EPISODE 9 - The 3HAG Way

Executive Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses.

In this episode of CEO Brainfood, Michael outlines the planning system known as The 3HAG (3-Year Highly Achievable Goals) Way by Shannon Susko and how this system is designed to take complex strategies and make them clear, simple and implementable. Michael breaks down the strategy into foundation, team, and execution system and the best practiced methods used in 3HAG Way to help organizations grow effectively.

Episode Highlights

00:51 – Introducing today’s topic, “The 3HAG Way” planning system

01:13 – Background of Shannon Susko

03:01 – How 3HAG System bridges the gap between 1-year goal and BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) System

05:38 – An anecdote from General Dwight Eisenhower 

08:18 – The significance of aligning your team to the core values of the organization to effectively build enterprise value

10:51 – Mapping out your internal and external environments

14:14 – How Market Attribution Framework is used to generate the core of your 3-Year Strategy

16:43 – Articulating exceptional strategies to fill in the gap

17:21 – Plotting concrete milestone steps to achieve the differentiators

19:20 – Assessing your current human resources versus the requirements you need to meet to accomplish the 3-Year Goal Strategy

21:29 – The Cash Conversion Cycle

22:53 – Michael leaves the audience with a quote

Tweetable Quotes

“You get out what you put in.” (02:09)

“In preparing for battle, I’ve always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.” – General Dwight D. Eisenhower (05:30)

“Preparation is everything but when the plan is put to the test we must be prepared for variances that are out of our control.” (07:41)

“If we’re clear about our foundations, then we can be more effectively able to withstand events and adjust the variables that threaten our efforts to build enterprise value.” (08:52)

“Strategy is about being different” (16:21)

“When there is no vision the people will perish”. Proverbs 29:18 (22:59)

Links Mentioned

Shannon Susko

Michael’s LinkedIn

Michael’s Website

Books Mentioned

Built to Last by Jim Collins

5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lenconi

EPISODE 8 - Everyone Needs a Coach

Executive Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses.

In this episode of CEO Brain Food, Michael breaks down the value and impact coaching can have on individuals, teams and organizations. Michael makes compelling arguments for why everyone, regardless of status, needs a coach. He identifies key roles that great coaches fulfill, including their ability to spot gaps in performance, reduce tension, and define the execution of strategies. Finally, Michael discusses how effective coaching can impact the three areas of leadership.

Episode Highlights

01:01 – Introducing today’s topic, coaching

01:41 – The preconceived notions about coaching

02:46 – The importance Michael places on reading

06:13 – Why everyone needs a coach

07:12 – Attributes of a great coach

09:15 – The golf example

09:51 – A compelling argument for having a coach

10:58 – How Michael views potential client needs

12:17 – Bill Campbell: The Trillion Dollar Coach

15:57 – The importance of having courage as a leader

18:47 – The communication rhythm within an organization 

20:31 – Roles and responsibilities of a great coach

21:08 – Michael leaves the audience with a simple question to consider about coaching

21:21 – Michael recalls a recent client call he participated in

22:39 – The three-year swim lane plan

24:36 – Why everyone needs a coach

25:09 – The three areas of leadership: power, influence, and authority

25:43 – Considerations to make before hiring a coach

26:07 – Michael teases the topic of the next episode of CEO Brain Food

26:33 – Harry encourages the audience to share this podcast with others

Tweetable Quotes

“Warren Buffet reads three hours a day. Bill Gates reads a book every two weeks. Mark Zuckerberg the same thing.” (03:35)

“As leaders, we cannot operate in a vacuum. What I’ve really come to discover is that we can’t do this ourselves. Everyone needs a coach.” (06:05)

“I had an old boss one time that was very fond of saying, ‘Hey, we need to step on the shoes without messing up the shine.’” (06:39)

“For any important endeavor, learning from the people who have found the recipe for success can take you to a higher performance level faster than any other known effort.” (09:05)

“This was probably Bill Campbell’s primary differentiator: getting people to work together, breaking down silos. He always advised his coaches that they need great people in the world of product creation.” (15:00)

“Consensus dumbs down the ideas and does not get you to the best option when you’re considering a series of options. What you want is deep debate, healthy debate, constructive criticism and healthy arguing.” (15:25)

“A coach helps to spot the gaps in performance, identifies behaviors that increase or reduce entropy within the organization.” (17:32)

“One of the favorite quotes that I have of Bill Campbell’s is ‘You may have a title of manager, but your people are gonna decide if you’re their leader’” (20:58)

“It’s very important to realize that you don’t have all the answers and be willing to accept that a coach can take you to a higher level.” (24:50)

“If you’re able to influence others, and you look over your shoulder and you find that people are following you, then you might consider yourself a leader at that point.” (25:35)

Links Mentioned

Michael’s LinkedIn 

Michael’s Website 

Jim Collins’ Website

The Future of Leadership Development Article

Books Mentioned

Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell

EPISODE 7 - Scalable Leadership

Executive Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses.

