Shannon Susko Blog

Shannon Susko

Recent Posts

Who has time for The 10,000 Hour Rule of Mastering anything? Why you don’t need 10K hours to ride the road of Mastery.

Shannon SuskoAug 18, 2018

I loved learning about the 10,000 hour rule when Malcom Galdwell brought it forward in his book “Outliers”.  The 10,000 hour rule was derived from the work of Psychologist K Anders Ericsson, who studied the way people become experts in their fields. However, since its release, many studies have focused on disproving Gladwells 10,000 hour “rule”. Additional studies support a theory that the correlation between hours spent practising and the achievement of mastery are extremely industry/situation dependant. But regardless of the arguments for and against Gladwell's theory, who really has 10,000 hours to dedicate solely to ONE thing anyway?!

As a CEO growing a business and as a CEO Coach, I see first-hand that no one in a leadership role (or any role really) has 10,000 hours to spend mastering just one element needed to grow our companies.  We are trying to be “masterful” at the entire system it takes to grow a company.


So instead of dedicating all of your time, and clocking every second of that time, to strategy alone, focus on learning and implementing the steps involved in the “Gut It Out” and “Good Enough”  approach outlined in my latest book  -  3HAG WAY. Although you will not get the stamp of approval for investing 10,000 hours to it, you will feel like a master of Strategic Execution the more and more you work on the 3HAG WAY!


Once you have gutted out your 3HAG, you will have the confidence and time to work through the steps to move your company to success. I have been using the 3HAG WAY in my companies since 2001 and as a coach with clients since 2011.  What I know is that it works and because of that, I have been sharing it with all of my clients!  I know that in order to have exponential impact, it's more than just writing the book, and it's more than just sharing it with clients.  What I want to achieve with all the business coaches worldwide and their clients is to share with them the 3HAG methodology, thus creating a network of coaches who are impacting companies worldwide through this strategic execution system. My goal is to empower coaches to “master” the step-by-step process of 3HAG WAY and gain confidence in their strategic execution.


As a big step in achieving this goal, I recently created a 3HAG Certification program for coaches! This program will impact coaches and companies to become “masterful” with the Strategic Execution System – 3HAG WAY. (Don’t worry, this program does not require 10,000 hours of your time) . The 3HAG WAY is a system that allows coaches and companies to start putting strategy into practice right away.  The 3HAG WAY system will help coaches ensure that their clients will highly achieve their desired goals.   As a “Masterful” group of 3HAG Certified coaches we can continue to evolve this methodology for greater impact. Hope you can join me at one of the 2 Day Certification Sessions this fall.



 -Shannon Byrne Susko


If you would like to learn more about 3HAG Certification for Coaches and to register, click below! 





Read More Shannon Byrne Susko Blogs Here


In: Business, CEO, Coaching, growth, success, leadership, 3HAG, MGS, leading, teams

Have you ever “Double Clicked” like this before?  7 Steps to get clarity on your 3HAG Success for your and your team

Shannon SuskoAug 03, 2018

I had the great pleasure to meet and hear Judith E. Glaser speak at the Scale Up Summit in May 2018 in New Orleans.  Her latest book “Conversational Intelligence” is one of the most powerful books you can read to create trust with anybody in your life but as well create trust with your team in your business to get results. It is a must read for everyone.  Judith delivered an amazing session closing out with a very long, standing ovation from the room!  Her work will make a difference in your life.  It already has in mine.

 One of her many tools is “Double Clicking”. This tool got its name because the process mimics the ‘double‐clicking’ that we use when opening folders on the computer. When Judith uses Double‐Clicking with teams, she asks them to delve into (or double‐click) on their individual mindscapes to share and compare word meanings and perceptions with each other.  Its a perfect way to get context and alignment with a team as to what “Success” means to each individual in context of their goals.  Judith created this tool over a decade ago.  

I like to use this tool when getting a team to focus in on “3HAG Success”.  This ensures that even though all team members may be using different words to describe success, they may mean very much the same outcome but just describe it very differently.


