In this episode of Peak Performance Leadership, host Scott McCarthy engages in a thought-provoking conversation with Janice Fraser, an experienced leader and accomplished individual who shares insights on finding balance and fulfillment in the realm of peak performance leadership. As a former independent consultant during the Internet revolution and a seasoned professional in navigating the complexities of work-life integration, Janice offers valuable perspectives on personal motivation, mindset changes, and effective decision-making for leaders.

Meet Janice

Janice Fraser is a highly regarded leader with a diverse background in the tech industry. She held influential roles throughout her career, including working at Netscape during the Internet revolution. As an independent consultant and advisor, Janice has honed her expertise in strategic planning, leadership development, and organizational transformation. Her unique blend of experiences and her commitment to meaningful work provide valuable insights for leaders seeking to reach their peak performance.

Timestamped Overview

To help you navigate through this episode of Peak Performance Leadership, here is a breakdown of the key topics discussed by Janice Fraser. Each topic is timestamped to make it easier for you to jump straight to the sections that interest you the most:

  • [00:05:42] Understanding the deeper motivation beyond financial compensation
  • [00:09:00] The importance of work-life integration and personal energy levels
  • [00:14:15] Overthinking and its impact on intellectual satisfaction
  • [00:17:24] The significance of neglecting activities that bring balance and joy
  • [00:20:48] Finding balance through prioritizing and quality of time
  • [00:25:11] Janice Fraser’s journey from independent consultant to corporate work and back
  • [00:29:46] The power of breaking away from patterned behavior for effective leadership
  • [00:32:33] Focusing on outcomes over rigid adherence to a plan for success
  • [00:36:17] Addressing conflicts between HR rewards and perception of good work
  • [00:39:24] The importance of managing feelings of powerlessness for effective leadership
  • [00:42:51] Understanding the specific needs of the situation for predictable routines
  • [00:46:34] Embracing personal work styles and the need for flexibility
  • [00:51:06] Letting go of the pressure to be right and agree with everyone
  • [00:54:48] The interconnectedness of work and personal life for overall well-being
  • [00:58:10] The mindset change for effective decision-making and leadership
  • [01:01:47] Working towards a life filled with confidence, security, love, and meaning

Finding balance and fulfillment in the realm of peak performance leadership is an ongoing journey, and Janice Fraser offers valuable insights that can guide leaders to reach their full potential. By understanding our deeper motivations, reevaluating our approach to planning, and recognizing the interconnectedness between work and personal life, we can create a fulfilling life that aligns with our purpose and values.

Join us for this enlightening episode of Peak Performance Leadership with Janice Fraser and discover how you can reshape your mindset and redefine your path to peak performance leadership.

Guest Resources

If you’re interested in learning more about Janice and her work be sure to check out the following links:

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The following is an AI generated transcript which should be used for reference purposes only. It has not been verified or edited to reflect what was actually said in the podcast episode. 


Scott McCarthy [00:00:00]:

Janice, welcome to the Showman. So good to have you here today.

Janice Fraser [00:00:04]:

Thank you so much, Scott. Thank you for having me.

Scott McCarthy [00:00:07]:

So we were just chatting, and I stopped you, like, mid sentence. You’re, like, explaining something. Like, no. No. No. No. Let’s dive into that topic were talking about before I hit record, and that is this whole idea of work life balance. Is that does that actually exist, and how might wanna achieve it.

Scott McCarthy [00:00:28]:

I’m dying to get your perspective on this. I have mine, but I’ll let you go first. You’re a

Janice Fraser [00:00:33]:

guest chef. Hear yours, But, I mean, mine kinda starts a little bit controversially because I don’t really believe in it. Like, not only do I think it’s not a thing, I think it doesn’t matter. Right? Because it’s all That’s interesting. Right? That’s the thing. It’s like

Scott McCarthy [00:00:48]:


Janice Fraser [00:00:48]:

It’s all it’s all it’s I am one human. I have one set of energy. I sleep, you know, and brush my teeth, and that applies whether I’m Working or homing or whatever, and this idea that we can hyper compartmentalize effectively and supersegment Actually is false even in some of the most extreme environments. Right? So even if you think about, like, a highly secure environment. I do a lot of work with, public sector people, you know, in the federal government and whatever. And and even with them where you, like, turn in your cell phone on a way into your office, There’s this reality, which is that the state of your mind and body comes with you wherever you go. And so what happens to you at work affects your life. What happens in the rest of your life affects your work.