In this episode of CEO Brain Food, Michael broaches the topic of building and scaling leadership within organizations. Michael provides steps for scaling leadership that include performing a talent assessment and presenting a clear and articulate perspective of strategy, among others. He speaks to the importance of a strong leadership development process that is centered on alignment, execution and renewal. Finally, Michael identifies the attributes that comprise a great leader and challenges the audience to continuously improve and hone their own leadership skills.

Episode Highlights

01:12 – Introducing today’s topic, How Do You Scale Leadership

03:43 – Michael recalls a leader he met early in his career

08:18 – The value Michael places on humility

09:55 – Michael speaks to a recent article he read from Harvard Business Review

11:00 – The Simon Sinek Video

13:47 – Leadership is a choice

14:23 – What makes a great leader

15:04 – Defining leadership through alignment, execution, and renewal

15:55 – Leading through behaviors

18:42 – Michael provides steps for scaling leadership

18:49 – Step One: Perform a talent assessment

20:25 – Step Two: Present a clearly articulated perspective of strategy

21:12 – Step Three: Identifying who needs to be involved and actively engaged in the leadership program

21:38 – Step Four: Ensure all systems that are in place support the change effort you’re looking to make

21:57 – The Great Game of Business

23:06 – Michael leaves the audience with some questions to reflect on

23:34 – Michael teases the topic of the next episode of CEO Brain Food

Tweetable Quotes

“What got ya here won’t get ya there.” (01:31)

“It’s not the leader’s job to be friends, but it’s the leader’s job to understand the comings and goings of his or her people that are reporting to them and to lead them.” (06:37)

“It starts at the top. Poor leadership creates a very toxic culture. The good news is great leaders can have a positive influence on outcomes, especially in a shifting strategic environment.” (08:57)

“Leadership is a choice, not a rank.” (13:47)

“Behavioral accountability precedes results.” (16:03)

“Most companies do not articulate their strategy and do not teach their strategy to their people. Their strategy is something that is held in the minds and hearts of the CEO and leadership team. And even then it can be confusing.” (20:44)

“Leadership is like swimming. You cannot learn it from books. Ultimately, you must get in the water.” (23:00)

Links Mentioned

Michael’s LinkedIn 

Michael’s Website 

Jim Collins’ Website

The Future of Leadership Development Article

Circle of Safety Simon Sinek Video

Books Mentioned

Leadership at Scale: Better leadership, better results

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

Who

The Great Game of Business, Expanded and Updated: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company

EPISODE 6 - Leading High Performance Cohesive Teams

Executive Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses.

In this episode of CEO Brain Food, Michael breaks down the components necessary to lead high performing cohesive teams. Michael identifies the importance of hiring the right people, emotional intelligence, and being present as three key factors in developing high-functioning teams. Finally, Michael lists six crucial points for leading cohesive teams. These include having a set number of KPIs (key performance indicators), ongoing training, and decision-making authority, among others.

Episode Highlights

01:00 – Introducing today’s topic, Leading High Performance Cohesive Teams

03:50 – How the size of the team impacts its cohesive state

05:31 – Michael speaks to a leadership retreat he recently attended

06:26 – The importance of being present

09:40 – John Maxwell’s Five Levels of Leadership

10:46 – Hiring the right people

11:33 – Turning the hockey match into the ballet

13:42 – How a CEO can develop a highly functional and cohesive team

16:18 – Tools for developing emotional intelligence

18:05 – The cultural norm of interruption

19:19 – Six key points for leading high performing cohesive teams

Tweetable Quotes

“There’s power, there’s influence, and there’s authority. Those are the three things that you have as a leader.” (09:15)

“It’s people, product and processes. Those are the three ‘P’s.” (11:16)

“Our job as leaders is to articulate the vision so that it is crystal clear, make sure that everybody in the company understands the core values and the purpose of the company – the vision of it, where are we headed – and continually reinforce that through time with everybody.” (12:49)

“Conflict is nothing more than the pursuit of truth if you have a trusting relationship.” (20:58)

Links Mentioned

Michael’s LinkedIn 

Michael’s Website 

Knowledge at Wharton Video Series

Jim Collins Website

Books Mentioned

Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers, and Facilitators

EPISODE 5 - Business Acceleration by Design

Executive Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses.

