Randy Pennington: Authoring Books That Build Leaders, Customers, and Brand Loyalty

Randy PenningtonRandy Pennington is author or three books: Make Change Work, named the 2013 best general business book by USA Book News; Results Rule!®, named the 2007 best general business book by USA Book News; and On My Honor, I Will, which Ross Perot described as having, “Cracked the code of great leadership.”

Pennington’s expertise has made him an internationally respected guest commentator with appearances on CNN, PBS, Fox News, the ABC Radio Network, and the BBC.

His ideas have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Entrepreneur, Executive Excellence, Training & Development, in numerous newspapers, and many professional/trade association journals.

Randy Pennington Interview

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Books by Randy Pennington



Randy Pennington Transcript

Tim Knox:  Hi everyone, welcome back in to Interviewing Authors. Randy Pennington is my guest today. Randy is an expert on change, he is a well-known corporate speaker, also a bestselling author of three books: Make Change Work, it was named the 2013 Best General Book by USA Book News; Results Rule; and On My Honor I Will, which Ross Perot described as “having cracked the code of leadership”. And that’s really Randy’s expertise; teaching companies and individuals how to be leaders.

I wanted to have Randy on the show because he is so good at both. He speaks, he writes. Also does a lot of television. You’ve seen on CNN, Fox News, even on the BBC. Randy talks about his work as a speaker and as an author.

He has some great tips for you about writing books for this market. So, another great interview, you’re going to learn a lot, from Randy Pennington on today’s Interviewing Authors.

Tim Knox: Randy Pennington, welcome to the program.

Randy Pennington: My pleasure, Tim. It’s great to visit with you again.

Tim Knox: It is great to visit with you again. You and I figured it out on the pre-call that we’ve actually talked before so welcome back old pal.

Randy Pennington: Well thank you. It’s good to be back and nice to talk with you. I’m excited about your new venture.

Tim Knox: Well I appreciate that and you know what, when I first started this I started off with our old pal Larry Winget and I said give me a name; who can I talk to that’s interesting and he said Randy Pennington.

Randy Pennington: Yeah well he lies a lot.

Tim Knox: For you to be at the top of Winget’s list I’m not quite sure what that says about you but we do appreciate you being here. I want to talk a little about your work, your latest book Making Change Work but before we do, give the audience just a little bit of background on you.

Randy Pennington: Well, Tim, I’m a consultant, a speaker, an author. The official word is I help leaders in their organizations make the changes they need and build the cultures they need in order to achieve the results they want. I’m a business guy working with business audiences and business leaders in all kinds of different organizations pretty much throughout North America. Occasionally I go outside of North America but at this point the airplane hassles are such that if I could just work in North America I’m a pretty happy camper. If I can work in my home in Texas then that’s an even better day. I spend most of my time working with clients and coaching and consulting and speaking. Then I write books on top of that.

Tim Knox: That’s one thing I was going to ask because you do so much; your background as an entrepreneur and as an executive is just a great resume but you do the speaking, you do the writing. When someone says what do you do, what order do you put that in? Do you say I’m a consultant, speaker, writer or a writer, speaker, consultant? How does it lay out for you?

Randy Pennington: It’s changed over the years. I’ve never really called myself a speaker. In my mind, and this is the way I approach everything too, saying you’re a speaker or saying you’re a consultant but see I look at all of those as distribution systems. So if you look at it from a speaker’s standpoint, saying you’re a speaker is a little like saying you’re a coke machine. So I decided some time ago that I’d rather be the coke than the coke machine. I’ve always sort of figured myself into and tried to talk about myself; I say here’s what I do. I help leaders in their organizations make the changes they need and build the cultures they want and then someone says how do you do that? Then I say it varies. I certainly write. I write books, I write blogs, I write articles so I’m out there in that regard. I also consult. I also speak. My goal is though not to focus on the delivery method as much to focus on the expertise and the area of that expertise.

Tim Knox: And the message and advice that you bring.

