My exclusive interview with Tim Schurrer, Executive at StoryBrand.
Here’s a sneak peek at a section from my upcoming book, Lead with AND.
As the VP of Talent and Culture at StoryBrand, Tim Schurrer has assembled a team of people who accomplish lofty goals and world-changing vision by breaking them down into practical, daily actions. As a result, StoryBrand has consulted with dozens of billion-dollar brands and thousands of small businesses, helping them dramatically increase their revenue through clarifying their message.
To be successful, Tim needs to uphold the values of both change and stability every day—and to ensure that the teams across the organization are doing so as well.
Recently, I had a chance to ask Tim some questions about the ways in which he taps into the healthy tension between change and stability. His answers are not only incredibly insightful, but contain ideas you can put into practice as well.
What are things that you do to gain the positive results of change?
- Reinforce the mission. You need a clear statement repeated ad nauseum and memorized by every single staff member. When we pivot, we update our mission statement and make it incredibly clear by using this formula: We will accomplish X by Y because of Z. For example, we will have 250,000 people on our online platform by December 31, 2024, because everybody deserves the help they need to grow their business. Unless everyone has this message completely metabolized, they will not fully embrace the change with you.
What are things you do to gain the positive results of stability?
- Minimize confusion. People will jump to their own conclusions if you let them. When they learn about change happening in the organization and fear the risk associated with the change, a scarcity mindset can easily lead them to assume a) you’re going to lose what matters as an organization (e.g., core values, reputation, etc.), and b) you’re on a one-way path into the land of chaos and confusion.
What are early warning signs that you’re over-focusing on change to the neglect of stability?
- Mission Confusion – People can’t read your mind, and they won’t remember what you said if they only hear it one or two times. I routinely go around the organization and ask random people to tell me what they believe to be the #1 goal of the organization right now and how we plan to achieve it. If they don’t tell me the exact same thing that we would say as leaders, I see that as a huge red flag that we’re moving too fast. And this does not mean that the staff just “don’t get it” or are “not on board.” It means we have a communication and pace-setting problem. As a leader, it’s my responsibility to ensure that the staff understand where we’re going and why.
What are early warning signs that you’re over-focusing on stability to the neglect of change?
- Life Is (Too) Good – My mind goes to the words of author Andrew Grove2 who wisely said, “Only the paranoid survive.” The leaders of the company have to constantly feel like something is in their blind spot. If you are sitting in a place of total comfort and stability, I think the countdown clock has already started, and things are going to end for you quite quickly. As a leader, there is predatory conflict and competition on your heels all the time. You can sit down and rest, but you had better know that you ran a lot faster than them in the last leg of the race and be calculating how long you have until they catch up.
Stay tuned to read the rest of this insightful interview in my upcoming book, Lead with AND which will be released February, 15th, 2022 – mark your calendar!