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Elevating CHRO Impact: Bryan Franklin's CEO-Coaching Strategies

Uncategorized Jan 31, 2024
Elevating CHRO Impact: Bryan Franklin's CEO-Coaching Strategies

As a CHRO, you've achieved the "seat at the table," but do you sometimes find yourself struggling to effectively influence your organization's strategic direction? Our latest vlog with Bryan Franklin offers valuable insights into overcoming these challenges. Bryan, known for guiding nine CEOs to $1 billion in revenue, shares his expertise as a business strategist and guide for coaches.

Key Highlights: ✨

  • Bryan discusses the untapped potential of CHROs in understanding the human element at the executive level.
  • Learn from his 23 years of experience in executive coaching, emphasizing business mastery, interpersonal skills, and the dynamics of change.
  • Discover how to navigate the transition from innovation to conservation in publicly listed companies.
  • Gain strategies for providing feedback to CEOs, particularly in the early stages of your professional relationship.
  • Bryan's unique approach to identifying business leverage points is a vital skill for CHROs aiming for significant organizational impact.
  • Understand the balance between personal goals and the company's needs when aspiring to C-suite roles.

This vlog is an invaluable resource for CHROs seeking to enhance their strategic influence and leadership skills within their organizations.

👉 Watch the full discussion and gain the insights you need to advance your role:

Connect and Learn More About CHRO Mastermind Group and Bryan Franklin!

Machine generated transcript below:


Brian is an amazing business strategist who has helped nine CEOs go from startup to a billion dollars in revenue.

And you're probably like, why are you having him come and talk to us? Well, it's because I think every C.H.R.O.

and she's people officer, she learned how to do what Brian knows how to do. Anyway, so we're going to get some tips from him today.

And then we've got some questions that were also submitted from our community that I'd like to ask you as well.

right, Brian. So first of all, I don't know if I did justice to your background, tell us a little bit about, I guess, I don't know, I get calls from coaches all the time saying, I get on your program?

Can I come speak to your people? Can I do a vlog? And I guess why should they listen to you?


@0:52 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

It's great questions, honey. First of all, thank you for having me and for suggesting to do this. As I mentioned, we were chatting.

about it, I really, I should say have a soft spot for CHROs, but I really love the potential of what's possible when you have a strategic leader with sea level authority, whose mission is it is to understand the human element.

The larger the organization, the more that the people and the leadership determine everything about what's possible. You know, that famous quote, culture, each strategy for breakfast, etc.


@1:29 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)



@1:29 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

So I really believe in the potential and I believe that as a whole HR professionals have a lot to do, a lot to grow, I think there's a lot of headroom about what could be done there.

So why would listen to me to ask me a question? I've been a coach, executive coach for 23 years now.

I've done over 30,000 coaching sessions and my clients on average stay with me for over five five years. That's an average.

I have two clients that have been coaching with me since 2003. The reason they stay so long is because I continue to grow with them.

I continue to give them insights and the kinds of insights and coaching that I can offer run the gamut.

It's not just here's your business strategy or here's your people strategy or here's your culture strategy, but also what's in it for them?

Why are they doing this? are they even wanting to achieve this thing in the first place? My clients are on a continual journey of refining who they are, what they're doing, why they're doing, how they can make the biggest impact and be of great service in the work.

I think that experience gives me a unique perspective, particularly, think you said, one of the skills that every executive means is developing your people.

And I think all the skills that executives are supposed to have, that's the one that gets the least. education, the least talked about.

It's so vital, but very few people are talking about exactly how to do that or training music sectors on how to do it.


@3:10 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Yeah, I think after eight years of running CHRO Mastermind groups, I've seen really kind of the ability to influence at C-suite is so critical.

I've sort of boiled it down to and there's more than this, but top one for me is that they're consultative, right?

They're trusted advisor, number two, they've got a network of people they can reach out to so they can make confidence, decisions, but also I think this strategic coaching skill, not just coaching, not just like the kind of coaching that's like, let me ask you a bunch of questions and you know the answer.


@3:49 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

You already know the answer.


@3:51 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

To me, that's mindset coaching. I'm talking about business coaching, right? that's what most CEOs need from their CHRO. I guess share with me your thoughts on that.


@4:05 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Yeah, one of my clients recently said, because I asked them, you've been with me for, I think was like eight years or something like that.

You know, but you've had a bunch of coaches before me. what is it about our work that you appreciate so much?

And he said, well, you're an opinionated coach. So I was like, first child, Brian? I was reflecting like, how cool is it that I get to be paid to be opinionated?

know, a quality I have it anyway. Now I get to utilize it, but joking aside, I think to help someone else actually succeed, to really develop someone in their leadership or in their capability, or to help a CEO, you know, achieve what they want to achieve.

I think you need three domains. You need to be good at different things. You need to understand, yep. You have to have business mastery.

Enough business mastery to understand the mechanics that are going to drive success and failure. And which ones are relevant and which ones are not.

You need to understand like an interpersonal mastery. How does influence and leadership actually work so that. When the CEO tells you that they're going to do an all hands and you're reviewing their agenda of what they're going talk about.


@5:29 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

And people will really respond.


@5:32 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Because if you accurately predict how people are going to respond and then they respond that exact way. The next time you make a prediction, CEOs can be listening.

