Speaker 1 00:00:06 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. My guest is Justin Jacobs. Justin's a retired coast guard, officer launching a leadership and transition coaching practice. Justin, welcome to the show.
Speaker 2 00:00:21 Thanks for having me, Lou,
Speaker 1 00:00:22 Thank you for joining. I'm looking forward to our conversation. Why don't we start with a short give listeners, a short bio about yourself?
Speaker 2 00:00:30 Sure. I went to a maritime academy for college and uh, when it was time to graduate and go get a real job, coast guard came and said, Hey, join the coast guard. And I didn't know what else to do. So I did and I served for 22 years, uh, in the coast guard in maritime safety and security, doing regulatory compliance and foreign port security audits and got to travel and see a lot of, uh, the globe and got to live in a lot of great places, meet a lot of great people and I hung it up, uh, just recently and have decided to start a coaching practice, focusing on leadership and people in transition.
Speaker 1 00:01:04 Excellent. And transition is a theme. We're gonna talk some about, you have an interesting story about coming to know yourself that allowed you to get on the same page with others in both your personal and professional life. Let's start there and talk about how you did that and how that continues. It's not a, it's a never ending task or a journey we're all on how it continues as you leave service and launch the coaching practice.
Speaker 2 00:01:28 Yeah. So in 2010 I was given my first, uh, formal leadership position within the coast guard and the coast guard does a very good job at teaching us our craft or our specialty, but it doesn't do such a good job on formal leadership training. And so I had become competent in the thing that I had been doing up to that point in time, such that I could take a position of authority, but there wasn't really any leadership training that went along with that. And so I felt outta my depth, I felt like I was, uh, posing as the leader without really having the training that I needed to have to do it effectively. And so I felt personally that I was leading somewhat out of fear or out of, uh, a worry that they were gonna find me out and recognize that I wasn't doing a very good job.
Speaker 2 00:02:15 I had a great team of people that were working for me and were doing the best that they could do, but there challenges that I was coming up against. I just didn't know how to answer. And the, the third year that I was in that job, the third and final year, I was fortunate enough to get picked up for a new mid grade officer, uh, transition course, which was supposed to help junior officers transition into leadership positions and be effective when they were given that authority. And it was remote for most of the time. And we did two sessions in person, but it made us do a deep dive into who are you? What is your personality? What is your leadership style? What is your Myers Briggs? Mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, you know, and these sorts of things, the books that we read, the conversations that we had was the first time in my life I'd ever actually done any real introspection to who am I? Why do I believe the things that I believe? Why do I act the way that I act?
Speaker 1 00:03:13 Well, let, let me ask you a question. When you saw that was a part of the curriculum, did you think it was related to leadership? Did you ask, why are we getting into this or did you have, did you realize that, that you were ready for that?
Speaker 2 00:03:26 I, I was absolutely ready for it. I think I had been hungry for it up to that point in time and, and a little angry at the organization for not having given it to me sooner.
Speaker 1 00:03:33 Yeah. Okay.
Speaker 2 00:03:34 Uh, and thankfully, each of the people that were in that first run through of the course were just sponges, soaking it all up. We were fully committed to wow. Doing what we were being presented, which made it for a really excellent cohort. Right. You know, we said that we were building the plane in flight because the instructors were still trying to figure out, well, what are we gonna teach on? And what's that gonna look like? And
Speaker 1 00:03:57 Okay.
Speaker 2 00:03:58 And so at the end of that time, uh, when I had gotten all this new information and I had spent a year really doing a deep dive on who I was as a person, I realized like, wow, you made so many stupid and simple mistakes that if you could go back two or three years with what you know now about yourself, you could have brought that to the table, uh, when you were trying to get on the same page with others. But if you don't know who you are, you can't bring to the table, what you want and what you need and how your mind thinks when you're trying to get on the same page with somebody else. And if they don't know that either then,
Speaker 1 00:04:33 Right.
Speaker 2 00:04:34 You're just across purposes.
Speaker 1 00:04:35 They're lost. Yeah. Yeah. So 2010 you've been in the service for some number of years.
Speaker 2 00:04:43 Yeah. That, that was the 10 year mark.
Speaker 1 00:04:45 And your first leadership position, 20 what? 13, 14. You're looking, you're in a training looking back on 2020 hindsight, right. That could see what you, what you didn't know. I, I, I think it's common today. There's so much the internet has just changed our lives in, in so many ways. And one of the things I think is true is that we have access to so much information about leadership. It just happens to be a big, it's a, it's a major market and right, and like a little sub economy. And within our economy on its own winging from books that leaders have written, you GRA, you know, you retire from the service at a high level, you retire from a CEO position in the private sector. You write a book and maybe a good book. I'm not disparaging. I'm, I'm saying you write a book. Those are all pub widely, publicly available.
Speaker 1 00:05:36 Uh, I think book, uh, our journals like Harvard business review and some others once more, the province of academicians and maybe some specialized audiences are widely read today where I'm going with this is there's so much, we could look on LinkedIn. You and I are both on LinkedIn. You can see leadership topics, issues, you know, posts, trainings in the feed all day long is more common today to understand. Or the understanding today is more common that, uh, understanding, knowing that being something about being a good leader is knowing yourself, I think is much more common today than it was 10 years ago, maybe on an arc, it was emerging. But I still think that today that's, you, you kind of can't look at something about leadership without seeing that con that message, right? Yes. To me, it's a common message at the time you were in your first position at the time you were even in the work, in the, in the, in the training, that was, I think, less common.
Speaker 1 00:06:36 And, but you said you were ready and you were a sponge and, and you, and you soaked it up. So you said you were aware, I'm just curious about that ah-ha moment you had where you're like, okay. I was less of a leader than I could be now because I knew myself less. But did that connection just kind of come to you? Was it an epiphany, like the Eureka moment, or did you look back on your leadership time and, and see, did it sort of emerge in your mind as, oh, I could have done some things differently and, and now I'm seeing a pattern and how did it, how did that work at that time?
