Podcast Ep 141 | Planning to win in 2023 – People – (2 of 5)

What people decisions do you need to make to win in 2023? 

2023 looks to have major challenges that are slowly developing. And this is especially so when considering the people challenges we’re all facing. One of the most important questions to answer in order to best prepare for 2023 is how do I get the right people in the right seats doing the right things the right way?

This week we’re going through some important things to find the right people in 2023 and get your people system working.




Please note that this episode was transcribed using an AI application and may not be 100% grammatically correct – but it will still allow you to scan the episode for key content.


Brad Giles  00:13

Welcome to The Growth Whisperers, where everything we talk about is building enduring great companies, companies, the last companies that endure companies that don’t blow up, like our friends at FTX. Recently

Kevin Lawrence 00:29

lose $32 billion overnight, in some cases, people’s actual money.

Brad Giles  00:38

Yeah, it wasn’t overnight. It was a couple of weeks, or at least one week.

Kevin Lawrence  00:42

Yeah. Or maybe three days? I don’t know. Like, yeah. But that’s, that could be like the record setting outside of a stock market dip, which wipes out billions or trillions of value. That could maybe be the single day biggest, it’s probably in the running for one of the biggest losses in history for a single company at once so quickly.

Brad Giles  01:09

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And who would have thought, right? So definitely,

Kevin Lawrence  01:16

definitely not an enduring, great company.

Brad Giles  01:19

And why? Because everything that we talked about here is building enduring great companies. My name is Brad Giles, and my co host, is Kevin Lawrence. Hello, Kevin. It’s lovely to chat to you today just bought out interesting introduction.

Kevin Lawrence  01:34

Yeah. Oh, geez. No, I want to be clear to like, look, I don’t know the inside story. I don’t know what they were doing. I don’t know what they were or were not doing it didn’t sound like a well oiled enduring machine. I don’t know. So, you know, we can you know, you can you can, you can have an opinion, you can be more than gossip, if you really don’t know what was happening, it just didn’t look to have some of the core disciplines that that we talk about a we are about or enduring companies have, they definitely wasn’t run like Procter and Gamble.

Brad Giles  02:07

It wasn’t or, you know, an example that we often talk about, you know, around great companies, any of them. So what might be your word or phrase or thought of the day.

Kevin Lawrence  02:23

Dreamer is the word of the day. I had dinner with some friends on Saturday night, and a friend’s CEO does business in US and Canada. And we were just, you know, he’s a, he’s a dreamer. And we had an inspiring conversation and dinner, and we were talking about, you know, in Canada, it’s a wonderful country that we live in. But we go down to the US, it’s just bigger, faster, bigger dreams, and bigger Dreamers. And we were just admiring the dreaming nature of some of the things that he was doing in the US and, and that he finds with people that tend to dream bigger. There is people who dream big in Canada, but down there, it’s like, yeah, so dream are the values of dreams and the value of having dreams and things to be excited about in your life and distract yourself. You know, the value of the dreamers, the inner dreamer in all of us sounds maybe a little bit cheesy, but I don’t know, most most successful entrepreneurs and people have have one hell of a dream.

Brad Giles  03:28

That’s both connected and not connected to mine. It’s a thought of a day and I don’t like to tell people what to do. But in this case, building a case as to why the United States should switch to the metric system.

Kevin Lawrence  03:49

Okay, this is going to be interesting. Well, okay, Texas, you’re gonna start to use millimeters and kilometers. Do tell Brad. I’m curious.

Brad Giles  04:07

Well, that’s what science does. And science does it for a reason not just because the entire rest of the world except for I don’t know, one tiny country, every single other country in the world does it? But yeah, it I don’t really have a case to beg other than I’m just saying that I’ve got my I would encourage, I would encourage our friends to do that.

Kevin Lawrence  04:34

Well, that’s very insightful and enlightening. Actually, you know what, while we’re at it, I’m going to talk to my Aussie friends like yourself and get you to drive on the proper side of the road. That’s what I that’s what I think is really important today. Aussies, get onto the proper side of the road.

Brad Giles  04:53

I want to say you stitch together the US matrix, system and dreamer.

