Be Where Your Feet Are

Be Where Your Feet Are

TOO OFTEN we are busy looking for the next thing. The problem is our experiences tend to be shallow. We miss out on the richness of being in the moment. To counteract this, we try to find balance. But balance doesn’t create greatness.

The solution is not balance, says sports executive Scott O’Neil in Be Where Your Feet Are. The answer is to make “the most of each moment and ridding ourselves of the toxic habit of constantly looking forward to the next thing.” Finding balance is “like aspiring to be in the middle.” On the other hand, “being resent, focused, committed, and hardworking at home and at work is the path to finding success and fulfillment.”

To that end, O’Neil offers, through the use of stories both personal and from scores of others, seven principles to keep you present, grounded and thriving. The stories and the grounding principle he draws from them really make each of these seven principles come to life. I offer one of the insights from each.

#1 Be Where Your Feet Are

With so many distractions, it is harder today than ever to be where your feet are. It has also never been more important.
I don’t believe the good life is about finding balance between work and home. It’s about living the moments we have where and when we have them.

To be more present, O’Neil offers a four-part process:

Find Perspective “Perspective is the foundation on which we build a life where we can be where our feet are.”
Seek Authentic Feedback “How you live is truly a choice. What you’re going to do and who you are going to do it with, those are choices only you can make.”
Cultivate Reflective Strength “Our ability to have more meaning is right here in front of us, but so are the distractions, and too often the distractions rule the day.”
Live Your Leadership Constitution “Committing in writing to life and a way of living matters. Whether we have family rules or values, whether we have a morning mantra or a leadership constitution, we need guideposts in our lives. We need reinforcement in terms of what we stand for, what matters, and what we prioritize, and through those things we can be where our feet are when it counts.”

#2 Change The Race

In those times when we feel stuck, unable to get out of the funk we are in, we need to change the race:

Recognize That You Have a Choice to Change Your Situation
Run Toward the Storm Instead of Away from It “I’ve already spent too much time in the gray. I choose to throw all of my emotion and soul into everything I do because it should all matter. It should matter because the alternative is that you have no life or hope or joy or future.”
Find Your Center with The Help of People You Care About and Who Care About You

The most critical things to keep in mind include knowing when you need to change the race you are running and not shutting down—remember that isolation is your kryptonite when things are going badly. Engage people in your life and do not let ego or pride get it the way of good decision-making or getting help.

#3 WMI – What’s Most Important

The world is filled with universe moments, which is when things happen for a reason and people, places, and events seemingly drop into your life with purpose.
Today the world moves faster and there seems to be more chaos than calm, it’s likely worth exploring your own centering force—whether that’s faith, church, prayer, meditation, running, yoga, or anything else that helps enhance your level of peace, increase your level of calm and provide a more centered life.

#4 Fail Forward

Failure is a better teacher than success. Failure is a more effective teacher than success. It’s rarely enjoyable, but it is critically important to be a student of life.
Stop competing, stop pressing so hard, and start opening yourself up to people and learning. Stop trying to prove what you know and begin to express that you’re intellectually curious. Be interested versus interesting.

#5 Be The Purple Water Buffalo

Be an extraordinary teammate. Hold the team above self.
The purple water buffalo attitude can also be summarized in this expression: if there is a piece of paper on the ground, bend over and pick it up.
We have to solve problems when we see them. Don’t wait. If something goes south, fix it.

#6 Assume Positive Intent

What if you assumed positive intent from those with whom you connect, no matter how many alternative and less generous assumptions were possible?
Why? Because we often have preconceived notions about what other people are thinking and what their intentions are, and typically these preconceived notions are negative. More importantly, they are at best clouded and at worst wrong, and they always impact your ability to be effective.

#7 Trust The Process

In a world dominated by instant gratification and obsessed by the spotlight of now, Trust the Process is the commitment that you will keep the long-term view at the forefront of your planning and decision-making. Trust the Process is about understanding the mistake and taking the time to revisit what went wrong and why, and then leverage that information to get smarter and make better decisions in the future.

* * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.

* * *

 

Explore More

Porter Moser All In John Wooden

Read more: leadershipnow.com

Time Smart

TECHNOLOGY was supposed to give us more leisure time, but instead, it distracts us. We are pulled out of the present and into lists of things we feel we should be doing. Instead of getting time away from work, we take our work with us. It’s a trap to make us feel time poor.

Time Smart by Ashley Whillans helps us to move from time poverty to time affluence. The key is how we think about time and money.

