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The Debrief w/ Jocko And Dave Berke #28: Your People Deviating From The Plan

2024-01-23 | 🔗

"I'm in the truck. There's a reason for that." People getting the job done, but changing the plan and method of execution.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is the jocko debrief podcast episode 28 with Dave Burke and me jocko willing And we have a leadership consulting company. It's called echelon front and At our company we do debriefs when we work with clients and help them through their leadership issues and when we do those debriefs we learn and we want everyone else to learn as well so that's what this debrief. Brief podcast is of course We change the names that we use and the industries and we modify the situations to protect our to make sure that their stories don't leak out there into the world, but the leadership issues are what is the topic and they stay the same regardless of how the story changes. So with that, Dave, let's deep dive. What do you got? Being in charge doesn't make you right. Accurate, accurate.
That's the topic for this one. We're working with the company. It's a big irrigation company big big big company and the foreman I'm working with in this particular case the type of work Is really high end, it's high dollar, high pressure. They work with government contracts, pretty stringent, and big, big projects. They've got a foreman, and all throughout the country, but in this particular case, this foreman's responsible for going around to all the different sites in his area. Essentially just making sure the work is done correctly per the contract and getting it done on time pretty straightforward he's been getting frustrated because as he goes to these individual sites, these individual locations. Getting done the way that he wants them. They're different from the plan that he created He's got a plan how this it all worked out, and he doesn't get to spend the whole time there. He's got to rotate through. So he shows up and things are getting done on time, but essentially not the way he wants. So as we're talking, the explanation is his friend.
Registration is he thinks his ideas are better. He knows the best way to get it done and what he's had. Asking about is I'm getting some friction between me and the site leads the people in charge the locations Getting some pushback and what he calls non-compliance And what he's saying is this red flag. Yeah, totally all over and and that's what's cool about this podcast is we can talk about things that seem fairly straightforward, but these are real challenges people are having, especially when you're... A leader and want things to get done in the right way and it's not happening people struggle with that and as asking him, hey, what are these conversations looking like? The phrase that came up is, this is-- Him talking to his leads. I'm in the truck. There's a reason for that. There's a reason I'm the one going and making happen and there's a reason you're not and and It really summarized by essentially I'm the boss and we follow the chain of command meaning I tell you what to do you do it It all gets done. Everything is good
defense he's also struggling he knows this isn't good he knows the friction isn't good and he wants to just get his guys on board with the plan he just wants them to follow his direction so that's that's the problem now classic Problem obviously this came in being in the military this obviously is like officer in a SEAL platoon 101. Yeah this is one of the most common things out there and and quite frankly it's not just the officer it's the senior enlisted Well the senior enlisted now gets put in charge of a platoon. He's the tactical lead in the platoon. I'm There's a reason I have the anchors on my collar. There's a reason So all right, what do you got? Yeah, and And really just to add to that too, I can empathize with that because a lot of times those leaders in the... Those roles, they're getting pressure from upstream. Hey, you gotta make sure this happens.
It's not some nefarious plot to destroy your subordinates lives. It's I got I gotta make sure this gets done and I know how this should done so let's just do it my way and that way we all guarantee that it happens that way and as you know unfortunately we're dealing with other human beings that leads to friction which is exactly what he's dealing with. I'm Timing for this guy because one of the things we had just developed a little while back. Balance assessment. It's just a tool that we built. Originally it was designed around the four laws of combat, the things we teach. Are you balanced in cover and move? Are you balanced in prioritize and execute? You can be out of balance with us, as we know. You wrote the book, Dichotomy in Leadership, specifically to address that. But another thing we developed is a-- called the Balance Assessment Around the Mindsets. And as we say, humility is the most important attribute in a leader. There's a component here of understanding why you, or him in this case, why are you so inclined to think you are right? And
We literally had him and in a group, he took the balance assessment tool around the mindsets and I'm gonna read, and this is. Really good because this is him assessing himself. We're talking about humility, we have a tool. Helps you evaluate it and it's pretty straightforward. If you're green, you're good. If you're yellow, you're a little out of shape. And if you're red, you're out of balance. You're not doing this well. This is what it says for humility in the two-- - This is what he wrote himself. - It's what he evaluated himself. This is a self-assessment, he takes it himself, after we, hey, let's go through this tool. Tell me what you think, how are you doing here? Bye Often believe my ideas and plans are the best That's what he assessed If he was perfectly balanced, he would say something like, I'm always open to other ideas and can check my ego. And he's realizing, Hey, I can't do that. I realize, he recognizes he is way out of balance in something as simple as humility.
