B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 2071 · 4 months ago

Behind the Curtain of a Robust Thought Leadership Program

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Dan Sanchez talks to S cott Miller who was the Executive Director of Thought Leadership at Franklin Covey about the inner workings of their massive thought leadership program.


They talk about:

  • What they look for in future thought leaders
  • How they groom them to get to the next level
  • How they administrate a program across 23 heavy hitters

Yeah, welcome back to be, to be growth. I'mdan Sanchez, Friends call me dan says, and I'm here with scott miller, who isthe former executive vice President of Thought leadership at Stephen Covey andis currently a strategic advisor. Um I'm excited to talk to you aboutthought leadership because he's been doing it for a long time for a wellknown brand in the marketing and just business strategy space um with plentyof years in as you know, as you've been uh joined me on this journey intothought leadership. It's a topic that I've become increasingly passionateabout and I've been a student of and I'm just trying to interview morepeople like scott to learn myself what it actually takes to make thoughtleadership, what it actually takes to become a thought leader in position tocompany as a thought leader. So thank you so much for joining me scott andwelcome to the show, Sanchez, thank you for the platform for the spotlighthonor to be here. Absolutely. And thanks for calling me Sanchez, that'show I know your friend, but you teach it up pretty well. Right. So I was upfor me to either um ride or fail on that one. That's right, make it easy.But I wanted to learn a little bit about like how you even got startedinto this thing of thought leadership. There's as being in a company like thisfor 25 years, probably a number of different paths you could have taken.Um how did you land and specifically focusing on thought leadership for abrand? Like franklin Covey. Sure, my career has been really quite deliberate.As deliberate as I could create it. I'm from florida originally, I was aassociate of the Disney Development Company, which is the real estatedevelopment arm of the walt Disney company for four years. I'm fromOrlando. They invited me to leave, which is the gracious way that Disneyfires you. So here I am a 26 year old unemployed catholic boy from Orlando.Where do I move? Provo Utah, Right, where all the Catholics are? That's ajoke. If you've been to provo Utah. But I moved out here in 1996. I live inSalt Lake City now with my wife and our three young sons and I joined what isnow the franklin Covey Company, which is by most measures the most prominentbiggest leadership development firm in the world, where a public companyoffices in Gosh, nearly 50 plus countries. I started on the sales side,right as a front line sales person carrying a bag, managing schools,universities, community colleges, selling leadership productivitystrategy solutions. I then became the general manager of our division inChicago, where I got kind of dipped into the corporate world really for thefirst time in my thirties, was always on the education side or the privatesector side or on the real estate side. With Disney grew that division tobecome a large consulting practice for the firm, came back to the company andbecame the company's first ever chief marketing officer, where I was that inthat role for eight years, which is twice the annual tenure of CMOS andpublic companies proud to report. And then I disrupted myself. I moved out ofthat role for a variety of reasons. We need some new, fresh younger talent,including someone who had a SAS background as we became a SAS company.And I took on the role for the first time in the company as the executivevice president of thought leadership and I'm happy to explain what thatmeans more if you're interested. But as a thought leadership firm, I, arguablyone of the most impactful, influential in the world. I I built that divisionfor the last three years, stepped away from the company, retired after 25years. And now I'm a advisor to the firm As a consultant still lead theirThought Leadership Strategy, lead all of our books podcast, keynote speeches,you name it, host myself, the world's largest weekly leadership podcastcalled on Leadership with Scott Miller. And now I'm an advisor to the firm,writing, speaking on my own and building my own brand as well. So I gota few um messes and successes under my belt when it comes to ThoughtLeadership. So happy to talk about the topic on any particular area you wantto go into. There's so many different questions that I could possibly inangles to possibly go out though, I'd like to hear from you, especially asyou're starting to go at it. Um as a kind of like a solo agent now, um howyou feel becoming a thought leader from just starting as a professional andactually aspiring and then actually taking clear steps to it. Like whatwould those steps be if your professional, maybe a CMA or a Ceo of aSAS company, you got your first round of funding your relatively unknownother than for being the ceo of this company. But now you want to become athought leader. Like if you were an adviser to that person, what would thesteps that have to take B in order to be positioned as that? I'd assume you'dnever call yourself a thought leader, right? That's job number one. Right? Assoon as you call yourself an expert, you're not so do not read, do not referto yourself as a thought leader. Somebody else does fain humility butaccept it. But job # one never refer to yourself as a thought leader. Well, I'mglad you have that position. I was gonna have to start winding down thisinterview. If you were like, no, start calling yourself, just proclaim it.Proclaim it, it's going to be as one of...