Kevin Lawrence  05:00

My my co host, Brad, my co host and Brad is a freakin dreamer from Perth, Australia who thinks he’s gonna get the Americans to switch to the metric system. So dreaming of metrics, your your dream metric really diametrically confused.

Brad Giles  05:21

Alright, so that was just what’s on my mind. Right. That’s all I’m saying.

Kevin Lawrence  05:26

Where did that come from the Hold on? Where did that come from? I’m gonna get the Americans to, to use the metric system.

Brad Giles  05:35

I didn’t say I’m going to I said, I think that they should consider it.

Kevin Lawrence  05:37

I understand but tell me like there’s a backstory here and I know you’re you are a thinker. There’s gotta be some thought there.

Brad Giles  05:46

Yeah, yeah, I was watching a scientific video. I think it could have been NASA or Tesla, someone. It was, it was some and there was just like, they didn’t even think about using the imperial system. It was just like science works. Science uses the metric system, and every other country in the world uses the metric system. Because it’s more logical and makes more sense.

Kevin Lawrence  06:17

It’s the measurement system in science. Yeah. Got it. Like English is the language of business. I gotta say, like, I grew up in the imperial system, like in Canada, I grew up with mph, and we had to convert. And in my whole life I’ve known okay, 160 kilometers an hour. Okay, that’s 100 miles an hour. I my base, like my first language is English. Yeah. And my first measurement system is Imperial. So I do a lot less converting now. But through most of my life, I was like running conversions all the time.

Brad Giles  06:52

Yeah, yeah. I, I think I think it’s, it’s interesting how science and scientists in the US use it. And, and just, that’s all because we’ve got more important things to talk about that are actually relevant to our audience.

Kevin Lawrence  07:08

I know. This has nothing to do with today’s show about but I will say one last thing, I am happy on my on my one of my cars a truck, it’s got a button. So when I, when I crossed the border in us, I just push a button and everything switches two miles an hour. So in North American vehicles, many of them easily switch back and forth, so that we don’t have to translate and don’t get confused.

Brad Giles  07:30

so when you go south, it goes back. And when you go north school, yeah. Yeah, that was a joke in a joke. But that’s okay.

Kevin Lawrence  07:37

I didn’t I didn’t get it. But let’s move on.

Brad Giles  07:42

So today, we’re talking about how you plan to win in 2023. Last week, we did the overview. We did the overview of like, it’s an uncertain time, there’s no doubt about it, this. Gee. This is the numbers are trending one way or the experts, and we don’t claim to be experts, the experts are saying that, you know, there’s a good chance of a recession in 2023. But what we do say is we try to offer some ideas for people to think about as to what can we do to win in this uncertain environment that is perhaps trending downward? Hey, let’s hope that it doesn’t trend downward, but plan and prepare. So, yeah, this week, in the midst of this five part series, we’re looking through the lens of people because we had an overview last week, and then in the subsequent weeks to this week is people, next week is strategy then execution cash looking forward. It’s a challenging time. People are, look, I mean, people are losing their jobs. We spoke about FTX at the beginning of the episode, but equally gee, there have been 10s if not hundreds of 1000s of job losses across the tech sector already. Now I get it that that the tech sector isn’t our audience or is only a small subset of our audience. It’s not everybody, but

Kevin Lawrence  09:20

it’s notable part and it’s part of our, notable part of the economy these days.

Brad Giles  09:23

That’s exactly my point. Like it’s still there. And you know, there are other things that are happening as well. So how do we navigate these choppy waters?

