Transformative Insights From Top Business Minds And Thought Leaders

About this episode:

In this episode of the Agency Spark Podcast, Sara interviews Scott Jeffrey Miller. Capping a 25-year career where he served as a chief marketing officer and executive vice president of business development, Miller currently serves as FranklinCovey’s senior advisor on thought leadership, leading the strategy and development of the firm’s speaker’s bureau, as well as the publication of podcasts, webcasts, and bestselling books.

Miller is the author of the award-winning, multivolume Mess to Success series, including Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow and the forthcoming Marketing Mess to Brand Success (May 2021) and Job Mess to Career Success (January 2022). He is the co-author of The Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team, and the author of Master Mentors: 30 Transformative Insights from Our Greatest Minds (September 2021), which features insights from his interviews with the leading thinkers of our time.

Show notes:

  • Visit Scott’s website to find all of his books, hire him for a keynote speech, or purchase his career coaching course. Click here!
  • LinkedIn


Sara Nay: This episode of the agency spark podcast is brought to you by, a powerful project management platform. Learn more about how to set your team up for later in the show. Welcome to the agency spark podcast. This is your host, Sarah Nye. And today on the show, I have Scott Miller who is currently serves as a special advisor on thought leadership for Franklin Covey, along with being a multi best-selling author, radio and podcast, host leadership, coach columnist and global. Do you know the speaker? So welcome to the show. Scott,

Scott Jeffrey Miller: Sarah, my honor. Thank you for the spotlight today.

Sara Nay: Of course. So you have a new book that actually just came out called master mentors. And so it's basically 30 transformative insights from our greatest minds. And so what inspired you to write the book?

Scott Jeffrey Miller: Well, Sarah, like you, I'm privileged to host a weekly podcast that happens to now with the world's largest weekly leadership podcast globally hits about 7 million each Tuesday. And I've had this privilege over the last couple of years to interview hundreds of world renowned thought leaders, best-selling authors, business Titans, heightened celebrities. And what happened that you can probably appreciate is sometimes their best nuggets happen off camera. They happen one minute before the camera or not a couple of minutes afterwards when you're just getting really vulnerable. So I wanted to be able to exponentiate the reach of the podcast to shine a spotlight and give a platform to these people in the hopes that millions of readers who had learned from these thought leaders from different industries, different practices. And so this really was an abundance mindset project to further shine the light on 30 people, some of which might be a household name, some might not do allow readers to have a transformative insight that might change their personal or professional trajectory.

Sara Nay: Amazing. And I know we won't get through all 30 today, but I definitely want to dive into some of your favorite stories that you learned, and then just like the people that you're you're featuring and what are some of the transformative insights that you took from them. So let's start with your, I know it's probably hard to pick a favorite, but the one you want to talk about,

Scott Jeffrey Miller: Well, it happens to be the first mentor. Number one, who is Nick [inaudible], big village, which is a renowned author, speaker, inspirational motivational keynoter. And unlike you and I, he was born with no limbs, no arms and no legs. He's from Australia. He lives in America and Nick [inaudible] is a remarkable example of perseverance of someone who lives not in the past, but in the present. And future has a unbridled sense of gratitude for all that he does have. And actually all that he doesn't. Nick has no arms and no legs and no fingers in the book, master mentors. I write about how meeting him for the first time in my living room here in salt lake city, he was a guest on the podcast. We became fast friends. He flew up from Texas to attend one of monthly dinner parties at my house. And I just had a transformative experience being in his presence, recognizing how for decades, I'm 53, I'd taken for granted my ability to scratch my head, my ability to adjust my glasses, my ability to get up off the couch and go use the restroom.

Scott Jeffrey Miller: Nick can't do anything for himself except for change and control his beliefs and his mindset. And so in the book I write about how, if you really want to have a spirit of gratitude, see the entire world, not through I'd have to, or I ought to, but rather I get to take the garbage out on Sunday evening in the snow. I get to wash the car. I get to sit in traffic because I own a car. I get to terminate someone next week. Not I have to, I get to, to send them on their way to find their journey, to find their voice because it's not working here. I get to have a high courage conversation with someone. If you transform your belief system from, I have to throw, I ought to, into, I get to it transforms your life in your spirit of gratitude, which is the first transformational insight for me.

Sara Nay: I think that's a really powerful one. I actually had heard something similar in terms of shifting your mindset before into the, I get to attitude. And I actually was, I have a one and a half year old. That's still wakes up at night almost every night. And so I was in there the other night and it was late night and I was holding her and I was frustrated. But then I started to think to myself, I get to hold my child. I have a one and a half year old that I absolutely love. And she adores me. And she's a great addition to our family, all this stuff. And I shifted my mindset and all of a sudden at two 30 in the morning, it wasn't, oh, I'm frustrated that I'm up. It's I was cherishing the fact that I was holding my child and I was happy to have her. So I think that's great.