Janice Fraser [00:01:42]:

And so how we show up at work, what happens to us at work, the decisions we make at work, they affect the quality and the nature of our energy and our life wherever we go, and vice versa is also true. Right? And so, one of the things I think that the myth of work, life balance creates is that we’re supposed to Pretend that there is no crossover effect, and that causes us to not actually be Kind of, like, operating from a mindful place of truth. Right? So if I’m if I’m really mindful right now, I can tell you, like, how I’m feeling. My husband didn’t sleep very well last night. I can tell you, like, his work life was affected by the fact that he didn’t sleep very well last night. Right. And if I’m mindful about myself, right, I’ve had a great day, a little bit like high strung and hyper. And so I know that when I, you know, am done, like, with the evening chore, the, like, prepare the meal, you know, eat the meal, clean the dishes, I’m gonna crash really hard.

Janice Fraser [00:02:49]:

And so having just realistic understanding of who we are and how we’re conducting ourselves, like, You know, that’s part of I I have often said that being a leader is like being, an elite athlete. Right? And I manage my energy, really consciously and mindfully, and so you can’t be at, as you say, peak performance, if you’re not really being honest with yourself about what The truth is of what’s going on. You know? So yeah. So that’s where I come from on it. And so it’s just about being mindful and being appropriate For whatever the interaction and the challenges are of that current moment, whether that’s a home moment or an office moment.

Scott McCarthy [00:03:32]:

There’s a lot of overlap between us and our thoughts, because, yes, I fully agree. I am only 1 person. And I’ll also point out, actually, that, I’m one of those folks that, have to try to compartmentalize for their work because by the day, I’m actually Canadian army.

Janice Fraser [00:03:49]:


Scott McCarthy [00:03:49]:

Right. And up to, and up to not too long ago, I was one of those people that was dropping my cell phone. Actually, I left mine in my truck as I went into the office to

Janice Fraser [00:03:58]:

go to work. There we go. I did not know this about you, though, so that was not a plant.

Scott McCarthy [00:04:03]:

So, I was literally one of those, which is interesting because at lunchtime, I would often come out to my truck, go for a coffee run, check my phone to see what the heck was going on in the quote, unquote, quote.

Janice Fraser [00:04:13]:


Scott McCarthy [00:04:14]:

Yep. Right. Right. To get you know, because it would you literally felt like you were in a black hole while you were at work. So or in the office, I should say. So I fully agree with you, that we’re only 1 person. Family stuff affects work life. Work life totally affects families stuff.

Scott McCarthy [00:04:31]:

But you can do your best. You can do your best. But guess what? At certain point, it’s going to spill over because as you said eloquently, we are only 1 person. Where I Think, and this is my opinion now, where I think people have mixed up work life balance. Now ideology of work life balance is, you know, that compartmentalization of thinking you can split yourself in half and meet. Rather, I think it’s the balance aspect that people Sometimes, to me, when we talk about work life balance, to me, it’s like, where does the priority go sometimes? Sometimes, it’s at the work front. So, for example, not this weekend coming, but next weekend coming. It’s actually Canadian Thanksgiving, believe it or not.

Janice Fraser [00:05:18]:

Wow. Early. Okay.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:20]:

Yeah. Yeah. I need to actually work over that weekend. Right? So work Yeah. My my my balance has shifted towards work. Now there are other times in my job, my new my current job because I switched this summer, where I can come home early. There’s opportunities for me to do that because of what things what’s going on. I eat not much.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:43]:

I have the flexibility to come home early. I have the flexibility to leave early, when the opportunities arise. To me, that is what we need in work life balance. The ability to adjust due to the circumstances going on and the acceptance of that, and not only just accepting it, but a lot you know? What’s the word I’m looking for here? Encouraging it. Say, hey. Go home early. Go ahead. Take some time off because I need to count on you next week.

Scott McCarthy [00:06:14]:

Yep. I need I need you to work. I need you to crunch some extra hours next week. So take the time now. Do whatever it is you need to do to take care of your family, and go ahead and crunch these hours. So I’ll go back to my last job. So my last job where I couldn’t have my phone and all this stuff, it’s where what’s referred to as a high readiness unit. So we’re literally some of the first people out the door in event of something going on in the world.

Scott McCarthy [00:06:37]:

Right. So I’d say that to my team all the time. I’m like, listen. If you got nothing going on, just say, hey, boss. I’m punking out and go because I don’t know when I’m calling you. And when I call you, I don’t know how long. I I will tell you, I need you to go. I don’t know for how long.