Kevin Lawrence  09:33

Yeah, and today we’re looking at through the perspective of people and you know, when we’re thinking about this it’s like you know, there’s a lot going on everyone’s busy and everyone always has been busy we’re always have been we always will be. But I think it really people prepare consciously for holidays, you know, with my family, talking about getting ready. You know, for the Christmas holidays that you know, many people celebrate here in the West. And you know, and when do you put the tree up and the presents and wherever be going over the holidays, and whose house are we doing things out. And we have a lot of fun with that. And, you know, when we’re doing road trips, we prepare our vehicles for the road trips, we make sure there’s air in our tires, and we got the gear that we need, and the car has been serviced. And you know, and same when kids start the school year, we prepare them and they get their supplies and back to school clothes. But we do all that naturally. But what do we do to prepare our teams for a brand new year? You know, sometimes we might do a great job. Sometimes we’re so busy doing what we’re doing. But we don’t think like, can we get people extra prepared for what’s going on, because just like a holiday or a road trip, or going to a new school, if you’re a kid, it’s an adventure. So that’s kind of what I want to dig into, in a quote, and I’ve shared this one before, and I’ll share it again, it’s, it is one of my favorite quotes of all time probably in my top 10. From Sun Tzu, the author of Art of War, one of them, you know, where the principles of Art of War came from. And he was just cool. And when it comes to planning and things and but it Sun Tzu says as the text reads, “Victorious Warriors win first, and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first, and then seek to win.” It, it’s all like No, basically, you win before you step foot on the battlefield. And you could argue that a big part of your winning is before we step foot into 2023. Yeah. And that’s what I want to set the tone for today is, you know, how do we be really prepared and not take our people for granted? And and step into 2023, maybe more prepared? And again, we can’t be prepared for everything, because that’s kind of the thinking to lock us into here today.

Brad Giles  11:55

Yeah. Perhaps a slightly different angle. If we the back many of us had an experience about a dozen years ago in the global financial crisis. If you had that time again, what would you do different going into the challenges that were present at that point in time, and we now have that opportunity? If all of the experts are correct, that things are going to get more challenging? Now is the time to prepare. And we’re saying around the people side. So what are we doing?

Kevin Lawrence  12:31

I’ll just make one little flag there. Brad, the only thing is like places like Canada, we barely got touched by that global financial crisis, there was a little speed bump, generally compared to, in lots of parts of the US got hit hard. And many parts of the world. Canada had very, like, not much at all. So you know, most of us don’t know most people in Canada haven’t experienced a hard hit. Yeah, but we’re, you know, you may have in other places have it, but it is. It’s a good, it’s a good, it’s a good thought, I love that love the thinking it’s just for Canadians is a little different.

Brad Giles  13:06

No, no, it’s a very, it’s a very good point. And different sectors maybe weren’t connected to the financial aspect, but this time might be. And certainly even if you are in tech, there was the 2000 tech bubble, that burst. Yeah. And that would be certainly similar to what they’re experiencing at the moment. So I guess, you know, they say that the Chinese word for crisis is opportunity. Or as the great philosopher Homer Simpson said across-a-tunity when he merged the two words together in one of the Simpsons episodes. So we’ve got to look at this in terms of preparation, and also preparation to deal with what’s happening from the people front. And also, through the opportunity that’s been presented. Yeah, because there are opportunities with so many layoffs are and you know that you can pick up some amazing A players.

Kevin Lawrence  14:06

Just be careful, because when people lay people off, they definitely do everything possible to keep the As and only let go the low performers. I got burned by this before and people yeah, there’s all kinds of great this 09, all kinds of great people in the market. Well, there was all kinds of people in the market, we didn’t find many great ones. So, you know, make sure they’re in A player for your org because people fight to keep those ones.

Brad Giles  14:34

That’s an interesting and very, very valid point. I actually sent you a photo of before and after Elon Musk at Twitter, on your phone, Kev. And so, what, what we’ve got on the before, it looks like a university campus, lots of young fresh faces, who are, they’re very much. I don’t know, I don’t want to get political by any sense, but they’re very much look like

Kevin Lawrence  15:08

it’s a young, fresh, attractive college students. Yep. And then

Brad Giles  15:12

the after a lawn, they look like they’re straight out of revenge of the nerds, with all credit to our very smart tech people. And they’re, you know, very, very multicultural and very much looking like engineers. So, yeah, it’s, it’s interesting that you want to make sure that you take it on bonafide A players, let’s say.

