Steve Shallenberger: Welcome to our Becoming Your Best podcast listeners, wherever you may be! This is Steve Shallenberger, your host! I am grateful to be able to visit with you, especially at such a perilous time in the middle of this pandemic that affects, virtually, the entire world. And, in times of crisis, leadership and management are the most valuable skills that you can have. Leadership provides direction, peace, focus, and clarity, while management provides execution on what matters most. And, right now, we are in the middle of a millennial crisis – the worst economic crisis the world has known in modern times. And there are financial crises, health crises – as we are experiencing during this pandemic – and, in the past, catastrophic war crises. And then, of course, at the same time, there are many that have personal crises. It could be a financial one – you could have lost your job – it could be a relationship that is falling apart or being severely tested, or depression or discouragement, or even personal health issues. So, whether that crisis is on a global level or on a very personal and sometimes private level, it is during these times, that leadership and management are the most valuable skills that you can have.
So, let’s talk about these indispensable qualities and skills. First, I think it’s helpful just to take a moment and offer a definition on leadership and then management. Leadership is really a process of influence, which brings out the best in others towards the achievement of a worthy vision and goals. And lasting leadership stems from mastering habits based upon correct principles that maximize that influence on others versus relying upon title power, or even position. Now, management is the process to plan, organize, coordinate, and empower activities of an individual or a team to achieve the worthy results and objectives. These two powerful skills have an enormous impact on your success, especially in times of crisis and uncertainty. You typically lead people and manage things. I love this quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower: “You do not lead by hitting people over the head – that’s assault, not leadership.” In other words, we provide real leadership that guides people, that inspires people. And, “The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who still are undecided”, said Casey Stengel, the famous baseball coach.
Well, so, dependent upon the size and circumstances, this determines what mix of leadership and management is required. And you might think of leadership with the letter ‘L’ – and it could be a big ‘L’ or a medium or smaller ‘L’, depending on the circumstances. So, for example, leadership definitely is direction, it’s vision, it’s goals. Think about this – all of the dimensions of it. It’s trust, it’s character and integrity, and it has all to do with people. It’s maximizing the best in others. It’s about treatment of others. It’s about taking responsibility and the spirit of perseverance and tenacity, to never give up. And, sometimes, these qualities are considered as intangibles. It’s kind of deep within. Warren Bennis said, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” See, that’s really an intangible skill. It comes from deep within and it’s all about ourselves and how we interface with other people and where we go. That’s leadership.
Management, if we’re thinking of it as the letter ‘M’ – and it could be a big ‘M’ or a medium or small ‘M’, dependent on function and focus. So, this is all about the execution of the direction, which is the vision, goals, plans, etc. These are about things, statistics, profit and loss, wins and losses, they’re numbers, they’re systems, they’re staying on track and making necessary adjustments to adapt to change to the crisis and uncertainty. And it’s managing by the essential basics to be exceptional at what you do. And frequently, these qualities are considered tangibles. They’re things we do. And so, leadership is doing the right things, and management is doing things right.
I love what Lyndon B Johnson, the former president of the United States said, “Doing what’s right isn’t the problem – it is knowing what is right.” He is spot-on on that! And Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had so many wonderful quotes and insights. He said this: “Divide and rule is a sound motto, but unite and lead is a better one.” And that is the inspiring way. We have some great examples of that in history. One is Maria Theresa of Austria. I’ll just tell you a little about her, how she’s done that. Just think about these two now: leadership skill, management skill, crisis, and how it can win the day. So, in 1740, she inherited the rule of her country – Austria – that was penniless and poorly governed. And though her father had ensured her succession, he had not educated her on matters of the state. She eventually chose her own advisors and delegated responsibility. She turned around the economy, revitalized the military, and instituted mandatory public education for both boys and girls in her country. She held on to her rule amidst two wars, and managed all of this while giving birth to 16 children! I mean, this is really a great example of what I’m talking about – exercising the skill of leadership and management; all these things we just discussed, to get the reality of the vision in mind.
Oprah Winfrey is another contemporary, wonderful example of using both of these. She had the longest-running daytime talk show on television, she’s broadcast in 145 countries around the world, and it’s easy to recount the leadership of this incredible woman! Beginning her life in poverty, she went on to become the single wealthiest Afro-American and has, in turn, dedicated herself to trying to lift others out of poverty as well. And she established the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for girls and invested over $40 million of her own money. Now, these are wonderful examples. We can think of others, historically. Again, think of the skills – leadership and management – Mahatma Gandhi, George Washington, Abe Lincoln, each in their own crises; Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Paul Kagame, Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa. You also know, in addition to these few, that there are many more that I haven’t mentioned: corporate examples, civic examples, science, and medicine. But you also know many people that are magnificent, inspired, courageous leaders that do it in a very private way. And that many don’t even know their names. They’re found among the moms and the dads, the grandparents, the coaches, teachers, individual workers that make a difference.