Speaker 2 00:07:14 I would say that there were, uh, a number of small ahas that over a period of time turned into one big aha mm-hmm <affirmative> and, and I'm experiencing a similar one now, as I go through a, a transition and changing what I did for 22 years into, you know, something completely different. And I agree with you that people have been writing about leadership for decades, but I think that there's been a change in what that definition of leadership is from management of organizations, to mindfulness as an individual who needs to lead people that are also mm-hmm, <affirmative> seeking that mindfulness or, or no more value themselves than we have in the past
Speaker 1 00:07:58 Good point.
Speaker 2 00:08:00 It is no longer acceptable for a person in a leadership position to tell somebody else, go do this thing without giving them a reason why the, the generations, uh, behind us expect to have the, why go do this? Why do I need to do this? Because I said so well, that was good enough for you and me. Right. Uh, but that's not good enough for this younger generation. And rightfully so, if you haven't done a good job explaining what the vision of the organization is, what the strategy is to achieve those goals. What part I play in the organization and how I benefit you when I do my job? Well, then I have much less desire to do the best that I can do, because I don't know whether the work I'm doing means something or not. And I know that the DOD is struggling with this right now, because they're continuing to teach leadership the way that they did in the 20th century to a 21st century generation. That wants to know why. Hmm. Because I said so is no longer a sufficient reason that
Speaker 1 00:09:09 Surprises me that that's, that surprises me. We don't need to talk about DOD, but I'm surprised for you so that I thought intent based leadership and servant leadership. I thought those were more ingrained now in, in military leadership practices and, and training. But I, I could be wrong.
Speaker 2 00:09:25 They have changed over time. I guess the differences, if, well, I, I think that resilient teams are ones where
Speaker 1 00:09:33 Mm-hmm <affirmative>
Speaker 2 00:09:34 Relationships have been built on a shared understanding of what it is that we're here to do.
Speaker 1 00:09:41 I agree
Speaker 2 00:09:42 The part that we each play what's expected of each individual and a trust that they're going to do it. And not that that didn't exist in the past, but it's different.
Speaker 1 00:09:54 I think there's a greater recognition of it here, here. Lemme tell you how I think about this. And, and let's talk about, let me get your reaction. Let's say let's take American football. So offense they're in a huddle and they break the huddle and go to the line of scrimmage. There's 11 guys in the field and 11 guys are gonna perform 11, a acts upon the snap of the ball. There's 11 guys in the defense who have something else in mind. And so they're gonna attempt to disrupt they, they have, they have objectives too, and they're gonna attack to act in as a means to the end of accomplishing their objective, which conflicts with what the offense wants to do. If I'm a left tackle and my instruction was blocked to the outside, and that's all I knew I can stand over the, I can get down in my position, the ball snaps, I can block to the left side where I think knowing why becomes critical is because you're gonna meet an opposition to your action.
Speaker 1 00:10:49 Something's gonna happen. That doesn't go your way and you have to adjust to it. So if you know, you're blocking to the outside, because a runner's coming past you on your right, or you know that there's gonna be a short pass over the middle. If you know why, what it enables you to do is react to changing circumstances around you, not just by yourself, but in unison with the guys next to you. Right? Right. This is where, like you said, some teamwork matters. So that what's that old saying in the military about the plan is good until it meets the enemy, right?
Speaker 2 00:11:27 Mm-hmm, <affirmative>
Speaker 1 00:11:28 Even in an organizational setting where it's not combat. We operate in an environment and the op the environment operates on us and we want to react to changing conditions. And we ideally, we react with our teammates to know the why gives you more information with which to coordinate or cooperate or collaborate without knowing the why you can still fulfill your instruction. Maybe your individual act and your team act is suboptimal by everybody just fulfilling an instruction. Whereas the Y gave you more information to go on to sort of add lib, right. To, to react in, in, in real time and circumstances. I think of the football analogy a lot. Tell me what you thinking about, about that point.
Speaker 2 00:12:13 Yeah, I agree. But I'll use the quarterback, right? The quarterback's job is to throw or run that ball to score. And he's depending on his front line to protect him. So he's not paying attention to the defenses front line who are coming after him. His eyes are on the field looking forward for those receivers, knowing that they're supposed to be in a certain place in a certain time, because that's the call that he asked for, and that they're going to be there, but he's also paying attention to his front line. Who's moving, you know, trying to keep him in the pocket. And he's also looking to make sure that someone's not coming out, you know, either field, right. Uh, to sack him. So he he's got a lot going on, but there's an understanding that the other 10 players have been given assignments that are supposed to allow him to throw that
Speaker 1 00:13:04 Ball to do his job. Right.
Speaker 2 00:13:06 Right. It makes me think of the, uh, NASA custodian story of, you know, the president asks him, what's your job, my job's to get a man on the moon. <laugh> right.
Speaker 1 00:13:19 That's right. I remember that. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:13:21 Yeah. I mean, that's, that's exactly right. Every organization should be given a goal or, uh, something to shoot for similar to that, because doesn't make any difference. If you're working in the, the lunch counter or the CEO suite, that's your job to, to make that widget, to provide that service, to do that function, whatever the organization's mission is, is to get that thing done. And we each play
Speaker 1 00:13:47 Part. I, I like that you thought of that, even if you think it's remote from the mission, then ask yourself this question. Okay. Remove it from the equation, take it out. There is no cleaning of the building. There is no commissary. There is no food. There is no serving. You can't function that way. Then the mission is actually hampered for things that were support functions, but that doesn't make the menial.
Speaker 2 00:14:13 Absolutely.
