Scott Miller’s Favorite Messes (or Mistakes) in Executive and Marketing Roles

Scott Miller’s Favorite Messes (or Mistakes) in Executive and Marketing Roles


Check out all episodes on the My Favorite Mistake main page.

My guest for Episode #100 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Scott J. Miller, a long-time executive with FranklinCovey.

Scott is the author of books including Everyone Deserves a Great Manager, Management Mess To Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and his latest book, Marketing Mess to Brand Success: 30 Challenges to Transform Your Organization's Brand (and Your Own).

He's also the host of the podcast, “On Leadership with Scott Miller,” where he has interviewed people including Adam Grant, Elizabeth Smart, John Maxwell, Matthew McConaughey, and Stephen M.R. Covey. 

In today's episode, Scott shares his favorite mistake, from his time as a Chief Marketing Officer and how being an “idea fountain” was a mistake, as he learned. We also get a bonus “favorite mistake” story about a marketing promotion gone wrong.

Other topics and questions:

  • Multipliers – his favorite leadership book either written – Liz Wiseman (or are we “diminishers”?)
  • How did you bring this up and resolve this with your team?
  • Questions that aren’t really questions?
  • Can you be an expert in everything? Safe to say, “I don’t know”??
  • The Speed of Trust – Stephen M.R. Covey
  • How important to you is “manager” vs. “leader”??
  • How do you define a “great” mangager in a nutshell?
  • On Leadership – guest messes?
  • McConaughey Greenlights book
  • The E.F. Hutton reference – example commercial

Scroll down to find:

  • Watch the video
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

Watch the Episode:


"I said, 'Oh my gosh, I'm the idea fountain.' I'm the chief marketing officer. I believed at the time that my role was to be the smartest person in the room."
"And you got to be emotionally agile enough and intellectually nimble enough — and really self-aware enough — to realize, are there other ideas that that challenge yours now? And you aren't supposed to be the expert on everything."

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban (0s):
Episode 100 Scott J. Miller, Franklin Covey. Host of the podcast On Leadership with Scott Miller, author of books, including Management Mess to Leadership Success and Marketing Mess to Brand Success,

Scott Miller (17s):
So I have no shortage of messes to share.

Mark Graban (22s):
I'm Mark Graban. This is My Favorite Mistake. In This podcast, you'll hear business leaders and other really interesting people talking about their favorite mistakes because we all make mistakes, but what matters is learning from our mistakes instead of repeating them over and over again. So this is the place for honest reflection and conversation, personal growth and professional success. Visit our website at to learn more about Scott, his work, his books, and more go to Yes. Episode 100. Thanks for listening and on with the show.

Mark Graban (1m 2s):
Our guest today is Scott Miller. He is an executive vice president of thought leadership At Franklin Covey. Scott's been with the company for 20 years. He previously served as VP of business development and the chief marketing officer. He's a busy guy. He is the host of a podcast called on leadership with Scott Miller guests have included Adam Grant, Elizabeth Smart, John Maxwell, Matthew McConaughey, Stephen MR covey. That's that's quite a list. So before telling the audience more about you, Scott, let me first say a welcome, thanks for being here on this podcast.

Scott Miller (1m 40s):
Mark. My pleasure, man. Thank you for turning your spotlight onto me for my new book. I'm grateful.

Mark Graban (1m 46s):
Oh, sure. I'm happy to have you here. I think we'll learn a lot today and I know there's some good stories. So the books and, and for those of you who are watching on YouTube, you can see kind of behind Scott for those who are just listening. I'll give you a little bit of a rundown he's author of books, including Everyone Deserves a Great Manager, Management Mess to Leadership Success, 30 challenges to become the leader you would follow. And he's got a new book it's going to be available. May 11th Marketing Mess to Brand Success, 30 challenges to transform your organization's brand and your own. And you can also see peaks behind you. Scott. You've got quite a pipeline of books in the future.

Mark Graban (2m 27s):
Can you tell us about that a little bit first?

Scott Miller (2m 29s):
Sure. So the first book that I wrote, management master leadership success, really just all focused on my own message as a leader inside a leadership development for gosh, over 25 years and it got some 60, it got some traction, some success, right? It's sold about a hundred thousand copies that first year, which is not too shabby for us. No first time no-name author. And there was just something in this idea of owning your mess. Everybody's got a mess. So as a leader, show that vulnerability to own your mess because when you do, you make it safe for others to own their. So the publisher signed me to a nine volume deal over eight years in the mess success series. So today's topic is marketing mess to brand success.

