002 Stan Phelps: You can’t be half pregnant and succeed

002 Stan Phelps: You can’t be half pregnant and succeed

Podcast Show Notes with Stan Phelps

How do you know when you need to cut the cord? Join me as Stand Phelps shares his story of a life altering decision that caused him to uproot his family while still being pulled back by old ties.

Learn how he made a leadership decision that changed the course of his career and life.

Since that decision, Stan has become a best-selling author and requested speaker at numerous events across the globe.

Stan is an experience architect and Founder of 9inchmarketing in Cary, North Carolina.

He believes that today’s organizations must focus on meaningful differentiation to win the hearts of both employees and customers.

His 20 year career in marketing included leadership positions at IMG, adidas, PGA Exhibitions and Synergy. He has also worked on award-winning experiential programs for top brands such as KFC, Wachovia, NASCAR, Starbucks and M&M’s.

Stan’s writing is syndicated on top sites such as Forbes, Customer Think and Business2Community. He also writes as a contributor to MENG Blend and Switch & Shift. He has spoken at over 100 events in the US, Canada, Sweden, Australia, The Netherlands, Russia and France.

In his free time, he enjoys tennis, golf and snowboarding.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to Stan Phelps and get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“I stay ready to prevent having to get ready.” -Stan Phelps Click to Tweet

“Treat employees like they make a difference and they will.” -Jim Goodnight told by Stan Phelps Click to Tweet

“Doing a lot of little things tells people you care.” -Stan Phelps Click to Tweet

“Sometimes a journey is met with follicle loss.” -Jim Rembach Click to Tweet

“You can’t be half pregnant in this world, you have to be fully committed to succeed.” -Stan Phelps Click to Tweet

“You have to be careful on doing what is safe.” -Stan Phelps Click to Tweet

“You have to have the courage to leave the safety behind and go in with both feet.” -Stan Phelps Click to Tweet

“Everyday I have to challenge myself on being a better Servant Leader to the people I work with.” -Stan Phelps Click to Tweet

“Recognition is not something you can do too often or too soon.” -Stan Phelps Click to Tweet

“Recognition is a driver of performance.” -Stan Phelps Click to Tweet

“It’s about trying to create a relationship with people first.” -Stan Phelps Click to Tweet

“If you can’t make things fun for your people then you are going to be in a losing battle.” -Stan Phelps Click to Tweet

“You need to think about your people as volunteers.” -Stan Phelps Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Stan was stuck having to do work that he felt was fundamentally different than what he believed. He knew he needed to make a change, but Stan was holding himself back and needed to get over the hump by better leading himself. Listen and learn on Stan’s journey.

Leadership Epiphany

I was doing myself and my employer a dis-service, and I just needed to make a jump.