Kevin Lawrence  15:40

And I gotta say, I like, you know, one of these. Ilan said, Hey, if you’re gonna stay, get ready to probably work as hard as you’ve worked in your life. He said different words. But that was the essence of it. It’s like, bring the Warriors, this is the time to bring the fighters to the front, front, and let’s go. Right, you know, who do you want to go to war with. And that was awesome. So let’s, let’s dig into that. So lots of opportunities. And you know, it’s interesting. Last night at dinner with some friends, we had a spectacular dinner and conversations. And, you know, we were just talking about mental health and resilience, because I’ve been doing a lot of speaking around mental health and resilience, it’s my most popular keynote, and was sharing with them how a construction company had me speak at, at their annual event, a conference they were having and about resilience, because they wanted to better equip their leaders to be able to handle the stress that they won coming out of, to going into, but it was also so they were doing resilience training and mental health training for the team. But they were also doing financial training and had resources to help people with financial stuff because, you know, as bills go up, things are costing more or my personal, personal financial stuff, just, you know, as I was talking about, at breakfast, one of my dad’s talking about how he’s at the store, and he shopping, and there’s another guy there shopping, and it’s like, you know, a cauliflower was $10. And it wasn’t very big. I don’t really know a lot about the prices of groceries because I don’t really shop. And if I do, it’s Instacart. And I just click on what I need. I’m not, I’m not a price picking customer. But I’m pretty sure 10 bucks is a lot for cauliflower. Yeah, to me, that seems like a hell of a lot. It sounds like it is. But the point of it is, is that financial training to help people and give them resources, because, you know, unless your parents were really good with money, a lot of people don’t understand it don’t understand things like budgeting and things like that. So point is I was doing resilience training, which is a great thing for people to help them have a strong mindset, and have them understand mental health. So they understand what to do if things go weird. But also, you know, financial stuff, I thought was a really great thing to do to equip a team, going into what you know, is not easy on people financial either.

Brad Giles  18:05

I love that idea. Help the people to understand it’s tough times and that they use what they can do to build their own. I guess Finance, Financial Education. You know, it makes me think about another story, I think it was, I think it was Spotify, it could have been square, but I think it was Spotify. And this was maybe six months ago, they outline the challenges that the business is facing in the market and individually. And they you know, they were just really, really clear, this is where we’re at. And then they said, This is the problem that we’ve got to solve. And we want to come up with a plan as a company within two weeks. So they kind of broke up the components of the problems around all of it aligned everybody, once they build a plan around the priorities, and then set to work to do it. So So you know, a problem shared is a problem halved. Is the old saying, Yeah, I love that one. And the the leadership team might have a great plan but but getting everyone invested in keeping the company keeping the strength of the company and avoiding layoffs is everyone’s best interests at heart and can actually empower the team to make their own or to create effort where it wasn’t before

Kevin Lawrence  19:27

and align them to it and you’re right is so love that that’s a great one. Your might have been another story as well as about, you know, many of our clients are doing now many is we don’t want to have to do layoffs. layoffs are really hard on a business and if you have to do it, you have to do it. It’s not fun. It’s not pretty. But what we’ve been doing going back easily six months in some clients, but we’ve been slowing down hiring and getting stronger on performance management because we’re We’re coming out of a period where people couldn’t get people to do the work. So there’s a lot of people who probably should have been moved on, or shouldn’t have been promoted and things like that. So bringing more rigor back to the people pillar of the business, and even stronger on performance management, because we’re not as scarce scarcity mindset, there’s not much of a scarcity mindset around losing people or replacing people. So to naturally manage the attrition and Performance Management as we used to do before things were booming to just try and keep so we have the right staffing levels without, you know, a big layoff.

Brad Giles  20:40

And that, and that performance management, it really, I totally agree, that really comes back to roll scorecards. And so understanding what does success look like in the role, perhaps even adapted to suit this upcoming market? What does success look like in the role, and I go through this in great detail in my book on boarded, which is out now. And we did a we did quite a few for episodes about a month or two ago on that, on that book on boarded. But understanding what is the expectations of the role, building the role scorecard per role can give you real clarity, and alignment up and down the org chart?