Scott Jeffrey Miller: It is transformative. I guess you could think all kinds of things, but I get to do this. Cause I met at work. I'm not having to work the night shift, get to wake up. My child is alive. I do offer to child is there's so many ways in which to be grateful for, not just what you have, but also what you don't have. I'm grateful. I haven't won the lottery because massive lotteries tend to destroy people's lives. I

Sara Nay: Love it. Great. One to start with. Okay, what's up next. Who's up

Scott Jeffrey Miller: Next? Dr. Susan David is a medical psychiatry psychologist at the Harvard medical school. She's south African and she wrote a book called emotional agility, an amazing book around how so many of us, Sarah conflate confuse facts with our opinions, our emotions, and our experiences. Our feelings, facts are facts and emotions are emotions, and they're both valuable. But a lot of us as leaders, as marketers, as people that are in the business of creating perceptions for people, we do conflate our emotions and our feelings with facts, especially if our it's our idea, it was our marketing campaign or our brand new, our product. Our initiative, we often will find data to conveniently support our facts or manipulate it. When in fact, I think great leadership is really about recognizing how important facts and data are and how important your emotions are, but presenting them very differently and making sure that you're not manipulating what the facts and the data say, because your ego is so big or because you lack humility. I think one of Dr. Covey, who's the founder of the Franklin Covey company, where I worked for 25 years, including 10 as the chief marketing officer would say, humble leaders are more concerned with what is right than being right. And I think that's a great reminder for all of the creative types like me. Are you entering every meeting with a concern about what is right for your investors, your stakeholders, your clients then being right? What is your ego, your reputation need out of this meeting.

Sara Nay: And I think that's an important point almost more now than ever with some of the things that have happened recently with Facebook and all of what's been uncovered. There is really focusing on what is right for the people that you're ultimately supporting. I think that's, as I said, more important now than ever. So thanks. Thanks for sharing. We don't need to get into all that, but thanks for sharing that point. My pleasure. Thanks. All right. So who's up for number. Yeah.

Scott Jeffrey Miller: There's 30 of these right. And national mentors. They cross races, genders, industry sectors. I think number six is a woman named Karen Dillon. She may not be a household name, but Karen Dillon is the former editor of the Harvard business review, not too shabby. And she's co-written many famous books, including with the late marketing mind, great Clayton Christianson who was renowned author of the books. Innovator's dilemma, innovator's solution together. They wrote a book with a third author called, how will you measure your life profound book? How will you measure your life? It took business principles and taught us how to apply them in our personal lives. And in this book, I interviewed the third Harvard business professor and they found from his research that 93%, Sarah of all organizations that go on to achieving financial success do so with what they called an emergent strategy, not the deliberate strategy that the original owner founder set out with only 7% of the time, those organizations that achieved mixed success did so with the original product or marketing idea or messaging 93% of the time, it was an emergent strategy, not their deliberate strategy.

Scott Jeffrey Miller: And so that leads us to understand that the most successful people, 90% of the time have to be open to influence. They have to change their mind. They have to be open to be influenced by someone perhaps when they don't expect it, it might be the intern. It might be an administrative assistant. It might be someone 25, 50 years younger than them. I think the best communicators, the best leaders, the best marketers are those that recognize they may have 30 years of experience, but it might be one year repeated 29 times. And that how we grow and evolve ourselves is just being insatiably curious. And we're open to emerging strategies and ideas, and don't have to be the smartest person in the room to quote Liz Wiseman. Who's another master mentor with the book multipliers. Your job is as a leader is not to be the genius, but rather the genius maker of others to ignite the genius of all those around you.

Sara Nay: I love it. The genius maker, that makes a lot of sense. A lot of times when I do this podcast interviews, I walk away with one new book that I need to read. And I'm obviously going to read yours, but now I feel like after this one, I'm going to have 10 books that I'm going to have to look up and read, which is really exciting. So let's go into the next.

Scott Jeffrey Miller: Yeah, that was part of the book is I wanted to be an igniter of the genius of these 30 people. I'm just the synthesize of the aggregate. I'm just going to behind the scenes director, master mentor number 21 is the famous marketing genius. Seth Goden, a dear friend of mine has endorsed. Many of my books, everybody in the world knows who Seth Godin is. Seth taught me Sarah, the idea that might seem elementary to all of your listeners into you, but it was this idea of understanding when we're being fearless and when we're being reckless. And that might seem axiomatic to a lot of people, but I'll tell you, I often confused being reckless with being fearless. I was the guy that was always calling out the injustice or saying what was on my mind or identify the elephant in the room. And in many ways that was good for me.

