Michael Hyatt is a bestselling author, business coach, and entrepreneur with an 8-figure company he built from scratch after the 2008 economic crisis known as the great recession (during which he led one of the largest publishing companies in the world through major setbacks and recovery). In this interview, Michael shares what it means to be an entrepreneur and what leading through crisis requires from each of us.

John Meese 0:02
Michael, thank you so much for joining me. How are you doing today?

Michael Hyatt 0:05
I'm doing great, John. Thanks for having me on.

John Meese 0:07
Oh, of course, it's my pleasure. And I appreciate your time to taking time for this. And I know this is going to be a good conversation today. But for anybody who has not had the privilege, anybody who's listening to this, that hasn't yet had the privilege to get to know you through either your books or your work online, or anything else that you do, would you summarize real quick? What gets you out of bed in the morning and how that relates to the people listening to this podcast?

Michael Hyatt 0:33
Yeah, what gets me out of bed in the morning is helping successful but overwhelmed high achievers get the focus they need to win a work and succeed a life, which just happens to be our mission statement, and Michael Hyatt and Company, but it's very much what drives me. You know, I want to help this specific demographic that I mentioned, overwhelmed, successful but overwhelmed. High achievers get focused, which in today's world of distractions interruptions is a superpower.

John Meese 1:00
Well, I love that and it's a super important superpower. So thank you so much for sharing that. Now, I'd love it if you just to kind of start our conversation, I would love it if you would go with me way, way, way back in time to about February or March 2020, you know, way back then.

Michael Hyatt 1:15
It feels like decades ago,

John Meese 1:16
It feels like decades ago. It does. What I remember, early on in the crisis, we had a conversation where I said, What a what a year this week it's been. It's just but we felt that way several times. But I would love to know your personal experience. So outside of the business, maybe related, but when did you first realize that COVID-19 was a real threat? Was there a specific headline or conversation with someone that you know, do you remember the moment where you kind of perked up and said, Wait a second. This is a big deal.

Michael Hyatt 1:49
Yeah, well, I was tracking it for weeks, like toward the end of January. And then as we moved into February, I thought, you know, this is kind of a growing issue. And I was hearing various people talk about it, but It honestly wasn't until the President's address, I think on March the 11th, which was a Wednesday night, as I recall, that he gave an address to the nation on it and talked about the quarantine. And I think that at the time was like 14 days, you know, to kind of, you know, suppress,

John Meese 2:17
yes I remember that

Michael Hyatt 2:18
They had some clever slogan that remember what it is right now. Yeah. But I was in the midst of teaching our, our business clients, our business accelerator clients, we were going through our quarterly coaching intensives, where groups of 50 come in and meet with me face to face once a quarter here in Franklin, Tennessee, where I live. And so that was on the eve of the next to the last coaching intensity that I was going to be leading. And I remember that next morning, I was so shook up from that night that the next morning, about an hour and a half before we started that session with our clients. I called Joel Miller, our Chief Content Officer, I said Joel, we can't teach the content we intended to teach today, which was all about predicting tivity because I'm sure everybody's freaked out about this. We're about to we're we've just gone over the waterfall. And now we're into a full fledged crisis. And we've got to talk about how to lead through crisis. So that's exactly what we did. We totally scuttled, you know, the agenda that we had for that day. I shot mostly from the hip. I mean, we were like putting the sessions together, I had to talk like for six hours. So we're basically putting the sessions together in advance, but just a few minutes in advance of me teaching them but thankfully, this wasn't the first time I've gone through crisis. So I was able to draw on a lot of experience having done this before.

John Meese 3:36
Wow, so just an hour before the workshop where people that already and this was still in person, right, people already flown in for this.

Michael Hyatt 3:41
Yeah, this was back when we used to meet in person, which, like I said, feels like decades ago, and hopefully we'll get back to that, you know, this fall, but we're gonna be meeting virtually since.