Best Resource

His sense of humor

Recommended Reading

The Human Brand: How We Relate to People, Products, and Companies

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Resources from Stan

Executive summary of The Purple Goldfish and The Green Goldfish Click to get

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Click to access edited transcript
Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.
Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Alright Fast Leader legion, I am thrilled to introduce my guest today to you. Stan Phelps is an author, speaker and experienced architect. Stan worked with some tiny brands that you may have heard like KFC, NASCAR, Starbucks, M&M’s, PGA. He has held leadership positions at many of these organizations either through project work or working for them as an employee.
For over the past five years his focus has shifted and he has become a best-selling author. His writing is syndicated on some top sites such as Forbes, Customer Think, Business 2 Community and he also contributes at MENG Blend and Switch and Shift. He’s spoken in over 100 events across the globe in some countries that we all probably wish we have gone to like Sweden, Australia, the Netherlands, Russia and France. I think his most important job probably is being a dad to his two boys Thomas and James and a husband to his wife Jennifer. Stan welcome, are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Stan Phelps: I’m more than ready, Jim.
Jim Rembach: That’s fantastic.
Stan Phelps: I stay ready to keep some avenue get ready.
Jim Rembach: That’s a great point. Another one of those little tips that I think all of us can learn from. Now, Stan I’ve given our listeners a brief introduction. However, would you please tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you better?
Stan Phelps: Jim, my life passion is really about shifting how companies market their products and their services. My career which spans almost 20 years in marketing was really all about the beginning, focusing on the prospect and trying to grab their attention. And I think that’s a misnomer when it comes to today, because today’s marketing is truly about the experience and that’s really what your brand is at the end of the day. So, my goal is to try to get companies thinking more about the customers they already have rather than the prospects that they don’t have.
Jim Rembach: I think that’s actually become a common passion for a lot of people today and while they want to essentially live that dream they find out that it’s a really, really difficult path and I think you’re going to help us get over that hump in some of these areas. First of all, on the show we like to start with a piece of inspiration. We like to really look on leadership quotes in order to help us. For you, what would you say is one of your most favorite leadership quotes?
Stan Phelps: One of my favorites by far Jim, and it comes right here from my backyard. I live in Cary, North Carolina and there’s a company that’s based here in Cary called the SAS Institute. It was started 30+ years ago by Dr. James Goodnight. SAS has been listed as the best place to work in the world. It’s renowned in terms of its retention rates, the things that they do for employees, and this little thing that I think is the key to his mantra and this is his quote—is the idea of treating employees like they make a difference and they will and whether it’s treating people, employees, team members like they matter and if you do that, they will.
Jim Rembach: That’s a great point.
Stan Phelps: It’s a simple one but to me one that I always try to remember when I think about leadership.
Jim Rembach: I’m glad you even mentioned the SAS Institute because we expect two folks that are going to be coming up in episodes here shortly. I can’t give you some names yet because we still haven’t locked them in but hopefully they’ll be able to provide some inside scoop and tips and ideas on ways we can get over the hump from them internally. So, how do you actually apply the meaning of that quotes, Stan, in your life?
Jim Rembach: Well, everything I write and I speak about, Jim, is about the idea of doing the little extra and it’s based on a concept that comes from New Orleans called “Lagniappe” and it’s doing that little something extra that’s unexpected. If you look at SAS and how they handle their employees, they truly try to go above and beyond to do a lot of those little things that communicate that they care. And that’s what I try to do in my life when I write, my speaking and how I try to manage on a day-to-day basis.
Jim Rembach: One of your books was actually highlighting the concept of Lagniappe, wasn’t it?
Stan Phelps: Correct. Actually the trilogy of my books all touch that. The Purple Goldfish, The Green Goldfish and the Golden Goldfish.
