Day 23: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 
Visionary Execution: Writing Your Story from a Future State
featuring Brian Schultz, Studio Movie Grill

I think there’s going to be a lot of enlightenment and change all in one big shift and I think the Conscious Capitalism community is going to be at the core of that.


Brian helped us to close out the Expanded Virtual Conference with a candid interview about how Studio Movie Grill has chosen to survive, revive, and thrive throughout the course of Covid-19 by creating a vision for the future and prioritizing the physical and emotional safety of their team.

Here are some key takeaways:

Write your story from a future state.
Writing a detailed letter of where you’re going to be by New Year’s Eve – what it’s going to feel like, and how each stakeholder will be impacted –  is a tool you can use anytime, but it’s especially useful during a time of crisis. It can help leaders struggling with every next step to get through the daily ups and downs of a news cycle or deal with hard conversations with vendors, etc. Having a specific vision of the future state allows you to keep that thread and know that you are working towards a specific outcome.

Things are moving so quickly and there are so many unknowns, you may need to alter your leadership approach until things are more normalized.
Studio Movie Grill focuses on servant leadership where they “lead from behind”. But these are dramatically different circumstances, and some leaders – like Brian – may decide their typical approach is ineffective right now. In an industry at a complete stand-still, Brian is prioritizing his team, and in order to care for the team, the company needs to survive. Leading from the front allows the CEO to comfort all the stakeholders by saying: This is where we are going. This is the exact plan. And we need you to execute in these areas because things are moving so quickly. Brian shares, “As a conscious leader, if you leave too much white space all kinds of different things will come into that space and create a lot of noise… It’s a great time for us to step up and also have the awareness that this is a temporary move, that we need to give our teams and all of our communities comfort that we have a plan and we are ready to move forward to the next step when it’s safe.” 

If you are going to encourage your team to identify solutions, be prepared to provide air cover.
In ordinary times, creative measures might not be a big deal if they fail, but in these times, you might be in a position where you have to count every penny. If you encourage your team to find those solutions, be mindful that there can be a terrible burden of what happens if the solution doesn’t bear fruit. The CEO can provide air cover and support for the team to take risks when we don’t have known quantities of what the outcomes may be. The idea of doing something wrong is tough during these times. Leading from the front helps remove a little of that burden from the team. 

When under pressure, you may need to prioritize certain stakeholders over others.
As Conscious Capitalists, we seek to treat all of our stakeholders equally. But under pressure, you may need to make the difficult decision to prioritize some stakeholders over others. Brian shares that he had to make the decision to prioritize his team of 7,000+ employees. This means that his company first has to survive and then it has to be certain that – before it can move into the revive and thrive zone – it is able to provide a physically and emotionally safe place for their team to work. 

Businesses that are going to thrive on the other side of this are the businesses who care about their teams and communities.
There will be a new appreciation of what’s important – family, friends, experiences, and making a difference in the world. There’s not a time in history that such rapid change has happened across the world in such a fast way, there have been pockets and areas of change, but this is a global shared experience. Brian tells us, “I think there’s going to be a lot of enlightenment and change all in one big shift and I think the Conscious Capitalism community is going to be at the core of that.”