How to Drive Sustainable Growth with Leadership Speaker Rick Miller


Exclusive Interview with: Rick Miller

Rick Miller is one of the few accomplished business executives who has been able to translate his decades of experience into actionable management advice that helps other senior leaders grow their businesses. As “Go-to Chief” at the firm BEING CHIEF LLC, Miller shows leaders how to leverage their power to bring out the best in those around them. Deemed “one of the most brilliant business thinkers and leaders of today” by TEDxWallStreet, Miller has served as President and/or CEO in a Fortune 10, Fortune 30, a start-up, and a non-profit.

The U.S. Army wants you to “Be All You Can Be,” and Oprah Winfrey wants you to “Live Your Best Life.” Likewise, “Being Chief” means mindfully working to be the best and most powerful version of yourself.

SPEAKING.COM: You have a firm called “Being Chief” and a popular book titled “Be Chief.” What does it mean to be a “Chief?”

MILLER: The U.S. Army wants you to “Be All You Can Be,” and Oprah Winfrey wants you to “Live Your Best Life.” Likewise, “Being Chief” means mindfully working to be the best and most powerful version of yourself. My company and my book are both focused on offering simple choices to help professionals connect what they do to who they are, unlocking their power and enabling their companies to drive sustainable growth.

SPEAKING.COM: To what extent is leadership an inborn talent?

MILLER: I believe everyone has an inborn ability to be themselves and can lead by example.

SPEAKING.COM: How can leaders ensure that the right questions are asked?

MILLER: By building diversity, diversified skills and gender-balance into their leadership team… components that will set the team up for asking the right questions.

The key to truly sustainable growth is building a change-adaptive Culture of skilled and engaged team members.

SPEAKING.COM: What are the keys to driving sustainable growth?

MILLER: I believe there are 5 prerequisites and 1 key for organizations to drive sustainable growth. All 6 elements begin with the letter “C.” The prerequisites include strong strategies and tactical plans for Customers, controlling Costs, ensuring adequate Capital, facing Competitors, and exceeding expectations for different Communities (shareowners, vendors) including the climate and social expectations of the actual Community we live in. Last but not least, the key to truly sustainable growth is building a change-adaptive Culture of skilled and engaged team members.

SPEAKING.COM: How can leaders empower employees who fear being held responsible for mistakes or failure?

MILLER: This is really a two-part question. First, to empower employees, a manager can guarantee everyone knows the strategy, include everyone up front when plans and goals are set, decentralize decision-making wherever possible, ensure consistent two-way communication, emphasize the need for continual (life-long) learning, provide regular recognition, and make sure the organization’s compensation plans are market-based.

Second, while employees should be held accountable for their decisions and choices, it is important for managers to encourage risk-taking as a critical component of a culture that embraces innovation. To eliminate fear, managers and employees should be communicating regularly so neither is “surprised” by the action of the other.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some examples of viral engagement in the workplace?

MILLER: Here are four. Think about what happens to a team when:

1. An energetic and talented person is added to a team?
2. An energetic and talented person leaves a team?
3. A negative person who doesn’t add skills to a group is added to a team?
4. A negative person who doesn’t add skills to a group leaves a team?

(I’ll bet everyone has examples of each in their experience!)

SPEAKING.COM: What are some ways you’re seeing CEOs address climate change or other social challenges in their company policies and practices?

MILLER: I’m seeing more CEOs address climate change in multiple ways. Many are lending their voices publicly to support the fact that climate change is both “real” and something we need to take action on NOW. Many are also setting specific goals in areas like renewable energy utilization, carbon reduction, and water usage reduction to support our climate.

In the area of social change, I am seeing certain CEOs take a similarly public stance for social change while many more are providing support for groups of their employees to voice their views on social issues, where the company itself does not take a strong, visible stand.

Manage Human Capital with the same intensity normally reserved for the management of Financial Capital.

SPEAKING.COM: You have an impressive record turning around struggling organizations. What skills are needed to lead a successful turnaround and how did you develop those skills?

MILLER: In addition to the skills and experience required to lead the “6C” analysis, strategy, and implementation planning outlined in question 4, I would share one simple axiom: manage Human Capital with the same intensity normally reserved for the management of Financial Capital. As Jim Collins posits in his best-selling book, Good to Great, it’s “Who First.”

In developing these skills, I gratefully acknowledge three advantages in particular. First, my dad was a Human Resources professional who throughout my childhood consistently exposed me to important lessons about people at the kitchen table. Second, I was blessed to have had many mentors who were willing to spend time and coach me up. Finally, I was given several “stretch assignments” early in my career where I can truly attest to the saying “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes your stronger.”

SPEAKING.COM: You mention a triple-bottom line of profits, people, and the planet. Could you give us an example of how you addressed those three factors as the head of an organization?

MILLER: When I was recruited by AT&T as the first outsider in their 100-year history to run a $3B part of their legacy “long-lines” business, the primary reason they chose me was that the CEO believed I could reverse the company’s (then) dropping market share. By applying my 6C strategy, we did indeed triple the unit’s growth rate from 5% to 15% and held that rate for 3 years to grow to $5B, gaining significant market share.

At the same time we drove record levels of employee engagement and client loyalty. Simultaneously, AT&T’s longstanding Employee Resource Groups, which drove a broad range of community activities, also benefitted from the uptick in employee engagement.

Finally, regarding the environment, AT&T was one of the early adopters of goal setting for our climate with their People, Planet, and Possibilities Program.

SPEAKING.COM: You’ve said you wanted to be a chief since you were a young boy. What was your first experience leading others?

MILLER: When I was 7 years old, I started playing soccer as a goalkeeper. I learned that the players on the field would listen to me when I consistently:

1. Explained clearly and directly where I needed them to be.
2. Told them in front of others when they did a great job.
3. Told them privately when they needed to do something differently.
4. Listened to anyone who had an idea of how I could be better.
5. Worked as hard as anyone else in practice.
6. Worked away from the field to build friendships with everyone on the team.

To bring leadership keynote speaker Rick Miller to your organization, please contact Michael Frick at: Mike@Speaking.com

© SPEAKING.com, published on June 17, 2018

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Fascinating Interviews and Insights from Our Speakers:

background

Need help filling the seats at your next meeting / event?

Call us / email us / check availability and fee for your favorite speaker.

Get in touch
Call us: (760) 656-8770
Toll free in the US: (877) 717-5327
speakers@speaking.com