I recently used this tool with one of my clients.  Within their team, there seemed to be alignment on the 3HAG written down but the language that was being used by different members of the team was causing some conflict in that everyone thought there was misalignment. It is remarkable to see how often particular use of language can cause humans to “fight” against one another but for the same side! To get clarity for the team and myself as their coach, so we could move forward together, we did the following:

  1. The leadership team I was working with was a team of 4 leaders.  I asked each leader to come up with 6 words that describes from their perspective “3HAG Success” and write each word on a separate post-it note.
  2. In the meantime – I drew a circle in the middle of the page on the easel and wrote “3HAG Success” inside the circle.
  3. I then drew 12 lines/spokes around the circle – similar to the face of a clock.
  4. After all the leaders had wrote down 6 words that describes “3HAG Success” on separate post-its - I asked each one to come up and present their words one by one to the group.
  5. The first leader to share put their post its up on the easel at each spoke. The second person came up and presented their words.  They put their post-its with the other leaders if there was overlap or similar meaning or if not on another spoke.
  6. We did this process til all 4 leaders got their “3HAG Success” words up on the board – lining up similar meanings or putting up a new spoke.
  7. Once all leaders shared their words it was amazing that there was agreement, clarity and alignment of what “3HAG Success” meant to the team and individuals. We were able to group what “3HAG Success” was to the team in 5 main areas that whole leadership team agreed upon. 


The result was ground-breaking! This alignment and clarity allowed the team to drive forward for the rest of the day to further clarify and discuss very strategic elements of their 3HAG.  The most amazing observation was that the leaders were using very different words to describe “3HAG Success” – words that were almost at opposite ends of the spectrum. When they were asked to present their words with a description it was uncanny how similar the descriptions were.  This is imparative to getting alignment.  Get each team member to explain what their words mean in the context of “3HAG Success”.


This is an adaptation of Judith Glaser’s “Double Clicking” exercise but the outcome expected is the exact same.  This is a very powerful tool to get everyone’s view on the table of what “Success” means to them and in this case what “3HAG Success”.   Start “Double Clicking” today on your “3HAG Success”.

 -Shannon Byrne Susko



Read More Shannon Byrne Susko Blogs Here


In: Business, CEO, Coaching, growth, success, leadership, 3HAG, MGS, leading, teams

The “obvious” leadership style will drive your businesses to success

Shannon SuskoJul 27, 2018

When I was building my first company, looking for examples of how to build a culture of trust, there were not as many visible or discussed as there are today. (Jim Collins definitely put a large effort into this research). The “old business” approach to leadership of relying on trust in power was over. Thriving businesses, like ours, were getting places by adopting a “new business” approach: rely on the power of trust!


I knew the power of trust started with our leaders and the leadership team.  We had to become vulnerable with each other first and I was the one to drive this as CEO. Being a huge fan and ‘groupie’ of Pat Lencioni’s work, we start working through the 5 Temptations of a CEO, Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive and then later the Five Dysfunctions of a Team.  As a coach I still use all these tools and messages with my clients. (I just re-read the Four of Obsessions of a Extraordinary Executive last week. Love this book!) This view really helped myself and my team build the 3 systems we put in place to support our team and team members:   The Cultural System (ensuring we have behaviors we believe in), The Cohesive System (building a high performing team starting with trust), and the Human System ( a repeatable process to attract, hire, onboard, train, coach, keep and grow our team members).  These team member systems are the foundation of any great company!


Many  people  will  read  this  and  think  it’s  obvious. Trust > Power; It  sounds  so  simple... and  it  is.  But  at  the  end  of  the  day,  it’s  often  the  simple  things  that  get  overlooked.  And as I have received feedback from the CEOs and leaders I work with, the “soft” stuff is hard to implement.   As a CEO, these three systems were my number 1 focus and priority. I knew if I could get these systems cranking in my organization with my leaders, and if we had the discipline to never stop once we started, we would just keep evolving and getting better as a team.  We would be in good shape and other things we were trying to accomplish would get easier.  A trusting team makes it easier to achieve your goals and outcomes. 


