Transcript: (Monday, January 24, 2022 - raw form, waiting for edits)
"Welcome back this is Bradley Waldrop and we are here to go deep into what life is like as a project leader, as a team leader, group leader, or as a regional leader. It doesn't really matter. Leadership is leadership is leadership but there are some very very critical things that have to happen in leadership. In order for you to sort of excel past everyone else there is a big difference between management and leadership. And you're going to hear me say this over and over and over again one of the reasons why I want to help leaders is i am sick and tired of everyone discussing the things that are used to manage and control and observe and watch things happen in the business and look at metrics that are in the rearview mirror i hate all of that that is not who i am i am a leader i am not a manager if i were a manager i did probably settled somewhere in my career and just started looking at that to the numbers along the way and try to adjust my team so that it did. Better fits all of the metrics in and that is just driving me absolutely bananas. So i want really want to be able to help out and i want to be able to teach i want to be able to share my experiences in leadership so that maybe you get a chance to grab golden nugget in here somewhere and apply it to your own life of your own career and make a huge difference for the team that you're on set yourself apart from everyone else and bring along good leaders with you right to this is not about just you this is about being the local influence and being the the one to get out of the masses and say hey we're going to go this direction in his we're going this direction let me help teach you how to do this let me understand you know who you are and what your skillset is and maybe point you in the right direction but learn the lessons along the way that i've learned in and you're all good right that's my hope for you so that. You get a chance to do that well as as i was thinking about today's episode i was struck by the memories that i had that tried to explain a little bit to one of my daughters over the weekend and it just a sort of a snippet of this. But i thought that maybe i would take you back to the summer of 1989 the summer of 1989 let me sort of profits this a little bit i graduated from high school little bit early and i worked my fanny off. In order to get a. An appointment to the united states naval academy i started that in my middle school or junior high exercise there and what you have to do in order to get into the naval academy's you have to get is some sort of appointment and that appointment comes from a congressman. And they're only a few of them right you have to fight for them but the naval academy like like the air force academy like the army they are are the sort of this exclusive club of people who had this really amazing opportunity to be able to be nominated by a governor or by be nominated by a congressman or someone in politics to be able to get them. It's who the the academy and that they would fulfill their leadership dream right so if you think about it that's why i'm going i'm going for this leadership dream and i have had up to this point the series of leadership positions in my own life that that got me here so through junior junior high school i was in boy scouts i was in i was in cub scouts i was in weave louis i was in boy scouts. I got a chance to earn my eagle scout at the age of 13 which is about as early as you could do it i was in competition with my dad and my brother to figure out how quickly i can get it done and then how many palms i can get afterwards and then i got distracted with a bunch of other stuff and leadership positions i had a role as a captain of our wrestling team i was locally active i did pretty good in school but i wasn't the best student on the planet i wasn't a straight-a student and i had all of these leadership skills. Panda. And it was my hope and dream it was part of part of my history so let me back up a little bit even more than that my grandfather retired as a lieutenant commander from the united states navy and my father served in vietnam and in the navy as an enlisted man he was he was a. I'll come i'll think about it later quarter quartermaster sorry and then i have an uncle who served in the air force. And it sort of military was part of our life it was what was was expected it was what was my almost required in the back of my mind but it was also. Because i was at i was a small kid riding in my grandparents car that got saluted at the at the security post with this beautiful uniform you know and and the respect that they were giving to my grandfather that were given to my grandmother they were given to anybody who rides in that car together that was the hope and dream that's what i really wanted i wanted to be able to lead in an environment in which there was a high level of skill that was excellent and this massive respect for one another. And. Went so-so imagine so now now imagine i jumped through all the hurdles to get to the point in which i actually get an appointment i will talk about that process a little bit later to other episode but i get this appointment i am 17 years old not quite eighteen i'll be eighteen in september i'm set i'm 17 years old it's the beginning of july. And i fly from sacramento all the way to maryland and as i'm as i'm headed to annapolis maryland i'm on a bus in a foreign country i have no idea where i'm at and never i've never visited the school in the past and i had very little information ahead of time about the campus itself i've seen pictures and i dyed red things but but you know there's nothing quite like being there. And you get there a couple days in advance and when you get there i'll some of us got there a couple days in advance cuz we're coming from a long way away and when you get there. there's not a whole lot of guidance when you first get there they're waiting for their waiting for the next part to start they just wished they sort of give you a direction here so you know here's where you're going to head you going