Scott Miller (3m 10s):
I was the chief marketing officer for almost eight years at this global public company. And then I've just finished the manuscript for job mess to career success based on the ups and downs, mostly ups, but some downs of my own career. And now I'm finishing the final touches on the fourth book called communication mess to influence success. It'll come out in 2022 and then there are about four or five more that see their sales mess. There is parenting mess to launch success, relationship mess. There's a whole bunch of them that are coming out. In fact, the parenting nest, a launched exempt will be co-written by my oldest son. I have three boys right now.

Scott Miller (3m 50s):
And so I got to get closer to launch before I have any credibility on the launch part. But I appreciate you asking about the series I'm delighted. The response has gotten. So, and

Mark Graban (3m 60s):
One reason, one of the reasons I was so excited to have you here on the podcast, it seems like philosophically, there's a really strong alignment. You're using the word mess here. We talk about mistakes, but everything you said aligns with the theme here of, you know, owning mistakes and, and being open and, and creating a culture where that's okay, because that drives learning instead of blame or feeling sorry for ourselves.

Scott Miller (4m 26s):
Well, that's just, that's why I love your podcast where I came on, because I think the days are gone where people are disconnected from leaders. They're on pillars. They're all on columns. No, I mean, people want to relate to their leaders. They want to respect them and learn from them. But I think the greatest teaching moment, any learner, any leader can offer their team is to talk transparently, vulnerably, open about mistakes. You've made to use those mistakes. I've called them. I call them messes the same exact thing to teach through them, to use them as a learning point. Because when you own your mess, you make it safe for others to own theirs. If you're seen as being untouchable and perfect and pristine, then no one's going to take risks.

Scott Miller (5m 11s):
No, one's going to tell you the truth. No, one's going to surface their problems where others can learn from them. I want my people that work for me report to me. I am an entrepreneur. I have employees. I want them to own their mess immediately. And if they trust that I have an open culture, they're going to take some more risks. They're gonna, they're going to be more abundant with information and talk about their fears, their passions, their challenges, just the culture I want to work in and the licensed mistakes, right? It's not, it's not making an environment where you want people to make mistakes. It's creating an environment where it's safe to make mistakes, report them immediately and have the maturity, the emotional maturity to share them and have everybody learn from them versus trying to hide them or sweep on.

Scott Miller (5m 58s):

Mark Graban (5m 59s):
Right. Because mistakes, just building on that, being open about mistakes, isn't a license to be reckless that's right. But even when people are being careful and thoughtful and well-considered, they're still ended up being decisions, whether that's in the realm of, of leadership, deciding who to hire, or from a marketing standpoint, what kind of messaging or campaign to go with there, there could still be mistakes even with our best education and efforts and intentions. So on that, I guess maybe I'll just jump right into the question that you're expecting, because we ask everybody here on the podcast, you know, Scott, with all the different things you've done, what would you say is your favorite mistake?

Scott Miller (6m 42s):
Well, so, you know, I've written multiple books in the mess series, so I've no shortage of messages to share. In fact, after I wrote the first book management mess, my wife said, you realize you'll never get a job again, like go and whatever, I'll hire you. This book thing has got to work out. That's why I'm writing so many books because, you know, forget social media, read my books and you probably wouldn't have hired him before. But I think if I had to, if I had to bring together the totality of all of my investors, I've had a few successes, right? I got a couple of wraps under my belt and it really became prominent to me. When I went read a different book called multipliers. This is my favorite leadership book ever written by a friend of mine, Liz Wiseman, who actually ended up endorsing management ness.

Scott Miller (7m 25s):
And you know, Liz's book is all about becoming a multiplier of other people, right? Not to be the genius in the room, but rather the genius maker of others. And the premise of her book is that you aren't either a multiplier or you are as she calls it a diminisher excellent adventure. We're all moving between creating, diminishing moments and creating multiplying moments. So in her book multiplier, I highly recommend to your viewers and listeners is she identifies nine accidental diminishing tendencies, nine profiles, the optimist, the strategists, the rapid responder, the pace setter. You get the point, the perfectionist, the first of the nine accidental diminishing tendency is this person.