Jim Rembach: Yeah. And hopefully we’ll have a special offer from Stan coming up for us listeners and we’ll ask him about that in a second see if it includes something from the Fish projects. Stan, no doubt that the path to where you are today has not been a simple one, we all call it a journey and sometimes journeys are met with follicle loss, and I think you and I both share that good thing you guys can see pictures of our bald and shiny heads, when you start thinking about challenges getting over that hump, oftentimes we don’t have people to help us do that we have to find out on our own and sometimes we spent a lifetime not figuring that out. Those are important stories that we like to share here at Fast Leader Show because it doesn’t matter who you are, what you do at a minimum you lead yourself, so from that perspective we are all leaders. It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re working in an organization, or if your domestic goddess as they say, we all have to lead. We are dealing with other people, we’re dealing with vendors and we’re dealing with ourselves, so therefore, from that definition we all have to lead. And the better we are at that the more of a fulfilling life and career that we’re going to have, and so we like to share those things. Stan, please tell us a story when you had a hump to get over in your leadership journey starting with the situation that actually created the [inaudible 6:32] Stan Phelps: I think my greatest hump occurred about three years ago. I’d spent about 2 1/2 years writing my first book and I got to the point where I really believe that marketing needed to change and that what I was currently doing was flat out the opposite of what I was professing. And so, I really got to this point where I needed to make that leap and really try to stand on my own two feet and that’s not an easy thing. It’s not an easy thing to leave a day job and to venture out to do something, entrepreneurial, on your own. And what I ended up doing was essentially moving my family from where we lived up in the Northeast relocating, but essentially starting my own business. The little thing that I did that was kind of a half-way was I ended up working part-time for my old agency and then part-time starting my own business. And I think the hump that I needed to get over was, you can’t be half pregnant in this world. You have to be fully committed if you want to succeed. And so that was a huge lessons to me as I made that transition.
Jim Rembach: Is that politically correct or gender correct?
Stan Phelps: [Laugh] You can’t be both things, you can’t serve two masters. And so it really got to a point where I needed to put a stake in the ground and I was able to make that transition a little over two years ago and haven’t looked back.
Jim Rembach: You and I had some personal discussions about this particular issue and I shared the half pregnant thing to somebody and that’s what I got back, “Hey, is that gender correct? But, you really get the point when you hear that, right? You just know what it means, you can’t have two feet in different ocean it just doesn’t work. For many of us that’s just a really hard thing to face. So, at what point Stan did you ultimately had that epiphany? You have to be very careful on doing what is safe. And I think for a while for the first few months, I felt like I had a nice little bit of cushion with doing the three days a week with my old former employer and I just realized I was doing myself a disservice and I was doing them a disservice by having one foot in both places. And it just got to me, it became crystal clear, I needed to put that date in the sand and I needed to find closure with my former employer and jumped into doing what I wanted to do even though there really was no net there, I just needed to jump, and that was the greatest thing I did.
Jim Rembach: As you’re talking about that, for me, it’s like you needed to stop languishing.
Stan Phelps: Correct. Safe is not always the best thing for you in terms of moving forward.
Jim Rembach: I think there’s several things that we can learn from that story and thanks for sharing it. I think making a faster decision oftentimes will cause us to make the moves that we know we need to make and knowing you Stan, I know that the risk associated with that move was not one that was a high risk. You had a lot of knowledge and wisdom and I’m sure support backing you up in making that move. I think making the ultimate decision really was already made by the time you had your own epiphany, you just have to realize what it sounds like.
Stan Phelps: Correct. Have the courage to leave the safety behind and go in with both feet. And I’ll say this, there was a lot of—and I love this term, Ooching along the way. So these small steps of things that I did to test the waters, to make sure that I knew that there was going to be a roughly safe landing when I made that jump. So it’s important to have those little things that you do that validate where you want to go. I’m not a [inaudible 10:44] anyone they jump with without having a good idea of where they’re going to land.
Jim Rembach: I think I just shot an info video not too long ago where I talked about the difference between having a journey and not having a journey and what is not having a journey, it’s called wandering because you really don’t have a target. You have to have some type of target for it to really be a journey, otherwise, you’ll just be wandering all over the place and not knowing where to go and then sometimes when you get to a particular destination you have no clue on how you got there. For me that had typically happens with Internet searching like, “How did I get here?”
Thanks so much for sharing that Stan, I think there is again so many pieces of information that we can get out of there. But I want to move us on to the fun part of our show—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Stan, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Stan, are you ready to hoedown?
