Welcome to this episode of Les McKeown's podcast - 

Scale!

...with Predictable Success

This Episode's Guest: Russ Fletcher

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Russ Fletcher

In today's Episode of   'Scale! with Predictable Success' our guest is

Russ Fletcher

CEOXyngular

As the CEO of Xyngular, Russ has extensive leadership experience, having worked both in and out of the network marketing industry in key positions for nearly 20 years.
“One of the things that I most enjoy is seeing people achieve greater results than they themselves ever thought possible. That typically comes from building a team which is always stronger than the sum of its parts. Xyngular has a great team.”

Russ graduated from MIT with an engineering degree and BYU with an MBA. He has an immense knowledge of IT systems and technologies, as well as business and market development expertise. In fact, before relocating to Utah to join the Xyngular team he was consulting at Harvard University.

Russ is a firm believer that all work and no play will throw life out of balance. So spending time with his wife, 8 sons, and 2 daughters (Yes, that’s 10 kids!) is of paramount importance. He is a voracious reader and a natural storyteller.

The first month that I was there (as CEO), we did just shy of $2 million in total sales. Last week we had a $3 million day.

It's been a fun, wild, crazy, exhilarating,ride -  not without its hiccups and potholes, but a fun ride.

Russ Fletcher

In our interview today you'll hear Russ share about:

  • The 6-year growth of Xyngular on his watch from $2m sales per month to $3m a DAY
  • How, as the company's 'IT guy' he lobbied the board to become CEO - and got the job!
  • How he experienced - and responded to - the 'Imposter Syndrome'.
  • The arc of his leadership style over the first 4 months of the COVID crisis - how it changed and how he changed as a person.
  • What he sees next in leading our way out of this current COVID crisis.

My crystal ball isn't just cloudy,  it's got mud all over it. - Russ Fletcher, CEO, Xyngular @predsuccess


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Les McKeown: Hi, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Scale! with Predictable Success. 

And today I'm absolutely delighted to be with Russ Fletcher. Russ is the CEO of Xyngular. We'll hear quite a bit about Xyngular in just a moment or two. He's also a member of our Predictable Success Mastermind Group. And, in that context he's become, it's not just being a client, he's become a great friend and a wonderful colleague and counselor. Russ, it's just so good to have you on the podcast.

Russ Fletcher: Well, I'm honored Les, you know, you know that I've been a fan of the Predictable Success model for a long time. So it's great to be part of the, both interaction with you personally, and with the Mastermind Group. I really enjoy it.

Les McKeown: So let's kick off, just tell the listeners a bit about you, your personal background. What was your journey to Xyngular And then tell us a bit about Xyngular. What does it, what does it do and what's your role there?

Russ Fletcher: Okay. Well, I I've been with Xyngular as a member of the board since 2011, and I came on board as the CEO in 2014. So coming up on my six year anniversary, before that I was a, an IT person for most of my career, large system implementations, agile methodology consultant to CIO or head of IT departments in various capacities over the years, but I never really considered myself a pure IT guy. I always considered myself a business guy with technology background, similarly to how a CFO might perceive himself as a businessman with a finance background or, you know, a business person with a sales background. So I always considered myself a business person with an IT background and a, I was doing consulting in Washington, DC. It's a place that I love. I lived in the greater DC area and I thought that was going to be my home for the rest of my life.

Russ Fletcher: And in 2013, Xyngular took a significant sales downturn. And in early 2014, the board began contemplating the need for a CEO. And I actually lobbied that it'd be me. Yeah. I said to the board, I'm seeing things that I think are valuable. I know the management team, I know, I know the product line. I think I can work with them to help turn this, turn this back around. And then so they looked at me with some skepticism, you know, 'put the IT guy in charge'? They gave me the role in July of 2014. And it's been a wonderful, wonderful ride. You know, the, that first month, the first month that I was there, July 14, we did just shy of $2 million in total, total sales. And last week we had a $3 million day.

Russ Fletcher: The ride from there to here has been phenomenal. It's been a fun, wild, crazy, exhilarating, not without its hiccups and potholes, but a fun ride.

Les McKeown: I have no doubt we'll hear about a few of those. Tell us a little bit about what Xyngular does.

