Case Study: Megan Hyatt Miller

Megan Hyatt Miller is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Michael Hyatt & Company and the co-host of the popular business podcast, Lead to Win

As Michael’s oldest daughter, Megan is the architect of Michael Hyatt & Company’s standout culture, and is committed to helping her team win at work and succeed at life, while also delivering phenomenal results to their customers. 

Under her leadership, Michael Hyatt & Company was named as one of Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces for 2020, which ranks the top companies in America for their employee engagement. 

When she’s not taking the company to new heights, she’s fully present at home with her husband Joel and five kids in Franklin, Tennessee.

The Challenge

The Michael Hyatt & Company has one primary guiding tenet – they believe in the Double Win, wherein everyone should win at work and succeed at life.

And for Megan, determining what that would look like for her would take a lot of intentionality, teamwork and dedication, especially considering that her five children range from college-age to just having learned to walk.

“We all have our own unique stories of how we came to this idea of the Double Win,” Megan shares. “I married my husband in 2009 and had two instant kids – bonus children right from the beginning – who are now 19 and 17. 

“A couple of years later, we adopted two boys – they were three and 14 months at the time – from Uganda, who, as it turns out had some significant special needs that were not apparent to us at the beginning. As we kind of walked down that journey with them, my career was simultaneously taking off. 

“And as time went on, my dad, Michael Hyatt, said, ‘I really want you to take over running the company and step into this Chief Operating Officer role.’ It was my dream. I couldn’t imagine saying no, but I didn’t know how I could possibly do it.” 

But, ever committed to practicing what they preach, Megan and her father found a way to make work work for them.

“I said, ‘When they get home from school, I have to be present,” she explains. “I can’t turn them over to a nanny; they can’t stay after school. They had therapies and various things. And he said, ‘That’s fine. Just be done with work at 3 p.m. If you’re able to produce results 9-3, that works for me.” 

So she gave it a shot.

But in working through what a Double Win would look like for her and her family, Megan realized that the same obstacles likely prevented other leaders from winning at both work and life – but why?

“It’s the million-dollar question that our clients ask us all the time,” she says. “It’s the question that we see in the media, one most of us have asked ourselves, and I think it’s a couple of things. 

“First, we live in a culture of overwork. A cult, really, where we think about work as our primary orientation for life. It’s where we measure our success, and we really think that work-life balance is a myth. There aren’t a lot of good examples around us where we can look at somebody’s life that we respect and say, ‘Oh, they’re doing it. They’re really doing it.’ 

“Instead, what we see is the glorification of overwork and people like Elon Musk and others who were sleeping on the couch in their office and ignoring their five kids and just abandoning a lot of things outside of work. And I think the consequences of that are tragic to our potential professionally, but also, of course, to everything that’s important outside of work.

“What we don’t want to have happen is that we drift to a destination we wouldn’t have chosen. And if you look at people who have a lifetime of chronic overwork, they’ve bought into this cult of overwork. What you see are so many regrets. There’s just time that’s lost – time with their kids, time with their parents, time with their friends, time with their spouse – that just can’t be recovered; it’s too late.”

The Solution

It’s what they hear most often from their clients, and striking that balance usually means dismantling what the public at large believes ‘balance’ is.

“[They think] it’s an equal time spent at work and at home – but that kind of rigidity doesn’t really ring true to most of us,” she says. “I think if you think more about it like a balancing act of walking on one of those slacklines – adjusting weight side to side, making these micro-adjustments. 

“But it really starts with vision. I’m passionate about vision – and a Double Win is a well-rounded vision for your life and a well-rounded vision for your company.”

But therein lies another obstacle: Megan has found that while many people have professional goals, few have personal goals.

“How are you deepening your relationship with your family and your children?” Megan challenges. “Is there a hobby you want to learn or a skill set you want to pick up? People who don’t take their personal life as seriously as their professional life may drift personally because they haven’t taken the time to be intentional about growing outside of their careers. 

And it goes back to vision.

“First, I would think of a vision for your life outside of work. What do you want? What do you want your life to be like outside of work? What are your dreams? What are your goals? What’s your vision for who you want to become and what you want to achieve outside of work? 

“Next, put hard edges on your day – maybe it’s 9-3, like in my case. Or maybe you just say, ‘When I leave work, I’m going to take the apps off my phone. I’m not going to check email. I’m not going to check Slack. I’m not going to check in on the weekends.”

Megan also recommends creating an actionable plan to successfully execute on – and commit to – with your family.

“Several years ago, my husband and I went through the process together of creating a life plan,” she shares. “I feel like it brought us close in a way that only becoming aligned around the most important aspects of your life really can. And it got us really excited about our future. 

“[This] is also baked into the Full Focus Planner so you have the opportunity to tweak it on a quarterly basis. Because at least a couple times a year, something will change – maybe you have new responsibilities or you’ve hired someone and given something away that you’re no longer doing and you need to keep it updated. 

“You really maximize not only your productivity, but your time spent on high-leverage activities – meaning you get a disproportionate return on investment of your time, and these are really the activities that drive your business. 

“We want to be spending as much time as possible doing those things as opposed to things that maybe are urgent, but not necessarily important. 

“I’ve outlined the core of my responsibilities so I’m not just bouncing randomly from one thing to the next. I’m really batching things that are similar together that require a similar kind of energy so that I can shift my focus without being interrupted by distractions and a lot of switching all the time, which is counterproductive.

And finally, that which cannot wait but can be delegated is – even personal tasks.

The Results

“Somebody else can empty the dishwasher. It does not have to be me,” she says. “My kids will not remember that. They’re not going to look back and say, ‘Man, mom was so good at unloading the dishwasher. Every time I got clean laundry, I just thought about how grateful I was for her.’ 

“No, they’re not going to think that. They’re going to think about the time that I read the story or when I went to the practice or the game or the special trip we took – those like high-quality moments are what they’re going to remember.”

And Megan determines what is worthy of her time – and what isn’t – with one simple question.

“Is this really high-leverage? And if it’s not, then it’s a candidate for delegation.

“It’s such good advice, especially for women. Maybe you send somebody to get some dry cleaning for you or order lunch, but you’re not really thinking about your personal appointments – you know, all the things that have to do with running your personal life and your home – and those are all candidates for delegation. 

“And that’s like a level of magic that, once you unlock it, man, you are really gonna get your life back.”

For more from Megan Hyatt Miller’s interview, check out her episode on the One Next Step podcast here.

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