Our lead measure was amount of communication. We had a good time with it where we … At a dashboard where the-




Danny:His on one side, mine on the other. And we made a [crosstalk 00:16:39] game out of it.


Jon:Good competition.


Danny:We made a game out of it, which I think that compelling dashboard helps you not just not compete, just though everybody feels like they’re contributing-




Danny:To the teams goals, which I … Everybody wants to feel that way, right?


Jon:Yeah. And, me being new here at Three Will, my biggest thing is I wanna contribute and what can I do to contribute? What’s my goals?


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:What can I set as a lead to meet that goal?


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:Whereas on my dashboard, I can go up-




Jon:And I can put it on the scoreboard. So, everybody has that in their business and, the main thing with four disciplines is making sure that everybody is involved.




Jon:It’s the biggest thing. There’s horrible terms like worker bees-




Jon:And your Executives and every … When you know, all these guys have different goals in life-




Jon:But, we all need to have the same goal at work.




Jon:We all need to be striving towards that.


Danny:Absolutely, absolutely. And so, the fourth one that we have is, the cadence of accountability. Did you guys … Did you get together once a week? Or, what was the format that was typically done for the accountability piece of this?


Jon:So, we had a meeting once a week. A quick conference call with everybody, kind of going over the … What they set up. We looked at the WIG.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:Everybody would announce hey, this was my WIG, here is my current lead that I have set up.




Jon:And, here’s … They would produce their lagging measures. Hey, this was my lead, I wanted to be … I wanted to do this, this, and this to be at 90%-




Jon:Of all tens and, this is my lag. I hit a 80%m I fell short.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:Here’s some notes I’ve made. I plan on doing this. And they create almost a new lead measure.




Jon:I’m gonna work with Dannie twice on Tuesday, and once on Thursday in communicating customer service emails, or whatever it would be.


Danny:So there’s a process that’s built into this of sort of iterating on what the lead is-




Danny:That maybe makes it a more effective lead.




Danny:And since probably sometimes, a less effective lead, and you’re learning that.


Jon:Yes. Absolutely.


Danny:So this … And, that … A lot of this as I mentioned earlier, we do two week sprints on projects-


Jon:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:And there’s the accountability or the sort of, the introspective piece of this is doing what’s called a project retrospective where you talk about what you’re gonna start doing, what you’re gonna stop doing, what you’re gonna continue doing, which sounds like it’s a piece of these meetings as well.


Jon:It is. And it’s something that as Three Will is already being done with these different meetings that we’re already having.




Jon:So we’re already actually doing step four.




Jon:We have step one through, so there’s a goal.




Jon:And we’re doing step four, and it’s just really introducing how we’re gonna get there.




Jon:What are we gonna do beforehand to make sure we get there and, what was our outcome.


Danny:To wrap this up ’cause I know you need to take off, ’cause one of your lead measures might be meeting up with clients. Being on the phone with clients, and a number of phone calls a day-




Danny:Or meetings a day. What are your thoughts on so far, sort of in this new technology environment and starting to work with myself, and Tommy with … And Bruce. Any thoughts that you’ve had so far where you’re like, oh that could be a really good lead measure or, I … Anything that’s come up so far that might sort of look at something that says, oh that could lead towards more sales. Anything that you’ve seen so far that’s come up at all.


Jon:I think really staying in touch with our customers-


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Jon:Whether that be once a month, once every two months. inactive accounts.




Jon:A lot of people view inactive accounts as well, we’re done with it-




Jon:Move on.




Jon:As to where an inactive account is just another opportunity.




Jon:So again, I think a really good lead would be let’s say, not setting this up for myself-




Jon:But, hey, let’s revisit our inactive customers once a month, shoot them an email, see how we’re doing. For instance, we’re in Jan … Oh, I’m sorry, December. Almost in January. But we’re in December right now, and Tommy and myself-




Jon:Have been out, meeting with clients. Just a simple Christmas visits.




Jon:And, I can’t tell you just out of the half of the visits we’ve done so far, how many new projects-




Jon:We’ve started, and getting ramped up and ready for 2018. We have really filled our plate just because we wanted to go out and say hi-




Jon:And introduce myself. And that turned into projects. It’s a really great thing to reach out to your customers. So yeah, I would say reaching out to customers once every month or two, and seeing how they’re doing. Catch up. Hey, I wanna come by and just say hi.




Jon:Shake your hand, make sure everything’s going good.


Danny:Face to face visits I think-




Danny:Could be a really great … That’s something-




Danny:Yeah, Tommy and I are both introverted. So, that’s not our natural tendency-




Danny:That’s why we like having extroverts-


Jon:Oh yeah.


Danny:Like you around.


Jon:I like going out.


Danny:So if you’re energized by going around and meeting people-




Danny:Yes, that you fill need around here. And yeah, it’s … I definitely could within sales it’s just being able to meet up person to person-




Danny:You’ve got … We have happy client … You’ve seen this so far, the clients are not like oh geez, these jerks from Three Will-




Danny:Are coming down. It’s more of yeah, we’ve enjoyed working with you guys. How can … And talking about what’s going next-


Jon:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:From there. And a part of it is well yeah, some of them I think we definitely … We could do a better job with staying in touch with.




Danny:Folks. And it might be that we’re not reaching out as often as we should.


Jon:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Danny:But, yeah that’s great.




Danny:Awesome stuff.




Danny:Look forward to … I’ll be talking with the folks as we go into planning for this next year. I’ll probably have some more questions for you around the actual implementation of this.




Danny:But, this has been a really fun conversation. Thanks Jon.


Jon:I appreciate you having me.


Danny:Absolutely. Thank you everybody for listening, and have a wonderful day. Take care, bye-bye.


Additional Credits

Podcast Producer – Oliver Penegar
Intro/Outro Music – Daniel Bassett

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empty.authorReal World 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) with Jon Brady

The 4 Disciplines of Execution – Section One

Danny Ryan

Co-Host – Danny Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Tommy Ryan

Co-Host – Tommy Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Danny:Hello, and welcome to the Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone Podcast. This is your host, Danny Ryan. I’m here with my co-host, Tommy Ryan. How are you?


Tommy:Doing well. Recovering from the wedding.


Danny:Well done.




Danny:It was a wonderful wedding.




Danny:It was.


Tommy:Yeah. It was nice.




Tommy:It’s a once in a lifetime thing for me.


Danny:Absolutely. Unfortunately, it’s not good from a wallet standpoint.




Danny:Oh my goodness. How much did this cost?


Tommy:You don’t want to know. I just found out today, I said, “Whoa.”


Danny:Oh okay. I’m sorry. Sorry about that. The Irish band was just wonderful. My whole family had a wonderful time.




Danny:It was well done. The food was excellent, the venue, the church service was wonderful.




Danny:Let’s pick back up. We were talking about The 4 Disciplines of Execution, the book from Franklin Covey. Last time we had gotten through The Forward and now we’re going to hit on the first section of the book. We’re going to go through that. Section one is covering what the four disciplines of execution are. The first discipline is Focus in on The Wildly Important. The first discipline is to focus your finest effort on one or two goals that will make all the difference, instead of giving mediocre effort to a dozen of goals.


There’s a nice little graphic that they show where they have the number of goals and it’s like two to three, and then four to 10, and then 11 to 20, and then the number of goals achieved with excellence. The higher number that you go up the few are achieved with excellence. Basically, you’re splitting your time across multiple things. This comes back to what they’re were talking about with regards to the whirlwind, the day job. The things that you just need to get done that show up on a day-to-day basis.


Tommy:I know that whirlwind.


Danny:You know the whirlwind. You’re familiar with the whirlwind.


Tommy:Yes. I live that whirlwind.


Danny:They say simply put, discipline one is about applying more energy against fewer goals, because when it comes to setting goals the law of diminishing return is as real as the law of gravity. The fundamental principle and at work in discipline one is that human beings are genetically hardwired to do things one at a time with excellence. They bring up Apple here. Steve Jobs of Apple had a big company to run, so he could have proudly brought many more products to the market than he did, but he chose to focus in on a handful of wildly important products.


Improving our ability to multitask actually hampers our ability to think deeply and creatively. Creatively.


Tommy:Creatively. Yeah.


Danny:The more you multitask the less deliberate you become, the less you’re able to think and reason out a problem. Then we’re going to talk about creating what they’re calling WIGs, Wildly Important Goals.


Tommy:We could wear wigs.


Danny:That’s appropriate that we cover WIGs in The Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone Podcast. These WIGs are the goals that you must achieve with total excellence beyond the circling priorities of your day to day. Then they go through like a conventional thinking, which is all of our goals are priority one. You can successfully multitask and exceed five, 10 or 15 important goals. All we need to do is work harder and longer. That’s conventional thinking.


The 4DX principle is, many of our goals are important but only one or two are wildly important. We call them WIGs. They’re goals we much achieve. Our finest effort can only be given to one or two wildly important goals at a time. What’s your initial reaction to this focusing in on only one or two goals at a time?


Tommy:Well … and I don’t know if this is a WIG or not, but the utilization that we have has been the goal that we set there really influences some of the other decisions that are made. If you’ve honed in on that and you’re focusing on that goal then you can support that with the actions that you have, that lead into the results of what needs to be done to get to that goal. The nice thing about having fewer goals is the more goals you have, I think, not only are you spread thin trying to achieve all these goals but also they end up conflicting with each other I would imagine.


At times where, well, either you’re going to achieve this or achieve that, and one might take away from the other. It’s trying to determine what’s a healthy WIG that helps the organization thrive and preserves the culture that you want to have. Sometimes I see that you have to have this wildly important goal and you have to put it in the context of the DNA of your organization, so you’re not doing it just for the sake of the goal but you’re doing it in a way that allows the company to flourish within a certain type of culture.


I’m trying to think of a good way to articulate what I’m thinking, is if you have this utilization goal and you had no culture you could just focus in on that, and not worry about the quality of the work you do, how you interact with others and how you reach that goal. Then you can end up petering out or burning out because all you’re doing is trying to achieve this goal, and there’s nothing that gives you a sense of value and accomplishment because it’s just for that one goal.


You don’t want to be myopic and just focus in on one thing and throw everything else out in the process of that one thing. I could be misreading what was a WIG would be, but that’s the first one that comes to mind …


Danny:Okay. Great. Yeah.


Tommy:… for a consulting organization.


Danny:Yeah. That’s good because I think this is part of the reason why we’re doing this towards the end of the year, and as a part of our planning process is starting to think about what are our WIGs, organizationally-wise and department-wise. 4DX may even mean saying no to some great ideas at least for now. Nothing is more counterintuitive for a leader than saying no to a good idea and nothing is a bigger destroyer of focus than always saying yes. They have a plaque that they said should be in all leaders’ office, which is, there will always be more good ideas than there is the capacity to execute.


Then they go back to Apple. Before Apple was named company of the decade in the United States by multiple sources, then COO Tim Cook, Timmy Cook, now CEO, said this to the company shareholders, “We are the most focused company that I know or have read of or have any knowledge of, we say no to good ideas every day. We say no to great ideas in order to keep the number of things we focus in on very small in number, so that we can put enormous energy behind the ones we do choose.


The table each of you is sitting at today you could probably put every product on it that Apple makes, yet Apple’s revenue last year was 40 billion. Apple’s determination to say no to good ideas has had devastating consequences for their competitors. Once we worked with a manufacturer that competed directly with Apple’s iPhone. When we met with the leader responsible for creating the new interface to compete with the iPhone, how would you like that assignment?


He was more than a little discouraged. ‘It’s not really fair,’ he said, shaking his head. ‘Between our domestic and international operations we make over 40 different phones, they only make one.'” Stephen Covey says, “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage, pleasantly, smilingly, unapologetically, to say no to other things. That way you have a bigger yes burning inside.” Getting more into that I’ll skip ahead. Here’s the question that is asked that you need to ask yourself about wildly important goals.