Russ Fletcher: So Xyngular is in the direct to consumer sales model. We have an army of independent distributors that sell our products through their own personal networks. Our product line is primarily nutritional supplements with an eye toward weight loss. with, with the, the idea that wait a healthy weight is the door to a healthy self. Once you get yourself healthy, then we have other products that help keep you healthy. the company's been in existence since 2009. and you know, we're almost exclusively in North America. I say that because we have a very small office in the Philippines.

Russ Fletcher: We, up until the COVID crisis, which I know we'll get to, we were doing about $150,000 a month in the Philippines. and all the rest of the sales were US and Canada. So we're primarily US-based. International is on our horizon sometime in the future. all those future things seem to be, have been placed on hold because of who knows what the future is going to hold on my, my crystal ball, isn't just cloudy, but it's got mud all over it. So, who knows when that will be, but, the growth that we've had in the United States over the last six years has been in spectacular as far as I'm concerned, very, very pleased, to go from 2 million a month to a, in may, which was our best month ever. Oh, we did 25 million. So that's, that's a, that's a great growth curve at the same time. We, we consider ourselves though, we've grown in a very, what's the word I'm looking for. Growth has never stable, but it's as close to stable as you can get your, our profitability has remained strong. So it's been a, it's been a fun ride, but now without some interesting, and, and in some cases, a, very personally challenging decisions and processes, but, all on the whole, love it have loved the ride so far.

Les McKeown: Yeah. That's one of the things always comes across and working with you is that, you know, you you're subject to difficult times as anybody, but do you, you do love what you do. And I want to, because of the war that we're in at the moment, I want to spend most of our time having our listeners get the benefit of the experience you've had going through COVID particularly. But just - given that I hadn't known one part of what you just told me before, or i've forgotten - I'd like to just touch back on it, that this business of you being on the board and then promoting yourself for the CEO role. One of the things that when you get to do the privilege of doing what I do, which is coaching with other executives, one of the things that comes up a lot is the Imposter syndrome, right. You know, "Am I really meant to be here? - How did this happen?" Are you exempt that? I mean, that was a very forward thing to do. Did you have any dark night of the soul moments when you thought, what the heck am I doing here? Or did you just know this was the right time for you?

Russ Fletcher: Well, if you don't have any dark night of the soul moments, you're not human. I mean, you know, you, you look yourself in the mirror and you say, am I supposed to be the CEO of $150 million company I mean, I am, but am I supposed to be, and, and if you don't have that sense of reflection, there's probably something not connected where it should be in, in your psyche. I think, in the case of promoting myself to the board, Mmm. I have believed for most of my career that if you learn how to manage people, in, in what, or whatever environment that you're in, that you can scale that, right If you learn how to manage a team, you can manage a division. If you learn how to manage a division, you can manage a department. If you don't have it, et cetera, et cetera. And I had managed departments and I've managed divisions. And so, it wasn't necessarily confidence in the sense of arrogance, but it was a certain surety that, Hey, this is a small enough company. The things that I have been using as a consultant and as an advisor and as a, as a line manager and other places I believe can scale across the whole organization because it's small enough, I can try it and grow with it. And I was able to make that case successfully to the board and it worked so we're happy.

Les McKeown: Right. Thank you for that. Appreciate it. I want to just go back up. I think it was Lenin who said sometimes nothing happens for decades and sometimes a decade happens in a week. I want to go back a few decades. when did you personally know, you know, not the news, not the external events. When did you personally think "Okay. This is a thing. I know it's a big thing" - talking about corporate, of course.

Russ Fletcher: So we knew it was a thing pretty early. I think all things considered, we were already moving to stock pile any of our products' ingredients that we get from Asia, in February. Yes. Cause we, we were kind of reading the tea leaves a little bit and saying, look, we don't know what this is going to be, but it's in China and it's in China, but you know, we don't get any of our ingredients from, from the Wuhan area. And, but we do get some of our raw ingredients from China. And so we thought we should just hedge our bets, you know, place a six or eight month order just on raw ingredients, just in case you never know. and, and so we just decided, in addition to placing a longterm order for China, we just go ahead and place extra raw ingredient orders for all of our ingredients around the world.

