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Solo Episode: Putting the Pin Back in the Grenade

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00:00 Hey, welcome to Dose of Leadership. So happy you're tuning into the show solo episode. My goodness, I haven't done one in such a long time. I'm getting back in the swing of things. I got a brand new recorder, digital recorder, and this is the reason why I haven't been able to record so many episodes because as you know, I'm flying with the airlines, so that takes up about half my month when I'm back at home. Obviously taking care of the family, doing the family thing, but I also got a couple of clients and taking care of him. Finally embedded with a couple of organizations, helping them on their leadership journey, creating this decentralized culture of leadership and that's my passion. That's been fun, but it takes up my time and obviously I'm doing a sponsored podcast with equity bank as you hear on this show, the equity bank series, and that takes up time as well.

00:45 But I'm on the road. I got this digital recorder now I can do the solo episodes, so I'm back with a vengeance with force and hopefully, you're going to be hearing more about me. I'm going to try to do one a week as the intent. That's the goal. And uh, we'll start off with this one here and I do have a sponsor of this show, RSM marketing. My great friends there, they've been great supporters of this show. They've been helping me on my entrepreneurial journey as well. From a marketing perspective, are you overwhelmed with marketing like I am? I mean, I can't afford a marketing team. I'm a team of one here, Solo Entrepreneur, and I get overwhelmed by those expanding marketing tactics out there. I mean, it's different than it was five years ago. My Gosh, it's changing all the time. And so if you're a small startup or a sole solo-preneur like me, or you're a large organization with thousands of them, thousands of employees, it doesn't matter.

01:39 I want you to check out RSM marketing because an outsource marketing department may be your solution. An OMD, if you will, you see, RSM employs dozens of specialists and experience marketing directors and they act as your outsource marketing department. Companies hire RSM because of the complexity of marketing and it's growing exponentially as companies. We don't want to hire and manage a large team of marketing professionals. So Al sourcing allows us to gain access to this full team of specialists with the flat monthly subscription rate and that's what's beautiful about RSM marketing and many times this cost, believe it or not, is lower than the cost of a single full-time employee. If you want to learn more or schedule a meeting with my friend Mike Snyder, managing partner at RSM and he'll get you all the information that you need. They work hard so they make it easy for you.

02:32 RSM has been named twice at the INC 5,000 and they operate a cost-efficient headquarters, right smack dab in the middle of the United States in Wichita, Kansas. So it makes it easy to work with anybody, schedules all across the country. Those the leadership listeners, you can get $5,000 in additional outsource marketing department services. If you follow the link, that's our of leadership. And it has all the information there, all the links where you can connect with Mike and you can get started on your marketing journey. Check them out. All right, this show solo episode, it's his concept, what I call putting the pin in. The grenade has come up a few times working with my clients over the last seven months. And as you know, I'm passionate about and what I specialize in is helping organizations create this decentralized culture of leadership.

03:23 We talk about it exclusively or, or many times on this show with gas and even on solo episodes. And it's this whole idea of, uh, if you're going to be effective, if you're going to scale, if you're going to be, uh, an organization that can effectively deal with a chaotic situation. And let's face it, all of our businesses are chaotic. Life is chaotic. But the goal and this is why we study leadership, is to be that composed, confident, consistent, and courageous force within that chaos that gives you the edge. That's what we're trying to do. Now to do that, to create this culture, it demands that the middle and below, and I'm specifically talking about your middle managers if you're in the middle of an organization if you're in the middle and below, you really are the engine of the organization. Don't discount the influence that you have in your organization.

04:13 Yes, leadership starts at the top, no doubt about it, but the middle and below are the ones that get it across the goal line. Leadership starts at the top. Leadership demands at all levels demand that we set the example that we're always trying to uh, be that composed force. You know, it's, it's, it's a messy, complicated mess at times. What I'm trying to get you remember that the power is in that middle and below is if they feel empowered, if they are empowered to make decisions without asking for permission, it's creating this culture of asking for forgiveness instead of permission. That scares a lot of people. It scares a lot of CEO's and people above. But remember what we're trying to do. We're trying to scale. We're trying to get things done with more, with less. We're trying to be adaptive. So we're trying to support those customer-facing roles that people that have eyes on opportunities, eyes on the customer's hands on the customers.