If every other area of our operation remained at its current level of performance, what is the one area where change would have the greatest impact? Next up we’re going to talk about the rules that they have to focus the organization. The first rule is, no team focuses in on more than two WIGs at the same time. This is overall you’re looking at … They have what looks like an organizational chart where the company is at war, and each of the departments is fighting their own battles with their own WIGs. The battles you choose must with the war, whether it’s a military conflict or hunger, there’s a relationship between battles and wars.


The only reason you fight a battle is to win the war. The sole purpose of WIGs at lower levels in the organization is to help achieve the WIG at the higher level. It isn’t enough that lower-level WIGs support or align with higher-level WIGs. The lower-level WIGs must ensure the success of the higher WIGs. You’re seeing you have one or two as an organization and then we might … For us, if we apply this to us there may be one or two WIGs for delivery, one or two WIGs for finance, one or two WIGs, and they all support the one that’s the whole organization. It’s, what is your part of this?


Senior leaders can veto but not dictate. The highest levels of execution are never reached when the strategy is devised solely by the top leaders of the organization, and simply handed down to the leaders and the teams below. They’re talking about working with this as a team of coming up with, what is your WIG? Rule number four, all WIGs must have a finish line in the form of … And this is like smart goals, from X to Y by when. The WIG itself has to say, “I’m going from X to Y by when.”


This gets us out of the revenue focus WIG they mentioned is increase the percent of annual revenue from new products from 15% to 21% by December 31st. It gets us out of the whole improve this or influence this or retain the best employees, those types of goals because you can’t measure them and they’re not time bound. The next part I really like which is when he’s talking about NASA in 1958. It had what their goals were that year. There were eight goals and there’s a table which shows all of them.


You read through the eight goals, and you can see here, I’ll share here with the book. The goals start with the expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere in space, the improvement of the usefulness perform … All these things that are noble goals that they have, and eight of them, in 1958. Then President Kennedy comes along and says, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade out of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.” Basically saying, “Okay. This is our one goal.”


Tommy:A smart goal.


Danny:Yeah. That’s the WIG. That’s what we need to do. It’s like how you get to these other ones from 1958, is first of there’s too many of them and secondly, they’re not set up the right way. Then they have it breaking out organizationally where you can see the war is a man on the moon. The battles are navigation, propulsion, life support. Thinking through these. When a team moves from having a dozen we-really-hope goals to one or two no-matter-what goals the effect on morale is dramatic.


You’re having to be very specific with people with what the goal is. As Steve Jobs often said, “I’m proud of what we don’t do as much as what we do.” Each one of these goals you’re going from vague, strategic, intent, to specific finish lines for everyone. That’s the first discipline. The second discipline is Act on Lead Measures. We started talking about this last time as well. Lead measures are the measures of the activities most connected to achieving the goal.


You have to figure out or think through or discuss and find out, what are things that if we do this it leads towards achieving that goal? While a lag measure tells you if you’ve achieved the goal, a lead measure tells you if you are likely to achieve the goal. Again likely, this is the whole problem that everyone has. Marketing has it, everyone has it, which is attribution, which is saying, what led to this? What made this change? How can we attribute this change?


This is where the thought needs to be applied to saying, “What is it that we would do that would lead to a change in a lag measure?” While a lag measure is hard to do anything about, a lead measure is virtually within your control. For example, while you can’t control how often your car breaks down on the road, a lag measure, you can certainly control how often your car receives routine maintenance, a lead measure. The more you act on a lead measure the more likely you are to avoid that roadside breakdown.


Once you have defined your wildly important goal it would seem natural, even intuitive, to then create a detailed plan listing all of the specific tasks and subtasks required for achieving the goal in the coming months. With discipline two, that’s not what you’re going to do. With conventional thinking it’s keep your eye on the lag measures, the quarterly results, the sales numbers, pounds lost, stress out, bite your nails while you wait. The 4DX principle is to focus on moving the lead measures.


These are the high leverage action you take to get the lag measures to move. The formula from X to Y by when in a WIG gives us the lag measure, but the WIGs are not the only lag measures in your world. A lag measure measures the goal, a lead measure is predictive. It measures something that leads to the goal, it’s influencable. It’s something we can do so you can influence something that has to lead be.


Tommy:Yeah. It’s not the result. It’s …


Danny:It’s not the result, something you’re doing so this way you’re getting into more of, what can we do? Versus measuring something and just saying, “What happened?” You’d likely choose … They’re talking here about losing weight, right? What do you do to lose weight? When you’re weighing yourself on the scale, that’s a lag measure. What were lead measures? Both diet and exercise would be the thing to focus in on. These two measures fulfill the first characteristics of being predictive.


Reducing calories consumed and increasing calories burned strongly indicates that you’ll lose weight. Just as important, however, these two lead measures are also directly influencable by you. Achieve these two lead measures at the level specified outside your daily whirlwind and you will see your lag measure moving when you step onto the bathroom scale. There’s a problem with lead measures. Where do leaders normally fixate, on lead measures or lag measures? That’s right, as a leader you’ve spent your entire career focusing in on lag measures even though you can’t directly affect them.


You’re not alone. Think about the last meeting you had with other leaders in your organization. What were you discussing, analyzing, planning, and agonizing about? Lag measures, and usually your inability to move them. We see this syndrome every day all over the world in every area of life. A sales leader fixates on total sales, a service leader fixates on customer satisfaction, parents fixate on the children’s grades, dieters fixate on the scale, and in virtually every case, fixating solely on the lag measures fail to drive results.


There’s a huge difference between merely understanding the importance of diet and exercise and measuring how many calories you’ve eaten and how many you’ve burned. Everyone knows that you should diet and exercise, but people who actually measure how many calories they’ve eaten and how many they’ve burned each day are the ones actually losing weight. This reminds me that probably the one thing for losing weight for me to shed a couple of pounds is to use the MyFitnessPal app, which is you measure all the calories and you’re measuring your exercise, what are you getting from the exercise?


It is definitely a way for you to input and impacts the lead measures. W. Edwards Deming, a management and quality guru, said it best when we told executives that managing a company by looking at financial data, lag measures, is the equivalent of driving a car by looking in the rearview mirror. Now, imagine instead that you’re tracking the most two predictive lead measures of customer satisfaction, and for the past three weeks, your team performed well above the standard of those measures.


Do you think your experience will change when the new customer satisfaction results arrive? Absolutely. It will be like stepping on the scale knowing you have met your diet and exercise measures every day. You already know that the lag measure will change. I’m going to skip through here. There’s a nice little graphic here showing a rock as the lag measure. The lead measure is like a lever that’s influencable. There are like 80/20 activities. What 20% of what you do has much more or more leverage on the WIG than 80% of what you do?


The mass of the activity will always be pointless, poorly conceived, badly directed, wastefully executed, and largely beside the point. A small portion of activity will always be terrifically effective. It is probably not what you think. It is opaque and buried within the basket of less effective activity. Then they actually go through an example here and then we’ll go on to the next one of where they were at Phipps Plaza Mall in Atlanta, which we’re both aware of.


There’s a high-end store that was in there and they were under heavy pressure from new competitors, discounts, as well as two major national chain stores that had moved to the area. Revenues were down by 8% in the area. What to do to stop the bleeding. The store manager announced only own WIG for the year, which was to match revenue numbers from the year before through increasing average transaction rates, the amount purchased in any given transaction. Basically, they’re saying, “This is what we want to do.”


Then just cut to the chase, he then told us about his best salesperson. A woman who sold three times more shoes than average. We asked, “What does she do differently?” The manager knew immediately what she did differently. She would get lost in the customer’s world. Noticed what they were wearing, ask about their families and understand their needs. Then she would bring out six pairs of shoes instead of one pair to show the customer. She would say, “Oh, it’s spring, how about this open-toed pair?


I notice your Gucci bag would go really well with those sandals. Do you like red shoes? How about these?” Then they ended up coming up with the three things that the sales people needed to do consistently, which was, show at least four pairs of shoes to every customer, write thank you notes, invite every customer to set up a charge account. These were the things that basically they started tracking, that every team member started tracking. Yeah. None of the lead measures were news to them.


Suggestive selling is just retail 101. They didn’t know if their team members were actually doing it. The key is to isolate and consistently track the right levers.




Danny:Let me see how far away I am from … Yes, we’ll break this into two parts.


Tommy:All right. Good.


Danny:Is that okay? Do you need to run off to a meeting?




Danny:I will pick up … I’ve got a big star on the page that I’m at right now and will back up and wrap this up.


Tommy:Going to go to work on a lead measure.


Danny:Excellent. Well done Tommy.


Tommy:All right.


Danny:Thanks everybody for listening. Have a wonderful day. Bye-bye.


Tommy:Okay. Bye-bye.


Additional Credits

Podcast Producer – Oliver Penegar
Intro/Outro Music – Daniel Bassett

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empty.authorThe 4 Disciplines of Execution – Section One

My First 30 Days at ThreeWill

Kristi Webb is a Senior Consultant at ThreeWill. She has over 18 years of software development experience working on software solutions and integrations for enterprise and product solutions. Her passion is applying technology solutions to solve business problems and improve efficiency.

It’s been a fast-paced learning experience with lots of help and support from my teammates at ThreeWill.

I’ve already worked with clients from California to Tanzania in the first 30 days, which is a great example of the far-reaching impact of this team in Alpharetta, GA.

I’ve worked on a wide range of products including everything from SharePoint 2010/2013, to click once windows form applications, to Office 365…and even custom-built products that integrate with MS Project and Jive.  It’s definitely been a busy first 30 days.

I’m excited that I can bring my software development and technical problem-solving skills to add to the amazing set of skills that are already amassed here at ThreeWill.  It’s wonderful to be working with a great team focused on providing quality technology solutions for all their clients.

I’m looking forward to the next 30 days and all the new experiences that will come!

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Kristi WebbMy First 30 Days at ThreeWill

The 4 Disciplines of Execution – Forward

Danny Ryan

Co-Host – Danny Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Tommy Ryan

Co-Host – Tommy Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Danny:Hello, and welcome to the Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan, and I have my co-host, here with me, Tommy Ryan. How are you doing?


Tommy:I’m doing well. You’re looking closer to being bald again. That’s nice.


Danny:I did shave. I shaved this week. I didn’t shave this morning, as you can see, a little of on the chin and … It felt good to go bald, again, I have to say.




Danny:It did feel good; it just took a while. Once you wait a little while-


Tommy:It’s hard to cut it.


Danny:You take a razor to … A regular electric razor to it, first, and then go with the shave. Let me see. Oh, you’ve got socks wise. This is South Carolina socks on?


Tommy:I got these last week, actually. Linda and Madeline went to Charleston and picked me up some socks.


Danny:Nice. Nice. Very nice. And I got the … Bo brought me back some from-


Tommy:Yeah. I thought you’d like those.


Danny:Yeah, I really do. They’re the … I guess the UX Team had some socks, which was cool, and they had some neat stickers, as well, which was kind of cool of them to do that.


Tommy:Thanks, Bo, for bringing them for Danny.


Danny:Shout out to Bo. Today, we are gonna talk about The Four Disciplines of Execution, and this by our good friends at Franklin Covey. We’re big Stephen Covey fans here at ThreeWill. That sort of peaked my interest towards this. This book is applying a lot of those principles that Stephen Covey talks about, and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective people. It applies that to your business, and so it’s called The Four Disciplines of Execution, and the sub-titles; Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals.


So, today I wanted to talk about … Just starting to get into the book, and it’s broke up into three sections, so we like that. I’ll talk a little bit about the forward, and then talk about section one.