Would you rather have less money and more time or work more for more money and have less time? We tend to overvalue money and undervalue time. Because we tend to spend as little money as possible, we rarely think of trading money for time. We make trade-offs between time and money all of the time. “All of these decisions powerfully shape the happiness we derive from moments, from days, from our entire lives.”

Whillans identifies six traps that make us time poor. That is too many things to do and not enough time to do them. To become time smart, we need to recognize these time traps in our lives: technology (constant interruptions that fragment our time), a money/work focus (I’ll work hard now so I can afford more leisure time for a later that never comes), undervaluing time, busyness as status, aversion to idleness, and saying yes believing we’ll have more time later than we do now.

How do we begin to turn this around? Whillans says to start with determining whether you are more money focused—willing to sacrifice time to have more money—or time focused—willing to sacrifice money to have more time. One is not better than the other but, “people who value money, and are in a position to be happier that way, still benefit from making time-related choices.” Our focus can change over time. The older we get, the more time becomes a major focus.

We should make leisure time, but it should be the right kind. “Free time devoted to active leisure—activities like volunteering, socializing, and exercising—promote happiness far more than spending time engaged in passive leisure activities like watching TV, napping, or online shipping.”

Fund time by outsourcing tasks or parts of tasks that you don’t like. Do less comparison shopping (we spend hours of time to save just a few dollars), or driving two miles out of your way to save ten cents on a gallon of gas. Account for your time.

Even though research shows that “people who value time are happier, healthier, and more productive than those who value money over time, turning all of this into time-affluent habits is not easy to do let alone wrap our minds around it.

Whillans offers eight strategies to become better at prioritizing time:

1. Address Your Why
Ask why you are doing what you are doing. If it is just to kill time or for no reason, then stop doing it. One exercise that she had that stood out to me in this regard was the substitution list. Add activities that are a better use of your time. Like this:

Phone games before meetings / INSTEAD: Chat with colleague
Website surfing before and after lunch / INSTEAD: Walk for 15 minutes before lunch, do nothing after.
Looking through, choosing Spotify playlists in the morning / INSTEAD: Get on the road, let Spotify choose playlist.

2. Allow (or schedule) Slack Time
While you want to substitute in time-affluent activities, you don’t want to pack your schedule with them. Slack time allows for spontaneity. “Prioritizing efficiency makes us more likely to miss opportunities to connect with weak ties: people who are likely to bring us creative ideas and new opportunities.”

3. Know Your Calendar Mindset
Whillans is referring here to two calendar mindsets: Clock-Time People and Event-Time People. Clock-time people don’t move to a new activity because it feels right, they do it because it is time to do it. On the other hand, Event-time people allow events to shape their schedule. There is a time for both. Know your basic approach and follow through on your plans accordingly.

4. Create Intentions
Be intentional about how you spend your time with specific action statements. If you want to read more books, say, “I will use my commute to listen to books on tape.”

5. Implement Rewards and Punishments
If your time goals are going well, reward yourself. If not, you need to implement a cost. Apps like Beeminder “takes $5 from your credit card for every goal you don’t meet.”

6. Engineer Defaults
Turn off your notifications. Check less often. There are also apps—Freedom and Ransomly—to help you do this. Just say no. “Several of my colleagues already do his by engineering an auto-response in email to say, ‘Thank you for your message; as a rule, I check email once a day at 8:30 a.m.’”

7. Recognize and Fight Mere Urgency
When faced with important tasks, we sometimes procrastinate and work on simpler, less important activities as an avoidance mechanism. If it is not urgent and important, schedule it for later or delegate it to someone else.

8. Make Leisure Leisurely
Are you actually enjoying the leisure time you have created? Separate the value of the activity from the cost. “Do not think about how much the vacation cost or whether the house cleaner was worth the financial investment. Instead, think about how nice it is to spend extra time with your friends and family.”

We need to take the long view of our lives. Whillans says, “You need to look ahead five to ten years and think about how big life choices will influence your time choices.” In a study of graduating college students, they found that “students who prioritized time were happier than those who prioritized money.”

Time is not money. Money is time. And we all have only so much of it. It’s time to make time a priority before we run out of it.

How did it get so late so soon?It’s night before it’s afternoon.December is here before it’s June.My goodness how time has flewn.How did it get so late so soon?— Dr. Seuss

* * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.

* * *

 

Explore More

Deep Work 20000 Days

Read more: leadershipnow.com

Eat Slep Work Repeat

SSTRESS is a given in our lives. Not all of it is bad. For most of us it comes and goes, but for about 25% of us, it is a severe and constant reality according to one NPR/Harvard study. Many are experiencing anxiety leading to burnout at increasingly higher rates.