...the world's most prominent thoughtleaders. Let me weigh in on that, right? No. So let me level set for a momentdan, because let me define what I think thought leadership is as a executiveVice President of thought leadership and my title, I'd say kind of justrudimentary thought leadership is the new public relations mean no more. Docompanies have legions of people in pr calling up news reporters in newsrooms?There are no more reporters. There are no more newsrooms. They barely existanymore. They're not on the local business beat. Right? The, the SaltLake tribune or the, the Dallas, whatever it is, does not have someoneassigned to cover local product launches and local business. They don'texist anymore for a variety of obvious reasons what has been disrupted in themedia business. So really public relations, although it still exists, Ithink primarily for, you know, collateral damage control, reputationrepair, right? It's usually you hire a PR firm in the moment of a reputationalcrisis. Thought leadership is the new pr it is the megaphone, if you willwhere your announcing your expertise to those who care on a topic that mattersto both of you. So it's very carefully calibrating deliberately focusing onwho are the people out there that need to know and understand your expertiseon a topic. It might be leadership development, that might be some kind ofengineering, might be a medical invention right now, whatever it is,who needs to understand and learn that you have expertise and what problemthey're trying to solve. That's thought leadership that may come in any numberof fashions. And I want to answer your question a second, but I just kind of alevel set. I think thought leadership is go ahead. Would you say that thoughtleadership is synonymous with expertise or as extra? I've never been asked thatquestion, you know, for risk of not knowing your position, I'd say it'sfairly synonymous. I mean, how would you have thoughts on it? Who would carewhat your thoughts are on a topic if you didn't have some expertise? So yeah,I think you have to have a developed sense of report and acumen on a topicfor someone to care about it. I'm sure there's those that developed it overtime, right? And welcome to most entrepreneurs. But first and foremost,I think to your point, you have to have a articulated point of view. You haveto bring to the table something new, something different, something valuablethat someone else will choose to read your book, listen to your podcast, readyour article, come to your speech book, you as a keynote speaker. So there's noquestion you should have an articulated point of view, whether it be highlyexperiential or well researched or just practice, because you've got the numberof reps that somebody else doesn't have. No, I have essentially the same sameviewpoint of what you just articulated. What I want to make sure is that somepeople will take, like, we'll say that you can be an expert if it's synonymous,then you don't need an articulated point of view, right? Because there'slots of public intellectuals that like to critique all day because they knowthe space intimately well, but they're not necessarily offering anything new.And I'd usually say that a thought leader is somebody who's adding in hisprerequisite his expertise, right? But is then offering something new,original, useful novel um in a way that's useful and I'm sure there isspace for both. To your question, what advice would I give you know, to anentrepreneur, a founder I give there's different advice for differentscenarios, right? I mean, I would first want to really understand whatcircumstance are they in Clayton? Christensen was a good friend of minepassed a year ago, of course, the famous Harvard Professor, author andinnovative expert, right? I mean, he was obsessed with helping businessleaders understand what circumstance are their clients in circumstance basedmarketing, we know it often known as the job to be done. Right? So my firstquestion to your client might be, what is your circumstance? You know? Are youlooking to grow your business? Are you looking to sell a book? Are you tryingto sell a book to build your keynote business? I think, you know, fordifferent reasons, different people have different strategies. Some peopledo it because they want to build their own brand, right? They have they'vemade all the money they want to make, they have helped their customers andnow they want to be seen as someone who is influential and build their brand.Nothing wrong with that. If that's your strategy, I may or may not choose tohire you. I'll ask you selfishly, since I get to meet with a lot of these ceosand cmos and different people um as a podcast agency, part of the big reasonwhy people come to buy podcasting is because I thought leadership and I'musually the one kind of coaching them on podcasting. That's why I'm doing thedeep dive and learning more about it myself is to give them better answers.And usually they're doing it for a mix of motivations, right? There is apersonal branding aspect to it because they know this startup that they're inright now isn't the final destination of their life, right? They know byusing this they can build a little personal brand here that that mightsell, it might fail, but either way their personal brand gets to live livebeyond that. So there is a personal branding aspect to it that gets to livebeyond the startup. But addition to that, they do want to be, essentially,it's somewhere between the mix of branding and demand gen by having thatleader that's out in front and being...

...positioned as innovative. With thoughtleadership marketing, they want to be seen and have their company known forbeing innovative and whatever kind of industry or category you're eitherdesigning a category that position themselves in a category. And theyusually want to use thought leadership as a means to do that. So it's, it'ssomewhere between branding so that people like having their mind that thiscompany is innovative because they have an innovative leader and they want touse it also to generate demand. So people are waking up the new ways oflooking at things everything you said amen to. I think the one point out tobuild on is you've you've used the word leader. I think too often organizationspicked the wrong person to play the role of thought leader because you arethe Ceo or the founder does not correlate that you should be thethought leader. Maybe it should be your chief scientist or your chief legalcounsel. It should be your chief innovation expert or your chief whoever.Right? Not every time should that perhaps rarely should the founder ofthe owner of the C. E. O. B. The thought leader. It depends on theirmedium. No, they're there. If you're trying to host a podcast and you'revery shy, retiring personality and, and or you have a stutter or something likethat, it may not be the best venue for you. You might be a genius writer. Youmight have several thought leaders. You might have, you know, the the leadermight be great at writing an article for ink magazine and maybe you picksomebody else to have the personality for keynotes or for interviews. I dothink too often organizations select the wrong person for the wrong mediumand one person rarely has the talent to crush it in all mediums. So bethoughtful about as a leader. Should you be the person that is the thoughtleader or perhaps someone else might be better for your firm, depending uponwhat your goal is. So that's interesting. What would you say? Thecharacteristics that are required in order to be seen as that person dependson the industry depends on the medium. I mean, here's a good example, right? Imean, there's lots of things I cannot do well fly a plane cook parent, youknow, but I have lots of poor skills, but I do have one skill of fairlyubiquitous and I can write and I can speak and I can host and I caninterview. And so I'm actually probably a fairly good candidate to beconsidered a thought leader on topics where I have expertise, right? Itshould not be a thought leader on six sigma or on only in manufacturing. So Ijust think it depends on the content. I mean, you might have a topic whereyou're perhaps you're in the beauty industry, right? Perhaps your you own aseries of hair hair salons and maybe you are charismatic and outgoing andyou know the practice well, you know how to run the business side, as wellas the marketing side and the recruiting side and you wanna you wannaschool and perhaps you can speak to all of those in a variety of mediums andmodalities. I think you have to be self aware, you have to recognize am I thebest person? Again, that really has to do with your intent. If your intent isto build your brand, you build your ego, then you might find yourself being thethought leader in mediums that don't resonate well with people that aresearching for advice. I love this question dan. And that is um I thinkeffective thought leaders, effective leaders are more concerned with what isright than being right, so take a step back and say who in this firm would bethe best thought leader provided they have, you know, the capability, theknowledge, you can teach knowledge to a lot of people and they can innovate ontheir own. I know a lot of people that serve as thought leaders of their firmsand you're thinking, yeah, you've got you have expertise but your ability topersuade me to hire you or your ability to articulate it is not resonant withme. So I turn you out, turn you off. No. I definitely say that the ability tokind of create a personal brand around that expertise is probably one of thosethings that you want to be able to build right. Because people not onlyhave to be able to hear and understand your expertise, they have to believethat they have to trust you, so they have to be able to kind of like to somedegree resonate with you and who you are, maybe even your your background,your backstory um to some degree. But do you think for a company that itwould be worth playing out as a single thought leader, do you think it'sbetter for a company to have multiple thought leaders? Maybe all your, maybeyou pitch all your employees and being that leaders to some degree? Yeah, Ithink it depends. Uh I don't think everyone is a thought leader. I don'tthink every employee should be a thought leader because you have peoplethat are off brand off message there perhaps saying things that areconfusing, contradictory. And so I think she'll be very deliberate aroundhow you curate thought leaders for what industry, here's a good client, here'san example. I'm coaching a client in a pro bono fashion where the ceo of thismajor hospital is going to create a podcast and I love this idea and Ithink actually he would be and I told him, I think he actually will be abetter ceo host of this podcast for internal associates. That there arethousands of employees in this health...