John Meese 3:50
Okay, so what was the response to that, by the way, I mean, you kind of threw the polished curriculum out the window and made it up as you went to that day, but what was the response from the customers in the room

Michael Hyatt 4:00
Phenomenal, you know, they were so glad, because like when they showed up that morning, it was like a bunch of deer caught in the headlights. And nobody knew exactly what to do. Everybody was scared to death. They didn't know if this is going to be layoffs for their business what is quarantine mean? What is it? What does it mean to you know, do a lockdown. I mean all that kind of stuff was was in the air. And just to lead a conversation about that I think it was enormously helpful, because it was top of mind and for us to try to talk about any other topic would have required them to put across put aside the distraction of what was most eminent and talk about something that was less relevant. In fact, I would say that it went so well, that after Friday's session, so that was on Thursday, we had that session, then we did some polishing that evening. We like you know, Biggie sized it on Friday did a much better job on Friday, because now we had the experience of Thursday. And then at the end of the day we gathered as as a as an executive team and we said, We need to turn this into a course. Because if there's one thing that we can offer to our clients, it's how do you apply leadership principles in a crisis situation? So we don't often do this. As you know, we take time off very seriously at Michael Hyatt and Company. But we said we're going to work through the weekend writing the scripts, writing the content, the curriculum. And by Monday afternoon, I was in my studio, recording six video sessions for what became the course Leading Through Crisis. And we literally did, we had a webinar that was being developed simultaneously. We started the webinars Thursday, we started selling the course, that same day, and we sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of that course since then.

John Meese 5:41
Wow. So just this is just a set. This is just a week from the President's address in the us about the crisis within a week, you had not only tweaked your your coaching program, but also launched a brand new online course on the same topic leading to crisis. That's pretty spectacular. Well, I'd love to kind of zoom out a little bit then and talk about as a business owner, how have you responded so far in your own business, to COVID 19 global pandemic? And we were talking before we went live that, you know, it's kind of fun to ask this question, because actually, I had the benefit of being on the inside through most of this. So I got to see a lot of this happening. But I would love just to hear you kind of tell, reflecting back on the last couple of months, how you've adapted your own business to the new reality?

Michael Hyatt 6:28
Well, I would think that, you know, going through it, you know, kind of having the benefit of hindsight, I think that that one of the most important things to do in the midst of a crisis, if you're in leadership, is to exhibit a calm, confident demeanor. Because when there's a storm outside, and the waves are high, and the wind is blowing, and there's lightning and thunder, people get a little freaked out. And if they see you as a leader, also freaked out, it doubles their, you know, freakout experience. So to have calm, confident leadership, and sometimes as a leader, you just kind of have to, you may you may feel a little imposter syndrome. But you have to do that no matter what you can't, you've got to keep your head in the midst of the storm and do the next right thing. And it's not always apparent, you know what the long term strategy is going to be? I mean, certainly, we were trying to navigate that crisis one day at a time. Yeah, one of the things we started doing was meeting as an executive team every day, we knew we need to pivot fast, because so much of our business is based on these in person experiences. Plus, you know, I had a couple hundred thousand dollars worth speaking engagements on the books, we knew that was going away. So we had to pivot the business and move quickly. But at the same time, we realized that we had to create a sustainable environment for our team. So one of the first things that we did when we realized that all the parents were at home now with their kids, with no childcare is and this sounds counterintuitive. If you think all hands on deck, we got to work around the clock. And we did that first week to produce the course. But we realized that wasn't sustainable. So we said, okay, we're adjusting our work hours, we're going to work from nine to three. So a six hour work day, 30 Hour Work Week. And I said to the team, I said, Do you guys think you can be as productive in 30 hours a week as you were in 40 hours a week? And everybody said, Yes. And it really illustrates one of the, one of the principles that I teach, and that is, constraint is sort of the foundation of freedom. So if we can embrace that constraint, it will make us even more productive, because like, you know, you're never more productive than on that Friday before you go on vacation. By the way, I'm about to go on my one month sabbatical, this coming Friday. So if you're very productive, Thursday will be very productive. I'm sure

John Meese 8:45
Thursdsy you'll be very productive. Yeah.