Russ Fletcher: Right. So we made that decision in February and as the reports in February began to build, I, literally the first week of March, I want to say, let's see what would have been that the first Wednesday, March the fourth or fifth, something like that. I announced to my, my internal management team. So my direct reports and their direct reports. So two levels of management, I called them all into a meeting and I said, I'm moving us from regular management to crisis management. I believe that this is crisis. And we are going to meet every morning at nine and every afternoon at five, just to deal with all the swirling news that we're starting to get. And we immediately shifted to in that even before it all broke down, right, we, we, we're not closing the office. We're not doing it, you know, anything dramatic, we're just checking steps.

Russ Fletcher: And so for the first week of that, of that crisis management, it seemed like overkill to my management team. there was a little bit of grumbling right about, do we really need to meet twice a day And is this a little bit of overkill, right And I remember having our five o'clock meeting, on the evening of, Thursday, March 12th. That was the day, right. March 12th and at five o'clock. We were discussing whether we were going to close the office. We were hearing of office closures around the country and we were, and we had decided we were not going to close the office on that Thursday evening. I went home. I live in just outside of salt Lake city, Utah turned on the Utah jazz basketball game. And if you remember at the beginning of that game, a Utah jazz player, Rudy Gober was warming up.

Russ Fletcher: And the team doctor came literally running onto the court, stopped the warmups and said, he's tested positive for COVID. And they canceled the game. And within a matter of hours, news was out that the NBA had canceled their season at the NCAA was canceling their season. We actually had a crisis team meeting by phone that night, Thursday night, the 12th. And so by the time we got into our meeting on Friday, Friday the 13th, right, we forget that all this went down on Friday, the 13th Mmm. Is when we made the decision to close the office. So when are we know it's going to be a thing somewhere in there, right in that, from the sort of fourth or fifth, when we started our crisis management team, until it all went South on the, on the 13th, when we were already beginning to operate in crisis mode.

Les McKeown: And as best I can see a, a commonality for most leaders, particularly, what did you know, we call MSEs - most senior executives, so in your case, CEO - the immediate effect during all of March and some of the early April was to pull leadership down to runway level, it all became, you know, daily punch lists, weekly punch lists. If you were lucky, certainly not even monthly or quarterly punch lists. Was that what happened with you? Was it all hands on deck and dealing with, you know, immediate decisions or was it all floating stately on because of the preparations that you've done in February, somewhere in between, what was March early April?

Russ Fletcher: I would sure love to say it just, you know, we put all this in place and it just moved flow through exactly that no, it was, it was all hands on deck. So in a normal environment, in our normal way operating mode, we do what we call trimester planning. We take two days, every four months take literally every salaried employee in the company, a company. Now that's about 110 employees to go off site for two whole days. And we have a no holds barred, open forum, crazy chaotic, wonderful planning session for two days. And we watch it. We walk out of that with a month, attack list, right We've been doing that for a number of years now. It's been very effective and it gives a high degree of transparency. Everybody gets to see what everybody else is doing. The respect goes up.

Russ Fletcher: It's been great. We were scheduled to do that, in April, right. Four months, right So end of the four month cycle. And, I took that crisis team and I said, a four month plan does not seem to make any sense to me. who knows where we're going to be in four months, let's talk a four week plan. and so that week, the week of the, the next week in the office. So the week of the 16th of March, we were still open. We closed the office formally on that next Friday, the 20th. but we, we got together in the office, just the senior leadership team and we said, all right, it's it's to your point, right Punch list daily tasks. Here's what we're doing this week. Here's how we're handling this. We actually, we actually put together, three financial scenarios. We just call them a, B and C, right.

Russ Fletcher: A is, you know, what are the assuming sales hold steady or at least decline only a little bit. What are the nonessential things we can live without be, was What if sales turned down 20% Well, we have to start cutting and see was what if sales turned down 50%, right we had enough cash reserves that I announced to the company that no matter what happened to sales, we were going to protect everyone's job through the month of June, because they just wanted to take their blood pressure down. You know, we, we were starting to hear about people getting furloughed. And I said, that's, we're not going to do that. So that was part of that punch list of items on that. It's actually Thursday, the 19th, and we have held this meeting and it was very, very, very tactical. Right. All right. No, you drive lookout car and you get the bank. And