05:08 We want them to feel empowered to make the decision to support. And this is key to support the intent of the business because it's two parts, right? The middle and below focus on how they're going to get it done, but they can't focus on how they're going to get done unless they know what they're trying to accomplish and why they're trying to accomplish. And that's the role of the senior leader. What are we trying to accomplish and why? So the senior leaders, they're the main focus is communicating maniacally, maniacally communicating. You cannot over-communicate what you're trying to accomplish and why. This is where we're going. This is why we're going that way. This is where we're going, this is why we're going that way. That is the key role of senior leaders. If the middle and below has that, then they're off to the races.

05:51 If the middle and below has that. What and the why than the middle of them below can start carrying out courageously the intent of the organization and that's what we mean by that. That's what we're trying to create. What I see a lot of times is the middle and below says yes. I don't want to be micromanaged. Everybody says that I don't want to be micromanaged. I want to be empowered. We'll make sure that you do because I'm telling you a lot of times we're excited about creating this culture. In the middle of the below, they get the empowerment and there's still stagnant. They're still frozen. I understand why I get it. It's because we're not used to having it and pick a, particularly in organizations that are in transition as we went from a startup. Now we're growing and we're trying to scale and it's just normal for people to deal with that transition.

06:37 You know, you can't just overnight expect people who haven't been empowered to all of a sudden embrace it. There are a few. There is that handful that does it, but by and large, a lot of times people have to ease into this empowerment piece. And so I'm really am speaking to you middle and below to you middle managers and below those of you that are the engine of the organization. Number one, I want you to embrace that empowerment and once you to feel empowered, I want you to ask for forgiveness instead of permission. Take that chance. Take that risk. Yes, get it takes a tremendous amount of courage to do that.

07:14 But there's this concept where they, you can make the most bang for your buck, where you can really start to move the culture needle. Is it the middle and below? I can embrace this idea of what I call putting the pin on the grenade and what do I mean by that? Well, in every organization you're always going to see it. We've all been there, right? We've all been in situations in an organization where we're trying to, you know, get through this empowerment idea. Yeah, I feel empowered them. I'm going to make these decisions and all of a sudden here comes a senior leader, here comes a VP, here comes the CEO, somebody who has a tremendous amount of positional authority, and just by the mere fact that them walking in the room can change the whole dynamics of the situation, right? It's just the way it is.

08:01 I mean, if I'm a sergeant in the marine corps and the general walks in it, things are going to be different, right? So a couple of things the senior leader needs to be aware of that positional authority needs to be aware of their presence. It may seem strange to them, but just the mere fact that you have that positional authority entitled can change the dynamics. So you gotta be cognitive of that. But it is what it is, right? People are going to act differently when the general walks in the room. It just the way it is. So we know that that's the fact and the reality, but what I talk about these grenades, they're perceived grenades, right? Literally, obviously these aren't literal grenades, but they've perceived grenades and usually the middle and below perceived them as grenades. The senior leaders, I would contend nine times out of 10 don't realize they're throwing a grenade. Now they may insert themselves because they feel like, and they have a right to do it. They have a right to insert themselves in the organization where they see fit, where they think they can add value. Um, hopefully, it's not overbearing and hopefully, it's not micromanaging, but it is what it is. If I am a VP, if I'm a CEO, I'm going to insert myself where I think things are needed.

09:16 As the senior leader, I may not perceive that as throwing a grenade and I can guarantee you, I don't look at it as a grenade because I'm never going in there trying to intent to hurt, maim, or kill this process. Maybe there's an occasion, I am trying to stop it, but nine times out of 10, I'm inserting myself because I think I'm adding value. I think I'm helping. I may or may not, that's not the point of this conversation. But the point is I'm trying to make is the thrower of the perceived grenade usually doesn't know they're throwing a grenade. The receivers, however, tend to receive it and view it as a grenade because it's disrupting what they're trying to do. Now, how you respond to that perceived your nade being thrown is what I'm trying to get across here because of nine times out of 10 what I see or people running a what?

10:07 What do you do when a grenade was thrown? They literally run for their lives, right, and they deflect or they give it to somebody else because they don't want it to explode in their face. They don't want to deal with the shrapnel and the after effects. That's the wrong solution. Every now and then you'll see a hero that jumps up and jumps on the grenade and takes one for the team. That's not necessarily the best thing either. In this analogy, what I want you to do and listen close to me if you're middle and below, this is the this is where you make the most bang for the buck for an organization. This is where you effectively are leading up and leading across in leading down and helping the organization create this culture of a decentralized leadership.

