The Lucky Titan

Ruthless Consistency: How committed leaders execute and win With Michael Canic

August 09, 2021 Josh Tapp
The Lucky Titan
Ruthless Consistency: How committed leaders execute and win With Michael Canic
Chapters
The Lucky Titan
Ruthless Consistency: How committed leaders execute and win With Michael Canic
Aug 09, 2021
Josh Tapp

Michael Canic is the President and Chief Flag-bearer of Making Strategy Happen, a consulting firm that helps committed leaders of mid-market companies turn ambition into strategy, and strategy into reality.

He has delivered over 600 presentations to audiences on four continents and his recent book, Ruthless Consistency: How Committed Leaders Execute Strategy, Implement Change, and Build Organizations That Win, reached the top of two best-seller lists.

Previously, Michael managed the Consulting Division at The Atlanta Consulting Group, a pioneer in the field of trust-based leadership. He is a former national championship-winning college football coach, and also has a PhD in the Psychology of Human Performance. 

An adventure traveler, Michael has been to more than 40 countries. He has journeyed by camel in the Sahara, trekked the mountains of Northern Pakistan, and — for some inexplicable reason — swum with piranha in the Amazon.

MakingStrategyHappen.com
LinkedIn: /MichaelCanic

Show Notes Transcript

Michael Canic is the President and Chief Flag-bearer of Making Strategy Happen, a consulting firm that helps committed leaders of mid-market companies turn ambition into strategy, and strategy into reality.

He has delivered over 600 presentations to audiences on four continents and his recent book, Ruthless Consistency: How Committed Leaders Execute Strategy, Implement Change, and Build Organizations That Win, reached the top of two best-seller lists.

Previously, Michael managed the Consulting Division at The Atlanta Consulting Group, a pioneer in the field of trust-based leadership. He is a former national championship-winning college football coach, and also has a PhD in the Psychology of Human Performance. 

An adventure traveler, Michael has been to more than 40 countries. He has journeyed by camel in the Sahara, trekked the mountains of Northern Pakistan, and — for some inexplicable reason — swum with piranha in the Amazon.

MakingStrategyHappen.com
LinkedIn: /MichaelCanic

Josh: What is up everybody, Josh here again and welcome back to the lucky Titan and today we're here with Michael Canic and I just wanted to read his bio, because I thought it, it could do it better than I could have, I could have said it so it says Michael Canic is the President and Chief Flagbearer of making strategy happen, a consulting firm that helps committed leaders of mid-market companies turn ambition, into strategy and strategy into reality. He's also delivered over 600 presentations to audiences on four continents and his recent book, ruthless consistency, which he's here to talk about today, is has reached the top of two bestseller lists. So this guy has a great track record, we're just talking about his PhD. program and how I thought about entering into that as well so really cool, guy, I'm excited to have you here, Michael so can you say what's up, Michael and then we'll hop in. 

Michael: Fantastic. Thanks, Josh. Great to be here appreciate it. Look forward to this. 

Josh: Absolutely. This is going to be a fun one. I was really intrigued. Michael, when when I first had you know, when you submitted your information to come on the show was really intriguing to me, because I mentioned this in our pre interview, I am actually an introvert and I work with a lot of introverts and a lot of the strategies that people bring in business are very extrovert strategies and they're saying, you've got to be like ruthless, for example, right? You have to be very kind of Gary Vaynerchuk S and for a lot of us, that's very difficult to do, because it's not how we are as people but what I loved about really kind of the thesis around your book is it's really built around helping people who may be more conservative and then become more consistent in their lifestyle so can you walk us through a little bit about consistency and how that works in kind of an introverted entrepreneurial lifestyle? 