And other people's ideas. And there's two things I really think were worth discussing in this. One is, it's so obvious. Just because we're the boss doesn't mean we're right. And we should know that. And that mindset balance assessment of recognizing it, that's a good thing for him to say. Maybe I should be more open to other people's ideas, which of course you should. They're on the site. They have More awareness. If they understand the timing, the requirements, and the objectives that need to be met, they're probably likely to be able to come up with ideas on their own relevant to the challenges they're having. And we talked about that and he was certainly open to that. But one thing I thought was really good is a topic we've talked about and I don't. Remember the first time you discussed it, but it comes up with the idea we talk about leadership capital basically See you next time. It's a way to evaluate how credible you are as a leader, how well respected you are, and what people think of you. It's a way to measure your own leadership. Capability, leadership capital. Being right comes at a cost. And so...
Often we attribute if you give me your idea and I give you my idea and it turns out my ideas better I'm like, oh Jaco just Understands I had a better idea and he's good with it we're gonna implement my idea but that's actually not always the case Sometimes being right, especially if you're right all the time. Over time that actually can hurt you in your relationships. It doesn't make you better. It makes you worse It doesn't help you it hurts you and that was a topic we spend a little time on. It's like explain to me why being right costs me. Why does it affect my leadership capital? What he had is a bunch of folks waiting for him to show up to tell them why they were wrong. Which is not good, even if, even if objectively speaking, your plan is better. Your idea might be a little more efficient. It might meet the specs that you're looking for a little bit more.
And I always liked, I remember the first I'm hearing about it is, I think it was at the muster, being right costs you leadership capital. Yeah, it does. Like I said, these are classic scenarios. And it's weird because when you hear me say, oh these are classic scenarios, and a lot of people when they hear me say these are classic scenarios, they think, yeah. I've seen this with so many other people. Right? They don't think, oh, he's talking about me. When our... Get involved we feel like We need to impose our plan on other people and it's the wash it's the which is one of the worst things you can do It's just one of the worst things you can do Should in all situations as much as you possibly can allow your subordinates to come up with the plan period end of story
Yeah, it's for all the reasons that you talked about. Yeah, they're close to the problem. Yeah, they understand more what's happening on the ground. You're in a truck driving around all day. They're there all day. They're on that site. You're doing this for a living. You're a supervisor now. You haven't poured concrete or dug an irrigation ditch or whatever for four years that you didn't have there's oh oh the tools are still the same tools well guess what you didn't have the same team there's little idiot Idiosyncrasies of the person so there's all these Variables that are in play that you don't understand because you're not the one in the job So therefore it's just infinitely better for you to say hey, here's what we got to get done once you come up with a plan so that's Crux of what is going on here? For some reason our ego feels like we need to come up with a plan and then we need to impose our plan on people And our plan is gonna
Better than anything that they could have come up with which by the way if you're coming if your team can't come up with a better Plan than you you're failing them as a leader because you're not raising them right to where they can come up with a plan Yeah, what kind of? platoon commander doesn't have an assistant platoon commander that can come up with a better plan than them. You want that, you should be working towards that if you're not there yet. So that's just... The way it has to go now Here's another thing that scares people because you did mention this and I took this note real quick, but you were saying that sometimes you've got to tell someone how to do something and you Like they're pushing back and they want to know why and this just leads me to this thought. That sometimes you don't know why sometimes that you know, I'm in charge and I say hey Dave Here's what we're doing and you say hey, why are we doing that? And I don't know why and I can't explain it to you and I get scared of that. I don't want to be lost for answers
I don't want to have Dave think that I'm telling him things and I don't know why so I instead of encouraging an Environment where people want to know why they're doing what they're doing so they can use decentralized commands They can make decisions on the field instead. It just becomes hate when I tell you to do something That's a dictate and you will obey it and you will not ask why. Which is absolutely terrible. Put this in real simple, everyday terms. One of the times where this comes up is with your kids. Your kids, you're telling your kids to do something. You don't really. And look on the surface it makes sense. You need to do this thing. Clean your room. Okay, so clean your room. Why do I have to clean my room, Dad? And you've got some legit answers, right? Hey, uh... You know some of the ones that I've sort of fabricated in the past is like oh well you know if the if the
There's a fire in the house and the fireman come into your room to save you They could trip over these toys on the floor and and and that could be bad, right? So to the- It's a legitimate reason it's a little bit of a stretch Well, you know you should clean your room so that when you're looking for something you can find it easier again That's a little bit of a stretch Okay There's nothing on the floor, I've put everything away, but why do I need to make my bed? narrow this down why do I need to make my bed well because because I said so Because because can you give me a legitimate reason why I need to make my bed if I'm a kid Dave Burke Is there a reason why you can tell your kid they have to make their bed? Why do you? reason maybe if you can come up with one good probably not one that holds enough water that you'd be like holy cow I had no idea the risk that I was embracing yeah so you have this little moment with your kid where you say and they
You say hey you need to clean your room and they go why and you go well if there's a fire The firefighters might trip and if you're looking for something it's going to take you too long to find it. Okay so they clean the room, they get everything put away and there's nothing on the floor and then you go back and you say okay but make your bed and they say why? Why do I need to make my bed? And sure you could say it's about the discipline but. That's a stretch for a seven-year-old right so well we we You don't want to look like a slob how you do anything is how you do everything There's a bunch of little things that you could give but none of them are what I would call a legitimate reason why? So, you know, what's a good Good call to make in that situation. Yeah, you know what, don't worry about the bed. Don't worry about the bed. Hey, you know what, I like to get it.