Michael Hyatt 8:47
So just having that constraint, forced people to stay focused to be productive, and we're still operating in those hours today, and we will through the summer, and then we'll reevaluate.

John Meese 8:55
Well, and just to clarify that, I mean, that's not attached to any reduction in pay, right. So people are still writing this thing, but you After work less hours,

Michael Hyatt 9:01
Yeah, we pay, we paid the exact same. And just to tell you what the results have been, and if you want to look at it in financial results, March ended up, we ended up beating the budget that we had. April, we were down a little bit against budget. But then I just got the numbers are then what I say April. And then May I just got the results of those numbers. And we doubled the amount of profit that we originally wow had budgeted. And in fact, we're on course, to beat our profit forecast for this year, COVID year by about 25%. Which, which I think again, you know, for some people, the crisis has been really good because it's accelerated, making decisions that you probably should have made before now.

John Meese 9:44
Well, no, I think that's true. I think that's important. So let's, uh, if you could take us behind the curtain a little bit you mentioned, I mean, I don't want to assume that everyone listening to this has the interworking knowledge of the business that you operate. So could you take us inside just kind of thinking about the different product lines and within what you offer in terms of how the economic crisis impacted them. Like you referenced business accelerator, which was up until recently was an in person coaching program. But I know you have other product lines, how have you seen that affect different parts of the business in different ways?

Michael Hyatt 10:16
Yeah, well, business accelerator was the one that we're the most concerned about, because it's not the biggest part of our business, but almost is. So our planner business is the biggest part of our business. And let me just actually start with the planter business. We didn't we didn't see really any impact on that, except that we saw a shift in the mix of products. So one of the products we offer is an annual subscription. So we get people to sign on for an annual subscription to the planner, where they get one planner every quarter. And then we also sell it just as a single planner, but it's it's more expensive, you get a discount if you subscribe, get an annual subscription. So we saw a dramatic shift away from the annual subscriptions because people just you know, the glass was Dark, you know, they couldn't, they couldn't see the future. And to know what the future was going to be in a few months, they didn't know. But they probably they knew they needed a planner for this next quarter. So everything shifted to, to quarterly planners. The good news about that was actually increased our profit margin because we make more money on the quarterly ones that we do on the annual ones. So that was a good news. That's interesting. So on the business part of it, we saw that, you know, our program cost $15,000 a year, people were very reticent, particularly in April, and this was the reason for the shortfall in our revenue in April, people were reticent to commit to a $15,000 one time payment, when they weren't sure how much cash they were going to need to get through the crisis. So those sales pretty much dried up. And that was alarming to us. But you know, we pivoted, we figured we'd make it up in other parts of the business. But then we kind of and this is really is behind the scenes, but then we said what if we charge 1250 a month, still a year commitment We space it out over 12 months, the exact same amount. So $15,000. And so what we found was a dramatic upturn in the business, in fact, even more so than it was before COVID. So we are crushing it in the coaching business, because, you know, it's one thing to make a $15,000 decision and have to pull that out of your cash flow. It's another thing to say, Well, I'm only committing 1250 a month. And, you know, I'll figure it out next month. And I'll figure it out the month after. And that's pretty much what people have done, and we don't have any idea of what cancellations will be, but so far it looks looks really healthy. There's other parts of our business to most of most of the other parts of our business have continued to function at pre COVID levels.

John Meese 12:42
Okay. Well, and then you mentioned the new course you created to mean that didn't exist beforehand. So Leading Through Crisis, right,

Michael Hyatt 12:48
Yeah, leading through crisis, and that generated probably about $400,000 worth of revenue that was unplanned but made up for some of that shortfall in business accelerator during the month of April.

John Meese 13:01
Well, so you talked a little bit about this already, but about just kind of, I mean, this is just natural in terms of who you are as a leader. But how are you thinking about pursuing opportunity in the midst of an economic crisis like this? I mean, it's not I know, you've said multiple times, I've heard you say that this is not the time to just kind of freeze that this is the time to lean into it. So I'd love for you to just share a little bit of your philosophy on how how you specifically but also how you recommend other leaders pivot to pursue opportunity in this crisis?