Scott Miller (8m 8s):
She called the idea fountain. When I read this book, Mark, I said, oh my gosh, I'm the idea fountain. I'm the chief marketing officer. I believed at the time that my role was to be the smartest person in the room. The most well-read the most creative, the most creative, the most educated. It was my idea because the buck stopped with me and my idea had to trump, everything else. I know I'm insane and absurd. But after I read her book, I realized, you know, I'm not the genius maker of others. I am the genius in the room and go one wants to work for the smartest person in the room. So I guess you'd say the biggest mistake I ever made was falling into the trap. Believing that as the chief marketing officer, I was supposed to be the smartest suppose that when in fact my role was to be a talent magnet for others, I came mark to understand that I was perhaps unwilling to hire people who I viewed as being more competent than me.

Scott Miller (9m 8s):
More, technically smart, more creative. I was threatened by other people's own skills. And therefore I'm guessing subconsciously if I deemed you not as talented as me, which often I was probably lately wrong, but I wouldn't hire you because I thought it would jeopardize my stature. When I came to realize that no, my he contribution to my employer was not being the most creative. It was being the talent magnet to bring other palpably, noticeably, more creative people in, and then create a culture where they thrive, where they wanted to stay, where they chose to stay. I wasn't all bad. I think the people that worked with me, there were 35 of them. Most of them would say we liked working for Scott, our careers blossomed.

Scott Miller (9m 49s):
We doubled our income. I was not a total wreck, but it was in hindsight, probably my biggest mistake, which was being so insecure. You know, this idea of imposter syndrome of thinking that I had to protect myself. And if I brought people around me that were even more tentatively competent than me, that I would be exposed as a fraud. When in fact, your job as the CMO, isn't to be the expert on SEO or the expert on marketing automation, the expert on Google Analytics, come on, I can't be an expert on 50 things. Some leaders try, by the way, if your leader is an expert on everything run fast, because like me, they are a diminisher. But the big idea there is just to recognize it.

Scott Miller (10m 30s):
If you want to multiply talent, you become comfortable. What is your contribution? And I think I stepped down from being the chief marketing officer on my own volition. The CEO asked me to stay three times. I moved to a different role since then. I've actually retired from the firm. I still am an advisor. I host their podcast was the largest now leadership podcast. And I write books for the company. But for me, that was my biggest mistake was not realizing I was identifying with myself as being the genius. That's the security firm, which I kind of built my position.

Mark Graban (11m 6s):
So I mean, that, that, that moment of recognition that you had that does speak to the power of books, being presented with an idea that makes you think, and it resonated with you. I mean, can, can you think of a particular interest or a, a particular situation where you thought, oh, how was being the idea fountain? Like, was there something that jumped to mind as you were reading it, it sounds like, like you were

Scott Miller (11m 32s):
Saying, it was a bit of, there's 30 of them right in here, right there, but yes, to your point, lots of times when you know, my, my arrogance got ahead of me, here's a good example. Stephen, Mr. Covey, the oldest son of Dr. Stephen R Covey, of course, the author of the book, the Seven Habits of Highly Effective people. Stephen MR Covey wrote a book called The Speed of Trust. It's probably the, the, if you will, on building organizational trustee outlines, what are the 13 behaviors of high trust leader? This book has sold nearly 3 million copies. Well, when I was a chief marketing officer, one of my genius decisions was to put Stephen on about 25 city speaking tour.

Scott Miller (12m 12s):
He gives keynotes for a living and we developed a video card. You'll kind of the size. If you go into hallmark and you see the greeting cards that sing a song to you, you kind of like six by seven or so. Well, we created a video part. The technology exists to have a video screen about the size of a credit card. And in here you can take three or four really high quality videos. So we decided to mail a couple of thousand of these video cards. You opened it up and you got a welcome invitation from Stephen, Mr. Covey. He gave you a little bit of content and we talked about why you'd want to come to this, you know, local to our event in Dallas to spend time with this famous author. So we ship out a variety of video cards. Our sales staff delivers them all. Cause they're kind of expensive, a piece 30, $40, but there were about a dozen clients where we didn't have a sales person would be close to that client.

