Episode: How One Business Owner is Successfully Using Vision Today
Michael Hyatt: Hey, everybody. Michael Hyatt here. As leaders and achievers, we’re all trying to work through this unique moment we find ourselves in. Over the last few weeks, we’ve brought you specific coronavirus-related content. We wanted to help you navigate from where we were before the pandemic into this new current reality. Well, it feels like we’ve settled into a new normal, at least for now, so we want to bring you some episodes we recorded before the crisis started. Honestly, I think the subjects here are even more valuable now as we’re creating a new future.
I feel the same about my new book The Vision Driven Leader. Wow! If there was ever a time we needed to create a positive vision for the future, it’s right now. The book is a vision creation tool kit. I know this is something you’re going to need as we move into the future. That’s The Vision Driven Leader. It’s available online everywhere books are sold, and you can find out more at visiondrivenleader.com. Anyway, thanks for listening, and enjoy this episode of Lead to Win.
Hi, I’m Michael Hyatt.
Megan Hyatt Miller: And I’m Megan Hyatt Miller.
Michael: This week is the launch of my new book The Vision Driven Leader. We had a virtual launch party this week on the podcast. Maybe you’ve heard it. If you haven’t, you’re going to want to go back and listen to that episode. One of the things we talked about was this concept of the vision script, and I wanted to part the curtain a little bit and give you a behind-the-scenes look at how that works.
Megan: We’ve invited one of our BusinessAccelerator clients to join us today, and you’re going to get to hear about his experience. And not just the experience of creating a vision script, but really what happened after that, what results he experienced as well. I think this is going to get you pumped about creating your own vision script, which we talk about in detail in The Vision Driven Leader book. You’re going to get excited to get started on that, even if you think it might sound a little intimidating right now.
Michael: By the way, I have to mention, when you buy the book this week, we have a ton of cool bonuses available if you purchase the book now. These are available for a very limited time…actually, until April 4, at leadto.win/vision. So, Megan, let’s get right to it with our guest, Kyle Coolbroth. Kyle, welcome.
Kyle Coolbroth: Thank you, Michael and Megan. I am thrilled to be here on Lead to Win with you.
Megan: Hey, Kyle. So glad to have you.
Michael: Tell us just a little bit about where you’re from and a little bit about your business so people have context.
Kyle: I am born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. So, up in the cold region of our country. My company is named Fueled Collective, and we provide trailblazers a place for working, meeting, and entertaining. For us, trailblazers are small businesses, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business leaders who are really hungry for something larger than where they’re at. They’re building a business, and they’re growing and scaling.
We’re one of the pioneers in what is now the coworking industry. It certainly wasn’t that when we started. It was more of a cause when we started. Over the last couple of years, we’ve expanded our products and offerings to include things like a social club, hospitality, and other services, and we’ve helped thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs make their journey more flexible by removing as many roadblocks as we can.
Megan: Man, I love that, Kyle. We are passionate about entrepreneurs and business owners, so we have that in common. What made you think you needed some help in developing your vision?
Kyle: Well, the simple answer is it came to… Michael actually presented the idea of a vision script to BusinessAccelerators, but that hit me at a point in time where we had been going through so much change. We were taking our base business model, which was coworking. We were adding a bunch of new offerings on top of that. At the same time, a ton of competition was coming to the market. The industry was exploding, and we made a decision to rebrand ourselves and give ourselves a new name. So I had all that going on.
I kind of describe it to folks that I felt like I was the captain of an airplane chasing or running alongside it while we were going down the runway. I wasn’t in the cockpit seat anymore. Those were the drivers to it. Now, we had been doing a system. We had clearly a vision and an idea of where we were going, but we were using some other methodologies driving us toward a purpose statement. We kept trying to truncate it and make it simpler and simpler and more aspirational in nature, but it wasn’t working. So those were the elements that drove us to it.
Michael: That’s awesome. Okay. I want to talk about the vision script, but before we get to it, I want to ask you: How did you prepare for the process? How did you engage in the process? Just give us a little bit of the background of how you did it.
Kyle: This is really important. The first thing I did… When I stepped into it, I wasn’t sure of the outcome. I knew I had all of these ideas in my head. As a futurist and a visionary, I can see it, taste it, smell it, touch it. I live in that future kind of world, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to bring those elements into words.
So, I set a date for a draft zero, I called it; just a basic, “I’m going to start it, and I’m going to get this out of my head.” I then scheduled two-hour sessions for a month. So, four sessions with a little bit of bumper time on each so I could get prepared and present. I also reviewed our previous branding documents and architecture issues that we were facing as a company, our last year’s goals and results and member surveys. I took all that in as the elements and the context for this work.