Stan Phelps: Let’s Hoedown, come on.
Jim Rembach: Alright. What do you think is holding you back even today from being yet a better leader?
Stan Phelps: I think every day I have to challenge myself on how I can be a better servant leader to the people that I interact with. A lot of the work that I do is entrepreneurial as an independent kind of entrepreneur, but I also work with a couple volunteer organizations. And so every day it’s how can I support the people that I work with and that report to me on those organizations to help them perform better because ultimately that’s going to help me and the team at the end day.
Jim Rembach: Perfect. What’s the best leadership advice you have ever received?
Stan Phelps: I think it’s simply this: Recognize, Recognize, Recognize. Recognition to me as a leader is something that you cannot do too often or too soon. Recognition is a driver of performance it shouldn’t be something that just happens after the fact.
Jim Rembach: Great. What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?
Stan Phelps: I think, I really understand that at the end of the day it’s not about selling a product or a service, it’s about trying to create a relationship with people first and that those bonds and the time that you spend to strengthen those relationships are ultimately going to be what makes you successful at the end of the day.
Jim Rembach: It’s all about the people man, right? Okay, what do you feel is one of your best resources that helps you lead in business or life?
Stan Phelps: I think probably my greatest strength, and this is kind of weird, is probably my sense of humor. To me, if you can’t look at things from a very light perspective, when you can’t try to make things fun for the people that you’re working with, then you’re going to be in a losing battle.
Jim Rembach: That is an awesome resource and that’s a great way of looking at it. Most people would think tool, right? But now you thought about something else which is great. Alright, so what would be one book that you would actually recommend to our listeners?
Stan Phelps: Other than my own, I’m not going to recommend them, there is an amazing book that came out late 2013 called, The Human Brand by Chris Malone and Susan T. Fiske, and this book really boils down leadership and branding into something that’s very simple—the idea of warmth and competence. And that’s how people judge other people but also judge brands, and it’s a very simple way to understand where you are both as a person and as a brand.
Jim Rembach: We’ll definitely make that available, a link to that on our show notes page as well as some other bonus materials because Stan is going to have a special offer for us. Stan, what do you have for the listeners?
Stan Phelps: Great. Anyone that would like to go to my website which is the 9inchmarketing.com/fastleaders, they’ll be able to download an executive summary of The Purple Gold Fish as well as an executive summary of The Green Goldfish, so that both books boil down to the essence and great, great reads for folks.
Jim Rembach: And these are great reads because they’re really about little stories that have made a significant impact and goes to many of the things that Stan was actually talking about today. They can contribute to all of us having better careers and lives if we just used those really proven tools and apply them in our own life. So, Stan we’ll make that also available as a link on our show notes page which is for you ‘gonna be’, www.fastleader.net/stanphelps.
Alright, we got one more question for you to wrap up the hoedown Stan and that is: Imagine you woke tomorrow morning and you were 25 years old again, you are actually now responsible for a team that is underperforming and disengaged, you’re a brand-new leader but you’ve actually retained all of the knowledge and wisdom and skill that you currently have, now your task is to turn the team around. So, you get up, you get ready and you head out for work, what do you do now?
Stan Phelps: What do you do? I don’t know if there’s any one thing that you do Jim. But knowing what I know now and I wish I knew when I was 25, is that, those team members need to know that you care. You almost need to think about the people that are on your team as volunteers. I love this as a mentality, you almost need to treat them Jim, that there’s nothing tying them to being part of your team, that they have to want to do it. If you can show that you care about them that you’re there to support them that’s really going to create the environment where you have folks that are engaged. Most people don’t realize that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. And so I figured with my 25-year-old self would’ve jumped in there and went, ‘alright we need to do ABCD’, no, that’s not the right thing. You sit down you get to know your folks, you show them that you’re there to support them and that you truly care, you get their buying, you set a vision and then anything is possible.
Jim Rembach: That’s right. Anything is possible when you focus on those people. Stan, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. The Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.
Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader Show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over to fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