Scott Miller (12m 57s):
So there was one client that happens to be a firearms manufacturer. We wanted to gain them as a client. So politics on that, on that, just we want the client. So we should mail them this video card again, you know, the size of a book and it had a video screen in it just so happens that when the video card arrived was flagged through the mails, I'm sure they get lots of threats and all kinds of things, given the politics behind, you know, that right by the constitution and, and, and all the ensuing, you know, carnage that's happened for the misuse of firearms and all ethicals. Anyway, they call that they called the state police, the FBI, the ATF, and the local police. They all come out with a bomb squad because they're convinced the FranklinCovey video card perhaps is a threat.

Scott Miller (13m 41s):
Well, of course it wasn't. I had to do some damage control with our own board of directors and the risk and audit committee and all that. I owned public relations, but the point was, it was kind of ironic that a card on trust was, you know, developing the bomb squad to come. But what I realized is I probably should have thought through, does this technology, you know, have some issues around it. I probably did not sit around with a group of people differently than me to see, okay. So how will these cards inter organizations, right? Are their mail rooms? Are there security issues? Should we mail them at all to the federal government? You know, I mean, we are one of the, I think it is the department of the treasury is one of our big clients.

Scott Miller (14m 24s):
They don't get any mail. All the mail goes to an offsite sorting center, right? For anthrax and all kinds of things. And then it might get delivered to you. It might not the point. There is, it was a huge mess. We managed to contain it. The client wasn't offended original or after some time. And we talked them off of it and we didn't land them as a client, but it was a sobering reality of probably what a group think, right. And me not surrounding myself by different people in the division to say, okay, what could go wrong? What's the downside of this? What should we be aware of as opposed to charging ahead genius idea. And in some cases it was a masterful idea. Thousands were delivered. Hundreds of CEOs showed up to events.

Scott Miller (15m 5s):
We had a wildly successful tour, but in hindsight, I probably didn't surround myself with people of different points of view, different thinking to help me brainstorm what could go wrong and could we anticipate it? And the big learning there was don't mail, video cards, just hand deliver them, but trusted source.

Mark Graban (15m 26s):
Well, but yeah, there's an important management lesson that you share there. Scott, it seems like there's overlap sometimes between a marketing mess and a management mess, but I think of different workplaces where leaders it's it's well, for one thing is you were saying surround yourself with, with people with different backgrounds and different perspectives that is really valuable. But then asking a question like, you know, what concerns do any of you have about this? And then being open to the answer like that. That's one thing that I think has been interesting in healthcare. There are times where people are taught to use the phrase. I have a concern if they're speaking up in a hierarchical situation, because I think some of the thinking behind that is, you know, it's a statement of fact by say, I have a concern.

Mark Graban (16m 13s):
It's hard for you to say, no, you don't. But as a, but again, like, you know, the leader, whether that's a surgeon or a chief marketing officer, you gotta be open to that feedback and not be dismissive or do other things that

Scott Miller (16m 27s):
And create the culture, right? Create the environment where people feel safe to speak up doesn't mean that they're going to have the right solution or that you even need to address their solution, ultimately, but to create a culture as a leader where it is safe for people to disagree, speak up and it's to say to them, I may not adopt your concern. I may not share your concern, but certainly you can speak up right. And share what is your, your intent, which is to help people.

Mark Graban (16m 54s):
And then I see traps sometimes in different organizations where leaders will say, after the fact they should have spoken up. And I think, well, wait a minute. I think that's pointing the finger in the wrong direction. If, if that culture wasn't there, if it's not a trust environment, well,

Scott Miller (17m 10s):
One it's understandable, Mark. Sorry. I interrupted you. That's right. One of the challenges I write about is that point you make, what should I say to the sales leaders and marketing leaders, but to any leader, if your people are lying to you, not because they're bad people because they're, you know, they're saying I'm going to hit my quota for the quarter and then they miss it. Or they've say somebody has arrived, but it hasn't right. If people are lying to you as a leader that says more about you than it does about them, it means you have not created a safe culture where people can deliver bad news as a job, your leader is to accept and solve bad news all day long, not wrong news. The difference between bad news and news. And I spent a lot of time educating my team members around wrong news and bad news.