Megan: I love that. You really came up with a good list of things to use as kindling for the fire of your vision to help get you started. I think one of the biggest obstacles for people is thinking they have to come to this as a blank slate. Really, no matter where you’re starting from, you probably have a handful of things to start with, and that’s encouraging, for sure. Okay. I want to ask you: Was that breakdown of the various categories…team, product, marketing, impact…helpful for you as you began to think about your vision?
Kyle: Yeah, absolutely. It was a great starter point. What I found when I was going through it is that there were some other areas I felt I had to get out of my head, so I created some additional categories on top of that.
Megan: Interesting. So, of those four…team, product, marketing, impact…which one was the easiest for you to connect with your vision about?
Kyle: I think it was in two areas. It was team culture and products and offerings. That’s where all my energy kept going to, and that’s where I would get excited, and another idea that would fit. It kind of created a chain reaction of ideas, and it was tapping into things that were in my vision and in my head. I saw them, but I realized I had never articulated them.
Megan: That’s so common. We see that a lot with our clients. They have it in their head. They have an idea, kind of a sketch, but they haven’t really articulated it in a way that they can align their team around. And, man, when you make that transition, the whole world just opens up in front of you.
Michael: One of the things I tried to do in the book was make it super easy for you to create a vision that’s clear, inspiring, and practical, and also one you can sell. Did you feel like this whole process gave you that? Did you feel like it was clear, that it was inspiring, practical, salable?
Kyle: Yes. Absolutely. It was interesting. Once I completed it and had gone through it in a couple of ways, I was becoming more inspired, and I felt like it was finally something we could get out to our team that everybody could understand and get inspired about also. Again, clarity was such a big part of it. Oftentimes, we as leaders and visionary leaders… It’s sometimes a mess up in our heads. We know where we want to go, and it’s intuitive, but it was super helpful to get it into context.
Megan: Gosh, I can certainly relate to that. I know a lot of our listeners can too. As a leader, beyond the clarity and that ability to articulate, what are some of the other benefits you experienced as you created this vision script?
Michael: Just for you, though, you mean.
Megan: Yeah, just for you, as a leader.
Kyle: As a leader, I reclaimed being the owner of the vision and not just the manager. I got back into that captain’s chair again, I felt like, for myself. I also realized for myself just how complex visions are and that you can’t just cram them into a sentence and expect everybody to understand the same thing and follow you. Another thing that became really clear for me was who was believing and onboard with the vision and who was not.
Megan: So you kind of saw the gaps in your alignment and even in your culture as you got clear on where you wanted to go.
Kyle: Yeah, absolutely. I use an analogy. I call it the red truck test. I’ll ask everybody in a room to close their eyes and think of a red truck. Megan, what do you think of when I say a “red truck”?
Megan: A red truck.
Kyle: All right. A red truck. Michael?
Michael: I’m thinking of a fire engine…a big fire engine with a bunch of people hanging off of it and ladders and all that kind of stuff.
Megan: Oh, I see what you’re saying. I’m thinking of a pickup truck, a red pickup truck.
Kyle: Yeah. That’s kind of what vision is like. We use some words, and there are not enough words to really describe it, and everybody comes up with their own interpretation of that vision. What I’ve discovered going through this is that we were able to align that culture, that understanding to the vision to what we’re doing.
Michael: Okay, I’m totally stealing that. That is the best example of the difference between a vision statement, which is short and pithy but allows people too much room to imagine different ideas, and a vision script, which is more thorough and puts more specificity on it.
Megan: We’ll give you all the credit, though. Don’t worry.
Michael: The first three times.
Kyle: I love it.
Michael: So, how did you sell the vision? What did the rollout to your team look like?
Kyle: We get together quarterly to review and plan for our quarters, and then we get together annually to establish next year’s goals. I rolled it out at our annual retreat, which was in October or November, and basically gave it to the team in advance to pre-read. We walked through it as a team during that off-site retreat, and then we talked about questions or challenges or conflicts that individuals saw.
Megan: That makes a lot of sense. I love how you did that. I think you really did what you talk about in the book, Dad, and that is, you give an opportunity for input from your team. You don’t abdicate your ultimate authority and your responsibility for visionary leadership, but you do incorporate the feedback of the key stakeholders on your team. I really like how you did that, Kyle. Speaking of them, can you talk a little bit about how your team benefited from the rollout of this vision script and their connection to the vision of your company?
Kyle: That’s where the rubber meets the road here. The first thing we discovered was once we rolled it out and we went through that process, I asked the team what questions existed or they had, and there really weren’t many questions. The response was more like them saying, “Finally, we understand. We intuitively knew where you were going…” They all had believed in the direction of the organization. “…but we actually finally understand what that means.”