Les McKeown: The thing that I've noticed a Russ, I'd love to hear your view on this, is that okay. You know, as leaders where our natural environment is 30,000 feet, right We want to be up there with the overview planning, directing the, you know, take whatever metaphor you like, the orchestra, the army, the team. And we're good at that. That's why we get into leadership. And then we hit emergencies like this. Well, we've never had anything like this, but we had an emergency and we get done to runway level. And we're actually quite good at that. So that period of triage, most of the folks I was working with I'm okay with it. I don't mean like anybody was okay with it. We were not Rania was okay with it, but we could do this. We can do this. What I noticed beginning to happen is that as we got to what I, I'm calling 5,000 feet, we started to get a little bit, you know, traction on heightened vision and

Russ Fletcher: Late April. And through may,

Russ Fletcher: We begin to start. And certainly by the time we get to June, I've got a, a bit more than this, but I still come to a strategic plan. There's not, not a chance in hell. I've got to know what next year is like. I'd love to hear. How did you see your challenges as CEO of jangler shift may and then into June, as you began to shift away from that day to day punch list stuff Well, so the first thing that happened to us was a complete opposite of what we feared rather than seeing it, you know, 20% or 15% decline in sales, we saw a spike, right our, our sales in, in, in March were solid, but not spectacular. Okay. but in April we had our best month in company history. And in may, we exceeded the April amount by 60%.

Russ Fletcher: Cool. and so, you know, I'm assuming, forgive me if this is an idiot assumption, but I'm assuming it was because there's so many people in lockdown who wanted to add another side gig, do something new, or was it your existing people, having more people that trapped with nothing else to do, to sell to what, what was the underlying cause of all of the above, we, we track what we call, active participants and the active participants, the new active participants in the repeating active participants, both ex exploded in, in April. And then again, so, so the issue is that you've got explosive growth in the middle of all of this, right Yeah. Who, who knew that boxes were going to be a thing, right. All our boxes are manufactured here locally. There's a place here at the place up here and you talk I'll detail, paper box. They've been, you know, supplier of ours for years. And, and who knew that all the people who normally get their boxes from China now in China. So they were all going to place an order with yeah.

Russ Fletcher: And even though we have a long time relationship, you know, everyone's coming out of the woodwork, needing boxes, who that's, who anticipates that, that was one of those. I certainly don't recall you putting that in scenario a, B or C. No. Yes. And here's what we're going to run out of boxes. Okay. So there are in the, in the, in the whole crisis scenario with COVID, I've come down to things we couldn't control things. We can still control and things that we made decisions that were incorrect because will that happen Right. And the things, the decision we made that were, we can move to correct. Mmm. The things we can't control are still things we can't control. and so, no, I still have, gosh, 44,000 unfulfilled orders.

Les McKeown: Wow.

Russ Fletcher: That were just that some of which are now 30 days old. And so we're, we're trying to move through those as our supply chain catches up. But back to your question, you know, when do you switch from, what am I doing today What's the punch list for today How am I handling today to at least getting some relief, some, a little bit of perspective for us that really happened. It didn't happen in April. April was very, very tactical. We're still at that four week plan. Let's, you know, let's, let's just grind through this four week plan. We got to the end of April. And in may, as we began to say, this is not coming back to the opposite any time soon. how do we handle this a little bit longer term We were able to get a little bit of a perspective.

Russ Fletcher: And the interesting thing in that for me was, Mmm, one of the hardest realizations, maybe in my whole career, was that a trusted advisor, a, comrade in arms, if you will, a bosom friend, I don't know what, how to, what, what a metaphor to use to describe how close we have become in my, a chief operating officer. it was time for him to go, right. and, and it was becoming each day that when we went on, clearer and clearer to me, and it was probably something that I'd known for some time, this put it into sharp contrast. Right. and so in the midst of all of this, we, we swapped out one of our senior leaders of the company swapped out. We didn't hire somebody new. We simply absorbed his responsibilities with existing staff, but, but very, very hard decision on a personal level because we're so close.