...care network I think will be great atbuilding culture retention recruitment. I think he'll be the right person to bethe thought leader on how they're leading out. I don't think he's theright thought leader for the industry per se, but I think maybe that maybethe chief medical officer or somebody else that has a little more charisma,um I don't actually think the ceo is a physician where the chief medicalofficer is, and he might be a better better spokesperson for um mergers,acquisitions, things like that, you know, and trials that kind of stuff. So,again, circumstance, right. I mean, I know a lot of ceos that are verycharismatic, but quite frankly can't write a column weekly to save theirlife, right? They don't have the discipline or the management or they'rejust there are better with the spoken word than the written words. So itcomes down to self awareness and how to get a team that you trust, sit down andsay, what should our thought leadership strategy be? Where do our customersfind us? You know, it might just be that you should have a thought leaderthat's out key noting at conferences, or perhaps you're writing a column in a,an industry journal that doesn't take any charisma that just takes expertiseand good writing skills. And again, you know, match task to talent, match it tothe right industry. That's how ubiquitous answer. But I think it's avaluable answer is one strategy does not fit every organization. Look atfranklin covey, you know, we produce intellectual property for a living, wedon't own anything we don't own and there's no inventory books and manuals,but beyond that it's all personal property. But we find ourselves hostingpodcast and also being guests on podcast were writing books andaudiobooks and giving keynote speeches and writing columns and articles andinterviews and it's endless and we pick people that are expert in that medium.You don't see our ceo writing any columns or giving any speeches or anyinterviews, it's not his passion, he doesn't want to be in the limelight. Heprobably should be a little more public in his brand, but quite frankly is moreof a producer director. Therefore we deliberately craft people that havecharisma and expertise and energy and competence and points of view anddeploy them very strategically. So tell me about that process that you takeinternally. So you find people that are already have strong points of view,expertise and our charismatic and can get in front of a microphone or onstage or something. So you have that that's already pretty far along. Whatdo you do with them next? Well, there's more than just that too, right is wemake sure that they are on brand, that they have paid the reps, that they have,you know, X 1000 of client implementations behind them and thatthey have the ability to not just, you know, charm someone behind a microphone,but they actually have strong leadership skills and they haveintuition and self awareness. They can write and they can speak. We make surethat they have a good reputation, Right? I mean, I don't check their creditscore, but I sit down with the key people office, we talk about wherethey've been, where they are, where we think we're going, right? I mean, whatis their own reputation outside the firm? Do you think they'll be aroundfor a while? It's part of that is very pragmatic. It's almost like gettingmarried. I mean, kind of investment you're gonna be making in them, youbetter make sure its job and there's upside for them, Right? And I'll tellyou, I'll tell you probably the biggest criteria is your social media. I mean II'm the author of multiple books. You can see them behind me if you see avideo clip and I lead our book strategy and there's not a publisher in townthat will take you as an author. If you don't have 50,000 instagram followersand 50,000 subscribers to your Youtube channel and 30,000 linked. I mean it'sjust the new media and I coach people way too often that say I hate socialmedia. Well do you hate billboards? No to hate radio? No direct tv. No do youhate Time magazine? No do you hate I'm like you gotta get over it becausesocial media is the way that you you project your thought leadership becauseyou can write an article for ink magazine every week as I do. But thenif you don't activate it through all of your social media, the only people aregoing to read it are those people happened upon it on inc magazine's Sothought leaders also need to have a curated reputation and deliberatestrategy and cadence to make sure they are maximizing their social mediaplatforms. It's it's everything, it's the first and only question a publisherreally cares about now. So it sounds like by the time they're getting to you,like The kind of already are thought leaders. I mean, if you would've got50,000 Twitter followers and 30,000 followers on linkedin and uh expertiseand established point of view and the background to get there, I'm like, Imean you're kind of a micro thought leader into some point. Well, you mightbe a micro thought leader and you might have 400 connections on linkedin. So ifI think you have promised on a variety of you know, criteria, I'm willing tohelp you build your thought leadership, it's gonna are your social media isgoing to take, you know, three years to build your linked incredibly with acadence where you've got a post two...