Section one is defining what The Four Disciplines of Execution are, so it’s really setting us up for what are they talking about with doing this. It starts off with one of my favorite authors, Clayton Christensen. He’s the guy who wrote Innovator’s Dilemma. It says, The Four Disciplines of Execution offers more than theories for making strategic organizational change. The authors explain, not only the what but the how effective execution is achieved. They share numerous examples of companies that have done just that, not once, but over and over again. This is a book that every leader should read.


And then, it starts off with a story about Intel. About the old company that I worked for right after college. It talks about Andy Grove; he was there when I was there, as well.


Tommy:Chemical engineer, wasn’t he?


Danny:Was he a chemical engineer?


Tommy:I think he was.


Danny:Smart guy. He was a very smart guy. Also, liked to, I’m sure like you Chemical engineering, who would do that?


What they were talking about was a meeting, that he was a part of, and this is the forward part of it. It was a discussion about Andy Grove trying to discuss two competitors that were going off the low-end market. And then, they knew that Intel needed to respond, and then during a break in the meeting, Grove asked me, “How do I do this? How do I respond?” And then, he said, “I readily responded that he needed to set up a different autonomous business unit that had a different overhead structure, and it’s own sales force.” And then, Andy said, in his typical gruff voice, “You’re such a naive academic. I asked you how to do it, you told me what I should do.” He swore and said, “I know what I need to do, I just don’t know how to do it.” I felt like I was standing in front of a deity with no place to hide. Grove was right, I was indeed a naïve academic. I had just shown him that I didn’t know the difference between what and how.”


A lot of people talk about the what, and this is Clayton talking about himself, and this interaction with Andy Grove.


Getting into … That was from the forward. There are two principle things that a leader can influence when it comes to producing results. Your strategy, or plan, and your ability to execute that strategy. Which of these do leaders struggle with more? Is it creating a strategy or executing that strategy?


What do you think people are responding?




Danny:Yep. If you have an MBA, or have taken business classes, what do you study more; execution or strategy?






Tommy:Oh, I passed.


Danny:You passed. That’s right, tell him what he’s won.


This is good, because we want to get into the meat of the issues. What’s neat is this has a bit of State of Georgia stuff in here. It was … The real problem with execution. B.J. Walker, commissioner for the Department of Human Services for the U.S. state of Georgia in 2004. You can see that her 20,000 employees were completely demoralized. The department had burned through six commissioners in five years, constant media scrutiny due to the number of deaths and incidents, accidents involved with children in state’s care dealing with the Defax folks. For months, her employees had operated under a constant fear of making a mistake, which only made their poor productivity worse and led to some of the largest back logs in the country. BJ needed a focus on a way … Focus her team in a direction and she knew the clock was ticking.


In less than 18 months, she and her team had reduced the repeat cases of child maltreatment by 60 percent. So, we’ll get into this, at least more about what was done there. The common solution to some of these problems, these stories of the state of Georgia and others, the problem isn’t problems of a strategy, it’s problems with execution. And the common solution that they came to to getting to this, I just mentioned the one from the state of Georgia, there were cases from and Marriott, is that all leaders struggle with the challenge, even if they don’t realize it. If you’re leading people right now, you are probably trying to get them to do something different. Whether you lead a small work team or a whole company, a family or a factory, no significant result is achieved unless people change their behavior.


Yet, to be successful, you will need more than just their compliance. You will need their commitment. As every leader knows, getting the commitment of hearts and minds, the kind of commitment that will endure in the midst of the daily grind is not easy. So, he talks about two different types of changes, behavioral changes and stroke of the pen changes. So, behavioral changes are those that people need to change their behavior in order for that change to occur. Stroke of the pen ones are easy, you cancel this service, you do this, you do this. It’s just something that you can do simply with the stroke of a pen. So, they go through the different types of stroke of the pen types of strategies, like capital investment, expansion of staff, process change is a stroke of the pen, strategic acquisition, media buy, change in product mix.


Behavioral changes are improved customer experience, higher quality, faster responsiveness, operational consistency, consultative sales approach, reduced cost overruns. And then, sort of getting into people … A common thing that you hear from people is that it’s natural for a leader to assume that the people are the problem. After all, they are the ones not doing what we need to have done. But, you would be wrong. The people are not the problem. while one of my … Someone who studied even in school, the father of the quality movement, taught that at any time, a majority of people have a particular way the majority of the time, the people are not the problem, the problem is inherent in the system. One prime suspect behind execution breakdown is the clarity of the objective.


People simply don’t understand the goal they were supposed to execute. Lack of commitment to the goal is another problem with it. In short, people weren’t sure what the goal was, weren’t committed to it, didn’t know what to do about it specifically, and weren’t being held accountable for it. I’ve talked a bunch, any thoughts on any of the stuff I’ve said so far?


Tommy:One thing that was coming to mind as you were talking about strategy and execution, I remember back in school, I don’t know who I was talking to, but it might’ve been a professor and they said, “Success in life is 10 percent brains and 90 percent sweat,” and I think the sweat part is the part of trying to follow through and get that path of, “I’ve got an idea and how do I get to that point?” ‘Cause it’s easy to see the final outcome, but to actually get there is a lot of left and right turns and adapting to the situation and understanding your audience, the who you’re working with and what their capabilities are and what’s the next logical step? Based on observations of what you’ve tried and what’s working and what’s not working. So, I think it’s easy to see what is the final outcome, where do you wanna be, it’s just getting there is not always a straight path.


Danny:The next thing that’s introduced is a concept called the whirlwind. The real enemy of execution is your day job. We call it the whirlwind. It’s the massive amount of energy that’s necessary just to keep your operation going from a day to day basis. And ironically, it’s also the thing that makes it so hard to execute anything new. The whirlwind robs you from your focus required to move your team forward. Leaders seldom differentiate between the whirlwind and strategic goals because both are necessary for the survival of the organization. The whirlwind is urgent and acts on you and everyone working for you every minute of the day. The goals you set for moving forward are important, but when urgency and important clash, urgency will win every time. Once you become aware of the struggle, you will see it playing out anywhere in any team trying to execute anything new.


Consider your own experience and you’ll remember an important initiative that launched and then, died. How did that end come? Was it a loud crash or a tremendous explosion or did it just go down quietly over time, suffocated with the whirlwind? We’ve asked thousands of leaders this question, we always get the same answer, “Slow suffocation.”


Tommy:And it makes me think of the different quadrants of urgent, important, not urgent but important, and then the other two quadrants. And as we look at quadrant two, where we wanna put our time, which is things that are not urgent, but important. Those are the things that suffocate, those are the things that can end up taking a lower priority of our time and it’s the energy we have to put into making sure we’re putting enough time into quadrant two and then, the sand will fill the rest with all those urgent things and hopefully, you’re working on important urgent things and not non important urgent things.


Danny:They go on to say, we don’t have dragons swooping down and knocking us off our priorities. We have gnats. Every day, we have gnats getting in our eyes and when we look back over the last six months, we haven’t accomplished any of the things we said we were going to, basically the same …


Tommy:That’s like the sand, yeah.


Danny:The sand, filling up the time. Absolutely. And we’ll get into the execution of sort of how do you get the big rocks and I think is what cubby …


Tommy:Like, the first things first.


Danny:Yep, so the four disciplines of execution aren’t designed for managing your whirlwind. The four disciplines are rules for executing your most critical strategy in the midst of your whirlwind. So, the first discipline and we’re just … Man, we’re just gonna be able to get through the four … I think I’m still just on the four. We’re gonna have to hit the part one maybe that’s coming up. Yeah, we’re just gonna get through …


Tommy:The four?


Danny:I’m not even to section one yet, so.


Tommy:That’s fine.


Danny:That’s fine, we’ll break it apart. And so, we’ll uncover this in layers here. Just a quick introduction the four disciplines, what they are. Discipline one is focus on the wildly important. Basically, the more you try to do, the less you actually accomplish. Discipline one, focus on the wildly important requires you to go against your basic wiring as a leader and focus on less so that your team can achieve more. When you implement discipline one, you start by selecting one or at most two extremely important goals, instead of trying to significantly improve everything at once. We call this a wildly important goal, or WIG for short.


Tommy:BHAG is another.


Danny:To make it clear to the team that this is the goal that matters most. Failure to achieve it will make every other accomplishment seem secondary, or possibly even inconsequential.


Tommy:Yeah, I think the hard thing with that, Danny, is picking that one thing and the fear of, did I pick the right thing? And so, you’re always hedging your bet in a sense and that hedging the bet can dilute the bet.


Danny:What’s nice is that we’ll get into later, how do you pick what that thing is? So, it’s more of the … Yeah, that sounds nice, but then, how do you actually get to the point where and it’s interesting. We’ll get to that, we’ll get to more of that. But, you’re absolutely right because what if you pick the wrong one? But, that’s why you … And there’s some help with what is the right one to pick? Discipline two, act on the lead measures. This is a discipline of leverage. So, there are two things they talk about. There’s lag measures, which are the tracking measurements of the wildly important. They are usually the ones you spend most of your time praying over. So, it’s revenue, it’s profit, it’s market share, it’s customer satisfaction. Those are all lag measures.


Meaning that when you receive them, the performance that drove them is already in the past. That’s why you’re praying. By the time you get to a lag measure, you can’t fix it, it’s history. Lead measures are quite different in that they are the measures of the most high impact things your team must do to reach the goal. In essence, they measure the new behaviors that will drive success on lag measures. Whether those behaviors are as simple as offering a sample to every customer in the bakery or as complex as adhering to a standards in engine design.


Tommy:It reminds me of our health metrics, where we do have the pipeline, the closed opportunities, and deliver utilization. That kind of goes from things that are leading indicators that are lagging indicators. And when you get to utilization, that’s an indication of things are working from the pipeline standpoint. You had a right amount of pipeline that leads to the conversion, that leads to utilization.


Danny:It’ll be interesting to talk about whether …


Tommy:Which, that’s very generic, it’s not talking about here’s what we’re gonna do as an organization, but more of how those measures play out in terms of leading versus lagging indicators.


Danny:Yeah, it’ll be fun to talk about how do we do this internally at ThreeWill? Is your utilization, is that a lead measure or a lag measure? And talking through some of those types of things as well. Yeah, this is good. This is good, hearty stuff.


Tommy:It’s a lag measure of what you’re selling, and then it’s a lead measure of what your revenue will be eventually because what your utilization then turns into what you invoice, and then turns into what you can collect. Yeah.


Danny:So, lag measures are ultimately the most important things you’re trying to accomplish, but lead measure, true to their name, are what gets you the lag measures. Once you’ve identified your lead measures, they become the key leverage points for achieving your goal. So, part of this is just having that discussion about what are our lag measures? What are our lead measures? And there’s a discussion about … We have to get into a discussion of what … ‘Cause you’re somewhat guessing at what your lead measures are. What are the ones that are important, what are the ones that aren’t? ‘Cause marketing from a marketing standpoint, I could come up with 2,000 lead measures, 2,000 different things that I think could produce in a marketing lead. And so, there’s a discussion about which ones are we measuring? What are the ones that are important?


Tommy:Right. Are you measuring like we do with the number of hits that we have on blog posts or pages on the site, the number of contact us page hits or executions, the number of webinars that we do, the number of podcasts that we do, and as we know, the hardest thing is it’s not just one thing that’s a leading indicator for what you’re trying to achieve, to have that opportunity to serve a client. It comes from a multiple set of, I think, lead measures that ideally, you can tease out the ones that have the biggest impact. And that’s the hard part, is understanding which ones you can tease out.


Danny:And that’s what … I mean, a part of the work that is involved in this book, there isn’t … Authors admit, you’re dealing with all the same things you dealt with yesterday. But, you’re trying to spend a little bit of time instead of just doing everything that you think is a lead measure, really nailing the ones that are … And part of it is a fortuitous feedback cycle, which is, I notice that when I do lead one, when I do more of this lead measure, I get more of this lag measure and feeding into that cycle and if you’re not getting that, then I need to do it … It’s something to get the team into thinking about, “How can I personally make a change in this lag measure?”