Randy Pennington: Right and everything else is just how you get there. For instance, we’re recording this on Skype. The last time we talked we were recording on a landline.

Tim Knox: At a radio station, yeah.

Randy Pennington: So the way you get there is the thing that changes and I think that’s the news for authors as well. There used to be you only went with a normal publisher or you only went with a self-published and now there’s so many options that you can do. You don’t even have to print a book anymore. You can do the whole thing via eBook. I try to focus more on the message and less on the how we get there. If somebody does ask me I will probably say I mostly consult and write books and that’s basically how I talk about it.

Tim Knox: How did you get into the writing? Have you always been able to write or interested in writing? Did that come about as another delivery mechanism from the overall work?

Randy Pennington: Well it started off, yes, it was going to be a delivery mechanism, however I was reminded after I started writing some articles and started doing some things, my parents reminded me that when I was in the 10th grade I took one of those tests they give you in high school and it said that I would probably be a good journalist. Even in high school, when I was in the 10th grade in high school, I worked with the local sports editor of the local newspaper. I started off keeping statistics for high school football games and before long I was covering the JV games and writing sports. Then when I was in high school I was playing basketball and the local newspaper was too cheap to send a reporter to all the games so I would play in the games and then write the story and call them in afterward.

Tim Knox: Doubleheader, huh?

Randy Pennington: Of course in the locker people would always say, okay, what are you going to write about me tonight? So I’ve always been a pretty good writer and that I think carries over into now I just write with a clear sense of focus on what do I want a book or what do I want an article to do? I’ve always written a lot and I’ve always been a pretty good writer.

Tim Knox: Let’s talk a little about the work. You’re I think three books in now. Your most recent book, Make Change Work: Staying Nimble, Relevant, and Engaged in a World of Constant Change. You and I both know there are a ton of books out there on the platform but this book really seems to be making quite a difference with the people that are reading it. I guess the most logical thing to do is talk about change in business. Change is going to happen whether you like it or not. Do you think a lot of companies are resistant to change or unprepared to change when it hits?

Randy Pennington: Absolutely. The answer is yes to both questions. They are unprepared and they are resistant. I was just in a client meeting this morning and I was talking to an executive. We were talking about a change that they really need to make in their business to do a better job of engaging their customers and their brand. He told me his idea that he was thinking about and I said so what’s keeping us from moving on this very quickly? He immediately talked about the resistance to change from the people who were going to have to do it at the frontline. He said they just don’t see the need to change. The ones that do see the need are resisting it. In both cases we have a resistance and you have a lack of readiness and preparation, so absolutely. My take on this whole change thing, Tim, was we’ve been talking about change in business for at least 20 years. I was with a group yesterday up in Chicago and I said so how many of you remember who moved my cheese? Everybody raised their hand that they absolutely did. I said that was almost 20 years ago and we’ve been talking about change ever since. Yet we’re still really no better at it. There’s a guy named John Cotter that wrote in Harvard Business Review; Cotter’s written a bunch of books as well but Cotter said 70% of all the change efforts in organizations fail to achieve their desired result. He said that 18.5 years ago.

Statistics today said that at best we’re still at the same place and we may be worse off than we were 18, 19 years ago. Part of it is the pace of change, the complexity of change. There’s a term in the military that’s been used over the last few years called VUCA to describe even how wars are fought. The ‘V’ is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. That certainly is the world in the military if you think about all the wars we’ve been fighting but it’s basically the world everywhere. It’s volatile, it’s uncertain, it’s complex, it’s ambiguous, and organizations and individuals still struggle with how do I then adapt to this change and how do I make it all work? That’s sort of the take that I took with this book. If you think that change isn’t coming then this book is not going to tell you the change isn’t coming; you know that already. What you’re looking for is how do I make sense of it with myself? How do I make sense of it with my company that I lead?

Tim Knox: Why do you think so many companies are so resistant to change? Do they think by building this brick wall that change isn’t going to come?

