Welcome to The Elite Advisor Blueprint – The Podcast for World-Class Financial Advisors. I’m Brad Johnson, VP of Advisor Development at Advisors Excel, and it’s my goal to distill the best ideas and advice from top thought leaders and apply it to the world of independent financial advising.
In today’s conversation, I’m speaking with Michael Hyatt. Michael is a New York Times bestselling author, podcaster, blogger, and speaker. His newest book, The Vision Driven Leader, explores how to effectively lead organizations, inspire people to action, and make your big dreams a reality.
For those of you looking to attract incredible talent, retain them, and keep them happy for years to come as you build a great company, this conversation is a must-listen!
Here are a just a handful of the things that you’ll learn:
- #1: Why writing and publishing books should be an integral part of your sales funnel and how it can lead to incredible opportunities. [05:32]
- #2: The fatal error Michael’s previous financial advisor made that cost him Michael’s business – and big lessons from Michael’s search for a new advisor. [31:30]
- #3: How to create a clear, inspiring, practical and attractive picture of your organization’s future. [45:03]
- [6:48] Why so many authors can’t break free from the herd – and why having a great book that cultivates authority can do more for you than a Ph.D.
- [9:29] How to use a book to initiate a business relationship – and the major mistake that so many authors make in releasing and promoting books.
- [13:58] Why the first week of publication matters so much – and how bestseller status can massively boost your authority and your business.
- [19:11] Why podcasting is so much more effective to drive audiences than traditional radio shows.
- [23:00] What happened when Michael gave the responsibility for planning date night to his executive assistant – and why having A+ players on your team will always get you better results.
- [43:31] Common mistakes that financial advisors make in discovery meetings – and how these can cost them great clients.
- [47:15] Why no one can truly bring a master plan to life when working in reactive mode.
- [54:00] Why your goals have to be bigger than incremental change to ignite imaginations and inspire action – and why fear, uncertainty, and doubt along the way are absolutely fine.
- [1:15:00] Why Michael wants to see social media perceived as absurd in 2045 – even though he built his career using it.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- The Vision Driven Leader: 10 Questions to Focus Your Efforts, Energize Your Team, and Scale Your Business (EXCLUSIVE BONUSES WHEN YOU ORDER BY APRIL 4)
- Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
- The Focused Leader Conference
- Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals
- Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less
- Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want
- Front Row Dads Retreat
- Family Wealth–Keeping It in the Family: How Family Members and Their Advisers Preserve Human, Intellectual, and Financial Assets for Generations
- Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less
- StrengthsFinder 2.0
- Brendon Burchard
- Pete Vargas – (also check out Jon Vroman on the podcast)
- Pat Quinn
- Hal Elrod – (also check out Jon Vroman on the podcast)
- Joe Rogan
- Tim Ferriss
- Jon Vroman – (also check out Jon Vroman on the podcast)
- Cameron Herold – (also check out Jon Vroman on the podcast)
- Andy Stanley
- Dan Sullivan – (also check out Dan Sullivan on the podcast)
Take the 1st Step to Building Your Ideal Practice: Apply for “Virtual Discovery Session“
For those of you that have interest in diving deeper or figuring out how you may be able to have our team help you implement many of the ideas shared on the show, my day job happens to be consulting financial advisors from all over the US on how to grow their business and design a practice that serves them, versus them serving it. Yes it’s possible to grow your business and work less, this is a model we’ve replicated over and over in markets all over the country… So, if you’d like to apply to see if it makes sense for us to have a 1-on-1 conversation on how to overcome what may be getting in your way, you can do that at bradleyjohnson.com/apply. It takes about 5 minutes to fill out the application so we can understand what your business looks like, what challenges you may be facing and how myself and my team may be able to help. We then dive into a Discovery session where we ask a lot of questions based on your survey. We do a lot of listening, and take a lot of notes to build a rough draft of our proprietary Elite Advisor Blueprint – 90 Day Plan™. Taking the first step is as simple as applying at bradleyjohnson.com/apply 🙂
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Brad Johnson: Welcome to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint. I have a special guest, Michael Hyatt, back Round 3. Welcome to the show, Michael.
Michael Hyatt: Thanks, Brad. Always a lot of fun to be with you.
Brad Johnson: Well, you’re one of the few guests that has the golden ticket open invite anytime you want to come on, man.
Michael Hyatt: I feel honored. Thank you.
Brad Johnson: And for those advisors just maybe tuning in for the first episode, I just thought I’d hit the origin story a bit because Michael and I go way back. In fact, the Elite Advisor Blueprint probably wouldn’t exist today if it wasn’t for Michael. And some advice you gave me in our mastermind 2015, 2016 when you were doing the Inner Circle, we had this problem where all these super successful busy financial advisors, we could never get them to all show up at the same place at the same time and I was trying to do a live mastermind call like this and you had the brilliant idea of, “Brad, why don’t you just do a podcast?” So, thank you for that advice. I appreciate that.
Michael Hyatt: Absolutely. Well, you did a fantastic job.
Brad Johnson: Well, I appreciate it and in hindsight, it looked like a pretty good idea because there’s quite a few financial advisors listening in today. So, thanks for being the catalyst behind making this thing happen in the first place.
Michael Hyatt: You bet.
Brad Johnson: All right. So, we’ve got a lot to cover. I’m not going to waste any time today. We’ve got your new book that has not even hit the streets yet. It probably will be hitting the streets as this releases. So, the Vision Driven Leader, we’re going to get into that. There’s a ton of gold in there. Before we do though, there was something that as I thought through what I wanted to make sure we bring to the audience today, I wanted to go ahead and hit and it’s the whole concept of not only writing the book but how does that drive your business. And the cool thing being at Advisor Excel we’ve had now helped I think publish 100 plus books for financial advisors out there and you once told me there’s life before the book and life after the book. And I’ve found that to be very true. So, let’s get into I think your goal now is to write two books a year?
Michael Hyatt: Yep. I write one big one and then one small one, mostly for our clients.
Brad Johnson: So, let’s talk as to why. And what does that do for your business? And if we like break this down, because many of our offices have written books, but I think what happens a lot is people do all the work to write this amazing book and then they maybe do the sprint of promotion and then it’s kind of like, “Oh, I forgot about the book and I did all that work.” So, can you maybe break down the playbook of why you write books, what it’s done for your business, and then if you broke that down into a sales funnel into some of the coaching and other cool things you do, what that looks like?
Michael Hyatt: Gosh, we could do an entire webinar on that. But here’s kind of the value I see it. And of course, as you know, I spent most of my career in the book publishing world so I’ve seen authors, small, large, all in between and the value that it’s had for them. But I would say the first and foremost reason that I write is to clarify my thinking. So, I think that a lot of people aren’t clear on their proprietary process, or what they have to offer, what the transformation that they have to offer is. And so, particularly for financial advisors, I think to be able to define and make even more proprietary your process to separate you from the herd and make you really unique. Because in our culture, Brad, there’s nothing that gives you authority like a published book. I don’t care if you have a Ph.D. I don’t care if you have three certifications after your name. All that’s important, but it’s not as important as having a published book.
We just have this reverence, and this awe about books and the people that write them, that we impute all of this authority to those people their expertise. They might not be an expert, but if they write a book, we just automatically assume, “They must be an expert. I mean, how would they write a book if they weren’t an expert?” So, clarifying your thinking, establishing your authority, and then I think it’s the best way to get the word out. I think of a book almost like a really elaborate business card or mailing piece or something that opens the door for you and begins that conversation. You know, to send out a book to a prospective client, my guys do it all the time with our coaching program to send out a book to the coaching client, a prospective one and just say, “Hey, thought you might enjoy this.” That really opens the door for people to begin to consider building a relationship with you. So, I would kind of boil it down to those three reasons.
Brad Johnson: Good stuff. So, as we go into that and I love to clarify your thinking. And the other thing that I think it makes what’s in Michael’s head, portable. So, right now we have to be present to have this conversation. It’s like a podcast too is now you encapsulize this info and now it can be out there selling or building your business for you and you don’t even know it’s happening, back to the using it as a business card idea. If we go into the promotion of that book, and I know we’re doing a podcast. That’s a great way that authors get out there, tell their story. Here’s the new book coming out. But what ways do you look if I was a financial advisor out there, and I’ve got a brand new book coming out, and I want to promote it or pre-promotion strategies, what are the best that you’ve found or from other authors that you’ve worked with?