So, as we reflect upon the crisis we’re in today, and as we reflect upon crises over history and moving forward, it gives us this clear perspective of what saves the day, what really helps us win the day. And so, I’d like to talk about two aspects of that and build upon our discussion thus far. One, what can you do? Here is the first of the two things that YOU can do. One is, exercise magnificent, inspired, courageous leadership. Be determined you will not sit on the sideline, but you will stand up in a very specific way. And I might add that if you’re thinking to yourself, “Well, what can I do to exercise magnificent, inspired, courageous leadership?” I would suggest to you that this is not a guessing game. We know what the principles are. As you know, we have done 40 years of research on this very subject of what sets apart, over time – and this is over hundreds of years, thousands of years – the very best from all the rest. And we consistently saw 12 things. We’ve called them the 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders. And this is what we put in our book, “Becoming Your Best”. It is a landmark because these are principles that every single one of us can master and the result is that allows us to exercise magnificent, inspired, courageous leadership. We’re the ones that stand to go forward. And so, one of the things that you can do is be sure that you understand those 12 principles, both yourself and those that you work with.
I had the opportunity to write the book based upon this leadership – certainly with the help of our team – but I go back and review these principles, regularly. Just two weeks ago, I finished the Audible on “Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles”, and it inspired me to do these very things that we’re talking about. So, review them frequently. Let them work for you, and in you. Review a principle a week. Inspire your team and fellow workers to apply the same principles with one aim: magnificent, inspired, courageous leadership to do something about it. And then, you stand up and provide that kind of leadership, especially through the dark times. And in the process, you will bless everybody that you associate with.
I like this comment: “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” And from A Bug’s Life, “The first rule of leadership: everything is your fault.” Well, what’s that saying is that you take responsibility for the outcome. And this is the very message that we’re saying. Leadership helps you to create your future versus cowering in the corner or becoming immobilized by fear, inaction, or confusion. So, be relentless in finding solutions. Having a warrior spirit. It’s simply, NO QUIT! And these are powerful things. These are the intangibles we talk about. We’re at least determined we’re going to be in the arena and we try.
And the other aspect in this process of magnificent, wonderful leadership, is to be good and to do good across all roles. And we just do this while we’re living life and doing what matters most, day in and day out. And the end result is it lifts everyone around us and it lifts the world that we are in, in the process. I’ll just give three brief examples from one of our companies. This is an energy services company. Here are the three examples: The first, a message from a customer. One of our associates, a technician from synergy companies was riding on the highway in California and noticed a car pulled over and there was smoke coming out from under the hood. He quickly pulled behind the car, got out his fire extinguisher, he lifted the hood and put out the fire. He said, “Okay, everything’s secure.” And he looked at the people as everything was secure, he says, “Okay, everything’s just fine. It’s time for me to go back to work.” He didn’t share his name or anything else. He got into his van and off he went. Well, on the van was the company number, and these people quickly copied it down, they called our office and they said, “We would just like to thank you today for sending a guardian angel.” This is the example of, you just do good. You look for opportunities.
We have a number of offices throughout California. This came from another office, and it was a lady who wrote on Facebook. She went to the Facebook page for our company and she said, “I have not done work with your company before, but I just want you to know I happened to be in a Starbucks drive-thru line today. One of your workers paid for the following five people behind him in the Starbucks line. And I just want to thank you for having such an awesome company!” Well, now, we didn’t ask that particular worker to do that, but see the impact that this has on, virtually, everybody?
And the third example that I wish to give is about one of our workers. We had done some work at a school. And this was related to us by the inspector of the work – after the work is done, there’s an independent inspector that goes by, and this is what was told. He said that “D., your worker was there to meet the maintenance man who would open the gate to go into the school so that the inspection could take place. And, as that took place, D. noticed that the maintenance man got out of his car, went to open the big gate, unlock the gate for the school, and as he did, D. noticed somehow the car got engaged in ‘drive’ and was heading straight towards the maintenance man. And D. shouted, ‘Look out! Look out!’ And the maintenance man dove to the ground to avoid the car. D. rushed over and secured the car, he shut it off, and didn’t think anything else about it.” The maintenance man told this to the inspector when he got there, and he said “Today, D. saved me. I certainly would have ended up in the hospital if not much worse!”