Les McKeown: Right. And not something that you imagined doing at a time like this, but amazingly more common than you would think, because I think, but, you know, I'm abstracting this from your specific situation, obviously. And just talking in general, I've seen in so many cases that just a call on leadership capability that has been made in the last couple of months. It just, you know, statistically as bone would be the case that there are just some folks that can't get there. You know, they were doing, they were the right people on the bus until we went into this tunnel and I will see calming. I said, we're coming out of the tunnel. I'm going to take her out back. And I were in the tunnel. you know, just, just not the same, you required a different set of skills. Where have you

Russ Fletcher: Most under pressure, your leadership skills really struggled personally. Mmm. Like everyone, I'm not getting enough sleep. I'm, I'm struggling to take care of myself, because you literally can be in this sort of zoom based environment. If you lay yourself, you can be 10, 12, 14 hours a day. Right. I mean, it's nonstop. It takes a toll on you physically, as, you know, less, I already suffered with Parkinson's disease. And so, the challenge for me physically is it's not doubly challenging, but it's an additional level of burden. Well, and, and, you know, for example, my, my executive assistant, you know, it's constantly after me, did you get up and walk Did you go around the block Did you, you know, because, it's just, it's, it can become so all consuming because there's never a shortage of things to solve. Right. And, we, we made the decision to reopen our office in June, for those who wanted to come in, we weren't requiring employees to come back to the office, but if you needed to get a break or you wanted a change of scenery, just wanted to see her, your coworkers, all what's inappropriate, social distancing, but, you know, you wanted to come in.

Russ Fletcher: Well, whole bunch of people wanted to come in and they missed each other. And then, so I went into the office and, and, you know, I'm, I'm walking around the office and seeing people and, and getting energized just by having that core group of great people, at least somewhat in proximity to one another. and, and that personal, you need that. So that's the first thing. the second thing is it's so addicting the tactical. Yes. You know, you've put out a fire and it worked hooray, repetitive fire, and it failed, boom, Oh, put out another fire. I mean, that sort of adrenaline rush is so, is so addicting. Thank you. that you have to step away from that and you have to be able to continue. You've hired good people. You put them in, in areas of responsibility. You don't need to make the decisions for them. and yeah. it's so addicting and you can be, people are craving that leadership. And one day you have to recognize is you still have good people and you still have to give them the runway to do good work. Even if, can you say, make mistakes. This is going to

Les McKeown: Yeah. That, that, that gravitational pull blocked on to the tactical over and over again. again, that's, that's a constant that I'm seeing is just reminding people that was okay for them. But you got used to an endorphin rush that you gotta let go of. Otherwise you have to start becoming a bottleneck. And we had, Jason Mitchell on the podcast a couple of weeks ago, as you know, Jason's okay. A colleague of ours on our mastermind group. And one of the things we were talking about was the fact that it is very, it goes alongside that, that this mode that you and I are on, we're at zoom at the moment. You're not going to see each other. whatever the tool is that you use is really good for management. It's really good for vertical siloed tactical stuff. It's really tough to do the strategic, creative, senior leadership stuff. And I know that you, you struggled with that. And, I can't remember the precise word that you used, but it was something along the lines of missing the serendipity of just, you know, what we would have called water cooler stuff. Mmm. And I know that you actually socially had physical socially distance meetings in order to try to overcome that. I just love to hear any other thoughts you have on, you know, is that changing over time Are we going to have to get better at thinking strategically, vertically or no,

Russ Fletcher: We are, but, but the tools aren't there, I'm not sure that they'll ever going to be there because, I'll give you a for instance. So th th the word that I love, which everybody teases me about because they, they, they, they call it a sandwich. Oh. Words with friends snob. What I love is called propinquity.

Les McKeown: Oh, yes. That's what it was for penguin

Russ Fletcher: Pink with D is the value derived from proximity, right So propinquity is just it's water cooler. It's run, walked down the hallway and, and it's that sort of sense. So I can just pop into your office and none of the tools that I'm familiar with, not zoom, not Slack, not, not normal outlook, not other, other similar contracting tools really allow that very well. Alright. So we were trying to do our next, after the first four week plan, we get another four weeks when we were trying to do that in April via zoom. And it was, it was terrible. I mean, we, it was slow because what happens is people in a, in a conference room, you get a bit of a cacophony of discussion and dialogue. And these two people talking about these things and these two people, and you can sort of keep your ear on the din as the senior leader or the facilitator. You can say, now I'm hearing this and let's pull this in and, and, and guide it and mold it, but in a zoom everybody's Oh, no, no, you're good. You talk, Oh, I'm so sorry. And so you get these, these sort of series of monologues, which are not necessarily bad, but they're not particularly creative.