Speaker 1 00:14:14 It just means there's some distance between that function and accomplishment of the mission, but don't think there's no connection or no, or no, no line
Speaker 2 00:14:23 Go. Yeah. The engineer can't use the restroom because the toilet's overflowing because nobody's maintaining the restroom well that engineer's now not doing the things that he needs to do. She needs to
Speaker 1 00:14:33 Do get
Speaker 2 00:14:34 A shuttle on the
Speaker 1 00:14:35 Moon. Exactly. And there is something about the knowing the why, which makes I think I, I, you know, Justin, I think it gives an, any individual, a different context of meaning and purpose
Speaker 1 00:14:52 Any, you know, an engineer's job could also be, it's easy to think of the engineers being more important than the janitor or the engineers being more educated than the janitor. The more of something more of things, an engineer's job could be to do some calculations today. There's computers that do them, but not when we were not in, not in, uh, 1960. When was the moon? When did the, you know, they land in the moon, the moon launch? Um, I, I remember watching it on TV 69. I think not then people were doing that stuff by hand. All right. That's that's um, what's the word I'm looking for? Uh, tedious, right? Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, you're grinding away at that kind of thing. It's not big picture thinking. It's not like we see in the movies as somebody realizing that because of the orbit, if they went around the moon this way they could launch for no, it's just, it's a, it's a very highly heads down task oriented thing. And you could just say, it's just calculations. I, I compute them. I turn them into somebody. If you, the, why gives you those purpose gives those meaning and purpose without those calculations, something else can't happen. Like you said, without the place being clean, people being fed, proper working environment, other things can't happen. And I think the why is, um, I think the why is important.
Speaker 2 00:16:22 I think the why is important. And I think knowing what you are wired for yeah. Helps you to see whether or not that is your why.
Speaker 1 00:16:31 Good point.
Speaker 2 00:16:34 And I think that that's one thing that in transition is difficult for people to do the introspection to learn what is it that I'm wired to do? What is it that I'm gifted or talented at doing that? If I did that thing, I would feel fulfilled each day that I went to work because I was doing what I was made to do.
Speaker 1 00:16:57 I like that. Well, let's turn back to that. So after your training, what kind of things did you do differently in your next leadership position? What changes did you make along the lines of what we're talking about?
Speaker 2 00:17:11 So to the, the mindfulness piece, a lot of what we were talking about was, well, if you, as an individual, understand the way you are wired, you know what your Myers, Briggs, uh, four letters are, if you're an introvert or an extrovert, or those very simple things, you know, everybody, once they've filled out those tests or they've read those books and they've seen what they perfectly align with a certain set of attributes or a certain set of characteristics, it's not like it's some kind of earth shattering moment where like I had no idea <laugh> you usually go, oh, that's exactly right. That's exactly the way I feel true. It's been put into words,
Speaker 1 00:17:48 Is that understand? Yeah. Right,
Speaker 2 00:17:50 Right. And so the thing that's so awesome about it is that we all are right on the cusp of understanding what we are or who we are. If we take the time to actually think about
Speaker 1 00:18:02 It. I like that.
Speaker 2 00:18:04 And, and the person who is in transition from being one thing and wanting to be something else, if they don't know exactly what that is, it can be extremely difficult, especially today where everybody is told you can be anything you want to be, we are all capable of going and getting the education or the training or the, the, on the job experience to be anything that you want to be. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, that's, that's debilitatingly frightening for me. I could be anything. No, no, no. Let's, let's narrow it down. <laugh> how about I have a certain set of ingrained character traits and strengths and mental capacities and physical abilities that make me who I am and that's, and that's wonderful and unique, but that means that there's a very narrow set of things that will truly give me joy when I do them. And if we spent the time in that introspection to figure out how we work, I think that we're much better able than to interact with others and do that effectively, but also see what work is available to us. That truly gives us joy mm-hmm
Speaker 1 00:19:23 <affirmative>.
Speaker 2 00:19:24 And when I had done that, that introspection and I learned that I'm an I NTJ and I'm extremely introverted. And as far as getting my energy recharged, I realized that when I was interacting with people who were not that way, that I had to think about that in the moment and communicate in a way that suited them. And when I did that, the conversations were much easier. Ah, interesting. Or the things that we needed to get accomplished came much more quickly, because I was aware enough to speak in a way that suited their style, suited their way of listening and, and communicating good, good point. But then we quickly got on the same page, good point. But if I just kept living life, assuming everybody's like me and everybody needs to think the way I do and communicate the way I do, then it just ran into nothing but trouble most of the time.
Speaker 1 00:20:15 And if you thought there was something wrong with the way you thought or felt or functioned, and you should function more like others that's debilitating. So what I heard you say, which I read into, I me run this by you was when you understood the communication styles or what it meant to affect to communicate effectively different for somebody than for you. You learned how to communicate effectively with them, but you respected your, I NT J sort of from a place of respect for yourself, you didn't have to say, oh, I, and TJ's bad. I need to be more, you know, EFT, you know, you respected who you were and learned to communicate effectively. So the listener heard. Right,
Speaker 2 00:21:02 Right. And I think that today we call that emotional intelligence.
Speaker 1 00:21:05 Mm-hmm, <affirmative>
Speaker 2 00:21:06 Being aware enough of who we are and being aware enough of the people who we interact with to be able to communicate in a way that takes all of that into account.
Speaker 1 00:21:18 Does that make me think of something? Let me ask you, do you have a definition of getting on the same page? I wanna, I have a question, but then I realize, I wanna ask you that first,
Speaker 2 00:21:27 If I was going to try to get, uh, a group of people on the same page in my old job, I guess it would be presenting the, the mission goal or the strategy that needed to be enacted to achieve, you know, success mm-hmm, <affirmative> explaining the responsibilities that needed to be fulfilled in order to, you know, make sure every part of the team is doing their job and get us to that place. And then seeking feedback from those team members to see if there was any confusion about their roles and responsibilities. But that's a very top down, uh, style that I think was appropriate for the military. I would say that in my coaching practice, getting on the same page as listening attentively and intensely to hear what the person is saying and what they're not saying,
Speaker 1 00:22:27 Right.
Speaker 2 00:22:28 Then repeating back to the person, what I think I hear right. Them saying, right. And through that back and forth, then getting on that same page.
Speaker 1 00:22:42 Thank you. Um, and that actually, I think dovetails with what I was, where I was going, which I was thinking about the word meaning and creating a shared meaning. I wrote down some things you said about fulfillment, uh, joy and fit. You didn't use the word fit, but I, I heard you talking about the concept of fit for a role fit for a mm-hmm <affirmative> position, a job, a task, a function.
