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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Apr 12, 2017

Jan, Jim, and their guests discuss the importance of trust for teams, how to build it, and what roles vulnerability and shared experiences play in creating trust. Also, is there a disconnect from people being motivated by  autonomy as an individual, and the need for selflessness when it comes to what’s best for the team?

Jim and Jan are joined by  Isaiah Burkhart and Clay Othic from past Crucible expeditions; from DKS Associates, Jim Peters, Jim Strain, and Chris Maciejewski; curiosity expert Becki Salzman; Intel PhD/executive Candi Cook; Mara Othic, special operations veteran and currently in law enforcement; former Ranger turned entrepreneur, Kyle Morris; and senior executives Ken Schrader and Ed Stoner – both with stellar business and academic backgrounds!


Key Takeaways

[1:55] The first Leadership Podcast dinner party, in Portland, Oregon, starts with a discussion of trust. In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni resolves the dysfunctions with a foundation of trust, leading to healthy disagreement, commitment, accountability, and results. Trust provides strength.

[2:59] Daniel Pink, in Drive, says to motivate people, you need mastery, autonomy, and purpose. Members of a team need to be selfless, and let trust reign. Zack, the videographer on the first Crucible, establishes trust with locals in dangerous places through interviews, references, and triangulation.

[5:57] Trust may be tied to interpersonal skills, or organizational design, or both. Building trust takes time. On the crucible, Clay Othic had pointed out the Point of No Return (PONR), and Jan realized how much they needed to rely on each other. Trust was mandatory. In business, a goal large enough may create a circumstance of mandatory trust.

[7:25] Jim Strain, of DKS, in watching the Patagonia Crucible documentary, was struck by the transition from level ground, where everyone was independent, to crossing a glacier, where they had to rope up. The glacier crossing required a higher level of awareness, communication, and trust, to work as a team. He then used that transitional analogy of roping up, in an actual business structural change at his firm.

[11:22] Isaiah Burkhart participated in the Patagonia Crucible, mostly out in front. Every day they held an After Action Review (AAR), which allowed each team member to process the mistakes they had made. Everyone was comfortable to make suggestions, which helped build trust. To be a really great team, people have to receive correction for the good of all.

[13:36] Becki Salzman was curious what would have happened if the PONR had been on day one, before the team had learned to know each other. Clay Othic referred to competence in the basics, shared by the military members. With competence, comes confidence, which leads to trust. He believes they could have observed enough in 30 minutes to have managed the PONR on day one.

[16:14] Circumstances are important for establishing trust. Jim relates how, when he was tired on day two, Clay Othic stood up for Jim’s need to carry his own load up the hill, and then stayed by Jim, reciting the Ranger Creed while they climbed. Clay’s outreach inspired Jim to find strength and manage his burdens up the glacier. To honor Clay, Jim toasts him with Three Rangers Whiskey.

[20:17] Clay speaks on the Three Rangers Foundation, a veterans nonprofit based on the brotherhood and friendship Clay found early in his Ranger career. You always have the back of your military family, even years later. After 20 years, brother Ranger John Collett approached Clay for help. John was distilling whiskey, and wanted to support a foundation for Rangers. They created the Three Rangers Foundation.

[21:39] 100% of the money donated to Three Rangers Foundation goes to the veterans they assist. The Foundation staff works without pay. All administrative costs of the foundation are paid for by Three Rangers Whiskey, and a portion of the profits from the sale of Three Rangers Whiskey is also donated to the foundation. Clay explains the four symbols on the bottle label, starting with the Gold Star.

[25:16] Ken Schrader gives his experiences of turning around small companies, where trust is mainly absent. Ken discovered most people just wanted to be heard, and to be understood as people. As they told their stories to Ken, and he authentically listened, trust grew. Ken turns the discussion to explore how trust grew on the Crucible.

[27:12] Pairin behavioral assessments were administered to all before and after the Crucible. At the beginning, trust wasn’t high, but self-confidence was. After the Crucible, there was a movement away from individuality and toward teamwork. In addition to behaviors, the desire to be a team player also improved. For the two weeks, no one  complained about anyone.

[28:46] Isaiah talks about his experiences with trust, and how his trust was fairly low before he got acquainted with the non-veterans.

[31:35] Becky suggests exploring uncommon commonalities to build trust. She illustrates it with a story of how she marched on Washington, and created a motorcycle interest commonality with Bikers for Trump, that allowed them to take a selfie with her, although of a different political stand.

[33:42] There will be a Crucible in September, with an equal number of men and women, hoping to explore unconscious assumptions made around gender issues, and how to apply more diversity to business, to make better decisions. Candi Cook will be one of the team, climbing Sacagawea Peak.

[34:23] Jim Peters is trying to relate the military family to the business world. You can go a whole day in the office without interacting with any of your coworkers. He comments on the After Action Reports from the Crucible. We need to have that AAR in the business world, to slow down and give feedback. It depends on making time, making it about the other person, and seeking to understand.

[36:03] Jim notes that in business there is generally only an AAR after an absolute train wreck. No one talks about normal activities, even if they could have gone better. You don’t get better if you don’t have a feedback loop. If you don’t know if you’re meeting expectations, you’ll never exceed expectations. This is the role of a leader. Jim and Jan create feedback loops for themselves.

[39:04] Isaiah talks about the many leaders he has had, in the military, and now in the fire service. He has seen fantastic leaders, and some that could have made some self-adjustments and changed an entire organization. The leader must foster an environment where trust is a key component. He tells a story of an unsympathetic leader who eliminated trust immediately.

[42:16] Chris Maciejewski comments on developing staff, and creating new independent project managers. Relating to the roping up concept, he talks to managers about the difference between leadership and directing. Chris discusses the career path with staff. Getting to project manager is a hard achievement. Directing staff does not develop their decision-making abilities. Working with them, does.

[44:48] Clay says Isaiah’s story shows that trust is built through shared challenge. Leaders can’t always be present for the experience, and must give task and purpose, but they can choose to lead, or just to manage. He answers Becki’s question about gender dynamics. His wife Mara is also special operations, and she would have had some effect on the dynamic, but she would have been tight with the team.

[49:04] Jim summarizes: Trust is the foundation of a team, the foundation of relationships, it takes a long time to earn, and it can be gone in the flash of an eye. Leaders need to give trust to get it. Don’t beat people down for mistakes; help them learn, and grow. He opens the floor for Lighting Round comments.



Books Mentioned in This Episode

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, by Patrick Lencioni

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink



Website: Leadership Podcast Academy