When  I  think  about  why  the  team  from  my  first  company  wanted  to  continue to work  with  me  in  my  second  company, I  knew  it was because we  trusted  one  another and we knew what to expect from one another and we knew we were going to have fun achieving our goals. We would be successful.   Beyond  my  own  experience,  it’s well  documented  that  the  companies  with  the  best  cultures,  the  ones  that  have  been  recognized  as  the  best  places  to  work,  are  the companies  outperform  other  companies even through a down turn in the market.  These companies are by far the leaders in their markets.  They have focused on their team first.


As  a  leader,  if  you focus on your team first by building  trust  first,  you  will have  a high performing  cohesive  team.  To keep a team cohesive you must work at it everyday.   Once you have it you can loose it.  Once you start you must create a system to keep the cohesiveness in place.   This takes focus and discipline of the leaders to drive this everyday from their behavior. 


As a CEO and leader there a 5 actions that you must drive with your team:

  1. Ensure a consistent Human System is in place.
  2. Work at team cohesiveness every day. (Overcoming the 5 Dysfunctions Framework.)
  3. Ensure the messaging throughout your company is consistent.
  4. Ensure there is organizational clarity.
  5. Over-communicate organizational clarity.


This takes continuous focus, discipline and commitment by the CEO and the leadership team.   As a CEO, this was my #1 priority everyday.  I was accountable to drive this in the company.   My realization over the years of building companies is building a high performing team where “Trust is Execution”.  


What are you going to do today and everyday to build the foundation of trust for your team?

 -Shannon Byrne Susko



Read More Shannon Byrne Susko Blogs Here


In: Business, CEO, Coaching, growth, success, leadership, 3HAG, MGS, leading, teams


Shannon SuskoJul 20, 2018

Recently, I rewatched Kathryn Schulz’s TED TALK that synopses her book, Being Wrong. It is one of my favourite business books. It is such a humbling reminder that we are all human and therefore we all make human error.


Kathryn states that the feeling of being right all of the time, is actually dangerous. Now, this doesn’t mean compromising any knowledge you have gained from your experiences. This means loosening the attachment we have to our own “rightness”.

 As a CEO, or just plain human being, you NEED to allow the opportunity for being wrong. Without opening the door to failure, you are compromising the likelihood of success. Unlike any other animals on this planet, humans are obsessed with figuring out how and why our world is the way it is. Without this curiosity and acceptance of not knowing everything (aka not being RIGHT all the time) we would not be the productive, creative, or innovative species we are.


Here are 4 ways to be better at being wrong:



One of the most vulnerable things you can do is answer tough questions. Questions that you might have the wrong answer to. The process of “Gutting It Out” is one I have talked for over 20 years, as it is a key step in 3HAG framework. To Gut It Out, you must answer these 14 questions, regardless if you are right or wrong. Imagine each question as a “required field” on a form. You can NOT complete the form unless you answer them, so chance being wrong and gut out the answer!!

GUT IT OUT Questions 

Risking being wrong and doing the work to answer these questions WILL help you. It will make you curious.  It will help you focus.  This is what my team and I has to figure out the hard way growing our companies and now with the high growth companies that I have the opportunity to coach.



As CEO, I wanted to control the answers to the Gut It Out Questions.  That seems absolutely ridiculous writing this now but when you are in it, as a leader, as a human, its very normal to to want to control.  Through experience we as leaders realize that the more we can help out team see the outcomes of where we are going the more we let go of the control.    We as leaders pile up your own plate too full - if we don’t share and build the future with our team and leaders The reason we do this is fear of failure. We don’t want our companies to make the “wrong” choices so we control the final say. Having this level of control overloads our time and leaves us incapable of actually growing our companies. 

There is a reason CEO’s and executive members are part of the “Leadership” team within companies. It is because we LEAD our people, we guide them to the outcome - not control them. We must enable them to make great decisions!