Scott McCarthy [00:06:55]:

And, no, you can’t let your family know where you’re going. Yeah. So You know? Give them the flexibility.

Janice Fraser [00:07:02]:

Yeah. This is a great, clarification and sort of, like, addition. There are all sorts of reasons why Circumstances might have specific demands on people. So the situation you described is a very spiky kind of demand, And so you you get rest. You know, it’s like being a new parent. You sleep while you can because you never know if you’re gonna sleep again ever. So as soon as

Scott McCarthy [00:07:27]:

you can see true.

Janice Fraser [00:07:29]:

It’s true.

Scott McCarthy [00:07:29]:

It’s Yeah. So so there

Janice Fraser [00:07:31]:

are a lot of situations like that. There are also situations where what Either the family or the employer needs an absolute 100% predictability routine. And so what so This is why I think, especially, those of us who think of ourselves as in leadership situations, we really need to Be very clear about what is the situation and what is the best thing that this situation requires of me In order to be effective, and sometimes that’s so I’m a very spiky worker. I I work in bursts, And then I and then I check out, and then I burst, and then I check out. And I have tuned that kind of over time. So I know if there’s a job situation that is On paper looks perfect for me, but if it requires that I am steady, constant, reliable, dependable, every day the same, I am not. That will not be a good fit. So, that would be a great fit for my husband.

Janice Fraser [00:08:31]:

Right? Like, he is also my coauthor in the book. And so, like, One of part of what we need to know is the is how to be very clear with ourselves about what works for us and How to be very clear with ourselves about what the situation requires. And if there’s a gap between those two things, what the situation requires and what I’m capable of, when, let’s say, what I’m gifted at, then I need to find a way to compensate and manage. So when I think about, about finding that balance. I what I take away is work life. I always think about balance as this. There’s this thing that someone taught me, like honest okay. I’m gonna tell you the honest truth.

Janice Fraser [00:09:16]:

In 1996, I went to Burning Man. I was young. I was newly divorced, and I hired a personal organizer to help me get my act together after the divorce. And she introduced me to this thing that I called the life pie. Anyway, the Burning Man things, I met her at Burning Man. I met a personal organizer in 1996 at Burning Man at an RV, and she changed my life. She gave me this thing that I call a life pie. So you can imagine a pie chart right here.

Scott McCarthy [00:09:48]:

Imagine a pie chart.

Janice Fraser [00:09:49]:

Yeah. Each one of these wedges of yep. Each one of these wedges of pie It’s like another component of life. So, like, financial security, physical well-being, mental health, spiritual connectedness, loved ones, community. Right. So you got 8 wedges of pie, and I would do this check-in with myself every day, and I did it every day for about 10 years. I did check it. How am I doing at each one of these things? And so when I look for balance, I look for, You know, am I over rotated into one of these sections? Is there something that I’m neglecting? If, like, my loved one’s Line is really low.

Janice Fraser [00:10:26]:

Like, oh, okay. Maybe I need to, you know, whatever, call my mom, whatever. But what I In doing this over and over again, part of what I found is that I overthink things. And so my, like, intellectual satisfaction would be, like, off the charts and my, like, you know, what I label spirituality, which includes, like, go have fun, you know, let off some steam, walk in the woods, make a painting, like, Something like that. Like, that was always neglected. And so what I needed to remember to find balance is not about how I spend my time. It’s about the quality of the time that I spend and how, you know, how do I choose what to spend my time on. And, you know, It’s, it’s really worked well for me to keep my kind of operating system for my whole life really in in a good zone.

Janice Fraser [00:11:20]:

And part of what that led me to was to think about why do I work? What do I get out of work besides just money? Like, what is the exchange of work? And as a person who’s done public service, like, that’s not about the money. Like, you’re not doing it to get rich.

Scott McCarthy [00:11:34]:

Right? You’re doing Definitely not.

Janice Fraser [00:11:36]:

Right. There’s meaning there. There’s a there’s a sense of most service people that I know are doing it in part because they really care about the mission, and they feel compelled to do public service in some way. And so, Like, you’re getting something else out of it. You’re getting community or you’re getting meaning or you’re getting intellect or and money. Right? So When we stop thinking about work, life balance, we can start thinking about, well, why do I do the work that I do? What do I get out of it? Why is this particular situation better than the last situation that I had? Why was the last situation bad? It it just helps us know what it is that we need to do next in order to be really, really effective and create a life that we want to live.

