Speaker 1 00:00:07 Welcome to, I see what you mean a podcast about how people get on the same page or don't, or perhaps shouldn't today's episode is special because I'm talking to two colleagues with whom I've recorded, separate episodes about a topic they're both passionate about leadership. Welcome back, Bob. Not only.
Speaker 2 00:00:23 Hi, thanks for the chance to be
Speaker 1 00:00:25 Back. I'm looking forward to it. Bob is COO of Oasis international corporate technology, cyber and business management. SDVO SB, and Bob, our episode will be published tomorrow, November 10th. Awesome. Welcome back, Tom oats, a
Speaker 2 00:00:41 Pleasure as always.
Speaker 1 00:00:42 Good to see you. Tom is a deputy director of a national clearing house for child welfare best practices. And the episode that Tom and I recorded published on September 21st. So gents, we had great conversations, some of which overlap thematically we've worked together and put some of these kinds of the things that we talked about into practice. You are both passionate about leadership. So let's just start there maybe with some comments about what you think leadership is with an approach that we've talked about in the both interviews, intent based leadership and commander's intent, which are similar, but not identical, and let's start broad, but then I want to get specific so that we dig in a little bit. We can pick up where our previous interviews left off and we can dig into some new material. Bob, you want to start?
Speaker 2 00:01:29 Uh, well, thanks, Lou, appreciate a chance to get back, uh, together and it'd be on a show with Tom too. So, uh, one of the things we talked about, um, uh, I'll bring up two points. Um, one is, uh, I, I find it very important to differentiate between management and leadership right first to me, management is, um, is very science-based about, uh, and I, I joke about it being, do we have enough beans, bullets, and blankets to get permission done? Right? Uh, there's logistics, there's just-in-time logistics. Um, uh, there's all kinds of concepts, uh, for scheduling and different things. And, uh, and what I need to do when I'm in the, in the senior role is make sure things are managed well so that people can get their jobs done. Um, I differentiate that, uh, from leadership, uh, which in my mind is, uh, is more about how do you get people to do the right things? So they have enough beams, blankets, and bullets, and they CA they can physically accomplish, uh, stuff. Uh, but do they, are they inspired to do right, especially in the face of either, uh, ambiguity or doubt or conflict or challenge, right.
Speaker 2 00:02:46 Yeah, absolutely. That in my mind is the art of leadership, not the science of leadership and, uh, really, uh, strong leaders in my life and I'd offer into listeners' lives or y'all's lives. Um, I think we would say, man, that person has been in command of what we were doing. And in my mind, the command part is where they understood that they had a management role and they have a leadership role. And the management role is about making sure my team has enough blankets and bullets to get stuff done. Right. But in that, even in the face of having enough stuff, are they doing the right things and you have to find that balance, right? So do I need to put on my leadership hat and dive into the leadership of the inspir inspiring greatness out of the team? Or do you need to put on my management hat and go find more beings, blankets bullets in an in person who's in command of the situation, or the organization seems to have this, uh, this great ability to say, oh, I need less leadership.
Speaker 2 00:03:44 They're highly inspired. They need more beans, blankets and bullets. And so I'm going to be on the management side or, Hey, they got plenty of stuff. And, and the leadership she steps up in there and she, uh, she grabs command as a leader and she says, I need to inspire them to greatness. So that's the first part. And then the second part is, uh, we talked a little bit about commander's intent, which, um, in my mind is, is really a manner of how you inspire your team to make great choices, to grow as leaders, themselves, as tacticians, as people who can bring operations to the light. And I think that ties in probably pretty well with, um, with how Tom thinks about the intentional basically intention based leadership. Yeah. That's a, a, that's a neat loo. That's a neat hand-off because it is, you know, the way I kind of view, at least my role now is we've hired the right people, right?
Speaker 2 00:04:36 You hired the people with the skills and expertise to, to do the work. And they, they frankly know it better than, than us. The farther away you get on the, on the org chart. But my job is to make sure that their path to success is clear that yes, they have the I'm gonna start chanting. Well, the beans, beans, blankets, and bullets, um, uh, but also that all those barriers are knocked out of the way. Cause that's what I can do and let them grow and succeed. But a lot of that is also truly building them, letting them kind of chart their path forward, understanding that the work they're doing today may not be the work they do tomorrow or a year from now. So how can I best pave the way for them to walk the path? And a lot of that is letting them take their current job and making it better, making their current work and making it better for, for their client, for themselves, for their teammates.
Speaker 2 00:05:39 And I think there's an area of freedom that you have to, you have to create, because I think in today's work environment, a lot of people walk into their job and deep, deep down, people are still operating out of fear. They're operating out of fear of ticking off the boss or, or losing their job or fear of making a mistake. And if you can create the environment where that's completely acceptable and we learn from it and we grow from it, then I think you've got that dynamic where the inspiration may come a little bit from the internal that I've got some control, but then it's also, you're not a butt in a seat you're actually making things change and hopefully making them sort of better. And so how do you, how do you make that mind shift moving somebody away from, from maybe that fear to the freedom?
Speaker 1 00:06:34 I have got like 10 things. I'm thinking since both of you talked for just six minutes and amazing ideas and embedded in here, let's pick them apart a little bit. Bob say two things, please. And then we'll start digging in the responsibilities of a leader. And you mentioned before that commander's intent might have initially been a move in the service to help promote innovation. Is that, did I get that right? And would you comment on that a little bit?
Speaker 2 00:07:01 The one I started with the, the three values, cause I think they're going to tie back to exactly what are the three responsibilities. They're going to tie back very much to what Tom was just talking about. Uh, if I, if I hire someone into my organization to be a supervisor and it doesn't matter whether they're the doc foreman or the assistant COO or CFO, whatever it is, I feel that they have three absolute responsibilities to the organization. And that's the first to create the vision for the area they work in. Right. Because nobody knows the doc as well as the doc form. So there ought to be a vision for the doc built by the doc foreman. Right, right. Uh, the second is developed the culture. And what I mean by that is really inculcating everyone that works with them and for them in the values of the organization, right.