...times a day or one time a day withreally thoughtful value, add things, not just pictures of your kids, whichsometimes is a good. Also you'd be surprised, I think, I mean, you know, II've been this business a long time and and you know, I'll post an income thatI think crushes it. I'll post a picture of my kids dancing, my dining roomtable and we'll get, you know, triple the engagement, right? So I don't meanthat to be funny, but also need to be true. You also have to build aconnection with your audience. They want to know that you are real, thatyou have struggles, that you're thinking through something that you'rerelatable, that you also take vacations and that you you know, take pictures ofyour sushi dinner. Do you believe people want to know that you'rerelatable, you're trustworthy and that they like you outside of just yourexpertise. It may sound trite, but you look at the best people that arethought leaders that are also distributing through social media andyou see the whole person, not just there, there there's sterile or sterilearticle people want to know, I mean, that's why Gary Vaynerchuk issuccessful because he shared little bits of his story and in fact that helikes this or that or has dreamed of the new york Jets, Right. I mean,people buy into that kind of stuff because well, there's there's probablya good amount of Jets fans out there and people who really die hard fortheir underdog football teams, right? A lot of people can relate to that. I can,I'm not a big sports fan, but like there's all kinds of little hooks youput out there to connect with you on an emotional level. But ultimately hestill has to deliver on all the business and marketing an entrepreneurice. Right? So that's like 80% of the game in 2010 20% that, But what do youdo? So you got that person and your on boarding them? You said you spend likethree years like helping them get in a rhythm of creating it and most of thatthey're just, they're doing themselves, you're just putting in front of thembeing like, hey, this is what it's going to take, this is what you'regonna have to execute, what other things are you putting in front of themto do once they get signed on with you to become these internal thoughtleaders. Yeah. So the point you mentioned that Iwant to reiterate is we don't just take people that are, you know, good lookingand well spoken and turn them into thought leaders, right? I mean, thesepeople have serious reps of expertise on the topic in which we've decided tomake them the public face of the firm, but we do a lot of things that, youknow, it may seem superficial, but we do media training, right? We we we sitthem down with an outside media company and ask them hard questions aboutreputational issues and what is the company point of view and find outwhether they know it or not. And we make sure they have it authentically,we make sure that they know they're an ambassador for the firm on and off theclock and that when they've had four martinis on a friday night at Brucechris they need to know that probably was too too many. And I mean that to be,you know, metaphorical, but we will talk to them about the responsibilitythey have for our organizational reputation. We make sure that ifthey're incubating a new idea that they talk with us about it right? We don'twant them to go out and test it with clients because they have a fiduciaryresponsibility that we need to remind them of. We hone their writing skills.So we actually put them through some writing training because you know howyou write for Fortune magazine is different than how you might writeanswers to a question for Good Housekeeping, which is different thanhow you might right, you know, a blog post or a book for that matter. So weactually we really helped to build people's writing skills and theirspeaking skills, their interviewing skills. So we do a fair amount oftraining like I said before a lot of social media training as well, you know,I also do training on your own personal image, right, kind of clothes you wearand you know your grooming habits and things like that. I mean myresponsibility to make sure that you are a good ambassador for the brand,You also know where the company is headed at any given time. You canarticulate kind of where the company isn't just where we are now, but wherewe are headed, what are we seeing in the market place that you are just athought leader on an island, but you can speak to other topics of theorganization, you might be a thought leader on organizational change, butyou should be adept at understanding where we're headed on productivity, onbuilding a culture of trust. What are the trends and employee retainrecruitment? Of retaining, retaining right? So retention rather. So we do afair amount of refreshing frequently on kind of, where is the overall firm? Gosh, what have I missed a lot? It's alot. What do you do for training? Like for example, you said writing skills,does that mean they're they're submitting and you or somebody else onthe team is behind it and kind of like even appointing a different programbooks you recommend? Or is it kind of like a pretty well established? They gothrough this for the first three months or we just start critiquing everythingyou write. Here's what I usually find people who tell you their a thoughtleader aren't and people who tell you they can write can't, so there'susually an inverse correlation in your confidence and your ability to speak itand say it out loud and what's really true. So we do I mean, we we siteveryone down in a different place and we have them right for us, right? Itmight be a column on article or blog post, and we just talk about stuff likesmooth transitions, right? And what is...