There is something we can do to put joy back into our work. To that end, Bruce Daisley, a former VP at Twitter, offers 30 hacks for bringing joy to your job in Eat Sleep Work Repeat.

Daisley draws on insights from a range of researcher and experts to identify three themes for creating happier work environments:

Recharge

Twelve simple hacks to restore energy, enthusiasm, and creativity. The fundamental problem is that we simply aren’t practicing behaviors that recharge us. And it shows. Several suggestions include:

Try Going for a Walking Meeting. When we get our blood pumping through our bodies, there is evidence to suggest that walking rather than sitting will clear our heads and increase our creativity by up to 60%.

Eliminate Hurry Sickness. Constant business doesn’t equal achieving more. Calibrate urgency. “On the next occasion, you find yourself asking for something urgently, ask yourself whether you really do need it ASAP. If you can make some things less urgent, you’re being more honest with yourself and helping to create a better working environment for everyone else.” Take time to reflect.

Turn Off Your Notifications and Have a Digital Sabbath. Set up microboundaries to make technology work for you. Avoid weekend e-mails and work. Cal Newport says, “The modern work environment is actively hostile to Deep Work. I think the way that we’re approaching knowledge work we’re going to look back at in maybe fifteen years from now and say hat was disastrously unproductive.” We don’t know how to use the technology we have.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is “better than any other performance-enhancing intervention.” If you think you need to burn the midnight oil to get more done, consider that “you’re more likely to get where you need to be after eight hours sleep.”

Sync

Eight strategies that will bring trust and connection to your team, enhancing your powers of collaboration and building your collective intelligence. Several of the ways to improve team culture:

Move the Coffee Machine. The secret to building Sync is to get people talking together. Help people come together by design.

Create a Social Meeting. People experience Sync best in social situations. “Social time turns out to be deeply critical to team performance, often accounting for more than 50 percent of positive changes in communication patterns.”

Laugh. “The looseness of thought that laughter provokes triggers our creative juices, encouraging free association of ideas.” A lack of laughter may signal that something is wrong on the team.

Know when to Leave People Alone. Getting a team involved in a project too soon can be counterproductive. But we all need feedback and discussion to perform better. So there is a balance. “Sync is about people working together in harmony—but no amount of Sync will change the power of individuals applying gray matter to difficult problems alone. Creativity is about thinking and then discussion—a team in Sync will make sure it’s doing both.”

Buzz

Ten ways to get your team to a “buzz” state—a sense of engagement and positive energy. Positive Affect (our inclination to experience the world in a positive way) + Psychological Safety = Buzz. How can we bring Buzz into our workplace?

Frame Work as a Problem You’re Solving. If we frame the challenge as a problem we all need to solve, we learn faster and together. “Frame the work as a learning problem, not as an execution problem,” and “introduce a clear sense of uncertainty into the room.”

Focus on the Issue, Not the People. If you provide incentives to cooperate, employees will share information and train others, but if you pit people against one another, they will naturally think only of themselves. It comes as no surprise that “workplaces that put too much emphasis on individual performance find themselves achieving worse results.” Again, there is a balance. “Remove the personal element and encourage people to focus on the work at hand than the individuals involved.”

Replace Presenting with Reading. While awkward at first, consider beginning each meeting by reading a document prepared for subsequent discussion. It can level the playing field. “Teams that have a more equal distribution of communication tend to have higher collective intelligence because you’re hearing from everybody, we’re getting information and input, and effort from everybody is they’re all contributing.” Successful teams are good at reading the nonverbal responses of others and adapting their behavior accordingly.

Relax. “One reason why Buzz so often seems to be beyond our grasp is that we’re not good at being ourselves.” A good sense of humor goes a long way to create positive affect and psychological safety. “Researchers found that “those who laughed together were significantly more likely to share intimate details with one another, and to be closer to their real selves, than those in a nonlaughing control group.”

While it’s true that for the vast majority of us, we can’t make these ideas company-wide policy, or control every demand placed upon us, we resort far too easily to blaming our circumstances on our company. We can do a lot for ourselves by approaching what we do differently. With a little personal responsibility and resourcefulness, most of these helpful hacks are within our grasp. Even a few of them would go a long way to improving our disposition.

* * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.

* * *

 

Explore More

Deep Work Positive Leadership

Read more: leadershipnow.com

Teaching By Heart

DESPITE what the title Teaching By Heart might imply, it is really a book about servant leadership. It is a journey into self-awareness so that you can serve those you lead or seek to influence in spite of your self-doubt, anxieties, and insecurities. It is a remarkable book and a perfect means to refocus your leadership development this year.