So how do interpersonal influence and leadership and dynamics actually work. There's also this is an area this middle one where there's a lot of misunderstandings out there.

Like where where. Instead of understanding how people really interact, we overlay this general moral sense of good behavior. And so we're like trying to enforce a moral sense of good behavior, even though that doesn't quite track to what really inspires.

know, and often there's an overlap, but not always. So if you don't understand that difference, then someone who cares about the outcome and doesn't care about moralistic good behavior is going to stop listening when you reach that divide.

So if you want to keep influencing them, you have to understand what they're really after. And that influences people.


@6:36 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

We're going to come back to that in a minute. And then, well, I was going to say this little quick.


@6:41 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

last one is that you have to understand why people change and why they don't. And that one, I think, is the one that is least understood.

So many times people say, you know, I work with CHROs and they say that they want to create some kind of change in the culture or change in the industry.

that's is going be the the the one one that


@7:00 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

I think there's behavior and then these just what they're going to do and I say I Get why you're doing that but I don't think it's actually going to cause the outcome and then they try it and sure enough It doesn't cause the outcome and then they get frustrated and you know the cycle continues But if you understand what actually causes people to change then the kinds of interventions you suggest will always be affected It's interesting I want to come back and ask you something about that in a minute Yeah, but I want to go back to number one the business mastery So the HR was show up that all the time and I think they talk about how their teams need to be more strategic and on the business mastery point and I heard you talk about how no one will beat you at the game of leverage points and I think that CHRO's have such a unique vantage point as far as what are the leverage points to help grow the business because They have view of all the people issues They got external people issue views and that tells you what they're

going on in the market, right? nonlinear trend that you've talked about in the past. What, tell me a little bit about those leverage points.


@8:10 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Maybe just to pontificate a little bit on that. Sure. Well, I mean, it all started, for me as a child, because I was very lazy.

I still relate to myself. I've worked very hard, but I still somehow think I'm lazy, because, man, it would take a bulldozer to get me to do something I didn't want to do when I was a kid and, you know, wouldn't do any chores.

was just, you did not want to have me as your child, I don't think. You know, I would like pick up one sock and I'm like, I cleaned my room.

So so lazy. and then schoolwork, I just couldn't, I just didn't want to do it. I didn't like get hated and all that stuff.

was in high school. was a very bad student. Took until college to come here to actually start to study.

And I was always looking for what's the at least I could do. And I thought of it as a negative quality for years.

I thought it was like a character flaw. At least I could do what's the least I could do. But I realized now I was practicing looking for leverage.

But the least I could do is what's the least input that creates the most output? What's the one hour of studying that will give me a C on a test instead of the 30 hours of studying that would give me an A?

In school, it's not a very good strategy because you end up with a C. When you could have gotten an A for not that much hard work.

But in business, it turns out that that's vital because there isn't enough time, there isn't enough resources to get an A in everything.

We can't. No business can get an A in everything. It's just to demand it. We have to use the Pareto principle of the 80-20 to focus on the smallest thing that's going to put the biggest outcome.

So those leverage points for me. I started to emerge in people. There's one belief that if we could shift that one belief, all the others would cascade.

It's the highest leverage belief for that person. That's going to meet for everybody. That's going to change the most behavior.

Or what's the behavioral change that I can ask of this executive? That's the easiest for them to change, the smallest possible change.

But that's going to change the perception of their performance by the greatest number of the greatest amount. What's that leverage point?

Or in the system, what's the leverage point in the entire workflow system? We've got this conflict between product and engineering and the two leaders or each other's throats and nobody's trust each other.

What's the one procedural or process change we can make in terms of the workflow of how they work together?

Maybe it's changing the requirement handoff. that happens or changing the location of the meetings that they have, so it's more on

neutral ground, what's the highest change that we can make that's going to have the biggest impact on the outcome?

I'm constantly looking for those searching for those and studying those.


@11:10 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Yeah, I think that goes to your third point too, right? keeping it simple. But let me just make sure I understand that first point.

My ADA, which is popping out here. Oh, good. I'll be. So, for example, in a startup, let's say you have to build a sales team.


@11:30 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)



@11:31 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Right. You've got the convergence coming in, you've got the leads, your sales team is not closing. Instead of the HR team focused on the talent management stuff that comes later, succession planning, like there's a lot of stuff that most of us would rather work on, but then to really focus on the red-headed stepchild, which is talent acquisition, for example.

How do we make sure that we have a pipeline of salespeople always coming in? How do we make sure that

That's when somebody turns over, we've got somebody ready to step in. No quotas that ever missed. And if you help the company exceed its revenue targets, oh my gosh, you've got a lot of credits in the bank and it's really not that hard, right?

To fix the talent acquisition issue.


@12:16 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Um, so if you're in a startup and you need to build a sales team, one thing I already know about that situation is that you don't have the budget to hire the best sales leader you need, the best sales managers, regionally.

The best sales reps, the best, you know, BDRs and SDRs that can do the appointment setting, the best revenue operations team.

You don't have the budget for it. So already you have to choose what, what is the one role that's going to make the rest of the roles easier?

Um, and sometimes that's the leader, unless you get someone who as a sales leader comes in and starts to build a bunch of process and not roll up their sleeves and get in and talk to customers, depends on the phase you're in, you know, music.