And so, the next discipline is discipline three, which is keeping a compelling a scoreboard. People play differently when they’re keeping score. If you doubt this, watch any group of teenagers playing basketball and see how the game changes the minute score keeping begins. However, the truth of the statement is more clearly revealed by the change in emphasis. People play differently when they’re keeping score, it’s not about you keeping score for them. So, basically they’re saying … They’re the ones keeping score, then, they know what the score is. So, that was interesting that they’re pointing this out. Why does this matter? If the scoreboard isn’t clear, the game you want people to play will be abandoned in the whirlwind of other activities. And if your team doesn’t know whether or not they are winning the game, they are probably on their way to losing.


Tommy:It’s interesting, I think of utilization, that’s one thing that we found that if we measure that, there’s different behaviors that come when we make decisions of what people will do. What personally, a person will do, knowing that there’s a utilization goal and there’s a … For the company and for the individual. Also, I see with our agile process of having story points and having a goal for what we wanna do in the sprint, that there’s a sense of that’s our goal, I wanna achieve that goal. And so, when I’m making decision that will influence if I achieve it or not, I will pick paths that will help me achieve that goal. There’s always something that you’re sacrificing, so you have to feel that the things that you don’t measure are worth sacrificing. And if they’re important enough, maybe you measure those things, too, so you can keep it in balance.


‘Cause of course, you can measure one thing, and then you get skewed where you can ignore something that maybe is important because you’re not measuring that, you’re just measuring this. So, utilization, it could be education and growth. Do I wanna just bill on projects, or are there some education growth goals I wanna set like certification and keeping those intention? So, you don’t, quote, throw the baby out with the bath water, in the sense where you’re going after one thing, then you ignore something that’s very important that will, say, invest in that capability of having strong utilization or strong sales because you’re making investments that are important. That’s where I think it’s tough, is to say, “Where are those measures?” Making sure you pick the right measures so you’re getting the behaviors that are healthy behaviors.


And so, if you see something get out of whack because you’re measuring one thing and not measuring some other things, then it’s decided, “What’s that counter balance? What’s that measure that will keep in check some behaviors I don’t wanna see when we’re trying to achieve this other goal?”


Danny:So, what we’re getting into, which is a really great conversation, which for us, I believe that utilization is a lag measure and that there are lead measures, there’s a number of things that as individuals, and so you have to talk through, “What lead measures can I do that will have the most impact on the lag measure of utilization?” So, you mentioned certification, if everybody got certified, is that gonna really impact how everybody’s utilization is. Well, maybe so, maybe not. That’s where the work needs to go into this book, is everybody having a conversation. It’s not just you and I, either. It’s everybody within this company saying, “Okay, well, I know my utilization could go up if I was doing this all the time and was measuring this and was trying to do this.”


And there are 101 things that could be lead measures to that, but you’re trying to identify what are the key ones to you? Because and part of this, the whole book is … You don’t have enough time to do everything and if you don’t figure out what those couple one or two things are that you’re doing, they’ll just get caught. They’ll get lost in the whirlwind and you won’t get to them. And so, part of this exercise is trying to identify what those things are as a company. And there’s also …


Tommy:And we know pipeline is one of those things, but if you think it’s something that we’re not measuring today that could be an indicator to utilization as a lag measure, is deal size. So, if you look at … If you sell a bunch of 10k projects, you have a bunch of 10k projects versus fewer 100k projects, the impact that that would have on utilization is a different type of impact. And so, if we were measuring deal size and saying, “We wanna a goal of a minimum deal size or a certain average deal size …”


Danny:But, how do you get to that? Again, that’s a lag measure. How do you get to the larger deal size? So, and part of the book is the different parts of the organization as well.


Tommy:Yeah. So, the number of pitches you have for a type of project.


Danny:Yeah, there you go. So, we’re gonna say we’re gonna do the lag measures, number of pitches for a certain type of project, and we’re gonna do three of these pitches this month.


Tommy:Or lead, you mean lead measure?


Danny:Yeah, lead measure. So, we’re gonna do three of these things that are lead measures and part of the neat thing about a lead measure is not only is it measurable, but it is something you can do. It is something that is tangible. You can’t just … I can’t just say, “Tommy, go increase sales.” How do we do this? What are the things …? “Go increase your utilization.” Okay … So, you have the conversation about, you apply the thought towards, “What changes could I make to make the biggest impact?”


Tommy:Right, right. And that’s good.


Danny:And some of it’s obvious. Some of it’s like, “Oh, I do that, but I only do that once a month. Or I do that a couple times a year and really, if I did that every week, we’d have a huge difference.” And it’s getting into sort of those types of conversations. The fourth one, you’ll love this one, which is the equivalent to the sprint review, which is create a cadence of accountability. Discipline four, we’re on the last one, is where execution really happens. Basically, is a rhythm of regular and frequent meetings of any team that owns a wildly important goal. Again, that wildly important goal is a lag measure. It’s something that you … You want revenue to grow and it’s from X to Y by this day. That’s what a … A wildly important goal.


So, we’re trying to move from here to there by this time and everybody knows that’s what we’re trying to do as a team, as an organization. And also, you can break it down into, real marketing needs in order for us to get to that, let’s say it’s a revenue goal, which we often have a revenue goal for the year, what does marketing need to do for their part to get from X to Y by this day in order for the company to meet that goal? And it’s different departments talking about, “Well, I’m going to do this part, I’m going to do this part, and I’m gonna do …” ‘Cause it takes a bunch of different everybody doing their own parts.


Tommy:Yeah, and I think you’re more in that space of the leading indicators. A lot of the marketing activities are, quote, planting those seeds that lead to a lagging measure. So, if you look at a number of blog posts in a month, the number of success stories posted to the website, those are things that are leading indicators and like I said before, the tough this is, is which one of those are more important than the others to know, “Oh, I do more of that.” That’s moving the needle, that’s actually impacting my lagging indicator, so I wanna do more of those.


Danny:I mean, for us, I look at what we’re doing and part of this is, what’s great about this book, is that it’s talking about … When we get to that end of that first section, it’s talking about the annual review, sort of the annual plans that we’re coming up on doing for the next year and why those sometimes break down over the year and how can you institute something where this last part is an accountability process as part of this. So that you’re not just picking up … Everybody does this, which is we’re getting towards the end of the year and we’re looking back and saying, “Well, what did we say we’re gonna do over that year?” I have my marketing spreadsheet that I update monthly and report back, “We had this amount of blog posts and these types of things.” ‘Cause those are the things I think are the lead indicator.


My wildly important goal is the three or more enterprise customers by the end of the year. There’s things that we’re doing already, but I do think I have too many … I probably could narrow down what my lead measure was. If I had them, what could I do that would have the most impact on the quality of the leads that we’re bringing into ThreeWill? And there’s some things that I’m like, “Yeah, if I did that, I think I could probably improve that.” Is it a blog post that we’re writing or is it something that I’m doing and it’s really good ’cause I think, then, here, they’re just sort of saying, “If you just try to do everything and just try … You never have the time to get to everything. You just don’t.”


And part of the, we’ll get to this with the focus piece, is that if you can just narrow it down to the most important things, how much more effective you’ll be if you’re able to do that, so alright. We went way long. You need to run to a meeting. I will wrap it up with that. Next one we get together, we’ll talk about the sort of define all these four disciplines, get into more, there’s some great stories about these, thank you for doing this. I love it, it’s great to take something like this and apply it to ThreeWill.


Tommy:It’s good material. Yeah, nice.


Danny:And I think it’s a great time of the year for us to do this. So, listen in next time. Looks like it’s gonna be a four part series ’cause we just got the four, but thanks everybody for listening and have a wonderful day. Bye bye.


Tommy:Bye bye. Alright, thank you, man.


Danny:Thank you.


Additional Credits

Podcast Producer – Oliver Penegar
Intro/Outro Music – Daniel Bassett

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empty.authorThe 4 Disciplines of Execution – Forward

Matthew Chestnut, USATF Georgia 2016 Cross Country Coach of the Year

Matthew Chestnut was recently awarded USATF Georgia 2016 Cross Country Coach of the Year for his volunteer work with Alpha Crush Running Club, a youth running club he founded in 2011.  In 2016 Alpha Crush had 27 athletes qualify for the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships, resulting in 3 athletes that qualified for All American status.  The award was presented September 15, in absentia, at the USATF Georgia Youth Gala in downtown Atlanta.  Matthew was preparing for the 7th Annual Alpha Crush Cross Country Meet and could not attend the gala.

While Matthew volunteers numerous hours of personal time throughout the year with the club, he also takes advantage of ThreeWill’s Volunteer Time Off Program (part of the ThreeWill Foundation initiative) which allows him to volunteer some of his time during work hours.  The VTO program gives associates 5 days a year to volunteer at the organization of their choice.

Congratulations Matthew and thank you for all you do to help the youth of Georgia volunteering as a running coach!

Photo Credit – In memory of David Funderburk, who was shot soon after taking this photo and passed away later that day.  😉



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empty.authorMatthew Chestnut, USATF Georgia 2016 Cross Country Coach of the Year

Discussion about The Servant by James C. Hunter – Part 3 of 3

Danny Ryan

Co-Host – Danny Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Tommy Ryan

Co-Host – Tommy Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Part Three of Three in this Series

Key Points

  1.  “Men and women want to do a good job. If they are provided the proper environment they will do so.”  – Bill Hewlett, one of the founders of Hewlett Packard.
  2. “Neurotics think that everything happens because of something that they’ve done and it’s their fault. Character-disordered people, on the other hand, assume too little responsibility, everything that’s happening around them doesn’t have anything to do with them.”
  3. Building habits of good leadership qualities can really make a difference. Practicing love, friendship, and respect will eventually become second nature

Conversation Highlights

  • Analogy of the Garden and the Law of the Harvest – 3:26
  • Making Choices – 8:47
  • The Labors of Leadership – 17:48

Danny :Hello and welcome to the Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan, and I’m here with Tommy Ryan. How you doing, Tommy Ryan?


Tommy:I’m doing well.


Danny :Awesome.


Tommy:Got some gardening in yesterday.


Danny :I thought that you had some gardening with Dad, that was awesome.


Tommy:Yeah, and it really felt like my first.


Danny :Yeah. So you’re planting, or what were you doing?


Tommy:We made some irrigation, more irrigation, hose and then planted some seeds.


Danny :Very nice, very nice. So I want to hit part three of “The Servant”, if we could hit, the last one only to get three episodes to get through this, but wanted to cover the last bit of the book here. And again, this is a book called “The Servant”. The subtitle says, a simple story about the true essence of leadership by James C. Hunter. And we are on chapter five, and chapter five starts off with a quote, I think I quote this before earlier in the book, which was from Bill Hewlett, one of the founders of Hewlett Packard, which is, “Men and women want to do a good job. If they are provided the proper environment they will do so.” So on chapter five, it is about the environment. So we’re going to talk about creating the proper environment.


Just to get us kicked off here, what is, when you think about creating an environment at ThreeWill, what do you think of first?


Tommy:I think the Maslow’s needs, hierarchy of needs, so creating an environment that gives you the basics of, comfortable. A comfortable seat, and it’s not too hot, not too cold, just right.


Danny :A wicked good internet connection.


Tommy:Yeah, little things like that, that definitely falls in Maslow’s needs there. Back to to see what our internet connectivity was. Kind of excited, because it started of like 300 and something, and that was megabit, so it’s gigabits. I think that’s the first place to start. Just the fundamentals. And then I think people want to be in an environment that they’re cared for. And that sounds kind of squishy softy type stuff in a corporate environment, but at the end of the day, I think that’s what can make or break keeping good people. And being in an environment that they feel appreciated in, cared for, and then, those things they want to do the same for the customers. If they have that environment for themselves. And I think if you don’t have some of that basic care that you sense in your environment, it’s hard to provide that for the services you do as a person working in a consultant company.