Now, these are just little things, right? It’s having a heads up, it’s looking to do good. It might be a compliment, recognizing the good in other people, but these are examples of magnificent, inspiring, courageous leadership. We’re just in the game, we’re doing the things that this kind of leadership does: it’s integrity, it’s leading with a vision, it’s having clear goals and a plan. It’s doing consistently because you have this skill to point to the direction to do what matters most. It’s how you treat other people. It’s living the golden rule, and it’s building trust. And one of the great ways to build trust is taking time to be a good communicator. And, once you have these set up, now you have a culture of high innovation and inspiring people to use their imaginations, which helps solve the problems of the day – it teaches you how to do it. It’s about taking responsibility for the outcome, and always gaining knowledge so that you have new and fresh ideas – and applying that knowledge. And then, in the whole process of everything, living in peace and balance in the middle of the battle and the fire, and never giving up. These are the qualities that we’re talking about. You can see how they create a special leadership, a direction.
Well, the second thing we’d recommend today for you, that you can do – one is to have that kind of leadership. Number two is to manage to solid business basics. Now, I’m going to use business basics even though they really change depending on whether you’re doing this at home as a parent, or as a team, a coach, a teacher. What are your basics? Well, I can tell you what the basics were for Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach. At the beginning of each season, even though his team had just won the National Championship the year before, he would walk into the first practice the next year, and, as he walked into the locker room, he’d be holding a football. And everybody was anxious, especially the new people. And he’d hold the football high and he’d say, “This is a football! And this is how we win national championships. It’s all about blocking, tackling, and execution.” Well, that’s what manage into solid business basics would be in the football world.
Well, in business, it’s the fastest way to cash. It’s exhausting every way possible to grow your business. And cash is king, especially in a financial crisis like this. And then, systems and people, and place to grow your revenues, collecting your accounts receivables, watching your key numbers, knowing what your deposits are, knowing what your cash flow is, the payroll numbers, and the materials. And, let’s say it’s a sales organization. Okay, how many sales a day do you need to win the day, to be successful? How much is the average sale? What’s your closing rate? Let’s say you’re a production team. What are your goals? How many texts do you need to meet the goal? How many jobs a day do you need? What’s the average revenue per job? If you’re a hotel/motel owner, like Cal Clark, our wonderful friend who did such a great job! I could sit down with him and he would tell me for five years, “Here’s the occupancy rates, here’s the cost per room, here’s the advertising, and here’s what we lose if we don’t fill up that room that night.” He knew every detail, and so he managed to these business basics.
Or on a personal level, for example, are you managing your time to consistently do what matters most? Do you have a process? Do you break it down? So, this is managing to the solid business basics of whatever you want to be excellent at. And, when you’re working with other people, you’re the leader, right? Well, mind your strategy, have this crystal clear. And we, of course, at Becoming Your Best, teach about the pyramid of the strategic plan and align, but it’s essentially this – and we have it clear in mind, this is what you want to do to manage to these things. Here’s the vision, right? That’s leadership. Here are our core values. Leadership. Here are TIGs – totally inspirational goals. We’re moving down the pyramid and moving towards the base of it. And each one of these slices is important. Here are the annual goals; now, this is where the first three – vision, core values, TIGs – those are a large L. Well, now we move to annual goals and the L becomes a little smaller and the M starts growing because here’s what we need to do to execute on that vision. Here are our quarterly goals and now you’re moving to a large M, the L is making the adjustments. And then, what are you doing today? That’s almost totally M. Once it’s clear where “the L” you’re going. But you want to have that L clearly out there because then it helps you to have the large M and make it a reality. And especially in a world of turbulence and rapid change. I like this quote by Robert Bloch: “The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone else to blame it on!” In leadership and management, there is no one else to blame it on. You take full responsibility.
And the last subset of this manage into a solid business is, you want to stay ahead of the tsunami – move and take action, recognize when the tide goes out. And there’s certain signs there that there’s a tsunami coming. So, you adapt, you pivot, you take action, and you have a process to make decisions. And that is where the ‘Six steps to effectively plan, create solutions, and take action’ can be a great resource for you because now you have a way to manage around all the things that change constantly as we’re going through the early part of the Coronavirus, every single week. We had a different scenario, didn’t we? We had a different set of rules. It was this way and then the next week it would change and, oh my goodness! This is exactly what is required.
Now, these two are so powerful together! Magnificent, inspired, courageous leadership – the direction – and wonderful management to solid business basics, however that looks in your world. Now, the greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He or she is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things, including yourself in the process. Now, what is needed in a time of crisis and uncertainty? The majestic skill of leadership and the indispensable skill of management will help you win the day!