It's art of. You know, so what is it? You need to also mention tele-apposition. How what's the lowest effort way to get the sales pipeline going, you know, so that you're always got the people on deck when someone leaves or needs to be managed out performance that you can backfill with someone who's ready to.

For some, maybe it's a combination of getting the candidate. It's pipeline and improving the onboarding. And those are the two highest leverage settings you do so that the amount of time it takes for a salesperson to become productive is less.

And you take the onboarding time from three months to one month for productivity of sales people. That, again, you're going to have a lot of credits in the bank with the executive team.


@13:49 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

So sometimes even if you have lots of credits in the bank, it's hard to get your proposal pushed through.


@13:56 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)



@13:57 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

hear a lot of CHROs really struggle. with that or maybe they know, like I hear them say, this is what the company should do, but they're not really speaking up.

I don't know if it's like I'm not worthy or you know, what's the challenge there? But what are your thoughts on, I've heard you talk about different arch types and how do you sell to the C-suite?

I'm curious if you can give us a little bit of perspective on that at a high level.


@14:24 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Sure. Well, I've got a short answer and a long answer. And I'll give you a short answer first and then we'll talk about that a long answer.

The short answer is if you're having trouble with your initiative and your SHRO getting it through, the first question I'd ask is where are you coming from with that initiative?

Because if, for example, you have a viewpoint on how things should be and your proposal is to try and form the company into how you think it should be irrespective of

the collective and individual desires and mission and vision of the C-suite. And that proposal is probably not going to go in there.

If you, however, deeply understand exactly how the executive team views the current situation as it is and what they view as where they want it to go, and you see insights about how to streamline the process of becoming the company that they want, that they want, not the company that you think it should be, but the one that they want.

And your proposal is an accelerator to make that happen more quickly, and you can make an argument for why that's the case.

That proposal is probably going to go through. So where you're coming from, on behalf of whom are you making this proposal?

You know, for example, it's probably not a proposal that's going to be listened to. If the proposal is to treat employees better, into a system that doesn't value the employees as historically.

But if you can show that valuing the employees is a way to reduce the cost of future performance, and you can actually draw correlation in the kinds of ways and using the kinds of data that you know the executive team already finds credible, now your proposal might get somewhere.

If my agenda is trying to get the employee treatment better, I might be blocked. My agenda is to try to make the company into the company they want.

I can show you them that treating employees better is the best way of getting there. And if you don't do that, it's you're actually be hampered in getting there.

If I can make that argument, I'm more likely to get that through.


@16:49 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

So that's the short answer. Yeah, I dined to dig into all the different architives, but I think with the time that we have today, maybe for our audience, if you're interested in hearing about the

these five different types of archetypes and how to really pitch to them or influence those types. Just drop me a note or drop a comment in the chat and we'll bring that to you later.


@17:15 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Let me just highlight what that is so people understand what they're going to request. I was asked to speak to a group of CR2Os many years ago about how to get proposals accepted by the C Suite.

I said C-ActureOs. There was no such thing at the time.


@17:30 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

would be VPs.


@17:33 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

It's a recent invention. But the idea was how do you make a proposal that you'll know is going to get accepted?

It turns out that there are five different archetypes for how every single business decision maker makes decisions. If you have a proposal that doesn't satisfy one of these five, your proposal will be shot down.

So it's a way of thinking out through how five very different ways of of viewing your proposal and if all of them agree it's going to go through and we can go into more detail.


@18:05 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Yeah. So I want to bring us back to this after coaching so many CEOs to a billion dollars in revenue.

That's amazing. Are there any recurring themes or behaviors that a CHRO should be fostering in their CEOs that you can point to?


@18:26 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Yeah, for sure. So I think the, for most CEOs, the biggest room for improvement is their ability to face that reality together.

And so face reality could mean that you prioritize metrics in every communication that you have with people about what the objectives are, about what the priorities are.

Metrics being measurements of things that are happening. So a goal is something that I imagine that could happen in the future.

And a metric is measuring what's happening now, like a speedometer. I can say I have a goal of driving a thousand miles today.

But I can declare that goal without having car. I can just say that. It's completely fiction. Metric is a speedometer that's telling me how fast are we traveling.

And the how fast are we traveling somehow gets lost in the executive communication often. And people talk and work together in this fantasy world of the goal.

You know, oh, what would it take to do that? you know, structures, these concepts, but their feet kind of get lifted off the ground and they stop being connected to what's actually happening now and what would be the most incremental improvement on what's currently happening.

So that bringing in a conscious, constant awareness of what's actually occurring and what are our best leading indicators of success and what are they taking off, not what our goal, not what we'd like them to be, but what is happening now.

Such an incredible valuable piece. That's an aspect of facing reality, both individually and together. And if you have one foot firmly placed in what's happening now and the other firmly placed in your vision, then you will be the bridge that the company travels across to become your vision of what's possible for it.

When that tension becomes too great, most CEOs let go of. either their vision or of reality. my observation is people are more likely to hold onto their vision.

So the reality is often the one that gets. That's what I'm thinking.


@21:13 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Yeah, last summer when we did our big HR event, our roundtable discussions were around CEOs who, even though they have the data, they still want to do what they want to do because they get maybe anecdotal data.


@21:26 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Like, oh, I know what that generation wants based on my granddaughter. So, tie the Yeah, which can be OK if everyone accepts that that's what's happening.