Michael: Sure, absolutely and consistency is something all of us struggle with, you know, it's, we talk about consistency, but it's hard to be consistent all the time and I think as somebody and as an entrepreneur, you've got a lot of balls in the air, you're doing a lot of different things so to be clear, I'm not talking about consistency, as in robotic repetition, you know, mindlessly repeating things, it's really a ruthless consistency of purpose, making sure that everything you say everything you do, all your decisions, and your actions are aligned with what you need to achieve, you know, because at the end of the day, it's that, you know, the relentless alignment of intentions, decisions and actions, that's the foundation of success and that's true, whether you're a more of an introvert or an extrovert so it's not about just, you know, rah, rah, we're gonna make this happen but is everything you're doing absolutely aligned with what you intend to achieve, that's what I mean by consistency. 

Josh: See, and I love that and I want to ask you kind of a historical question here for you is, at what point in your business did you notice the pivot and the necessity for that consistency of purpose?

Michael: Well, I'm fortunate that it's kind of it was instilled in me from a young age, frankly, and, you know, my, from my family and upbringing, I had an uncle, Uncle Tony, who is a military guy and he would use from, you know, he was from Toronto, but he would come visit every summer and, and take me hiking, you know, we go into the mountains and what I learned from him was this discipline, this focus, and he embodied that, and I just found that very appealing and, you know, I remember actually at his, at his funeral, when he passed his best friend to me, his best friend said to me, you know, Tony always used to say, if you have discipline, you can do anything so I think that really kind of, you know, provided the foundation for me what I've learned since then, and because many people think, well, geez, I'm not that disciplined, you only have to be disciplined until you make something a habit, once it becomes a habit. You don't have to be disciplined, you know so if I were to say, Josh, you know, are you disciplined? Do you have to be disciplined to take a shower every day? You very well, no, I just, that's what I do, it's a habit, right. So, you know, we only have to be disciplined to the point where something becomes a habit and then we can be very consistent with it, 

Josh: wow and I love I love that example because that's, that's the big difference between a habit, right? I mean, I, somebody doesn't have to come to me every day and say, Josh, you need a shower, right if they did or wouldn't be socially acceptable but what a cool example, and I love the story and I just have to ask you a side question here, because you're from Vancouver, and your uncle's name is Tony, was he French? 

Michael: No, he wasn't. No, no, no, my family's actually from Croatia. 

Josh: Oh, wow. That's really interesting. No side note. I just thought it'd be an interesting note there because a lot of people have an Uncle Tony are usually like Italian or French of some sort. 

Michael: Right? Yeah. 

Josh: Um, okay. Well, let me ask you this. So, you know, we coming back to the book in particular, I know, that wasn't the entire purpose of coming on the show today, but the book has really got me intrigued so when it when it comes to establishing these habits and becoming consistent and with your unique background, having a PhD and understanding human behavior, and how we interact, what's our kind of what would you explain as your framework for helping people to establish those habits that don't require as much discipline, 

Michael: right, well, we have to not only understand what drives success, and you hear a lot said a lot written about here the practices of success but I think it's just as important, Josh to understand what causes failure, you know, what leads to failure, and the two are not the same, you know, over the things we need to do to overcome failure are not the same as the things we necessarily need to do to be successful so I like to say you need to play both offense and defense, you know, so I have certain practices I review every day, but I call my you know, four drivers of success and my four enemies of success so I think we have to identify what are the enemies that each of us has for success, you know, and what were some of the things I talked about in the book, our complacency, you know, it's easy to get complacent, especially if we're doing well, distractibility and today was so many things pulling at us, you know, all these different communication channels, all these different media, it's very easy to be distractible. Now, notice, I didn't say distractions are the enemy, it's distractibility, it's our tendency to succumb to those distractions, the reality is, the distractions are there and will be there but are we cultivating the things to overcome distractibility and then the third enemy, for many people is ego, getting their egos tied into something where it means either they, they don't want to admit they've made a mistake, or they're not willing to be vulnerable or maybe they need to take credit for all the things that you know, they go well, so we have to identify both the enemies of success, as well as the other drivers of success 

Josh: and so what you're saying is, those enemies are different based on the person is that correct? 