Scott McCarthy [00:12:22]:

Yeah. This is I did not expect us to go down this route with this, this interview, to be honest, but I’m loving it. The thing I hear so often. Now I have multiple groups I run. I I run a free group, free Facebook group, leadership skills for managers who wanna be leaders, not bosses. That’s a free one. I also run a mastermind community, which is a paid one. Right.

Scott McCarthy [00:12:43]:

It’s called the leader growth mastermind. We go through content, and we have weekly calls and all that stuff. We do something very similar to what you you you talk about in the pie chart, which I may have to look at in more detail because I might, you know, for it. Please

Janice Fraser [00:12:56]:

But Please take it. That’s why I put it in a

Scott McCarthy [00:12:58]:

book. Yeah. Absolutely right. But in the free group, often I hear things from leaders in there is that, oh, I hate you know, I’m miserable at my job. Yeah. Work sucks. Yeah. Those type of I don’t and I and I sit there because, unfortunately, you know or sorry.

Scott McCarthy [00:13:17]:

Fortunately. I I guess fortunately or unfortunately, depends on how you wanna look at it. I can’t relate because I I I joined the army straight out of high school when I was 18, and I’ve loved it ever since. And you’re right. Like, there’s this higher calling. That’s why I joined at such a early age. It’s not about the money. Although the money’s not bad, but and the benefits are good and all that stuff.

Scott McCarthy [00:13:37]:

But, you know, putting your life on the line, and you put a dollar figure to that number. There’s like,

Janice Fraser [00:13:41]:

let’s talk about

Scott McCarthy [00:13:43]:

balance. Yeah. Right. So I can’t understand these people who who have this innate feeling that they just you know, they they feel drowning. They feel, You know, life getting sucked out of them. They don’t enjoy what they’re doing. You know? Is there a way for them to find that joy without necessarily changing their situation? Like, That’s it. Here’s my 2 weeks notice.

Scott McCarthy [00:14:05]:

I’m out of here. Can they actually potentially find it where they’re at now so they can turn that mentality around?

Janice Fraser [00:14:13]:

Well, so I’ll tell you a story, to to start the answer to question. I was an independent consultant in the late nineties. So I worked at Netscape right at the heart of the Internet revolution, like, right when it was happening. I was in the middle of it, and I my career was exciting, and I left Netscape To be an independent consultant at a time when nobody I knew really was an independent consultant. So for me, I was jumping off a cliff, and it was this big, bold mood winner. And I found myself a couple years into that life. And I was working with a company that no longer exists, huge Silicon Valley at the time as a consultant, and I had been there for, like, you know, 14, 15 months, and they were my main, like, source of income. And I didn’t actually table flip, but I probably would have if I could’ve gotten away with it.

Janice Fraser [00:15:05]:

And I literally stood up, And I said, I so fucking quit. I don’t know if it’s okay to f bomb on your show, but, like, I did. Like, I I said those words out loud, and I was like on the drive home, I had, like, 40 minute drive home. On the drive home, I was like, what the what am I doing? Like, Am I this trapped in this job? That it’s like, do I am I this stuck that I have to suffer? And, you know, I have this you know, I don’t know where I got it from, but I have this lifelong belief that I don’t deserve to suffer. Not that I think my life should always be roses. Like, I kinda wanna just I wanna stop suffering for dumb things so that I can do the harder things That means so much more to me. Right? So it’s like kind of like I trade I trade the dumb suffering for the better suffering, you know, but I keep myself kind of on that edge. Anyway, That’s for my therapist to help me figure out.

Janice Fraser [00:16:03]:

But what what I realized in that moment and probably other galvanizing moments is that I have choice and that I don’t ever wanna get to that point where I make such a I I need to make a drastic change. So one of the things I like about this LifePIE kind of setup, and there are other there are tons of models like it out there. I didn’t obviously, I didn’t invent this. I just love it. Is that if you look at a wider range of factors of life, you can identify what it is that’s lacking And what it is that’s overtaxed. And you can make small adjustments. And as you start to practice the habit of making small adjustments and nurture yourself in these ways. You just become more effective across the board.

Janice Fraser [00:16:50]:

There’s just this, like you just kind of like It’s not that the highs are higher. It’s that the lows aren’t quite as low. Right? And so instead of making these rash decisions out of a place of desperation, which is kinda where I was when I said that because, you know, like, nobody says that if they’re, you know, feeling in control of their life. So rather than making big sweeping moves out of a sense of desperation, you make much more effective moves from a place of opportunity, and and that kind of mindset change has to happen a little bit at a time Over a long period of time and starting to see the agency that we have over our own situation, over our Team situations like putting this into leadership con context. Like, how can I make it better for my group so that my group can be as effective as possible? Whether that is, you know, Executing on a military mission or, you know, creating a product road map at your tech startup. Right? How can we help ourselves and our group be More effective to get more of what we want out of our life. Like, I I want every one of us to have a life filled with, confidence, security, love, and meaning. Because if you have those things, everything else comes along.