When I'm getting ready for bed at night, I like to know that I'm gonna get into a nice clean squared away bed. If you don't have that feeling, no big deal. You don't have to make your bed. And when you do that, you've allowed them. Influence you. You've shown some humility. You've listened to what they had to say and you're gonna get them to listen you more you can have influence over them so the minute we say well because I said so that's just your ego talking you throw everything out the window but that's a really Good example and I see this in business all the time right there is a reason why hey we need to clean up the job site when we're done at the end of the day. Why? Well, if someone happens to come in here and they trip over our tools, we'd be liable for a lawsuit. When people are writing Yelp reviews, if they come into their house at the end of the day that you're doing a remodel on and stuff is everywhere,
Yelp review that might so there's a whole bunch of reasons why they should do that but then when You take some particular little idiosyncrasy that you have as an individual person and that on the team and you say hey at the end of the job when you're done with the job site you need - I'm trying to think of something ridiculous that we had it we had a there was a chief that would make the platoon It wasn't my chief would make the platoon to be. Trucks these are old Vietnam 1973 old big trucks. They're just you know just trashy military trucks, had the guys waxing the trucks. You can't give a good reason why. So yeah, we want the job site cleaned at the end of the day, but also at the end of the day, I want you to spray air freshener in there. Like, why are we doing that?
Well, because I just don't want it to smell bad. We don't smell bad. Well, I just want you to do it. And all of a sudden, we're in a situation where I don't really have a good reason why. And Proper thing to do in those situations is be like, you know what? You're right. We don't need to spray air freshener We're good. Make sure everything's cleaned up. Make sure it looks professional and then you can leave the no big deal probably not the best example, but my point is when we are Asking people to do things you better have a reason why and if you don't have a reason why that's okay just say you know what didn't think of I don't really have a good reason. Let's not do it. It's not that big of a deal. Yeah I think the piece especially if you're hearing this at the beginning it seems so straightforward Don't run around yelling your people telling them what to do and demanding compliance. That may seem obvious
The comprehension you have to have in your mind of thinking is me getting them to do what I want, even if... If it's the right thing to do or the best way to do it, is that in the long run helping me or hurting me? And I think that's the part that I think was so significant in that conversation of being right cost you. Leadership capital. So be careful about when you need to be right, especially if it's to feed your own ego. Every now and then, if you're the foreman, I gotta come and go, hey, Jaco, listen, we can't do it this way, we have to do it this way. Me tell you why the contract whatever it might be and what I need more than anything is free to go hey boss no problem I got you and if I I spent all my time for months and years running around demanding you do my way, I might not get that. Little 80% solution thing you know this is like if you've come up with an 80% solution plan go with it let's go with it
- And you build up so much leadership capital when you do that. - Totally. - So wait, so how did you close it out with this guy? - Well, this is a work in progress. - Okay. - I think the best part about this was when-- You give someone this balance assessment tool that we use all the time, and they can acknowledge I'm out of balance, you're 90% of the way there. Now there's work, I don't mean to say we're done. Come back and it's like I'm perfectly in the green, I'm totally open minded, everything's good to go. A much bigger challenge, the self-awareness. There are still definitely that... I know better, I've done it more, and I want it done my way, but I think the humility attribute to this has made this problem so much better, that it's improving. Significantly, I would not say that we are done with this one. The awareness of I'm out of balance here, I'm not doing this right is a huge benefit to the solution. Another little, a little red flag that pops up. Oh, it's not even a red flag. It's a common objection to this whole conversation is,
- Right, but I'm right. But my way is better. They can show you that. They can pull out the documents and say, well, you know, but my way is gonna be 20% faster or 7% faster, whatever, but I'm right. But I'm right, but I'm right now. Here's here's what I would take to that Thomas soul with his Statement that there's no solutions only trade-offs. So if you're going to be right there can be a trade-off And that's what we're talking about that's gonna cost you something. It's gonna cost you something. So just be very careful about willing to pay and what you're willing to trade for being right and having things done your way. What is it gonna cost you? What is it gonna cost you especially from a relationship perspective which on the? the extreme. Ownership leadership loop, the last thing that I say I consider when I'm making a decision is