Michael Hyatt 13:28
Well, so much of this has to happen in your mindset, right? Because if you're operating from your heels, being reactive, that's one thing. But to lean into it and say, Oh, my gosh, there's opportunity here, and I'm going to lean into it and embrace the changes that this is going to require. That's a completely different mindset. That one usually works better in the midst of a crisis. And here's, here's sort of the big picture. I think that entrepreneurs and by the way, my definition of an entrepreneur is not somebody that simply owns a business. You could be an entrepreneur, if you're the pastor of a church. You can be the author, an entrepreneur, if you're in mid level management. If you solve problems at a profit, then you're an entrepreneur. That's what entrepreneurs do. They solve problems at a profit. So the question I've asked my business coaching clients, particularly business owners, but all entrepreneurs, do people do your constituents? Do your clients have more problems today than they did three months ago? Absolutely. Everybody I know has got more problems. There are all kinds of problems, new problems, problems they've never seen before. more problems than ever before. What that means for an entrepreneur is more opportunity than ever before. So if you can stay focused on solving your customers, or your clients, most vexing problems, you will be successful. It's that simple.

John Meese 14:49
Well, I love that example that entrepreneurs You said you define entrepreneurs as people who solve problems at a profit right?

Michael Hyatt 14:55
That's it.

John Meese 14:55
I love that definition. So what I love that whole attitude because I think That's, that's helpful, right? Because there are a lot of us who are have a bias towards action, who otherwise just feel anxious kind of in response to crisis, we're not doing something about it, we just kind of like we get all worked up. So it's good to put our hands to the good work, you know, building the new future. So what kinds of opportunity Are you currently pursuing? And what kinds of opportunity Do you see on the horizon? Like you mentioned leading through crisis? That was kind of step one, right? I mean, that was creating a whole new course in a week launch it generate hundreds of thousand dollars in revenue serving business owners and teaching and leaders and teachers teaching them how to lead to crisis. That's huge. What are their kind of pivots Are you making or currently or on the near horizon?

Michael Hyatt 15:39
Well, one of the things that, that you realize in the midst of a crisis in and if you're an entrepreneur who solves problems that are profit, it means you've got to get doubly close to your customers and clients to help understand what their real problems are, so that you can roll up your sleeves and go to work and help them solve those. So one of the things that we And I would say that outside of leading through crisis, we've not added additional opportunities. You know, we're we're basically pursuing the expansion of existing opportunities. But it did shape the way or reshape the way that we're doing business accelerator. So one of the things I did following that those meetings that we had in the middle of March with our business accelerator clients, as I started hosting a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, one hour conversation with all of our business accelerator clients on zoom, what I didn't know at the time, I just thought I was going to be doing some hand holding and encouraging in the midst of this and, you know, I'd have had experienced, I thought I could just do some troubleshooting in the midst of it. What I didn't realize is that it would get me very close to people's real problems. So now. So now our clients issues are not being mediated through our team or waiting for the quarterly meetings. I was hearing in real time, the real issues that people were struggling with and the Real World. And so that gave me an up close and personal vantage point that I think accelerated the development of content, the way that we do business with them. So so I was doing that three times a week. And then about the middle of April, we shifted that to two times a week. And now we've gotten gone back to one time a week. And I literally just before we started recording, this, just got off the call, because I do it every Monday at 9am. And John, I love it. It's like my single most favorite thing to do. Because I feel like I'm getting so close to our customers, that it's fueling the development of content, and the development of solutions that I'll be able to offer back to our clients to help them be even more successful.

John Meese 17:42
Well, that's, that's awesome. That's huge. So just creating that opportunity to get close with the customers, not only to help them, but also to inform you I mean, to educate you as an entrepreneur in terms of what problems you need to solve at a profit, right?