Michael Hyatt: Okay. The first the most important thing to do is to create the upgrade path from the book to your other services. Okay. So, I remember one time when I actually first published one of my first books, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, that came out in 2012 and it went on to become a New York Times bestseller, but one of the first conversations I had was a guy I didn’t know, but now I really know him. It’s Brendon Burchard. You sure heard of him. And Brendon said to me, he said, “Okay. So, you sell the book, then what?” And I was like, I don’t know, I don’t have a then what. And he said, “You’re making a huge, huge mistake because the book, just selling the book is not an end in itself. It’s a means to an end. It opens the door. It initiates the relationship. But if there’s nowhere for it to go, you’re missing the biggest opportunity you have with the book.” So, that’s one of the things that we tried to map out on the front end is what happens.
So, from our perspective, the whole game is to get as many people to opt-in to our email list as possible. Buy the book, opt-in to the email list. So, here’s how it’s going to work. So, for today, for example, we have a special sales page that we created for you called VisionDrivenLeader.com/Elite. So, that’s a sales page for the book. And here’s what it does, it sells the book, but then it offers $600 worth of free bonuses. So, all somebody has to do, I get on a podcast like this, tell people to go buy the book at Amazon, buy at Barnes and Noble, wherever books are sold, doesn’t matter. Keep the receipt. Come back to that link that I just gave you, turn that receipt in. It will give you $600 worth of free bonuses. We’re going to give you the e-book, we’re going to give you the audiobook, we’re going to give you a tool called the vision scripter and a whole bunch of other goodies all designed to help you flush your vision out.
Michael Hyatt: But that and I’m really parting the curtains here, that puts you into our sales funnel because people have to register for that in order to get those goodies. So, we’ve got a very thought-through sales funnel in terms of kind of the customer journey. What’s next? So, in our company, we know that we’re going to try to upgrade you or sell you our planner, our full focus planner, which is kind of it’s going to be more expensive than the book, but it’s kind of the next pass up. If we’re successful in doing that, there’s an upgrade pass from that. You know, it would get you to our one-day conference, The Focused Leader, and then ultimately the holy grail for us is our business coaching business to get you in as a coaching client.
Brad Johnson: So, basically, small ticket item that leads to bigger ticket items as you go further down the path and more engaged.
Michael Hyatt: That’s right. I mean, you got to think through the customer journey. You know, so for a financial advisor that may look like, you know, come in for a free discovery session or something or an evaluation of your portfolio. I don’t know what it could look like in your world.
Brad Johnson: Well, quite honestly, our worlds are merging because you can do the book and actually, I want to circle back around because there’s a question here that’s in there. So, from the book to get them to all the free tools which, by the way, you’ve made the decision. I want to make sure I got this right in your business of we’re literally giving away an audiobook like an audible style book, giving away the e-book, so a Kindle version of the book for free just to get them on your email list. That’s the business decision you’ve made.
Michael Hyatt: Totally. And so, what we do is we negotiate with the contract on the front end, even though this book will be on Audible day one, you can get the same thing for free. Even though this will be available for Kindle, day one, we make it available for free. So, we negotiate in the publishing contract that we have the right to do that to our own list so we can promote it off our site. What I can’t do is sell that off somebody else’s site.
Brad Johnson: Got it. And what’s the window that you typically? Is it seven days, 14 days, a month after the book?
Michael Hyatt: Yeah. So, right now at the time, we’re recording this, this is the pre-order cycle. So, we’re trying to drive as many pre-orders as we can. Because if you’re trying to drive the best-selling list, and frankly, this may not be that relevant to a lot of your advisors unless they want to get a bestseller list because the only thing that makes, you know…
Brad Johnson: I was just going to say we had our first Advisors Excel advisor hit the Wall Street Journal bestseller list.
Michael Hyatt: Fantastic.
Brad Johnson: Yeah.
Michael Hyatt: So, see the cool thing about that is that gives you even more authority. You know, what I can say I’m a two times New York Times bestselling author, number one Wall Street Journal three different times, all that just builds more authority. So, we’re trying to drive the list with every book that we do. So, what that means is that the lists are compiled with the exception of the New York Times. We don’t even know how that happens but all the other lists are compiled based on how many books you sell in a defined period of time, one week. So, the book that sells the most copies in the first week of release is going to be number one, on say, The Wall Street Journal bestseller list. And they do them by category. So, there’s nonfiction, fiction, business, so forth. So, all you got to do is sell more books than everybody else. So, we consolidate all of our firepower in that very first week of publication.
But it’s also important to do it in week two. So, we got the preorder season or the preorder cycle, we got the first week, and then we have the second week. So, we’re spreading out interviews. There’s a whole strategy for that second week, because the New York Times, typically, if you have a big burst, hit the list in the first week, but then fall off the list, they’re not impressed. So, it’s got to have more organic staying power than that.
Brad Johnson: And going back to your strategy, you obviously have a podcast guesting strategy. I know we were talking. It’s been cool because our worlds have come full circle. You’ve spoken out a couple of Advisor Excel events and you were just keynoted at our world series of sales, which is our big, big event in January about a month ago. We were talking backstage and you said you’d kind of changed your perspective on your speaking engagements because how that’s really driving books and then everything else that your business does. Are you also trying to stack speaking engagements in this launch or is it just too much going on?
Michael Hyatt: Well, we don’t really stack the speaking engagements but we are taking advantage of other people’s stages. So, this is the Pete Vargas-Pat Quinn thing which I know you’ve interviewed because I’ve listened to the episodes, but their whole idea is use other people’s strategies or stages to expand your platform. So, for example, right now I’m using your stage. You have access to all these financial advisors. I don’t have all these guys on my mailing list. There’s no way that I can get to them unless I use somebody else’s stage. So, we have a massive podcast interview strategy, which is about 40 different podcast interviews that I’m doing. So, on this topic, all of them have different niches. I just did one this morning. Totally different niche, you know, completely different thing than financial advisors. I got two more this afternoon. So, I’m doing all those right now. We’re also putting together what Pete and Pat call the signature talk for The Vision Driven Leader. So, all the corporations I’m speaking to a bunch of them. Starting in April, I’ll be giving that talk as my signature talk.
So, we’re using even those live venues to do this. Then in addition to that, my publishing company has hired a publicist and the publicist’s job is to go out and get a lot of stuff that I would naturally be able to get like they’re trying to get print reviews, web reviews, that kind of thing, and also try to get me on some big media in New York. We’ll see if that’s possible. Usually, for business books, that’s tough.
Brad Johnson: So, moral of the story, it’s not just about writing the book.
Michael Hyatt: No.
Brad Johnson: Do you take the Hal Elrod approach? I know he kind of made this analogy that I thought was cool, is he’s like, “Most people do a sprint. I look at book promotion as a marathon,” back to your what do you do week two, week three, week four. So, are you spacing out these podcast interviews? And is there a strategy of here’s, I don’t know, I’m trying to think. Well, Joe Rogan’s obviously a massive podcast, Tim Ferriss, if you were to hop on something like that, do you try to stack, well, here are the biggest shows and I want to stack those a few in week one, a you in week two, a few in week three or is there any strategy or game plan to that as well?
Michael Hyatt: There is a game plan to that, and here’s what it is. You’re basically in a week one trying to defy gravity and get into orbit. So, you got to concentrate all the firepower you can in that first week, because the second week doesn’t matter if you don’t hit most of the list in that first week. So, we put everything that’s big in that first week. We don’t hold back any powder. We do hold back some powder for that next strategy, which is the second week. What I would like to tell you, in a perfect world, is that then we just keep promoting the heck out of it for the next 12 months. A lot of guys do that because frankly, the book’s the only thing they got going on. We’ll roll from one promotion into another promotion into another promotion so this is all about the Vision Driven Leader. We hope it gets into orbit and has a life of its own. So, the rankings on Amazon affect that, the amount of reviews affect that, podcast live forever, so they continue to affect that.
You’re still getting downloads to stuff that you recorded a year ago so this will continue to affect that. But we’ll pretty much as an organization shift our attention to the next promotion that we got on the conveyor.