It's the last thing it's also the most heavily weighted thing that I'm going to consider is Hey, if I make this decision, look, it's gonna be efficient, it's gonna be more efficient, it's gonna save us money, it's gonna be all this, but how is it gonna impact my relationships? And that doesn't necessarily mean that I say, well you know... Dave's got a plan and it's gonna cost the company an extra seven thousand dollars to do Somebody sometimes from say look this is gonna hurt my relationship a little bit, but we can't afford seven thousand dollars and And Hopefully when I show you the facts and show you the numbers you go. Yeah, you know what that makes sense I didn't see that. Okay, cool, but oftentimes I'm like, yeah, it's gonna cost us a little more. It's gonna cost us an extra 700 bucks. But my relationship with Dave, my trust is. He's gonna trust me more. He's going to listen to me more cool. We're good. Yeah, so think through those things All right my turn yep um
Default aggressive this is something that we teach make things Happen sees the initiative very powerful statements Thanks for watching. Powerful statements. There's a reason that we teach these things and I know it seems a little bit strange but the reason that the root of of Default aggressive is because young SEAL leaders going through my training program would be passive And not do anything when there was a troubling scenario that was on the unfolding. So there'd be some building that in a Urban environment that had all kinds of paintball flying around explosions going off and instead of going and solving that problem these young seals would Like back away and like look to see what was happening and see if there's a way they could avoid this problem and I would tell them is no you need to be default aggressive. You need to get in there make things happen the
This is a thing that happens with leaders. I assume it happens in the Marine Corps too, because the Marine Corps has to teach-- something called bias fraction, which is the same principle. It's a little bit of a softer principle, but it's the same principle. Listen young lieutenant infantry Marine Corps if There's something going on. Your bias should be to take action to beat up to go and seize the initiative. Why does the Marine Corps have to specifically teach that? Because they have the same problem that a young SEAL officer would have, which is a tendency to let. Inertia drive the situation and not take any action So we encourage this all the time Aggressive taking action making things happen We we also say hey, it's a default mode. It's not a mandatory mode. I'm not I think Dave, you will take action. It's your default is to take action, but defaults can be overridden, right?
You can say, oh, you know what, now's not the best time. And that's part of the dichotomy here. and I... And I wanted to talk about that dichotomy a little bit because sometimes, sometimes it is better to sit back and wait a little bit. Aim for that in the SEAL teams as well. I don't know if you guys have a name for it in the Marine Corps or if you did, we would say in the SEAL teams, hey. Sometimes you need to let the problem develop let it develop. Did you guys say that almost exact same way? Let the problem develop up a little bit meaning Let the problem reach a point where you can actually tell what the problem is Oh, if you're receiving some fire, you hear some gunfire, you don't make a big tactical call right then. You might want to just take it we have another name for it tactical pause pause. Tactical pause is usually a little bit bigger meaning. Hey, we're doing a series of operations We're not quite sure what the enemy is going to do tomorrow. So we're gonna take a
Go pause and see what they do. Whereas let the problem develop is more of an immediate. Hey, we want to give them A minute give them 30 seconds give them I mean uh let the problem develop could be seven seconds long that you I'm not sure where this is coming from okay now. I see what's happening totally It's slimy. I guess a very Simplistic example Would be like a piece of machinery you you have a car you're driving your car and it starts making a little bit of a noise Go to the to to the auto store, right? You know, you immediately go to the mechanic You let it develop a little bit and like it goes from pink pink to like pink Bing, bing, bing, you drive in there, they can figure out what it is. Or, you know, where, things-- You heard you had a little smell not sure what it is. I'm not immediately going to mechanic Oh, and I see some smoke coming off. Oh Problem develop oh guess what you need to change out your brake pads or whatever the case may be so So that's what I'm going to do.