END OF AUDIO

001: Lesley Lykins: Don’t tell the commanding officer

001: Lesley Lykins: Don’t tell the commanding officer

Lesley Lykins Show Notes

What did Lesley do when she was steering a massive battleship in Iraq and headed for a big oil tanker; at the age of 23? Join me as Lesley Lykins shares her story as a young naval officer trying to get her crew to get on board.

Learn how that moment shaped her career and life and how you can take the insights she shares to move onward and upward faster.

Lesley Lykins was raised on a farm in Minerva, Ohio. She followed her father’s lead by serving in the United States Navy and was commissioned as an officer in 2001 through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) at Boston University where she graduated from the School of Management with a degree in General Management.

She started her naval career in San Diego, California and after three years she transferred to the Navy’s Public Affairs Community and worked on several projects including overseeing media relations for Explosive Ordnance Disposal units.

She left active duty following her assignment at the Pentagon where she helped establish the Navy’s social media efforts.

She is currently employed as the Director of Member Engagement for the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) where she brings the leads of both big and small brands together to collaborate and share best practices around customer experience, employee engagement and customer culture.

She spends time fundraising for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, participating as a leader in her church and is a wife and mother.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Check out @lyfsgr8 on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“In the end, after everything else is done you still have your family.” -Lesley Lykins Click to Tweet

“Never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today.” -Lesley Lykins Click to Tweet

“Give people something compelling & engaging that they want to own.” -Lesley Lykins Click to Tweet

“Implement from their perspective to motivate them to get on board.” -Lesley Lykins Click to Tweet or Get Video

“It took a lot…to learn how to engage & interact with somebody so opposite.” -Lesley Lykins Click to Tweet

“Is it easier to steer a warship or a naval executive?” -Jim Rembach Click to Tweet

“There is an incredible amount of leadership I have been able to witness.” -Lesley Lykins Click to Tweet

“Social media was not evil.” -Lesley Lykins Click to Tweet

“Best job in the world. I work with 3500 people that love people.” -Lesley Lykins Click to Tweet

“Keep your emotions in check.” -Lesley Lykins Click to Tweet

[easy-opt-in id=11101]

Hump to Get Over

Lesley was commanding a group of sailors getting ready to go on shore leave in India. Lesley had a great idea for a community service project to help out a local orphanage. But her eighteen and nineteen year-old subordinates had other ideas.

Lesley was in charge. Or was she? Thing did not go as she planned. Listen to her story and see what she did and learned and how it made her a better leader.

Her story may just help you from repeating the same mistakes so you can move onward and upward faster.

Leadership Epiphany

While it took a few lessons for it to come. I have better success when I control my emotions and focus on learning what inspires them.

Best Resource

I really enjoy reading articles and books.

Recommended Reading

Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization

Frequently Purchased with Tribal Leadership

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: A lot of what Lesley discussed is about improving your Emotional Intelligence skills. Emotional Intelligence is proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Click to access edited transcript
Show Transcript

Intro:   Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.

Jim Rembach:  Thanks Kimberly. Alright Fast Leader legion, you’re going to get the opportunity to meet with somebody today that I think everyone of us can emulate in so many different ways.

She is a high energy person. She is a mother. She is a coordinator, an innovator, somebody who always looks at the bright side. For me, she’s just one of those people that I am so excited to be able to interview today. And her name is Lesley Lykins.

She was actually raised on a farm in Minerva, Ohio. Where she actually got the opportunity to milk some goats, I don’t think we’re going to be talking about that a whole lot today, but I’m sure there was some life lessons that were in there that we can all learn from and I hope she’ll share those.

She is actually a former US Navy officer. She started a career driving warships based in San Diego, California. After three years she transferred to the Navy’s Public Affair Community and served overseeing media relations for Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit. Just imagine the kind of stories she can actually share with us in regards to that.

She actually left the active duty following an assignment at the Pentagon, where she established the Navy’s social media efforts. She’s currently employed as the Director of Member Engagement for the Customer Experience Professionals Association where I have personally had the opportunity to interact with her on several different projects in several different ways, and that’s why I wanted her on our show. I think she’s phenomenal.

She actually spends time fund raising as well for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and participates as a leader in her church. And is a wife and mother of three young children and a fourth that’s can be coming at any time.

So, Lesley, I am so excited to have you today. Are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Lesley Lykins: Yes, absolutely.

Jim Rembach: Thank you. So, I’ve given our listeners a brief introduction. But, could you tell us a little bit about what your current passion is so that we can get to know you better?

Lesley Lykins: Sure. I absolutely enjoy what I do for a living. But I would say that my biggest passion in life is by far my family. All of the decisions that I’ve made up to this point have been around my family and how to best support them. I feel like in the end, after everything else is done, you’ve still got your family. So I put a lot of passion and energy right now into raising our three children—supportive wife to my husband and really making decisions around those goals.

Jim Rembach: And also, one of the things I didn’t share with you is that Lesley also has a special needs child.  So amongst all of her accomplishments, all of the things that she does—and she still moves forward and keeps that positive outlook and really has an awesome guiding light that we can all learn from. Lesley, I know that you probably had many different leadership quotes with in your life with your father being in the service as well as yourself, but is there one that kind of stands out for you as something that you always use as a grounding point or a gut check, would you please share that with us?

Lesley Lykins:   My daddy used to wake us up every morning yelling, “Reveille! Reveille! All hands heave out, which is not the leadership quote that I would share with anyone [Laugh] so terrible way to wake up but it got us started every morning. I think the thing that he instilled in us the most that I carry with me to this day is the quote that ‘You should never put off tomorrow what you can do today’. So, I’m a big believer of not procrastinating. And over the past I’d say maybe five to seven years I think what I’ve really learned about leadership and just over all working with other people, is the idea that you really need to strive to give people something that’s really compelling and engaging that they want to own in their lives. Early on I have a lot of passion, I’ve a lot of energy and passion that’s my thing, but I feel like you need to be able to translate that to others. So I’ve really in the past, I don’t know maybe decade really focused in on that.