Randy Pennington: I just think that they have become complacent. There’s the old saying that getting to the top is easier than staying on top. Once you get there… you see that with athletic teams a lot. You see athletic teams. They work, they work, they work. I’m a big NBA fan and one of the things I’ve watched over the years is winning one championship is easier than winning three championships. People rarely win championships back-to-back and that’s why it’s so special. It takes so much effort to stay hungry and to stay focused after you’ve achieved some level of success. I think that’s part of it. Then they started adding complexity to their businesses, businesses that are young and starting up. Everyone’s focused on success. Then you get bigger and you get some of these large companies. I’m working with a company right now that has almost 10,000 employees and they have one person that does nothing but risk management, one person that does nothing but IT and one person that does nothing but human resources. They’re not focused on the business. They’re focused on their little niche of the business. It’s easy to lose focus as you get larger as a company. I think there’s a lot of things that are there. The other thing is the people at the top are sometimes the furthest removed from what’s going on with the customer and that’s unfortunate when that happens.

Tim Knox: In your book Make Change Work, talk about the principles in the book there. A lot of times you don’t wait for change to hit. You can actually institute change. Isn’t that a great, novel idea?

Randy Pennington: Well and if you look at the cover of the book, and it is a novel idea and I’m surprised how many people go wow I never thought of that. When you look at the cover of the book, on the cover of the book there is an upside down dodo bird. The upside dodo bird is the dodo is dead, although one guy in an interview a few weeks ago what’s up with the upside down chicken on your book? It’s not a chicken. It’s a dodo bird. The idea is the dodo bird was uniquely situated to survive and thrive in a world that no longer existed. The dodo bird became extinct in about 100 years from the time it had first human contact, then there’s all kinds of things that couldn’t fly but the thing is right up until the time the world changed, the world shifted, the dodo bird was completely successful. It was perfect. I think there’s a lot of things that go on in business that way too. We don’t anticipate… and this happens to us in our lives too. We don’t anticipate the shifts that are coming. We don’t look enough or take enough time to look so that we’re continually looking around that corner to see what might come next and understand what that means for us and think about that.

So, for example, let me give you a real practical example. I mentioned the guy I was talking with today and that we were talking about a change. One of the things is part of their business involves people loading things on a truck. He was saying every time we have to load something on the trucks there’s a couple of things that could happen. One is a people business and so we have people costs. They’re lifting things so we have potential injuries, we have damage, we have this, we have that. He said the cost of that over the long term is going to kill us as we grow. I said well why don’t you get a robot? He was like we can’t afford that. I said well you could. There’s a robot we actually talk about in the Make Change Work book called Baxter that you can train by taking its arms and moving it and it only costs $25,000. Are there some things that are repetitive rote tasks that cause injury that you could maybe do something with it that would make you more efficient, help you run cheaper, make you better?

There’s four words, Tim, that I think hit us all. The four words that we all have to be worried about from our career and our business are how do we do it faster, better, cheaper and friendlier? Everything around that is around those four words. You could make a gazillion dollars in a business if you can hit all four of those words. We do it faster, we do it better proven in our quality, we do it cheaper so we control our costs and we’re friendlier in the process. If you can hit four of the four you’re golden, three of the four you’re better than most. Everybody’s facing at least one of those four issues right now.

Tim Knox: I really like the analogy with the dodo bird. I think the point there is if you don’t change, your company may go the way of the dodo bird. You may have great success for a while but eventually you are going to become extinct. Is that the point?

Randy Pennington: That is the point and the opposite of that is the coyote. We realize that this is an animal, and we actually talk about that in the book, is the coyote is the anecdote to the dodo. This is an animal that has expanded its territory from the southwest US where it was native all the way far north as Alaska or as south as Central America, literally coast to coast, forests, mountains. Researchers suggest there’s up to 2,000 of them living in urban Chicago. It’s amazing. They’ve done all that despite the fact that 35, 37 whatever states have actually a bounty on their head yet they continue to adapt. If we can become less like a dodo bird and more like a coyote, chances are we have a better chance at thriving.