Janice Fraser [00:18:09]:

Right? Confident, security, love, and meaning Can happen at every price point at in every context. And, And from that point of view, once we have that opportunity, once we are in that position, we just are much more effective leaders.

Scott McCarthy [00:18:27]:

That’s a fantastic

Janice Fraser [00:18:31]:

response. Absolutely. Remember what the question

Scott McCarthy [00:18:33]:

was. That’s that the the that’s what happens when you when you do great answers. Right? Because you just, you know, you just keep going. Yeah. But it, you know, it it makes a lot of sense. So what I heard out of you is, You know, make those minor changes. Make sure that your your your your slices of a pie, look at them, see what’s out of balance, and bring them back into balance so that these big, you know, this, oh, I hate my life thing isn’t actually It’s so so drastic, and you’re like, okay. You know, I’m I’m not so happy here at work, but this part of me is good.

Scott McCarthy [00:19:09]:

Okay. Let’s get this part. Okay. Wait now. Oh, there’s an opportunity here at work for me to work on this project. Oh, that’s actually interesting. Oh, it’s really important to me. Oh, they wanna do community outreach.

Scott McCarthy [00:19:20]:

Well, that’s a value of mine. And then Right. You know, you look for those opportunities. But if if everything is down in cloud, you don’t you don’t see those opportunities because everything’s out of whack, and you’re not as you’re not open to it because your tunnel vision, how miserable you were. So Absolutely. Just mind the cord.

Janice Fraser [00:19:38]:

You know, I I have this this person in my life who’s, I would say, one of my greatest advisers. Her name is Wendy, and one of the things that Wendy says is make it smaller. Just make it smaller because it’s so many Huge problems or challenges or situations can be broken down to much smaller chunks. And when we When we don’t feel empowered at the big level, like, my life is out of control, I’m miserable at work, my boss sucks, this is terrible, If we can make it smaller, then we have more power over that small thing. And when we have power over the small things cumulatively, that’s actually quite a lot of power. So The more I go, I think of that state as being on tilt. So a leader who is on tilt is never gonna make the best decisions for their people Or for the outcomes that we’re striving for, whether that’s a profit outcome or a mission outcome. So if if we can manage that sense of Feeling powerless, frustrated, angry.

Janice Fraser [00:20:41]:

Right? If we can take all of that and just, like, make it Smaller. Even if it just means to just for today, what is one thing that I can do to move this thing forward? And you do that every day. Suddenly, you’ve got 30 days of moving something forward just a little bit, and that’s kind of a lot of movement. So make it smaller has really been a helpful piece of advice for me.

Scott McCarthy [00:21:06]:

It’s kinda along the lines of the 1% theory. Are you are you aware of that?

Janice Fraser [00:21:12]:

No. The 1% theory that I know is about wealth distribution, so I think you mean something else.

Scott McCarthy [00:21:17]:

Yeah. Totally totally something different. I believe it’s out of, oh, James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits. 1% better every day.

Janice Fraser [00:21:25]:

1% better every day, which is actually a lot. So I made it 0.01. Like, just a tiny bit better every day over time.

Scott McCarthy [00:21:36]:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Same same principle. And and the problem thing is I always use the metaphor, well, how do you eat an elephant? Everyone’s like, I don’t know. How do you eat an elephant? Like, who eats elephants? Like Right. 1 bite at a time just like everything else. Right? It’s a big problem, but you look at it.

Scott McCarthy [00:21:54]:

You’re like, okay. It’s 1 bite at a I’m what how come might we break this down? Okay. Right. Let’s take the let’s take the front right, like, first. You know, you take good care of that, and then you move on to the next, and eventually you’re through the trunk and, you know, it’s kinda probably like people will hopefully, there’s no one eating, listening to this podcast episode right now, because they’re probably just throwing up. But moral of the story is that big, big, big, big problems go into little problems. They’re just Yeah. And if you can go ahead and take care of the little stuff, the big stuff will come.