Danny :Well, the first couple of bits from this chapter are actually some analogies. And one is one from, which is talking about the relational bank account, and he pulls that from the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. And this is just a reminder, a relational account metaphor teaches us the importance of keeping healthy relationship balances with significant people in our lives, including those we lead. Simply put, when we meet a person the first time, we basically have a neutral relationship account balance. Because we don’t know one another, and we’re still testing waters. As a relationship matures, however, we make deposits and withdrawals, and this imaginary account’s based on how we behave. For example, you make deposits into these accounts by being trustworthy and honest, giving people appreciation or recognition, keeping our word, being good listeners, not talking behind other backs, using the simple courtesies of hello, please, thank you, and so on. We make withdrawals by being unkind, discourteous, breaking our promises and commitments, backstabbing, being poor listeners, being puffed up and arrogant and so on.


I guess he’s, why pull this relational bank account into creating the proper environment, why do you think he’s pulling that in?


Tommy:I think you have to work in an environment that you have trust with one another, and those things, feel that foundation of trust. With these things that you do you create vulnerabilities. You go and make commitments towards delivering something, and sometimes if you have a low trust environment, you’re going to do things to protect yourself. And that doesn’t necessarily give the best service to a customer if you’re working out, just you, vs. if you build up some trust with your teammates, with your client. And you can after things more aggressively, accomplish more because you’re spending more time towards a solution vs. things that protect you as an individual.


Danny :Awesome. The next metaphor that he brings up is one of what we started the podcast out with, which is the principle of the garden. And that is, we do not make the growth occur. The best we can do is provide the right environment and provide the necessary frictions so people can choose to change and to grow. So you think, the metaphor of what you’re doing in the garden, and how does that what you relate to what you do here at work?


Tommy:Yeah, the law of the harvest, is this?


Danny :Yep. He goes on talking about staying at the Ritz, and the conversation that we had with one of the folks that was there. And this is one of the attendees of the seminar. He was asking about, sort of noticing what happens, and trying to figure out how does this behavior occur when everyone is so courteous to other people, and he asked one of the folks there, and he says, “We have a motto here that goes like this: We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” And then he thought it was interesting, and he’s like, “Okay, that sounds great.” But then the guy follows it up with, “If we don’t behave this way, we don’t get to work here.” So it’s like, if someone doesn’t believe you’re a lady, you’re serving ladies and gentlemen, then it’s basically you don’t get the privilege of working there. Is there anything about that you don’t understand? I laughed and I told him I got his point. So interesting, going into how do you create the proper environment.


Tommy:You said, was this the CEO of Ritz Carlton?


Danny :No, this was just someone who works at Ritz Carlton. So within their training, they institute the concept of saying, the motto here is that we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.


Tommy:Yeah, I just re-listened to a podcast from Andy Stanley’s leadership podcast that was having those interviews, things that go back to before they had some solids concepts. And I think that the whole attitude, I think, creates an environment of service, and an environment of mutual respect. You are a lady or a gentleman serving ladies and gentlemen. It’s not being a servant to a master as much as, we are respectful people serving respectful people.


Danny :Yes. Chapter six is called “The choice”. And within there I pull out a quote that I’ve got earmarked here. “Traditional thinking teaches us that our thoughts and feelings drive our behavior, and of course we know this to be true. Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, our paradigms do in fact greatly influence our behavior. Our behavior also influences our thoughts and our feelings. When we as human beings make a commitment to focus attention, time, effort, and other resources on someone or something, over time we begin to develop feelings for the object of our attention. Psychologists say we cathect the object of our attention, or in other words we become hooked or attached to it. Perhaps this explains why adopted children are loved as much as biological children. Why we get so hooked on pets, on cigarettes, gardening, ooh, here’s gardening again, booze, cars, golf, collecting stamps, and all the rest of things that fill our lives. When we pay attention to it, spend time with it, or serve, we become attached to it.”


So talking about choice, free will, this is very much a chapter that we relate to, and making choices, and the small choices in our every day, how important those things are to us. You can just agree with me, say, “That’s brilliant, Danny.”




Danny :I believe leadership begins with the choice, is one part of this he’s pointing out. And then he talks about the differences between neurotics and character-disordered people, which is, neurotics assume too much responsibility and believe everything that happens is their fault. Character-disordered people, on the other hand, generally assume too little responsibility for their actions. So you’re seeing from one end of the spectrum to the other, which is neurotics think that everything happens because of something that they’ve done and it’s their fault. Character-disordered people, on the other hand, assume too little responsibility, everything that’s happening around them doesn’t have anything to do with them. And those are the two spectrums that people can have with this.


Next point, next earmark, I’ve got plenty of earmarks in this chapter, but determinism. “For every event there’s a cause has generally been believed to be true for all physical events, although even this is being challenged by some of the new science. Freud, however, decided to take it a step further. He applied the same principle to human will. He claimed that human beings essentially do not make choices, and that free will is an illusion.” Boo. I should play some booing. Boo, Freud, Boo, he got it wrong. “He believed that our choices and actions are determined by unconscious forces of which we can never be fully aware. Freud asserted that if we know enough about a person’s heredity environment, we can actually predict his behavior right down to the individual choices he makes. This theory dealt the concept of free will, a devastating blow.” Boo.


Tommy:Yeah, I think, nature/ nurture thing. It’s not either/or, there’s an influence there. That Freud meant. He’s nailed well, but it’s not an absence of free will, for sure.


Danny :A couple of ones, and I keep coming back to this book, which I will get to here in a second. I recently … Here’s another quote. “Freely smooth to speak, I added. I recently took an executive course on business ethics where they broke up the word responsibility into two words, response and ability. The course taught us that we have all kinds of stimuli coming at us. Bills, bosses, marriage problems, employee problems, kid problems, neighbor problems, you name it problems. The stimulus is always coming at us, but as human beings we have the ability to choose our response.” Yay! “In fact, the teacher said, speaking more quickly, the ability to choose our response is one of the glories of being human. Animals respond according to instinct.” So, and then again, I read this in college, and it had a profound effect on me, which was a book from Viktor Frankl called “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Do you know the premise of the book?




Danny :So Frankl was, basically he was a Jewish psychiatrist and had spent time in concentration camp. He was in prison for several years, lost nearly his entire family and possessions at the hands of Nazis, and even endured horrible medical experiments. He suffered terribly, and basically had a horrible experience there. So he provides a response to Sigmund Freud. Sigmund Freud once asserted, “Let no one attempt to expose a number of diverse people uniformly to hunger. With the increase imperative urge of hunger, all individual differences will blur, and instead will appear the uniform expression as one instilled urge. Thank heavens, Freud was spared knowing the concentration camps from the inside. His subjects lay on a couch design, in the plush style of Victorian culture, and not in the filth of Auschwitz. There, the individual differences did not blur, but on the contrary. People became more different. People unmasked themselves. Both the swine and the saints. Men is ultimately self-determining.” Oh, getting chills down my back. “What he becomes, he has made out of himself. In the concentration camps for example, in this living laboratory and on this testing ground, we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine, while others behave like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself, which one is actualized depends on decisions, but not on conditions.


Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers at Auschwitz. However, he’s also that being who entered those gas chambers upright with the Lord’s prayer of the [inaudible 00:16:11] Israel on his lips.” Cool. Boy, getting into more philosophers here. Danish philosopher Kierkegaard once said that, “Not making a decision itself is making a decision. Not making a choice itself is a choice.” Remember, said one of the people in the book, “We said that the road to authority and leadership begins with the will. The will is the choices we make to align our actions with our intentions. I’m suggesting that in the end, if we all have to make choices about our behavior and accept the responsibility for our choices. Will we choose to be impatient or patient? Kind or unkind? Actively listen or merely silently waiting for our opportunity to speak? Humble or arrogant? Respectful or rude? Selfless or selfish? Forgiving or resentful? Honest or dishonest? Committed or just involved?”


Tommy:He can’t say until he’s in that situation, right? We all want to be that person that rises to the occasion, but then when we’re under particular stress, and being in a concentration camp, would you be that swine or would you be that saint? I’m not sure if I wanted to do the experiment.


Danny :And then to wrap this chapter up, “the labors of leadership and love are character issues. Patience, kindness, humility, selflessness, respectfulness, forgiveness, honesty, commitment. These character building blocks or habits must be developed and matured if we are to become successful leaders who will stand the test of time. Thoughts become actions, actions become habits, habits become our character, and our character becomes our destiny.”


Chapter seven, “the Payoff”. There’s a quote here from Jem Rome. “For every discipline effort, there’s a multiple reward.” And let’s see, I’m almost there, we’re almost there. Pulled from a quote that I’ve got, “How I did here. One of the things I learned in corporate life was that corporate mission statements are fine, I suppose even a useful purpose, but we must never forget that people buy into the leader before they buy into the mission statement. Once they have bought into the leader, they will buy into whatever mission statement the leader’s got. If you were to live your life all over again, what would you do differently? The top three answers that came were they would risk more, they would reflect more, and they would do more that would live on after they were gone.” So this was a question of people who were over 90.


“Joy is about the inner satisfaction and conviction of knowing that you are truly aligned with the deep unchanging principles of life. Serving others breaks you free from the shackles of self and self-absorption that choke the joy of living.” Joy is about the inner satisfaction and conviction of knowing that you are truly aligned with the deep unchanging principles of life. Serving others breaks you free from the shackles of self and self-absorption that choke out the joy of living. There was a book called “Religions of Man”, one that was mentioned a couple of times in the book. He says, “All the world’s great religions conclude that man’s greatest problem since the beginning of time is his self-centered nature, his pride and his selfishness. Some religions refer to this as sin, Smith concludes that the great religions of the world all teach us how to overcome our selfish nature.”


Alright, couple more quotes here, and we’re going to put a button on this. One from Dr. Albert Schweitzer, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know. The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” Okay. I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know. The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve. “And in the Book of John, Jesus told his disciples that his incredible joy could be their joy if they abid his commandment. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Jesus knew there would be joy and loving the verb, extending ourselves for others. Our purpose here as human beings is to grow towards psychological and spiritual maturity. This is what pleases God. Loving, serving, and extending ourselves for others forces us out of our self-centeredness. Loving others pushes us forward out of our terrible twos. Loving others forces us to grow up. And it starts with a choice, intentions minus actions equals squad. We’ve got to act on what we’ve learned, because if nothing changes, nothing changes.”


And that, my friend, there’s an epilogue in the back, and that is it. Any overall wrapping up thoughts you’ve got from going to the book? Or what sort of, maybe let me ask this, what sort of thing sticks in your head after we’ve gone through these last three or so podcasts that you’ll take away from the book?


Tommy:It’s reaffirming that all about trust, about relationship, creating environments people want to work and serve in. And I think a lot of it, we’ve talked about this third part because it’s the most recent idea, not getting the book the highlights of it, but I think the whole bigger purpose outside of just the day to day, but creating an environment of trust and environment that you want to make something bigger than yourself. Those are some of the quotes that I took away, I appreciate you sharing that.


Danny :Absolutely, absolutely. And it was nice, I appreciate the time we get through this, and next week we’ll pick up back up with some, starting some interviews, and so we’ll go back into those. I’m reading a couple of other books, we might jump into those books if I think they’re good ones for us to go through. It helps me process, just going through it the second time, and a lot of these, reading through this reminded me, now it feels like a “Now your homework”-moment, a lot of it, I believe you’re a great servant leader. And a lot of these qualities, I was like, “God, that sounds a lot like Tommy.” So it was really neat going through the book and just reflecting on what it means to be a servant leader. A lot of the things that I think environment-wise that you create around here for the people that you work with, you really want to leave a legacy, you care about what we’re going today.