By the way, when I wrote the book I decided that I had to have something in the book that talks about not just the dodo bird because the publisher really wanted this picture of the dodo bird on there but I said we got to give them something else. They said, okay write something. I started looking around and it came down to two animals. I quickly decided most people, despite the fact that farmers and ranchers don’t like coyotes much, they would much rather be called a coyote than a cockroach.

Tim Knox: Exactly. I think you made the right decision. I want to talk a little about leadership and teamwork and that sort of thing. When I’m not doing this… I’ve been an entrepreneur for 30 years and I know how hard it is to lead teams. Let’s say I’m a business owner and I know change is coming or I know that I want to institute change. How do I get my team on board? How do I sell this to the folks that are really going to be on the ground making this happen?

Randy Pennington: Well believe it or not, the very first thing that a leader has to do is go first and when your team sees you actively embracing change, embracing their new ideas, embracing their opportunities for improvement then they get excited. The premise why I wrote this book and you know; you’ve been around this business for a long time – there’s how many thousands of books on change? So what makes this one different, here’s the idea that I think is different. In most organizations change is over managed and under led. We manage the data, we manage the process, we manage the things around change, we put schedules together, we send memos, we do PowerPoint presentations. At the end of the day people want to be led and not managed. The best thing that a leader can do is first off go first. The second thing is involve people early and often. It’s part of life. People support what they help create.

Tim Knox: I think that is such an important point is you get them to buy into the vision early and you get them working with you to make the change.

Randy Pennington: Everybody thinks well my employees don’t like to change. No your employees will change. I mean they change cars periodically. When the latest piece of technology comes out they make that change. When a new TV comes out, when it goes from 48 inch to a 60 inch and all of a sudden instead of one remote control they have to figure out five remote controls, they still figure it out. It’s not that we are resistant to change for the most part. We just don’t like somebody else changing us. If you can get this idea that people support what they helped create and then the third piece of this – go first, involve people ­– and then you got to connect with people where they are. Here’s the statistic and I read this statistic, Tim. I found it and it just floored me. There’s a study done by some folks at McKinsey Consulting, one of the big consulting firms, and they said 80% of what leaders talk about when they talk about the need to change isn’t important to 80% of the people listening.

Tim Knox: That’s a pretty deep statistic.

Randy Pennington: Yeah, 80% of what we talk about saying this is why we have to change, this is why we have to get better is not important to 80% of the people listening. So we’re talking about market share and the opportunity to beat the competition. We talk about all those kinds of things and they’re saying so how’s it going to affect my job?

Tim Knox: Right.

Randy Pennington: Am I going to have to work harder? Does this mean you want me to work weekends now? What does this really mean for me? Am I going to have a job? We have to come back as leaders and talk about things from their perspective, not ours. I had this come home to me years ago. Before I started in this business I worked in a hospital. I was a hospital administrator and the food service department reported to me. I made all kinds of effort to go over there and talk about how they were meeting budget and their hygiene reports and the health department tests and I was really reinforcing them. About three months into this the food service manager came over to me and said Randy the staff wants you to know they really love working under you. They’ve never had someone take as much interest. I sort of felt this ‘but’ coming along and he didn’t disappoint me. He said but sooner or later they’d like for you to taste the food. You see, I was interested in the budget and the numbers; they wanted to know how’s the broccoli casserole. It’s that way for leaders too. We tend to think and talk about things for our reasons. People change for their reasons and not ours.

Tim Knox: And you make a really great point there when you were talking about getting the employees on board When you’re trying to implement change everybody wants to know what does this change for me? How does this change affect me? I think that’s where you got to sell them that change is good for them.

Randy Pennington: Right and leaders, we shoot ourselves in the foot all the time because we go out and we say well things need to change. People are going okay from what to what? Tell me specifically what do you want me to do differently. If from what to what means okay now I go to lunch at 11:30 instead of 12:00 I can probably handle that if that’s the change. If it’s now I’m going to have to learn a whole new set of skills well I think about it differently. They want to know from what to what. We have to be prepared to talk about things that connect to them.