Next time you have a planning or strategy meeting, create the outcomes with you team and guide them to conclusions and decisions. Sometimes they will be wrong, but more than not they will be right and will address things that you were never able to see before. One strategy I use to do this is asking one simple question is always ask team members, “What do you recommend?”


Give it a try when you are presented with a question or request for a decision. See what happens!



The easiest thing to ignore something or someone who is not demanding your attention. When an team member or team is meeting expectations we are content. But what happens if they remain at that plateau of just meeting expectations and not exceeding them? Leaving them as is -  is a safe way that might seem “right” as its safe. Why does it feel so “wrong” to disrupt this peace? Being “wrong” by asking questions and deep diving into those areas of the business might actually be the right answer you are ignoring.

If you are not evolving you are not growing.


ACCEPT “GOOD ENOUGH” and evolve. 

In our personal lives, we don’t have the time to wait for all the evidence to make decisions and take action. So what do we do? We make conclusions and accept things as “good enough”. If we didn’t do this, we wouldn’t be able to get out of bed and go about our lives.

 So why are so many companies not accepting this process in their businesses? Companies and their leaders MUST accept “Good Enough” in order to move forward! As in life, accepting things as “Good Enough” is a feature, not a flaw. Our companies need it to survive, evolve and thrive, just as we humans do!


Need help letting go of perfection and accepting the a “Good Enough” – possible  WRONG answer? Read my blog on the topic.


 -Shannon Byrne Susko



Read More Shannon Byrne Susko Blogs Here


In: Business, CEO, Coaching, growth, success, leadership, 3HAG, MGS, leading, teams

Is it “Good Enough” for now? The question you need to ask after “Gutting It Out”.

Shannon SuskoJul 13, 2018

In my later years as a serial CEO, and currently today in my coaching practise, I have found myself saying “GOOD ENOUGH” a lot. Like EVERYDAY! This was not always the case. As a recovering perfectionist, those words used to keep me up at night. I never thought that one day, something being “Good Enough” would actually be a key to my companies and clients success!


Being “Good Enough” actually meant getting over being wrong, and as a CEO, being wrong is very scary. It means you might be leading your team in the “wrong” direction, letting them down, letting their families down, or over all failure. But in order to move forward, you HAVE to not be scared of being wrong! You have to accept things when they are “Good Enough”.

I had to get used to working with my teams to “Gut Out the Answers” and ask ourselves, “ Is it GOOD ENOUGH for now?”.  

It always was.

We realized that at that point, we had more clarity than when we started and we were more curious and focused on where we were going. When building the company, we were not just going to come up with a strategy once or a plan once. We would always revisit these to adapt them and evolve them as we grew and our environments changed. We realized that in not chasing perfection, our company would gain forward momentum as it was more accepting of growth and improvement.  

Where “Good Enough” plays in building a company, is that you have evolved what you're working on far enough for today. And guess what... that is good enough! You are going to keep evolving the “strategic story” – the “plan”.

The key to answering the “Gut it Out” questions from last weeks blog is to gut it out and then ask the team involved "Is it good enough for now?".  Knowing that you as a team will come back to talk about these questions and topics on a set rhythm – daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually.  You will always iterate through these questions quickly and often to keep us focused, evolving and ensuring they're GOOD ENOUGH for now to drive the company forward in the direction we want to go.


 Questions about gutting it out to a point of good enough? Write us! 


 -Shannon Byrne Susko



Read More Shannon Byrne Susko Blogs Here


In: Business, habits, CEO, Coaching, growth, success, leadership, 3HAG, MGS, leading, teams

So you’re setting goals, but are you “gutting it out” enough? The 14 questions you need to answer today, to reach your goals in business and life.

Shannon SuskoJul 06, 2018

We are taught at a young age that goal setting is very valuable for achieving our dreams and aspirations. We are also taught that writing down those goals increases our likelihood of achieving them. These things have not changed one bit, for anyone. But even after we write down those goals, why do some people achieve goals more successfully and efficiently than others? The burning question for both business and life.


Let me start by sharing some of my own experience.