Jim Rembach: That’s good, sage advice in a lot of ways. The kind of peace that I was talking about the other day when somebody is—you know, the concept of perfectionism. But being a perfectionist it’s really no good if you’re also procrastinator along with it. You’ve got to get things done, you’ve got to move them forward. And I see that you do a great job in both of those things. Yes, you do pay attention to details but ultimately you need to move forward, thank you for sharing that with us.

Oftentimes too we have situations where we have to get over a hump and they become defining moments for who we are as a person and also shape us going forward. And those stories can be so valuable not to just us but then also to all of our listeners. The reality is we all are leaders and it doesn’t matter what your job is, it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about leading self, whether you’re an entrepreneur, whether you’re leading a business, whether you’re part of a team, we all have to lead. And we can learn so much by those stories because I don’t have a lifetime trying to figure all that staff out. I look towards people like Lesley and many of the people who are on our show to help me get over the hump.

So Lesley, is there a moment, a time, a story that you can share with us where it kind of defined you and shaped you, could you take us back to that time?

Lesley Lykins:   Sure. That might be two times because it took me a lesson before I figured it out how to do it the right way the next time.

In the military our service members are given a lot of responsibility very early in their lives, it’s kind of incredible now that I look at it from a civilian point of view. I had a group of around 20 sailors that I was in charge of at the age of 21, and that’s an incredible thing to think about. [Laugh]Where we’re you when at 21 years old, and really what was your personality like and your leadership style and you’re still trying to develop all of that.

I mentioned, I’m a really passionate person, so early on as I’m 21 years old I remember—probably the thing that I look back as my leadership failure at that time was we pulled in to port in India. I was in charge of public relations again, just a sort of my thing, and we set up a community relations project in India where we’re going to go in an orphanage and we’re going to spend the day at this orphanage painting and taking care of different repairs that needed to be done. I remember wanting my sailors, my 20 sailors to come with me to this orphanage and help for the day—and these are also 18 to 20 years old who really had better ideas for India [Laugh] and didn’t necessarily want to go unpaid at an orphanage. And I remember sitting there and watch with the bunch of these sailors trying to convince them that they really should do this community relations project, and it was… Oh, I got so emotional, oh, I got so, so emotional. I learned really early that was not the way to lead people. They did not come with me, we had a number of sailors that did, but I couldn’t convince them. I was so frustrated and so upset that I wasn’t able to inspire these group, the sailors in my division, to come with me to do this community relations project. So I took that lesson with me moving forward and it really started to shape my mind frame of how do I look at something from another person’s perspective and then implement it from their perspective to motivate them to get onboard. That lesson helped me tremendously as I move forward in my career and how to deal with other leaders, in fact.

Not too many years on the road from that experience, I was on a very large war ship and we had…we does exercises where we’d capture, we didn’t end up capturing pirates. And the commanding officer of the ship was very anti-media, he didn’t trust public affairs officers—which I was at that time—and so I’m trying to explain to him how this is very valuable story, it tell to the American public and he just didn’t want to have anything to do with it. So, I took the lesson I’ve learned in my career and I did a really good job of highlighting the sailors on the other two ships that have participated in this. And just completely left his ship quiet we didn’t do any interviews with him, I just really focus on the other ships.

Sure enough, 24 hours later, as all of the views medias covering this big story, he comes up to me and he says, ”Lt. Lykins why isn’t our ship being covered at the media?” I had to explain to him, “Well, sir if you’d like to do some interviews, we could go ahead and get that set up.” But it really did helped me, that early experience, about looking at it from somebody else’s perspective and not getting so emotional. I feel like as an early leader, as a young kid out of college I was so emotional about things. And so I had to really take that out of my leadership style.