Professor of management and organizational behavior at Harvard University, Thomas DeLong, writes, “I’ve found that the best teachers are also leaders, and the best leaders are also teachers.” I completely agree, and it is easy to see the parallels.

Using himself as a case study, DeLong generously shares what goes on in his head and heart as a teacher. He shares what he has observed how in a teacher’s “best moments, they can life people up, and in their worst, let them down.”

You will learn what it takes to teach and lead better. You will gain a better understanding of yourself. Through his introspection, you will come away with a better grasp of your own patterns of behavior. You will understand the need to ask yourself: “What is it that I do consistently that assists me living and teaching, that leverages my talents in unique ways? Just as important, you need to understand those emotional or behavioral patterns that sabotage your efforts to make a difference.”

As teachers [and leaders], we focus more on our inadequacies and failures than on our strengths and accomplishments. I’ll deconstruct why this is so. I will walk you through the heaven and hell of teaching by dissecting and analyzing what I’ve experienced in the Harvard Business School classroom.

After thirty-five years of teaching, DeLong still has anxiety about teaching. To counteract the doubt and anxiety on the days he teaches he must get into the classroom early. “Rather than listen to irrational thoughts and feelings, I need to engage with the ‘enemy.’ I need to look students in the eyes and engage. I need to get out of my head and be interested in something other than my thoughts and feelings and insecurities. The pattern that surfaces is he either/or syndrome. Will I leave the classroom with a feeling of either success or failure? So even if you aren’t a teacher who is wrapped up in your own doubt and insecurities, you should know what your patterns are—the tendencies and habits that either serve or disrupt your effectiveness.”

“As the instructor, you need to increase the probability that your students will see and experience and feel what you want them to experience.” This doesn’t just happen. This is a challenge for teachers and leaders.

Self-Awareness and Growth

This self-awareness is a negative and a positive—a negative because it caused me to beat myself up continuously over my real and imagined shortcomings, a positive because it helped me become cognizant of my patterns.
By remonstrating with myself over my actions, I hope I decrease the chances that I’ll repeat this bad behavior. I still might. But I trust that I will do it less.

On Knowing Students

I am freer as a teacher if I feel I know the students on some level, better able to adjust and adapt o their requirements. My hope is to turn their mindset from one of certainty to curiosity where their assumptions can be tested, confirmed, or revealed to be false.”

The Power of Covenant versus Contractual Relationships

As leaders, we create a covenant with those we lead. A covenant is a good way to think about a leader’s relationship with others. Three elements make up the covenant leaders make with their people. “I promise to set direction with you, to secure your commitment, and help you execute. If I do these things, you’ll succeed and so will the company. This is the covenant leaders establish with their employees, and it drives performance far better than salary and perks.”

Teachers create this covenant with students in much the same way leaders do with employees.

First, students must know that they are in safe, competent, understanding hands. The first dimension is built on faith.
Second, students need to know that teachers care about them and their work. They learn this through feedback, interactions in the classroom, and observing them interact with their peers.
Third, students must feel like they are learning and growing and developing. They need to know that they are being stretched and pushed and challenged with new knowledge, that their assumptions are being tested, and they must gain new knowledge about themselves.

Contractual relationships are transactional. It’s all cognitive. “Contractual leaders and teachers worry about their image, how they are perceived by their boss—a manager or department head. They possess little empathy for others because their goal is to survive where they perceive themselves to be unwelcome.”

Reflections

The ideas expressed here are valuable to leaders in many roles—parents, teachers, pastors.

One of my goals for the students is to have them stand back and face their own life path. An underlying assumption is that the students will do less harm if they are aware of why they do what they do. They will hurt themselves and others less if they understand the purpose and path they are on. I don’t pretend that they should have an answer, but I would like them to be asking questions about their journey before, during, and after the experience at HBS.
As I gaze out the window and reflect, I question whether I’m helping students become more adaptive. Will they make it through their next crucible with greater resilience? Can they maintain a clear head in times of crisis? Do they become paralyzed with fear? Do they wait for someone else to save the day? Are they unable to be the people they were before they experienced the hardship? I want them to be able to keep tough feedback in perspective. I want them to be able to be direct when a tough conversation is necessary?
We need to have “road miles” so that we, through the process of elimination, understand the intersection between our values, motivations, and needs.
I try to highlight that we need not only to focus on the integration of work and play, of home and work but to be more aware of the quality of life we create with those who are near and dear to us.