Like, if we say, you know what? We understand the data. And sometimes you've got to make a creative call.

You've got to afford the future, not from the past, but from nothing. And we're deciding to do that together right now.

And we understand that risk. If that's happening as a team, I don't see a necessarily problem with it. You don't have to always be a slow.

to the data, but you have to know what the data is saying. Right. Understand it. One more face reality piece.

Um, these are kind of things where, you know, I'll say that and you'll say to yourself, Oh, my company faces reality.

We're good at that. Check the box. We have metrics. have a dashboard. However, for example, when you have an executive team meeting, I'll certain are you that what's being spoken out loud at the meeting is the same talk track as what people are privately thinking about.

I mean, if, if people have a different talk track in their mind about what they're thinking about what's happening, then what's being spoken, if those say verge, then you are not facing reality as a group.

Cause you, cause you have your own assessment up here of reality. And then you have this different version of what's being agreed to out here.

And when that divergence in the gap between what people privately think and what they're willing to say. All the creativity, all the exact execution, all the growth and power in the company escapes out that gap.


@23:10 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

How do you get them to come back together?


@23:13 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

When you start with yourself. What are the things you privately say to yourself that you're not willing to say in an executive team setting?

And then you go to the CEO and you ask them, what are the things they privately think that they're not willing to say?

And you work at a improving the quality of the thoughts so that they actually could be said and b, saying more of what seems scary to say until they eat.


@23:37 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

That's so good. That's really deep. Thanks, my brain heard a little bit thinking about how to get them there.


@23:45 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

I remember I was, I did an executive, like a strategic office, many years ago. We did this all like four days of all the things you do, you know, all the processes.

Many sticky notes died in the making of the vision. And we finally got to this list of commitments and quarterly goals and all this stuff.

And they were read out at the end and I looked around the room and I could just feel that almost no one in the room believed they were going to happen.

It was like, you know, kind of directionally, okay? But like actually. And so I thought, I said, all right, who would, you know, stake the life of your families on that this is for sure going to happen?

Nobody raised their hand. Like, well, maybe that's too much. Who would be more surprised if this didn't happen than you would be if it did and still no one raised their hand.

And I said, okay, so that means we just wasted four days. Because what you really think is secretly going to happen.

That's your actual vision for your department, for yourself, for the company. And if we can't come together as a team and talk about what we really think is to happen, then we're not working.

That's so good.


@25:00 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

undercurrents, right?


@25:01 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Like, totally.


@25:03 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Really have to get at what people actually feel. And I think that's, you know, having a safe culture, safe environment with people really feel comfortable saying, here, this is what I really think of this.

So critical. I can tell you my company I ran, years ago, my COO was sort of like our C-H-R-O and she just was the truth teller.

she did not afraid to speak truth to power. And I can't say I was always the most approachable CEO, especially my younger days.

And she just was not afraid to be like Cindy, this is not gonna happen. I'm like, well, why? know?

then she's like, and this and this and this and this. I'm like, okay, all right, let's, let me, let's regroup that.

And that as a CEO, I so appreciated that that she was not afraid to come and tell me this, right?

Sometimes I know this, that CHROs, they see a lot of the leverage points or things that really should be happening in the organization strategically for the business to grow and they're just not necessarily speaking up.


@26:17 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

you just told a story and to me the most important part of the story is the part sort of glossed over a little bit because you said, she said this is not going to happen, you said why.

And then you said, she said this and this and this and this. My guess is that when she said whatever she said about the reasons, she was absolutely speaking your language.

She deeply understood your objections and objectives. She understood your values, your worldview and she was able to speak the reasons in a way that made sense to you that fit into how you already saw the world versus arguments

requires some kind of like a religious transformation or a conversion for you to go from believing one thing to believing another thing, but without the handholds of how to get there.

so if you want to be the kind of chro that she was for you, you have to understand how to speak the language.


@27:19 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Okay. So that just, wow, that just at home because you know what, started off in sales or recruiting in sales, And so she was so good at doing that with clients.


@27:32 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

And so she just took those skills and brought those in-house. Yeah.


@27:36 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Like, that's exactly what she did. So that consultative skill set is critical, not just taking an order, but actually providing a solution, you know, as well.

I love that. Earlier you talked a little bit about shedding misconceptions and we, lot of CHROs who like came from the big company.

what we call academic firms, right, the academy firms. Where many, many CHRs are produced. And then they go into these middle market or upper middle market companies.

And then suddenly, like the C-suite has no idea how to leverage strategic HR, right? There's misconception that HR is just about, make keeping, you know, party planning, get us paid, make sure we don't get sued.

And Avoid loss, that's a good, that's some point big one, Yeah, but they're not really viewed as a strategic lever for growth.

Tell me about shedding misconceptions.


@28:39 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Yeah, well, if we kind of grossly categorize, I know there's many, many types of HR leaders, but if we say there's two types of HR leaders, one, which is a little more rare, I try share that can see opportunities

is in the labor market, in the amongst the competitors, culturally, to create extraordinary results from ordinary people.


@29:10 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Love it.


@29:12 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Because of how we work together, because of how we are together, because of how we treat each other, because of how we organize ourselves.