When building my first company, we had big dreams! And like many new and growing companies, we also made [big] mistakes. Our first mistake was not setting goals that connected to those big dreams. Yes I know, this seems like a silly mistake seeing how we have all been told since our youth to write down our goals.  Well, hindsight is always 20-20.  

When we finally discovered this mistake, we were four years into our first company, having raised lots of venture capital and trying to survive. We were desperately looking for a framework for our company that would provide forward movement towards our goals.  Quite honestly, we were looking for a framework for our business... and our lives.

After lots of trial and error, we discovered what we were missing. We needed to put in the work and GUT IT OUT! This meant answering some of the most important questions we would ever answer about our business and ourselves as individuals.


Here are the 14 questions we ask ourselves, both individually for our personal lives, and as a leadership team for our company:

  1. What is our core purpose?
  2. What are our core values?
  3. What is our 10-30 year goal?
  4. Where do we want to be in 3 years time?
  5. What will be our key capabilities in 3 years?
  6. What will we be known for in 3 years?
  7. Where do we want to be at the end of this year?
  8. What is our Number 1 Priority to achieve this year?
  9. What is our critical number to measure this achievement in the next 12 months?
  10. What is our #1 goal for the next 90 days?
  11. What is our critical number to measure this achievement in the next 90 days?
  12. What are the top 3 things we need to do in the next 30 days?
  13. What the top priorities for this week?
  14. What should I do today?


Most companies (and people) do not want to GUT IT OUT and answer these questions.  Because they might be wrong  BIG DEAL!!  Do not be one of those people!  Take a piece of paper, your mobile phone, or computer and answer these questions today.  GUT IT OUT! Once you do, you will consider your answers, evolve them, and evolve them some more in the direction of your company and/or your life. 

These questions are the foundation of my companies success and my life, but GUTTING OUT the answers is the key to ensuring what you want to happen is achieved!  Good luck and “GUT IT OUT”.


Want more information to help you GUT IT OUT? Get your copy of 3HAG WAY today! It is a prescriptive guide that will assist you in GUTTING IT OUT


 -Shannon Byrne Susko



Read More Shannon Byrne Susko Blogs Here


In: Business, habits, CEO, Coaching, growth, success, leadership, 3HAG, MGS, leading, teams

My Favourite Question As A CEO and How It Led My Companies To Success - I Hope It Becomes Yours Too!

Shannon SuskoMay 11, 2018

When I was CEO of two high growth companies, I was asked questions constantly. It felt like the main responsibility of my role – being the question master. I got asked questions from practically everyone, every day, all day. One of my biggest mistake in my FIRST company was trying to answer them ALL. As leaders, we think we need to answer everyone’s questions.  But why?  Do we correlate this directly to the success of our leadership? Our company?


Often CEO’s and other leaders are in their role because they were/are experts in that field.  This was true in my case as CEO for my companies. As a result, I thought that if I did not answer every question fired at me I would not be viewed as the expert I was. I thought my team would lose confidence in me. I feared that if I declined to answer these questions, my team would head in the wrong direction and I would be to blame. Was I ever wrong!


Interestingly enough, the less time you spend answering questions, and the more time you spend guiding and creating the path to where the company is headed, the better! If we leaders can articulate and share where we are headed, the team (who are experts in their roles) can often make great decisions everyday! Our teams are composed of smart people. Smart EXPERTS in their roles. When we supply them with the framework of where we are headed, with achievable goals and long-term vision, they can make these daily decisions more independently. This is how we build confidence in the entire company.  


When I was CEO of my first company, my business coach observed that I was answering way too many questions. He warned me that as the company scaled, this time spent answering questions would be a huge barrier to growth.  To ensure this didn’t happen, I took my coaches advice and worked with the leadership team to ensure we were clear on our BHAG, 3HAG, 1HAG and 90 day priorities.  I also implemented one of my coaches other strategies: every time myself and my leadership team received a question, we responded with the question “What do YOU recommend?”  


