Jon Gordon is an author and speaker on leadership, culture, sales, and teamwork. He has worked with numerous athletic organizations, academic institutions, and corporations. His latest book is “The Power of Positive Leadership.” He teaches people how to focus on weeding out the negative and not letting that energy poison the team.
Jon describes himself as a once fearful, negative and stressed out 31-year old. What changed all of that? His wife gave him the ultimatum: Change your life or I am leaving you. He had an “Aha” moment that gave him the revelation he was meant to write and speak. However, Jon knew he needed to work on himself first, so he started taking steps to better himself. He began by going on walks of gratitude and created a “positive tip of the week” newsletter. This lead to him creating a website, doing about 80 free talks to get started, and ultimately just going for it as an entrepreneur. Jon describes impacting others as being the greatest feeling in the world.
“The Power of Positive Leadership” and Jon’s overall message is about how to root out the negative and focus on the positive. One negative person can bring an entire team down. He calls these people “negative vampires” and says they must be addressed, called out, and kicked off the bus. Building positive leaders fosters building a positive team. You get people on your bus by the way you lead. It can’t be an ultimatum—“Be positive or your are out of here!”
Chris Fussell starts the podcast explaining the process of becoming a Seal. The teams of the Special Forces do not select as much as they down select. Out of the 150 people who start a Seals class, maybe 25 will make it. The military uses rigorous training to sort out “who has it” and who doesn’t. People have to have special inherent skills and then they are nurtured to refine those skills. A good team is made up of individuals that complement each others shortcomings and are able to magnify each others strength.
Chris stresses that these men have all the same burdens that civilians have, they just have it coupled with combat stressors as well. They deploy for an amount of time and then come home to a wife, kids, and a stack of bills. Everyone, especially soldiers, need to have a cocktail of coping tools so there is a balance between work and personal life. You can’t be amazing at work and have your family falling apart. Things will start to unravel at work rapidly.
Chris was a young officer in 2004 when the conflict in Iraq started. This was his first full scale conflict. He had the misconception that there was a set plan going in, and that all they had to do was execute that plan. Chris quickly learned he wasn’t entering a stable environment. Everyone needed to be proactive and adaptive to the war zone.
Now that Chris is helping manage a company, he uses that experience to always adapt and readjust. He realizes he needs small teams with a rapid fire adaption mentality. People need to see a problem and intuitively react to it. While in the Navy Seals they re-strategized every 24 hours. There were 6,000-7,000 people around the world sharing a consciousness every 24 hours. The most seasoned teams were able to run with speed and autonomy without checking in because of this once a day communication. They were able to make decisions on their own and be highly effective.
Chris and Michael end the podcast discussing what makes a working relationship. Relationships are grounded in knowing other perspectives. We have to be willing to see things differently and know that both individuals, when there is a disagreement, could be right. When you are on a team and leading with the perspective that everyone is part of your family, it turns teams into a more giving and trusting environment.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
Nature vs. Nurture
Learning from failure
Synchronicity between data and leadership
Zealots and martyrs
“Treat everyone on the battlefield like they are your mother.”- Chris Fussell