...the call to action? And how far deepinto the article? Is your idea embedded? And who are you writing this for? Isthis for health care practitioners? Or is it for hospitality professionals?And you can't just keep the same idea and we appreciate the same column,right, in the same article or the interview that matter. So yeah, we do.We we have an editor, we do teach punctuation and grammar, but we alsoexpect that by the time you're a thought leader you're able to you know,compose but you'd be surprised. You know there are some very credible,articulate thought leaders that can crush An audience of 10,000 but theycan't put five sentences together or five paragraphs together to save theirlife. So sometimes we have to protect them from themselves and we may chooseto have a ghostwriter right? Interview them and then turn that into somearticle and they approve it and change it in such again, each person is in adifferent situation. It's so helpful to identify a thought leader and then havea really high courage conversation. Here's where we think your strengthsare, here's what I think your weaknesses are, here's where we need toprotect you from here. We're gonna burden or burgeon your skills and buildthem up. That can only happen when they trust your intent and you trust thatthey have humility and vulnerability and that they're willing to have yougrow them. There are some thought leaders that are quite frankly arrogant,you know what? And I tend to steer clear from them and don't give them awhole lot of platform because they're not moving with the times, they're notadapting them going, their skills. Thought leadership is an iterativeprocess. I know a lot of experts that I have had on my podcast and we have notaired the tape because they literally did not realize they gave me a 12minute answer to a question, are you out of your mind? You gave me? I meanliterally a 12 minute answer and so those that are open to the training andwriting and speaking and interviewing man, I'm all in on hey everybody Loganwith sweet fish here. If you're a regular listener of GDP growth, youknow that I'm one of the co host of the show, but you may not know that. I alsohead up the sales team here at Sweet Fish. So for those of you in sales orsales ops, I wanted to take a second to share something that's made us insanelymore efficient lately. Our team has been using lead I. Q. For the past fewmonths and what used to take us four hours gathering contact data. Now takesus only one where 75% more efficient were able to move faster with outboundprospecting and organizing our campaigns is so much easier than before.I'd highly suggest you guys check out lead EQ as well. You can check them outat least I Q dot com. That's L E A D I Q dot com. All right, let's get back tothe show, man. It sounds like a lot of work, but at the same time it's likewell, I mean you're taking people that are probably 60 70% of the way thereand Polishing up to get to 100%. Which somebody operating at 100% is going tobe operating pretty effectively. How many people do you have a better Thesekinds of thought leaders at 2043, 23. So on any given day I've got like a biglike an air traffic controller right on the team. And we're helping them withtheir social media where many of them have weekly columns at any given time.There is, you know, eight or 10 media inquiries coming in a day and some ofthem aren't trained to be spokespersons for the company because there might bea not nefarious but there might be a journalist who has an angle and he orshe. And so we make sure that in some cases we might have our director ofpublic relations on the phone with them. We might just simply say, you know whatthat person's expertise on this topic Isn't what you need when you talk tothis person. So we have 23 and any given time, we have probably four orfive that are kind of coming up in the ranks. You've not seen them yet, butwe're helping them perfect. They're not thought leadership per se becausethey've got articulated expertise on the topic, but helping make sure thatwhen we do launch them, that they're never in over their head, right, thatthere safely ensconced. If you will, we don't try to control the message. Idon't need it to be like the White House communications firm, but we wantto make sure that, you know, we don't lead people into a path that they couldget over their heads in. It makes sense that you kind of get boundaries. It'slike, hey, here's some boundaries play within those, right? There, probablyfairly generous boundaries. So 23 people is a lot to be doing this kindof work with. Have you started, were you like number one? No, but I was soit's interesting you ask that because my job was the Executive Vice Presidentof Thought leadership, right? A a you know, named officer in a public company.So my job was to identify, grow and build people, you know, and I mighthave actually, there are some cases where I plucked a person out of theaudience and said, gosh, I think you've got great talent and you know, you'reso in demand with clients on this topic, we're thinking of writing a book andthis is the book, were writing on, Would you be interested here all thethings you'll have to do and how do you feel about this? And you're willing topay the price to become an expert on...