Speaker 2 00:07:48 Because it's values that drive operations. And so, uh, the second responsibility is that you've got to develop that culture and by culture, I mean the values that we're going to live and breathe as a team. Uh, and then the third is to communicate solutions, right? Which is not just the ability to make a decision because surely it's somebody in a supervisory role. Everybody understands. They get to make the decisions that uptown left bright, green, red, whatever it is. Right. Um, but rather to, um, to be able to explain to everyone else why and how I made that decision. And that ties right back to what Tom was talking about in terms of, I've got to be able to train them and get them ready to take my place. The other great value that provides for the company is if somebody is explaining how we made that decision or why we made that decision to the group, it lets me reinforce the first one because we did this because it is perfectly aligned to the vision of the loading dock.
Speaker 2 00:08:43 And then secondly goes, and because these are the values we hold dear, and that's why this decision is important. It's tied directly to the values. So if we can make that, it becomes a little bit like a circle, right? Uh we're uh we're as I'm communicating things out, I'm reinforcing the first two. So, uh, so that's the first part. First part on the three values are the three responsibilities that I feel if I hire you, whether you're a dock foreman or the CFO you have to organization. The second part, then you asked me about was commander's intent. Uh, as listeners may recall, I'm just supposed to be fighter pilot. I have very small brain. Then I have to keep things very simple,
Speaker 1 00:09:20 Too many exhaust fumes
Speaker 2 00:09:22 Exhaust. Uh, and so, um, commander's intent is something that's, um, drilled into us in the military. And, you know, I'll give props to my, uh, to my army, uh, peers, because I think it probably first came through there. But yes, it's very much the concept of commander's intent is, um, I'm not going to tell you what the exact answer is to this. I need you to use your brains and your, your knowledge at the front lines, whether you're the dock foreman or, uh, you're, you're an infantry, uh, captain or Lieutenant. I need you to use that and, uh, empower your innovation. So what I'm going to do, and commander's intent is I'm going to describe for you the purpose of what we're doing. And then I'm going to talk about the conditions that define the instate, right? So I'm not going to tell you load that truck this way.
Speaker 2 00:10:11 What I'm going to say is by noon, all the trucks need to be loaded and to be able to hit a deadline and they can ultimately be there if they're on their way by noon. And we will have completed it with no one hurt and everyone, uh, in nothing broken or damaged. Right. And then what subsequently happens if you give commander's intent is you ask them, give them some time to plan it. And you say, uh, brief me back and they'll come back and say, here's our plan. And that's the point at which you get to do two things. One is understand exactly how creative and, and capable your staff and team are, but also get your chance to coach as a leader. And so back to the three things of the, uh, that I talked about other responsibilities, are they meeting the vision for us as an organization? Are they this, uh, exhibiting the culture in the decision-making and the values that are important and are they communicating the solutions down to the, uh, to the men and women who are going to have to load the trucks in such a way that everybody at every level of the organization now knows what it is we're trying to accomplish. And why?
Speaker 1 00:11:16 Thank you, sir, Tom, I know. Let
Speaker 2 00:11:19 Me add, let me add to that because there's, there's a,
Speaker 1 00:11:22 The added benefit as you do, go ahead and build on to explaining your understanding of intent based leadership.
Speaker 2 00:11:28 Sure. Well, and if you scroll back, when you're listening to this, you'll recognize that one of the things he's also doing along the way is he's informing everybody of the reason why and the rationale why? Right. So it's not just, I'm just tossing orders and then I'm going to walk away, but he's giving you the full context. And so now somebody has some meaning behind the work and it goes to why is this so important? Well, he's given you the objectives and he's given you the goals and the transparency behind that. And part of that is also trust. So now I'm also the stowing a little bit more trust. I'm being more transparent and hopefully that's building some, some, it's going to give some benefits in that relationship that I'll have with my staff. But if you will also listen, one of the things that in this, didn't the dialogue with, let's say the dock workers is they haven't turned to the dock foreman or Bob and say, just tell me what to do, right?
Speaker 2 00:12:28 Because now I've got a little bit more control on how to do it. And so intent-based leadership is really trying to steer away from that, Hey, we, we got a problem, please advise, right. Or somebody called and they've asked me something, what should I do where you'd like to move somebody along, which is where you pose the right questions of what's the situation? What, what are our alternatives? You know, what could happen if you let them build that situation, build that solution based on their own skills, knowledge, and expertise. Right? And so what I like about what Bob just mentioned is when he comes back and says, now brief me, right, right. Tell me what you intend to do. And so then instead of the leader, walking and the boss coming in and saying, here's what you're going to do now, do it and walk away. This now becomes a, here's a solution that we have to have. It's got to have, you know, the bread, the box that we're building has to be this big and this wide, and it's got to handle this many pounds. No. Okay. And now, based on that, I want somebody to come back and say, well, I've thought about animals on this box. I've thought about how we're going to pack this or
Speaker 1 00:13:44 Statuary box, the process,
Speaker 2 00:13:46 Right? Somebody starts thinking a little bit differently about how that box is going to be used. They didn't just build a box, um, but in then turning around and then they tell me what they intend to do. So now you get somebody hopefully thinking at your level, you know, and they're thinking a little farther ahead. So they're going to be prepared for the day. I'm not there, or they're going to be prepared to lead their own dock. They go down the road. So that's where this all comes from is, is building that skillset and that innovation within the team, rather than waiting for the team, just to be directed in a certain way.