Michael Hyatt 17:56
That's right. As you're committed to serving people, you have to understand that in fact I would say that as an entrepreneur, there's two things you got to understand to be successful. So pick your target market. Understand first, what are their aspirations, what are they long for? What do they want? What's the thing that they're seeking, above all else when it comes from, you know, from a business perspective? And then secondly, what what gets in the way? What are the obstacles? What are the challenges, what's helping them get, keep keeping them from get what getting what they want, if you can, if you know both of those things, you can create products, you can offer services, it will inform your marketing, copy everything. And that's really all you have to do to succeed if you know those two things, and go to work, solving those problems and helping people get what they want, so that it's faster, easier and cheaper, you'll be successful.

John Meese 18:44
That's, that's good. And that's actionable. So thank you for sharing that. I think you have a unique perspective. I know you have a unique perspective, because you're not just leading through this own this current crisis. I mean, this is kind of the genesis of your course leading through crisis, the idea that you you've been there, you've done that You've kind of you've been through this before, in a major way and the 2008 economic crisis. And I'm sure you load up through other quote "once in a lifetime crises" before that. So I'd love to know, what do you see in this crisis? That's the same. In other words, I know there's a lot of things that are different, right? This is a pandemic, that that doesn't happen that often. But economic crises, those those come along, pretty often, it seems. So I love to know what do you see that's, that's a common thread that maybe makes this a little bit easier to kind of sink your teeth into because it's not just a once in a lifetime thing. This is something that, you know, people have been through before and there is a way to respond. I'd love to know what you think about that.

Michael Hyatt 19:40
Yeah, well, a couple things. One is kind of what I referred to earlier. You've got to guard your mindset. You know, as a leader, you've got to shift into being proactive. Even though you can't see the future as clearly as perhaps she did before the pandemic. You've got to get on your toes. You've got to embrace change. You've got to not pine or be nostalgic about the good old days, because those are gone, you know, there's gonna be a new normal, you know, some of it will come back. But I really think the future is going to be different than the past was before COVID. So I think first is the mindset. The second thing is very practical thing. And that is your ability to generate cash before a crisis hits, and have a bank of cash. And your ability to continue to generate cash is everything. I mean, it's like oxygen is to, to a diver. It new will, it will determine how long you can stay down, or this case how long you can stay in business. If you run out of cash. You're done. So, you know, I knew that during the Great Recession, we got very aggressive about our cash management. That was the first time as a leader that I ever started having weekly cash flow meetings where we were projecting the next 16 weeks of cash, you know what are reciepts were going to be and what our disbursements are going to be. And we're going to be in trouble through every one of those periods. So one of the things that that we've done ever since I started the company, and really did it in earnest as we began, this, as the pandemic began, was a cash flow meeting where I get together with what I call our Executive Committee, but it's our CFO, and my COO. And we meet once a week, we still do that to this day. And we look at the next 16 weeks, week by week, but our cash receipts or Cash Disbursements, and our cash balances are going to be week by week. So what that allows us to do and we've got a, you know, a Google Sheet that basically uses the conditional formatting, so that if the cash balance is negative, that cell goes red, and if it's positive, it goes green. And when it's all green, I sleep well at night. And it's when there's a red out there in the future. I don't sleep as well. But here's the cool thing about it. I can see it coming. But the worst nightmare For a business owner, is suddenly to realize on Tuesday afternoon, when you have to communicate your payroll to whoever does your your payroll, whether that's an outside service or your CFO, and you realize, oh my gosh, we don't have enough cash to cover payroll on Friday. That is like the worst nightmare you could ever experienced. Because then you're scrambling, you know, you're hocking things you're doing whatever it takes, you know, to make that payroll because, you know, retaining good people is is paramount. So what this allows you to do is managing your cash flow in this way, allows you to see the bumps in the road and see the crises before they happen. So you can react. So if I see that there's a cell that's red, and it's seven weeks from now, I basically have seven weeks to figure it out. There's no problem that my team can figure out with enough warning, but there's almost no problem we can solve if we're surprised by it. So you know, the key is to engineer out of your business surprises to the best of your ability.

John Meese 22:59
Engineer surprises out of your business. I love that. Okay, so let's go back in time further than March 2020. And for a second and talk about 2008. Because at this time when that economic crisis hit, what was your role with Thomas Nelson Thomas Nelson, were you the CEO when the crisis hit?