Jim Rembach:   Now, those are two awesome stories. I can imagine like many of us—you said something about early in your career, I know that all of us deal with those emotional issues even later in our career I would dare to say that it actually get worse as you age because you become a little bit more what they refer to as non-elastic in your ability to flex in your thinking and all of that. So, that’s still a sage advice, many good things that we can learn from that story, both of them. Also too when you start talking about that point at which you said, “Oh! And you reflected, you had that aha, that epiphany, can you take us back to specifically when that occurred? We would love to hear that.

Lesley Lykins: I wish it was a point in time [Laugh] maybe I could have gotten more success then, right at that point in time. But it really take to kind of involved in as I went and just learning hard lessons as you go. I don’t think that there was one point in my career where it was like, “Oh! Wow, so that’s how you’d be a great leader.” [Laugh] I wish that it was because probably it would have saved the odds about the lessons. Now, it’s been this kind of overarching in thing about how do you interact with people, I think that’s a big piece of this. You just have to keep learning about what inspires people, what will impact their frame of mind. I’ve worked with a lot of people, a lot of senior military leaders getting to a mind frame. My personality is not a typical military personality either, so it took a lot of my part to learn how to engage and interact with somebody who is so opposite in their thinking from my thinking. And so it’s taken a lot of intuitive observation around people and what they’re thinking, what their emotions are like, what they appreciate and value, and then how can I come from that approach.

Jim Rembach: Got it. So let me ask, is it easier to stir a bigger warship or a naval executive? [Laugh]

Lesley Lykins: [Laugh.] There was a close calls steering that warship around the oil platform [Laugh] so I don’t want to say it’s easy, I do miss it though tremendously. It’s funny, I think of that as such a funny question to me because I think, I’d been 23 years old and we were driving circles around an oil platform off the coast Iraq and I had watched, I was observatory deck and in charge of the ship is Capt. [inaudible 11:59] and it’s the middle of the night and this big tankers is coming off of the platform and we we’re not in a good position. And I remember thinking, “Oh! My goodness this is crazy but…nothing happened we we’re all good and don’t tell the commanding officer. Now it was fine but there were definitely times where I think back now and I think—first of all to be the commanding officer of a ship like that and to have a 22 year old or 21 year old driving your ship for you in the middle of the night, think of the amount of just pure nerves and guts to allow that to happen and be able to through that – we’re exhausted too. There are some tremendous amount of leadership that you see that I’ve been able to witness and as I look back at the responsibility and the accountabilities of these people that I’ve worked with, that’s an incredible lessons, incredible examples that I’ve seen.

My very last tutorial with the Pentagon was probably one of the most interesting when you ask about steering executive leaders in the navy. We had to “sell” social media to the vice chief of Naval operations who is now the CNO, Admiral Greenert. I remember seating in a room trying to convince him that social media was not evil, that was a good thing. And it took a lot of explanations and coming out of it from a different angle. I was very emotionally and [inaudible 13:30]  this, so you have to again take the emotions out and look at it from somebody’s point of view, where’s the value and how can I demonstrate that to them. It took the earthquake in Haiti for us to lodge social media for the Navy but it did work very well and to date the Navy has a phenomenal program, so it’s something to be really proud of it, I think.

Jim Rembach: Lesley, awesome stories. Gosh, I know we can probably go on and on, but we have a show to continue on. Maybe we can have you back again in the future to share some of these stories, because they’re just so great. I want to actually talk about what you’re currently doing today. Could you tell us a little bit about what it is that your day to day career entails?

Lesley Lykins: Sure absolutely. Right now I’m working for an association that’s just over three years old, Customers Experience Professionals Association, which Jim I know you’re very familiar with, and it has been such a rewarding opportunity in my life. I came from the military, from bureaucracy, left the Pentagon and I see a group of people who are so inspired to reach out to employees, to reach out to customers and to create a culture and business that is around humanity and around people. And I got to tell you it is the best job in the world. I tell people this is the best job of the world because I’m working with a group of 3,500 people who love people. And they’re just great and they’re willing to share and to talk to each other about the practices that they’re implementing. So, my job is really pretty simple, but don’t tell anyone. [Laugh] It’s just to help this people who are dedicated to advancing this cause, communicate and learn from one another. And so I do everything I can right now to help that sharing and to help that engagement.