In fact I have to show you this, but I went, I was out shopping with Amy a couple of weekends ago, and there was this little saying that I picked up that I’m going to hang up here in the office, and it just reminded me of you when you were talking about wanting to leave a legacy. And it’s, the choice of every day that we have, what we do during that day, and what are we going to do with that time, and we can’t get that time back, and what are we exchanging that time for. And so it’s fun, it’s fun going through this journey with you. I appreciate this opportunity to have these types of conversations, and I appreciate you creating a great environment here at ThreeWill, too.


Tommy:Thanks, Dan.


Danny :You betcha. You betcha. So we’ll pick back up next week, and we’ll talk to you then, and thank you so much for listening, and have a wonderful day. Take care. Bye-bye.




Additional Credits

Podcast Producer – Oliver Penegar
Intro/Outro Music – Daniel Bassett

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empty.authorDiscussion about The Servant by James C. Hunter – Part 3 of 3

Discussion about The Servant by James C. Hunter – Part 2 of 3

Danny Ryan

Co-Host – Danny Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Tommy Ryan

Co-Host – Tommy Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Missed Part One?

Listen to Part One Now

Key Points

  1. In the old paradigm, the CEO was at the top of the pyramid. However, we are shifting towards a new paradigm which flips the pyramid and places the customer at the top.
  2. The Key to creating a positive work environment is identifying emotional needs and working towards meeting them.
  3. People want to feel connected and not like a cog in the wheel. To prevent being a cog one must match passion with a business need.

Conversation Highlights

  • Pyramid Paradigm – 3:47
  • Identify and Meet Needs – 11:50
  • Intersection of Skill and Passion – 19:31

Danny:Hello and welcome to the Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone podcast. This is your co-host, Danny Ryan. I’m here with Tommy. Tommy, how are you doing?


Tommy:I’m doing great.




Tommy:We got some rain finally. I never thought I’d say that, but we’re getting rain again.


Danny:Yeah, no. You’ve got some rain to feed all of your crops. What do you have, 100 acres going on now?


Tommy:6,000 square feet is my starting point.


Danny:Oh, nice. Very nice. Awesome. What are you doing now? You’re just prepping the garden, or what sort of stage are you in with that right now?


Tommy:Yeah. There’s a section that I actually am growing something on. A smaller, like 25 by 20 section. And then I’ve got a 120 by 50 foot section that I’ve plowed. I’m gonna lay irrigation to that this weekend, and then plant maybe this weekend or next weekend.


Danny:Lay irrigation.




Danny:Very nice. You’re getting serious, man.


Tommy:Yeah. I don’t mess around. I just said, “Go big or go home.”


Danny:Go big or go home. I love it. I love it. This is a part deux, part two of our book discussion on The Servant. The author is James C. Hunter. Last time, we had such a good time. We sort of went long with it, so we decided to break it up into two parts. We left off on chapter two. We were just discussing the last part of this, was discussing about relationships and they’re so important to organizations and life. What’s the most important ingredient? We discussed that trust is the most important ingredient.


In chapter two, let’s pick up with that. This is using a good old Covey 00:02:16 word, which is paradigm. He’s describing what the old paradigm is. As I mentioned, this is about a gentleman who goes onto a retreat and is meeting with someone who used to be in the business life, named Simeon. They’re meeting up in the mornings, before everything gets started for the day. It starts off with a conversation between the two of them. One part of it is the guy’s pretty up front. It says, this is Simeon talking. He says, “Oh yes, John. I’ve noticed that you don’t listen very well.” “What do you mean?”, I asked defensively. “I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty good listener. Yesterday morning, when we met in your room, you cut me off mid-sentence no less than three times. Now my ego can handle that, John, but I’m afraid some of the messages you send to people that you are leading when you cut them off like that. Haven’t others told you about this bad habit you’ve developed?”


He sort of goes into this. He says the key of this is your feelings of respect, he basically says to him, “I respect you.” He’s saying your feelings of respect must be aligned with your actions of respect. That was an important part of getting started with this chapter. Then sort of to jump forward to this, let me draw a visual for you as best as I can. If you think of a pyramid. The old paradigm is the pyramid, and sort of using military terms, you have the CEO or general at the top. Then underneath that, you have the vice president with the colonels, in the case of military. Then underneath them, you have the middle managers and the captains and lieutenants. Then under that you have supervisors, the sergeants. And this is sort of building out the base of the pyramid. You have employees, or as we like to call them, associates. Then you have grunts or troops for the military concept. Then underneath that, they have the-


Tommy:We don’t call people grunts?


Danny:I don’t know what you call me behind my back. No, I know what you call me. Then underneath that, you have the customer, which is often thought of in the military sense, it’s thought of as the enemy. That’s the old paradigm.


What we’re moving towards, or the new paradigm, is flipping the pyramid. As you can imagine, you’re just flipping it over where at the top is the customer. The next layer is the associates, otherwise what some people call the employees. Then you have the supervisors, then the middle manager, then the vice presidents, the CEO. Basically they’re supporting those roles. So, it’s changing over to thinking more of the new paradigm versus the old paradigm. There’s discussion with this as well about sort of the how does this relate to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and a discussion about that.


Then, sort of jumping into the third chapter, which really gets into sort of the, what I would classify as some real good meat in the book.


Tommy:Yeah. Before you jump into that, Danny.


Danny:Sure, go ahead.


Tommy:I’ve got one kind of analogy or one thing that we have as a practice within ThreeWill is the whole idea of not having bosses, but sponsors. I think when you think about bosses you think of the traditional pyramid, and then when you think about sponsors in the way we like to talk about sponsors, it’s flipped the other way around where the sponsor is serving the sponsee and enabling them to be successful. That’s a concept I think we like to practice here, which is assertive leadership. But that’s also reinforced organizationally all the way through. What’s interesting is it’s not necessarily a pyramid. It’s almost a very flat rectangle, in a sense. It’s a matrix of people sponsoring each other and based on where they are in their growth and what kind of support they need. It doesn’t necessarily fall in a pecking order of seniority as much as, does this person have something to offer for that other person.


Danny:Awesome. The next, in chapter three, it’s entitled The Model. One of the things he writes up on the board is, intentions minus actions equal squat. Then intentions plus actions equal will. There’s quite a discussion on one of our favorite words, which is will. He gets into the what the leadership model looks like. So, the servant leadership model. If you can take … If we sort of pick back up with that upside down pyramid, the leadership model is you have leadership at the top, authority underneath that. Underneath authority is service and sacrifice. Underneath service and sacrifice is love. Then underneath love is the will.


Let me pick out a couple of, and I’ve got a star by this one, so I know it’s important when I read it. Which is one of the ladies is really smart in the class that they’re in. She often tries to summarize, basically to listen to what’s been said and feed it back to Simeon. She says, “Let me see if I can summarize what I’ve learned. Leadership begins with the will, which is our unique ability as human beings to align our intentions with our actions and choose our behavior. With the proper will, we can choose to love the verb, which is about identifying and meeting the legitimate needs, not wants, of those we lead. When we meet the needs of others we will, by definition, be called upon to serve and even sacrifice. When we serve and sacrifice for others, we build authority or influence, the law of the harvest. When we build authority with people, then we have earned the right to be called leader.” Boy, unpack that one.


Tommy:I think at the end of the day, you’re not a leader unless you have a follower. I think you can have a sense of power with a title, but at the end of the day, if there’s no one following you, you’re really not a leader. I think we try to encourage that organizationally, through de-emphasizing titles and not getting caught up in titles. We do have them, but something that I think from a social norm that people want to see and experience. They want to see you having a title that at the end of the day, indicates there’s a responsibility there. We like to focus more on the responsibility. I think if people are doing their jobs well, and as a leader, doing things that serve others, that creates that sense of caring. I think people want to follow people that care for them, and have a kind of a role in an organization that is about organizing around things and getting things accomplished as a team.


Good leaders, I think, in our organization are people that really care a lot and are organized around how they care to rally a group of people to get something accomplished. That comes, in our area, you know what is your role in the company. What are you doing? Are you helping with getting us organized around technology, around the people in the organization, around our sales, around our marketing, around our finances? The people that combine that role and responsibility with a sense of care, I think naturally start growing as leaders of our organization.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Tommy:That’s my quick kind of feedback of the way I kind of get a sense of what is leadership and how does that apply to our environment.


Danny:Just to pick back up on, picking one of the sentences out of what I just read, because that leads us into the next chapter, chapter four. “With the proper will, we can choose to love the verb, which is about identifying and meeting the legitimate needs, not wants, of those we lead.” It wraps the chapter up with, “It seems to me that leadership boils down to a simple four word job description, identify and meet needs.” Often you think of needs … It’s not just the physical needs, it’s the emotional needs, it’s beyond … Part of this is trying to identify within your organization what are those needs that are contained within that organization. I think part of this with trying to understand what type of environment we’re creating is within ThreeWill, what are those needs and trying to identify and make sure those needs are being met.


I think a lot of that keeps us, am I happy. Is this the right environment for me to be in? I think some of those things, you know, is recognized. I think a core emotional need is people want to be recognized and have other people feel grateful for them. This whole emotional need of other people recognizing when I’m doing something good. I think some of the things we do inside of ThreeWill are to meet that core emotional need.


Tommy:Yeah. I that what first comes to mind when you say that, to recognize someone’s contribution, we have a channel within our team in the café, which is praise. I think it mentally draws the attention that we value that. It’s a little tickler to say, when there’s an opportunity to catch someone doing a great thing, let’s make sure we praise them. It’s on a TV or two, and follow-up from some negative thing that occurs. That you have to do in certain situations that are important to protect the customer’s situation and preserve the value that you’re providing, but at the end of the day, it’s I think where you get … The needle moves as an organization is catching people doing the right thing. You want to reinforce. You’re like, “Okay, when I do that, that gets recognized and so I want to do more of that.” Yeah. That’s what comes to mind.


There’s something else you were talking about earlier. It will come back to me. I’ll just make a note.


Danny:Sure. If it comes back up, just, you know. The next chapter is called The Verb and it’s talking about the love and leadership. This is, has aspects of this that where they’re pulling in. Here they’re talking about, well what’s the definition of love. What is love? This is pretty interesting stuff here. The place where you typically hear where love is defined is at almost every wedding you go to. You know 1st Corinthians, chapter 13. It says, “Love is patient. Love is kind. It’s not puffed up or arrogant. It does not behave unbecomingly. It does not seek its own. It does not take into account, the wrong suffer. It does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”


Then you ask, does this list of qualities sound familiar to you? Then, if you remember from our last discussion that we had, Tommy. This guy says, “Yeah, it sounds a lot like that list of leadership qualities we came up with last Sunday.” When we’re going through that. He sort of paraphrases the passage into bullet points, which is love is patient. It’s kind. Love is kindness, excuse me. It’s humility. It’s respectfulness. It’s selflessness. It’s forgiveness. It’s honesty and it’s commitment. He sort of draws this out and he goes into a discussion of what agape love is. He’s got a nice little table here, where he says authority and leadership. He goes through and basically shows the similarities between leadership and love. With agape love, it’s patience, kindness, humility, respectfulness, selflessness, forgiveness, honesty, and commitment. With authority and leadership, you’re honest and trustworthy. You’re a good role model. You’re caring. You’re committed. You’re a good listener. You held people accountable. You treat people with respect. You gave people encouragement. Your positive, enthusiastic attitude. Appreciated people.


Then he sort of goes through and describes, basically drawing how this definition of love and the verb is a lot of the characteristics of what a great leader is.