Speaker 1 00:14:26 And I know this succession planning or training your replacement is important to both of you. And I know Bob makes a ton of sense coming on, uh, within the surface when leadership rotates all the time. Right? Yup. And so to build, to, to, to train the next leader is really vital to steady operation of that, of that unit, of that vertical, whatever it is. Do you know the story of Thomas L. David Marquette? Isn't it? Isn't that the author's name? Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:14:53 I believe, I believe it's pronounced it's Marquette or Marquet. Yeah. Um, the story all comes from a book called, uh, turn the ship around, uh, which basically is written by a submarine commander. So there is this military backbone between both of, of what Bob and I are referring to. But, um, long story short, he plans take over a brand new submarine. And for a year he studies the crew and he studies the, the mechanisms. He understands this ship back and forward, uh, right before he takes over this new ship. The Navy says, you're awesome. So awesome. You're going to take over that ship. That's the worst performing sub in the Navy. It's a different ship. It's a different curve. He jumps in and he's been as captain before he's turned ships around before they go out. And he, he decides to test them out a little bit.
Speaker 2 00:15:47 Let's say, all right, let's, let's, let's run a little drill here. And then they, they run the drill as if, uh, they lose, they lose, um, nuclear power. And now they've got to go on engine power. And so he tells him his XO is, is, is next in line, you know, pull the rudder at, at half power. And the XO gives the command half power. And the kid behind the wheel stops, stops, and PA practically shaking calls the order again, half power, pepper son. Did you not hear the order? Yes, sir. I did. Well, why aren't we at half power, sir? There is no half power because on this boat, it's one quarter or three quarters. And so he realizes at that point, I don't know this ship and everybody is going to do exactly what I say. So he instantly, he gets it. He gets the image in his mind that we're going to take this submarine into a crater because now everybody's going to be relying on me and I'm the least informed person.
Speaker 2 00:16:51 And so he then turns around and realizes that the value of his ship or the staff and the experience of that crew. So he has to turn that kind of, he turns the culture by really, and I don't want to use the word empower because it sounds like the power is within the leader. You know, like I have the power of the king and I just touch you on the shoulder. And now magically you have the power. Really what it is is it's a form of emancipation of somebody has that freedom to then turn around and say, all right, I intend to plop this course. I intend to go with this speed. As the team works together to kind of double check each other, then he's not telling folks what to do anymore, but he's just, again, he's getting brief.
Speaker 1 00:17:37 Exactly. Let me add onto that time. Bob was very short and very funny, probably a Ted talk video on intent based leadership's website. You could listen to it in six or eight minutes and it gives you the whole, it gives you the whole concept. He did as time described the ship was coming up for inspection. And, and he said to his leadership team, what are we going to do? And he said, they talked amongst themselves. And they said, we have an idea. You should shut up. And he said, Capstans, don't shut up.
Speaker 2 00:18:07 But
Speaker 1 00:18:08 Then he said, he thought about it. And he knew they were right. So he let them leave the inspection. But what he said, he realized was what he decided was except for the order to fire a weapon, he was not going to give a command. He reserved that one to himself. And he said, I'm only going to ask questions. And he began to ask everybody who spoke to him. This is like Tom saying, people come to him. He said he would ask them, what do you think would, where do you think we should go? Why? And it was always, oh, combination of what and why a Bob. It was very much the commander's intent concept. What's what should we do? Why that? And he said in a day, I think he's, I remember hearing him say time in 24 hours, he saw a different conversation going on around him, not with just with him, but amongst others. And he said in some number of months, maybe three months or six months, the whole culture of the place had changed because they had those conversations with each other, which was a really cool part. You're at the top. And only so many people get to you with a conversation. They had those conversations throughout this summary that way.
Speaker 2 00:19:09 Right. Well, I tell you, there's a couple of things in that, in that whole approach that I think are tremendously important for leaders of all levels or all experience levels, uh, to take in, into consideration. Think about w w when we appoint someone or we select someone or hire someone into a leadership position, right. Uh, there is a, there is an inherent assumption by both the people being led and by the leader, him or herself, that says, well, I'm ready for this. When in actuality, that may not be the case, right? Because very few selection processes are so finely tuned and accurate. Uh, what they've really selected is probably the right person for the potential to lead that level. Right? Cause they've demonstrated some success. They've demonstrated, you know, creativity, whatever it is, you know, th there, he or she is, is doing great, great person, but when they get into the leadership position, it may be more than they thought of or, or more complex, or in that particular example, not the same book.
Speaker 2 00:20:12 So it's a little different. Right. Um, so what that reminds me of is something that, uh, I think is really important to coach in terms of the culture and the organization. And I, and I, and I know Tom does this, I know you do that too, is that, uh, but the mantra I use is none of this is as good as all of us together. Right. Right. And so the question then becomes, but how do I make us all of us to get right, right, right. Because I just got selected for the position. They all think I'm in charge. They think I know what I'm doing. I may think I know what I'm doing until the moment I don't, I believe like I'm doing the imposter thing. And so now in this particular case, an example was the, uh, was the leader taking a second and going like, okay, well, got it.
Speaker 2 00:20:53 We're not all of us together right now. Right. And so maybe I am the impediment and having the courage to go like, you know what, here's what we're going to do. That's, that's pretty strong statement on, uh, on individual leadership. Because again, when the fallacies or, or, uh, foibles we have as leaders is we don't want to be embarrassed. And, you know, we got selected for this job. And so I got to get it right. Well, maybe what we got to do is get us all on the same sheet of paper and on the same, uh, is describing things and defining things the same way to create all of us together. None of us is as good as the, all of us,
Speaker 1 00:21:32 But that's, I, it's a great principle, but you asked the million dollar question, which is okay, then how do I get us together? And let's dig into how you, both of you have applied these, some of these principles and practices. I want to get it down to the level of conversation where you were in a conversation with an individual on a one-on-one basis, or with a team, and you applied any one of these practices or principles, uh, and what, how it went, what you learned, uh, did it go the way you thought it would? And if, and did you make an adjustment? How's this work in practice when you're having a conversation with people?
Speaker 2 00:22:06 I think one of the things you have to realize, especially now that many times leaders are put in their leadership position, without insight into what their teams are doing or capable of, especially in this knowledge economy, if you are in charge of, let's say the dock workers, maybe you worked on a dock yourself, or maybe you didn't, maybe you come from logistics or shipping, and now you're in charge of the dock and you've never loaded, you know, a ship in your life. You still, like Bob mentioned as the leader, you think, you know, where you think you're the one in charge, or you feel like you have the right answer. Right. Right. I think so. Let's just take the situation of, you know, client has a, it has an immediate need and the issue is at hand. Um,
Speaker 1 00:22:57 Well, let me say this, you run a national program. So you have a team of about 90 who are responsible for interaction with all 50 states, right.
