Lead By Example


Understanding your money story is not to be underestimated.

Unpacking the role your parents played (or still play) is central to how we view, value, manage, and allocate money. As a parent myself, I’m hyper-mindful of how closely my boys watch what I model, including values beyond our family finances (a topic of near-obsession with my oldest).

As parents, it’s no secret we have an incalculable impact on how our children see themselves, our family, our community, and the world. Daunting, isn’t it? Their world view is directly correlated to how we narrow or expand their paradigms. We also warp their views around race, sexuality, politics, religion, you name it. The cycle can be quite vicious if we’re not exceedingly deliberate about what we model in our behaviors.

Modeling is perhaps the most important role we play as parents, whether we intend to or not.  

At the risk of sounding patronizing, I’d argue that same principle applies to leadership. What we model gets replicated, down to the most minute behaviors. If you set a low standard in your own performance and work ethic, that’s often the culture of the team. If you allow gossip, or worse, traffic in it yourself, that’s your culture. If you disparage others, cut corners, trash the competition…or if you listen first, share credit, and celebrate wins…that’s what your team consciously or unconsciously will replicate.

I see it inside FranklinCovey. After 23 years in the firm, I am an expert in all of our sins and challenges (including the ones I’m responsible for). Our company has a wildly healthy culture, and it starts at the top. And I mean the very top: the CEO, our metaphorical parent Bob Whitman. Bob has been our chief executive for more than two decades and is extraordinarily deliberate in what he models.                                                                                       

Specifically, Bob does not gossip. Ever.

And as a result, every member of his executive team knows it isn’t tolerated. Do we always rise to the occasion? I can only speak for myself—and I fail often. But I am very clear on Bob’s expectation, and when I fail, I own it. Bob has consistently modeled the behaviors he wants to see in everyone, from the C-suite to the frontline.

Beyond gossip, Bob models it in how we budget, forecast, meet commitments, discern new products, serve our clients, and treat each other. Bob ultimately owns the culture of FranklinCovey—period. He sets the standards not just through speeches, blogs, and newsletters, but through his own behaviors. What he models in his face-to-face meetings, texts, conference calls, and literally every encounter.

You may not be the CEO of your organization, but as a leader, formal or informal, never underestimate your power to set the culture of your team, division or even entire company through your own behavior.

Don’t leave the success of your first-level leaders, and your organization, to chance—download our complimentary guide today and help them make the mental leap to leader. 

About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Releases, Master Mentors: 30 Transformative Insights From Our Greatest Minds, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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