Scott Miller (17m 56s):
But if your people are lying to you or to your point, they're not admitting their mistakes or talking about their issues. Nine times out of 10 is because as the leader, you have not created a culture where you make it safe for others to share bad news, to challenge the status quo or to risk pissing you off because they may disagree with you. That takes some growth on every leader's path. So what was

Mark Graban (18m 19s):
Part of your growth, Scott? You, you, you read the book multipliers, you had this epiphany, this awakening and this recognition, whatever you might call it, did you then sort of open up with your team and bring, bring this up. As, as

Scott Miller (18m 34s):
I did, I did, which is my, which is my nature right here was my big epiphany. At the time I was the chief marketing officer. I was a named executive officer on the executive team at a public company. And I find myself at every executive team meeting saying, well, what if we, well, what if we, well, what if we did this? And what if, and then I was just fountain of ideas. And because I was fairly influential, I was somewhat charismatic and I had a budget and I had a 25 years in the firm. I would have very talented, very well-educated executives chasing all of my solutions. And I became a distraction. I think what I became was a really valuable gap closure leader, and really valuable let's fix it this way, very tactical versus being very strategic, kind of holding back, letting the team sort of think and talk through the strategy and the problem.

Scott Miller (19m 27s):
And then when it was time, I could offer a bevy of solutions, but I was just sort of a solution, always looking for a problem. Now, the fact of the matter is our market cap tripled under my leadership. The stock went from six to $30. There were some great things, of course, that I did along with the broader team and company. But as I look back, when I share with my team, I, it was time for someone else to take my job. It wasn't, I wasn't being fired. I could have still been in the job now, but I like to disrupt myself. I like to stay ahead of the boot. I like to always relieve myself of my job a year or two before anybody else begins to think about. I hate. And I love this adage and mark that is, you're never in the room when your career is decided for you.

Scott Miller (20m 14s):
If you're that CEO, the board is deciding it in private. If you're the senior vice president, the CFO and the CEO are deciding it for you. If you're a frontline sales manager, right? You're never in the room when your career is being decided for you. And I didn't want that to be that story of my career. So I quite proactively moved myself out of that job. Not because I was a mess because I had messes and they were also diminishing other people. I needed to go find my voice on the next phase of my career.

Mark Graban (20m 44s):
Well, the one thing you talked about there when you were throwing out the what, if we, if we, there, there, there, there are questions that aren't really questions or they are questions that get interpreted as a directive, depending on the personalities in the room. What if we do such and such might be heard as we need to do such and such. And sometimes leaders aren't aware of that. They don't intend because sometimes it's different between extrovert introvert. Like, Hey, I was just thinking out loud and the introvert assumes while if you said it, you must've thought about it a lot. And you've made a decision as opposed to, I'm just thinking out loud, those decisions,

Scott Miller (21m 20s):
What you share is so profound that Liz Wiseman said before she wrote the book multipliers, she was an executive level leader at the Oracle corporation for 18 years. And she said she was an idea fountain. And that finally on her door at Oracle, which was like a whiteboard she wrote and big writing, ignore me as needed to get your job done. And I thought that's so great. It just shows like a mature leader to realize, you know what, I'm going to have lots of ideas. And I'll tell you when they are directed. Well, you'll know the difference between me having an idea party. And you actually now having to change priorities, execute on this. But I do think that self-awareness to your point is so invaluable as leaders, you've got to know, what is it like to work for you?

Scott Miller (22m 3s):
What's it like to execute a project it's like to be in your staff meeting, where you're just going off, people are wondering how the hell is this. This is all supplant last week's ideas, or is this so as a leader, not only do you make it safe for others to tell you their truth, make it safe for them to give you feedback and talk to you about, you know, bus, which of these 19 things should I start first? Right. And I, and I had the epiphany in my late forties, like 49 during this time where I realized I needed to hold back, that my power, my influence, my credibility. Would it be any less? It might even be more if I was quiet for an hour in the CEO's meeting.

Scott Miller (22m 47s):
And then when it came time for the marketing guy to opine, I have a, B E F Hutton, right? Not, you know, Scott Miller and I dated myself for your viewers.

Mark Graban (22m 59s):
I remember the EFI Hutton commercials. People can search you for that. If they're talking. Yeah. Profound actually. But I think, you know, there's this tendency, a lot of organizations encourage leaders to be the all-knowing infallible, unquestionable experts. And, and, and that builds over the course of someone's career or that expectation is there where I think of a distinction, I think a powerful thing in the company, I think a positive trait is when people feel safe to answer a question by saying, I don't know. Yeah. I don't know. Let's find out. I don't know. Let's figure it out. I don't know. Let's go try.