Jim Rembach: Well, we wish you the very best within that role. But now we actually are going to move on the fast and furious part of our show and that is the “Hump Day Hoedown”. Okay, Lesley the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of the show where we give you questions and you give us good insights fast. Alright so I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Lesley are you ready to hoedown?

Lesley Lykins:   I’m ready.

Jim Rembach: Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

Lesley Lykins:   I’d say I still think I have room to grow when it comes to determining the passions of others and coming out it from that approach. I think I can constantly learn that.

Jim Rembach:  That’s a good point, I have to do the same. What’s the best leadership advice you have ever received?

Lesley Lykins: Watch my emotions. Keep my emotions in check.

Jim Rembach: Yes. I have to do the same cause we usually have high energy here on the Fast Leader Show. What is one of your secret that you believe contributes to your success?

Lesley Lykins:  Transparency and communication. Firm believe in that.

Jim Rembach:  What do you feel is one of your best resources that helps you lead in business or in life?

Lesley Lykins: I would say I really enjoy reading articles. I’m reading books and I learn a lot from tribal leadership, but definitely reading as a resource.

Jim Rembach:   What would be one of your favorite books that you could actually recommend for our listeners?

Lesley Lykins: Tribal Leadership, phenomenal book.

Jim Rembach: Thank you very much. So, we are going to provide a link to that and many other things on the show notes page by going to www.fastleader.net/lesleylykins, you’ll be able to get access to those.

Okay Lesley, now our last question on the Hump Day Hoedown, imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you were 25 years old again and you were supposed to begin a new job as a manager of a team that is underperforming and disengaged and you have to turn them around but you have all the wisdom and skill that you currently have, you get up, you get ready, you head up to work, what do you do now?

Lesley Lykins: I think the first thing I would do is observe the people and really talk to them. I want to know who they are, who are the people that I’m leading now, what’s important in their life and how can I inspire them with those things that are so important to them and the passions that they have to come to a common goal.

Jim Rembach:  Perfect. Lesley it was an honor to spend time to with you today. Can you please share with the Fast Leader listeners how they can connect with you?

Lesley Lykins: Sure. I am available on Twitter@lyfsgr8 or I’m always available by email and you can find me on the www.cxpa.org page or also on LinkedIn. I look forward to connecting.

Jim Rembach:  Lesley, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. The Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot Woot!

Thank you for joining me on the Fast leader Show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe—if you haven’t already, head on over to fastleader.net, so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

END OF AUDIO

000: Fast Leader Podcast: About the Show

000: Fast Leader Podcast: About the Show

Let me start by saying, “I do not know it all.”

But what I do know is that the studies I read about and what I am experiencing in my life is frustrating. I read about how there is a crisis of leadership and that more than 80% of leadership programs fail. I see gridlock in government and companies destroying people and the environment and using their money and power to avoid responsibility.

I see how people fail to see their impact on others and how they sabotage their chances to get ahead by doing the wrong thing or refusing to do the right thing.

Yes, and that goes for me as well.

I see that things need to change and that I don’t want to be a complainer sitting on the side lines.

I love to help people. It is one of the things that fuels my soul. Unfortunately, it has taken me half of my lifetime to really figure out some things. I also think I have a little bit more clarity around the concept of midlife crisis. For me it’s been more of an epiphany on many things and learning more about myself.

I want to be an enabler. And I want to help attack this leadership crisis through the Fast Leader Show.

But I also like to have fun. Some may say I had a little bit of fun naming the show because fast leader isn’t about pushing and doing things quickly. Because when I see the people who are leading well in getting things done in their life and careers they don’t push things they just do the right things.

And I also like using the word fast because I don’t have a lot of time to waste. For one, I only have half of a lifetime left. And secondly I’m pretty darn impatient.

So our guests on the Fast Leader show are here to help us do things right so that we don’t have to take a lifetime trying to figure them out and be insane by repeating the same mistakes over and again.

Ending this leadership crisis starts with me.

Come join me; and while are doing it let’s have some fun with the Hump Day Hoedown.

Godspeed,

Jim

Hey, comments and suggestions are encouraged. Actually, they are rewarded. So leave many!


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