Les McKeown: Right.

Russ Fletcher: And so what we did was we were sitting in this zoom meeting and I was actually in my office at the office with the door, and I could hear another of the participants in the truck planning, meeting in his office with his door closed.

Les McKeown: Right.

Russ Fletcher: And I said, how many of you are actually in the building today And it was, I think the meeting was about 12 people. And I think 10 of them were in the building. And I said, okay, we're going to go to the multipurpose room. We're going to try to socially distance. We're going to finish this meeting altogether. And we knocked out the rest of it in about an hour. so when we did our last one, just last, well, 10 days ago now, we're now expanding from four weeks to eight weeks. We're trying to give a little bit of more runway, but we actually rented a hotel conference room and put ourselves in the rooms as socially distances as we could be in a hotel room. So we could have the actual banter and dialogue without sort of breaking the social distancing norms. And it was great. It was a brilliant day. I did one day with just that same team and everybody walked away like, yes, this is great. We haven't figured out how to do that without sort of being in the same class.

Les McKeown: So rush, possibly the hardest question. certainly it would be for me, that I'd like to ask is, is one more, I've got no dog in the Honda as to what the answer is, even what construct do you use to answer, but where do you think we are now And I'm talking about, let me be specific. What are you saying You CEO of angular or not in terms of this journey and what do you hide far Can you look ahead Are you looking a week ahead a month ahead, a quarter ahead, two quarters ahead a year ahead. What's your horizon

Russ Fletcher: those are, you know, the million dollar questions, right I mean, how far ahead can you look Well, so the planning session that we did, just this last week, we looked out two months, we're beginning to have discussions again about international expansion in the sense of what well, I'll, I'll use an analogy from my political background when a camp decides that he wants to run for president, it's almost always too late. you don't have to decide to run for president, but there are things you have to do two and three years ahead of time that if you don't do them, when you do decide to run for president, it's too late. And we saw that in this last campaign in 2016, and even in the primary this time, so many of the democratic candidates came. This is our year. I would've been to run for president and they hadn't done the pre-work.

Russ Fletcher: And so their campaigns fell apart too quickly. So using that same analogy, we don't have to decide to go international yet, but there's some things that if we don't do them now, the decision to go international have to be postponed significantly longer into the future. Right So that's about as far out as we're looking in terms of beyond the two month window, as I said, my crystal ball is full of mud. and, and as, as we're trying to forecast what's happening, you know, we anticipated as a second surgeon, the virus cases, which is what we're seeing now. and so we'd already worked with our supply chain to try to shore up the, not just the back orders, but people prepared for potential additional slow-downs in the future. And that's only proven management, but, for me, there's so many wild cards. Mmm.

Russ Fletcher: the, the, the virus has exposed, I deep unrest in our American society. We saw that with the protests. I do not believe the protests were solely because of the tragic shooting in Minneapolis. I think that that was a catalyst for an undercurrent of unrest, because the week before the, the, the, shooting in Minneapolis, there were open the country protests, different group of people, that, that upheaval in the structure and fabric of society is really hard to deal with from a business perspective. you know, no, just that the actual disruption by the protests, but the undercurrent of unrest. And so all we can do as a business is make sure that we're taking care of, our, our internal people, our customers, our suppliers, and doing the best we can by all of them and providing an environment where they're, they're feeling as stable as they possibly can feel. Right.

Les McKeown: And it's a, it's an incredible boost and all credit to you that you're able to do that with a rising, situation for Xyngular, as you know, many organizations just haven't had that, experience.

Russ Fletcher: That's been a remarkable few months for you.

Les McKeown: Wondering, what have you learned about yourself Ross as a person was a leader in all of this. I happened to know Just before all of this had, you'd had a, just a walk for most people would be a, you know, a life changing experience that was just nothing to do with any of this. And then you were just getting through that and this hit, What does that, what's that revealed to you about yourself

Russ Fletcher: Well, you're referring to my daughter and my wife we're in a terrific crop, correct. Terrific. In the actual sense of the word, terrible, terrific car accidents in Australia in November of last year. And what followed from that was, my daughter was subjected to, cranial reconstruction surgery and vertebrae reconstruction surgery. And we were in the, in and out of the hospital in Australia for three months, from November through February. and I commuted, I commuted back and forth. I didn't seven, Intercontinental flights or trips from the U S to Australia from November through February. and there were a few things that, that, that experience even pre before the, the, the covert crisis, enabled me to, to bring into sharp focus, just how good was my team, really how were they going to be able to respond to not having me as a crutch or as a, and I was still available, but the time difference made it very difficult.