That's what we need to do sometimes. Now, as a junior leader, as a frontline leader, a lot of times you're where that friction is. You, the what? Your placement is where the friction is. So you can see that, you can feel the heat. Before there's smoke. Meaning if I'm in charge of six people and there starts to be a little friction between some of the team, I'm right there. I can feel it pretty quick. As you get more senior, you tend to become a little bit more detached. Which means it's a little harder to tell what the Problem is without letting it develop a little bit So you're a little bit detached. You got to let that problem develop a little bit and then we get to the key point of You let it develop as a senior leader the next part of this is
Subordinates Sort it out Right. So now again, this is a challenge and It's kind of similar to what we just talked about with the case that you brought up, right? Saying I'm gonna impose a plan. Well when there's a problem we as leaders sometimes have the tendency to say oh, there's a problem I'm going to dive in there and I am going to sort everything out when the The reality is in many cases you shouldn't do that. You should let the team solve the problem. Would you write down? I wrote down the word vacuum OK. Just just as a reminder, it's not the exact same thing as that connection of you as a more senior leader, more experienced leader. My. It's time to be.
Is the second you have that sense of assault problem is to get solved you fill that void I never learned that feeling and You're not saying wait forever. You're not saying let the problem get catastrophic, but you're saying let that vacuum fill a little. So the rest of us go, ooh. And you can go, hey, do you remember that feeling? Go, I do remember that feeling. That's the indicator you need. To start to move or at least go down this path. Not the exact same thing, but that sense of me under... Understanding I need to feel what that void feels like as well and learn that yeah, that was probably one of the One of the newest ideas that I wrote about leadership strategy and tactics because I went into that whole thing about exactly what you're saying the leadership vacuum and how if there's a leadership vacuum my instinct isn't immediately to fill the Instinct is to let that vacuum sit there and and it could be you know, depending
Case dependent it could be one second it could be five seconds it could be could be four days you know if you're in a business or administrative environment but The reasons for that was number one, I want everyone to feel it. Yeah, because When people don't know that there's a vacuum they still have an idea they still have a plan They're still they're still functioning and moving in a certain direction when that vacuum is there No one's moving. No one knows where to go And so what you don't have to do is you don't have to stop the momentum pull it back and Redirect it you can just start with direction and that is a huge benefit so you give that leadership vacuum a moment to let everyone feel it. And this is something that you could just. You could watch this when I was running trade at. You could see it in a platoon. There'd be yelling, there'd be screaming, there'd be people giving directions, and all of a sudden it would just go quiet.
And if there was any noise it would be some very tactical level guy going like hey I need more ammo but there was no direction. You'd feel this vacuum and then give it three seconds four seconds Five seconds, hopefully one of your subordinates pick up 'cause that's what you're talking about. What I want is one of my subordinates to go, oh, this is a vacuum, oh, I need to step up, cool. Occasionally they don't occasionally it's just a vacuum and are there times? Yes when you Have to go step in and you have to go help Solve the problem and and put out the fire. Yeah There are when you do that, by the way, use the minimum force required. Step in there and just give a little bit of a nudge to one of your subordinate leaders to go. Hey, what do you think? We should do. Yep. Yep. Yep. Go do it. You want to use the minimum force? but if you can avoid
Stepping in, avoid it. This is how you train your people to solve problems. This is... Also how you stay detached. If you're running to the fire every Single time it starts, you are de facto, you're not detached anymore. You're not going to see the real solution. You're going to see a little tactical solution that's going to solve at one time but you're not going to see a more encompassing Solution that will solve this from occurring in the first place. Allowing things to unfold by allowing problems to develop By taking a tactical pause you stayed attached. Also, that means you don't have to speak Means you didn't have to Your mouth and every time you open your mouth it costs you leadership capital every time you open your mouth it costs you leadership capital
every time you open your mouth you've used up a percentage of the absorption And the willingness of other people to listen to you, you've used up some of it. There's not a person I've ever worked with in my life that I've hung up. On every word they said. There's not a person I've ever worked with in my life that I was, I had-- Unlimited depth of desire to hear what they're gonna say. No one, and I've worked Freaking dynamic people in my life, and there's none of them that I ever said oh like I hope they talk for The next 45 minutes straight. And a little warning, most people don't want to hear what you have to say. So when you allow people to solve the problems themselves gave you another deposit or at least
Not an expenditure of having to talk and that way when you do talk They're gonna listen so keep that in mind And if you want to dig deeper into all these aspects of leadership in any arena You can join Dave and me and the rest of the echelon front team at the extreme ownership Academy Where we teach this stuff all the time If you want leadership guidance in your organization come and check out our leadership consultancy at echelonfront.com Bunch of books about leadership also, there's other podcast choco podcast choco underground. We got the warrior kid podcast
Out there as well. I know I owe you I'm sorry children If you want to support any of these podcasts including this one You can get some gear from jocko store calm or origin usa calm or jocko fuel calm Thanks for listening to us debrief now go lead. This is Dave and jocko out out.
Transcript generated on 2024-06-02.