Michael Hyatt 23:15
I was the CEO

John Meese 23:15
Yep. Okay. Yeah. So what did that what did that look like? What was there a moment, then? I don't know if this has been a while since then. But do you remember the moment then where you realize like, Oh, this is a big deal. We need to we need to batten down the hatches and respond.

Michael Hyatt 23:29
Yeah. So we we saw our sales start to slow down during Christmas of 2007. And I would say for the first several months of the Great Recession, no one had declared a great recession. It wasn't a thing yet. All we knew is that our sales were slowing down. And we kept wondering, is it us? Or is it the economy? And so we had sold the company we were publicly held up until 2006. So I became the CEO in 2005. Were publicly held up until 2006. And we sold the company to private equity. So, my board was now made up of the partners that comprise the private equity company that bought us. And so they were like, all over me. You know, they were like, Guys, what the heck is happening? Yeah, sales are plummeting. Our sales were, you know, over the course of several months, they were, they had dropped by about 20%. On an annualized basis. You know, we were, we were near panic, because we're trying to figure this out. I was trying discreetly to check in with some of my peers. I was also the chairman of our trade association. So I had a relationship with all my peers. And so I would just try to call them and say, Hey, you know, I don't wanna reveal too much, but I said, we're kind of seeing some slowdown, you know, in the in the book market. What about you guys, they were kind of seeing that too. So then we kind of figured out that it was a was an industry problem. But I knew it was a big problem. When in our company in order to To sell to private equity, I didn't fully understand this appreciate it. We were publicly held, we were debt free. So what I didn't realize is that we went into this transaction, that the way that we funded the private equity acquisition is that we had to take on a lot of debt. So the private equity company put up like about $50 million. This was a $500 billion transaction. So I had to go out there and raise 450 million dollars from mostly in the form of bank debt from it was I won't get into too much of the detail. But basically, we syndicated the debt across probably 50 to 60 banks, so each of them had small trenches of the debt. So I was in New York City to report to our biggest lenders on how our performance was I was already nervous about it. I was in the basement of the Wells Fargo business in Manhattan. And all of a sudden we heard on the news, I had a I had wall to wall meetings all day booked up. We're using the Wells Fargo meeting room because they were our biggest lender, they're gonna let us meet with all of our lenders through the day. All of a sudden, we saw in the news they had, you know, monitors out in the waiting room. We saw in the news that Lehman Brothers on the day where they're declared bankruptcy.

John Meese 26:14
Wow, you were there.

Michael Hyatt 26:15
Yeah. And I was just like, it took our breath away. I was there with my CFO, and we were like, What the heck? I mean, we couldn't believe it. I mean, Lehman Brothers, one of the most venerable, established, prestigious, you know, financial firms on the planet, they were going bankrupt. And the funny thing about that John, is in that waiting room, in that lobby, there was this giant picture of a ship that was going through just an unbelievable storm, you know, it was like, the waves were up, the crew look terrified and all that I thought, and this is a fitting icon for what we're experiencing. So for the for the rest of the day. First of all, all of our meetings got canceled. Sure. We saw people running through the building at the Wells Fargo building with their hair on fire, figuratively,

John Meese 27:03

Michael Hyatt 27:05
And then we're riding in elevators. And I mean, people were just like, had this look like? shock shock is the only way I could Yeah, describe it. So we didn't have a single meeting, we got back on the plane, flew back to Nashville. I met with the executive team and we said, Okay, guys, you know, Houston, we have a problem. We got to figure this out.