Janice Fraser [00:22:24]:

Well and and, for me, that connects really, really tightly with the idea that we should do everything right, That we should have a right the right plan. Right? Is this the right plan? Do we all agree this is the right plan? That kind of thinking gets us into a lot of trouble because the answer is, who knows if it’s the right plan and does it really matter? You know? So sometimes we avoid eating the elephant just to belabor that. Right? We avoid that because we think I need a plan for that. I need to know exactly how it’s gonna go, and I need to know that I’ve chosen the right plan. Right? And and I really want to let go of all that pressure to be right, for everyone to agree. None of that is necessary. And what it means is that we don’t start. So it’s like If there’s, there’s a thinker in the start up world, a guy named Eric Reese, who wrote a book called lean start up that was very influential for a long time.

Janice Fraser [00:23:23]:

Still Still is. It’s one of the best books ever written, I think. And and he says build, measure, learn. Right? That’s how you figure out how to make your start up. You build the thing. You see how it does. You learn from that. You make a different version.

Janice Fraser [00:23:39]:

You like, so you do these small iterative cycles that help you, That helped a plan forward, a path forward emerge. And in situations where you have a lot of unknowns And situations that are highly dynamic. This is the antidote to the kind of the Analysis paralysis that you get from trying to plan perfectly and trying to reach consensus before you Take any action. So instead of that, you can say, I’m gonna try and tackle this problem 1 bite at a time, And as we go, we’re gonna learn things. So I’m gonna be careful to notice what is it that we’ve learned and What how do we wanna adjust our path forward from there? So taking a 1 bite at a time, having an emergent path, All of that works if you put the learning cycle in there. Right? That closed learning loop where you’re like, I did a thing. What did that mean, And how are we gonna adjust our plan based on what we learned from that?

Scott McCarthy [00:24:46]:

I really like that. One of the things I find, from my perspective is that they lot of leaders end up in that analysis paralysis and overplanning and stuff like this because they have this fear. Yeah. They have the fear that there’s tied to the decision once the decision is made. And often when I coach and this comes up, I’m like, and I was working with a client once, and he was talking about this. And then he was saying, we made the decision. Lo and behold, information came out. We had made the wrong one, but we still had to go through because we had, you know, went down that path.

Scott McCarthy [00:25:20]:

I’m like, time out. Stop. He was like, what? Why? I’m like, what did you just say? He’s like, well, we made the decision with the plan that we had developed, some new information. I’m like, stop there. When new information comes out, you have a new situation, and therefore, you have a new decision to make. It’s right? Yes. But Yes. They get people get Tunnel vision.

Scott McCarthy [00:25:47]:

They they believe they need to stick to it. Like, oh, my credibility is gonna affect. I’m like, no. Your credibility is not gonna be effective. In fact, It’ll go higher if you go, hey. We made a decision. We found out that that wasn’t necessarily the right one, so we’re adjusting course.

Janice Fraser [00:26:03]:


Scott McCarthy [00:26:03]:

And we’re move going in this direction.

Janice Fraser [00:26:06]:

There’s a technique that we, my husband and I, really love to release the pressure to to execute according to plan. Like, I have a real problem with planning culture, actually, But we don’t need to go down that rathole. But but to release the pressure to execute according to the exact plan, You make the out you make the the plan’s final accomplishment. You frame that as an outcome Instead of as a deliverable, for instance. Right? So it’s so I I one of the startups that I advise is literally building a Mach 9 spaceplane. Right? Like, super ambitious. Female founder, husband, wife founding team, used to be at Virgin Orbit, like, just really amazing. Her outcome for that 1st year that they were in business was one of them.

Janice Fraser [00:27:00]:

She had 3 outcomes. 1 of them was make fire. Not like build the version 1 rocket, deliver version 3 rocket. No. It was make fire. We need to Use this technology to ignite an engine. That’s it. Make fire.

Janice Fraser [00:27:14]:

It was so clear and so focused, and they were able to execute on it Without having to worry about, did we take every step we promised? Did we, you know, build every version of the rocket we anticipated? Like, none of that mattered. What mattered was the result, the outcome. So if you if you frame your prop your plans in terms of outcomes, Then you can flex on all the steps and delivery and activities that you do and even the timing as long as you get to the results within the time frame. And so it it’s like it’s one of these, like, super small changes that represents a whole lot of, stepping out of a whole lot of patterned behavior Around no. I delivered on plan, on budget. Right? But I flew us right into the side of a mountain, but that’s what the plan said to do. You know? Right. So, yeah.

Janice Fraser [00:28:06]:

So so I feel like the outcome focus can Lift us out of a lot of the planning. I don’t know. What is that called? It was like, when we all believe a thing, But it’s not actually the thing. Yeah. The group think.