Brad Johnson: And that is the beauty of a podcast, the analogy I’ll make, because a lot of our space is still very what I would call traditional marketing radio show, for example, where do a new show every week. And quite honestly, it kind of goes and dies where imagine if you did a radio show five years ago that was still working for you today, that’s a podcast. It’s crazy. And you obviously don’t have to preach to the choir here but you see how episodes that are literally two, three, four years ago still drives audiences today.
Michael Hyatt: It’s crazy. Yeah, literally, I’ve got hundreds of episodes online for my podcast, and probably over half of my downloads every week are from episodes in my archive.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. So, side topic, if you’re a financial advisor that’s planning on doing this for a while, you might want to look at that. That’s a pretty decent strategy. I want to go here. I wasn’t planning on covering this, but this is such a need in financial services and then I want to make sure we leave time to get into the book. So, you impacted my life multiple ways in those couple years I was in the inner circle, and one of them we were joking the whole idea of an EA, executive assistant. You really have that pretty dialed in and I know you’ve dialed even in more it seems like over the last year or two.
But my wife and I that’s made a massive impact with how I balanced what’s going on at work and integrate that with what’s going on at home and how those two calendars, we actually started an annual planning meeting with Michelle on our team, where my wife and I actually meet and we put the big rocks on the calendar at the beginning of the year. And we joke with Michelle, we’re like, “Michelle, you make our marriage so much better.” And she laughed but it’s the truth. So, we were talking a little bit, you’ve got Valentine’s Day coming up. Do you mind sharing the story you were sharing right before? And then we can maybe go wherever it goes.
Michael Hyatt: Yeah. Well, so first, I don’t differentiate between personal and professional. You know, Jim, who’s my assistant whom you know. Jim handles things for me personally and professionally. If I’m going to have a dentist’s appointment, when I get done with my dentist’s appointment, and they say, “Okay. We want to book you for your next appointment,” I say, “Hey, call Jim. I don’t handle my calendar.” So, he’s handling all that kind of personal stuff. But really a game-changing thing for me was when he started managing my date nights with my wife. So, just suspend disbelief if you think, “What?” Yeah. So, I always have the intention to continue to date my wife. I’ve been married for 42 years. I love my wife. She loves me. I want to keep the romance alive, but that takes work, right? So, what I found is that I often had the intention, but my intention got derailed by whatever fire I was trying to put out at the time. And so, I get to Thursday night, which was our date night. I hadn’t made reservations and where I live in Franklin, Tennessee, if you don’t have reservations for Thursday night, you’re not going to get reservations. You’re going to be sitting at a bar somewhere hoping that you get in.
So, we just usually I say, “Honey, I didn’t make reservations. Sorry. Let’s just stay in and talk or whatever.” I mean, it’s like not romantic and not really thought through. So, one year I got the bright idea. I said, “Hey, Jim. Date night is now your responsibility. You got to set me up to win. And here’s what that means. It means that there’s got to be reservations at a great restaurant because Gail and I are kind of foodies and we love to go out and eat. So, it’s got to be a great restaurant. I never want to have to think about it again. I want it on my calendar. I want to know where I’m going. And I want you to lay out the red carpet for me. Great.” So, for Valentine’s Day, and this was his own initiative because part of Jim’s stated mission is to make me a hero at home, and to close the distance between my intention and my actions. So, here’s what he did for Valentine’s Day.
Michael Hyatt: First of all, a couple of months ago because restaurants get really busy on Valentine’s Day, he made a reservation at our favorite restaurant. He’s got flowers coming to Gail, amazing arrangement of flowers. He showed me after the fact that’s coming to her. He’s got a card. In fact, it’s right here. I haven’t signed it yet. And so, he bought the card and he gave me a list of questions to ask Gail to engage her in a really powerful, meaningful conversation for Valentine’s Day. Now, the funny thing about this was, the first time we did this was for an anniversary. And so, I went out to dinner and amazing restaurant. In fact, it’s the exact same restaurant that we’re going to for Valentine’s Day. It was an amazing restaurant. She got the flowers, the whole thing, but I had this list of questions. I pulled it out of my coat pocket and I said, “I just want to ask you some questions.” And so, I said to her things like, “You know, what was the best day if you can remember back like this year?” So, we went through all this stuff. “What was the hardest thing you went through this year?” We went through all these different questions. She’s tearing up, I’m tearing up. We’re totally engaged, lost in this conversation.
But then toward the end of it, I kind of started feeling a little guilty. You know, I’m thinking to myself, these are Jim’s questions and I’m using Jim’s questions. So, I confessed to her. I said, “Honey, I just got to tell you this because this has been an amazing conversation and I’ve loved every minute of it but I got to be honest, Jim came up with this list of questions.” She says to me, “Oh, well, I knew that,” and it didn’t cost me anything. And even this morning, we were joking about Valentine’s Day, which we’re going to observe tonight and I just said, “You know, Jim’s done all this stuff, right?” And she said, “Absolutely.” She said, “I could care less.” She says, “I love being the recipient of it. And the thing about it is I know it’s all your intention, it’s your heart to do that and so you get total credit for it.”
Brad Johnson: Such a lesson there. Number one, for the first lesson is that’s what happens when you hire A+ players on your team.
Michael Hyatt: Totally.
Brad Johnson: Because people that are kind of looking at this like, “Ugh, another day at Hyatt and Co. today,” they don’t come up with that stuff. You basically design that role and said, “Here’s what it takes to win in that role.” And correct me if I’m wrong here, he came up with those mission statements himself.
Michael Hyatt: That’s right.
Brad Johnson: Be a hero at home. I want to help Michael be a hero at home.
Michael Hyatt: That’s right. And when I tell him the story, like a Valentine’s Day, because he’ll ask me, and then he’ll say, “Hey, how did it go?” And I’ll tell him, “It was amazing,” because I already know it’s going to be amazing. So, I’ll tell him all that and he said, “All right. That’s a win. That’s exactly what I was after.”
Brad Johnson: Cool. The other thing too I know you want to be the romantic guy that comes up with all this stuff yourself but if it never happens in the first place, then – I’m in this dad’s group. Jon Vroman, I don’t know if you’ve crossed paths.
Michael Hyatt: I haven’t. No. It sounds amazing.
Brad Johnson: He basically created a twice-a-year conference called the Dads Retreat that I’ve been going to the last three years. And one of the things it’s a bunch of entrepreneurial guys that are just that’s important to them. They want to be a good dad and a good husband, and what are the intentions behind that? And we have this 30-Day Challenge going on how to do something nice for your spouse every day. And I think it was about day five or so. Sarah’s like, “Is this some challenge or something? What’s going on?” And I’m like, “Yeah,” but I’m like, “Hey, but I’m still doing nice things, right? And I’m like, this probably means I need to do it more often.” But hey, as long as you’ve got that group behind you, the accountability to do what you know you want to do there’s nothing bad that can come out of that.
Michael Hyatt: I just think most of us have good intentions, things we want to do with our families or our personal life or our health or whatever. But we need, frankly, a little assistance particularly entrepreneurs who are so busy about so many things on their minds, but here’s another thing. You know, I have five grown daughters. Well, I want to stay connected to them. They all live in the area. So, one of the things Jim does is once a week I have lunch with one of those daughters on a rotating basis and I contacted my daughters and I said, “Hey, guys. This is what I want to do. Jim’s going to facilitate it to make sure that it happens. It’s that high of a priority for me. So, I don’t want you to be offended that I’m not reaching out. It’s going to be Jim, but it’s my heart. I’m the one that’s driving this. And that’s because you’re important to me.” So, Jim does it. They don’t take offense. They love it. And we stay connected.
Brad Johnson: I think that’s a really good way to frame it too is it’s on my heart. It’s important to me. I want to make sure it gets executed. Here’s the best way for it to get executed. Yeah, that’s really good. Now, I’m going to hit one other thing with Jim because this is another page that I’ve stolen out of your playbook here. And I know it’s one that a lot of advisors struggle with out there. So, the way you manage your email inbox is pretty awesome. I’ll just speak to when I email you and we’re friends, this isn’t even just random businesspeople emailing you, I’ll get a response from Jim, who’s in your inbox monitoring your emails. Typically, I don’t know that it’s taken more than an hour ever. So, it’s a very timely response. And it goes to something we coach on a lot over here. Speed equals trust. Yeah, very different experience than if I email you and 48 hours later, I get a response.