Speaker 2 00:23:06 Uh, with, with, with a federal organization. And they reach out to all 50 states. Right. So, but that being said, you could have one organization doesn't mean one thought, cause there's plenty of people within, you know,
Speaker 1 00:23:19 And my, and my thought was along the lines of what you were saying was you're the deputy director. You can't possibly know what all those customers need. I mean,
Speaker 2 00:23:27 The program you're exactly right. Cause we have multiple, multiple, you know, there's, there's a writer there, it folks, there is a shipping department and, and all the different facets of an org chart that looks like, you know, a game of Tetris going bad. So what you find is you, you use the intelligence of the team. So this was something somebody else said earlier. But the first thing I do is I shut off. You bring everybody together and you state just like Bob adventure, all right, we've got a deadline. It's gotta be, we need, we, it's got to do this, this and this. And it's gotta be done by this. And then I stepped back because the last thing, and a lot of times this happens when we are, we're more urgent when we're trying to get things done is the boss walks in there and they drop a solution on the table and say, let's do this.
Speaker 2 00:24:12 And all that does is tell everybody else that your idea can move to the side. Everything is now, let's just talk about Tom's idea and Tom's idea may be okay. But if Tom shut up and let the group now build upon each other, Hey, it starts getting everybody on the same page. They may have to fight it out a little bit, but especially when one person has it as an idea, and then they build on it and then they build on it. We can also do this and I can do this. And I can do that. Then the solution that they build together as a team normally is 10 times better than anything Tom thought. And they build it together. They empower it. They've grown. It they've innovated and it's there. They own
Speaker 1 00:24:56 It. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:24:58 And then they, then they realized during all this time, they really need me anyway. And that's kind of my goal.
Speaker 1 00:25:06 I have input to it. You, you could clear things out of their way. You've got a role in it. But I, I, I re I appreciate what you're saying.
Speaker 2 00:25:12 Um, and the role really is to ask questions. The role is, have we thought about this, or what's the impact? Or how do we communicate this? Or my favorite? My favorite question is, what am I missing? Right? Because that just, that just lets them, it gives them the blank check to call me out on my ideas and to build upon it. Okay.
Speaker 1 00:25:32 Bob, you've been vigorously taking notes on Tom's.
Speaker 2 00:25:37 I have been because I, every time in this is the beauty of having worked with Tom sometimes through this is just like, oh yeah. And then so some, some of it's for my own personal use later, but also some of the conversations we're having, I think there's a couple of things that are really important here. And I'll put stuff in for a second. You know, I I'm supposed to know the answer I'm in charge. Know what you're supposed to do when you're supposed to do is to, uh, is to have the best possible outcome come out of the group. I'm leading without any preconceived notion of out actually how it generally happens. Now, I would hope that I'm good enough to know that we're on the right track, but I may not. I might be in charge of something that's totally new. And this is not unusual military. Right? I, in the middle of the night, I was told to show up at the commander's office one morning at eight o'clock. I showed up, he said, congratulations, you're the headquarters squadron commander. And he goes, do you have any questions? Like what's a headquarters squadron.
Speaker 2 00:26:38 He goes like, you'll figure it out. Who's your office. So that morning I took over three people in six facilities on a base and I didn't even know what they did. Right. Uh, so, so, so it's being, it's truly one of the most important elements of the whole leadership conversation with dad is that humility to comfort with your own humility to go. I don't know the answer, but I bet I know how to get it. And this is one of the things that trips me up sometimes with, uh, with, uh, with new leaders who were stepping into a position is, you know, you're fired up because you got, you got selected. You were you're, you were amongst your peers. Now you're first amongst your peers and you're in charge and this is your first supervisory job. And so your radio role, you must know everything.
Speaker 2 00:27:21 Yeah, really what I think we need to encourage all of our young leaders as they step out there to know is two things. One is, I want you to trust your gut because if a change you will, your gut is going to tell you that you think this is kind of about right or not, but don't think you or not. I don't think you actually know the answer. Right? There's some seasoned person who's been on the dock for 45 years. They probably know the answer. So your task is going to find that person. And I connect them to events and they don't have to speak up because they may not be personally wired to speak up amongst all their peers. Right.
Speaker 1 00:27:59 But I like Tom's phrase, use the, to use the intelligence of the team.
Speaker 2 00:28:04 Absolutely. And so that's back to the part of like, none of us as good as all of us together when I stepped in one of my first assessments of a new role is like how much of an, all of us is there or is in half. And we talked about this once before half of my career was fixing failing organizations. And so I stepped into a whole lot of organizations that were not operating well. Right. Uh, it needed to operate really well within the next hour. Right. And so, uh, so being able to go in and say, gosh, okay, so how can I get this thing back on? The track is good. But the second thing for a young leaders is to understand, asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of strength. And the reason for that is, uh, any ed back there being a small brain fighter pilot kind of guy.
Speaker 2 00:28:48 When I yelled Mayday, Mayday on the radio, it's not that I it's a, it's a failure or a weakness. It's that I have faith in you. As you hear me yell for that help that you're, you can and will help me. And so it's a sign of strength. They say made a, it's not a, it's not a sign of weakness. And so I want that young leader when he, or she steps out there to go like, okay, all right, I'm not the smartest. I, this is my first day on the jobs as a dock foreman. Like, tell me about yourself, how you been doing this. Either tell me to go find, find those things
Speaker 1 00:29:25 Well, okay. But you, you two are coming from a place of some fairly enlightened leadership thinking that's to separate, you know, a real old school. I'll tell you what to do when to do it, how to do it. You're right. We don't, we're far past that. I like your point about young leaders though, Bob, because they're kind of, they're in a transition the day before they were a leader, they were one of the team. And now they're a leader and their world changed in some ways in this part of what you're saying is you, there's a mentoring of them that you have to prepare them for some things that probably not what they think they had to be prepared for either. It's, it's, it's more personal things that they didn't see coming, like you're talking about. But I want to point out, I think most team members, non leaders, the worker bees might still have the old school mentality that they look up a chain of command at a first level supervisor at higher.