...this topic? Your, you know, more than anovice, but so we'll build them up. So I had four or five people that werequite significant already. People that sold, you know, a millionor two million copies of their book inside the firm. And then I startedwriting myself and podcasting and speaking. And maybe once along the way,someone referred to me as a thought leader, you will never hear those wordscome out of my mouth. I'm an author and I'm a speaker and I have expertise ontopics, I'm not afraid to say, you know, I have expertise on this because I knowI do have expertise on how to launch a book. I have expertise on how to buildcommunities of clients inside organizations, to buy your products andthings. So along the way, I kind of moved from being producer and directorto also being kind of actor on the stage and I'm in I'm in half the timeI'm a thought leader as described by others, and the other half the time I'mpromoting and raising other thought leaders. But I think it's good becauseit allows me to understand the challenges of thought leader plays, andI can say to people, you know what guys, you gotta follow what I'm doing and youmay not like what I'm doing, but learn from it, take what's good leave, what'sbad and create your own, your own strategy around it. That works for youand for the firm, There's nothing wrong with being a thought leader. There'snothing wrong to aspire to be a thought later. Take the steps to be one. Youjust can never call yourself one right? A men beautifully said. And that'sthat's the first and the second rule of thought leadership, Right? And I wouldnever be afraid to talk about thought leadership. I know there's beenparodies about it and such and I think they might even been one on saturdaynight live or some like that. That's totally fine. But there's no questionthought leadership is a space that I think any organization, I don't care ifyou're a mechanic, if you're a dentist, if you want a carpet business. I mean,there is no reason why, you know, as the owner of a carpet business. If youcan write, you couldn't have a weekly blog that goes onto your linkedinaccount, right? Or goes to your company website. Every organization could andshould have a thought leadership strategy because that's kind of in manyways the new marketing, new advertising, not just the new pr so the way you guysare implementing thought leadership is different from most of the guests thatI'm going to be talking to have the title like thought leadership in theirtheir title, right? Usually their pr bent maybe journalists and background.And they're helping the company come up with thought leadership content.They're talking to the subject matter experts and then crafting it intocontent. It's the usual thought leadership role. But what you guys aredoing is a whole step ahead and that you're developing a 23 is a big team ofthought leaders. Um so I'm kind of curious about the administration ofthis kind of a program. Are they all these people on on staff, are they likefull time salaried or are they like ambassadors of some kind where they'relike, so there may be there all paid differently, maybe they all havedifferent. Yeah, they're all different. Right?Some are executive officers and the firm, here's a good example. Our Chiefpeople Officer is a man named Todd Davis. He's the Chief People Officer,Franklin Covey, this is an executive role with a large group and uh he is atwo time Wall Street Journal bestselling author. He gives keynotesaround the world. He does interviews for us. He writes responses tojournalists all the time, wanting to have a quote from him in their article,whatever it is, he's on salary. He makes no money off any of his thoughtleadership. Right? He's on salary as an executive officer. We have people whoare independent contractors that like for example, Stephen M. R. Covey,Doctor Covey's oldest son. He wrote the book The Speed of Trust, an amazingbook. He's considered by most to be the most preeminent Nayman organizationaltrust worldwide. He's actually a contractor for us. We have full timeconsultants. We have some sales people who on the side are kind of workingtheir way to become an author and they're writing blogs and they're kindof building their brand. Everyone's at a different level in terms of impact,competence, compensation is honestly all different. We have some outsidepublicist we hire, we have an outside digital distribution company that helpsus to land and maintain columns. And we have a team of three or four peopleinside that help us produce podcast and activate columns and things. So not alarge, not a huge team, about three or four people that work to envisionexecute the strategies that I lied. But uh, it's a machine that I think is uh,second to none in our industry. I have not been one like quite like that. Ithink Dave Ramsey would probably like he's got a number of personalities thatare pumping out content but not 23, but he's got quite a few. Now. I noticehe's trying to diversify away from his own personal brand. Right? That's kindof been interested and I think he's lost a few recently too. I think he'slost a few as well. I know Dave what is in the nature of the beast to helppeople build their own platforms naturally. Some of them are going towant to go off and chase it. And I actually think that's, that's not bad.That's yeah, I know especially well people are going to be talking aboutyou. Right? That's right. Look at me. I mean, I'm the perfect example, right? Imean I left the firm and I'm the biggest evangelist out there for thefirm on more podcasts than anybody and...

I'm a huge ambassador for the firm.You're exactly who's, who's responsible for finding the new people. Do you justhave like people raising their hands being like, hey, like I've noticedyou're doing this thing. Can I get in on that? Do you have like a number ofthose? Just pick from them or do you go find them or is it kind of acombination of both? Yeah, It's controversial. Right. I mean, I think alot of people probably think scott has his favorites and I hope that's nottrue. But you know, we have a grid that we look at all kinds of criteria and Ihave my eye on someone and I always consult with the ceo of the company,the chief people officer, the DP consulting and four or five people talkabout their reputation, their competence of a team player. Do youthink they're here for the long term? Do we think they have expertise? Arethey open to feedback? Are they thunder work with? Like, do you enjoy workingwith, Are they humble? Are they grateful? Are they open to learning? Soas I'm raising someone up, it's usually because I've had a series of four orfive conversations with three or four executives from different points ofview of different backgrounds of different races. Right? Just to kind ofmake sure that we have different age groups. I'm not just, I'm not anointingpeople on my own by any stretch. No, it's definitely a team effort, but it'ssounds like it's fairly robust and you're trying to get multiple people onboard with making the decision beyond yourself, which at a company that sizeis smart, especially as a, as a public company. Right? Because quite frankly,the majority of our thought leaders for decades were, you know, caucasian malesfrom Utah's where our company is based and that worked for us for, you know,several decades. And of course it's not anymore. So we have a very diversegroup of thought leaders that are coming up in the firm, actually morediverse than our our members of our board of directors. And even ourexecutives were quite proud of the level of diversity, both in age andgender and experience and background, ethnicity, sexual orientation. Right?In terms of making sure that our thought leadership quite frankly, looksmore like our customer base than it does our employee base right now. Howdo you know if it's successful, You got 23 people on this program. How do youknow if it's working? Yeah, different criteria for different mediums andchannels. Here's a good example. Um If I write a new book six months from nowand we pitch when you invite me back on, it's working. If you don't invite meback on, it's not working, we might sell 100,000 books on a particulartopic. But if that's not driving clients to be interested in purchasingthe solution to adopt in their program, the organization, all we've done issold a bunch of books. You know if we book a keynote speech at the conferenceAnd they pay us $30,000 for that. But you know the phone doesn't ring with 12clients wanting to book that keynote and then that person doesn't driveongoing business. It's not working. If we write a column and fortune magazinefor a series of five issues and that person's social media doesn't grow.It's not working. So we have lots of measures and tests to know are you justbuilding likes and impressions or are you actually building influence wherepeople know to come to you when they want to solve that problem? Becausethere's lots of times when someone's not ready yet, right? You're just,you're building credibility with them that when they are ready they will cometo you. There's some times when you might have a ceo of a hospitalitycompany that later becomes the ceo of an airline and now she is thinkingabout you and says, I'm gonna call up dan because I've been, I've been lovingdams topic and dan might be able to refer me to someone in our firm or evenoutside our firm. Sometimes a long burning you're not gonna become athought leader and have a thought leadership strategy and see yourqualified leads exponentially in salesforce dot com. That ain't gonnahappen. Thought leadership is a committed long term strategy whereyou're building reputational credibility and a point of view thatsomeone will come to you when they are ready. You thought leadership does nottip A decision like you know a marketing campaign or advertisingcampaign, its overall kind of infrastructure that helps you shape thereputational credibility of your brand. So how do you monitor all that though?Because it's got to be a lot of work if you got 23 people that's and they'reall doing a variety of activities. I'm like do you have them self report inwhat they've gotten or what has happened or do you have maybe someoneunderneath you that's kind of like keeping tabs with everybody to makesure things are working a variety of a variety. I would be fraudulent if Isaid we took and tie every single you know post and what the outcome is. Butwe we we have some good processes in place that are very predictive of of uhsuccess. We know he placed someone at a certain conference or a certain Anevent or a certain publication or on a certain podcast or TV program. Wegenerally know what that will do and sometimes you get it wrong, I mean youcould go on to the today show and not sell four books. You could go on DonaldMiller's podcast and sell 8000 books.