Mark Graban (23m 40s):
I mean, I'm curious if you've run across that dynamic, is that one of, it sounds like one of the management messages that you, you might

Scott Miller (23m 46s):
Yeah, it does. I mean, again, this is why your podcast is so popular is because your insights are right on it. It comes to the kind of culture you want to create, right? I mean, people are not an organization's most valuable asset that human resource adage has long been debunked. It's the relationships between your people that are your ultimate competitive advantage. So you're really, you know, every company is now a technology company and every company is in, is in the same business that people, right. These are now outages that are ubiquitous across all businesses. So leaders have to recognize that you may have 30 years of experience. What you likely have is one year of experience repeated 29 times and hearing the same things over and over again.

Scott Miller (24m 31s):
And you got to be emotionally agile enough and intellectually nimble enough. And really self-aware enough to realize, are there other ideas that, that challenge yours now? And you aren't supposed to be the expert on everything. If you're working for someone who is an expert in operations, supply chain, marketing, finance, accounting, run, run from that person, right? Cause it's only a matter of time between their perfectionism and omniscience crushes your spirit and your soul and be the talent magnet. Right. Just be the magnet, bringing in all this genius talent.

Mark Graban (25m 7s):
And, and, and there's, I mean, this is a workplace dynamic. It's also a dynamic on, on social media or there's the expression that gets thrown out like, oh, so now you're an expert in immunology and vaccines. Huh? I mean, well, we can look

Scott Miller (25m 20s):
To the top of the nation for that one for the last couple of years, that was, you know, no politics there. It's just, if you want your credibility to be respected, you don't have an opinion on everything. Right? You bring, you bring yourself to the recognition. As a leader, my job is to bring the best expert talent around me as possible kind like the role of the cabinet plays to the president of, I write in the book, marketing master brand success that I think the most valuable group of people around the U S president is Herc his or her cabinet, right. Is to bring experts in, to opine on issues where ultimately they have to make the decision, but it's not in a vacuum hopefully.

Scott Miller (26m 0s):

Mark Graban (26m 0s):
So surrounding yourself with people and giving them permission to challenge you and disagree is w we're in agreement that that's a trait you would want to see in a family, in a business at the highest levels of government. And, and like, yeah. Not, not to spend too much time on it, but I think it is just a factual observation. We could see it with our own eyes of the former president would say things like, oh, you know, I went and visited the CDC and they were amazed by how I knew so much about this. And just that constant bragging of, I know the most about this that I

Scott Miller (26m 35s):
Think I, I tell you, I tell you, I think there was serious merely irreparable damage done there on what we look to leaders more how we view leadership to your point earlier. It is sometimes in my wildest dreams, I imagined the president, I'm having a press conference. I think, how would I handle this situation? Right? I mean, what would I say here? And you've got your PR people saying, well, don't show weakness and you've got your rant. People saying, well, you know, don't tell all the truth, right? And at the end of the day, you might just say, you know what? We need to have a talk. And some of you, aren't going to agree with me. Some of you did not vote for me. Some of you did, some of you are going to support me and some of you are not, but I'm here to give you the facts and the information, and you can determine how you want to action on them at your own level.

Scott Miller (27m 20s):
But there is a level of transparency that is, I think an invaluable leadership currency is sharing the truth. Your opinion on the truth is your politics. But as a leader, I'll tell you, people can handle bad news. What they can't handle is no news or raw news or made up news. Sure. And I do think there has been some damage on how we view leadership from a character standpoint, but also from a competence standpoint, I'm a lifelong member of a party of that man. But I think we got a real look at the characteristics we view as being, you know, comprising great leaders

Mark Graban (27m 57s):
It'll come back. Yeah. And one example, I guess, where we'll talk about a little bit more before the 2016 election, I wrote a blog post where I would call out a leader from either party. But the statement was, well, when I was in business, I was a great leader because people did what I told them to do. And I'm like, I reject that 100%

Scott Miller (28m 19s):
Was that the forties? Was it the foot? Was it Henry Ford? Who said