Speaker 1 00:30:16 And think that the thing that the answers are there, the decisions are there, the knowledge is there, the experience something is there and which, which still fosters that taught me what to do. So balmy, how you guys have worked to change that mindset because you're, you're talking about changing their mind. You've got the mindset already. You're not the old school style of leader. You're, you're, you're an enlightened leader. You know what your job is, the three, the three leadership responsibilities. Bob mentioned getting the most out of a team. You're talking about succession planning, growing people, uh, you're responsible for the, uh, the right outcome. Okay. How do you start to turn to, to hundreds of people around who might think that I do a piece and I do that piece, but if I'm going to do a different piece so much, you're telling me, right. Th they got that mindset. How do you start to have you started to change that?
Speaker 2 00:31:09 So-so, uh, make sure I'm understand. Cause I I'm thinking down two paths here. One is, is a young leader who feels like they have to give the orders. And the second is a member of the team who feels they have to be ordered.
Speaker 1 00:31:23 There you go. Okay. Well said,
Speaker 2 00:31:25 So I'll toss the time you can talk in just a second about the, uh, what you've seen in, in how you approach, uh, someone who feels they have to be ordered. Cause I think that is very much along the lines of, um, IBL, right. Um, is, uh, for the, for the young leader who feels like, gosh, uh, I'm supposed to go in and bark the orders, right? Th this is a little bit, this is a little bit, uh, uh, out there a little bit. Yeah. A little bit out there is it, uh, I like having that conversation with the new leader that says, okay, what's the first thing you're going to do. Okay. And like, you're going to be charged. So what's the first thing you do, you know? And, and I sometimes get some great answers and sometimes I get like, oh, really? That's the first thing.
Speaker 2 00:32:08 Um, but, um, uh, one of the stories I tell them is, is, um, from my life in the military, is it, you don't order someone to give the ultimate sacrifice of their life. That's not how it happens. So there's very little I can order people to do. Now. The exceptions are, if like, if I'm in an emergency room and it needs three hours right now, then I can put that hat on embark orders with the best of them. Trust me, I know how to do that. And I feel comfortable doing it. That's the, and what I tell them is there will be situations where, because of safety or security or finances, uh, need, or, uh, or someone's life isn't, you may actually have to put on as my wife calls it, the Colonel's hat and start barking orders. Right. Right. But that's not how the lead, that's tough to solve a small situation.
Speaker 2 00:32:58 That's very narrow in scope. That's not how it's going to be. What's going to really happen is how are you going to inspire everyone else to do the right thing back to our management versus leadership kind of conversation. Yeah. How am I going to inspire them? And inspire is one of my favorite words in the world, right? It's Latin from Insperity, which means to breathe life into. So what I asked him is how are you going to breathe life into everything your team has to do? And I'm pretty sure it's not my barking at them. Right. Or telling them, you know, that they're going to take your wife instead, it's going to take a whole lot more soft skills. And, uh, in, in some of the things we've been talking about, which is I'll pitch them, my friend, Tom, kind of what it's all about, you're talking about, right?
Speaker 1 00:33:46 Yeah. Before you transition. So just stay on that one more moment with a young leader, I'll tell you what I love the idea of even defining the Latin word, meaning of the word. Because when you use a phrase like that, breathe life into, it just makes you think about something you thought you knew so differently. You go, whoa, that's what it means to inspire it. Then now you're re calculating the calculus you had made before. And that's a great personal challenge. Now you're challenging yourself. If you've asked them, what's the first thing you're going to do. The response came back to you is suggested to you. They weren't thinking about it in the way. You'd like them to start thinking about it right away. Now you could let them go make the first misstep, and then you could debrief that and recourse. Correct. But, but how would you, how have you, how have you said, okay, let's think about this or let's rethink this, or what have you done in situations?
Speaker 2 00:34:36 Th the one tool I use is something I call the top 10. I go, what are the first 10 questions you're going to ask your team about? Right. And they go like, well, why would I ask them questions? Like, okay, I've obviously picked the wrong person. No, no, but I start saying, and, and I go, uh, because there's some other dynamics when the new leaders put in place, one of the dynamics I've learned about in life is a few of the malcontents in the organization will come forward because they didn't get the answer they wanted from the previous leader. So they're going to be the first people at your door. And if you're not, if you're not smart enough, what's going to happen is you're not going well, Sam here brought me this great idea about like, you know, replacing the water fountains with Coca-Cola factory.
Speaker 2 00:35:15 Okay. Yeah. There's a reason that wasn't approved. There's a good chance. There's a good chance. Your predecessor was not goofy. Right. And so, uh, so, so the first people that come to your desk, typically when you're the new leader, are the people who didn't get the answer they wanted from the previous leader. Now, some of them, you know, you, you, you might be replacing the leader who, um, uh, who was really bad, a bad apple, and so great ideas got squashed. I just found that to be the case that often. So what I do is say, what are the first take questions you're going to ask your organization? Uh, and, uh, where do you think you will find that answer? Uh, and then I want you to come back and talk to me. You like two days, three days a week, whatever it is about that, if I have been involved in that organization, I'll tell them, I'll say, here's about four things. I'm thinking about the organization. If you could validate those for me, that would be great to set that conversation, right. Because if I'm that leader of that organization and I just hired placement, then I probably know something about the leaders. Right. And so I want to kind of coach them through that opening period. Right. Uh, and so that's kind of,
Speaker 1 00:36:25 Thank you. Thank you. Oh, are you Tom? I need to tell me what to do. I like how Bob said, give orders or take orders.