And Jim will say something like, “Hey, Brad, hopping in on Michael’s behalf here. He’s scheduled on a podcast interview or whatever. Want to make sure we get some action here. Here’s my thoughts. Either we’re going to schedule this meeting or here’s the resource you were looking for in the first place. I wanted to take care of you right now. If there’s anything else I need to get on Michael’s plate, let me know and I’ll make sure he sees it.” So, some people really struggle with someone to be in my inbox. I’m having a tough time with that. The way that we’ve started to do that our team is just basically do the same thing because it kills me when I’ve got a loaded day full of meetings, coaching calls, and then I get done at five and it’s like, “Oh, here’s 15 emails to answer.” So, can you speak to what that’s done for your business? Are there any other frameworks I’m leaving out? And how do your clients respond to that once they get used to it?
Michael Hyatt: Yeah. Well, first of all, I’ve never had an issue with clients. I did have an issue with one friend who felt like I was kind of pushing him down. But after I explained it, and that was my bad for not explaining to the front end but because what we do is we set it up, like you said, with our clients, especially just say, “Look, our goal is to get you a quick and timely response.” And I’ve got meetings. I’m servicing other clients, I’m spending time and when I’m in those meetings, I want my entire attention focused on that client. You know, I’m not going to be checking my phone under the table. I’m not going to be checking my email when I’m telling them, “You got to be taking notes.” No, I’m only going to check email actually two times a day. And I rarely have more than five or six messages that require my personal intervention. So, I may get, I don’t know, probably by this time we’ve whittled it down a lot. I’ll probably get 40 or 50 emails a day. But Jim’s handling the bulk of that. So, you do have to get to the place where you’re willing to trust.
Now, I do have a confidential email that Jim doesn’t have access to. So, for example, my financial advisor, my tax accountant, any medical stuff, that comes straight there. Gail has access to that too. So, if it’s really confidential and we want to bypass Jim, then we can do that. But everything else goes into that general email inbox and Jim handles it.
Brad Johnson: Cool. Okay. So, you mentioned your financial advisor. We’ll have this be the last question then we’re going to dive deep on the book. So, we’ve talked a little bit about your financial advisor and I know a few things that hit home with me as you loved how he included Gail in the conversation, treated her equal, but I’d love to get into the psychology of how were you introduced to that financial advisor. Was it some marketing funnel of theirs that you fell into? Was it a referral? Speak to that. And if you were analyzing your own psychology, why did Michael choose this financial advisor over all the others in your market that you could have chosen from?
Michael Hyatt: Well, the first thing I did is I wasn’t happy with my financial advisor, the previous one. Part of it was he was condescending to Gail. He never really included her unless I happen to mention and he was like, “Oh, yeah, sure, if you want to bring her along.” The psychology did not work for me. She’s a super important part of my life. So, I was in the market. So, I sent a note out to about 10 of my friends and I said, “I’m looking for a financial advisor. Do you know anybody amazing?” and I said, “I really want somebody that will be inclusive of my wife that shares my values and all that.” So, it was my friend, Dan Miller, who said, “Yeah, I’ve got a guy that I love, and here’s why I love him.” And so, I reached out to him, and he said, “Sure.” He said, “Why don’t you come in for a meeting? Bring your wife with you.” And he said, “Let’s talk.” So, it’s kind of like I don’t know what you call it but like a discovery kind of meeting. So, there were a couple of things.
First of all, I did meet with several other financial advisors and I got the distinct feeling from a lot of them, that they were actually salespeople disguised as financial advisors, that they couldn’t wait to get their hands on my portfolio but they really were short on the advice and the perspective and long on wanting the commissions. I had a couple of guys amazingly, that didn’t look all that successful. It was kind of like akin to like if you’re hiring a personal trainer to work out with you at the gym and the guy you’re about to hire is like overweight and out of shape. It’s kind of like I want somebody that’s proven in their own life, that these financial principles that they’re going to espouse to me and the advice they’re going to get to me actually works and it didn’t work for them.
Brad Johnson: Can you dive in there? What were indicators for you? Was it their office space, their dress? Like what gave that away to you?
Michael Hyatt: Yeah. Well, first of all, it was the office. You know, it was in a very upscale office park. Very nice office, fantastic receptionist when I walked in. I could just tell the ambiance of the place. He came in, frankly, in a very expensive suit. It wasn’t ostentatious but I can tell the difference. And I could tell that he was very well dressed. He was incredibly warm. And I felt like I think for most people, they have such a fear of going to an advisor. You know, I don’t know if it ranks up there with going to the dentist but you’re pretty sure that there’s some stuff you don’t want to share because, I mean, everybody probably feels this way. You feel like a little bit of a financial knucklehead. You’ve made some stupid decisions in the past. You want to have your act together better than you do. And it’s just it’s tough to reveal that stuff. Well, we came in, and I don’t even remember what he said, but he completely disarmed that.
He made us feel normal like, “Where you guys are in your life is totally normal. In fact, you’re doing better in some areas than you think.” And so, that was awesome. Here’s what he didn’t do. He didn’t talk over the top of me. He let me kind of get it all out but more importantly, he didn’t discount or talk over the top of Gail. And so, he would ask her questions. She said to me when she left, she said, “You know what, I felt so respected. And honestly, he made me feel like I was kind of smart on financial stuff.” And she said, “I’ve never had anybody in finances make me feel like that.” And she said, “I’ve always had a lot of self-doubt around money but Keith makes me feel smart and he makes me feel like I’m an active, important part of this process.” And so, every meeting we’ve ever had with him since then unless Gail just couldn’t come for one reason or another, she’s actively involved in that.
Michael Hyatt: But Keith, also, here’s the thing I love about it. We said to each other after the meeting, he may be a financial advisor, but he has the heart of a teacher. He can’t talk to us without a whiteboard and he’s very concerned that we have clarity and he’s not talking in some kind of financial jargon that makes us feel even more diminished and more distant. He uses real language, real terms that we can grasp, and when he draws it up on the board, it’s like, yeah, we totally get that. That makes total sense. So, he makes it simple. Interesting thing too, he always has his executive assistant in the meeting. And here’s what that means. She’s taking notes, all the follow-through things. Then at the end of the meeting, Keith reviews all those action points. I get those minutes from the meeting or the follow-up, the session notes from the meeting almost immediately after the meeting. And then those things start getting knocked out.
He calls them projects but all these projects we come up with, they start getting knocked out one after another. And now the way that I work with him, I meet with him four times a year. Every meeting has a focus and it’s just been an awesome relationship. He’s totally invested too. I mean, there are times when he’s talking about my family, that he tears up, and he’s just moved by it. And it’s genuine. You can’t manufacture that stuff but I’m just saying his heart’s in it. He also is now the advisor to three of my five daughters, which is really fun to have the family all involved. And the biggest thing he did last time, Brad, that he introduced me to a book called Family Wealth. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with that book.
Brad Johnson: No.
Michael Hyatt: Okay. Check this out. So, the vision or the question is how do you pass on your wealth to succeeding generations? And the first and biggest idea is that your capital is not merely financial, it’s intellectual, it’s spiritual. There’s a lot of different kinds of capital that you got to pass on. If you don’t pass that wealth on, the money will dissipate but what he gives you is a vision for seven generations or a 100-year vision for creating a legacy. How can you set up your family? How can you pass on what you’ve learned what you know, and not just the money, but the means to manage the money? And it’s rocked my world. Megan, whom you know is my oldest daughter and our COO of our company. She read it. Blew her mind. So, we’ve got a family meeting planned this summer with the entire family. We’re going to walk through mission statement, our core values, and we’re setting up a board for philanthropy and all this stuff.
Brad Johnson: Very cool. I will check that out. I’ve got the opposite of that book. That’s actually a story that’s right in your backyard. I can’t think of it right off the top of my head. I’ll throw it in the show notes but it’s a book on the Vanderbilts and how they were richer than anybody at that time. And literally, a generation later, it was either one or two generations later, there wasn’t a millionaire in the family. They just squandered it all. So, if you want the opposite, and it’s obviously, you can take lessons from that story as well. It’s a really interesting read. It was actually written by one of like the great-grandchildren that was a Vanderbilt that told the family story.