We started doing this immediately, and WOW -  What a difference!  Not only did team members share what they recommended, but they were explaining other options and reasoning to why they were recommending particular solutions. The results were amazing.  This method of problem solving saved time, empowered the team, and opened the minds of the leaders of our company  to new [and sometimes better] answers!


This approach does however take discipline.   As leaders, we are wired to answer questions.   I would keep a tally at the top of my notebook each day and week.  One side was number of questions I answered and the other side was how many times I said “what do you recommend?”.  Having this in front of me at every meeting kept me in check. Keeping score was a way to understand, for myself and the rest of my leaders, if we were changing our habits.  After some time, the teams behaviour also changed. They knew not to ask questions, but instead come prepared with a recommendation and the options considered.


Above I mentioned that this happened in my first company, and thankfully that is where it ended. By the time I got to co-founding and leading my second company, I had trained myself and my leaders to approach team questions in this way.  This is one of the reason Subserveo was grown and sold in less that 3.5 years.  We had a clear BHAG, 3HAG, 1HAG and 90 day plans from day 1 and we spent our time as leaders ensuring there was clarity with the team so they new what to recommend to move us forward!  So simple but yet so powerful. 

I hope you can learn from my experience and take on the “WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND” challenge. As a leader, share with clarity where you are going and ask your team for recommendations on how to get there! You might be amazed at what happens as a result. 


 -Shannon Byrne Susko



Read More Shannon Byrne Susko Blogs Here


In: Business, habits, CEO, Coaching, growth, success, leadership, 3HAG, MGS, leading, teams

You can’t grow your company without growing your people. The 3 Key Systems that High Growth Companies need to WIN

Shannon SuskoApr 06, 2018


When I was building my first company, the words of Jim Collins, “right people, in the right seats, doing the right things” were imprinted in my brain. I was reminded daily, in everything I was reading and being told, that in order to grow my business I had to have these three human-pieces in place.  “Find the RIGHT people,  ensure they are in the RIGHT role, and are doing the RIGHT tasks” - MUCH easier said than done!


After learning the hard way with many “people” problems, my leadership team and I agreed that we needed to find a way to bring Collin’s mastery advice to life within our company. This was a really challenging task - not just for our business, but for every company in every industry – making it clear that until we had our “people” systems functioning optimally, our company would not grow as fast as we wanted.

We had to think differently at how we would solve this! Lots of long meetings and brain-busting later, we decided to break “people” into 3 systems.   This ensured we got the results of right people, right seat,  doing the right thing, bringing it all together in a high performing team.




Cultural System

The first system –the Cultural System – was founded upon the leader/CEO to ensure that the organizational Core Purpose, Core Values and 10-30 year goal was clear, known, understood and believed.  Everything we did behaviourally in our organization had to align with our Cultural System.  In order to ensure this was true, I committed to the following actions as CEO:



What I was committing to was clarity of the Cultural System as well as the whole plan for the company -from the BHAG, to 3HAG, 1HAG and 90 day plan.  My commitment also lived within implementing the 2nd System – The Cohesive System


Cohesive System

This system was founded upon Pat Lencioni’s  Overcoming the 5 Dysfunctions framework, which outlines the root causes of politics and dysfunction on the teams where you work and the keys to overcoming them. Our team needed a high level of discipline in order to nail down this Cohesiveness, and after time, we did! How?...

By integrating Lencioni’s framework into every single meeting we held, [just like the Cultural System]!  We bought the Field Guide and started implementing it into our leadership team meetings and the rest of the company meetings.  Soon, it was a habit. We were improving our Cohesive System and growing a high performing team in every meeting we had like it was second nature.


Human System

The final system our team established was our Human System; a repeatable method in our organization to attract, hire, coach, keep and grow A players.  This system was founded upon Brad Smart’s Topgrading methodology; a hiring practice that delivers honesty, revealing interviews, and solid candidate verification.

We evolved Smart’s methodology into a system that not only ensured we hired A Players but guaranteed there was also a cultural fit.  We developed an ecosystem where A Players could grow into who they wanted to be!  The more A players we had on our team, the more A player that wanted to join our team.