Speaker 2 00:36:33 Yeah. Right. For when you're trying to really change the culture of that boss, staff relationship. I think one of the biggest things that you need to do is try to knock the fear out of it and knock the power dynamics out of it. Because if I'm willing to, as a leader, I should be judged by the success or failures of my team. Right. Right, right. And so here's something that I actually do with, with my direct ports and some of them actually teams of their own. But right. When we do our first kickoff it's idea, it's like, you know, new boss coming in, or they're now reporting to me. And it's just kind of what I call a setting expectations meeting. And I don't think that's a surprise to anybody except the expectations of what the first, you know, the first slide is what they should expect out of me.
Speaker 2 00:37:21 And what I'm trying to do is explain to them that my first priority is their ability to do their job, right. Knocking out all those barriers. But I explained to them a few things that they should always expect me to be responsive to them, that you know, their, their inquiries, their questions, you know, are always going to be first on my list. So I will always respond to their question. May not be with the answer they want. That leads me up to, you know, my job. I may not always have the answer, but I'm going to do my best to figure it out. Let's go find it. Let's go find whatever that is. They should also expect me to ask questions and be curious of them. I start to open up the door, listen, I understand, I don't know your job. So you need to expect me to come from a quest, come from an area of curiosity, because my questions aren't going to be got your questions.
Speaker 2 00:38:14 Right. Did you do this? Did you not do that? Because I'm really because I don't know. So my curiosity is going to is going to be believed. And then that next slide is my expectations of them. And they're the exact same thing that I expect them to be curious of, of me to be just responsive, to maybe not have the answer, but to figure it out for their teams. And also one of the things I always stress is I will trust them or I will expect them to be the expert, but I'm going to come to you as the expert in what you do. And I expect you to be able to come to me as the expert. So you've knocked down, hopefully those walls of fear of judgment or, or they've got your idea of that boss. And you set this expectation of I'm going to come at you to support you, to be curious about what you do to find out what you need and find out what I'm missing, to be able to go and have those teams do bigger, better, more innovative things. But it's, I think it's important still to actually document it, to say it, to make it clear, to put it in, in writing, so to speak, right. And while we think we operate under that understanding, oh no, no. It's very important to, to, to make it clear, no matter how seasoned somebody is just to be able to say, listen, I am your representative up the chain versus like upper management, you know, representative down
Speaker 1 00:39:48 And the chain, it's much more likely that they expect you to come in and do a real conventional thing of tell them how you're going to, where are you going to take things? And how do you go, right? And not that you don't have a vision and not that you wouldn't, but, but when you, if the first thing you do is a role definition, and then you, you very cleverly as a really brilliant move to define the roles that the same content of the two slides. It says, this is a different, perhaps a different power relationship, which leads to perhaps different conversations. And I know that you have had different conversations because we've talked about them, but I'm just planning out before we get to that. If you open up that way on a first day, it's not only sets a tone. It probably, it probably challenges them to rethink the assumptions they went in with, which might've been pretty conventional,
Speaker 2 00:40:33 Even things like I expect you to come and vent to me. It's, it's, it's, we're still at that level where I think you need to open the doors and, you know, give somebody that blank check to, to, to treat the relationship as, as special, not transactional and nowhere near, you know, the boss telling you what to do, right.
Speaker 1 00:40:57 Uh, or recrimination. There's nothing worse than all the conversations going on in the organization. And you know, a part of them. I mean, I mean like you, can't like, they're your shield that you're kept right. Then there's valuable information being exchanged by people that you're not a part of it. And that's what you don't want. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:41:12 Or even worse if they don't bring their problems right. Anymore. Right. And that's, well, I mean, the third member of this conversation was the one who sent it to me and he quoted it from a book. But I mean, if your teams aren't bringing you their problems to you, you own that's well, that's either that's either because they don't think you can help them. They don't think you want to. Yeah. And either way is Philby
Speaker 1 00:41:36 Bed. Yeah. And
Speaker 2 00:41:38 We have to give, we have to give credit for that one too recently, departed colon col uh, in his book, it's great leadership read of my American journey, but the minute soldiers stop bringing you their problems. It's because they decided you don't care or you can't.
Speaker 1 00:41:54 And the irony is, well, that's a horrible situation. And the irony is the problems get worse and you own them. And when they come down on you, you there's no preventing them. It's now, you're now you have to recover from them. And now you now you've also damaged relationships, which is the worst thing. Cause any technical problem can be solved relationships. Any trust relationship is harder to rebuild. Would you have any other thoughts on that, Bob, then I'm going to ask us one last sort of close out question.
Speaker 2 00:42:21 No, go ahead.
Speaker 1 00:42:22 But he made the comment in our, our episode that there's always more to the story and I laugh because it's plain language thought there, but so profound, there is always more to the story, especially if it's just there, even in a reasonably complex project, different people with different skill sets, knowledge areas, points of view on a project, a client with a challenging project, a problem that might vary across regionally or across the country, or vary if for different of their customer segments. Right. Um, there's always more going on than, you know, and, and one of the challenges of the leader is to know what he or she doesn't know. So tell me a timeline that was demonstrated to you. There's always more to the story when two or more parties stock, they were on the same page, but they did understand a concept, a notion of something differently.
Speaker 2 00:43:17 Yeah. So, um, uh, I'll re replay when in, uh, that's very it happening in almost real time of our podcast here. Uh, we're working, we're working, uh, we're working with a client and, um, uh, w w w w we think, uh, we are, uh, talking about their specific problem and exactly what, uh, uh, what they wanted us to solve. And so we've gone to a lot of trouble to come up with a solution, build a presentation. And, uh, in brief it, uh, only to find out that we didn't ask enough questions. And so the client's receiving the priests presentation and they're like, and they're very polite, which is fantastic. Right. And they go, wow, that was great information.
