Shannon Susko Blog

The Missing Piece to Achieve Trust Within Your Teams. Answering What It Is, Why It Is So Hard To Get, And HOW To Get It!

Shannon SuskoOct 12, 2018

At the foundation of every high-performing team is Team Trust.  Not one-on-one trust (well, you need that too), but TEAM trust. This is where team members are comfortable and feel safe to say what they are thinking no matter what situation they are facing and regardless of who is in the room.  We all know the feeling of discomfort of being on a team without Team Trust. You are in a conversation or meeting and feel the overwhelming need to speak up and share information, but the fear of vulnerability and judgement bites your tongue. You do not feel the support of a trusting team to provide a safe environment for you to present your opinion and feedback. The catch 22 is that in these situations, you also know how imperative it is that you do speak up. It’s gut-wrenching!


 In order to progress forward towards any goal, we need to state the BRUTAL FACTS, from the start! [Read my last blog for more on what the BRUTAL FACTS are] Unfortunately, most teams don’t share or say the BRUTAL FACTS.  They usually say nothing or say it after the meeting to someone else one-on-one and instead just say what they think people want to hear. 

We all need to say the BRUTAL FACTS - nicely, directly and respectfully.  So how do you ensure the team is comfortable sharing the BRUTAL FACTS with each other? This is a question that gets asked all the time.  All the teams I work with understand this concept, but what everyone is seeking to know is how to implement.  “How do we get Team Trust?... And keep it?!"


Team Trust is built from the CEO out to the leaders, and then out to the team.  It’s also a never-ending effort, and that is what puts most leaders off.  When building our teams at my companies, we called this never-ending effort our “Cohesive System”. A leader must be disciplined, focused and aware (every day) of every team interaction and how it is fostering an environment of Team Trust.   The leader must be a consistent example of facing, raising and discussing the BRUTAL FACTS.  If this is not the case, Team Trust can be lost as quickly as it was formed. Team Trust, or “Team Cohesiveness”,  is the #1 thing a CEO must own for their company and what their leaders must own with their teams.  It all starts with the CEO first, showing the success, being the example, creating a cohesive leadership team founded on Team Trust. A CEO must then coach and grow their leaders in this area with their teams.

Individual awareness and team awareness is critical to achieve Team Trust, “Team Cohesiveness”, in place.  Here are recommended steps to get started:

  1. Read the Speed of Trust., by Stephen M.R. Covey This is a great book for both professional and personal awareness.  I have read this book multiple time as have my clients.  This is good for awareness.  There is a great assessment to get started.
  2. Read Conversational Intelligence, by Judith E. Glaser. This is one of the best books I have read to ensure when we share the BRUTAL FACTS in away it will be heard and will make an impact.
  3. Read the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni. CEO and Leadership Team, have this topic as a discussion at your next meeting.  Do the team assessment to get the baseline of where the team is today.  And continue this assessment at least once a year.
  4. Going forward start each weekly, monthly or quarterly meeting off working through the 5 levels of the 5 Dysfunctions as laid out in the 5 Dysfunctions Field Guide , to start to build Team. Doing this will drive healthy conflict and allow for discussions about the Brutal Facts.

The above steps are just a warm up to get your team thinking and will get you off to a great start.  The most interesting thing of all these reads is that the awareness will be beneficial, both personally and professionally.  I have played on a lot of sport teams, at all skill levels.  When I look back at our success on those teams, it was always founded upon the coach taking the time to train the team on AND off the field.  We did as much training on the field cohesively and as we did off the field cohesively.  These are the teams that had the most success.

As leaders, let’s make sure we are focused on Team Trust (“Team Cohesion”), by sharing the BRUTAL FACTS to ensure we achieve and exceed our plans for successful team results.

 Do you have any experiences with ways to build and foster trust on your teams? Share! 


 -Shannon Byrne Susko




 3HAG Certification IS HERE! To learn more, click below  





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

Meetings: Its more than just their rhythm, it's about what you talk about in them! THE BRUTAL FACTS!

Shannon SuskoSep 20, 2018

Growing a company is much like becoming a champion sports team. You need a high performing team and a plan for the long term, the near term, and the now. The team follows a disciplined process to practice and play together to reach their goals. Winning teams have all these elements, plus they ensure that when they meet to practice and play, they face the brutal facts of their state and situation. Staying real and facing the truth ensures they to stay focused on the now and stay aligned to their future, allowing them to feel confident that they are making the necessary adjustments to reach their goals. Seems pretty obvious.


In business, we require all of the same elements to successfully grow a company. In high growth companies, no different than winning teams, they must keep a disciplined cadence of when they “practice and play” – its with their meetings!  In their meetings, they need to be clear and stay focused on the long(10+ year), near(3HAG), and now(1HAG and 90 day) plan. Many teams are successful in writing their plan down and in implementing the cadence of the meeting, but fail in utilizing the time together in a disciplined and efficient way. This puts these teams at risk of missing the most important issues – THE BRUTAL FACTS – that need to be addressed in order to move the team and the company forward.

"If the Brutal facts are not faced by leaders, the brutal reality sets in"- Andy Grove


In business, we “play” the game 98% of the time and “practice” 2% or less. In sport, it’s the exact opposite! When we “practice” or meet in business, we need to have a clear plan and a strong process. Here are the key steps to ensure the meeting cadence and meetings you have planned are the best “practice” for your team – talking about the right things  - focused, short, factual, game changing and aligned to your plan:


  1. Write down on paper or in Metronome Growth Systems(MGS), a known clear plan.
  2. All team members know what the plan is
  3. Established meeting rhythm in all calendars and best practice in MGS Meetings area.
  1. All team members prepare for the meetings they are invited to based on the Standing Agendas set.
  2. Known Standing Agendas for every meeting. (See Metronome Effect – Chapter 8 ).


My last point, standing agendas, means having the same agenda for every meeting of that type. This might sounds boring, but they are the exact opposite. They are exciting and dynamic!!  If all team members come prepared to speak to the BRUTAL FACTS the meeting will not be boring but instead, evolutional.  


The key tool as a CEO and a CEO Coach that I use today is the Meeting Area in Metronome Growth Systems platform. Not only does this platform ensure your plan is front and centre while in the meeting, but it ensures that your meeting cadence is established and logged. The agenda remains standing and all you have to focus on is the BRUTAL FACTS aligned to your plan to move your team and company to the success you want.  


 How do you and your teams approach meetings? What tricks and tips do you use to make the most out of your meetings?



 -Shannon Byrne Susko



 3HAG Certification IS HERE! To learn more, click below  





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

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! 





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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



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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!

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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