Archive for February 10th, 2014|Daily archive page

Is LEADERSHIP and PARENTING the same thing?

In Book, Communication, Griot, Networking, News, Self Improvement, TV Shows on February 10, 2014 at 8:50 am


with JJ Ramberg

JJ: In my travels, talking to small business owners I’ve always been struck by those who have been able to create working environments where everyone in the company is excited to come to work in the morning, where they all truly feel like critical parts of the team and where there’s a sense of cooperation and wanting everyone to succeed. Which is why I am excited today to talk to Dr. Simon Sinek. He is the author of the new book: LEADERS EAT LAST.
Nice to meet you Simon.

So this is the thing that every owner is jealous of when they see great corporate culture. And in your study you basically go back to the beginning of man to figure how this works…

SIMON: I think people forget that TRUST and COOPERATION are not instructions. You can’t tell people to trust you and you can’t employees to cooperate their feelings. And those feelings come from the paleolithic era when man started walking on this planet earth because it was a matter of survival. We lived in a dangerous world and if we didn’t trust and cooperate we would get eaten or we’d succumb to the elements.

JJ: So basically when you’re working a company there are also those elements there – there’s competition, there’s a bad economy out there and you need to be able to work together.

SIMON: It’s exactly the same and so all the systems in our bodies are designed for our survival. And their designed to get us to trust and cooperate. There are certain chemicals in our bodies that incentivize us to repeat behaviors in our best interest. That’s why when we do something good for somebody, it feels good. You know, that’s why we have friends — it feels nice to be around them.

JJ: But so many people don’t like coming to work and they don’t feel like it’s a safe place, so how can you, as a leader, as CEO make it feel like a safe place?

SIMON: So leadership is exactly like parenting. And if you think about what makes a great parent – a great parent is someone who puts the well being of their child first. They want to educate them, open up opportunities, discipline them when necessary and very often will put their children before themselves. We feed our children before we feed ourselves. A good leader is exactly the same.

A leader wants to educate their people, they want their people to grow up to be more successful than they are, they want to reward good behavior, discipline bad behavior and most importantly when it matters, would be willing to sacrifice their own interests for their people.

JJ:  So you’re saying, okay – 2013 was a terrible year. I’m going to have to lay off 1/3 of my staff — actually, you know what, I’m going to reduce my salary to the minimum – so that I can keep people on?

SIMON: Sometimes it’s a salary based thing and again if the family falls on hard times, we don’t get rid of our children. Having a kid is very expensive; just like having an employee is very expensive. The problem is with using people as a disposable resource. We’d sooner sacrifice the people to save the numbers than sacrifice the numbers to save the people. This is very, very bad in creating trust. There’s a company in St. Louis called Barry-Wehmiller and in 2008 they suffered hard times and lost 30% of their orders overnight; couldn’t afford their labor pool.  And so the question of lay-off’s came up, and the CEO Bob Chapman refused. Instead they implemented a furlow program: 4 weeks of unpaid vacation and employee  could take it anytime that they wanted and they didn’t have to take it consecutively. But it was how Bob announced it that was most important – he told his people, “It’s better that we should all suffer a little than any of us should have to suffer a lot.” And in a hard economy when people sit down with the numbers and say “Oh just cut a few people then we’ll make numbers,”… if we ask the people would you rather loose 4 weeks of pay or loose your job, I think the answer is very simple. Most importantly when Barry-Wehmiller implemented that furlow moral skyrocketed.  People started doing things for each other that nobody predicted. People who could afford it more would trade with people who could afford it less.

JJ:  You know that’s interesting, we covered a design company at that exact time and the exact same thing happened. They reduced everybody’s salaries and everyone really came together in it. Okay, so people don’t fear for their jobs and then they learn to trust the company more.  What about fearing, ‘I’m ambitious. I want to get ahead — this person is after my job,’ how do you get rid of that dynamic?

SIMON:  Again, the tone is set from the top and when the leader believes in looking out for each other and when the leader believes in putting the interests of others first, what’s starts to happen is people work to see that leaders visions advanced.  It’s the same for all of us. When we are willing to expend our time and energy to help the people next to us, the people next to us are willing to help us. This is what the Marine Corp. has known for years.  When you become a recruit at Paris Island or in San Diego you want to become a marine, they all show up and they want to prove to the drill instructor that they’re strong, they’re smart and they outdo it. But the marines keep putting them in situations that they can’t complete by themselves and they have to learn to rely on each other.  And in time they start learn that they will do so much better and advance so much more if they put themselves out there and help each other, it’s exactly the same in a business. When we work together we are better.  The human animal is designed to cooperative and work together and when we work to our design everything works perfectly.

JJ: Simon it’s so good to see you, congratulations on your new book. I suggest everyone read it because your book was really amazing.

blue_diamond divider

Good morning good people, we all want to be our best;
every new day doth come with a new test.

Leaders Eat Last, is the name of Simon’s book.
Is Leadership like Parenting? – is my subject hook.

And if you ask me to answer the hooks quest –
my heart felt answer to the subject line is YES.

JJ’s interview was awesome – I think we can all do better,
I’m Qui
and I’m down with thee; a true fan of working together!