Tommy:Yeah. I think what’s sometimes difficult is looking at those touchy feely parts of leadership. I think the genuine nature of a leader comes out in the stressful times. Do you have that patience and that kindness when it comes to, you know, things that don’t go so well? That’s where leadership gets tested. Where someone feels like there’s authentic kindness there is when kindness comes underneath stress. Because anyone can fake kindness. True kindness is gonna come when, you know, you’re in a crossroad that is gonna naturally frustrate you, naturally get your emotions going. Then someone sees, okay how do you really feel about me when push comes to shove. You see that at work. You see that in your personal life with family and friends. That’s what, I think people will keep their eye out and say, okay does this person really care for me, and I’ll find that out, really when I do something wrong or do something that stresses the situation.


I always try to remind myself when it comes to the tough situations, is to say, “What do I want to represent? What’s important to come away with?” Sometimes you have to lose things in that process. You might lose business. You might lose certain opportunities for even growth. You say, “Okay. I’ve got to sacrifice that because at the end of the day, I want to be true to caring about that person”, and show that even in the tough times.


The other thing I was thinking about before is when you were talking about need. You know, addressing the need. I think for folks to be happy in an organization, we talk about the intersection of people’s skill and passion to a business need. That could be a business need. It could be an organizational need. People want to feel connected to, this makes a difference. You see in larger companies, people start getting disconnected from are they truly needed or are they just a cog in the wheel. At the end of the day, they can just be replaced with the next cog. A lot of energy we put around the organization is trying to get a sense of what are people passionate about and trying to attract that business need. It’s not always as clean as you like it. You know, trying to balance, okay, and recognize here are opportunities for us to really help people because we care about process.


We care about leveraging technology to increase collaboration within organizations. We’ve got good skill around that and let’s continue to try to hone what does that look like. As technology changes, trying to understand how do we attach ourselves to the right kind of pains and organizations that we can continue to be passionate about. I think what’s difficult is you can be skilled at a much larger set of things. Where you try to balance it out is finding where is that passion, and where are their true business needs that we can apply our skills. What I find, and I think we do it even today to a certain degree, is there are opportunities where we’ve got the skill and there’s a business need, and we don’t quite have the passion. Sometimes you have to play it out. You know, sometimes you don’t know you’re passionate about it until you do it for a while and get a sense for, is this something that I feel like I can do very well, and make a difference.


Sometimes that passion emerges out of that, where maybe you don’t think you want to do a certain type of, say, practice, but after you do it for a while and you find that you’re helping people and you’re using your skills, and you start seeing the vision of, this makes a difference. Sometimes passion will emerge where you don’t have it before. Those are some of my thoughts.


Danny:Who-wa. Great stuff, Tommy. He goes through each one of, sort of the aspects of love. The one that I wanted to call out was humility, because I know we talk a lot about humility. He says humbleness … He says an anonymous spiritual teacher once wrote, “Humbleness is nothing more than a true knowing of yourself and your limitations. Those who see themselves as they truly are would surely be humbled indeed. Humility is about being real and authentic with people and discarding the false masks.”


Yeah. The more I think about humility, the more, and again it’s describing if you’re truly going to love and serve another person, humility is an aspect of that, right. It just seems like it has to be an aspect of that. So he goes through all of the different other, you know selflessness, forgiveness, and all of the other characteristics of agape love. Then, to get to the end of this, and then it looks like we will have a part three of this, is he goes through each of those aspects and he has sort of a table that he calls love and leadership. He goes through and his patience is showing self-control. Kindness is giving attention, appreciation, and encouragement. Humility is being authentic without pretense or arrogance. Respectfulness is treating others as important people. Selflessness is meeting the needs of others. Forgiveness is giving up resentment when wrong. Honesty is being free from deception. Commitment is sticking to your choices. Results, service and sacrifice is setting aside your own wants and needs, seeking out the greatest good for others.


Then it sort of wraps up with, “So what I’m hearing you say, Simeon, is that love the verb could be defined as the act or acts of extending yourself to others by identifying and meeting their legitimate needs. Would that be close?” He says, “Beautiful, Kim.” Anything, last minute things to add to this?


Tommy:No, Danny. Thank you. I appreciate you sharing your Cliff notes. It’s my favorite way to read materials. The cliff notes.




Tommy:The audiobook. This is kind of a mix of the audiobook of the Cliff notes.


Danny:Absolutely. The next part that we will discuss is chapter five, and that is The Environment. We’ll get into The Environment. It starts off with a quote from Bill Hewlett, of Hewlett Packard. “Men and women want to do a good job. If they are provided with the proper environment, they will do so.” We’ll pick back up with part three next time. Thanks again, Tommy, for taking the time to do this. Thank you everyone, for listening. We’ll see you next time when we cover part three. Bye, bye.


Additional Credits

Podcast Producer – Oliver Penegar
Intro/Outro Music – Daniel Bassett

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empty.authorDiscussion about The Servant by James C. Hunter – Part 2 of 3

Discussion about The Servant by James C. Hunter – Part 1 of 3

Danny Ryan

Co-Host – Danny Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Tommy Ryan

Co-Host – Tommy Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Key Points

  1. The Golden Rule is a key factor in leadership – treat others as you would want to be treated.
  2. Management and leadership are not the same things. Being a leader is who you are and management is what you do. They are not the same thing.
  3. Accomplishing the task at hand while, at the same time, building relationships with others is the key to leadership.

Conversation Highlights

  • Servant Leadership is Simple – 5:50
  • Power vs Authority – 11:33
  • The Key to Leadership – 17:15

Danny:Hello and welcome to The Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone Podcast. How’s it going, Tommy?


Tommy:It’s going well. I have my cappuccino this morning.


Danny:Oh boy, I’m going to take your stuff back.


Tommy:I’m giving you a warning.


Danny:So I’m taking your stuff back. Watch out. Watch out, Tommy’s fuego. He’s on fire, ladies and gentlemen. What I wanted to do today was …


Tommy:You must have been on a retreat.


Danny:I’m been on a retreat. Do I still-


Tommy:You see the beard going, the long hair.


Danny:Long hair? Get a haircut, you hippy. Yeah, I had some time off, during the retreat. I think I got through five different books. One of them I wanted to go through with you because it’s on a subject that is near and dear to both of our hearts. It’s a book called, The Servant. I just wanted to give you a little cliff notes version of the book.


Tommy:I love cliff notes.


Danny:You won’t even have to read this book. Look at what I’m doing for you, man. This is awesome. I just wanted to talk to you about-


Tommy:This reminds me of college.


Danny:Yes. This can’t be how you prepared for Chemical Engineering tests.


Tommy:No. No, just my Lit test.


Danny:Just your Lit test, okay. The name of the book is called, The Servant. The subtitle is, “A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership.” The way I heard about this book was from Amy and they were referring to this book when they were preparing for the new year at St. John Bosco, and they ended up bringing this up a couple of times. Amy had recommended it to me, and then I looked online, looked on Amazon saw that … Looked at other reviews and it looked like the kind of book that I wanted to read. It’s on servant leadership, and this is by James Hunter.


What’s neat about it is, is the book is about someone going on a retreat at a monastery, just like I went on a retreat at a monastery.




Danny:And this guy was a … The essence of it is, he was a successful executive, but had some of life’s normal turmoil’s. I can say turmoil’s, that come up and he was taking this week off and had signed up for a week retreat on leadership. The book starts out with, let me just jump into it. One of the interesting things, and depending on who you talk to about coincidences versus nothing is a coincidence. The guy kept on saying he ran into the name Simeon, which Simeon is in the bible. It’s the person who waited for Jesus to come around, then he could say that he could die, because he was waiting for him to show up; a very wise man.


This guy said he kept on running into this name, over and over in his life. He goes on the retreat and ends up finding out on the retreat that the person leading up the leadership seminar was Brother Simeon; it sort of wigged him out a little bit that he say that name again. The guy who was leading up the leadership retreat, was a guy he’d knew from industry. That was a very successful industry guy that was known but sort of heard that nobody really knew where he went to. Somebody said he went and joined a cult, or something like that, but in actuality he went and joined the Benedictine monks and living that life.




Danny:That’s how the whole sort of thing starts off, how the book starts off. He wrote, in 2012, a new intro to the whole thing, which I think runs into a lot of things. This book, even though it’s got some over themes of spiritual types of themes that go throughout it, or the overtones are spiritual, this is something he often talks to just 80-90% of the time, it’s just normal industry and how these apply to people in industry. How servant leadership is something that is just a good practice. It’s not something that’s only practiced in non-profit organizations or faith-based organizations.


Let’s dig on in. I’ve sort of ear-marked certain pages that I got something out of, and highlighted somethings that I wanted to bring up with you. One of them is in the prologue. “Servant leadership is simple. There’s one simple rule and that’s to treat people the way you want to be treated; the golden rule.” So it’s just sort of one of those things everybody … That’s the underlying basis for a lot of … how are you treating other people? Would you like to be treated that way as well. It’s very simple, and something that you can remember, which is very important, right?


One of the things he points out, “Let me start by stressing the point that leadership is not synonymous with management. Management is what you do, leadership is the person you are and the influence and impact you have on the people you come into contact with. Management is not synonymous with leadership. Leadership is synonymous with influence.” Then he brings up a couple of things like, Ken Blanchard, that One Minute Manager guy. He says, “Leadership is an influence process.” Then John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” We’ll probably get into this, but something that I’ve heard the message for is the difference between power and authority. I think I’ve ear-marked that, but I want to talk a little bit about that here in just a minute.


“What is a servant? Being a servant simply means, the business of identifying and meeting the legitimate needs of the people entrusted to your care.” Okay, if that’s being a servant, the key thing with this is needs. So you have to question yourself, what is the need versus want? What is that? “A need is a legitimate physical or psychological requirements for the well-being of an individual.” So I sort of gets into what do people need. “Servants then need to then get about the business of identifying and meeting legitimate needs of those entrusted to their care. There in lies the secret to leadership. When you identify and meet the legitimate needs of others, you will build influence with them.” So if I’m meeting your needs, that’s the process of building influence, if I’m taking care of some of these legitimate physical and psychological needs that you have.


Jim Collins in, Good to Great, found two qualities in all great leaders. The first was, something we’ve talked about a couple times, humility. That was the first quality of a great leader was humility. He describes that as being, “Other focused.” The second quality was, “A strong professional will to do the right thing with the people and for their organization.” Another word for this would be, character. So they have humility and character. Early in the book Mr. Collins says, “Team debated calling these humble, strong-willed yet selfless leaders, servant leaders, but decided against it fearing people would get the wrong idea if you used a term like servant.” He said, “The team settled on the term, Level-five Leader, instead. He didn’t like the connotation going with servant leader, so he switched over and said, “Lets just call them Level Five Leaders.” Which I thought was kind of interesting.


“Leadership development and character development are one. Leadership had little to do with your style or personality and everything to do with your substance, character. Character is doing the right thing. Winning those battles in your heart and mind, between what you want to do and what you should do.”


Then he goes into three steps to developing character leadership skills: The Three F’s. The first, is foundation. How do you develop these character within your organization, or character within a person? First is foundation, which is, “setting the standard of what great leadership looks like.” There’s a certain part of this that is a training the principles of what that looks like. Then, is feedback. “Identifying the gaps between where you are now and where you need to be as an effective leader.” Then there’s friction, which is, “Eliminating the gaps between where you are now and where you need to be.”


He’s pointing those out as the steps to developing character, and now we’re in the prologue. Sorry that was long. Then he talks about some of the, Simeon, and sort of where that gets into the week itself. The next part is defining the definitions, or coming up with the definitions for the book, and some of this is just getting into … Wants to define different things, as they get together as a group. It’s kind of neat reading the book, because you get to notice some of the other people on the retreat with him, and there’s a couple different characters that are involved.


“Leadership is the skill of influencing people to work enthusiastically towards goals, identifying as being for the common good.”


“Leadership is the skill of influencing people to work enthusiastically towards goals, identified as being for the common good.”