And then when you interact with the CEOs, those audacious vision, you see how to leapfrog it, because there's advantages out there that aren't being thought about and capitalized them.

That's one. And the other type of IHR leader is trailing the organization, sort of lodging complaints for why all the ways that it isn't as friendly as they'd like it to be, becoming almost like an advocate for the complaints of the either management or the complaints of the employees, being like an amplifier of employees.

When anyone has a problem, you make it louder until it gets solved, of a wheel squeak of fire. And then also making sure that all the boxes are checked and that nobody gets sued if possible and benefits all are administered and paychecks go out.

So that's that when that second type of HR leader goes to make a proposal, they just don't have the credibility get it carried.

Whereas the management team will list almost anything, the first type of HR leader says. So and if that's not an either or but it's a continuum and everybody that's listening is somewhere on that continuum, the question is how do you move more towards that first type of HR leader?

And it's by asking really hard questions like why do we do it this way? Or what is this actually designed to protect or this policy that

that I've believed in, have I ever seen it actually backfire? Have I seen someone do something else that was actually more effective at achieving the same outcome?

What were the other factors that made that work? It's like continually challenging your own assumptions so that when you were having a dialogue with your leaders about why you think something should happen, every reason you give is well considered.

And it's well considered from your point of view, from the employees point of view, from the leaders point of view.

You really understand all the pros and cons and you can speak to them. You know, like one thing I see is pretty common as a misconception is that happy people perform better.

You know, this radical for me to put a stake in that one. But I think that's a misconception. I don't think that if you make someone happier, they'll perform better at work.

I do. who think that if you provide the environment that leads to success and high performance, a emerging property of that environment is that people will be happy.

So there's correlation.


@32:13 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)



@32:14 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

But if you take a dysfunctional work environment and, you know, surgically implant happiness somehow, in a really dysfunctional organization, one way you can make people happier is to reduce the level of accountability responsibility everyone has.


@32:31 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

That's so good. That's so good. Like, I can tell you, like, part of reason I couldn't work for big, big companies is because the last one I worked for, it took like 19 logins to get a contract opened.


@32:44 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

I was like, I can't do this. Yeah. Totally. Totally.


@32:48 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

And it's not, and, you know, making you happier isn't going to make you more effective.


@32:54 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Fixing the login thing is going to make you more effective and happier. so you can't get to... through high performance through happiness, but directly, it's happiness is an emerging property of a well organized system.

And if we are working hard together, people are going to have bad feelings sometimes, people are to feel ashamed.

going to, they're going to break their promises. They're going to feel bad about that. They're going to try and fail.

going feel bad about that. That's going to happen in a high performance organization. And so if what you're trying to do is inoculate the employees from any bad feelings, you will also inoculate yourself from a high performance organization.

I think instead we have to help people empathize with each other about those feelings and, you know, make sure that we don't convert them into negative actions.

Make sure that we use them constructively. Make sure that we don't convert them into low self esteem. Help people process when I fail.

What does it mean and what do I do about it? And when you have a way of effectively dealing with bad feelings instead of like

kind of avoid them altogether, then as a culture, the bonds are way, way stronger and the teamwork is way, way more potent.

So that's like one, I get a couple of like some misconceptions.


@34:11 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Yeah, no, no, that's so good. I'm tying this back to when I ran an organization that basically we did recruiting on hourly basis.

So we would outsource the recruiting function like the tough, tough roles. in our organization as recruiter, you only had to handle five searches at a time, including and you got research support and you got a lot of admin support.

so a lot of these recruiters would be like, I'm going to go to corporate and go to the other side and be the person being called on.

I'm like, Oh, you go. They'd land and they'd have 40 recs.


@34:46 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

I was going to say, yeah, yeah, that's something going to increasing the number of roles that going.


@34:50 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

And then they boomerang back. like, why are you coming back? And they're like, because I feel like I'm not so that could set up for success.

And we're like, we had to set them up for success. Because we had to deliver. results for the client.

So, however we needed to design it to make sure that they could succeed, but the power of that, right, of making sure somebody feels like they can succeed is, yeah, that makes happier a place.


@35:13 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

It's way more potent than having policies that, you know, I've worked in companies that have policies where peer-to-peer direct feedback was prohibited.

Because you didn't want to make anyone feel bad. So, if you had feedback for someone, you anonymously submitted it to their boss and their boss could deliver it, but in that you lost all its meaning.

And so...


@35:40 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)



@35:42 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)



@35:45 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

my last question, and then we have a few from our own team, and we're thinking about transition. They're like, you know, what kind of company?

How do I make sure I'm not in this dysfunctional mess again working for a CEO that just, you know, like they have to be the buffer for the CEO.

I'm like, well, I mean, there's a lot of things, right? I see people who are not underwriting the company carefully.

what is the typical question to the PE firm would ask in order to invest in a company? Like how many, you know, what percentage of clients are, you know, all your clients are one client that's 50% of your portfolio.


@36:28 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)



@36:29 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)



@36:29 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

What are the types of customers?


@36:31 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

You know, business questions you would ask to make sure that this is a company that has a unique value proposition that's going this direction.

Yep. But then my point of view, and I'm curious what you think Brian, is that there also, some of them are so tired.

They're like, I'm so tired of educating the CEOs and C-suite teams on how they can leverage HR. Like I spend like three years just getting them to the point where we're doing anything that's really adding.

value to the organization because they think we are supposed to be just party planners and, you know, keeping the payroll going.