It's just it's all kind of situational.You naturally sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you don't, we havepretty good measures in place to uh make educated decisions on. Was that agood investment? Sometimes they're not, sometimes they are quite frankly dan,some of its instinctive gut, right. Some of it is, let's just put thisperson, let's give them a column and Forbes and let's just make sure ithappens every week for 52 weeks. Let's watch their social media, let's watchtheir lead flow. We check in every three or four weeks with them and weknow if it's working or not based on, you know how many inquiries they got.Forbes might not be the best place for a column, unemployed retention. Itmight be a great place for column on building sales pipeline or convertingyour pipeline to revenue. So we, we we we we are increasingly more adept atknowing who, what, when and where, how do you make sure ambassador actuallychampions the company? Like they all have their individual things that therea thought leader on. How do you, how do you, how do you tie the company backinto each one of their own particulars? Her particular expertise is like, isthere a unifying theme between all 23 or do you have standards you give toall of them being like, hey, you have to do this regularly, do these thingsregularly, for example, and sweet fish. We have, we don't have thought leadersare really like more brand evangelists, but like all of our employees and maybethis maybe may not be a good idea, but they have to change their byline tokind of have the company position statement and the byline. So that isthere commenting and stuff. We're putting a lot of resources in their ownposts and stuff. Um you know, our our positioning statement is always there.We do podcasts or beauty brands so that, you know, that's kind of like an adthat's just floating out there. We're gonna linked in. We could probably do abetter job at that. But these are mature, sophisticated people. We, wedon't have to monitor them, we don't police them at all. We know thatthey're going to be great ambassadors for our brain. We also know that, youknow, they also have a brand on their own and that you know, they may notalways be an employee of Franklin Covey. We recognize there's some value in itfor them as well. They're doing a lot of work to build our brand and theyought to build their own as well. Not at the expense of our firm, but I justphilosophically believe that I can build my brand and also Bill, FranklinCovey is not the expense of franklin Covey write the books that I've written.Don't come at the expense of franklin Covey. So I just generally think wepick people who have an abundance mentality that their mindset is, theyare an ambassador for franklin Covey and I recognize that they also have abrand of their own and they can peacefully coexist with us andinterviews and columns and podcasts and speeches. We do obviously have verystrict rules about certain things like so for example, you know, you can't goout and give a speech for us and market or pitch books that you wrote outsideof our firm. That's not ethical, right? You can't take one of our clients andan offline pitch one of your products. If you again are a contractor, it's notethical. And you know, there's been a couple incursions along the way, butthe vast majority of people are highly ethical, implicitly trustworthy. And itreally isn't even a question for us. So mainly you have like a baselinestandard of just like business ethics that are kind of like Plane one on onelike base level. But then you like, we're going to help you. We know it'llcome back to us. That's exactly right. I mean, these are, these are peoplethat we hopefully trust implicitly and I don't want to jeopardize theirrelationship, right. These people are smart, self governing people. Sohonestly, we have to do very little policing of that. I can think of maybetwo incursions and I've been in the firm 25 years and they both still workfor us were perhaps a little more cautious. Um, and you know, generallyour Ceo has a methodology of assume good intent and that was what permeatesour culture here. What services do you provide for them? So they're doing alot of work already. They got social media kind of going there doing a lotof their own work. But what what are you doing to help them build theirbrands? Yeah, So we provide a global platform. I mean we provide, you know,people who can help to build their social following. We have people thatedit their columns and articles. We have a podcast that I host. It goes toeight million people every week. So if one of our thought leaders earns theright to get on our podcast, I mean Matthew McConaughey was two weeks ago,right, and next week was going to be Bill Gates. I'm not sure it's going tobe right now. He's having a rough row right now. But you know, for one of ourthought leaders to have a chance to earn our a spot on our podcast is a bigdeal for them. I actually host a franklin Covey book Club for a newstart up called book Club dot com, launching in june and so they're gonnaget a chance to actually be a guest on Franklin Covey's book Club. So we havea massive platform where we get to shine our spotlight onto them. Sothere's a significant amount of gasoline that we put into their tank.But at the end of the day, they have to...