Speaker 1 00:23:09 I, I, I think a lot about the concept of meaning, what means something to somebody? Why does that mean what it means to them? Just in saying something about this situation we're in, it means something to him. Do I understand that from his perspective, do I understand what he understands? The way he understands it? Whether I agree or not? Do I know what it means to him? If I do. I think I have a better chance of communicated at a deeper level, because it might mean something similar or different to me. And I could share that we might be able to come up with a shared understanding, uh, even maybe even a, a shared meaning and intent about a situation. I was, I lost my own train of thought because I was thinking, I was gonna ask you something about that concept of meaning when I thought what's it, what's your definition of getting on the same page?
Speaker 1 00:24:02 I've been toying with a definition of getting on the same page that is agreeing enough to take the next step together. Now I put this in mostly a work context that might apply others to the context, but most of the coaching I'm launching is work place related. So two people or end number of people on a team agreeing enough to take the next step together by which, I mean, there's a commitment to that next step. Even if it's exploratory in nature, there's a commitment to a next step to see what happens that we look at together and bring back into the conversation. So there's a lot of ways to talk about getting on the same page. That can mean much more than that, but I've been toying with that notion. And I think about meaning as it relates to that, because we all see something in a situation and make something of it.
Speaker 1 00:24:54 Right. And we would do something about it as a means to some end, whether that's a personal objective we have, or a role objective or combination, we see something, we make something of what we see. We would act on it in a certain way, perhaps including doing nothing, but we would act on in a certain way as a means to some end. And that whole, those four things to me, sort of wrap up into a shorthanded way of saying is, well, what's the situation mean to me? So when you're on the same page of somebody to and have to agree to take a next step, there's got to be some overlap, like an event diagram of what Justin and I see what we make of it, what we would do and why we would do that thing. We might not even be agreeing completely, maybe what we're going to te do as a test, we're gonna test the hypothesis, test an assumption, right. Check a blind spot, but that's okay. We're doing that together. And, and to me, that means that there's some shared meaning and intent between us. And I think when we have a team experience, that's a high functioning team and the team is really, you get that true feeling of PRI to core. I think there's a high level of me shared meaning and intent my friend, jump in wherever you want. I, I wandered all over the map there because I lost my own train of thought, but gimme your reaction.
Speaker 2 00:26:14 Well, if, when you use the word, meaning I think of the values of the organization or the, the stated, uh, principles or goals of the, the organization mm-hmm <affirmative>. And, and if I am a, a part of that organization, then I am agreeing to either tacitly or implicitly to those, those values. And then out of that set of values or stated goals, then a culture is created mm-hmm <affirmative> because the organization seeks to do a certain thing, has a meaning that they agree to by being part of that organization, a culture then gets built up around that idea and cultures take on any variety of different right. Uh, looks and feels
Speaker 1 00:27:00 Right.
Speaker 2 00:27:01 But a person then either identifies with that culture or they don't mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so that, I guess that's the way I see the word meaning the way I hear you describing it.
Speaker 1 00:27:12 Well, you know, when it came to me was when you were saying, now, I remember what triggered this you were, when I asked you, if you had a definition of what it meant to be on the same page. And you described when you were in service, if you had a leadership role, there might have been a somewhat top down approach. You would've taken to making sure people under were on the same page, making sure they understood a, a particular mission and their role in it actions to be, you know, things, to be done, actions, to be taken, you know, as a means to an end. And you said, that's, that's a little top down in your coaching practice. What you described to me was more, if we imagine this in space more lateral, you described
Speaker 2 00:27:53 Yeah. You're, co-creating a relationship
Speaker 1 00:27:55 And that's where the no, when the word meaning came to my mind, because you're also co co-creating some meaning, I think.
Speaker 2 00:28:02 Yes, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, you're, as you're getting to know each other, you're defining terms, you're asking what, what those mean to you? What does it mean to say that thing or to, uh,
Speaker 1 00:28:13 Right.
Speaker 2 00:28:14 Yeah. And so I guess in a, in a early stage of, of forming that team or forming that relationship, that's kind of the storming and forming.
Speaker 1 00:28:25 Yeah. That's a good point. Yeah. That, that makes sense. It's,
Speaker 2 00:28:27 It's getting on the same page about those things. And within an organization, like the coast guard, you join the coast guard because it's a multi maritime military entity that also has law enforcement and humanitarian missions. So you're there to protect people and you're there to protect the environment. You know, if you just take it very broadly,
Speaker 1 00:28:49 Right. Well
Speaker 2 00:28:50 Then we all, we automatically then have some assumed, meaning that we agree on about why
Speaker 1 00:28:56 We're there. Yes, yes.
Speaker 2 00:28:57 But as time goes on and the job gets humdrum and routine and boring, oftentimes it's the boss's job to remind people about why are we here?
Speaker 1 00:29:07 Right.
Speaker 2 00:29:08 We're here at the pleasure of the people of the United States getting paid money to protect them and to protect the environment. And if we lose sight of that, then we don't do the job as well as we could, because we forget why we joined. And we forget why this is a noble thing that we do. And organizations that inside of who they are probably are not rein reinvigorating their organization with those values or those strategies, or, or stated objectives that are the reason why they
Speaker 1 00:29:44 Exist. Well, you know what you said, Amy, just think of something, a concept from, I think psychology called discretionary effort, the amount of effort that you could put into accomplishing a task, but it isn't necessary. You get the task done with less effort. Discretionary effort is that extra effort you put in which presumably makes your performance on the task better. When you were saying the leader who reminds us, why we're here, right. Sort of refreshes that why can lift us up from a wrote, uh, execution of tasks, just sort of mechanical execution of things that have to be done, but reinvigorate them with some energy that's would be the application of discretionary effort. And I think the same thing happens, Justin, with what we were talking about earlier, uh, which was the, the why, you know, what, what, what the, why does to get people on the same page?
Speaker 1 00:30:43 I think when we've experienced that in a relationship could be two people in a personal relationship, it could be two people in a business environment or team for me, Tommy, if this was different for you, we are my different Myers Briggs types. This could be interesting for me. It gave me some juice, right? It gave me some energy. It gave me a feeling of commitment and, and that I didn't have to gen up. I didn't have to create, I didn't have to make ha it just was, it just was there knowing why feeling connected to teammates, working on something. And, and to me it inspired discretionary effort. That's just the pedantic way of saying might work my ass off to get something done under that under those circumstances. And everybody did. And it felt good.