10:50 When the next literal or figurative grenade is thrown, perceived grenade, his throne. I want you to stand there and sit there in a composed manner and watch it spin around and effectively I want want you with courage and calmness and composure to pick it up and put the pin in and say, yes sir. Yes ma'am. I see this as important. What do you want me to do with this? And that stops the perceived chaos. It does a whole host of things. When you do that, you as the middle leader, influencer in the organization, it helps me, the seating leader to become a better leader. It helps me in communication. It helps me. You're extracting the intent from me. Does that make sense? So instead of just running away from the procedure nade instead of diving on the grenade, you're picking it up, you put the pin and you're looking at me and we're having a conversation and you're extracting the intent from me. You're helping me, the senior leader become a better leader. Does that make sense? If I'm the senior leader, hopefully, the next time I'll be more cognizant and more aware.

11:58 Okay.

11:58 If and when I'm throwing a grenade or procedure nade right.

12:02 I love that example because it highlights the importance of you, the middle manager and below how much influence you have in an organization on helping the senior leaders to become a better leader and taking care of your folks. Making sure the grenade doesn't throw up and disrupt everything. Right now. That grenade that I threw that you perceive may be extremely important to, it could change the priority trajectory, the what we're working on it, it could be that important. And that's what we're trying to find out. So instead of reacting to the situation and just reacting to what the positional authority figure has inserted themselves into, we're having the conversation, we're extracting the intent and where are we gauging against, uh, all the priorities that we already have set in motion because it may be the most important thing. Does that make sense? If you're in the middle of them below and you're saying, well I came in because the boss said this and the bosses ranting raven because I said so, and this is more important than that and this and that. Look, senior leaders are going to insert themselves. They have a right to insert themselves,

13:10 but you have an obligation. It's not your right to challenge. It's your obligation. It's your obligation to pick up that little, that figurative grenade, put the pin in and ask, I know this is important to you sir, obviously cause you wouldn't have thrown it. What do you want me to do with this? Why is this important? That will change the culture needle faster than anything else. It will change it faster than changing all the personality types of your senior leaders. It'll change it faster than uh, you know, changing your product. I mean [inaudible] it is so powerful. I've seen it time and time again and that's my challenge to you. If you're listening to us, if you are at the middle and below, I'm challenging you. Find those times when the grenades thrown. Don't dive on it. Don't run away from it. Commonly pick it up and put the pin in and start extracting the intent, asking why it is your biggest and most powerful Arrow in your quiver and it's central.

14:13 If we're going to create this culture of decentralized leadership, it is a game changer or let me know when you think about this episode, reach out to send me an email. I will respond. I promise you I answer all my emails. It may take me a while to get to it, but I will personally either call you or answer the emails. Let me know where you're at in your journey. If you're needing somebody to be that Arrow in your quiver to help change that culture of leadership in your organization, on your guy, I'm an expert at this. I'm passionate about this. You can insert me. I can be embedded and I guarantee you I will get people to start looking at things differently than you ever have done before, and this is what I'm put on this planet to do. So reach out to me and I will see what we can do for your organization. All right. Thanks for being a listener to the show. Thanks for being a fan of this show. Until next time, we'll see you on the next solo episode.

Business is chaotic.  Even in organizations that fully embrace decentralized decision making, the figurative “grenade” is thrown by good intentioned leaders.

How we respond to these perceived “grenades” being thrown is worthy of intentional focus.

What do you do when these figurative grenades are thrown?

Do you run for your life? Do you deflect and give it to somebody else because you don’t want to deal with it exploding in your face? Or are you a hero that jumps on the grenade and takes one for the team?

Neither of these actions is ideal.  Yes, leadership starts at the top…but it’s the middle and below that brings it across the finish line.

In this episode, I detail the tactics to effectively deal with leadership disruptions and figurative “grenades” within your organization.

When a perceived grenade is thrown, true leaders sit there in a composed manner, watch it spin around, and with courage and calmness and composure to pick it up and put the pin in.  Then they asked the question to the thrower and say,  “I see this as important. What do you want me to do with this?”.

This stops the perceived chaos, extracts the intent, & helps everyone become a better leader.

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