Avoid Focusing on the Negative

If we use external criteria to define success or happiness, we will come up short, given the powerful influence of our negative-remembering reflex. Everything gets distilled and reduced to one reflection or observation. The technical term for this cognitive process is asymmetric effect with a negative bias. It holds us captive in everyday life.
I find myself returning to the internal dialogue that reminds me of my negative or self-doubting narrative than my self-affirming story. I find that my negative voices are louder than my positive ones, and so I lose confidence and my classroom persona is diminished—I am unwilling to push myself as a teacher, failing to try something new or push boundaries, since these classroom behaviors all carry risks.
The goal, then, is to remind ourselves that we possess a positive story, not just a negative one.

Three Guiding Questions

DeLong offers three guiding questions that will help guide our efforts to be authentic and genuine:

1. How do I experience others? What do we believe about others? The answer will inform how we interact with others.

2. How do others experience me? How do I portray myself to others?

3. How do others experience themselves when they are in your presence?

Teaching By Heart is a very relatable book that all leaders should read. Leadership comes in many forms, but we all deal with the same issues. DeLong’s journey will help.

* * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.

* * *

 

Explore More

Jerry Colonna on True Grit John Hennessy on the Leadership Journey

Read more: leadershipnow.com

Our Stewardship Responsibility

Our Stewardship Responsibility

THE CHICK-FIL-A corporate purpose statement goes like this:

To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.

In Covert Cows and Chick-fil-A, former executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, Steve Robinson explains that for Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, the most important phase in the purpose statement was, “by being a faithful Steward.” And the most important word in that phrase was “by.”

His premise was this business does not glorify God unless it is built upon great stewardship of the assets, talents, influence, and relationships entrusted to us. He felt accountability to his Creator—accountability for everything the Creator put into his hands and, thus, our hands—so he wanted a business that focused on doing those things well.

Caught up in our day-to-day work, the idea of stewardship easily moves into the background. For Chick-fil-A, it guides everything they do. Even when drawn into controversy, regardless of personal beliefs, they act as stewards and, therefore, the need to have a positive impact on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A. That’s the power of a clear purpose statement. “We were not a Christian business,” writes Robinson, “but rather a business where the owners and leadership aspired to apply and live out biblical principles.” Truett said that they weren’t a ministry and that he wanted “people to discover what we believe because of how we treat them.”

The stewardship idea guides their marketing. Marketing is about more than transactions. It’s about relationships.

When you’re building a brand based on emotional engagement rather than transactions, an investment at the personal engagement level is many times more efficient and effective than a media-weighted strategy.
We didn’t look at customers as “Oh, we have two thousand customers a day going through a particular store.” No, we’ve got two thousand people choosing to visit that store. They each have their own issues, problems, challenges—they each have their own story. They’re in the midst of a story at the very moment they encounter Chick-fil-A. Now, how did we impact their story? How did we deliver “where good meets gracious”? How did we help make their story today better? Quite frankly, they may not be having a good day, and Chick-fil-A has the potential to help change the script.

They contacted Horst Schulze and Danny Meyer to better understand service and hospitality. Horst told them, “Don’t look to be better than the other fast-food restaurants. Those limited expectations will just weigh you down. Instead, aspire to the next level of service—restaurants with a price point that are at least double Chick-fil-A’s, and build a service model that resembles those.” That mindset led them to create the Core 4: create eye contact, share a smile, speak with an enthusiastic voice, and stay connected to make it personal.

The Cow Campaign

The iconic Cow “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign developed from an idea by David Ring of The Richards Group. It is, as Robinson describes—engaging, endearing, and enduring. Stewardship comes into play here too. A former Chick-fil-A marketing consultant said, “They don’t wavier. They don’t shift. That is refreshing, and from a marketing standpoint, it can be very valuable, as you can see with the Cow campaign. They have resisted the urge to gussie it up, to change it, to get rid of it, or to do the wrong thing with it.”

We also took great care ensuring the Cows never became shills for Chick-fil-A. They were in this thing for their own self-interest, not Chick-fil-A’s. If their work started to look too much like they were advertising for Chick-fil-A, such as promoting specific products and ingredients, they would quickly lose their edginess and even their believability.

The cows are not on the Chick-fil-A payroll.

Six Legacy Principles

These six principles, based on Truett Cathy’s leadership, have guided every decision at Chick-fil-A and help to keep it uniquely different.

1. Being a Good Steward
The concept of Stewardship allows one to be both generous and thrifty. “Every dollar mattered whether invested in the business, people, or charity. Stewardship is an idea you live.