Speaker 2 00:31:31 I think it feels good for most people. I, I don't know that your Myers Brigg's, uh, letters will
Speaker 1 00:31:36 Change, has anything to do with that. Uh,
Speaker 2 00:31:38 Yeah. That achieving goals makes you feel good. It's just, how do you react to that? You know, achievement, is it a gentle nod at,
Speaker 1 00:31:47 Across, through to somebody else or is
Speaker 2 00:31:48 A running around, you know, high fiveing everybody kind of thing.
Speaker 1 00:31:52 We all have a different experience. However, that is for us individually, we have a different experience when we feel that Esri decor, when we've come together that way than when we don't though, there's sort of on the same page or on the same wavelength, right? In, in some kind of San or tune, uh, there's an energy with that that I think is different than the situations where that's, that's, that's lacking. Maybe the difference is the feeling of the energy.
Speaker 2 00:32:22 There's a yes, a difference in the feeling or the expression of the energy. That's felt at the, at the thing, the, even the most introverted recluses who only wants to work by themselves, needs a team of people to be successful and pick any profession, pick anything that you want to do. And I will challenge you that you can't do it by yourself. And whether that's a tour de front bicycle rider, right? Well, that tour de front bicycle rider didn't invent that bike frame, right. They didn't make the rubber for the tires, right? They didn't, you know, right. They're not the pace car providing sustenance. And, and so we, we all need people to be successful. The ability to which we're able to interact with that team successfully will determine our success
Speaker 1 00:33:10 And the style of doing that can be different. But I think what you're saying is there is a requirement that it be done. Otherwise, individuals can't can't achieve the same level or degree or type of success as, as a team can.
Speaker 2 00:33:23 Absolutely.
Speaker 1 00:33:24 There's a favorite book of mine, which you and I have talked about briefly before called the knowledge illusion, why we never think alone doing by a couple of scholars. And they argue that knowledge is actually shared knowledge and the construction of memory and the construction of predictions, which is a lot of what we do in conversation. When we talk about what's a situation we're in and what's going to happen or likely to happen, what could go, right? What could go wrong? Those kinds of things are constructed socially. Now we can obviously sit by ourselves quietly and not speak and do that in our minds. We don't need another brain to do that, but that, wasn't what they were talking about. They were talking about in the nature of problem solving. It's a team problem solving that knowledge is shared. Memory is shared and, and predictions are shared, and that we don't think alone in those situations. We actually think with others, that's a great book.
Speaker 2 00:34:19 And that speaks to, uh, uh, Harvard business review article. I think that you posted recently on, uh, our teams on their way out our team, something that corporate America doesn't need anymore.
Speaker 1 00:34:31 Mm-hmm <affirmative>,
Speaker 2 00:34:32 Uh, if I remember correctly, you didn't agree with the authors assertion that yes, they are on their way out because they're no longer effective rather it's that creating a team for the sake of creating a team without a problem for them to fix is a waste of time.
Speaker 1 00:34:48 Right? Right.
Speaker 2 00:34:48 But we, we will all benefit from effective teams that communicate with each other in a meaningful way, because we're bringing unique experiences, strengths, and points of view that will help to form a better cohesive picture and solution for whatever problem we've been confronted with.
Speaker 1 00:35:04 Yeah. You know, I think a lot about work teams solving complex problems, not a, not algorithmic kinds of problems where there are rules, or there are practices, there are procedures that could solve that could, that could solve a problem, but where there's not an obvious solution to a problem, there's not one solution to a problem. Those kinds of conditions that if you have two people or five people discussing a situation with one another, you really have two to end number of mental representations of the situation, right? The situation doesn't physically exist, <laugh> a client might exist. A shoreline exists, a bad guy, exists with a boat, right? There are things that exist physically in the world. But when you look at events and conditions and circumstances and motivations and cause, and effect and all kinds of things that all of a sudden come in conversation, come to the surface that people debate pro properly deliberate about.
Speaker 1 00:36:09 We have takes on those things. We have mental models, mental representations of what happened. We know this from, uh, decades of witness, witness research, right? How witnesses see one situation and tell different stories of it. So if they're mental representations colored by the, in every individual's experience and perhaps every individual's goal with regard to situation, because what we think, what we would do is a part of the conversation we have with people about what's happening in the situation. We are constructing a reality about the situation together. Yes. If it's true that a, if it's true that a, that a boat landed on a shore at night, that's a fact of phys a physical fact, all the other questions that matter come up around it. Right. Was it, was it a drift <laugh>, was it, was it lost in a drift? Was it aiming at the shore?
Speaker 1 00:37:09 Is it, is it full of hungry people? Is it full of cocaine? All the other questions of motive and intent come around it, which make people assess the situation to do something about it. That's contingent on the, on, on things that are, uh, maybe not physical facts, but psychological facts and in complex situations and complex conditions. It's not always clear if, if you and I, or five of us see a situation, it's not always clear that one of us has it figured out and four of us <laugh> got it wrong. We might have pieces of it that we see that have validity to them. And we have to construct something of it together to decide how to act together. Tell me, you know, you, what comes to mind,
Speaker 2 00:38:00 It's the blind people in the elephant. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I'm touching a tree mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I'm touching, uh, you know, that's
Speaker 1 00:38:06 Right. A hairy tail. The, the, the right touching trunk, a trunk, right? Yeah. A wall.
Speaker 2 00:38:10 Yeah. Uh, I've got a spear in my hand. That's really a tusk. And yeah. You know, the, the, the concern that I have when we start creating a reality based off of our participating in that team is how many of those team members are coming with a whole sense of what they believe, what biases they bring to the table, right. What assumptions they make, right. Based off of their experience. And as that color, their judgment when they're providing their input.
Speaker 1 00:38:47 Right.