Tim Knox: And it’s really difficult to force change on these folks, isn’t it?

Randy Pennington: Well I tell people all the time, given enough effort you can shoehorn almost any change into place once. I don’t think in the long-term that serves you well. It sort of goes back to I can mandate people’s compliance. I can mandate that they change but people volunteer their commitment and when you look at what businesses are facing today with all the competitive challenges. I don’t care what size business you are. You can be the largest company or three of you working in a room together. To be competitive today you can’t rely just on people doing the minimum and having their compliance mandated. You’ve got to have commitment.

Tim Knox: I think again it’s such an important point. Sooner or later everyone’s going to deal with change and sometimes that can be unpleasant. Change may mean that you are losing your job. What are some of the things that you talk about in the book? What tips can you give folks for dealing with this kind of change when it isn’t a choice?

Randy Pennington: Well in fact there are some things that you can do when change isn’t a choice and one of them is to acknowledge reality. We can say well it sucks but I’m going to ignore it. No, it sucks and it’s okay to say this sucks. This is a bad change. This one doesn’t work. One is to acknowledge reality. The second thing is you have to separate your thoughts and your actions from your emotion. Everyone thinks their emotion drives their thinking. It’s actually just the opposite way. Our thinking drives our emotion. The way we think about it drives the emotion of how we feel about it. Make sure that you separate what you’re thinking about from your emotion and then start looking for what are the other options out there? What might happen? What could happen?

Remember the name Grandma Moses? Grandma Moses was a legendary painter in the US. She painted well into her 90s. She actually didn’t start painting until her 70s. The reason that she started painting was because of arthritis in her hands she could no longer do needlepoint. So a part of that is thinking that we have to do is to say what are my other options? What could I do? What could I do differently? What might this mean? Then go back and take baby steps. We think we always have to get to wherever we want to go in one step. It’s kind of a societal issue right now. I hear it all the time. They’re hired today and three weeks later they think they ought to be vice president of the company. Life doesn’t usually work that way. Think this thing through along the way. When change isn’t a choice the most important thing you can do is separate that thinking from the emotion so that you start to look at what are the options more clearly around that and that allows you to make better choices.

Tim Knox: You used a word in the book… I thought I knew most words but this is a new one on me – spinating. What the heck is spinating, Randy?

Randy Pennington: Spinating. It was a word that a professor when I was in graduate school talked about. His name was Dr. Merlyn Dye and he said here’s what’s supposed to happen. What’s supposed to happen is we experience something as a nerve impulse, if you will. That nerve impulse runs up through the body, hits the spine, runs up the spine, the spinal column, through the brain and through the brain it’s processed and then out through the mouth. If you imagine it visually it’s going up your back, it’s going up through your head and around and out through your mouth. Unfortunately what happens a lot of times is spinating occurs when that thing is running up your brain and at the point it gets parallel to your mouth up your spine it just shoots straight out your mouth without going through your brain.

Tim Knox: I had no idea. I spinate all the time.

Randy Pennington: Really what that does though is it locks us into this sort of stimulus response trap so we stop thinking about it. Around change, around almost anything we stop thinking about things. When we stop thinking about them and we get locked into that stimulus response trap of well this is the way we’ve always done that. You hear that in organizations all the time. They’ll never let us do this; this is the way we’ve always done it. All the words that we say to ourselves, those are mostly said without thinking. They’re just this response that we make and it’s a response that we make to change. When I work with groups I ask them, what are all those words that you hear in meetings that deter people from getting on board with change? The list just flows. People can come up with 100 of them in no time flat because we’ve all heard them and they’ve become a part of the way we respond to things but we never really stop and think how could we do this differently? Could we make this change work? Could we start engaging people? Literally somebody said the other day we tried that once back in 1986. Well in 1986 there’s a whole bunch of people in the room that weren’t even born then. But even then the technology is so much different. The possibilities are so much different. We have to continue. Part of that is staying curious. We have to continue staying curious about the world around us.