...turn the engine on and they have tokeep the keep it gas because it's an issue. There are some people that don'twant to pay the price and they, and they look at me as a model and I say,yeah, well I spent six hours on social media yesterday and I also worked sixhours and I also wrote for four hours. So yeah, I had a long day yesterday.Right? And, and so you got to put the price in and if someone is not going toput the price in, then um, they get 88 octane gas, not 93 octane gas. I'lltell them I'm very clear. I mean you're not putting the work in so I'm puttingthe team back off. You I have a lot of hikers. I don't have a lot. No. Andkind of like all or nothing. Or do you have like different stages? Right.You're like, because a brand like yours has access different levels of accessto different things. You got websites, you got podcasts, you got speakingdeals. You know, I mean kind of like the Dave Ramsey who gets it. I don'tknow what the size of his show is, but like not everybody speaking with him onhis prime time, some of them are on different things there on podcasts arelower down. Yeah, I think he has the second largest radio program in theworld that rush Limbaugh has passed I think Hannity was two and Dave Ramseywas three But there's no question if someone is crushing it on their end,they're getting 93% octane gas from Scott Question it, meaning they're writingtheir reading, they're taking interviews, their podcasting, they'repaying the price to not just build their social media but respond rightand engage people and give people value With coaching and answers. Takes a lotof work. This is not for the this is not a full time job for anyone in ourcompany is for me as the administrator. But you know these people all havemostly have day jobs. These people have you know 50 hour a week jobs plusthey're writing plus they're doing all of this, right? This takes a lot. Thisis not for the weak of heart. Let me tell you, not for the lazy, nope.Sometimes you got to be able to work really hard in order to get out there.What's that quote, successful people are merely those who are willing to dowhat unsuccessful people weren't I slaughtered that. But there's so muchwisdom in that right there. That's why it's usually see tiredness is a is agood thing, right? Taking tired Good. That's good because the people who runthe world are tired, right? Isn't that true? This has been fantastic scott. Ifthere's anything left, like if there's anything our audience has heard afterall these questions and talking about this program, what what questionhaven't I asked? That would be good for them to know? Yeah. You may have askedthis and I may have talked over you, but I think, you know, to be a greatthought leader, your ticket to the game is obviously having a articulated point of view that's grounded inexpertise, research reps and you're constantly innovating, disruptingyourself, giving your audience new value, new experiences. You're alsoinsatiably curious and open to coaching. You're willing to get some writingcoaching, you're willing to get some platform speaking skill coaching.You're willing to take feedback from people who have your best interests atheart. At some point, you get to a level where you're drowning andfeedback. I mean, look at me, I'm not I know celebrity, but there are blogsthat are dedicated to my glasses and my hair. And I have I have a speechimpediment, have a stutter that I've tried to control on this call today,and I wanted to be careful about who I take feedback from but like me has likelike me, I would say to people um make your brand be that you're open tofeedback that you're really working on all of your skills. Because I think themost impactful thought leaders are those that can master the variety ofmediums that your organization will need you to crush it in key noting onstages, radio interviews, tv interviews, podcast interviews, writing columns,writing articles and also writing short snippets. I mean I have I have thoughtleaders all day long where we'll get an ap reporter That's writing an articlefor some kind of something or other. We gotta find someone and they and theywant 75 words in three hours all the time. And that person has to be able to,you know, on their lunch break somewhere in an airport in the Deltacrown room, flip open their laptop and write 75 valuable words and make sureit sends happens, happens multiple times a day. If you want that reporter,if you want that publicist, if you want that editor calling you back for futurecomments and articles because they know you're a credible source That not justhas a point of view, but you're willing to do the hard work to sit down andfocus on it and give them 755 words that they may use 12 of the words whenthe article comes out. Man, that's a great to be able to turn that. But ifyou're, if you're into writing articles and content, all that is usuallypumping out 75 words well, it's like you got to refine muscle to be able todo it. So it kind of makes sense. I think even a year ago I probably wouldhave shuddered at that fact. I would...

...have been like, oh my gosh! But afterdoing Lincoln constantly all all year, doing 1 to 2 posts most days, I'm like,yeah, I think I could squeeze that out in a 30 minute lunch break or somethinglike that in an airport or on my cell phone in between things on my girlwould be a challenge. But you know, so it makes a lot of sense. Where canpeople go to learn more about what you're doing? It's franklin covey. Well,so obviously franklin covey dot com. You can also visit my own website,scott Geoffrey miller dot com as an author and columnist and speaker. I putup all of the podcast that I host up there, all the articles that I writeand you can use them as examples of how to improve your own meaning. Like dowhat I'm doing but do it better. You're welcome to use everything that I do asan example of how you should and could do it better. So franklin covey dot com.You also can visit scott, Geoffrey Miller dot com. Fantastic. Again.Thanks for joining me on GDP growth. Thank you. Are you on linkedin? That's a stupidquestion. Of course you're on linkedin. Here's sweet fish. We've gone all in onthe platform. Multiple people from our team are creating content there.Sometimes it's a funny gift for me. Other times it's a micro video or aslide deck and sometimes it's just a regular old status update that sharestheir unique point of view on BB marketing leadership or their jobfunction. We're posting this content through their personal profile, not ourcompany page. And it would warm my heart and soul if you connected witheach of our evangelists, we'll be adding more down the road. But for nowyou should connect with Bill Read our Ceo Kelcy Montgomery, our creativedirector, dan Sanchez, our director of audience growth Logan Lyles, ourdirector of partnerships and me, James Carberry. We're having a whole lot offun on linked in pretty much every single day and we'd love for you to bea part of it.

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