Speaker 2 00:38:47 And if they all come unaware of who they are and what is, uh, true or, uh, or accurate, are we then getting an accurate picture and how do we then, how do we write that? How do we get on the same page? And sometimes it takes, uh, a mediating influence or a leader to come in and say, you know, where are you guys with this? And then realize that they've gone totally off line they're, they're not anywhere where they should have gone, or, or they, they were given poor direction and they didn't get to the solution that they needed to get to, or no solution at all. And so providing the team members opportunities to have that time for introspection to create meaning, to agree on definitions of terms, to set a baseline, to then start working on the problem becomes extremely important because otherwise you're, you're all starting from different spots and you're never gonna get
Speaker 1 00:39:52 Together. We are, I think you're right. We are. And I think that a co uh, an effective conversation amongst people, I, I think we could assume people come into the discussion with assumptions, with blind spots. We know that there are situational unknowns. Um, so, uh, there could be, uh, some co there could be some situational complexity. There could be, there's some interesting, uh, work done on cognitive complexity affects all of us. I think if we assume those as givens you'd want a conversation that was effective in a way, which surfaced them, where yes, you are, you could challenge not challenge me. Like it's a, it's the right word. I don't mean the connotation. That sounds that's confrontational. I could say something that you might or just puzzle you, and you could say, Lou, tell me more about that. I didn't see it that way. Tell me what you saw.
Speaker 1 00:40:48 Tell me what made you think of it that way. Tell me more about that. I might be onto something, which when I elaborate, Justin says, oh, okay. I, I, I see what you mean. I got it. Or I might not be. And, and maybe in the elaboration, it becomes apparent that I've got a bias. Let's just say I was biased about something. Um, and was, it was a, it was, you know, I was not aware of the bias and it was causing me to skew in a certain direction, what others saw differently and having an open conversation about that was important because what we do depends on what we see and what we make of it. And if I'd skewed something and the team called, and the team said, don't think that it happened way. Maybe there's a hypothe. Maybe there's a way to test that. Justin, maybe there's a way to make a hypothesis out of that and test it so that we can be sure that besides our opinions, we've got some data, some evidence upon which to accept some propositions, reject some proposition, build on them to move on, right. To do the problem solving, to make her recommendation, to, to, to leadership, to act, or to take an action as a team. Yeah. I think we go into the conversation assuming blind spots and unknowns and biases, and have better, have a way to sort those out. But more,
Speaker 2 00:42:09 More importantly though, are we assuming good intent?
Speaker 1 00:42:13 All good question. Are,
Speaker 2 00:42:14 Are we starting with the idea that everybody around the table is there as a positive agent that wants the best for the team or the organization?
Speaker 1 00:42:24 Good question.
Speaker 2 00:42:24 That's going to work in good faith, uh, to achieve, you know, meaningful compromises to get to the goal. Because as soon as somebody is seen as a negative actor or a negative influence, that's trying to derail the process or as just a flying ointment. And so I, I think that in recent years, as diversity equity and inclusion training has been taking place in the government and, and corporations and organizations, having the trust of the people in the organization has to come first. Then you can have those conversations because if you're bringing people in cold and they're coming in with all of those biases and assumptions and, uh, living in a, a social media echo chamber of this is a way life is, and this is what I believe. You're then very, gonna quickly run into differing viewpoints. And if there's no trust in that relationship to whether that difference of opinion, now you've got a recipe for disaster.
Speaker 1 00:43:29 Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:43:31 And, and I saw it when it was being introduced into the government. People rightly wanting to have those conversations openly and honestly were wanting to do so with people that they didn't know well and expected them to come to the table, thinking the same way they did about those subjects. And it didn't work out well very quickly, you saw that there was a difference of opinion and a difference of, uh, world viewpoint or politics or your views on social justice or whatever it was. And I said, you've done yourself a disservice by not first creating a, an environment of collegiality and trust where, you know, the person as an individual or where you at least know the team well enough that you can now have these conversations without turning into personal attacks, or yeah. How dare you be against this, or how dare you be
Speaker 1 00:44:29 Against me. Yeah, yeah. Critical. You said, can we, can we assume that people in those conversations and we can't, we shouldn't assume good faith and good intent. I think probably on a statistically, we'd find most people, most of the time had good faith and good intent, but there's, that's not. But that just means that some of the time that people don't, I think that in my coaching practice, I could help a team get on the same page quickly if they had good faith and good intent, because if they, if they do and they were willing to challenge and be challenged about biases, blind spots, assumptions, you can expect the conversations to evolve in a way in which the truth that the team can know emerges, right? There's not a capital T truth, but the way a team sees something about a situation we'll always have, we will, our knowledge will always be limited.
Speaker 1 00:45:25 And there, we can only make so much of a situation, but we can make more of a collectively if, if we are being genuine and authentic with our, with our contribution, our participation in that conversation, and those who are not those who don't have good intent, they will, they will use the conversation. They will use the team. They'll use the opportunity as it means to some end, as it means to, um, sabotage something as it means to bend something, shape it to, you know, the way they want it to come out. And I think it's a great point. Great caveat you've made that. No, I don't think we can assume. I think you have to prove good faith and good intent. Uh, and it, it is not a big proof to make, but I think it needs confirmed.
Speaker 2 00:46:14 I, I wanna make sure I said it, uh, said it right. I think that you have to come to a new team assuming. Good intent.
Speaker 1 00:46:25 Okay.
Speaker 2 00:46:26 If you don't, then it's already doomed to failure. If all the new team members of that team assume that everybody else is going to do something nefarious or something to sabotage
Speaker 1 00:46:37 The team,
Speaker 2 00:46:38 Okay. Then there's no trust. You have to come. Assuming everybody is there as a, as a trusted partner that wants what's best for the, the organization. And then that allows you to start building that trust amongst team members, because you're all there for good reasons.
Speaker 1 00:46:54 But that's, that is a, but you would, would you agree? That's a trust, but verify situation.
Speaker 2 00:46:58 Absolutely. Yeah. Because as soon as that person does violate that trust, then it's question of, well, is that person worth sighting or do we now remove them from the team? All right. For the organization.