Kevin Lawrence  21:25

Yeah, being really clear on what great looks like in the role, from the values to the financials to the KPIs to the competencies and skills to the team, like getting clarity, and a lot of organizations are not that clear. And the only one I like to look at and we use different language for it. But I like it to be really easy for people to self manage, I call it autonomous accountability. People can hold themselves accountable, because the role is so damn clear. It was interesting one of the company, I’m doing some work with a couple of real interesting partners in a private equity business I’m doing some work with and really interesting thinking that they’re having. But they’re one of the few companies I’ve ever heard that takes the full scorecard for a role and reviews it quarterly. Everyone knows they should. Yeah, but most people don’t take that initial scorecard. They built it for a role and use it for the quarterly performance review. And it’s, it’s it’s the best discipline possible. It’s awesome. With that in mind, the other thing is also making sure and this goes back to strengthening of the team is making sure every single team member has a clear develop development plan, particularly your highest performers so they can continue to grow. Again, this is one of those basics. And you know, we know the basics are what makes the difference, but is really being clear on how is this person going to grow? So for example, another company that I’m working with, I’ve got lots of amazing people, but they have one really high performer on their team. And as we’re talking about this person, and they’re like, Well, you know, I don’t know if they’re gonna want to still be here in 10 years. And, you know, we’ve got to work on succession. I said, Great, well, what do they want? Like, what are they driving to in their job? Conversation, God, little tense and a little quiet. And like, whoa, hold on, you’re telling me this is maybe your best person. And you have a plan for them that they’re excited about? And they’re like God, and they just sort of looked at me, and they kind of looked down and I’m like, okay, maybe we should do that. And they’re like, Yeah, let’s do that. It’s like, it’s like, come on. We know these things. So whatever it is, for your key people to have development plans that they’re excited about and moving towards and never forget, for your a player has been willing to invest in them. You know, one of the leaders that I work with in the Middle East, like, you know, we sent more of one of his, one of his team off and spent 10s of 1000s of dollars on the additional education for this person and done lots for his team in many companies invest a lot in their executive and leadership team. And, and he said, and he told me the story, and I’ve heard others say the same. You know, he used to have a head of HR that goes, Why are you spending all this money on these people and developing them developing them? Because, you know, they can get amazing, but then they could leave? And he’s like, Yeah, or they could be mediocre. And stay. Yeah, they’re happy. No. But the point of it is, is serious development for your key people so they grow and increase their capability, basically make your warriors stronger.

Brad Giles  24:50

So you speak about development plans Totally agree what happens before development plans is assessing the talent. Where are they at? So, here in Western Australia, our state in 2000, and I think it was 18, and 19, or 17, and 18. around that period, we went through technical depression, we had eight quarters of negative growth at a state level, pretty interesting time, that’s for sure. Things after, through and after COVID have kind of come back. But the point that I make is, through that time, one of the teams that I’ve worked with here, they did a talent assessment every month with their team that is assessing every person, every manager, assessing every person, in their team against their alignment with values and their alignment with productivity in the role, and then having to explain to the other leaders in the business, what are they going to do about it? And so, so what that meant is that they came out of that depression, that economic depression, to be clear. With a team, a strong team of eight players had the basis of a development plan for everyone. And now that we’ve turned into good time, so over the last few times has been good. This company has soared. It’s been amazing.

Kevin Lawrence  26:19

Shocking. Yeah, that’s the job. The job is to continue to build a stronger team around you. Yeah, is the job sometimes you can people get busy and thinking the job is, you know, taking care of the customers and stuff. And that is part of the job. But leaders job is to build a strong team is an ever increasing strontium coin.

Brad Giles  26:39

Gaco Robin Sharma and he’s got a saying that the job of a leader is to grow leaders. And that’s what you’re saying.

Kevin Lawrence  26:46

Exactly. Yep. So and the thing is, it comes from clarity of what great looks like and then continually doing the job of a leader and or manager to grow and improve and develop those people. So the next thing is, I call them in your oxygen mask. First, this is a chapter called lick your toes, which is cleaning up all the loose ends and procrastinations in your life and your work. But companies will just use spring cleaning called like toads days, instead of Tuesdays. It’s a bit cheesy, but it works. But when people make a list of a whole bunch of lower value, things that drain energy drains psychological energy, it might not be worth a fortune. But it’s like friction and burden in the system and just getting it cleaned out. And there’ll be things like, you know, the toads lists or things that people have been procrastinating. And it’s like spring cleaning for your house and cleaning out your office or your computer or your processor your files or who knows. And come up with a bunch of stops and things to get into the system or the silly list, the things that just don’t make any sense. And then the team and the team leader trying to figure out how to deal with those things. But basically, it’s like you’re on a road trip, take a breath, pull over and arrest stop and clean the car, like just get all eaten on the road and traveling on a road or whatever it is clean up the car, get the junk out of the car, maybe wash the car, and then get back on a road trip again. So that’s some time to stop off and do that kind of stuff. A different version that other companies do is that they’ll they will again, these are regular things we should do. But the people have been so busy last couple years is just cleaning up core processes, like going to you know, in scaling up we’ve got this thing called the the pace tool, the process accountability chart, but it’s the most important processes and identifying the top 567 for the business or team mapping them and looking how to make them flow simpler. Or maybe even making sure everyone has the core set of documents or tools or templates that we should be using just taking time to make everything run smoother and eliminate friction in the system.