Scott McCarthy [00:28:21]:

Yep. Yeah. Yeah. So, we refer in the military that that outcome that you refer to. We call that the desire to end state. Yes. Where do we want to, You know, when we execute this plan, where did we want to end? With the ironic part of it, this whole conversation right now is that we’re now talking about my new job where I’m actually instructor for one of our planning courses for army officers. So it’s quite funny.

Scott McCarthy [00:28:46]:

It’s quite fitting. But this is exactly where we’re at. We talk about It’s a where it is. What is the outcome that we want to achieve? Love it. And Right? And then we work our way backwards of, okay, how might we go about fixing it, or achieving that. We’re like, okay. We need to do this step. We need to do that step before that.

Scott McCarthy [00:29:03]:

Okay. Before we achieve this, we need to have these things in place and so on and so forth. And we go through that. And yep.

Janice Fraser [00:29:10]:

Yeah. Go ahead. No. You first.

Scott McCarthy [00:29:13]:

So by the end, you have this plan. Now we have a saying, No plan survives contact. IE, once you execute, it’s not gonna go according to plan. But you look at ways you look at ways to mitigate those risks. You look at ways to adjust to be able to adjust on the fly. You look at these, what we refer to, branch plans or SQL plans, depending if it goes really well. And we we look at these different ways to mitigate because we know it’s not gonna go exactly the plan. It never does.

Scott McCarthy [00:29:43]:

Right. But without it without a plan, then that what what happens what we’ve learned through time, literally centuries, is that without the plans, and no one knows which direction to go. So at least you give the people the direction to move in and understand, okay, this is where we’re going and, most importantly, the understanding why we’re going in that direction. They’re they’re gonna be able to make the best decisions within their sphere. So So having that outcome, make fire. Yeah. So having that, you know, make fire, no doubt her engineers are showing up. Like, I’m not sure exactly what to do today.

Scott McCarthy [00:30:18]:

Working towards making the file with this engine. Right. And and that and that’s the way it went. Now go ahead.

Janice Fraser [00:30:25]:

Well so there’s so many so many lovely thoughts in what you just said. I I love it. And what one of the thoughts that I have is that You’re changing how you think about what a plan is. So I I think that we’re taught early in our careers To consider a plan, a set of promises and commitments that we’re making to one another. That’s not what a plan is. A plan is a best guess based on our current understanding of how best to accomplish those outcomes you’re talking about. That desired end state, it’s your how might it’s the answer to your how might we question. That’s not a set of promises.

Janice Fraser [00:31:07]:

Right. It’s a set of best guesses. So, do you in the army have the something like the OODA loop, or is that just an air force thing? Because I don’t wanna I don’t wanna mix my our services here.

Scott McCarthy [00:31:18]:

No. We we stole it. Don’t worry. We stole it.

Janice Fraser [00:31:22]:

So if you haven’t heard of the OODA loop, OODA stands for observe, orient, decide, act. And that’s the situation where you have you have a plan. You’re executing according to plan. You do a thing. It doesn’t survive that first contact, and so you observe that. You kinda get clear on what is true. That’s the orient step. You decide what that means, and then you plan your next action.

Janice Fraser [00:31:46]:

Right? And so what the OODA loop Reminds us to do. So we we’re kind of always in an OODA loop, and what we’re trying to do there is just perceive what is the new formation that might help us make a plan, like, adjust our plan to get to that outcome in a better, more efficient way.

Scott McCarthy [00:32:04]:

That’s what he said. Yeah. For our military. Right? 100%. 100%. I I like the way how you referred to, You know, plan is not being set of parameters. I look at it’s it’s a guide. Yeah.

Scott McCarthy [00:32:18]:

It’s not, you know, it’s not the thou shall must do this, but rather, we believe this is what is going to transfer, and this is how we foresee you, you know, doing whatever it is that needs to be done. So here

Janice Fraser [00:32:31]:

we go. But when we think about what are the tools of people management. Right? The tools of people management include how do we set goals, What are our OKRs or OGSMs or, you know, whatever your goal and mechanism is? How do we hold people accountable? What do we celebrate, value, recognize, and reward? And so often, all of that is written according to the plan. It it’s written in such a way that says, if I deliver exactly what the plan says on time, on budget, I get rewarded, and I think that that’s very true in the department defense. And getting Out of that mindset and into a mindset that said, it’s not the steps in the plan that matter. It’s the, you know, it’s the The outcomes that cumulatively lead to a mission result. That’s what we wanna reward and recognize. Not that I did this step according to the budget and according to the time frame.