Mark Graban (28m 23s):
That was feudal England times. I mean,

Scott Miller (28m 29s):
And again, this is, you know, we'll keep our political opinions off. I'll keep mine off your show, but you're right. I mean, this command and control style of leadership, it's gone with the younger generation, flooding the marketplace and thank goodness for this fresh, vibrant talent we have coming in that ain't going to work anymore. Right. I mean that those days

Mark Graban (28m 48s):
Are over and, and we're talking, you know, we're talking the leadership components here and you know, the one time I had the blessed opportunity to do a one-on-one conversation with Dr. Stephen R Covey for a different podcast series, he actually brought up the phrase, command and control and how damaging that is an organization. So they, you know, the, these are, these are the leadership concepts, but back back to one of your other books, the on management mess, one thing I wanted to ask you before we wrap up Scott, you, you talk about management, you've got a book about people deserving, a great manager. People love sometimes to, to, to no end debating the words manager versus leader.

Mark Graban (29m 30s):
Are they synonyms? Do they really mean different things? What, what's your thought on that?

Scott Miller (29m 36s):
Yeah. To your point, I'm not really caught up on this, but I could, I could hold my own. Right. And if someone wants to debate me on it, 30 years in the leadership development industry, I did author a book called everyone, deserves a great manager of the six critical practices for beating a team. I actually didn't like the name because Seth Godin is a dear friend of mine. And he was like, thrashing me over manager. Of course, Dr. Covey spent his whole life talking about leadership. I hear, you know, management is also referred to as you know, manage things and processes, leadership, lead people and culture. You manage management is working in the system. Leadership's working on the system. Here's what I think. I think there are times when managers can be better leaders.

Scott Miller (30m 19s):
And also, I think there's times when leaders can be better managers, because in some cases we've elevated leaders to, you know, vision and mission and culture and strategy, but they can't manage the P&L they can't determinate someone to save their life. They can't, you know, literally manage a pipeline of opportunities to make sure you actually hit your quarterly financial commitment. So I think sometimes leadership can be so aspirational where nothing gets done. It's all about consensus building and building culture. Yes. That's important. And you got to deliver on your second quarter revenue and EBITDA promises to your investors, or your analyst will skewer you and your stock is about a $6. So there is a fine balance of knowing when to manage, including managed people.

Scott Miller (31m 3s):
Some people need to be managed at certain parts of their career. And when do you lead people? And then when do you manage systems versus when do you lead systems? My, and I'm in this to be convenient, but I think it's a delicate balance, like clutch in the gas, right. Is when I was 15. My father horrifyingly taught me of course, how to drive a stick shift Jeep. I was all kinds of lurching back and forth. And you know, but it's that delicate now is effervescent right now. It's just done unconsciously. I didn't think about it. My wife was much more talented than I am in every aspect of life can not get our car up the hill. We have a vented to save her life. She could not drive the car up the hill three weeks from now where she put the time into it, she would do it naturally.

Scott Miller (31m 46s):
Right? Like management leadership. You got to kind of pay the price to know when to use either. And it becomes reflexively, unconscious gas. And

Mark Graban (31m 56s):
It seems like the S the, the, the pendulum swings back and forth, there are different areas where, you know, there's some areas where books come out late. I think that being a former CEO of Honeywell had a book called Execution, and, you know, people talk very bossy. That's right. And some people talk about, you know, you know, execution being 95% of the battle. And, you know, th these are just numbers and expressions, but yeah, you're right. Sometimes it's seen as fun and glamorous. I mean, I see sometimes healthcare management students come out of their master's program and they want to go into a job in strategy because I think school has convinced them. That's cool. That's sexy.

Mark Graban (32m 36s):
That's. And, and, and I think at some point, boy, you've got to go into operations and see how the organization really works on a day to day basis. We need both I'm with you. We need strategy. We need execution, but yeah, sometimes people get too fixated on, on one or the other, because I would say the best operations without any strategy would be a problem. So I think back of the history of, of FranklinCovey, the company, and I, you know, at some point it was Franklin. I mean, in the mid nineties, I carried a Franklin planner, the leather bound, I bought the paper inserts for it every year. Like at some point, I'm sure that was a good cash cow business, but then I got appointed $20 billion dollars, but then I got a Palm pilot.