In this episode of CEO Brain Food, Michael discusses the concept of business acceleration by design. Specifically, Michael identifies Exponential Organizations, or EXOs, such as Amazon, Google, Uber and Intel and provides examples on how each is growing their business in unprecedented ways. He talks about the importance of cash as a vehicle for business growth and identifies the four components of the cash conversion cycle. Finally, Michael lists the eleven main attributes of an EXO company, which range from algorithms and dashboards to leveraging assets and experimentation.

Episode Highlights

00:56 – Introducing today’s topic, Business Acceleration by Design

04:30 – Attribution Framework

05:35 – Acceleration and the Flywheel

07:04 – How Vanguard utilized the Flywheel

09:29 – Intel and Moore’s Law

11:47 – The medical device industry

13:09 – How cash is a vehicle for business growth

14:53 – Amazon’s cash conversion cycle

15:54 – The four components of the cash conversion cycle

19:35 – Exponential Organizations

21:16 – How thinking big can lead to creating a legacy

22:38 – Eleven attributes of an EXO company

28:06 – Michael teases the topic of the next episode of CEO Brain Food

Tweetable Quotes

“The definition of strategy is a unique and valuable position that’s been established that’s different from the competitors.” (04:02)

“Once we grasp how to create Flywheel momentum in our particular circumstance and apply that understanding with creativity and discipline, we get the power of strategic compounding.” (06:37)

“Cash is absolutely the fuel for growth, a primary one. And, we know that growth really drains cash.” (13:20)

“To achieve exponential growth, you must first think really big.” (20:18)

“If your ‘why’ doesn’t give you goosebumps, then you probably have some more work to do on it.” (23:14)

“The fastest growing and best EXOs leverage data and algorithms to scale in ways that are possible today that weren’t possible even five years ago.” (24:43)

“Uber is the largest taxi company in the world and they don’t have any taxis. Airbnb is the largest hotel chain in the world and they don’t own any properties.” (25:07)

Links Mentioned

Michael’s LinkedIn 

Michael’s Website 

Knowledge at Wharton Video Series

Jim Collins Website

Books Mentioned

Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance

Turning the Flywheel: A Monograph to Accompany Good to Great

The Metronome Effect: The Journey To Predictable Profit

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it)

EPISODE 4 - Do You Have the Right Talent?

Executive Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses.

In this episode of CEO Brain Food, Michael breaks down the importance of finding the right talent to grow and scale an organization. Michael references the great Jim Collins’ six core competencies of hiring a team. These include hiring talent who are responsible, consistent, and do not require micro-management. Michael also introduces the concept of mirror maturity and urges all organizations to develop their own set of core values in order to identify and retain the right talent.

Episode Highlights

00:49 – Introducing today’s topic, Do You Have the Right Talent

01:26 – Why this is such an important topic in the early stages of a company’s growth

02:16 – The People Equation

02:55 – Developing the skillset necessary to identify the correct talent

04:39 – Growing and scaling a business

06:10 – Challenges growing companies face when looking to add talent

08:49 – Top Grading

09:56 – How Zappos’ culture became a magnet for new employees

10:47 – Why some companies fall asleep at the wheel when it comes to hiring talent

15:24 – The six core competencies of hiring a team

17:35 – The importance of responsibility

19:18 – Consistency

20:34 – The power of saying ‘No’

22:26 – Why the right people do not require micro-management

24:57 – Mirror Maturity

26:17 – Developing a set of core values

30:08 – Michael teases the topic of the next episode of CEO Brain Food

Tweetable Quotes

“If you can think broadly about skills versus passion and alignment, those two things are critical in determining whether or not a person is going to be successful in the position or in the company.” (03:17)

“The more people that you have on your team that believe in what you’re doing and have passion about it, the more successful you’re gonna be.” (06:01)

“It’s often proven that the A performers, the best people that are highly productive and very much aligned with what you’re doing, they have a network and they like to hang around other A performers.” (09:37)

“If you begin with ‘who’ rather than ‘what’ you can adapt more readily to the ever-changing marketplace. If you have the right people on the bus, the problem of motivating and managing people largely goes away. With the wrong people, it doesn’t matter whether you discover the right direction. You still won’t have a great company.” (14:09)

“If you feel the need to be tightly managed then maybe you’re the wrong choice for the company or the job.” (23:11)

“Nothing great ever happens unless it is fueled by passion and passionate people.” (24:50)

“I would just, in summary, say develop you’re core values first and build a set of core values for your company.” (26:17)

Links Mentioned

Michael’s LinkedIn 

Michael’s Website 

Knowledge at Wharton Video Series

Jim Collins Website

Books Mentioned

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

EPISODE 3 - Authentic Leadership

Executive Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show aimed at providing key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses. In this episode of CEO Brain Food, Michael breaks down the importance of authentic leadership within organizations. Michael provides specific examples of both current and historic authentic leaders, including Lee Iacocca, Tony Hsieh, and Bill George. Michael lists the nine key factors of authentic leadership, from clearing out unethical behavior to the importance of following your passion. Finally, Michael speaks to the value of mentorship, and encourages the audience to both seek out and act as a mentor at some point in life.