to sleep over here and then ended up in the next day. I'm going to start processing you and in-processing you really mean standing in a lot of lines signing up for uniform signing up for medical exams and i examine all this other stuff understanding a little bit more about your education what kind of degree you want when you're there and signing up for all kinds of different things being able to express an interest in some sort of. Some sort of. Entrepreneurial venture i'm sorry not on the jump in my head some sort of intramural intramural adventure like some sort of sport right they want they want you involved in all kinds of things. So anyway you kind of get this briefing that this is what's going to happen yet one thing that's sitting on the desk all by itself so if you can imagine just real quick to get my dimensions around but the room about 15 by 15 33 beds. 22 banks in 11 not a bunk1 desk. And against the window and then and then sort of in that you one corner of the you is at a small closet where the apache or marching rifle another stuff hang uniform some common sort of uniform items and then you have. You have an armoire that you put all your clothes in and there's a small little bathroom that bathroom only has a shower and a sink the toilets are somewhere else they're not in your room so imagine you have the tile floor very sterile walls and a window or three thousand miles away from home you're not quite eighteen years old you don't know where your rear end is and the one thing sitting on the desk is a narrative about initiative and the request on the set of four of the forms that we had on the way in was to read about initiative that was more one assignment before the following day then i sat there and i read this story about initiative and how important initiative was and i was deferred because i'm wondering why is it that were talking about initiative now. When it took a whole lot of initiative to get here. It took initiative to find leadership positions along the way they took initiatives to that you took initiative to to go and get good grades it it took initiative to apply and all this other stuff and then one day it dawned on me more than about a weekend. I want to see anyone of our upperclassmen not seniors with one of our upperclassmen asked us of those who are here in this squad. How many of you are here because your your mom and dad or your bore your direct family have somebody else who's either graduated from the academy or he is in a military position of power. Put your hands up right so like half of the students put their hand up and then go okay keep your keeper keeper hands up noted constituents really midshipman right so you keep your hands up and then the next question is. Of those who are here. How many are here because they their family or is either in politics or they are related to or associated with someone else who is related to politics and all these names were up and not mine mine and maybe two other people in the group we didn't know anybody we didn't get there because somebody pulled a string and gave us a favor we earned our way there. And then all the sudden it's starting to read i started recognize this difference between or or why why initiative was so dang important. Initiative. Is not about sitting around and waiting for somebody to tell you what to do there is no one no one sitting there with a gun to your head and forcing you to get it done no one is sort of pulling the strings on their own and doing it for themselves initiative. Is this ability to be able to get off your fanny and go do something stop talking about it stop complaining about it. Go do something take some sort of action and do it now and he has long as as long as a set of core values that you operate by and strong enough initiative exist you're going to have an amazing career no matter whether you're in the military or you're you're in public service or you are a private person that owns their own business it doesn't matter it doesn't matter. But if you have if you have this drive a set of core values and initiative all of a sudden the world is your oyster. Now for just a moment. Let's let's take this hyperbolic idea this hyperbole of going to the military academies and talking about initiative in and let's extrapolate for the economy what initiative means and not just not just the academy but the fleet what does it mean to have leaders who have initiative it means that you're developing a workforce that can think on their own that can get that can assess that the issues in front of them can take calculated risks and can go toward the fire not away from it and not sitting around waiting for somebody else to act for them will they take good orders absolutely but can they give good orders for sure now there's a big difference even even in this world it is not not being in the military between people who take orders and who people who give orders. And i'm not saying bark at people and be a jerk what i'm saying is leaders provided direction for people they asked them to go in certain directions and they provide them an example of how that gets done. Managers sit in the background and watch it all happen and they pay attention to details and then they tell you how you did it wrong. Well look. You're you're never going to get anywhere if all you're going to do is just sit around and tell people where they got it wrong. You're going to get somewhere in this particular environment and as as a project leader as an engineer leader as a an operations leader as a business development leader as a owner of a business doesn't matter. In engineering leadership is really really really important and you can't have leadership if you don't have initiative so what does that mean start looking at your to-do list how many of those things on your to-do list or created by somebody else. Like if they were created by somebody else you're no longer the driver driver seat and you are not a leader you're a follower. There's nothing wrong with being a follower we all need them we also need leaders and leaders are good followers so there's some sort of given taking that