Mark Graban (33m 19s):
Right. And so the world changed Franklin, or at one point, you know, it became FranklinCovey. There was a need for strategy and evolution, not just better execution of what. Yeah. We,

Scott Miller (33m 31s):
We haven't been, we have reinvented ourselves, you know, three or four times, like we were actually the largest reseller of PalmPilots in the nation, as we were also trying to kind of make that migration. You know, what's interesting is to that point, we, we have long since divested ourselves from the retail stores in the consumer paper planning business, but as she still does pretty well think about it. I mean, I've probably got two or three systems on my desk. I still capture notes. I mean, paper has never been more relevant. We're still using it. It's just kind of how you use it, how you integrate it into your system. I love that you and I are both organizational nerds. Only. You can pinch to me that CEO of Honeywell in the eighties. And I can tell you his name was literally

Mark Graban (34m 15s):
Dated ourselves. That's a great book by the way. Well, and we'll, we'll, we'll, I'll put a link in the show notes to one of the EF Hutton commercials when EF Hutton talks people listen. Right? I love that. Thank you. So our guests here today, this has been a lot of fun. Scott, our guest has been Scott J. Miller, his book coming out May 11th. There'll be available when you hear this actually marketing mess to brand success, 30 challenges to transform your organization's brand and your own. So, and there are other books. You can find them all I'll link to Scott's Amazon listing, and there are future books to come.

Mark Graban (34m 55s):
The website is marketing mess, Is that probably the best place for people to go Scott? Yep. That's

Scott Miller (35m 1s):
Great. You also can find me Connect to me. Follow me, message me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, all of them, but works great. Thank

Mark Graban (35m 14s):
You, Mark. And the podcast is on leadership with Scott Miller. Final final question. I mean, can you, do you remember a guest that had an interesting mess story that they told I'm putting you on the spot? You've talked to a lot of great people,

Scott Miller (35m 30s):
You know, we've had 150 episodes. We've got some great guests coming up, bill gates is coming up. Oh, wow. I'm Melinda Gates. We've got some amazing guests coming up. You know, Matthew McConaughey, you mentioned earlier was a great guest better than I thought he might be. Actually he's book Greenlights is still number one audio book in the nation. I highly recommend his book Greenlight that the raw discontinuous series of messages in his life. Right. But he shared a concept from a friend of his I'm going to, I'm going to bastardize it here. But he basically said, you know, I've had thousands of problems in my life only of which a few ever really materialized. I mean, I got that wrong, but it's just a great point to thinking know, we spend so much time worried about all these things that will happen when the vast majority of them don't.

Scott Miller (36m 20s):
And I liked that line because like, like his uncle, his friend's uncle, I spent a lot of my time thinking about what can go wrong as an officer, I'm, you know, big into contingency planning and I'm a husband, I'm a father of three and I'm responsible for four people's lives, you know, on a certain part of their life. And so I tend to be, I love a good crisis. I love a good crisis. And if one doesn't exist, oh, I'll cook one up to crisis level for the adrenaline. Right. I do my best work in crisis mode. So I have like Matthew McConaughey's mess was the fact that, you know, what most of your messes aren't going to come true. So just to own those that do and teach through them so others can avoid them and have a higher batting average on their success.

Mark Graban (37m 4s):
Wow. So thank you for sharing that story, Scott. I haven't listened to that episode yet, so I will go and find it and I encourage the listeners to go suck it up. It's

Scott Miller (37m 13s):
Good. It's good. He's chill. He makes me even he's he's we're polar opposites, right? He is as chill as he portrays himself. And it was very insightful. I mean, don't underestimate that man, but he

Mark Graban (37m 25s):
Is a potentially running for governor here in the state of Texas. So

Scott Miller (37m 29s):
We'll see. Yeah, we'll see. Yeah.

Mark Graban (37m 31s):
Will be interesting to see. You'll have a chance. So again, Scott Miller, Thank you so much. This has been a lot of fun. Thank you for joining us today for show notes, links to Scott's work and books, and more go to As always. I want to thank you for listening. I hope this podcast inspires you to reflect on your own mistakes, how you can learn from them or turn them into a positive I've had listeners tell me they started being more open and honest about mistakes in their work. And they're trying to create a workplace culture where it's safe to speak up about problems because that leads to more improvement and better business results. If you have feedback or a story to share, you can email me

Mark Graban (38m 15s):
And again, our website is

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.