John Meese 27:22
Well, but you did figure it out. Right

Michael Hyatt 27:24
We did figure it out. And it was it was challenging. And and, you know, to be honest, no thanks to my board. They were they were like, they created a lot of busy work for us because they were panicked out. They were having to report you know, in fairness to their shareholders. Sure. And so, you know, they were pressing us for information, but we were having to figure it out on our own. And one of the first things that we did is what I said earlier is okay, cash is everything. How are we going to conserve cash. Now, to be honest, one of the things that happened to us in the midst of all this is we blew out several of our bank covenants. So there was never a quarter who we didn't make money. We were able to service our debt, you know, we were financially healthy. But our ratios, our debt, you know, ratios were upside down. And so we blew out some bank covenants. So that was pretty hairy because I had, you know, bankers that were all over me and, you know, trying to hold them off with one hand, trying to, you know, shake that off and have a, you know, encouraging face and be motivational encouraging to my team and keep everything moving forward. It was, it was the leadership challenge of a lifetime

John Meese 28:29
Wow. Okay, so after going through that, and in the midst of this economic crisis that we're living through right now, what advice do you have for a business owner who's listening to this and we're thinking probably a, you know, small business owner entrepreneur who's either thinking they're thinking about how do I build or rebuild a profitable business in this economy or any economy? I mean, is there any particular advice you would give that's relevant to this crisis, but also, just in any interest in any business approach to building a business that will thrive not just survive, but also thrive in any economy. What do you have to say?

Michael Hyatt 29:04
Yeah, I would say, the first work you need to do is to work on your mindset. And you need to take a stand. And I'm using that word deliberately. You need to take a stand for how you're going to emerge from the crisis. In other words, what shape is your business going to be in? On the other side of this? Are you going to be stronger? Are you going to be about the same? Are you still going to be solvent? Are you going to thrive? Are you going to find opportunity? I would write that down. And John, as you know, internally at Michael Hyatt and Company, we have a written stand for how we want to come out the other end of of this crisis. But I think I think that's, that's very different than just saying, I don't know what's going to happen. It's going to kind of drift through this. And we're gonna see we're gonna do the best we can, we're going to try to survive. So, you know, I've set up this framework in almost everything that I do, and it certainly present in all my books is that you approach life either by design or drift through it, and nobody ever drifted to a destination that would have chosen. So designing it goes much better, even if all the things you design don't come out quite like you hope. So for example, we built an addition on the back of our houses last year a big end project. And thankfully, it came in on budget. So that was all good. But it was about two months like, Huh, so that's just even with the design, even with the blueprint, even with a phenomenal contractor, even with the best of intentions, you know, things don't always work exactly as you plan. But it sure went a lot better than if we had had no budget and no blueprint. That would have been what would have been a recipe for disaster. And now all the hassle we went through with the delay is just a distant, distant memory. We're still we enjoy the fruit of having that thing built in built. But I would say the same thing is true in business. You know, to go ahead and take a stand, set goals, your strategy will likely change and by the way, it's important to do distinguish between goals and vision and strategy. So goals and vision are about the what you want to accomplish strategy is about how you're going to do it, you know, how am I going to get from where I am to where I've stated I want to be in my goal, your goals probably won't change even in the midst of something this different for some businesses a will. But for most businesses at won't, your strategy most certainly will change and it needs to be adjusted as conditions on the ground change. So anytime something changes on the ground, you got to adjust your strategy and I've often likened this to taking a you know, we take a beach vacation every year down to Rosemary Beach in the panhandle of Florida. Usually, that's always that's the goal, okay. And so we know what that's going to be like with a vision of it. We know we're going to do when we get there. That's the vision the strategy can change from from year to year and dependent on conditions on the ground. Sometimes the strategy has been to fly from here to Pensacola, which is a very fast flight rental car and they go to the panhandle. Usually the strategy for for us is to caravan with our family members to drive south and I 65 till we get through Birmingham and then go southeast to the panhandle of Florida. But sometimes conditions on the ground will change. Sometimes there's a wreck, sometimes there's road construction, that forces us to take a detour. But we are not going to give up on the dream or the goal of the vacation, just because the strategy has to change. So that's what I think people have to understand in the crisis, your strategy probably will change. And it needs to change as often as it's not delivering the results you anticipate.

John Meese 32:30
Well, I love that. And I can say that one of the most useful tools to me in this crisis in my own business ventures has been your book that by coincidence, or serendipity came out right in the middle of this crisis, The Vision Driven Leader. So would you talk a little bit about what the framework is in the vision driven leader on how to set a vision because you kind of just laid out this difference between a goal or a vision and the strategy to get there, and I love the framework. I have a vision script for my business based on that book. And that's been super helpful for me. So would you talk a little bit about what is a vision screen And yes, and just mentioned that book.