Speaker 1 00:47:08 Yeah. Yeah. Makes sense. But yeah,
Speaker 2 00:47:10 I, the, the reason that effective teams, as you were saying are able to quickly hit the ground running and move forward towards the solution is because they either know each other from before mm-hmm <affirmative> or they all come in as positive actors, assuming the best in the other team members. And then that, I think that trust then allows you to say, well, I think things should be this way. And somebody else can say, well, maybe, but what about this? Instead, instead of immediately assuming that you are
Speaker 1 00:47:38 Right
Speaker 2 00:47:38 Intent is, you know, evil <laugh> I can say, okay, where do you want? You want the right thing too? So tell me why you see it
Speaker 1 00:47:44 Different. Exactly. Exactly. All right. I like that. Well, everything we've talked about for almost an hour, I've got notes I've been taking here and I keep circling the word mindfulness. You start off by talking about mindfulness as an individual mindfulness as a leader, uh, everything we've talked about also, if people are to do effectively, what we've talked about requires mindfulness on the ones part, whether they're a leader or not everything you and I have talked about, about effective communication, genuineness, or authenticity, fulfillment, joy, meaning shared meaning values and principles. I don't think you get to any of these things very well, or very much, without some mindfulness, you could be mechanical about some things and go through motions, but mindfulness being, understanding yourself, positions you to experience and contribute to and draw from all the things we've talked about most, best, and then with others to collectively, uh, when it's done with others and it's done collectively, I think there's great power in it. Mindfulness, I think is at the heart or center of a lot of what we've discussed. What's your thought.
Speaker 2 00:48:55 I think that to be your most authentic self and to achieve an understanding of how you are uniquely talented or gifted, what your strengths are, then feeds into whether or not you are your best version of yourself. And you can't become that authentic you if you're not practicing mindfulness mm-hmm <affirmative>. And I think the, the definition of mindfulness has changed over past decades, just like leadership has and where mindfulness used to be a bunch of, you know, tie dye wearing hippies, saying own, uh, in a forest somewhere is now being approached by the medical sciences as a real thing of truly unlocking the brain's potential and identifying why you think the way you think and why, what you think is important. And that mindfulness is something that I think our culture in the United States has largely forgotten. I think most people are on automatic pilot.
Speaker 2 00:50:10 They live their life based off of a set of assumptions that they received early in life. Those assumptions can be good, but they're most often bad their lives that they have taken on as their identity. And they've decided that that's who they are. And now they live a, that is miserable in a job that doesn't satisfy, that gets them the money to buy them. The things that they think will make them happy. And it doesn't and authentic. People are ones that have decided that there's something better out there. And they're finding through mindfulness that they are so much more than the assumptions that they were taught at an early age and the lies that they took on as their identity mm-hmm <affirmative>
Speaker 1 00:50:58 And like a point, uh, let me add onto that, uh, to something you, you made a point you made before we began recording. We're not the same person from decade to decade in our lives. We grow, we change too. And so not only is it the case that we could need to challenge assumptions that were given to us by parents, by a religion, by a school system that a source outside of ourselves, mm-hmm <affirmative>, we probably would do serve ourselves well to challenge assumptions. We give ourselves from, you know, over time, even, even Justin, when we've learned lessons about something at some point in our life and, and the lesson made sense, and we incorporated it, we acted on it. It might play out differently later in life. We, that that's circumstances, change conditions, change, um, requirements change. And sometimes we would have to, this is the sort of the perpetual journey that we mentioned earlier about coming to know yourself, allowing you to get on the same page with others.
Speaker 1 00:52:07 I've been pretty introspective all my life, but there's some ways I know, I think differently at 61 than I did at 51 or 41 appropriately, because I've got 10 or 20 more years of experience. So sometimes we are, we don't, we have to, we, we have to remember that even lessons that we learned, maybe the hard way that served us well for a time, it might not be eternal. It might not be perpetual. They might have a shelf to them, or, or maybe in certain circumstances they apply. But in other circumstances, they don't. And I think mindfulness is the only thing that helps you catch that.
Speaker 2 00:52:43 Yeah. And I don't think that there's any steady state to brain. I think that we're either growing or we're atrophy. There is no in between. And so are we growing in our ability to understand the way our brains work and why that makes us uniquely who we are, or are we running on automatic pilot? And our brains are just being fed, you know, crap, basically, whether that's the entertainment we consume or the media we
Speaker 1 00:53:09 Consume, right. You know,
Speaker 2 00:53:10 The, the habits that we have created for ourselves and, and I, you can see it. You, you have friends, you have coworkers, you have people in your sphere of, uh, influence that you can see are not happy in life. They're miserable. Their lives are not joyful. And I think more often than not, those are the people that think that their lot in life is outside of their control. It's the people who have chosen to take control through mindfulness, through bold action, through taking risks, jumping out and doing things that other people won't do that you think, wow, look at that guy or gal, if I could only be like them, well, you can be. Yeah. You can be exactly like them. Yeah. But it requires a change in the way you think about things.
Speaker 1 00:53:57 Yeah. This raises some interesting questions about transition, which we should touch on. But I also wanna ask you a question. One of the questions I like to ask is what happens if we can't get on the same page? I think our conversation about mindfulness sheds a different light on that. For me, I, I, I won't prejudice your I'll share with you. My thoughts after, after you go first for certain circumstances, certain requirements, and for couples, personal relationship for parent child, for colleagues at work teams being on the same page is better than people having separate agendas and working across purposes, but we can't always get or stay on the same page. Maybe it's a process and maybe we do in time. Maybe there's a wall we hit and we might not get beyond it. What's your view on what to do when you can't get on the same page with somebody,
Speaker 2 00:54:51 The leader in me that wants everybody to be able to work to their maximum ability or, or to their maximum capacity would say, keep working on it. See if there's a different way that you can include this person on the team. See if there's a different skill that they could use that they're not yet being allowed to use. Um, I don't want to give up on, on the person, but if there's an intransigence there, if there's a right, a lack of desire to come to an agreement. And, and I think that's the thing, if the stated mission or the stated goal is agreed by all parties as important, then at some point in time, compromise is necessary. But if there's no desire to compromise, then one or more of the members who are unwilling to compromise may need to be removed from that team. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, there just may not be an answer to it.
Speaker 1 00:55:44 Okay.
