Stephen Drum, retired Navy SEAL master chief and author of “Life on the X: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Meeting Any Challenge with Courage, Confidence, and Readiness”, discusses the values and commitments necessary for effective leadership. This is Steve’s second time as a guest on The Leadership Podcast, and in this episode he discusses the importance of being authentic in one’s values and purpose along with the significance of focusing on the basics to achieve success. The use of After Action Reviews (AARs) is also highlighted as a way to continuously improve performance by identifying opportunities for growth. Join us as we dive deeper into this conversation about leadership, feedback, and the application of military principles to business leadership.
[04:26] Stephen Drum talks about the meaning behind the title of his book “Life on the X.” The X represents the critical point of execution on a combat mission, the most dangerous and difficult point. By preparing and training for this point, success can be achieved in less dangerous situations.
[06:38] The first section of the book discusses commitment, values, purpose, attributes, and character.
[09:53] Stephen believes leaders need to focus on the basics, being crystal clear on the desired end state and checking for comprehension. They caution against getting too caught up in technology and processes before identifying the necessary resources for a project or endeavor.
[12:40] Stephen believes that brilliant basics consist of giving resources, setting clear expectations and accountability, and coaching depending on an individual’s skills and experience. He also emphasizes the importance of contingency planning and emotional control.
[24:48] Stephen explains that the concept of After Action Reviews (AARs) depends on the position and organization, but some clients gravitate towards it while others are focused on the production and don’t have time. Steve suggests making the process efficient and identifying opportunities to leverage the experience. Steve finds that clients embrace this approach.
[27:20] During a meeting with a client, Stephen realized the client’s note-taking gave him confidence they would follow through on the discussed actions. He believes taking notes is important in memorializing information and it helps people remember and take things seriously.
[30:30] Stephen also talks about the challenges of giving effective feedback. Research shows that feedback is often not as effective as we think because people tend to get defensive and blame others or misremember. As a leader, it’s important to give future-focused, succinct feedback that only addresses things that can be changed.
[34:16] Stephen explains feedback in the military serves different purposes, such as accountability and documentation, but can also be used to replicate the stress of combat. The military also practices intrusive leadership, which involves getting into people’s personal lives to provide support and resources.
[38:14] Stephen reflects on how in special operations, there are peaks and troughs, whereas in the business world, it’s go time all the time, and without self-care, burnout is inevitable.
[40:55] People tend to push too hard and can’t keep up that pace. Separating work and family can be healthy for some, but for others, it’s better to have a more intense focus on work or other activities. In the military, there’s no time off during a deployment, and even holidays are not completely free of work. In the business world, it’s important to find ways to foster creativity and give employees a break from the grind of their daily work.
[42:29] Identify their next big moment or key opportunity and develop an architecture for success, which aligns with the theme of his book.
[43:36] Closing quote: Remember, “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind, next to honor. ” — Aristotle
The Leadership Podcast is sponsored by W.S. Darley & Company.
Founded in 1908, Darley remains a family owned and operated business, providing the highest quality equipment solutions to our country’s warfighters and firefighters.
Learn more at darley.com and darleydefense.com
Quotable Quotes"As the leader, you have to be crystal clear on the desired end state." Click To Tweet "We sometimes give into or fall prey to the allure of technology or certain sexy processes." Click To Tweet "If it's serious and important enough, you're going to take the time to put pen to paper." Click To Tweet "Feedback is not nearly as effective as you think it is, or that you need it to be." Click To Tweet "If you're receiving feedback and it basically could be construed as negative or overly constructive, you're going to get defensive." Click To Tweet "Identify what your next big moment or key opportunity is and figure out how you're going to develop the architecture for success." Click To Tweet "A lot of people want to work from home, but for many people, it's healthy to have a separation, to go to work and be focused on that and then come home and focus just on that." Click To Tweet "The mind, body, soul is critical. The body piece, rest, nutrition, physical activity, how that contributes to emotions and cognitive ability." Click To Tweet
These are the books mentioned in our discussion with Steve
- Sponsored by | www.darley.com
- Rafti Advisors. LLC | www.raftiadvisors.com
- Self-Reliant Leadership. LLC | selfreliantleadership.com
- Stephen Drum | stephendrum.com
- Stephen Drum on LinkedIn | Stephen Drum
- Stephen Drum on Facebook | www.facebook.com/stephen.drum.967
- Stephen Drum on Instagram | @stephen.drum
- “5 Strategies to infuse D&I into Your Organization,” HBR