Speaker 2 00:44:13 Our, our actual problem is, uh, when we said, we, uh, didn't know how to use a JIRA instance, which is a tool used for agile stuff. They go, what we meant was we don't actually have a JIRA issue. And so how we buy one, and we were explaining all the different ways you could use it. And they really just needed was the buying one, buy it. And so like, oh, well, that's easy. We'll bring one tomorrow morning. We're done. Right. And so I, but the lesson learned for our team is it is, is one that's timeless, or for all of us in leadership is, is have we defined something, um, in a common, um, a common way, are we using the same vernacular when you use the word orange? Right. Uh, and I say, I ate an orange. It's really clear to probably 90%, at least most English speaking folks.
Speaker 2 00:45:09 Right. Okay, exactly what I'm talking about. But if I said I had fruit for lunch, you don't know if it was an orange or a cob come clot or a banana or a dragon fruit. You don't know what it was. Right. So our ability to ask enough questions, the follow would be like, well, what specific fruit did you have? Right. But, uh, but there's a natural impediment in the leadership chain to that. And that is if I'm having that conversation with my staff, they don't want to look silly in front of me. And so they're afraid that they're going to, if they ask me a question. So the one thing that worries me absolutely the most as a leader is when I think I've given fairly clear instruction and I go, you got it. And they have no questions. I think I'm an okay communicator.
Speaker 2 00:45:55 And so that's when I started to go like, huh, there are lots of impediments to, to, uh, to communication. I could be one. And so I, the brief back concept of tying this all the way back to, I like to, it's like, okay, so tell me what you think this is about. Yeah. Tell me what you, what, tell me what the first three things are you're going to do. And if I get the like, well, uh, uh, like, uh, we're not even on the same page. I love that, Tom, go ahead. I, I sure. I think, um, in, in similar vein, it's when everybody is on the same page, but the language is different to everybody. Right. Right. And so I think one of the dangers though becomes like the value or the overvalue that we place in our own intelligence or what we think we are.
Speaker 2 00:46:44 Right. It's your own confidence. And it leads me back to a phrase that I've used for, for years of, are you right? Are you sure? All right. And so that kind of gets to where Bob is talking about. Like, let's ask about that piece of fruit that you ate. Let's just confirm it because a lot of times, I don't think we're always confirming something. Right. It's, you know, Hey, well, so-and-so thinks that we've got to go stick with this software and this is how we have to use it because it was written down in what we proposed and, and by golly, this is, this is our driver. Yeah. Well, is that our driver or is our driver the big picture mission and the outcomes that we're going for. Right. So which one is it? Well, it's this, are you right? Are you sure? Uh, well while sure. I'm right. And you know, that's, those are the things we tell ourselves where it's, it's, it's one of those things we'll ask the second question. And there's a, there's an old journalism Axiom that says, if your mother says she loves you, check it out. Right. So just, just validate the source. Right. Check. Just get it. Just, just double check. It doesn't hurt to follow up because if you get it right. Awesome. But if you, if you were sure
Speaker 1 00:47:57 And you were wrong, shame on you. Yeah, exactly. No, that's, that's beautiful. There's some, there's a great practices. Confirm, what would you call it, Tom? You know, you, you can validate, validate right. Call for you, your mom's friends to say. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:48:13 Yeah. But does she talk about, you know, it's like, well, I asked my brother, but then not
Speaker 1 00:48:20 Because of the source, but you know, Bob, your brief back questions. I tried to jot them down. I think I missed one, but you said the second one I heard you say was Tommy me the first three things you're going to do, but there was one I missed. Tell me what you heard or tell me what.
Speaker 2 00:48:34 Well, I, I often type back to intent and go like, what's the purpose of this? What's the intent.
Speaker 1 00:48:40 Oh boy. So that's powerful because now if you're talking to me, I have to tell you what I think the, what is the intent and why now, if I said that in words, that, that resonate with you, then you know, we're on the same page about that. Right? If I say it, in words, that diff differ from what you meant, that might not be a bad thing. Be made. That could be good information in there too, to schmooze, you know, put too. But we know that we're on a, we're seeing something a little bit differently. We want to be sure we don't March off and do two different things.
Speaker 2 00:49:15 Yeah. And third element of that and I use it sometimes it kind of depends. I usually don't have to get that far is what does success look like? Because in, Tom's heard me talk about that before, too, like what's a home run out of this meeting or what's the home run out of, uh, this call or, or whatever. And everybody goes like, oh, you know, the client buys the thing or, or, uh, uh, the boss approves our program or whatever it happens to be. Okay, great. Right. That's under, commander's intent. One of the important parts there is to, to be able to talk about, uh, the definition of the instate, like, what does it look like? Right. So that's kind of loosely tied to those things. I don't have to get into that too often. If I can ask the first question, it says like, so what's the purpose of what we're doing, right?
Speaker 2 00:49:57 Oh, we're supposed to get the trucks loaded by noon. But what that, what that does though also is, is it creates a, the relationship, um, of, of, of that transparency right now, you understand what I understand and I understand what you understand. So we're operating in this at the same level. And at times somebody else may have heard something else that adds to it and that can augment this of oh, you're right. Or if somebody turns and said, yeah, and they also want, they also, you know, they want their logo on the space shuttle that gives you, it gives you an opportunity to say yes, but let me give you some context. I knew why. And so it becomes a teaching moment as well. And that just strengthens that, you know, staff relationship that you have,
Speaker 1 00:50:43 It's a good point about augment Tom, because somebody could come back and say, load the trucks by noon, but no injuries. You can load the trucks by noon and knock someone off the dock because you're rushing. You could and, and no, and no, you don't no damaged material. That's important because that was part of the measure of success too. Right. So what that means, Tom, to me, I liked your use of the word augment is if two guys chimed in with that, not just load, but load safely, load carefully. Um, it could be 1115, and you're not going to make it. So someone's got to have the conversation about trade-offs well, we don't want to hurt anybody and we don't want to damage their product that we're shipping to them. So can we get more guys, if we got more guys as their, to do crowd the dock too much, you can only get so many guys on a dock, in a truck. Right. Um, can we get another forklift? If we got two forklifts, can we get him in and out of it? Right. You start to have a different conversation, which is the problem solving conversation. You hoped that they would have anyway,
Speaker 2 00:51:36 Right. Empowering innovation, right. Uh, that I could go tell you exactly how to do this thing and then grade you and exactly how well you follow my workers. And then when I die, you may or may not know
Speaker 1 00:51:50 Anything. Yeah. Well that's Tom's point too about, yeah.