Michael: That's right. Yeah. So I mean, for some person, you know, might be, you know, it might be you see that distractibility somebody else might not have a problem with that, but their issue might be, I just don't have the energy to do it or, you know, I'm not good at something, you know, or I, you know, I don't like doing something or avoidance, you know, so there are a number of different things which can play on us but real speaks to the psychology, you know, are we managing our psychology are we recognizing both where we're strong, where we're not strong, what steps do we need to take to maximize our psychology, you know, and you'll hear people talking about, you know, what are the hacks you can apply to yourself, right, those mental or cognitive hacks right? Well, it's kind of that idea but you have to understand yourself and be very honest about that, before you can apply those, you know, those practices to overcome them

Josh:  right, and so we have the enemies of success then so what are the Friends of success? Was that the other one?

Michael: Right, the drivers of success and so in my world is four things its focus, motivation, organization, and discipline, focus, what is it that you want to achieve and make sure that overarching focus doesn't get sidetracked that you remind yourself of that and I can tell you, Josh, every morning, I look at my iPhone, and I review my four drivers of success, you know, focus, you know, what is it I need to accomplish today, motivation? Why is this important? You know, so it's not just the what, it's the why organization, how am I going to make this happen? And then discipline, how do I ensure it happens? You know, what practices do I put in place to ensure it happens so for me, those are the four drivers, I, you know, I review those every day and the discipline is really important and here's what I how I define it, is putting in place feedback loops throughout the day so I'll check in throughout the day and say, Hey, am I on track with what I intended to accomplish so those feedback loops help you look at that in and help you make sure it gets it happens, you know, it's not just having a plan, it's the mechanism to follow up on the plan so I find those feedback loops, very important and then at the end of the day, have I done what I needed to do and just to be very upfront about this, you know, I am far from perfect at this but the goal here isn't to be perfect, the goal is to commit to the process of always looking at how can I improve, how can I do better, you know, what do I need to change to be more effective that's really the magic it's not in the trying to be perfect. 

Josh: See what a beautiful methodology and my, my curiosity for you having worked with a lot of successful people as well, do you find that they are more disciplined I mean, we, we look at successful people as if they're, they have this lifestyle that they just are perfect, and they're constantly they hit the gym at four in the morning and then they are, you know, they're, they're eating right and then they're, they're at work by seven o'clock and then they're home by two o'clock because they want to be with their kids, they've got like this regimen, do you believe that that's true or do you have you seen the opposite? 

Michael: I believe for many people are successful, and I might even say most, I think it is true, successful people develop positive, powerful patterns, right, what are the things that are going to correlate with my success, you know, I think of the leadership author John Maxwell, for example, he gets up every morning at five o'clock, and he's writing by 5:30. That's what he does every morning, right? Now, again, that's become habit now, but that's how he's written, I think he's written like 80 books or something like that. 80 90 books, right so you know, that's his pattern for many people, they like to have an evening pattern to prepare for the next day but I can tell you years ago, I worked at FedEx, you know, part of my corporate experience was with FedEx, and FedEx, they always used to say the success of each day, begins the night before, meaning have we picked up the package? Have we put the right information into the system? Have we got to go into the right place? The success of delivering that package on time depends on what we did at the pickups side of the cycle was similarly if you take each evening and say, okay, what am I doing tomorrow? When do I need to get up? How do I make sure I'm prepared for this, you know, that's a pattern some people have morning patterns that they stick to, they get up, they meditate, they work out, or whatever they do so I do believe that many successful people and others have talked about this as well, you know, this is no revelation, but many successful people develop those positive powerful patterns and that becomes part of what they do and who they are

Josh: I think that's brilliant to see all the different examples of people who do that, because I think for a lot of people, it's this intimidation of other people's schedule but I like to use different examples of the people who worked out and then the people who, like John Maxwell, he wakes up and he ends up writing in the morning and, and I believe it's more about waking up stimulation, and then having, like you said, those powerful patterns in your life because I know for me, I actually am not a morning workout type person, I just can't get myself to do it in the mornings yet, hopefully, that'll be one thing I can do but, but in the evening times, when I'm done, it's, it's I'm looking forward to it, I'm ready to go workout but in the mornings, my brains are ready to write, I could write all day, right in the morning.