2. Building Long-Term Relationships
Truett wanted all relationships to be for life. “He was giving his full commitment, and he wanted the same in return. In his mind, if you were going to be a part of Chick-fil-A, there was no reason for you to ever go anywhere else in your career.”

3. Providing Hospitality
Truett’s heart of hospitality is captured in the phrase, “My pleasure” that he asked everyone to say. “My pleasure creates an immediate communication that you really do matter. The phrase is transformative in terms of the guest’s experience.”

4. Taking Personal Responsibility
When Truitt “selected people to work at Chick-fil-A or to become restaurant Operators, he sought people he knew could do the job, and then he trusted them to do it. He gave us the keys then stepped out of the way.

We were personally accountable to him, to the brand, and to our customers. We were accountable in the deals we created, in the relationships we built in the business, in our behavior on the road, in how we talked about the business, even in our language on the golf course. When he placed his trust in us, we responded with personal accountability.

5. Choosing Personal Influence over Position Power
Truett and former company president Jimmy Collins believed, “If I ever have to use position power to influence somebody, I’m probably only going to get to do that once. And if I have to do it at all, it probably does not bode well for their future.”

6. Having Fun
Don’t take yourself too seriously. “One of the virtues that evolved in the business was a tangible effort to be unexpectedly fun.”

Chick-fil-A Cow Campaign

* * *This post is available to share as a PDF. download

* * *

Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.

* * *

 

Explore More

Horst Schulze The Focus of Leadership

Read more: leadershipnow.com

Mattis Learning to Lead

IT’S NOT SURPRISING that we learn a lot about character from the military. Good character is mission-critical. Under extreme circumstances, if you don’t have good character, the result is extremely bad consequences. In war, character is not a platitude.

Good character development is evident in Call Sign Chaos. Written by Jim Mattis and made better with the help of Bing West, the book details the lessons Mattis learned from more than 40 years in the Marine Corps. He organizes the book in terms of the changing nature of his leadership responsibilities as he moved up the ranks. First, he learned face-to-face or direct leadership. At a time when, “alongside those I led, I had a personal, often intense bond with troops I frequently knew better than my own brothers.”

Next, he discusses executive leadership, where commanding a force of 7,000 to 42,000 troops, it was impossible to know them all individually, so communications and leadership styles must adapt.

Finally, he covers the challenges and techniques relevant to strategic leadership from a senior military officer’s perspective.

(His call sign, CHAOS, was given to him by his operations officer, John Toolan.” It stands for, “Does the Colonel Have Another Outstanding Solution?” “There’s always a Toolan, “he writes, “waiting out there to keep your ego in check, providing you keep the risk-takers and mavericks at your side.”)

As is commonly done, a book is a good place to settle scores and vent your opinions. Although Mattis resigned halfway through his appointment as Secretary of Defense at the end of 2018, he writes, “I’m old-fashioned: I don’t write about sitting presidents.” “Old-fashioned” is often another way of saying character.

Importantly, he talks about the challenge of communicating the commander’s intent. When commanding a large number of troops or a large organization, a leader must be able to communicate their intent in such a way as to allow people to act. It requires discipline and trust.

Developing a culture of operating from commander’s intent demanded a higher level of unit discipline and self-discipline than issuing voluminous, detailed instructions.
In drafting my intent, I learned to provide only what is necessary to achieve a clearly defined end-state: tell your team the purpose of the operation, giving no more than the essential details of how you intend to achieve the mission, and then clearly state your goal or end state, one that enables what you intend to do next. Leave the “how” to your subordinates, who must be trained and rewarded for exercising initiative, taking advantage of opportunities and problems as they arise.

It highlights the need for clear and consistently enforced values to guide teams and organizations. Commander’s intent provides a framework that everyone can operate from.

Mattis also mentions the need to get inside the enemy’s OODA loop—to adapt faster than they could. The OODA loop is a concept developed by Colonel John Boyd and stands for observe–orient–decide–act. In uncertain and changing environments, one can gain the advantage if they can ensure that their OODA loops are functioning, as Mattis puts it, “at the speed of relevance. It is possible then, to get inside the enemy’s OODA loop. This is made possible, in part, by having the commander’s intent clearly communicated and understood. The OODA loop helps us to shift our perspective from what we want things to be to what they are in reality. A common organizational problem.

Our campaign’s success was based on not giving the enemy time to react. To win a dogfight, Boyd wrote, you have to observe what is going on, orient yourself, decide what to do, and act before your opponent has completed his version of that same process, repeating and repeating this loop faster than your foe.