Russ Fletcher: and, and, and that was very telling so that when I came back on the 14th of February and, and all of this began to unravel, I had a very deep confidence level in my team because I had gone through that. And what you asked, what I learned about myself, and I'll get back to that. But, but that, that kind of stuff on my team, enabled me to be very confident in let's pivot to what we've, what we've already discussed for the virus. as for me personally, you know, I've always believed in the phrase, you can do hard things, that, that everyone has more capacity than they think possible, but there's, there's a reserve of strength of energy, you, of enthusiasm, of, of good humor, of, of, you know, whatever makes you, you that, when the crisis comes, you can tap into that.

Les McKeown: Right.

Russ Fletcher: and I feel very blessed that, for, with my wife, my daughter, they're both doing fine. we were able to pull that out in each other. Our, our, our family relationship is deeper, but I learned that I had more in me than I thought that's the positive side. Right, right. you know, the negative side is,

Les McKeown: Mmm. I'm not as fast to decision maker, as I would like to believe. I used to be, you know, I've always joked that if there's data, we should get it. And if there's no data, figure out why there's no data. Right. As opposed to just go with your gut. Right. Yeah. I'm learning that sometimes it doesn't work when you're in a highly changing environment or just may not be day to day. And if you're waiting to get it, you may miss windows. And so I've had to be acting more on my gut than I have in many years. Right. I made some mistakes, you know, that's always humbling. Everybody makes mistakes. I know, but you know, you like to think, man, if I had all the data, I could make every decision. Correct. I mean, it's just not true when you can never get the data.

Les McKeown: And to, even if you got it, who's to say, you'd make the decision correctly anyway. Correct. Okay. It's obvious that you're making more right decisions, right. Ones, you're a hundred percent, right It's not, I think that situation that you're talking about where neither of your go to alternatives exist, if you've got the data usable, we don't, I have data for this environment. Cause it's never happened before. And the under normal, normal circumstances, you're quite right. Second fallback is okay. If there isn't the data, let's find out why and put in place a process so we can get it. Problem is we can't even do that yet either. It's just like, you know, some of our younger listeners, wouldn't a lot of North I'm talking about, but it's a bit like, you know, remember the old sketch. It's like just somebody came and did that.

Les McKeown: You know, and now we've got this pretty blank thing and I keep telling people, it's interesting. You used the phrase scenario planning earlier. I keep telling people, strategic plans are your enemy right now you cannot build a strategic plan because strategic plans are built on data. You need to build scenarios. Scenarios are built on projections, on, on concepts, on different alternatives now that we can do well. And the journey that you've been in the last number of months for us. Yeah. You've never done anything except bring a completely positive, utterly supportive Mia, if you want to short word for words with friends, but we'll get you very far and I've appreciated that very much. I'm committed to. Mmm. You'll be so kind to have the folks that we're interviewing in this current situation. I'd love to bring it back in a year and let's see what happened. But in the meantime, thank you just for sharing, being so open and transparent. I really, really appreciate it. Thank you. Listen, it's an honor and I'd be happy to come back in a year. It would be great. We'll talk then. You're genius. Very good at great. I really enjoyed that. And there's meat in there. Folks are gonna love it. Good. I'm glad I will. well, let you know, whenever this is going live, it'll be in a couple of weeks and, a happy for you to put that around the place. Let me just check in one. I'm going to stop the recording at this point.

On Wednesday, March 4th, I called 2 levels of management into a meeting and I said, I'm moving us from regular management to crisis management. - Russ Fletcher, CEO, Xyngular @predsuccess


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On the Scalability of Management Skills

I have believed for most of my career that if you learn how to manage people, in whatever environment that you're in, you can scale that.


If you learn how to manage a team, you can manage a division. If you learn how to manage a division, you can manage a department. If you learn how to manage a department, you can manage a company.


Russ Fletcher


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