And I'm like, well, you know what, if you only chose companies that had it all figured out, right, that C-suite had the contact of great HR and strategic HR, you would be eliminating, gosh, I don't know, 90% of the companies out there.

Sad, but it's true. So then my feedback is, or my advice is look for a CEO or C-suite team that's coachable, right?

So even if they don't understand, they don't have the context, are they coachable? What's your perspective on my advice?


@37:40 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Yeah, so I'm going to challenge you on this one. It's very common advice, this idea of coachability. And I know a lot of coaches, and I'm executive coach, I know a lot of coaches who list as the very first attribute that they require from their clients is that they be coachable.

I think there's a difference between coachability and coachability. meaning there's a difference between how pliable is your CEO and how skillful are you at delivering coaching that that CEO can actually follow.

If you take a CEO that you think is absolutely not coachable. I promise you, I can form a relationship with them where I'll coach them and they'll take my coaching because I will have understood them.

If you have someone who's not coachable, it's probably because you don't understand how they operate, how they think about their values, how they prioritize.

When you understand all of that, it's pretty easy to show them how a better way is better. If your way is in fact better, and they're not seeing that, then there is a way of showing them that through their lens, through their language, the way they see the world.

If your way is not better, then they're right to not listen.


@39:00 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

I love that. It's such a different perspective. yeah, I think where I got that from was years ago when I was in executive search.

We'd say, oh, I don't care how difficult the search is as long as the client's coachable. could walk from those clients.

You don't get that choice as a CHROD.


@39:17 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Exactly. It makes sense actually in recruiting. would want, first of all, to be coachable, not just so I can help them get placed, but I'd want them to be coachable because they're going to more likely to stay in the job.

Be pliable by the new culture that they're in. And therefore, I don't have to replace them. So that makes sense from that point of view.

But when you're a CHRO, you're in. Also, I think you said something interesting earlier about this idea of if you're only going to work for people who already value everything you do that eliminates most companies.

But I also think I think that's kind of a cop out because it's like saying, I have this skill, but I'm annoyed if I have to use it.

mean, your value is that you understand these things that other people don't understand. Right. That's what makes you valuable.

That's what makes your salary high. And if everyone already knew everything you knew and you didn't have to change anyone's mind, you would have no value to the organization.

So I think that, you know, my value as a coach is how difficult it is to get these ideas across to other people.

If it wasn't difficult, why would you pay me? I would have no use, right? So it's almost like I had a personal trainer talk to me about the pain associated with, know, when you're lifting weights, the pain in your muscles.

That pain is your strength. It's not your weakness that you're feeling. It's your strength. That's what strength feels like because you are utilizing it.

Yeah. And that's what it feels like. So I think the pain of trying to convince the organization to do the right thing is the intensity of your value that you're offering and why not offer the value, you know, where it's most needed.


@41:12 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

That's so good. Okay. I lied.


@41:14 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

have one more question.


@41:15 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)



@41:17 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

I'll forgive the line.


@41:19 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Yeah. So I think coaching up is important, but also I hear a lot of CHRO say to me, I really need our HR business partner team to be more strategic.

really need our center of excellence leaders to be more strategic or act more like product managers. And at the same time, I hear them basically talk about their day, which is packed full of C-suite meetings, right?

they're the go to. So lots of these CHROs have to be player coaches. They don't get to just coach.

Yeah, of course. And so how do they make them most of their time? How do they help their teams?

Right. To me, they should be doing curbside chats. They should be you know, listening in on some of these interactions with a C-suite so they can bring their team up to a point where they can also interact with a C-suite.

So the CHRO doesn't have to be in the middle of all those conversations. you have an opinion on that?


@42:13 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

For sure. Yeah, I think for not just for CHROs, but for every executive developing, people is one of the most important things you can do.

And if you continually develop in five years, your team will be unrecognizable in terms of its capability versus if you kind of have flat.

So emphasizing development is not as efficient as efficiency, output. If you emphasize output or work, you'll get more out of your team than if you emphasize development.

Because, to emphasize development, have to have people doing stuff they don't know how to do. just match your time.

Mentoring, it's not as efficient, maybe 60, 70, 80%.


@43:00 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Yeah of his full efficiency.


@43:01 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

However in five years, it's going to be five six times the capability so But to develop someone We need a couple of components we need we need to know What what they imagine is possible That they are interested in who are they becoming and I would challenge you to eliminate the word strategic Because I think it's such a sloppy word that people use to mean all kinds of different things I someone told me they wanted the HR HR Professional to be more strategic because was a business leader that had a HR assigned to their team They're like I wish they were more strategic and when I drilled down to what it actually meant It meant that they they wanted them to come to more meetings Right just to be around so that they could just say hey, I need this like an assistant Right the opposite of strategic, but the words that

Tejik was used to describe this fuzzy thing that when you nailed it down, it meant something totally different. So eliminate that word strategic and start talking about what actual capabilities they need to have and a capability is defined by a decision you trust to make in your absence.

Yeah, so you can list what are the decisions I want to trust them to make in my absence and what are the decisions that the business leaders want to trust them to make in the business leaders actions and that list becomes a set of skills that could be a development plan, then you have to ask them, do they want to learn how to do that stuff?