These three systems are the foundations every company needs to grow and win.  As you know I have been talking a lot about the 3HAG as my new book “3HAG WAY”,  gets released on April 11th! Funny thing is, is that you can develop the best strategy ever but if you do not have a high performing team that can drive your Strategy Execution System, it will all be for nothing.   Take the time to assess your whole team, the individuals on your team, and your three systems - Cultural System, Cohesive System, and Human System.  Focus on growing your people and you and your team will create a highly achievable 3HAG! 



To help you, grab a copy of my new book, 3HAG WAY. It will help guide you on this journey to Scalability and Growth!

Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 12.24.23 PM


Pre-Order the 3HAG Book!



-Shannon Byrne Susko



Read More Shannon Byrne Susko Blogs Here


In: Business, habits, CEO, Coaching, growth, success, leadership, 3HAG, MGS, marketplace, disruption

12 Steps to Achieve Predictable Profit Through Disruption

Shannon SuskoMar 16, 2018


 Last week, I was the Keynote Speaker the Saint Mary’s University 43rd Annual Business School Dinner.  What a great honour this was!  The organizers of the event asked if I would speak about disruption in a marketplace and my experience disrupting marketplaces.  I saw this as a perfect way to help educate others through my personal trials and tribulations, so I jumped at the opportunity!



My experience of disrupting markets first started with being an innovator.  We were solving problems in markets with innovative solutions but not immediately disrupting these markets.  It was simple to us: we solved problems!  What I soon learned, was that we were actually doing a lot more than problem solving and innovating: we were disrupting!   


When you disrupt you take an innovative solution and marry it with some other key differentiating activities, to position the product and company in a very relevant place. A place that disrupts the incumbents. The incumbents will first DENY that your offering will affect their position. At this point they are either trying to convince themselves of this OR deep down they know that it will, but they do not want consumers to know this!

 Soon they will VALIDATE the disruptive offering. It is then that they realize there is something very real about the offering and know consumers will see this if they do not damage control.  They will ‘compete’; meaning they will try to add some features and functions to stay relevant in the market and not be left behind.  Once they realize they cannot COMPETE they will RETREAT, trying to hang on for as long as they can while frantically trying to find a way to survive in the market. A perfect example: Blockbuster and Netflix.


What I learned with my team in my first company was that you must consistently ensure that you are relevant in YOUR position in the market.  For us, that meant never stop checking and analyzing our strategic position and where we were headed.  This created a framework for us to drive innovation.  However, we did understand that it was not all about innovation – it was also about deciding what key differentiating activities that we decided upon to put us in a valuable and disruptive position.  The more we stayed in-tune with remaining relevant through analyzing the current market place and agreeing on the future of it, the more we were able to continuously predict the disruption we were causing in the market we were playing in.  This predictive disruption drove our 3HAG (3 Yeah Highly Achievable Goal) and resulted in predictable profit.  And who doesn't what predictable profit, right!? 


Here are the steps we took to be a predictable disruption on our market place:

  1. Gut out your 3HAG! Need some help? Join the 3HAG Webinar Series
  2. Draw your company’s Key Process Flow Map
  3. Draw your company’s Market Map. (link to YouTube)
  4. Describe your Core Customer using Robert Bloom’s Inside Advantage
  5. Draw your Attribution Map
  6. Create your 3-5 Differentiating Activities – by using Michael Porter’s Activity Fit Map
  7. Create a One Phrase Strategy Make it memorable!
  8. Create Activity Fit Map Level II – this version includes a little more detail
  9. Build your 12 Quarter Swimlanes – this is where you map out the key milestones your teams need to meet over the next 12 quarters in order to achieve your 3-5 differentiating activities.
  10. As a leadership team create a 36-month rolling forecast. These forecasts will reflect the milestones and assumptions you have on your gutted out 3HAG and differentiating activities. This is where you predict profit and cash first!
  11. Create a brand promise with a guarantee that will absolutely differentiate you in the market place and ensures your Core Customer will buy at a profit.
  12. Confirm your 3HAG go back to step 2. In every one of these discussions, the leadership should be aware of protecting their secret sauce (10X advantage) and looking for the next big thing in the market that only they can solve that will evolve into their next recipe for their secret sauce.