Michael Hyatt: Well, Keith, told me about this model. And I’m sure it’s very familiar to those of you that are advisors, but it’s the shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves model. It’s like the first generation, they’re working out in the fields in their shirt sleeves and they’re making it happen and they acquire some wealth but they live frugally. The second generation is less attached to the means of income. They’re living on it, but they’re investing. They’re doing okay. Third generation, they just squander it all. They just have an entitlement mentality, squandered it all. Fourth-generation back in the fields in their shirtsleeves.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. It’s so and I know you came from humble beginnings. I came from humble beginnings. And there’s that drive of like escaping that grinding hard work. For me, it was growing up on a farm and ranch and getting covered in like pigs like shaking mud all over me. But that’s the thing like if your kids don’t experience some of that, that’s what creates grit. And I’m like, I’m sending my kids back to the farm with my dad because they need some of that in their life. They need to throw hay bales in the summertime.
Michael Hyatt: Absolutely.
Brad Johnson: I completely agree with that. Thanks for going there. One quick question before we move on. So, you gave me the guy you chose, Keith, and how you kind of what I call that first impression. And I think people so undervalue that because successful people, I mean, it’s like you get what you pay for that, that phrase. Well, it’s that first impression, well, okay, walks in. Nice office. Must be successful. Well-dressed, must be successful, must be good at what he does. All those little things are clicking through your head. So, you said there were a couple versions. I’d be like, “Is this guy even like doing very well for himself?” Were there any indicators that these people aren’t doing so well, of some of the ones you visited?
Michael Hyatt: I had one guy drive up to our home to meet with us, which is probably a fail. You know, I mean, he should have invited us into his office in my opinion, so we can kind of see his digs and that would have had a huge impression on us. But he drove up in kind of a lame beater car. And for the first moment, I saw that, it happened to be around Christmas time and he had some reindeer antlers, some of those foam reindeer antlers on his car, which probably is fun for his kids. But when you’re talking about giving somebody your money to manage, he drives up in that. He comes in, in kind of a cheap suit and he was recommended to me by if I mentioned the guy’s name, he’s extremely famous though, but this guy was all about frugality. And you know, I mean I certainly value frugality but it’s not like the ultimate goal for me. You know, I want to enjoy what I’ve created and all the rest.
So, he walked in and he was one of the first guys that just went right to what’s your net worth? Where’s it invested? I just felt like all he wanted to do is get at that. He didn’t ask me about my goals or my story or any of that, and that was about a 30-minute meeting but I was done with him in 30 seconds.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. It’s so interesting. I’ve had this conversation with multiple advisors. Some of them are scared to show their success. I’m not saying like blatant like blow up in a red Lamborghini or something but just it’s okay to drive a nice car because you’ve been successful. I think it’s important not to hide and you just share like your split-second first impression was, “Well, does this guy actually do well for himself?” And then your second point, the longer I’m in this space, the more a financial advisor, a great one, is just as much therapist and connector and curious about people as anything to do with money. And it’s just like a good doctor, a sterile doctor would come in and just start poking and prodding you. That’s what it sounded like that advisor did when they came in and started asking, “What’s your net worth? Where’s is at?” Any other thoughts on that or good to move on?
Michael Hyatt: Yeah. I just think when you said that an advisor is part therapist, I think that’s really true. I think people have, average people like me, have money issues because of the way I was raised, because of some experiences I’ve had with money because I ran a business into the ground back in the 90s. You know, there’s lingering issues. I thought that was it. Some people have trauma around money and money is never just this objective thing that maybe the financial advisors, they just look at it like it’s just, “We’re going to deal with this. It’s an objective thing. It’s not that big a deal.” Money has all these kinds of meanings and associations in people’s minds. And so, I think to your point, I just think you have to show some empathy. I think you have to be self-aware about that and just guide people through that. Because if you’re going to get successfully, them to a place where they want to get to, and if you’re going to get yourself to a place and serving them where you want to be, all that’s got to be considered and not dismissed.
Brad Johnson: It’s the and I’ve used this analogy a lot, but to your point, it’s the emergency room doctor that somebody comes in with their arm chopped off just another day, but not to that person. And so, I think you need to, I’ve had actually a number of really good advisors say they almost have a pre-meeting ritual, just to get their mindset right of like, okay, here’s the importance of the work I’m doing. Here’s how I’m going to sit there and ask questions and make sure I show up for this person. I think that’s really important. Because, yes, sometimes when you do the same thing over and over, it tends to become routine. But remember, every one of our offices calls it, every client comes in, and they get financially naked in front of us and it’s uncomfortable. So, I need to make them comfortable during that process. All right. Let’s get to the book. There’s so much good here and I want to make sure we share it with the audience.
So, I’m going to leave this pretty wide open, but I am going to start with the story and vision is huge. And I think, for financial advisors, especially, who are small business owners, that literally start in survival mode of I’ve just got to try to see people that I can help so I can actually sustain this business. We kind of call it transitioning from salesperson which many of them start as to CEO, and those are two very different roles. And the role of CEO, as you know, is you’ve got to paint a vision. One of the tools we’ve used a lot, Cameron Herold wrote a book, Double Double. One of the chapters out of there is Vivid Vision. And we’ve shared that a lot with people. Cameron spoke at our stage. Well, you wrote a whole book on how important vision is for a leader. So, can you share the story you opened with, the space race story, how that kind of applies? And then we’ll kind of roam around inside of the book.
Michael Hyatt: Yeah. Let me just say before I do that, that the reason I wrote this book is there are precious few resources on this topic. They don’t teach you vision casting in business School. As far as I could tell, there’s only like two books written on this topic. And one of them I disagree with violently. So, we’re not taught this. Everybody feels like it’s incumbent upon them to do it. We kind of know it’s important, but it’s so easy to procrastinate when you don’t have the tools. And we think that you’ve got to be some kind of mystic or highly intuitive or charismatic person like Steve Jobs or somebody to paint a picture of a better future, but you don’t. So, I wrote the book to try to demystify the topic and make it possible for every business person to create a compelling vision that would enable them to go further faster. So, with that, let me just give you the story. So, I open the story with the space race. So, this was back in the early 60s.
The Soviets, as you know, were the first to put a man into space. That created enormous consternation in Washington, because everybody was scared to death that the Soviets were going to get to space, weaponize it, and World War III would break out. So, Kennedy painted this vision and one of the things he said, I’m just going to read a quote from the book or quote from his speech before what he gave before a joint session of Congress. He said, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind or more important for the long-range exploration of space. And none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. It will not be one man going to the moon. If we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation for all of us must work to put him there.”
Michael Hyatt: Now, the crazy thing about that was when he gave that speech, which motivated a lot of people, and it was a bold, bold statement about what the future could be, get this, Eisenhower, President Eisenhower, called his announcement hysterical. NASA’s first administrator called the President’s plan, “A very bad move.” From 1961 to 1967, less than half the people supported it. So, you talked about the resistance but then despite the naysayers, people stepped up at NASA to invent the technology to come up with the mechanism by which this vision could be fulfilled because it didn’t exist. We articulated the vision, which is often the case. But on July 20, 1969, as we all know, Neil Armstrong emerged from Apollo 11, and became the first man to set foot on the moon. And the rest, as they say, is history but it all started with a vision.
And that’s the thing that I’m really trying to communicate in this book is that every great endeavor, every amazing business has to start with a vision of a bigger, better future. If you don’t do that, you’re just going to be in reactive mode. You’re just kind of take it as it comes. Who knows where you’re going to end up? Without a plan, without a vision, you could end up anywhere, but with the vision, you set the destination, you align the resources, including the people in your organization, and you’re able to execute that against that vision without being overwhelmed.
Brad Johnson: And the way you’ve organized this book that I love, is there are three parts but there’s really 10 core questions. So, I mean, you haven’t overcomplicated what can be a kind of an overwhelming thing to people. So, I know we don’t have in our time left the ability to go through all 10 questions. But if you kind of want to hop around some key ones, and maybe we do it, where you start and here’s where it goes, that’d be super helpful.