Janice Fraser [00:33:31]:

And and so when we think about Reframing, goal setting and leadership, it can get really mechanical, like HR Team like, what is the relationship between HR and being a leader? Right? Like, that’s actually a really interesting question. Because if you’re getting if your people are getting rewarded for one thing, but you perceive good as something else, You’re in conflict with the system, and it can cause a lot of confusion and chaos. So, you know, again, it’s like that That sense of, like, holistic mindfulness. Like, nobody wants to live in a system that is giving them mixed messages. Right? That’s That’s frustrating and upsetting and it caused cognitive dissonance, and it makes it hard to make a decision. And it delays decision making, especially on the part of the individual Contributor who’s having to, like, you know, interpret, you know, do I go this way because that’s what my goals say, or do I go that way because that’s what, You know, my boss really believes is right, and I, by the way, do too. So,

Scott McCarthy [00:34:40]:

Yeah. Which then affects right back to the beginning of this entire conversation, taking your your your slices of pie, putting them out of whack, making you question what the heck’s going on at work, getting, you know, frustrated because of the disconnect as you had mentioned. And then you you get frustrated, you go home, and you accidentally take care of your kids because you’re frustrated, and you never took time to de stress, let that steam off before you walk through the door.

Janice Fraser [00:35:09]:

Yeah. So you just have no resilience, for when it takes them forever to get the dishes washed. That’s that would be my my formerly teenage son. I used to get so frustrated. So I’m sorry I haven’t told you to be saying bad things behind your back. Don’t don’t put his name out there.

Scott McCarthy [00:35:31]:

This has been such an amazing conversation, one which I’ve enjoyed and did not back to go down these routes. Before we wrap up, I got a couple last questions for you. Yep. The first being in the question asked, all the guests here at the performance leadership podcast, and according to you, Janice, what makes a great leader?

Janice Fraser [00:35:52]:

What makes a great leader? That’s I can tell you a couple things a great leader does. Is that okay? Yes. That’s I’m gonna say that’s that’s gonna be my answer. Here are things that great leaders do. There are a couple of them. 1, they orient honestly. They’re like, where are we right now? What makes this moment complicated? Are we all here in the same Understanding together. Then they value outcomes, like we were just talking about.

Janice Fraser [00:36:20]:

They leverage the brains that are around them in an effective way, And they make decisions that last. We call that durable decisions. And what it we’ve seen is that to respond to kind of modern challenges, These are 4 things that great leaders do consistently.

Scott McCarthy [00:36:36]:

That’s a different answer, but that’s a great answer, no less. So because

Janice Fraser [00:36:41]:

I honestly, I don’t know the ans I don’t know the answer to what make like, what makes a great leader. I I don’t know. I just know what I’ve seen.

Scott McCarthy [00:36:48]:

You know? Is is there 1? That’s that’s that’s a great thing about the question and answering. Yeah. Because, you know, I I don’t know how many guests I’ve had on the show. It’s probably in the range of 1 fifty, 2 Yeah. But I don’t think a single person’s given the exact same answer. Yeah. You know, and I’ve been asking Yeah.

Janice Fraser [00:37:07]:

People who help others get things done.

Scott McCarthy [00:37:09]:

Yeah. Yeah. Every guest I’ve asked this question to. So, hey, it is.

Janice Fraser [00:37:14]:

It’s a great question.

Scott McCarthy [00:37:15]:

It is. And the follow-up question, not so not so crazy, but, hey, still important is how can people find you, follow you, be part of your journey? Shameless plug for you. Have at it.

Janice Fraser [00:37:25]:

Shameless plug. Awesome. The best way is to search for the title of our book because it’s pretty memorable. Farther, Faster, and Farless Drama, How to make extraordinary progress wherever you lead. But farther faster and fartherless drama. I’m on Instagram. I’m active on Instagram. I’m active on, LinkedIn, very active on LinkedIn.

Janice Fraser [00:37:48]:

So and you can find me at

Scott McCarthy [00:37:57]:

And for you, the listener, it’s easy as always. You just need to go to show notes. In the show notes for all the episodes, have the same format. You go to leaddon’t boss.comforward/ Episode number and the links are always there in the show notes. So, Janice, again, thank you for coming, taking time out of your busy schedule, and having this fantastic conversation with me today. Appreciate

Janice Fraser [00:38:17]:

it. Absolutely my pleasure. Thanks for having me.