Call Sign Chaos has actionable ideas throughout for any team. What follows are quotes taken from the book that will give you a flavor for what is addressed here:

The Marine philosophy is to recruit for attitude and train for skills. Marines believe that attitude is a weapon system.
I was taught to use the concept of “command and feedback.” You don’t control your subordinate commanders’ every move; you clearly state your intent and unleash their initiative. Based on feedback, you fix the problem. George Washington, leading a revolutionary army, followed a “listen, learn, and help, then lead,” sequence.
I matched personalities to anticipated tasks.
I’ve found this imagining technique—walking through what lies ahead, acclimating hearts and minds to the unexpected—an essential leadership tool.
Once he’s removed from direct interaction with his troops, a commander must guard most rigorously against overcontrol, compounded by the seduction of immediate communications.
If you can’t talk freely with the most junior members of your organization, then you’ve lost touch.
When you are in command, there is always the next decision waiting to be made. You don’t have time to pace back and forth like Hamlet, zigzagging one way and the other. You do your best and live with the consequences. A commander has to compartmentalize his emotions and remain focused on the mission. You must decide, act, and move on.
I don’t care how operationally brilliant you are; if you can’t create harmony—vicious harmony—on the battlefield, based on trust across different military services, foreign allied militaries, and diplomatic lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete.
In an age when cynicism too often passes for critical thinking, it’s worthwhile to remember that young men and women who sign up for the military still fight for ideals.
When things go wrong, a leader must stand by those who made the decision under extreme pressure and with incomplete information. Initiative and audacity must be supported, whether or not successful.
The more trust there is inside a unit, the more strain that unit can withstand without a lot of discussion.
I’ve always tried to be hard on issues but not on spirits.
A senior leader in any organization must recognize when his environment has changed.
If there’s something you don’t want people to see, you ought to reconsider what you’re doing.
A leader’s role is problem solving. If you don’t like problems, stay out of leadership. Smooth sailing teaches nothing
Discipline is our protective fabric.
You cannot allow your passion for excellence to destroy your compassion for them as human beings.
Culture is a way of life shared by a group of people—how they act, what they believe, how they treat one another, and what they value.
At inflection points, as history has made clear, change must come at the speed of relevance. Leaders must shelter those challenging nonconformists and mavericks who make institutions uncomfortable; otherwise, you wash out innovation.
Living in history builds your own shock absorber, because you’ll learn that there are lots of old solutions to new problems. If you haven’t read hundreds of books, learning from others who went before you, you are functionally illiterate—you can’t coach and you can’t lead. History lights the often dark path ahead; even if it’s a dim light, it’s better than none. If you can’t be additive as a leader, you’re just like a potted plant in the corner of a hotel lobby: you look pretty, but you’re not adding substance to the organization’s mission.
Trust is the coin of the realm for creating the harmony, speed, and teamwork to achieve success at the lowest cost. Yet it’s not enough to trust your people; you must be able to convey that trust in a manner that subordinates can sense. Only then can you fully garner the benefits.
Allowing bad processes to stump good people is intolerable.
Leaders at all ranks, but especially at high ranks, must keep in their inner circle people who will unhesitatingly point out when a leader’s personal behavior or decisions are not appropriate. In its own way, this, too, is part of command and feedback, for none of us are infallible.

* * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.

* * *

 

Explore More

Colin Powell Robert Gates

Read more: leadershipnow.com

twitter
twitter Here are a selection of tweets from May 2019 that you don’t want to miss:

Leadership and Groundhog Day from @wallybock
Here are some ways to improve retention that are more effective than simplistic employee satisfaction surveys.
Bill Buckner: A Man Of Grace from @JohnBaldoni
3 Ways to Prevent a Mis-Performance Meltdown by @WScottCochrane
Five Common Communication Mistakes (And How to Fix Them) via @StanfordGSB
Artificial Intelligence for the Perplexed Executive vis @StanfordGSB
Making Noise: 3 Tips for Better Leading in a Noisy World by Ken Downer @RapidStartLdr
The World in 2030: Nine Megatrends to Watch by Andrew S. Winston via @mitsmr
3 Surprising Ways To Start A Strong Leadership Day by @WScottCochrane
Help! I want to pitch VCs but don’t want anyone stealing my idea by @maynard
A Surprising Example Of Why You Don’t Need A Title To Effectively Lead Others by @TanveerNaseer Nailed it.
This Is The Reason Most People Get Stuck In Mediocrity by @LaRaeQuy
15 Quotes by Mary Parker Follett – Guidance for Today’s World by @JesseLynStoner
Advice for the Graduating Class of 2019 by @michaelaroberto
7 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Leadership Coach by @LollyDaskal
How Big Tech Threatens Economic Liberty via @amconmag Under the current power dynamics, entrepreneurs are often faced with two options: sell out or get crushed.
Coach John Beilein Takes His Game To A New Level from @JohnBaldoni
How Leaders Make the Best Ideas Work via @LetsGrowLeaders
Why Men Don’t Have Friends and Why Women Should Care by @JesseLynStoner
Sometimes You Need To Dial Back Your Aspirations! from @JohnBaldoni
“Right now, it’s like this” is an invitation to explore what is present. It reassures us that impermanence is hard at work. Even though the mind threatens me with the idea that “it’s going to be like this forever,” this phrase helps me call BS on that.”
Roadmap: Five Phases of Digital Eras by @jowyang
On American college campuses, history has been declining in popularity more rapidly than any other major.
Establishing Trust: Why the Details Matter by @RapidStartLdr Ken Downer
What is the difference between brand and marketing? by @lindsaycpederse