to-do list if some of those folks on some of those things on your to-do list we're given to you by your leaders. Then that's great if everything on your list was given to you by somebody else you're in trouble. You need to start to take initiative of what to do when your own career what to do on this current project what to do on the next project what to do with your team what to do at your next job this is a time for you to take ownership. And responsibility for your own actions for you not to be able to to point at someone else and say willy told me to do it. You need to be able to have initiative and you need and it's so important in your own career so what things can you do today to make you. More of the leader what can you do to take my ownership of what it is you're trying to work through here is some of the things that i would ask that you do in order to understand what this initiative means for your own life. I would put down on a piece of paper what the biggest challenges are standing your way today or standing in your way or anticipated to be standing in your way over this next month. Of those things what do you have control over is it your own behavior is it your own reaction is it your own set of choices you have control over all of that stuff you don't have control over anything else so figure out what it is that you have control over we'll figure out what it is that you need to do different in order to solve those particular challenges and now now that it's written down go do it. Go do it whatever that it is go do it. If you don't. You sitting around waiting for somebody else to tell you to do it. Nobody wants a leader like that. Nick cuz it's really hot later. All you're doing is sitting around waiting to be told to do something. You need to take ownership of what it is you're doing so today is a great day to make things completely different. I don't care who else is in your life that is it at work or at home or anywhere else. That that i don't i don't care that they have their own set of initiatives and i mean we all are in that sort of situation right everywhere we go somebody else is coming in life with their own. Set of desires and wants and needs and you have your own and you also have an opportunity to be able to do something about it. So today is a good day to do something completely and totally different. Go back look at your to-do list and start carving out the stuff that was told to you to be done by by someone else if it's if it's only you they can do it then do it if it's you that can delegate it then go delegated and start to make holes in your to-do list for things that you need to do to start to realize the vision of your job realize the vision of the project that you're on realize the vision that your client has looked you need to take some charge of your life. And it is the one most important thing that you have the power to do and i am encouraged to know that you can do it. You don't have to sit no more sitting on your hands no more waiting for somebody else no no more sort of hanging out waiting for a set of decisions now the time to start making some mistakes going in the right direction with a set of core values look i'm telling you if you're in an organization right now and you take some initiative and you start to move and you go in a direction in which they're not happy about if if you followed the set of core values to get there and and you properly prepared your path to get there and they're still mad at you you don't belong there. I'll be bold enough to say it you don't belong there but there are places that would hold my goodness they would appreciate all the thank you very much steve thank you very much matt thank you very much kim thank you very much sally you did what you were supposed to do you saw a big challenge in front of you you mustard your troops you got a vision put together and you knew what are set of core values were and you knew what are what our vision and mission statement is here at the company or at the at the city or the county or it doesn't matter where you are and now all the sudden you're moving in the right direction way2go that's good. So. That's what i want to hear success stories of. Initiative. The one thing that was sitting on the desk. As i walked into this room 3000 miles away in which i knew no one and i knew of no place and i was scared to death there was one document that i had to read through and follow through and i got to say if that wasn't a brilliant moment. I don't know what is and i'm hoping that you get the same sense of how important initiative really is initiative is one of those things you have 100% control over and in having control over that you have the power to change your for directory and the trajectory of the team and the trajectory of the project did you work on. Hit me up at bradley at waldrop communications.com that's bradley at waldrop communications.com and let me know. How are you doing something different with initiative and what have you accomplished using the initiative in your newfound superpower i would love to know that would be amazing. That's right we are giving away a special package that does all kinds of really cool stuff for you and if you understand the idea of initiative than this particular toolkit is going to change the way you look at your job at your work that your projects at your team at the the human beings that are around you that help you excel every single day now this initiative i just want to buy would just want to warn you there's a lot of power and initiative and in that power comes a whole lot of responsibility and i want for you to have integrity i want for you to understand what your set of core values are and i want for you to be able to act that way so don't wield this idea of. Initiative in a way that steps on heads to get ahead all right you're all part of a team and and as a leader of an amazing team you get the honor to be able to participate and provide direction and watch everybody else work. In an amazing way toward an amazing goal and that is my hope for you have an amazing day and we'll catch you next time."