@44:34 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Right, that's a great hack. love that. But on the development piece, I mean a company that I worked four years ago, we were testing it to that.

So we're number one fastest growing company in ink magazine in your in your 2000, I'm really dating myself now.


@44:51 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

The zero is pretty coaching so I'm with you.


@44:54 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Yeah, so the CEO, I was, I guess I didn't realize what a gift this was but The CEO truly believed that you couldn't be a player coach.

He wanted all the general managers to be coaches. Yeah. And so he's like, you can't carry a book. And it's so counterintuitive because we were a startup, right?


@45:12 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Like we had, you know, some venture capital money to help us grow, but- I was going to say that sounds like venture capital money, kind of position, but yes.


@45:22 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Right, right. was not friends and family for sure, but- It's not the scrappiest approach, but I could see how it could work.

Yeah. Solo Prenere. So I was like, what do you mean I shouldn't carry a bag? Like that was scary to me, but what I saw was that I could take somebody from like no sales skills or, you know, no knowledge in our industry of selling consultatively in six months to like somebody who's bringing in millions of dollars in revenue because I got to go on calls with them, right?

So I do think that that is so valuable and, you know, how do I have actually any coaching skills at the time.

It would have even been more helpful. So, okay.


@46:04 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Well, Alison Armstrong who teaches like, you know, how to have healthy marriages and stuff like that makes an observation that if, if, if, if you could make someone better by telling them what they're doing wrong, then all the husbands would be a lot better.

It does, it does intend to work. So, how are you going to actually help them get better? It's not just by demonstrating it.

It's not by just telling them what they're doing wrong. It's not by giving them praise and encouragement. Those things are a woefully insufficient to actually develop someone.

So you have to understand what causes someone to develop because oftentimes they want the thing, you want them to have the thing, they're committed to it, they promise to do it and they still don't make a change.

They still don't actually develop the skill. So, even though they have access to all the resources, the mentorship, they know, they actually know what


@47:00 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

what the steps are to do it.


@47:01 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

I still don't do it. And if you can't get underneath that, then I don't think you can effectively develop people.


@47:08 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

That's so good. All right. I'm going to go to some of our community.


@47:13 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Let's do it.


@47:13 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Now, this question is for this from a CHRO who is like, or no, CHRO yet, right? Entitled, probably more VP, but is the head of HR and as the company is growing astronomically and this person has helped them with board work and major transformations, bringing in new C-suite members.

But the concern is long-term getting sort of tight cast into that role versus getting promoted into the CHRO role.

Because we often need that companies grow so fast that instead of them going, oh, you're ready for that role, we're going to promote you for all the good work you've done.

We're going to bring somebody in so we can leapfrog. Right. Somebody who's already got the CHRO title. Yeah. What's your

advice for this person?


@48:01 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Well, my first response is to take a hard look at why you want that. Because the more, I mean, because what's in the title, the title affects more than anything else, how other people sort of, what opinion they might have of you.

And the more you're committed to manage image, the more you're commanded to manage how other people think of you.

And the less that you're committed to actually make the changes in the organization, the less qualified you are for a C-level title.

So it's kind of a catch-22. The more you care about it, the less likely it's really yours to have.

So I'd be the first to really take a hard look at, do I want this for me because it would feel good because it fits my image of what I want, because it's my career path?

Or do I want this because this is actually the best way for me to serve the company? That's the first thing.

Like if someone gets hired in, are they hired in because they've done actually before, a lot of things that you haven't done and maybe avoid mistakes that you might make, learning things for the first time.

And therefore it's an opportunity for you to learn from them or is hiring above you actually mistake. And you have to take a hard look at that.

Now, once you have, let's say you're still determined, magic question is to the CEO, tell me about what a CHRO for the future means to you.

What are the things that they would need to be able to demonstrate and do? What experience would you have of their work?

And what are the gaps between that and what I'm currently doing from your perspective?


@49:46 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Yeah, yeah, what are the gaps?


@49:50 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

And you're gonna wanna be defensive. You're gonna wanna say, but I am doing that, but I did do that.


@49:55 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

You're gonna wanna make an argument.


@49:57 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

You gotta let all that down and. See we search for the ways that if they haven't promoted you, it's because you haven't earned it yet.

And take that and redouble your commitment to be not just what you think is good at your job, but to be the kind of influence over the company that CEO views that a future CHRO would have.


@50:23 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Right. Thank you. All right. The next question is, what advice do you have for CHRO or a new public company?

It just went public.


@50:35 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Yeah. Well, so I'm assuming that they were the CHRO while it was private, and now it's non-public. And so it's not a new company to them, but it's new in public.

there's a lot that's different about public companies, including the emphasis on being able to audit and the. The stakes are higher costs for mistakes are higher but I Think the the most interesting change is that the going public represents a kind of a benchmark in a journey That a company goes through as it's growing When a company starts out The most important thing is what?

thing can it invent you know what can it create that is not predicted by the past? Right what what is this?

brand new innovation Either in methodology or in product or and how we do it or who we are and Our ability to innovate and create new things that never existed before is the most important thing to our success But for a mature company that's been public for a long time This the street values companies based on how well you can predict the future not how much you disrupt it So accurately predicting a modest growth year after year after year after

your is going to produce higher stock value than a unpredictable volatile up and down up and down up and down where sometimes things great happen sometimes they don't we can never tell when that's going to happen that company is going to have a much lower stock value so so the whole company has to go through this shift from valuing innovation to valuing conservation and that is a rough cultural transition especially for something that started out in technology or where innovation was a big part of the cultural identity and you have to somehow make that transition transition without squashing the soul of the company without without taking away its ability to continually move forward and break new ground year after year of course like a more measured predictable ground instead of a radical volatile breaking ground how do you make that transition

How do you install that difference? How do you recognize who you're hiring, who you're promoting, how you're recognizing people, how people interact, are the meeting structures, who gets rewarded and what are the consequences, all that has to shift towards recognizing that prediction is an equally valuable skill as disruption.

