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The Importance of Vision, Systems & People with Chris Croft

Chris Croft is a writer, a keynote speaker and a bit of a guru on Linkedin Learning, with 34 video courses on subjects including Project Management, Time Management, Process Improvement, Assertiveness, Negotiating, and Happiness, with 20,000 views a day and over 11 million views in total.  

His Project Management Simplified course is thought to be the most viewed project management course in the world. He also teaches leadership. And he’s currently teaching other people how to be trainers. 

“So I’m teaching them how to be self-employed, how to write a training course, how to sell a training course and how to deliver a really good training course. And just generally sort of how to be me, only better is what I think of it.”

Today we chat to Chris about the differences between management and leadership, and what the key elements are of those jobs, why they’re different, and how delegation is absolutely critical, but why some people find it so difficult and what you need to do to master delegation.

“I think delegating is probably the most important skill. And I think most bosses are bad at delegating. To delegate something important is really hard. And I absolutely think that the world divides into the good and the bad delegators.”

This is a really insightful conversation with Chris, we hope you get as much out of it as we did.

On today’s podcast:

  • How to train to be a trainer
  • Definition of selling
  • Difference between leaders and managers
  • Visions, systems and people
  • Thank people
  • His 8-point Management Charter
  • Put your prices up
  • Write down your goals

Links:

Chris Croft’s day job is running training courses, teaching others one to one, small groups of people, five to 20, about things like project management and time management, mainly, but also a bit of negotiating and sales, training and leadership.

He also makes online courses on topics such as project management and time management and negotiating and he puts them up on udemy.com and LinkedIn Learning. The third thing he does is coaching other people how to be a trainer. 

“So I’m teaching them how to be self-employed, how to write a training course, how to sell a training course and how to deliver a really good training course. And just generally sort of how to be me, only better is what I think of it.”

In order to be successfully self-employed, you have to be great at selling, because what you’re selling is yourself. 

“I actually think it’s fear of selling that stops people going self-employed, don’t be frightened of it, learn it, go on a training course, get a coach, however you learn about it, read books on it, go to you, to me, whatever. But just learn about selling, because once you’ve overcome your fear of selling, and it’s easy, and it’s fun, and it’s a great game, then you can go self-employed, you know, you can do it.”

Selling

What is Chris’s definition of selling?

“So my definition of selling that I’ve made up is making new friends and helping them. And I made that up as a sort of joke, but I’ve come to believe it actually, I honestly think that selling is making new friends and helping them.”

Chris also believes that you can’t be successful as a trainer unless you make other people successful. His online project management course on LinkedIn Learning has received over a million views. 

“That means that if one person in 1000 has done everything I’ve told them, out of a million people, that’s 1000 projects out there that have been done, textbook, all over the world. Maybe it’s irrigation in Africa, or maybe Elon Musk did, I don’t know who’s listened to my course. But isn’t that awesome?”

Chris is proud to be making a small difference in the world, that he’s able to reach so many people through his courses and help them achieve their success. 

Leadership

And it’s not just project management courses that Chris teaches. He also teaches leadership and trains managers on how to be better managers. 

“I think leadership has the biggest leverage of all. Because the world is so full of bad managers.”

So what makes a great boss?

According to Chris, there are three things that leaders should do – have vision, systems and people. 

“They should provide a vision of where we’re going. People want to know where they’re going… The second thing a leader should do or a good manager, is the systems. So just stand back and look at how it all fits together? Because [a company is] a machine of people… The third thing a manager’s got to do, they got to recruit the right people.”

A company is only as good as its people, and managers need to hire the right people, motivate people and make sure the right people are in the right jobs and that they’re happy in those jobs and keep them in those jobs. 

“And people don’t always get on. A good team is made up of a group of people who are all different. And that’s going to lead to problems immediately. If you make everyone the same, there won’t be a good team, they like each other, but they won’t be a good team. So vision, systems, and people are the things that leaders need to know about.”

Delegation

And the most important thing leaders need to know is that they work on the machine, not in the machine. The last thing leaders should be doing is wading in and dealing with the minutiae, they shouldn’t be getting in the weeds. 

“I think delegating is probably the most important skill. And I think most bosses are bad at delegating. To delegate something important is really hard. And I absolutely think that the world divides into the good and the bad delegators.”

So, says Chris, if a manager says they have a time management problem, the first thing you should look at is how they delegate. 

The difference between leadership and management

So what is the difference between leadership and management? According to Chris, two things:

“Vision and motivation. So I think a manager does the people in systems bit, but they don’t really provide a vision, they’re carrying out somebody else’s vision.”

It’s a difference between Alan Sugar and Richard Branson, says Chris.

“Richard Branson is a leader, because he is motivational.”

Motivation is the key. And one of the most motivational things you can do, is thank people. 

“If you haven’t thanked somebody for two or three weeks, that’s too long. That’s like you haven’t watered a plant and it’s drooping right over, it’s nearly dead.”

Book recommendations

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