Michael Hyatt: Okay. Let’s talk about what a vision is. Because I think a lot of people are confused. You know, is it something like mystical rattling around in your head? Is it an intuition? What is it? No, here’s what it is. Here’s how I define it. In the book, The Vision Driven Leader, vision is a clear, inspiring, practical and attractive picture of your organization’s future. Let me say it again, clear, inspiring, practical, and attractive picture of your organization’s future. Now, I have an entire chapter on each one of those. What does it mean if it’s clear? What does it mean to be practical, inspiring and so forth? It’s a written document but check this out, Brad, three to five pages in length. Now, why is that important? I always thought a vision statement had to be this short, pithy, super clever statement that you could put on a coffee mug or a t-shirt. And that just made the whole task seem so unbelievably daunting.
You know, I’m thinking to myself, “I ain’t that smart. I’m not that clever. I’m not sure I can distill what it is that I want to achieve into some short, pithy statement.” Now, I think you can do that with a mission statement but a mission statement is very different. But if you’re going to have a vision, I call it a vision script that’s actually going to guide your enterprise over the next three to five years, there’s got to be more detail to that. And as it turns out, writing a series of statements that make up the vision script, around four key areas, which I’ll get into in a minute, that’s not that hard. I’ll explain more but it’s a written document three to five pages in length. It articulates an imagined future three to five years out. Now, the problem with longer than about three years and for 95% of our clients, three years is sufficient. Once you get past that, you get into a lot of guesswork. If it’s shorter than that, it’s not actually that strategic. So, it articulates an imagined future three to five years out. It’s superior to the present and it motivates you.
Michael Hyatt: Okay. I’m going to say a word about this. If this doesn’t inspire you, if you’re trying to sell a vision that you’re not sold on, your chances of enrolling anybody else are nil. You’re the first and most difficult person you got to sell anything to and if you’re not sold the vision, there’s not a chance you’re going to sell to anybody else. But here’s the thing I love about a vision, Brad, it guides you and your team in day-to-day decision making. So, here’s what happens. Without a vision, you kind of force yourself to be in reactive mode and the more successful you become, the more dangerous this position is. Because oftentimes, distractions masquerade themselves as opportunities. So, you say, “Oh, man, this came to me. Why not? This came to me. Why not?” You start diffusing your focus, your resources, your capital.
But when you’ve got a clear vision, it allows you to evaluate opportunities, to decide what’s a distraction, and what’s a genuine opportunity, what’s aligned with the vision. Hey, there’s a real opportunity. I’m going to pursue that. It provides a way for you to attract prospective employees. People for whom your vision resonates, those are great people to bring on your team. It acts as a recruitment device, but also a repellent. So, the wrong people are dissuaded from joining. If they don’t resonate with a vision, great. There’s probably some other assignment they need to be pursuing.
Brad Johnson: Let’s dive in there and apply this to financial services. There’s a few things. And it’s funny, this time of year, we’re recording in February so the ether of those new year’s resolutions is starting to wear off a bit. So, that’s where this stuff gets very important but I noticed one thing you didn’t say what the vision is, easily attainable. And there’s this balance. We do a lot of goal setting with a lot of our clients of how far do I push the speedometer? You know, if I’m looking at my team, because I think a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of CEOs, you’re kind of wired. I’m all in. Well, you were all in when you started and you’re still all in. And so, let’s call it your drive, maybe your appetite for risk is higher than your team tends to be. And so, what’s the – and I know this gets into some of the goal-setting books you’ve written, but how do you – let’s use the moon shot. How do you press as far into to where this is we’re pushing the team we’re getting the most out of everybody not overworking them to the bone, but what’s your balance there on vision of, “Oh, that one’s pretty easy,” versus, “Wow, that’s going to the moon in 1969?” What’s your balance there?
Michael Hyatt: Yeah. So, what you really want to do is aim for a vision. And this is the same in goal setting that makes people uncomfortable but doesn’t cause them to despair or just throw up their hands and walk off the field. So, I did say in my book, Your Best Year Ever, there’s three zones in which you can set your goals and the same thing is true for vision. So, you could set a vision that was kind of incremental change, a little bit better than what you have right now. The problem with that is it’s not inspiring. And the latest, greatest goal achievement research says that your goals have got to be bigger than that to inspire anybody. If it’s going to command people’s attention, if it’s going to ignite their imagination, if it’s going to drive their execution, it needs to be in your discomfort zone. Now, what’s the difference? The discomfort zone is going to make you feel uncomfortable. So, there’s going to be a little bit of fear. There’s going to be a little bit of uncertainty, and there’s going to be a little bit of doubt. You know, we’ve never done this before. We’re not quite sure what the path is. That’s absolutely fine.
When John Kennedy gave that moonshot speech, there was no way. The technology did not exist. Nobody even understood the math. I mean, the math was phenomenal to try to figure out how to get a rocket that you had to course-correct every few seconds to the moon and back. The math wasn’t even, it hasn’t been figured out. So, knowing the path is not essential. In fact, that’s a good way to determine whether you’re in the discomfort zone. If you can see clearly from the moment you come up with it, how to do it, that is probably not your discomfort zone. What you don’t want to do is to go into the third zone, which is the delusional zone where you’re just coming up with something crazy that when you share it with your team, makes their eyes roll. They’ve got to see it within the realm of possibility as they understand it at the moment you share it. It may be a little bit uncomfortable, may stretch them, but they got to at least be able to say, “You know what, I think we could do this. Yeah, I think it could be possible.”
Michael Hyatt: You know, but here’s the other thing too, Brad, that I want to share. You can’t go to how too quickly. This is where a lot of people shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to vision. They start to think about, wouldn’t it be cool if we could do X, and then somebody interjects or they think to themselves, “Well, I don’t know how we would do that so let’s ratchet back to vision.” Vision always precedes strategy. The what comes before the how, and the what is the vision. So, you got to get clear on the what and when you do, generally speaking, the house starts to show up. The path becomes clear.
Brad Johnson: I want to hit one other thing there because going down, further down the lot of the conversations I have, you’ve got advisor, maybe he’s got a pretty decent team. They’re growing. And I know you did this in your own business where it’s like, “Hey, I want to build a team that operates at a super high level whether I’m there or not, because I created this business to actually give me more freedom.” It’s not I don’t want to be a slave to it. And I think some advisors speaking to the vision that they might want to say three years out, “I don’t want to see clients anymore. I want to be the rainmaker. I want to be the radio guy, the podcast guy, and fill my team’s calendar with appointments.” And they get this guilt of, “How’s my team going to take that if now I’m literally doing one-month sabbatical?” So, say part of that vision is I want to start to remove myself from some of the day-to-day in the business to give myself more freedom.
What’s the key to communicating that in a way to where your team’s not like, “Oh, I guess I’m just here slaving away while Michael travels the world and drinks his favorite bottle of wine.” So, what’s the key to that there?
Michael Hyatt: Yeah. I think the key is to realize that everybody’s favorite radio station is WIIFM: What’s In It For Me? And so, I think you got to articulate how doing that is better for the organization. So, I just went through this exercise three years ago, where I said, “Guys, I’m announcing right now that I’m stepping down as the CEO of Michael Hyatt and Company on January 1, 2022. At that point, I will make my daughter, Megan, the CEO. My intention then is to only be involved in writing one book a year, continuing to do the podcast, and doing five or six speaking engagements. The truth is I’ve got other businesses I want to start. I got to have the freedom to be able to do that.” And so, how did I sell that to them? I said, “Look, we want a business that outlives me. Right now, this business is too personality-driven. It’s too built on me as a small celebrity, but as a personality, and we’ve got to disengage it from that.”
So, literally, Brad, you’ve probably watched us do this. For the last three years, we’ve continued to elevate our team, to bring on products that don’t require my personal presence. And this does a couple of things. First of all, it gets me out of the way. If there’s some upward movement that everybody else has the opportunity to move up as well. Second thing, it creates longevity for the company, because everybody’s wanting to know. I mean, I’m 64 years old. People were asking Megan in interviews, like, “Okay. So like how long’s he going to be around? And what happens if he dies?” You know, then what happens to the business? You’re asking me to leave a job, where I’ve got a great income and great opportunities. How do I know that’s going to be here? So, it answers a lot of questions, creates a lot of certainty and stability in the company when you do that. And the truth is, not everybody likes to do what you like to do. I think that a lot of entrepreneurs make this assumption. If I don’t like it, nobody else likes it. If I like it, everybody would like it.
