Be A Transition Figure

I’ve had the privilege of working with the FranklinCovey company for over twenty-five years. Notice I say “with” and not “for.” I’ve felt from the first day (December 26, 1996) that I was part of something uniquely special, and it’s always been a with and not for experience.

The content and solutions developed by this firm and its associates are rivaled by nobody.

As I interviewed Doug Bopst for our On Leadership podcast series, I couldn’t help but think about our content.

Here’s an extemporaneous mind dump of just a sliver of what we teach leaders and individual contributors at all levels:

  • You can’t talk yourself out of a problem you’ve behaved yourself into.
  • It only takes one person to think win-win.
  • You can validate someone else without agreeing with them.
  • Most of us listen with the intent to respond, not understand.
  • Effective leaders are more concerned with what is right, than being right.
  • Measure twice, cut once. Mental creation precedes physical creation.
  • Managers work in the system. Leaders work on the system.
  • People are not an organization’s most valuable asset; rather it’s the relationships between those people.
  • Nearly all, if not all, conflict in life comes from mismatched or unfilled expectations.
  • Efficiency and effectiveness are not the same. Be efficient with things and processes and effective with people and relationships.
  • The greatest gift a leader can give their associates is feedback on their blind spots.
  • With people, slow is fast and fast is slow.
  • Great leaders balance equal parts courage and consideration when providing others feedback.
  • Understanding the difference between urgent and important is a vital skill, professionally and personally.
  • You cannot deem yourself trustworthy; only others can through their interactions with you.
  • There will always be more great ideas than there is capacity to execute them.
  • A leader’s mindset must be that they achieve results with and through others, not on their own.
  • Change is a highly emotional process and not everyone accelerates to it at your pace.
  • We tend to judge others by their technique, but ourselves by our intent.
  • Proactive people chose their reactions to others based on their values, not others’ moods or circumstances.
  • When everything is important, nothing is important.
  • The only valid apology is the excuse-free apology.
  • Sometimes a disappointment turns into an appointment.
  • The three constants in life are change, choice, and principles.
  • Highly effective people use their R&I (resourcefulness and initiative).
  • Every relationship has an EBA balance (Emotional Bank Account) consisting of deposits and withdrawals.
  • Being loyal to those who are absent builds trust with those who are present.

This short list is only scratching the surface at the profound insights I’ve learned and struggled to adopt into my life during my association with FranklinCovey. But I held one out as it relates to Doug’s story. I implore you to watch his interview, especially if you’re a parent. Doug is not a celebrity or CEO. He is not well-known internationally and certainly isn’t a household name. But his story is riveting, one too familiar to many of us. Doug models what our co-founder Dr. Covey taught about being a transition figure. Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic.

Of all the wisdom imparted from Dr. Covey, this is perhaps the simplest and most profound. Each of us hopefully has benefited from having a transition figure in our lives—I certainly have. Each of us is called to offer that same benefit to others. In whose life are you a transition figure? If you can’t readily answer this, it’s time to offer someone the benefit of your successes and failures. You don’t need to be a celebrity or CEO to share your learnings with someone traveling the same path you did.

Just ask Doug Bopst.


The best leaders are curious. But they don’t just ask a lot of questions. They ask the right questions—the kind that focus their team’s brainpower on the right problems.

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 Release, 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. Previously, Scott worked for the Disney Development Company and grew up in Central Florida. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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