Brad Giles  28:52

Yeah, so important the people side of things looking into next year into 2023 It’s it’s something that’s that’s very easy to let slip because you’re you’re focused really on the customer on the numbers on maybe changes in the environment and reading you know, a lot of stuff in the media about negativity. But we know that rule number one is you got to get the right people on the bus doing the right things the right way. And that lens still applies through this period of challenging economic uncertainty. And that’s really what we’re saying as a zoom out over all of these these items. Make sure you get the right people on the bus doing the right things the right way that is adapted perhaps to suit this environment.

Kevin Lawrence  29:51

Yep. 100% last thing on on the people pieces, your summary. Going through that Brad? is making sure are that there’s things in the culture that people are excited about. Like, there’s no What are your messages as a CEO? What are you saying? You know, it’s important to admit that things are hard. But what is the bright light, you’re showing them at the end. And then one of the biggest things I’ve always looked at, and Brad, you and I’ve talked about this before, as well, is that when you’re at the peak of a market, and you’re gonna go into a bit of a valley, or you could be going into the valley, have them looking up at the next peak, like, have them seeing where we’re going, and it’s like, five, seven years down the road, here’s what’s going to happen, you can look back and say, here’s what’s happened in history, normalize it, because a lot of you’ll have not been on this journey, and it’ll terrify them. Here’s where we’re going, here’s what its gonna look like, here’s why we’re going to be stronger. Here’s where the opportunities are. Here’s why it’s good for us, even though it’s hard. And no different than parents when they’re on a road trip. And things become messy, and there’s a flat flat tire, reminding them we’re still going to get to Disneyland, and all the good things are going to happen and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So not forgetting the leadership and your job of showing the vision and the reason to believe in that vision.

Brad Giles  31:16

It’s it’s, that’s funny, because on a very, you’re right with all of that on a very quick and different story. One of the leaders that I work with, said to his leadership team, next September for our annual workshop, our annual today strategic meeting. We’re gonna go to the south of France. Let me out. Let me tell you, I reckon he’s gonna have zero attrition in his leadership team between now and then. Sure. Yeah, he’s making it fun.

Kevin Lawrence  31:45

There, why not? That’s awesome. Great. So let’s wrap up. So we’re talking about people we know it’s a challenging year coming ahead. And some industries are going to have incredible booms. But generally, there’s a feeling it’s going to be tough. And hey, if it isn’t, let’s have maybe we’ll all go to South of France, but there’s a good chance it’ll be challenging. Really, what do you do to develop your people further? Get people rallied around the challenges, develop people more, make sure they have clarity and what great performance looks like. Get out the systems and streamline the systems spring, clean the business and get people focused on what’s possible and what they can be excited about. It’s pretty straightforward stuff. But we just need reminder sometimes because it’s busy and ideally getting ourselves set up to win next year. So this has been the growth whispers Thank you for listening. I’m Kevin Lawrence here in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with my amazing co host, Brad Giles, in Perth, Australia, the country that drives on the wrong side of the road, but does use the metric system to subscribe. The growth whispers You can find it wherever you like your podcasts, YouTube. If you want to watch the video, YouTube and just search the growth whispers Brad and I both have newsletters that we put out every week Brad has a longer therell tons of great thinking in his newsletter. Mine’s more of a one article and a podcast but both of us have our best thinking we’d love to share more of a strategy and belief in abundance. You can get a hold of Brad for his newsletter and resources at evolution partners.com.au and myself and my team is at Lawrence and co.com Lawrence A N D co.com. Hope you have an awesome week and hope you take time to think about how you can make yourself and your team stronger and more effective next year. Have a great one.