Michael Hyatt: So, for example, I think I don’t want to give up email because everybody hates that and I can’t possibly voice this on somebody else. So, I’m just going to keep doing it. No, there are people that love it. So, I talked about this in my book, Free to Focus, where I talk about this idea of the freedom compass, and especially about something I call your desire zone. That’s where your passion and your proficiency come together and it’s unique for everybody else, or for everybody. So, for me, I’m passionate about creating and delivering content. I’m not passionate about other things in our business. I create the most leverage, have the most impact, and the most value to my teammates when I’m staying in my desire zone. And again, there are people in your company that have different like there’s probably people in these advisory firms that love meeting with clients. They get jazzed up by that who likes to follow through. Some people like to do the investing part of it, whatever it is.
But the key thing in having a high-performance team is to create an environment where people can work 85% of their time in their desire zone. If you do that, it increases retention. It really increases engagement because people are doing what they love, and they know they’re good at it.
Brad Johnson: Well, just thinking back to a piece of advice you gave, which we should have jumped all over because it’s a key to some of our top-performing financial services firms. Back to your story with Keith, and the meeting with the EA that sits in the meeting with them, from my experience, a lot of our best advisors are like Keith. They love just like every day’s a new day because I get to hear Michael’s story. I get to help him down the path of what retirement means to him and how he uses this tool called money to create experiences with people he loves. Most advisors that are very good at their business, love that part. What they hate is, “Oh, I just created seven to do’s on my to-do list as soon as this meeting’s over. Now, I’ve got all of this to do. Oh, and I’ve got the next client showing up.” And so, he created a system that now over-delivers for you with the EA sending you a recap email minutes later of getting all the stuff he doesn’t like to do off his plate that adds more value to you and helps him do what he’s really good at.
So, just creating those, finding those unique things that only you’re good at that you enjoy and then getting the other stuff off your plate. And I love the messaging there because it applies perfectly to a lot of the firms. We’ve got dad. It’s 55, 60, 65. And we’ve got a lot of father-son, father-daughter, mother-daughter, mother-son. I want this to be a multi-generational firm. Guess what, I’m not going to live forever so we got to figure out what that looks like. So, I love that messaging back to your team because it’s transparent and true. I mean, you can’t hide from that. So, thank you for sharing that. I think that’s super impactful. Let’s get back on the book because we’ve got limited time here and I want to dive in a little deeper. So, if we go to some of the core questions, there’s 10 of them, which ones would you want to share with advisors out there, “Hey, here’s some key steps along it,” and they can get the book too and we’re going to give some of those to listeners too so they can dive in to all of them?
Michael Hyatt: Well, the first part of the book kind of sets up the whole need for a vision so examples of it, what difference does vision make, and I give a lot of examples from a lot of different businesses. I talked about the six pitfalls of vision deficient leaders, but then in part two is really the meat of the book where I talk about drafting your vision script. And so, I talk about in Chapter 3, What Do You Want? This is a huge question. And most people can’t answer it. And because they’ve never really thought about what they want, to get off by themselves, and we recommend that you schedule a day to do this, get up by yourself and say, “What do I want this to become?” And nobody can answer it. You can’t outsource that. You can’t hire it done. You’ve got to do that for yourself. I talked about the difference between a mission statement and a vision script and I talked about how it can be beneficial. Then I talked about Chapter 4, Is It Clear? Okay, this is an important chapter.
Brad Johnson: Can I ask you something on the What Do You Want?
Michael Hyatt: Yeah.
Brad Johnson: I completely agree and that’s the thing that a lot of guys, as they transition into CEO, you cannot outsource vision. You cannot delegate vision. However, is there any point where you need to get your team’s feedback on that vision? Or is it literally go take a day. You paint this picture and then figure out how to inspire them to follow you. But what’s the balance there? …
Michael Hyatt: There’s a very specific flow to that. So, like you said, you can’t outsource it, you can’t delegate it, you got to go off and do this. I think you’ve got to come up with the first draft of it yourself. I don’t care if you’re running a company with 100,000 people or you’re running a company with two people. It’s got to start with you. Then what I would do is I would come back and share that vision with the team with a conversation that looked like this. “Hey, guys, I’ve been thinking a little bit about our future. I’ve been trying to envision what I want the company to look like or what I want the firm to look like three years from now.” But the truth is, I’ve got some of it down. Some of it I need some help with, but I can’t get it right or can’t get it as right as it needs to be without your input. So, I want to share it with you. It’s kind of a rough draft. I’m not Moses coming down from Mount Sinai. This isn’t the 10 commandments. This is just a rough draft of kind of where I see us going. And I want you guys to speak into this.” So, give it to them. Let them evaluate it. Do not defend it.
So, if somebody has an objection, the first thing that needs to come out of your mouth is another question. Don’t assume you think you know what they’re talking about. Dive deeper. You’ve got to create an environment that’s safe for dissent. That’s where you’re going to get your best thinking in the group, and where they can help inform the vision. So, then once you get it together, it depends on how large your firm is but, in our company, we have 40 full-time people. So, we get the leadership team all united around the vision when we first did this, then we roll it out to the next level, and then to the next level, because we don’t want anybody surprised and not kind of been. We wanted to be read in sequentially so that they’re on board. So, we’re trying to create this alignment as a series of meetings that happens through the organization. That makes sense?
Brad Johnson: 100%. Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. That’s helpful. All right. Continue on.
Michael Hyatt: Okay. So, is it clear? So, it’s got to be two things for it to be clear. It’s got to be concrete and it’s got to be explicit. And I have a little 2×2 matrix, because I love 2×2 matrices, and they explain everything in the world. But I talk about that idea of whether it’s abstract or concrete, or implicit and explicit. The writing handles the concrete part, for the most part, because once you get it out of your head, where it’s kind of amorphous and ethereal and easily misunderstood. Once you get that on paper, there’s something about writing that forces you to clarify your thinking. So, to submit yourself to the discipline of writing, even if you don’t consider yourself a writer or you don’t consider yourself that literate, it doesn’t matter. Just something is better than nothing. Just start writing it down. It will force you to get clear and to get concrete. Then you want it explicit. So, it just can’t be something that’s in your head. It’s got to be expressed. It’s got to be explicit in terms of what you see for the future because this has got to guide day-to-day operations. So, those two things will help you to get it clear. And I get a lot of examples in that chapter about what it means to be clear and what happens when it’s not clear.
Again, then does it inspire? And I go into a lot of depth on this because in Chapter 7, this by the way, is Chapter 5, Does It Inspire? but I also talk about, and we could probably finish up with this, but you got to be able to sell it. You know, the vision, this is not a once and done kind of thing. You’re not going to come up with this, put it into a corporate notebook, set it on the shelf and forget about it and then it’s just going to magically happen. No. You got to keep it alive. Andy Stanley said, and I think he’s right, “Vision leaks.” So, what that looks like inside of our firm is we take that vision and as a part of our strategic planning process, we revisit it every year.
Michael Hyatt: The executive team says, “Is this still good? Or now have we come to the place where we’ve kind of crested this mountain. And now we see a whole new range of mountains or other mountains that we want to tackle that need to be part of our vision?” So, we have an opportunity to fine-tune it every year. Then once it’s fine-tuned, we have an all-company meeting that happens in January, where I literally as the CEO read through the entire vision script to the team with enthusiasm. Why? Because I’m excited about it. I don’t want just people to catch the sort of a cognitive transfer, but I want them to catch the emotion of it. I want them to be as enthusiastic about it as I am. When I did this in January, I had a customer service employee who’d only been with the company three months. She came up to me. She’d never talked to me before. She had tears in her eyes. She said, “Now I get it. I see what we’re trying to do. I understand the big picture and the story and I understand how my little actions contribute to the whole. Thank you.”
Well, that’s what I want. You know, I want people to see their daily actions linked up with the big vision but that takes me repeating it. So, then on a quarterly basis, somebody that’s not me reads one of those four sections from the vision script, either about the team, the product, the marketing, or the impact, and they read it with enthusiasm. Plus, we’re constantly pulling it out whenever there’s an opportunity, and saying, “How does this align with the vision?” So, we got to keep it alive. It’s got to be a living document that we’re using day in and day out.