Speaker 2 00:51:52 Yep. That's exactly why the two concepts are, are, are relate. And I build my successor the, the night coach, um, can I train them? Can I create it?
Speaker 1 00:52:02 You know, I think the thought to me of what that conversation would sound like amongst a team who was empowered to figure out how right get creative innovate and understood from the commander's point of view, the Lee's point of view that dock foreman, the CEO, the CFO, the whoever it was, Hey, look, they, this is what they need and why you share so much information. That's so different than do this. This way. You engage people at such a different level. That's the stuff that changes cultures, little moves like that. Start to change conversations, start to change interactions, maybe change relationships. That's, that's how you change a culture, I think.
Speaker 2 00:52:45 Yeah, I did. And as we've all spoken bell, um, in different kinds of settings is it's really the ability to have that culture that carries the day. Right? It's um, the old adage of culture eats strategy for breakfast right. Is absolutely true. When, when you, when you've, as Tom created a high-performing team, um, and you point them in the right direction, wind them up and let them go, man. It's a beautiful thing to watch. And part of that is when you're, when you're that open it's any relationship, the more, the more open and the more trust I give in you, and you've given me the less adversarial we're going to be. And, and I think with, with, with a supervisor and their staff and a leader in their teams, man, if you've got adversarial relationships at that point, even the unsaid ones, right? Just tell me what to do or I'm going to be dictated to cause the boss says so, um, you're you're
Speaker 1 00:53:42 Well, and the things we're talking about, uh, we'll close with this thought and get your closing thoughts. But my thought is the things we're talking about are I want to say, so I mean, the word in my mind is self reinforcing. That might not be exactly true. When people interact. When we're talking about interacting, it is strongly, positively reinforcing. It usually feels good. It's just a pleasant interaction. It's productive, it's constructive, you're working like a team. You feel that you feel that energy and there's no reason to want less of it in my experience. People want more of it and then they create it. Like you couldn't stop this. Now, if you tried and you shouldn't try. But if you're like, come on day, no, and I've been reading some books over the weekend, I want to do a different management approach. I'm going to go old school. Th they, they got to a great place really on your own. You fostered it, but they got there because they did the work together and that's where you want them in. They want to be there. That's positive. Closing thoughts, gentlemen.
Speaker 2 00:54:36 Well, I just like to say, thanks. It's been a great chance to tag back up with you guys and to talk about things that we're all passionate about. My encouragement to the listeners would be to find those chances, uh, in your own life or in those you supervise to grow your replacement. The number one responsibility of leader is to grow the next leaders, uh, cause we're in the position to do it. We're in the position to, you know, to teach to coach, uh, to give them, uh, some responsibility to let them fail, but to fail smart and have them ready to take our place. Because one of these days we're going to all want to be on a beach with a fruity drink and somebody got somebody who's got to run the ship and the
Speaker 1 00:55:14 Organization and mission needs needs the continuity.
Speaker 2 00:55:17 It needs to keep going, man, it's a training, right? We're going to get off the train, but the training stuff. And so, uh, so we've got the, our responsibility, uh, our commitment to, uh, to the individuals who work for us is to strive, to invest in them and finding those people that can, uh, who can take on the next step and leave.
Speaker 1 00:55:34 I love the suggestion about Tom on your next, Bob, you have a read a book, a recommendation. Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:55:42 Well I'll, I will go back because it's been in print for quite some time is, uh, and again, kind of topical because of his recent passing is, uh, I did have a chance to meet, uh, Colin Powell several times. And actually two years ago was an escort for him at a big speaking engagement. There's a lot to be learned from the multitude of lessons that he has in my American journey. So, uh, again, a little bit older book and it's, you know, a bit biographical, timeless, uh, autobiographical, but certainly to be able to see how someone navigates decision-making, uh, is pretty interesting. I went through two, I went through two highlighters on that book. No joke. And you just, I can flip through it at any point and go to something I highlighted and it's there's relevance, but Lou, just to, to close it up, people appreciate with value over time, you know, machines and equipment deeper issue. And I think the more you feed that with transparency with, with trusting somebody, to be the expert and to learn and to grow, you talked about positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement comes from the outside positive reinforcement. A lot of times comes from the inside. People feel good about what they're doing. They want to do more, right? The somebody who sticks around late, cause they just want to knock that thing out. They're doing that on their own
Speaker 1 00:57:04 Volition. Internal motivation. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:57:06 Yeah. If they're made to stay negative reinforcement. So it's, it's one of those things that create the freedom for somebody to, to, to grow. And I think that's just where you're just like, you treat them as, as, as the experts in, you know, the, the, the, the brain folks that you hired them for inspire and let them grow from that breathe
Speaker 1 00:57:28 Life into.
Speaker 2 00:57:30 Yeah, it does. You hear that? The way Bob described it, you heard that and you'd suddenly take you take a breath in and you're like, wow. Imagine I imagined somebody just pumping in oxygen and you just sit up in your chair.
Speaker 1 00:57:42 Oh my life. All right, gentlemen, what a ball flew. Thank you so much for your time and your, and your thoughts and all the experience of your careers that you brought to the conversation. I think there's some great things in here for a leader for listeners and leaders and leaders, listeners who are becoming leaders. Thanks Jen. Thanks, Lou.
Speaker 2 00:58:00 Always appreciate it.
Speaker 1 00:58:02 Bye-bye and that's how we see it. My friends, I want to thank Bob and Emily and Tom oats for recording today's episode, you can find it at, I see what you mean dot dot com. Plus all the usual places subscribing, give me a five-star rating unless you can't. In which case, tell me why and join me next week, but we've taken another look at how to get on the same page and stay there unless we shouldn't.