Michael Hyatt 33:02
Okay, so when I just define a vision script, when I'm talking about this, I'm talking about a documents that three to five pages in length. It's a written document. So this is not a vision statement. It's important for people to hear me say that because for years, I labored under the burden that I had to come up with a really short, pithy, pretty clever statement that described what it is that I want to create for the future of my business. Well, first of all, most of us aren't that clever. You know, it's hard to say anything meaningful, in a short format that you could put on a T shirt or a coffee mug. But secondly, even if we were it's probably not robust enough to really inform us at an operational level. So so it's got to be a written document three to five pages in length. It outlines a clear, inspiring, practical and attractive picture of your organization's future. So to give it a shorthand, you It's a bigger, better version of the future. So of what you have currently. Then it's it's basically, it describes what you see is the leader, three to five years into the future. And it's written in the present tense as though we're already happening. So that's a vision script. It's typically divided into four sections. So the first section talks about your team, the future of your team and the culture it is you're trying to create. That's Paramount, because it's your team that's going to bring the reality of the vision into the present. So your team, then your products or your services, then your sales and your marketing, and finally, your impact. And the way that that I encourage leaders to do that is like so many things, what gets scheduled gets done, so schedule the time, you know, preferably a half a day to even a full day to get alone with your own thoughts. Let it be informed by you know, your financial statements. You're already orginizational charts are list of products or production, all that kind of stuff. But then allow yourself, give yourself permission to dream. If you could wave a magic wand, and if you could step into the future, three to five years from now, and three years is what I typically recommend for most businesses, describe what you see in those four categories of teams, product and service, sales and marketing and then impact.

John Meese 35:23
Yeah, well, I love that. I think the book came out right, the beginning of April, right, like right in the middle of all of this.

Michael Hyatt 35:27
Yeah. March 31.

John Meese 35:28
March 31. Okay, that's what Wow. So I was privileged to get an early release copy. So I guess I had the benefit of writing division before all of this hit. But that became a super helpful tool for me. I mean, just honestly, I had opened a coworking space as an entrepreneur center 58 days before we had to close it. And so that was like, I was like, that was not, I mean, temporarily, we're back open now. But But that was not any that was not. I mean, that was a blow. I mean, I was just like, notice emotionally like, what do you do with that? And I went back and reread my vision script and I said, Okay, Is this still relevant? And the answer was yes, all of this is still relevant in terms of where we're going. How we get there may look a lot different now than it did back when we were thinking about it in January. But the vision absolutely, that we have to have that I love that that's so powerful, Michael. So that book is The Vision Driven leader, for anybody that should check that out. It's a phenomenal read. It's definitely one of my top two minute books

Michael Hyatt 36:22
Thank you so much.

John Meese 36:23
Well, Michael, thank you so much for your time, I appreciate all of your insight. I'd love to know where's the best place to find you and learn more about how you can help the business owners who are listening to this?

Michael Hyatt 36:33
Well, just to stay on the subject of The Vision Driven leader, the best place to find out more there about that is to go to visiondrivenleader.com. And you also if you go to that website, there's some bonuses that you get, if you come back to that website after you bought the book with your receipt, and your your receipt number and we'll give you a couple hundred dollars worth of bonuses. That will make it easier for you to craft your own excellent script for your organization. But everything else, Michaelhyatt.com. There's links To my podcast or a coaching program, to my courses, all things related to our company, Michaelhyatt.com.

John Meese 37:07
Thank you so much, Michael. So once again, the visiondrivenleader.comm for the book and Michaelhyatt.com to learn more about you and all the good stuff you're up to. So thank you so much, Michael for your time and keep up the good work.

Michael Hyatt 37:18
Thanks so much. Thanks for having me.

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John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the CEO of Cowork.Inc, co-founder of Notable, and host of the Thrive School podcast.

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