*Do the last 3 steps feel challenging? The team can help. Join our 3HAG webinar to get more clarity on these steps and master your 3HAG system.

 Register for 3HAG Webinar



This never ending process gives permission to your leadership team to never stop talking about the strategic execution system and ensures your company remains relevant today and in the future.  In our experience, this process is what created the immense value in both exits of my companies that I founded and lead.   It takes the whole company to disrupt a market ONE TIME, but in order to do it over and over the disruptive habits need to be ingrained in the whole team. 


Now go work on this with your teams! Good luck?  Who needs luck when you know the 3HAG WAY to predictable disruption! Is this blog leaving you wanting more 3HAG tips? Then pre-order my second book coming out next month, "3HAG WAY: the strategic execution system that ensures your strategy is not a wild ass guess"


-Shannon Byrne Susko



Read More Shannon Byrne Susko Blogs Here


In: Business, habits, CEO, Coaching, growth, success, leadership, 3HAG, MGS, marketplace, disruption

Is setting "wild ass" stretch goals motivating your team or impeding them from hitting their marks? Can dreaming BIG get too BIG? 5 Steps to making those dreams achievable

Shannon SuskoFeb 02, 2018


I work with many leadership teams, supporting and coaching the team to be clear and succinct on their company goals. In business, these goals can be classified as long term goals (10-30 years), near term goals (3HAG – The 3 Year Highly Achievable Goal) and short term goals (1 year and 90 days). When setting metrics around these goals, the biggest question and discussion we have is “should these goals be stretch or achievable?”  

I find this question (sometimes dilemma) interesting.  Before a plan is put into action, everyone is dreaming big and wants stretch goals. But once the plan is in play, they want very achievable goals.  Teams find themselves so far off their stretch goals that they becomes unmotivated and are requently replanning. This is a reactive behaviour and when you are in this state, it feels awful!


Where does this mindset come from?  We don’t want to set goals that we know we can easily achieve but we do want to set goals that will challenge us. We want our cake, and want to eat it too! This causes most teams to take the easy way out.  They set stretch goals, but then do not take the time to map out to see how they could actually achieve them.  Look, I am guilty of this too – we have all been guilty of this!   At the end of the day, our goals and plans are all about the “how” and having the discipline to make the time to map it out with your team – end to end – to ensure its achievable.


After countless hours of going through my own companies goals and my clients, I have picked up some helpful tips. Below are 5 steps to ensure your goals are achievable:


  1. Meet with your leadership to collaborate on what the team wants to achieve.  Its important that the team decides not the CEO.
  2. Once the goals are what I call “gutted out” – then create a plan for the leadership team to map out each step on how the goals will be achieved. The more detailed the better.
  3. Once the mapping is complete – reconvene as a leadership team to discuss if the goals are achievable based on how the team mapped out planning including all the assumptions.
  4. If the team does not agree with the approach or assumptions – have a bigger discussion around the assumptions and the end goals and look at adjusting one or the other.
  5. Once the goals are agreed upon and there is a clear road map on how to achieve – these goals become ACHIEVABLE not a wild ass Stretch goal.


I used this approach with the companies I lead. Mind you, I had to find my way there the hard way – after making so many unattained stretch goals in the early years of my first company I had to find a different system.  Now I ONLY use the above approach with my clients and am a big fan of setting only ACHIEVABLE goals. My second book is based on the 3 Year Highly Achievable Goal (3HAG) Framework I developed. Being released this spring, it will guide you step by step through the Strategic Execution System required to achieve all your goals. Please message my team for your early release copy!


Pre-Order the 3HAG Book!


-Shannon Susko



Read More Shannon Susko Blogs Here


In: Business, habits, CEO, Coaching, growth, success, leadership, 3HAG, MGS