Speaker 2 00:55:45 Now, in a, in a personal, uh, which we haven't talked very much on the personal side of things, but that's a completely different answer because if you want to maintain a relationship with person, a person, familial, romantic friendship, that you cannot compromise, you then need to decide for yourself rules. The thing that I want more important than a relationship mm-hmm <affirmative>. And oftentimes, unfortunately, that's the answer mm-hmm <affirmative> and for a disagreement or an inability to compromise the relationship ends. But I would say that for me, I, I can't think of very many things where I would want the thing that I want more than I want the relationship to continue, and I would compromise, or I would defer to the person who felt strongly in a different way than I did about that thing.
Speaker 1 00:56:35 Thank you. I think my thought on mindfulness was that it effective mindfulness would give you a basis for the conversation with a party, a better basis for a conversation with another party. If you couldn't get on the same page. I know in times of my life, if I've been, I, I know what I felt something, but I might have felt something intensely just like anger or resentment or frustration and easy to blame somebody else for something that you think is the cause of those feelings. I wasn't being very mindful at that time. If I dug a little deeper, I could find more going on. <laugh> more going on, right. It's more, more about me. Yeah. Then when you have that little aha moment for yourself, you go, okay. I, that energy that was the anger or the resentment, or the frustration might have been misplaced.
Speaker 1 00:57:26 Some there's possibly something someone did that they shouldn't have done. And they that's a fair point of accountability, but I might be making more of it because I've not, I put my energy into an outward sort of, you know, projected it targeted at them, like, like aimed at them like a target rather than looking inward and going, where's this, what's the source of this? Where is this coming from? Why, why is this? Why, why do you feel so strongly? Not that you should or shouldn't, but asking yourself those questions to examine and dig a little bit deeper, maybe you find, I have found more in a, changed my view of another person or changed my view of a situation. So all of our conversation about mindfulness made me think, you know, I can't get on the same page with someone assuming good intent on their part.
Speaker 1 00:58:15 You've covered the case where there's not assuming good intent on their part. I could have, I probably could have found a way to have more respect for review. I didn't agree with if I was more mindful of myself, so that wasn't their responsibility. They maybe communicated what they had to communicate and maybe they did it skillfully. Maybe they did it roughly if I had a strong reaction to it. And I look inside about what that's about for me, it changed the way I saw them and could and react and interact with them. Cuz I gave myself more information to go on how I dunno if accountables the right word placed on myself, some responsibility for something that I was in, being not mindful was missing. And that had sort of had the situation skewed. I've had a lot of conversations about getting on the same page, not getting on the same page and, and our, our conversation about mindfulness just made me have a little ah-ha moment. Think about the question of not being on the page in a different way than I had before.
Speaker 2 00:59:24 Well, and it can take a long time, uh, of practicing mindfulness in whatever form that takes before you have your first aha moment. Uh, the team may not be able to wait for that person to, to get to that point. And so maybe it's okay to say, you know what, you're taking a pause. You're gonna be taken out of a team. We need to continue to move forward on this, but we're not kicking you outta the organization. We, we still value your input. We just want you to work on these things, uh, figure out more about yourself and what you bring to the table. And then we're gonna plug you back into a team or a team, uh, when you're ready.
Speaker 1 01:00:01 Mm-hmm <affirmative>
Speaker 2 01:00:03 And an organization that cares about its people I think will take the time and the effort to do that. Right. Uh, but on the flip side, uh, the federal government and the military both have, uh, trial periods for new employees. And if you're unable to conform to the lifestyle or the ethos of the organization, you're you're, can't, that's it see you later. Bye. We don't have time. If you're unwilling to abide by the standards or the principles of the values of the organization, you've had an opportunity you've been given warnings, you've been given the proper training. Right,
Speaker 1 01:00:38 Right.
Speaker 2 01:00:40 And you don't conform. Right. So we're done with you. Right? Right. You'll find something else to do
Speaker 1 01:00:44 Best, best wishes. Justin, thank you for joining the podcast today.
Speaker 2 01:00:50 I appreciate it. It was, uh, I wasn't sure what the conversation was gonna go, but I thought we covered a lot of really good ground.
Speaker 1 01:00:56 We did cover a lot of really good ground. I believe we would, based on discussions we've had before. And even some of our LinkedIn exchange is always thoughtful and penetrating. I read something on LinkedIn yesterday, which was challenged, but that's okay to challenge things, but about curiosity in Einstein and, uh, lock or somebody, you know, and cur curiosity and solving tough problems. And I think all of our exchanges have been probing. Right. We were trying to get to understand something deeper. And I appreciate that about you.
Speaker 2 01:01:27 Yeah. I think we're both, we're both probing for truth. Uh, but we're doing it in an extremely positive and respectful manner, which I think is something that has been lost in the national discourse.
Speaker 1 01:01:40 Uh, we, you and I could. I agree. And we could have a whole episode on that. I know. I feel sometimes like I, I see something on LinkedIn and I want to write back a sharp response, but if I, if I do it maybe feels good for the second that I hit send. If I don't and I make a more measured response, it's almost without fail Justin, more, more satisfying. I've had some engages with engagements, with somebody that could have gone very bad, very quickly that just remained respectful. And some more information was about a view about a statement about something I don't have to agree, but I like the better. I like the more respectful exchange I just, for me it feels good. And I'm glad to have had it with a stranger, let alone, you know, inconsequential and there's no nothing was gonna come of it necessarily, but just, it was like, okay, that was, that was respectful. And that feels better than zingers.
Speaker 2 01:02:43 Yes. And because everything that I put on the internet will be on the internet forever and will be brought back, you know, in some future time by somebody to, to try to zing me. I, I try to default to talking to the person online the same way I would talk to them face to face with respect and kindness and positivity and, and a hope to learn more about what it is that they think and why they think that
Speaker 1 01:03:06 Well said. And we'll leave it at that. Thank you, my friend. I appreciate it.
Speaker 2 01:03:10 Thank
Speaker 1 01:03:10 You, Luke. All right. Have a good one. You too. Bye bye. And that's how we see it. My friends, I'm gonna thank Justin for recording today's episode. You can find it at, I see what you mean. Do casto.com plus all the usual places, send questions and suggestions through your app. Subscribe and give me a five star rating unless you can't. In which case, tell me why and join me next week. When we take another look at how to get on the same page and stay there. Um, unless we shouldn't.