Scott Jeffrey Miller: But sometimes I turned into the consummate. Antagonist always had the alternative opinion. That's not good for your brand. I also think sometimes I was being fearless. What I thought was with my brand, but I was living, being reckless with my brand because I recognized that I'd never thought that I had needed to be expressed. I'm here as a thing called internal thoughts and ex internal expressions, right? Your inside voice. Then you said, you get the point. And so I think I spent too many years as a leader. I'll confess this being reckless with my brand or perhaps somebody else's brand or what I thought I was being fearless by calling something out. But I was being reckless with somebody else's feelings or their self-esteem. And I realized that from a guy who's pretty ferocious with which what I am. And I was a Caucasian male by fifties. I had a lot of power in a public organization and I think I used it judiciously and sometimes irresponsibly. And so as I have matured and been mentored by these 30 people and much more aware of when I am masquerading as being fearless. But in fact, I really being reckless.

Sara Nay: And I'm curious on that one, did Seth or you work through any specific examples of how to determine if you think you're being Peerless versus reckless?

Scott Jeffrey Miller: Yes. Yeah. It's to ask yourself how I want to show up in this conversation. What do I want the outcome to be? How do I want to be remembered? What's my motive is my motive to minimize that person is my motive to crush that person because you don't need to be, you don't need to be a sociopath to have nefarious agendas. I actually think I'm a quite nice person and I'm a person of high character, but I have hidden agendas. I just like anybody. I recognize it. So Seth really taught me to understand that it's my intent match. My technique, ask myself, what is my motive? What do I want to accomplish during this conversation? And is my intent pure. And in sometimes it's not Sarah. And I think if all your listeners were to be really self-aware and self truthful, they'd say not their intent. Isn't always pure. Their intent sometimes is to build success at perhaps the expense of others. Maybe not intentionally, maybe they want to be successful. And if it comes at your expense, well that, oh, well I think what great makes great leaders is to make sure that you're giving yourself the opportunity to align your behaviors with your intent and to check yourself when they're not.

Sara Nay: And now a word from our sponsor work without limits. helps teams easily build, run, and scale their dream workflows on one platform. I personally am a user and big fan of I start my Workday by pulling up the platform and spend my day working within it from everything from task management to running client engagements, learn more about at duct Now back to the show, all right, who are we going to dive into after Seth,

Scott Jeffrey Miller: I'm going to back up to Dan pink. Dan pink again is a friend of mine had been in the podcast, which was a criteria for being in the book. Master mentors, Dan pink of course wrote many famous books. He's a master marketer and build her a brand. He wrote a book called win, w H E N all about timing. And again, this might seem elementary, but the book is titled master mentors, 30 transformative insights from our greatest minds. And what might not be transformative to you today might be when you become a parent or it might be when you've lost your job, or it might be when you promoted to be the CEO, you've moved to Dubai. So I wrote the book fairly episodically to offer different insights on very different topics. Dan pink, to me brought an idea to bear that I'd never heard of, which was your circadian cycle.

Scott Jeffrey Miller: All of us had a peak, a trough and a recovery. This is not a new idea, but it was new to me and that the best leaders, the best marketers, the best owners, the best entrepreneur, the best parents understand. When is your peak? What is your trough? And what is your recovery? And my peak is 4:00 AM to about 11:00 AM. That's it? This is what I get. I'm an early riser, by the way, I go to bed very early at night. I'm a very early riser and my genius, my creativity, my problem solving skills are at their game of 4:00 AM to 11:00 AM. I hit a bit of a trough between 11 and about one 30 or two. It's my lunchtime. I'm like three squares a day kind of guy. I get a bit of a recovery from about three to five or six, and I'm done by six in the evening.

Scott Jeffrey Miller: I've worked 14 hours. And so it was really helpful for me, Sarah, to begin aligning the meetings that I was having the high stakes conversations when to be on a phone call with a technology vendor, not my cup of tea, don't be sold a CRM at one in the afternoon. He sold it at nine in the morning where my critical thinking skills are. Don't give someone feedback on a high courage conversation at noon because I'm a little bit last a day called. I may say things that are not responsible. And so I think it's under underestimated. How important it is to understand, when is your peak? When is your trough? When is your recovery align your schedule to the degree you can towards that self discovery, then go out and have that conversation with all of your team members or employees. When is their peak? When is their trough? When is their recovery? And I had a little bit of generosity around not asking them to do things that may not be aligned with where their natural energy is. This might seem revolutionary to me. It was transformational.