So, the impact is when we went into our 2020 planning to build the business plan and our goals, everybody knew exactly where it was pointing. It wasn’t that we were just going west; we were going toward San Francisco. We didn’t know exactly how we were going to get there, but we were able to point our energies, our planning, our thinking, and our ideas in that direction. So I think that, plus then when you go into the quarterly planning, it just all stacks up. I think everybody just kind of hit a moment of, “Oh, this is much easier than the way we were doing it before.”
Michael: Okay. If I were parachuting into your company and maybe I saw it before you did the vision script process and now I’m looking at it, what would I notice in your team and in your company?
Kyle: I think what you’d notice in the team is clarity and maybe a little bit more confidence in where we’re going, a better understanding of how their role ties to the direction we’re headed, and I think you’d see a lot less energy wasted, a lot less frustration.
When you’re constantly going back and looking at, again, those simple purpose statements, and you’re reviewing that on a regular basis, because it’s a good thing to do, but when you’re doing that and it isn’t expansive enough, there’s a lot of work that’s done, and our team is a hardworking team. They put everything on the line, but when they’re doing it and they don’t fully understand it, you do a lot of false starts and stops. So I think we’re eliminating that.
Michael: That’s good. That’s really good.
Megan: We’ve heard something similar to that from a lot of our clients. I think that’s the power of vision right there. I don’t know if you experienced this, Kyle, when you were sitting in your BusinessAccelerator coaching intensive day and you were presented with this idea of creating a vision script, if you felt intimidated or excited or some combination of both, but I think a lot of people who have maybe tried and feel like they failed in the past to create a vision for their company think about this vision process, and they have a little bit of anxiety about it or maybe they want to avoid it at some level. What would you say to those people?
Kyle: Stop fooling yourself. I mean, really simply. That’s our job as leaders. Especially when you’re getting indicators from the business and your team and the culture that everyone doesn’t fully understand things, and you find yourself wasting time starting and stopping projects that don’t align, and specifically, as a leader, if you feel that dissonance between what you want and what you have, just pause. Take time. Do this.
It took me, I suppose, eight, maybe ten hours of applied time. That’s worth its weight in gold. You just have to schedule it. You have to do it, because, again, either the company is going to run you or you’re going to lead the company and your customers in toward a vision that is inspirational and beneficial for everyone.
Michael: Who would you say is the ideal person for using this vision script format and tool, for somebody coming up with a vision? Who’s it for?
Kyle: I think it’s for the leader of the business. I think it could also be for a leader of a division or a group. I’m a CEO of our organization. It’s perfect for me.
Megan: I love that. Well, Kyle, thank you so much for joining us today. I think your story is so relatable, and it’s really inspirational, I hope, for those of you listening, that you see yourself in Kyle’s story and get excited to have the same experience he had. Thanks again for being with us, Kyle.
Michael: Thanks, Kyle.
Kyle: Thank you.
Michael: Megan, that was an amazing call.
Megan: That was so inspiring.
Michael: It was inspiring. Of course, we’ve had a lot of those kinds of stories from our BusinessAccelerator clients, because they had early access to this content in the early days when I was just beginning to formulate this and as it began to take shape. It’s fun to see it now out in the wild and people actually applying it and getting results.
Megan: You know, I said this in our book launch party, but I really believe this content has an exponential impact. When you hear Kyle’s story, you think about the impact that’s having on him and his family, on the employees he’s providing an opportunity for and their families, and then on the clients who are coming to his coworking space. That’s huge. This is a major ripple effect, and that just gets me excited. And he’s just one guy, and there are many people just like him. Maybe you’re listening right now and you’re just like him and wondering what this could do in your life, and I think the impact is potentially huge.
Michael: I do too, and I think if you’re serious about scaling your business (and by that we mean growing it exponentially), you have to have clarity. Clarity leads to momentum. Without clarity everybody may be working hard, but they’re not working in the same direction. They’re not building the same thing. I loved, loved, loved the red truck illustration.
Megan: I know. I loved that too.
Michael: That’s why you need more than a vision statement. That’s why you need a vision script. A vision statement is just going to give everybody the room to come up with their own vision, and they may not be aligned. So, I just want to encourage you guys. Get a copy of the book. It’s called The Vision Driven Leader. It’s out now.
There are a ton of bonuses we have available, but only if you buy soon. You can check it out at leadto.win/vision. There are literally hundreds of dollars’ worth of bonuses now, including the audiobook and the ebook, all when you buy a copy of the book at your favorite bookseller. So, buy it, save the receipt, and come back to leadto.win/vision, enter in your information, and we’ll get those bonuses to you.
Megan: All right. We’ll see you right back here next week.