Episode Highlights

01:06 – Introducing today’s topic, Authentic Leadership

02:29 – The need to reinforce the value of leadership

05:04 – The role trust plays in effective leadership

06:08 – How leadership can be taught

07:46 – Michael defines Authentic Leadership

08:31 – Modern examples of authentic leaders

10:20 – Michael identifies Bill George as a model of authentic leadership

11:54 – Understanding your core values

13:39 – Tony Hsieh and Zappos

14:33 – Additional resources for leaders looking to improve their skills

16:18 – The importance of body language

16:59 – Cleaning out any unethical behavior

18:14 – Removing perks

20:14 – Leading and living the core values and the purpose of the company

20:47 – Being authentic

23:39 – Finding your purpose

24:57 – Learning to follow your passion

25:59 – The value of having a mentor who can teach you

27:35 – Michael teases the topic of the next episode of CEO Brain Food

Tweetable Quotes

“I look back in history and it seems like there’s a frequency. Like, every eight or ten years some major group of companies at the top level have a struggle in this area.” (03:15)

“Trust, as they say, takes a lifetime to build and a minute to destroy.” (05:43)

“I think that leadership can be taught. I think it can be modeled. I think it can be mentored. I think it can be broken down into some very basic parts.” (07:28)

“That’s why I say authentic leadership I think is the one type of leader that is gonna get followed.” (07:46)

“Your body language is everything. And that’s true whether you’re running a five person company or a fifty-thousand person company.” (16:37)

“There’s nothing worse than an executive that has their door closed all day long.” (19:51)

“To me, culture is defined by core values, purpose, and your vision of the company.” (20:24)

“It’s very important to find your purpose in life and your purpose for being in the company. If you don’t know what that is, you’re going to be wandering through life.” (23:48)

“Seek a new name, a higher level than you are in life, and go introduce yourself to that person and ask them to mentor you. That means you have to humble yourself a bit and put your ego aside, because yes you do have room to grow.” (26:22)

Links Mentioned

Michael’s LinkedIn 

Michael’s Website 

Knowledge at Wharton Video Series

Books Mentioned

Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value

EPISODE 2 - What is Competitive Advantage?

Executive Summary

Welcome to CEO Brain Food, a show that provides key insights, fresh perspectives, and proven tools that CEOs can apply to build enterprise value, generate higher profits and develop the talent needed to succeed in their businesses. In this episode, host Michael Langhout stresses the importance of hiring high-quality employees that align with sound company culture. Michael provides specific methodologies he utilizes for talent assessment as well as strategies to improve employee education. Finally, Michael provides three key resources for listeners to gain a deeper understanding of the ever-evolving war for talent.

Episode Highlights

01:05 – Introducing today’s topic, Competitive Advantage

04:09 – How to differentiate from competitors

06:03 – Identifying your core customer

08:43 – The Southwest Airlines example

11:06 – Attribution Framework Analysis

14:59 – Why companies struggle to implement this framework

17:39 – A common mistake many mid-market companies make

18:20 – The importance of the emotional experience

21:00 – Questions companies can consider as they begin the process of identifying their core competency

22:28 – Michael teases the topic of the next episode of CEO Brain Food

Tweetable Quotes

“He defines strategy as the creation of a unique and valuable position involving a different set of activities from your competitors.” (04:37)

“Understanding your core competencies and understanding who it is that you really want to do business with and what it is you’re delivering to them, your uncommon offering, allows you to invest in those strengths and leverage them, which are differentiators.” (08:05)

“What you’re looking for are those attributes that are not well represented by any competitor. Those are the opportunity areas for you to move in and differentiate and be unique.” (13:06)

“This is like turning a ship, a big ocean liner out in the ocean. You can’t turn it on a dime, right? It takes a couple of miles to really change course and it takes a lot of effort.” (15:37)

“Start thinking about your transactions as satisfying an emotional experience.” (18:20)

“When you have something that’s uncommon and unique in the marketplace, you’re really the king of the mountain. I mean you can control your destiny a lot better.” (20:43)

Links Mentioned

Michael’s LinkedIn 

Michael’s Website 

Books Mentioned

Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance

The Inside Advantage: The Strategy that Unlocks the Hidden Growth in Your Business

3HAG WAY: The Strategic Execution System that ensures your strategy is not a Wild-Ass-Guess!