Tommy:Yeah. I kind of look at that as the, why. We put a lot of energy towards understanding why are we doing what we do. So there’s some enthusiasm behind that, so at the end of the day we have passion towards what we do versus it’s just a job or just coming in and getting the next task done.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Tommy:I think, at the end of the day most organizations that have longevity are looking for setting that vision of why are they doing what they do, because there’s plenty of things you can do with just mindless, “Lets just get up and get it done.”


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Tommy:And move on to the next thing, versus is there a goal in mind at why we’re doing what we do.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative). I was referring to this a little bit earlier, which was power versus authority, and I’m going to read this. This is the definitions part of this. “Power is the ability to force or coerce someone to do your will, even if they would chose not to because of your position, or your might.” That’s power. “Authority, is the skill of getting people to willingly do your will, because of your personal influence.”


My guilty pleasure, right now, is watching Game of Thrones, and there’s two characters in this that are, Cersei, which is the Queen, basically the not so nice Queen, who has lots of power and coerces people into doing things; the definition of what power is. Then there’s Daenerys, who is the opposite. Where she’s using concepts like freedom and the people want to rally behind her. She has more authority than she does power


Tommy:I see.


Danny:So you’re seeing these two characters come. It’s awesome they’re both female.




Danny:Seeing two people leading up their armies against each other, and boy you route for authority every time. You want a leader with authority. I think that’s one of the things you like to see in leaders, as you and I have developed, which is we want somebody that we would willing have influence over people and is congruent both in their professional and personal lives.




Danny:And that had to be there in order for them to have authority. So he goes through and he talks about, “Will you like to individually think of a person in your life, living or dead, who has authority as we defined it earlier.” Anybody who comes to mind, as far as someone that you run into that has authority. It’s fine if you don’t have somebody. It’s okay.


Tommy:Well, I think … It’s interesting I think you’re think about people that influence you that have a sense of vision that you kind of follow behind, and feel passionate about investing your time and energy to “follow them.”


Danny:And this may help out a little bit. This could be teacher, a coach, a parent, a spouse, a boss. It doesn’t matter, think of someone who has authority in your life. Someone for whom you would walk through walls. Someone who you look at and you’re like, ” Sign me up for that. I want to go …” Again, the whole Game of Thrones. A leader is someone who people would walk through walls for, because of her authority.


Tommy:I know its kind of a simple answer, but I think it has to do with the influence, and influence comes with peoples investment in you over time, and kind of care. I see that in our father.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Tommy:That there’s someone that, over time, has just put in the time to show the care and influence and being present. Those are the people that really have authority in your life that you want to listen to. You want to understand. You want to invest time with. Those are people that are going to make a difference.


Danny:Mm-hmm (affirmative).


Tommy:In your life. I think there’s a lot of people that you get influence by, but it’s more superficial. That you’re here kind of the Rah-Rah leadership concepts that are shared. Those people will inspire you, but I don’t know if they have authority in your life. I think they’re just more guidepost of those are good concepts to incorporate in what I do, but I think it has to do with the people that have a personal interest in your well-being and who you are as a person. That’s probably one of the strongest people in my life that has authority.


Danny:You’re saying that, because dad listens and you don’t want to [crosstalk]. Hey, dad. Love you. He had the folks do this and they started listing these qualities about the folks, and he’s sort of setting this up for the week. The groups top ten answers were, “The person is honest and trustworthy. They’re a good role model. They’re caring. They’re committed. They’re good listeners. They held people accountable. They treated people with respect. They gave people encouragement. Had a positive, enthusiastic attitude and they appreciated people.”


Tommy:That sounds like Frank.




Tommy:That’s a pretty good list.


Danny:So when the next part, he starts off with the teacher began, “Simply put, leadership is about getting things done through people. When working with and getting things done through people, there will always be two dynamics involved, the task and the relationship. It is easy for leaders to lose their balance by focusing on only one of these dynamics at the expense of the other. For example, if we only focus on getting the task done and not the relationship, what symptoms may arise?”


So he’s saying, there’s need to be a … When you’re leading up, you need to focus both on the relationship and with the task. “Then the key to leadership is accomplishing the task at hand while building relationships.” Getting things done, while you’re building relationship, and doing the two of those things at the same time, is really what leadership is all about. He brings up, and I like this one, the teacher brings up-


Tommy:I think that kind of speaks to, when we talk about the intersection of passion, skill, and need. When we’re looking at things that happen at ThreeWill, things that need to get done at ThreeWill, we kind of fall back on that to say, “Okay, is this person passionate about it?” That’s the care. That’s looking at the individual to say, “Who are they and what do they care about, and what doing to drive them naturally?” Then the skill, is something that you say, “Okay. Do they have the ability to do this? Can I set them up to be successful? Is this some responsibility that allows them to fulfill it through their skill or do we need to wait and hold off and lets some maturity develop before we put them in front of that challenge.”


Then the need is doing something that really has purpose behind it. Something that are tasks kind of fulfill the vision and the impact that we want to make on the client. If you’re looking at all those three things together, I think it really speaks to making sure you got a relationship and making accomplishments in the work that you do. If we just focused on, does this person have the skill and there’s a business need, okay, have them or make them do it? That would create I think a different environment, than saying, “Is there that passion component?” Are all three elements there to make sure that it’s something they want to do and there’s going to exercise their free will. “I chose to be successful, because I’m passionate about it.”


Danny:I think some of the stuff like back from the Gore days of where you’re signing up for things and staying away from the manager, “I’m doing this, because the boss told me.” Is the difference between power and authority. You’re trying to set up … A lot of this book is what you’re trying to do in your organization, is set up the right environment for these things. So you’re making sure that you’re in an environment, you’re creating an environment where authority is what is in … Authority, is the person saying, “I’m committed to doing this. I want to work with others to do this. I care for the relationship with the other that I’m working with.” How do you create that type of environment?


Tommy:I think we’ve also thought about titles and some concerns of, “Lets not get caught up in titles.” We provide titles to be a reflection of what people are doing naturally in their work. But not put a lot of emphasis on that. That way people that are naturally leaders can emerge and not because they been here at ThreeWill for so many years and they kept these check boxes, but they had the passion other people recognize that and want to follow them because of their authority not because of their power.


Danny:Awesome. The next part, I like this. So the teacher says, “To have a healthy and thriving business, there must be healthy relationships with the C-E-O-S of the organization, and I’m not referring to the chief executive officers. I’m talking about the customers, the employees, the owners or stockholders, and the suppliers. For example, if our customers are leaving and going to the competition, we have a relationship problem. We are not identifying and meeting their legitimate needs, and rule number one in business is that if we do not meet the needs of our customers someone else will.” What he goes through is each one of these customers, owner, owners, employees, suppliers, is about identifying meeting their legitimate needs and developing that relationship with them.


He goes through and says, “Now, if you fall apart on this one …” This is sort of … When I think about this as a supplier, we look at our clients, if they’re treating us like vendors and like we’re not, there is no relationship. Where it’s just you go do this task and I’ll pay you what minimal amount I can for this task, and there’s no relationship involved. We see this as, “Oh, there’s a problem here. This is not the right type of client to work with.”




Danny:So I thought that was kind of interesting as well. It says, “If relationships are so important in organizations and in life, and I happen to agree with you. Then what do you believe is the most important ingredient in a successful relationship?” What do you think his response is? It starts with a T. Trust.




Danny:It says, “Trust.” Trust. It says, “Without trust it is difficult if not impossible to maintain a good relationship. How many good relationships do you have with people you do not trust?” This is where the whole making and keeping commitments comes into play with us. How do you build trust?




Danny:How do you start to develop trust.


Tommy:Especially with our new customers; you don’t have a relationship yet. So how do you build that trust and I think we’ve talked about giving them the experience that we’ll provide through the full life cycle of the relationship, mainly in the delivery life cycle. Give that experience up front. When you’re in the sales process, the relationship building process, you are making and keeping commitments. You’re setting some vision, some steps along the way in showing them we are making those accomplishment along the way. Just like Sprint, cycles give you a feedback loop of, “Okay, we’re on track. We actually finished these items. They are done, and we plan to get some of the items done and we’re on track. Or maybe we’re not, and what do we need to do to get back on track?” I think people want that. At the end of the day they want their problem solved, and they are not going to blindly trust you, that you’re going to do that. You have to show that we’ve got a way of working with you. That we’ll make you feel comfortable; that there’s predictability in solving the problem.


Danny:It’s funny we’re mentioning Sprint, and sort of what that whole process when I think of the retrospective. When we were talking earlier about building developing character leadership skills and this whole idea of setting a foundation, providing feedback, and providing friction. I sort of relate that to, start, stop, and continue. How do you build into what you’re doing in a way of improving what you’re doing? Usually, on a project you may be refining how the process or maybe improving communication or doing things like that. What is it? Talk about creating an environment, you have to create in that environment a way of feeding things back into it as well and providing a way that the team can do it, and also clients can do it, and that’s really important.


This has officially become a two-part podcast.


Tommy:I was going to say, it looks like we’re already on 25 minutes here.


Danny:So we are going call it quits for now. I only got to chapter two.


Tommy:I was looking at it and was like, we’re about a quarter way through.


Danny:We’re going to call it quits.  We’re going to call it for this week. Maybe a three-part podcast, who knows. But we’ll call it quits for now and we’ll start to cover the rest. I’ll give you some time to process this.




Danny:And then we’ll come back and pick back up with the old paradigm, a good Stephen Covey word, and we’ll talk through that as our next step from here. Thank you everybody for taking the time to listen. Thanks dad for listening.


Tommy:Yeah. Thanks Danny.


Danny:For sure. Absolutely. Obviously, there’s a lot to develop this but we’re just getting started with it. Hopefully, folks will check back in for the next podcast as well. Thank you, Tommy, for doing this.




Danny:Everybody have a wonderful day. Take care. Bye. Bye.




Additional Credits

Podcast Producer – Oliver Penegar
Intro/Outro Music – Daniel Bassett

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empty.authorDiscussion about The Servant by James C. Hunter – Part 1 of 3

ThreeWill is Hiring – Is This the Next Step in Your Career?

Tommy serves as the President at ThreeWill. In this role, he works with his leadership team to hire the best people, find the right business opportunities, and ensure that ThreeWill delivers for our clients on projects.

Who we are looking for…

At ThreeWill, we are going through another growth spurt and want to take an opportunity to consciously expand the ThreeWill team.

We are looking for Certified Scrum Master, a SharePoint Consultant or a Microsoft Developer with experience in Office 365 / SharePoint Solutions.

How we determine a fit…

As most small businesses know (and all businesses in general), hiring the right people is one of the key decisions that can make or break the company. When we seek out new people, we take a three-step approach and evaluate new candidates in the following order:

  1. People – Is this candidate a people fit? Do they share our values? Can they continue the spirit of humble, confident service to our clients and their fellow associates at work?
  2. Process – Is the candidate methodical in their approach to their role? We value Free Will at ThreeWill and in order to function properly in an organization that values free will, you need to have high trust and effective communications. We look to see how that candidate could operate in a group that values Agile principals.
  3. Technology – Does the candidate have the technical aptitude to get the job done? This is the last thing we check because we have higher value on the People and Process fit of a candidate. We have been known to help people launch their career down a new technical path because we saw a fit in People and Process abilities and the individual was able to show aptitude to pick up the technologies we leverage.

Is ThreeWill a fit for you?

Here are three things to consider as it relates to a career at ThreeWill:

  1. If the work environment is just as important (or more important) as the type of work you do, please consider ThreeWill.
  2. If you get a kick out of solving complex problems and like collaborative solutions that help teams Work Together Better, please consider ThreeWill.
  3. If you want to truly feel part of a team and be in a company environment that integrates incentives that encourage their associates to work as a team, please consider ThreeWill.

If I have piqued your interest, please apply online now.

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Tommy RyanThreeWill is Hiring – Is This the Next Step in Your Career?