And I’d like to conclude today’s podcast with one last example that helps illustrate these points, these skills, and practice. It happens to be with Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, who was an officer in the Union Army in the Civil War. Now, just keep in mind the 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders, which helps then contribute to the majestic, inspiring, courageous leadership in the time of crisis and the time of need; and also applying the basic essential management skills needed – and to do them well and consistently, to win the day, to have a glorious outcome.
The timing of this experience that I’m going to share with Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Chamberlain happened just a couple of days before the Battle of Gettysburg. The Lieutenant Colonel Chamberlain and his platoon were outside about a day from Gettysburg, and another officer came up with 136 soldiers, set them under a tree, under armed guard. He came up to Lieutenant Colonel Chamberlain and said, “These are Union Army soldiers who declare they would no longer fight. They want to go home. We’re shifting the command to you. They’re scoundrels. You can shoot them if you want to shoot them, but they’re not worth anything.” And then, the former leader left. Lieutenant Colonel Chamberlain, first of all, after he tended to his business, invited the leader of the group into his tent. He heard the grievances, he took time to understand. And then, he went over and addressed the entire 136 of these individuals. He talked about the purpose of the Civil War and how it was “freedom for all”. And it wasn’t about land and it wasn’t about money. He said, “This is a different cause!” And then he went on to say that they had established their platoon of 1000 people a year ago. He said, “We’re now down to 300 people. Now, we are going to go to a battle on Gettysburg. This very well may determine the fate of not only the battle, but the entire Civil War and the future of the United States of America. Now, I can’t force you to fight, but I can tell you we’re short-handed, and if you would be willing to join us, we’ll give you your arms back and nobody will say anything else about what’s happened in the past. And as a personal favor, I want you to know, I would much appreciate it!” And he walked away.
Just then, they had the sound to congregate and march into Gettysburg. That was the command that came to him. And so, he had them all get up, and he rode to the front of the whole platoon with his 300 and these other individuals. His assistant came up, he says, “You’re not going to believe this! 130 men chose to take up their arms again.” Now, think of the magnificent, inspiring, courageous leadership. It’s all about people. It’s about bringing the best out in others. It’s about helping define and see the vision, the direction that can make a difference, that moves you and it moves the other people.
Well, they were assigned to a location on the battlefield called Little Round Top. It’s a mountain, an area that is above the battlefield. His commander said, “You simply cannot lose this vantage point because whoever has this vantage point, will command the battlefield!” Now, with his added 130 – the other six just sat there – and his 300, they took their position on the very flank on July 2nd, 1863. Chamberlain was posted on this federal line at Little Round Top, just in time to face the Confederate General John B. Hood. I mean, this is a legendary general! The attack was on the Union flank. They were attacked again, and again, and again, and they were exhausted after repulsing repeated assaults. The 20th main, out of ammunition, quickly, Chamberlain got his leaders together. They had lost over half of their men in these attacks! He looked around to those six, he says, “This is your last time!” And four of them got up, said, “We don’t have any guns!” He said, “Just wait a minute, and you’ll have guns!” And so, exhausted after this, they all reported their ammunition was out. They just had very low ammunition. He said, “We are going to execute a bayonet charge. They’ve got to be just as worn out as we are!”
And so, he commanded his one officer that it would be like a pincher coming down the left side, a gate swinging in, and he would command the others coming straight down at them. They looked up, and the enemy was coming again. He said, “Move! We’ve got to go! Now!” And after they did this, they ran down the hill, they fixed their bayonets, and he said, “Charge!” and they dislodged the attackers, and they secured General Meade’s embattled left. They won the day on Little Round Top, denying the Confederates the high ground. This arguably was one of the major, decisive factors for winning the battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War. It was a turning point. Now, just think about the power of this type of leadership we’re talking about. First of all, if he had not exercised this type of leadership with those 136 soldiers, he probably would not have been able to hold out on the Little Round Top. And then, upon Little Round Top, after losing half of his forces, being out of ammunition, he did both: he led the leadership, he executed the management of what they had, and won the day!
So, in the middle of this pandemic, there is fear and loneliness, discouragement, and uncertainty. So, what are you to do? You be the one to stand up and make a difference! And in the years to come, what will people say about how you responded? And what will you say about yourself and how you responded to one of the world’s worst crises of a millennium? You could say, “We were in the arena. That was our moment, and we’re proud of our actions and our efforts onward to victory!” And this will be part of your legacy.
Well, it has been such a pleasure and honor to be together with you today. We wish you the very best as you work on these and exercise these wonderful skills. I admire you for being on this podcast, for your efforts, and we wish you a great day and a great future!