Tim Knox: Do you think that phrase ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ is the one mantra against change that you hear a lot?

Randy Pennington: Absolutely and I tell people the seven last words of every organization are ‘we’ve never done it that way before’.

Tim Knox: It’s great on a tombstone, isn’t it?

Randy Pennington: That’s right. It is pretty much the last words. We have to force ourselves into thinking about that. It’s kind of funny when you think about it. Kids don’t have any problem with change. They’re little adaptive creatures. I was thinking about it the other day. I asked a group the other day have any of you in the last year or two moved to a brand new house? Two or three hands went up. I asked this one lady, how long ago did you move? She said about two and a half years ago. I said are you comfortable in your house yet? Are you settled in where everything’s just comfortable? She said not really, not yet. I said why not? She said I still have boxes packed and I still have some things I haven’t got exactly where I want them. I haven’t found a couple of things. I went back and contrast that. I asked the same question to a group of MBA students at Southern Methodist University where I do some work periodically and one of them said it only takes me about two weeks to get comfortable. Two weeks? He said, look, when all you own is an inflatable bed and a duffle bag it doesn’t take long. But see I think there’s a real message for us with that. It’s our ability to deal with change to a large degree is influenced by how much baggage we’re carrying, how much luggage we bring to the party. We have to be able to unpack that, to get rid of it, to open it up and say I’m not going to let that baggage of the past hold me back from what may be in the future.

Tim Knox: Good stuff. Just before we sign off here, a couple more things just for the writers and the authors out there or the speakers who are looking to take a message that they’ve been delivering from the platform and turn it into a book… talk a little about that process. How do you take all of these thoughts, maybe it’s a speech or maybe it isn’t, but how do you gel them into the form of the written word, something that you can leave with folks or folks can buy and read when you’re not there? How do you turn that platform message into that book?

Randy Pennington: Well I start with the idea. For example, the idea around the Make Change Work book is change is over managed and under led. That’s what keeps it from working. I wrote another book called Results Rule: Build a Culture that Blows the Competition Away. The idea was is that an organization’s culture is the difference in a world where products and services are basically interchangeable. The On My Honor, I Will book started off with a comment literally from a client of mine who described his boss in a very disparaging way as a real Boy Scout. I’m not an Eagle Scout but I was a First Class Scout and I thought well gee, wait a minute – trustworthy, loyal, helpful. Isn’t that really what we want from our leaders and what we want from our business? It starts with the idea and then I look to say, okay, can I do something with this idea that is a little different? Can I be a little more clear around it? Can I take a little different tact around it? There is no new truth out there and we all know that. So I start looking at how can I make that message different and then I start looking at what are the key points. You can think of that as a chapter outline if you will or a list of chapters. By the way, that changes.

The book on spinating, the Make Change Work book I actually wrote it and submitted it… I thought I could finish the book. I’d submitted it to the publisher and I was sitting out in my hot tub one next thinking there’s something missing. Here’s this idea. I got up immediately and I came back and sat down and wrote the chapter in about an hour, hour and a half. It just sort of came out at me and then I went to bed. I got up the next morning, read it again because a lot of times I write stuff at night that the next morning is terrible. It was a good idea when I thought of it. I actually went back and said I hate to do this to you but I just had this idea; tell me what you think and they go, yeah you’re right, it’s a good idea. It ought to be in. So some of that I just sort of play with. I’m weird. I do it differently and thank goodness I have the most understanding in the world because I typically write on weekends. During the week I will start getting my thoughts together. I start on a Friday afternoon or sometimes a Saturday morning. I’ll write all day on a Saturday and then usually half day on a Sunday and then the next week during the week I will edit while I’m traveling sometimes and get ready for the next week and then write that.

I wrote Make Change Work in about 90 days because I was also working with clients and doing other stuff during that time work too. I wrote Results Rule in about 60-75 days. It’s 9 chapters so I wrote it 9 weeks.