And that's why we need to recognize and organize around more now.


@53:25 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Yeah. And the CHR is in such a great position to drive that change.


@53:32 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

That's for sure. Yeah.


@53:34 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Okay. The last question from our community is when you're working with CEOs or presidents who maybe don't have a great relationship with them yet, right?

You're maybe new to working with them. And how do you, has one effectively provide feedback on blind spots that they have?


@53:55 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Yeah. So. If you just start announcing someone's blind spot, first of all, if it's truly a blind spot, they can't see it.

And when you point them out, they're still not going to see it. If it's real blind spot, it takes many repetitious pointing outs of blind spots before someone goes, oh, I see what you're saying.

You know, they'll see it, but they just don't get the weight of it. They don't get like, oh, yeah, but that's not a big deal.

You're like, well, no, it really is a big deal. then it gets to kind of think you're overreacting, except for the 30th time.

They're like, oh, wow, that's kind of a big deal. You're like, I've been telling you. So it's a slow process, usually.

But what speeds it up is if you really understand what is it that that person wants that they're not getting?

And if you can understand what they want that they're not getting, and then you can show them how recognizing and correcting this blind they're they're not

spot is going to help them get that thing. Then they're going to be eager to get the feedback incorporated.

If it's in the context of something that they really want. You know, I remember a time where there was a person who been received a lot of feedback about, you know, you're not human, you're a robot, you don't care about people, you don't care about the numbers, this kind of of They were a leader, ruthless or whatever, at all these reputation.

And in a way, he kind of was proud of it. He thought of it as like, he's a shrewd business person that sacrifices everything for the company.

know, like, it's some weird, like romanticized version of it. And, you know, he wasn't listening to the feedback. But I started coaching him and I started talking about how hard it was for him to get certain things done.

know, and I said, look, Have you ever noticed that in marketing, they wanted to get this thing done. They brought it to the executive team.

Everyone said yes, it was done. It was like two weeks later. Nobody had to talk about it anymore. Easy peasy.

And then you had a similar scoped thing that you were asking for and it's been six months and still every time you bring it up, people yell at you.

Well, there's reason. There's a reason why it's harder for you to get things done than other people. And it's because you haven't invested in the relationships.

Instead, you have this badge of honor around mistreating people. And then when you need something, people use that as their opportunity to get back at you for not caring about them.

And so the amount of evidence or power or effort or energy that you need to get something over the line is like 10 times what other people are.

So if you start investing in these relationships, it's things are going to get a lot easier around here for you.

And he was like. suspicious, but willing to give it a shot. Okay. And then a few months later, I tried this thing.

I've built a relationship. I've apologized for the thing. And then next time I needed something, they just said yes.

You know, so he was so surprised at how easy it could be. Navigate because he never tried it. So that's how you show someone their blind spots.

You understand what they want and you show them how if they see the spot a little bit, it might help them get that thing.


@57:30 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

I'm going to use that on my college student.


@57:33 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)



@57:35 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Awesome. So Brian, I feel like we're going to have a lot of people who want to get in touch with you.


@57:39 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Can I put your LinkedIn profile in the show notes? For sure.


@57:43 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

For sure. How else can they learn more about you and your lifetime trusted advisor?


@57:49 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Yeah. So lifetime trusted advisors, a program where we're teaching people how to transform other people's lives, how to develop people, how to interact with someone such.

that they become the executive professional they want to be, and it's specifically in a business for executive context. And if you're curious about becoming an epic mentor and coach and learning what it takes to develop the skills that we talked about on this conversation, I invite you just to have a conversation with us, find out more about the program.


@58:25 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

There's a apply now link that I think that Cindy you can share. Okay, yeah.


@58:30 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

And if you're not sure you want to do a program or you're not sure that coaching skills is exactly where you want to invest, we have a community, the lifetime trusted advisor community, where you all are welcome, it's free for life, you'll never recharge anything.

And you can direct message me there if you have any questions about what we talked about here or other questions.

It's filled with a bunch of people who are committed to make a difference for other people, coaches, therapists, leaders, CHROs.

And you'd be more than welcome there.


@59:02 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Awesome. Brian Franklin, thank you so much for spending so much time with us. Really appreciate it. And we'll have to definitely do that follow up on the different architects.


@59:15 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Yeah. Yeah. How to influence.


@59:16 - Cindy Lu (CHRO Partners)

Yeah. For sure. All right, Brian.


@59:18 - Bryan Franklin (Bryan Franklin)

Thank you so much. Thank you, Cindy. was a pleasure. Awesome. Bye.









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