Episode 120

Close the Gap Between Strategy and Results with Sean Ryan

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Sean Ryan is a world-renowned business consultant, speaker, trainer, and executive coach. As the founder of Whitewater International Consulting, he has worked internationally with companies such as Disney, Nucor Steel, FedEx and Nestle Waters of North America/Perrier Group of America. With more than two decades of industry experience, Sean is highly regarded for his ability to guide organizations through complex transformational change in what he describes as “a world of perpetual whitewater.” His new book is Get in Gear: Seven Gears that Drive Strategy to Results.


Foundation/environment gears of the SXR Strategy:

  • Gear #1: Right, right, right: The right people in the right roles with the right capabilities.
  • Gear #2: Align organizational architecture (systems, structures, and processes) to strategy
  • Gear #3: Create a culture of communication

Performance gears of the SXR Strategy:

  • Gear #4: Set results-oriented goals (5-on-5). Don’t confuse activities for results.
  • Gear #5: Visible scorecards. People need to know how they’re performing while the game is being played.
  • Gear #6: Identify critical performance drivers (what you need to do).
  • Gear #7: Define the follow-up/follow-through process.

Don’t try to fix all seven gears simultaneously. Focus on one today and move forward from there.


  • What is some lesson, saying, or experience that continues to influence your leadership to this day? Challenging personal perceptions and beliefs.
  • Use three descriptors to finish this sentence: “A leader is…” Caring, honest, and trustworthy.
  • What is a question that leaders should be asking either themselves or others? How do my assumptions and mental models shape my reality and either limit or expand my outlook?
  • What book would you recommend to leaders? Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success by Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, Joseph Grenny, and Al Switzler.
  • If you could get every listener to start doing something THIS week to help them be a better leader, what would it be? Create better focus and alignment on what you and your team need to do to get better results (compare leader’s top five expectations/goals with team members’ top five assumed expectations/goals).
  • As a general life principle, is it better to ask “why?” or “why not?” Both. “Why?” is a great question to identify what is missing but “why not?” helps us bunch through mental barriers we may create for ourselves.



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Where leaders gather to grow together

About your host

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Josh Friedeman

Josh Friedeman is a coach who works with organizations to improve their efficiency and revenue. Learn more about him and his guests on his two podcasts, "Business Bitcoinization" and "Life as Leadership." To explore working with Josh, visit friedemanleadership.com.