Tim Knox: Right, so you just did a chapter a week.

Randy Pennington: I did a chapter a week. I tend to edit myself as I go, so I’ll get basic ideas down. I’ll go back and edit and polish and then when you read my books one of the things you’ll notice is I tend to chunk things into smaller bites. What I found is, and this is one of the things I learned from listening to my clients, is that they like to feel like the book is pulling them through. Sometimes they say I only have 15 minutes to pick up and when you give me a subsection that’s three chapters long I look at that and go, wow, I can finish that in 15 minutes.

Tim Knox: I think that’s such a great way to do it. It’s the old TV Guide method.

Randy Pennington: Yeah and they say I can read that one section and feel like I’ve accomplished something. When they’re reading the book you want them to feel like they’re accomplishing something. The other thing you’ll notice in my book is that there is a fair bit of humor in it and sort of these I want them to feel like I’m having a conversation with them as opposed to I’m writing or talking at them. I tend to write in a much more conversational style, a little more direct. My father-in-law is a retired college professor and I gave him a copy of my very first book I ever wrote and he read it. He actually said to me, pretty good ideas and I give you a ‘C’ for writing style. It isn’t something you want to hear from your father-in-law but part of it is I want that style to be very conversational. The other part is if it’s not accessible people won’t take the time to read it. I want the book to be accessible.

Tim Knox: One thing that I have found, especially with the newer speakers, and I don’t know where they’re getting this but they will basically record their speech and then have that transcribed and think that’s a book. That’s a transcription. It’s not necessarily a book that you’re going to leave and be proud of. Speaking it and writing it are two different things.

Randy Pennington: Absolutely and I will tell you that writing will make me a better speaker but speaking doesn’t make you a better writer. I think it’s just the opposite. I think that we miss the boat as speakers when we say well I’m just going to transcribe. I think you can transcribe for ideas. I think if you have a story that you want but I have stories that I tell in my speech that don’t sound the same when I write them as I do when I tell them because the medium is just different. There’s a different dynamic. Just because you can speak funny doesn’t mean you can write funny. Just because you can speak in an approachable manner doesn’t mean that you can write that way. There’s a difference in doing that. I would tell people if you want to transcribe it, great, but that’s not a book. That’s a transcription and you have to write.

Tim Knox: Randy, what’s on the horizon for you? What are you working on now?

Randy Pennington: Right now obviously we’re still promoting Make Change Work from a book standpoint. We’re doing some different things with it. If you go out on my YouTube channel you’re going to find… it’s called Randy G. Pennington. There’s a channel out there with some stuff on change. We actually just produced a 1 minute, 45 second video about dodos and coyotes. It starts with this wonderful quote from Charles Darwin about it’s not the smartest, not the strongest; it’s the one that’s the most adaptable to change. The voiceover starts with this comment – 99% of all the species that have ever existed on Earth are now extinct. When you understand the magnitude of that and what’s the difference and then start applying that to there’s a lot of occupations that are now extinct, there’s a lot of companies that are now extinct. Remember when we used to have switchboard operators? Remember when we used to have service station attendants? Pick something. So we’re still promoting that and I got a couple of ideas noodling around for the next book but right now we’re just sort of promoting this one and having fun with it and doing a lot of work with clients.

Tim Knox: Great stuff, my friend. Randy Pennington is an author, a speaker. He is an implementer of change and his book is Make Change Work: Staying Nimble, Relevant, and Engaged in a World of Constant Change. Randy, what’s your website?

Randy Pennington: PenningtonGroup.com. You can also connect with me on most of the social media – LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, YouTube. I’m not a real Instagram person yet but most of those others you can find me there.

Tim Knox: Very good. We’ll put links to your website up and of course links to the book, Make Change Work. Randy, this has been a pleasure as always. I hope to talk to you again soon.

Randy Pennington: I look forward to it. It’s good to visit with you again, Tim. Thanks.


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