Sara Nay: No, I think that's huge. And I naturally, I haven't taken it as far as you have in terms of aligning my schedule and what I'm working on in meetings to basically fall within those different categories. But I do at my peak is definitely not for, I am closer to 9:00 AM to noon is really where I feel like I can be the most efficient and effective in my work. And so it's really interesting concept to start organizing my schedule around really focusing on the key things that I need to be a hundred percent there for within that timeframe. So, yeah. It's wonderful. Yeah. Great. We have time for probably one more. So who do you want to highlight as

Scott Jeffrey Miller: Your last master mentor? Number 18 is a man named Stedman Graham. He may not be a household name to many. He's a very famous author, businessman, entrepreneur. Some people know him as the three decade life partner to Oprah Winfrey. In essence she's Oprah's husband. I don't think legally they're married, but to them that doesn't seem to be important. Devin has been a friend of mine for decades. He writes a lot about identity and I think his transformational insight is most of us, Sarah, go through life, fulfilling the identity that others placed upon us. Our parents, our caretakers, our grandparents, perhaps it was our first coach or our junior high school principal. And Stephen says, instead of living your life fulfilling the identity that others wished for you, screw that, go create your own identity. What is it? Who is it? You want to do stop spending your time becoming what your parents wanted you to be.

Scott Jeffrey Miller: My, my parents were very methodical. Left-brain people buy. My brother became a chemical engineer. Hence he is the favorite son. He checked all those boxes. I was not a chemical engineer. I was chasing potable candidates around or working for Disney, becoming a realtor and hosting a podcast. My parents still can't tell you how I earned money. My brother and I are very good friends. I think he would say, he's quite impressed with my ability to turn what were generalist skills into a career. I implore your listeners instead of fulfilling your identity that someone else created for you choose your own identity. As Stephen Graham teaches us and go become and fulfill that. And to me, that was transformational.

Sara Nay: Do you have any insight or thoughts on, let's say someone's fulfilling someone else's identity at this point, how to really focus on figuring out what their natural identity should be,

Scott Jeffrey Miller: No podcast. You know what you can read? Honestly, you can read the book because there's a whole chapter about how do you do just that? How do you recognize I've spent all this time fulfilling an identity that I thought was mine, but it really was my mother's who was trying to protect me from myself or she was trying to live her life by curiously, through me, or resolve her bad decisions through my, you get the point, right? Is there's no blame to place. There. There's some questions in the chapter that help you do that. But what I think would ask you is what makes you happy? What brings you joy? What brings you peace? What adds value to your life and to others? It's just some simple questions. What brings you joy? What is your legacy going to be? What are you, what are you naturally happiest with?

Scott Jeffrey Miller: And can you turn your identity and build it around that? My natural joy is shining the spotlight on other people. I enjoy doing that. Now with that, I get some spotlight shined on me. That's why the podcast iOS is it hosts. It's not about me just talking for an hour, which I could do. It's about lifting others up. The books that I write are about other people featuring 30 other people. And so I think my identity is I'm an aggregator. I'm a pollinator. And I tried to build now a career around that. Ask yourself what brings you joy and see if you can align your identity to that.

Sara Nay: I love it. That's a great note to end on today. So Scott, thank you so much for sharing all these insights. If someone wants to connect with you online, where can they find you and also grab a copy of your

Scott Jeffrey Miller: According to my life, my wife, it's hard not to find me that wasn't a compliment. She thinks I'm overexposed. So you can visit Scott Jeffrey Miller dot com. All my podcasts, columns, articles, books are there. You can connect to me on every major social platform. LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and my books are available anywhere. Everywhere you buy books, including Amazon Barnes and noble Books-A-Million independent retailers. The new book is master mentors. It the first of 10 volumes in this series by Harper Collins and master mentors volume two will launch in 2022 with 30 new insights from 30 new members.

Sara Nay: That's great. I really am going to grab a copy of the book. I look forward to reading about these first 30 and I can't wait to see who is included in volume two,

Scott Jeffrey Miller: Sarah. Again, thank you for shouting your spotlight onto me and master mentors.

Sara Nay: And thank you all for listening to agency spark podcast. We'll see you next time.


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This episode of the Agency Spark Podcast is brought to you by, a powerful project management platform. helps teams easily build, run, and scale their dream workflows on one platform.  I personally am a user and big fan of – I start my workday pulling up the platform and spend my day working within it for everything from task management to running client engagements. Learn more about at


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