Brad Johnson: How do you celebrate with the team? So, you’ve got this three-year vision and obviously, that’s going to bleed down into goals to hit that vision or make that vision reality. I know you do some really cool things as a company. So, I know you’ve got a framework here, but are their annual celebrations based on metrics and is there a big blowout celebration if we crush this vision three years in and make it become real? How do you reward your team around that?
Michael Hyatt: Yeah. We’ve really tried to be intentional about that. To be honest, it doesn’t come natural to me because as an achiever on the StrengthsFinder thing, when I check off something, it’s dead to me. I’m on to the next thing. Next. But that actually exhausts people. It wears people out. Thankfully, Megan, my COO, is fantastic at this. So, she’s built in celebration, kind of into our culture in a big way. So, we celebrate wins when people make them like with a spiff of some support. You know, we might just send into like I said, one of our gals who did a great job over Christmas with one of our promotions, sent her for a $300 massage. It’s amazing. Amazing spa. You know, little thing but had an important impact on just seeing her and recognizing that behavior. Every quarter when we get together, we have quarterly training sessions all day long with the team. We start with the wins from that last quarter. We pull out our goals. We said we hit them.
If we did, all kinds of celebration there. Yeah. So, we may be taking out to the team for a night of celebration or always something social outside of work that we can do. We might go bowling, we might do one of those big escape games, but it’s just the fun of being together, and that somebody acknowledges it. It doesn’t have to be fancy and expensive. Now, in the past, we’ve done things for hitting our annual goals. As you know, Brad, we’ve taken people to we’ve taken people on cruises, taken people to Blackberry Farm, which we always take them and their…
Brad Johnson: You should do that more often.
Michael Hyatt: I know. Man, that’s…
Brad Johnson: A life changer.
Michael Hyatt: But it gets expensive.
Brad Johnson: It’s also a very nice reward.
Michael Hyatt: So, yeah, so we’re just very intentional.
Brad Johnson: Is there anything around the three-year vision? Do you do one blockbuster blow out, big celebration? Any thoughts around that? I think what a lot of advisors struggle with they love to celebrate with their team when they do big things but they’re also scared to set a precedent to where, “Oh, guess we’re doing this all-inclusive trip every year now.” So, do you think there’s anything behind many annual celebrations? And then if you crush this three-year vision, some bigger version of that, have you experimented with that?
Michael Hyatt: We have not. You know, pretty much everything for us is built around those annual goals because they’re measurable and they’re definitive. Where the vision is going to be a little softer than that. It’s not going to be set up. According to the smarter framework, it’s not going to be as measurable. You know, it’s a much different kind of document. So, we haven’t done anything around the three years.
Brad Johnson: Okay. Thanks. I was just curious. All right, for time’s sake, any closing thoughts on the book before we get some philosophical questions to wrap here?
Michael Hyatt: Yeah. I would just say that I’ve tried to make this almost like paint by number, super easy. So, for example, I have two pages of prompting questions in the book. So, if sitting in front of a word processor by yourself kind of scares you because you think, “I am not a writer. I don’t know what I would do.” If all you do is answer the questions. In fact, you could dictate these to your executive assistant, and let her capture it or let him capture it. If that’s all you do, you’ll be 85% to 90% of the way toward a vision script. So, I try to make this as easy as I can because I really believe that any business worth having deserves a vision script.
Brad Johnson: So, a little hack from our mutual friend, Dan Sullivan, there so he’s got this little phrase, “Who not how.”
Michael Hyatt: Yes, love that.
Brad Johnson: So, one of the things that I’ve started doing, he says, “Hey, any work that super important, but you tend to procrastinate,” which I think a vision statement tends to fall into that. They know it’s really important. It’s just like, “Ugh, that’s overwhelming.” He’ll have you schedule on your calendar, you and someone to hold you accountable like an executive assistant, and literally, if you’re sitting there reading the questions, and they’re typing out your answers, now you have that accountability partner to actually make sure this gets done. So, I love the script idea, whether it’s an individual in there or dictating it through some mobile device. But I think that’s a really cool way a hack to make sure you actually do things that you know you need to do is bring somebody in to ride shotgun with you.
Michael Hyatt: Absolutely.
Brad Johnson: All right. We’re ready for the philosophical. I had to review my previous questions to make sure I didn’t repeat any on you.
Michael Hyatt: Gosh, so I’m just doing this cold. So, yeah, I’ll do my best.
Brad Johnson: Alright. So, we’ll keep it short because I don’t want to run you. I know you’ve got a lot of other engagements today. If we look back, so 25 years from today, so we’re 2020 so we’d be 2045 and you and I sit down and we’re having a philosophical conversation. What would you like to look back 25 years so to 2020 and say, “Wow, remember when people used to do that? That was really absurd. Can you believe that?” what would come to mind?
Michael Hyatt: Social media.
Brad Johnson: That’s an interesting answer from a guy that’s built his business on the back of social media. Please expand.
Michael Hyatt: Well, I think and I don’t want to wax too political, but I think we’re living in an age when the business model for all media has shifted so much. It’s all about clicks. And so, “journalists” write the most provocative headlines they can, amp up the negative news, do everything they can to get to try to sort of hijack our primitive brain and command our attention so we can’t turn away. Social media has become increasingly like that. You know, as people try to get attention for their brands, whatever, they tend to get more extreme. And I just think, I just doubt the value of it long-term. I think, at the very best, it can be an enormous distraction. If you’re using it strategically, it can be enormously helpful to your business. But I think that there’s a lot of people who spend way too much time on social media and they’re not clear about the objectives, and they waste a lot of time as a result.
Brad Johnson: Agreed. It’s kind of like I feel like we’re at this stage where back in the day everybody smoked cigarettes. And it was just a habit and like, “Oh, wait, that causes cancer, you probably shouldn’t do that.” I feel like there’s cancer being caused because of those very abrasive conversations happening and also attention being constantly sucked to it that we’re not fully aware of how that’s going to play out long term. I’m sure there’ll be many, many more studies done on it where we’ll more clearly realize the negative impacts. All right. So, let’s end with this question. You shared Megan, who’s a rock star by the way as is your wife Gail, I’d meant to say this.
Michael Hyatt: Thank you.
Brad Johnson: So, this is on the personal side. So, I’m in Vegas at our event, there’s 300, gosh, how many people in the room? Probably like 300, 400, 500 people in the room. I’m in the back here getting ready to take the stage. I see somebody out of the corner of my eye. And it’s your wife, Gail, and she goes, “Brad, I was hoping I would see…” Big hug. I mean, I felt like I was your only son. You got five daughters and one son, and what a sweetheart. And she’s like, “Come backstage after Michael’s done. We want to catch up.” So, anyway, you have an awesome family is the short version of that.
Michael Hyatt: Thank you.
Brad Johnson: And speaking to Megan, and this transition to CEO, I know one of the things that hit home with me, I think it was your book, Living Forward, where you said, “What legacy do you want to leave behind?” And I think kind of the framework you use is, “You’re peering in on your own funeral. What are they saying about you in your eulogy?” So, you’ve started this transition, I don’t think you’re going anywhere, anytime soon, but around legacy and a multi-generational business. And so, if I was to ask you, you’re kind of peering in, this is what people say about here’s what Michael meant to his team, his family, just here’s what he left behind, what’s important to you around that?
Michael Hyatt: I think the most important thing to me is for people to feel like I always had time for them, you know, the people that are close to me, that when I was with them, I was fully present, that I was there to encourage them, give them perspective, and really, I was the cheerleader that told them they could do it. Because I think that when people have confidence when they’re affirmed, they can leap tall buildings with a single bound. And I want to be the person that I would love for Megan to say, and my other daughters to say, “My dad was always my biggest cheerleader,” and frankly, I could say that about my dad. But to say my dad was always my biggest cheerleader. He was always there for me. He always had time for me and, yeah, if I could do that, if I could really be connected to them, if they still love me that would be just awesome.
Brad Johnson: Great parting words. Thanks for sharing that. Well, Michael, on my side, awesome to have you back on. You’re always doing big things. You inspire me. You’ve been a mentor to me and my business has evolved over the last two, three years and more importantly, my family and how I showed up as a dad and husband’s evolved because of you. So, thanks for coming on and thanks for sharing all your wisdom with the audience here.
Michael Hyatt: You bet, Brad. Thank you so much.
Brad Johnson: Until next time.
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