Michael: and this is why it's important to know your own you know, yourself, because different patterns work for different people so while I say successful, people have patterns, that does not mean they all have the same patterns, that's why you want to be very, you know, introspective, very reflective, you know, did I perform well doing this, did I not? Did I did I keep up with this, or this fall through the cracks? Why? Well, maybe I'm not a morning person, maybe I've got to ease into the day, maybe I should do you know, my writing in the morning and I should do other things in the afternoon so the key is find what works for you and the best way to do that is to have those feedback loops and really be reflective and introspective know, what worked, what didn't, this is a constant journey of experimentation to optimize us, as opposed to find the right formula and that's it, you know, so there's no one size fits all this is really about developing your system.

Josh: I love that, I really think the world has become more accepting of that methodology because we've over the past 30 or 40 years, it's been, here's my diet plan that's going to save your life, or here's like this goal setting strategy, it's going to save your life but the reality is that everybody's has to be custom tailored, I just interviewed a guy, I don't know, two or three months ago about the workout side of these things and his entire company, they're way more expensive than, you know, your $150 workout plan but they go clear into your like your jeans, and they figure out everything about you and the what would work best for your body and then custom tailor your plan for that and it seems like that's what you do with people on more of a consistent like business type habits, is that correct? 

Michael: Absolutely. Yes. So again, part of the part of the stress that i think you know, leaders top leaders feel is they might read things say oh, this is what it takes to be successful and then they feel well, I'm not up to that or maybe I'm not good enough for that's not me and I say don't worry about that, right optimize you, you optimize you because there are success patterns in there you just have to discover them and let me just give you a simple example here this is outside of business, let's say working out for example, right, how do I find the time to work out and so since COVID times our gym has been closed so I haven't been able to get to the gym. So I work out at home here a lot of bodyweight exercises, well, what I find with my schedules worked well is I like to take a break, you know, every half hour, get up, stretch, move around, which is you know, a good practice, well, what I do is I use that five minutes positively, I do one or two sets of some sort of exercise that right and so and then another half hour, I'll do another one or two sets of something of chin ups or push-ups or something right and if I do that throughout the day, I mean I get in my workout, it's just not concentrated, but it naturally works into the pattern word Gives me breaks during the day, now that's not for everyone but that's been a pattern that I found has worked for me so you know, in these times where we can't get to the gym, so all to say that, you know, find the patterns that work for you, given your life, you know what you're doing your schedule, you know, the demands you have on you, you can discover those patterns.

Josh: Yeah, that is brilliant and so make sure everybody if you're listening to this, that you look at yourself, and you say, what are those patterns that I can I can adopt, I would highly recommend you go by his books, it's ruthless consistency, I will add a link in this description for that as well but you also Michael, you have a website that people can go to to gain access to this stuff as well. Could you let us know where to find you? 

Michael: Sure. It's makingstrategyhappen.com so as the name implies, that's what we do make strategy happen so it's makingstrategyhappen.com and you'll see, you know, I've posted like 450 blogs so you know, people want more information on the right commitment, the right focus or right environment, I've written about this extensively. 

Josh: Yeah, I would say, Wow, 450 blogs, that's, that's a lot, 

Michael: that's multiple books worth of information. 

Josh: Hey, go check that out. So it's makingstrategyhappen.com correct. 

Michael: Perfect. 

Josh: That's it perfect. So everybody, make sure you go check that out and then just to wrap this up with one beautiful bow, Michael, give us one final parting piece of guidance. 

Michael: Right, thanks, Josh. You know, it's easy to look externally, and say, well, here are the obstacles we're faced with, here are the challenges here, all the reasons and the thing I leave your listeners with is this at the end of the day, it's not you versus those obstacles, it's not you versus those challenges, it's you versus you and if you focus on the things that you can do, you know, and know yourself and reflect on those and put those patterns in place, you can be successful, whatever field you're in so at the end of the day, it's you versus you.