See more on twitter Twitter.
* * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.
Explore More
Great Leaders Have No Rules 36 Lessons from Coach Bill Campbell

Read more: leadershipnow.com

Straight Talk for Startups

Straight Talk for Startups
ENTREPRENEURSHIP is not for everyone. It’s not an escape from the cubicle, hard work or bosses. But it is creative. It can be enriching in many ways. And if you are successful, you can believe that you did it all on your terms. And while it’s easier than ever to get started, it harder than ever to succeed.
Randy Komisar and Jantoon Reigersman bring decades of startup experience to help you beat the odds. In Straight Talk for Startups they offer 100 insider rules to bring clarity and a dose of reality to the entrepreneurial process. So whether you’re thinking of starting a business or are in the middle of managing one, this book will help to avoid (are correct) rookie mistakes.
Komisar and Reigersman begin by telling you what matters and what doesn’t. Before you quit your job, here are a few things you need to think about:
It’s hard. Because money is abundant, “it’s no surprise that the competitive landscape becomes crowded and non-economic.” It’s not uncommon for your competition to sell below cost in order to buy customers with their capital. And employees tend to act more like mercenaries than comrades in arms.
Try to act normal. “There is nothing normal about being an entrepreneur.” I loved this line: “Venture capitalists have one of the greatest jobs in the world. They get to sit across the table from passionate strangers who hallucinate the future for them.” They advise that when selling your idea: “Don’t let them know you are one of those precious lunatics hell-bent on changing the world until you’ve gotten to know them better. You don’t want to scare them off right at the start.”
Aim for an order-of-magnitude improvement. You’ve got to give people a really good reason to move from where they are quite comfortable to where you want them to be—a loyal customer. An order-of-magnitude of ten times is the minimum. Beyond that you improve your odds of success. “If you try to thread the needle with an innovation that is just good enough, you may miss [the target] entirely. But if you shoot for an order-of-magnitude change, you may still be in the game even if you miss by half.”
Most failure result from poor execution, not unsuccessful innovation. “Plenty of people confuse luck for skill. We flatter ourselves and find cause where there is none. The difference between skill and chance boils down to repeatability.” Timing matters. The elements need to line up. The authors identify six significant stages of development:
Stage 1: Idea—develop your idea and assess its attractiveness
Stage 2: Technology—build the technology
Stage 3: Product—deliver the product
Stage 4: Market—demonstrate market demand
Stage 5: Economics—prove unit economics in real life
Stage 6: Scale—now, finally, grow your business
There is a method to the madness. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Great clarification: “The creative process is essentially an execution process, not a eureka moment.”
Other rules include:
A part-time game changer is preferable to a full-time seat filler.
Manage your team like a jazz band.
Net income is an opinion, but cash flow is a fact.
Avoid venture capital unless you absolutely need it.
Too many unanimous board decisions is a sign of trouble.
Success is not linear.
Learn the rules by heart so you know when to break them.
Komisar and Reigersman close by saying, Always ask why. Why this? Why you? Why now? Asking why will keep you grounded.
Know why this venture is important to you. Why it should be important to others. And given the low probability of success for any venture, why it is nevertheless worth failing at. Of course you don’t want to fail; success is always preferable to failure. But if you fail, will you feel you wasted your time, or that you fought the good fight?
Keep yourself grounded and your wits about you by frequently asking yourself, Why? Entrepreneurship is important because it has the power to make the world better. That is why it is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.
If you are considering starting a business, you will do well to also read Randy Komisar’s The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living.
* * * Like us on Instagram and Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.
* * *

Read more: leadershipnow.com