Let's be clear-- if you want leaders you need to cultivate leaders. At goodr we use Brené Brown’s best seller "Dare To Lead" to teach leadership, vulnerability, values, and a bunch of other impactful stuff.
THIS WEEK’S EPISODE IN A VERY LARGE NUTSHELL:
We are Brené Brown fan girls, boys, and flamingos over here at goodr. From the moment Stephen Lease quote on quote “open-eyed stared” at her during her Inc. Magazine talk, the obsession began. (Don’t worry Brené, we just really like the way you think). This sparked an idea-- why don’t we start a “Dare to Lead” book club?!! The club has gone through iteration after iteration and is now a 7-week program that all employees eventually will participate in.
Although we pull out the wooden rulers and force everyone to go through the book club, it does not mean that they have to agree with everything in the book. And actually, there are no wooden rulers anymore now that everything is virtual. Okay, there never were. The group opens with a preamble that explains that vulnerability is a huge part of this book, and we agree that everything shared in the meeting is confidential, creating a safe space to engage in conversation. As a result, the conversations that are sparked have become the most valuable component of the club.
For this episode of the CULTURE goodr podcast, we’re going to pick through the book and pull out some of our favorite key components.
By setting out ground rules, owning discomfort, and giving ourselves “permission slips” to feel uncomfortable, you can create the space needed to have tough conversations. goodr uses “rules we play by” to help build the container. Whenever we’re engaging in hard conversations, we lay out these rules, and it lets the air out of the room. It’s easier to get into a productive space when intentions are laid out.
The Man in the Arena
We highly advise you listen to this part of the podcast, because Stephen’s reading of Teddy Roosevelt’s quote is something else. Basically, get out of the cheap seats, the opinions from the cheap seats don’t matter. You need to be in the arena getting dirty, trying big. “The goal isn’t to win everyday, the goal is to try everyday.” Or as Teddy says it:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." ~Theodore Roosevelt
Our ability in life to set boundaries is really important. For example, the boundary of a meeting. We’re agreeing that the meeting is from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and if that meeting goes over, that is not okay. It may seem like it when you’re in it because you’re excited about the work, but it’s not cool bro. It’s your time. Boundaries get slippery when used incorrectly: “I’m an introvert, so I don’t want to work with customers at an event.” That boundary is not acceptable. You can’t use the word “boundary” to escape responsibilities.
The marble jar
Everyone has a marble jar. When you meet people, they may give you a few marbles, and every time you have positive interactions with that individual, you encourage marbles to get placed in your jar, or you place them in it yourself as you feel the trust building. When someone breaks your trust, they lose marbles. Are you one of those flakey friends??! If your friend is always 20 minutes late to a run, they’re going to have a super empty marble jar. Everyone imagines their marble jar differently. What does your marble jar look like? Is it a big large clear jar or a small opaque jar? Do you give a lot of marbles out when you first meet someone, or wait for them to earn marbles? Or are you like avian CEO Carl the Flamingo and have completely lost all of your marbles and are drunk on an island in the sun? That’s okay too.
Clear is kind
If Shaun presents a project and it’s really, really, like… insanely, steaming-hot-garbage, bad, and you say, “Hey! Yeah, it’s good.” That is not kind! You’re avoiding ten seconds of discomfort. Feeding people half truths and bullshit is about making the person and yourself feel better. There is no benefit to this. Let people know when they crush it and when they fall down. Expectations are resentments waiting to happen. Practice being CLEAR and everyone wins.
This section is about the way we show up as leaders. Are we showing up armored and leading with fear and hurt, or unarmored and leading with vulnerability and courage?
Paint it done
Ready to get creative? Grab your brushes and PAINT IT DONE! Stephen explains, “I move a thousand miles a minute and one of my weaknesses is not clearly defining expectations, and that leads to, ‘Oh this is not what I expected.’ When that happens it is 100% my fault because how the fuck would you know what I expected because I clearly didn’t tell you.” Your quiver of brushes include, context, objective, and timeline. Go Bob Ross on that shit and turn your vision into actionable, understandable words.
PS. This is Liz Slome. She’s one of our graphic designers and is an actual artist (not the starving kind though). Go buy her art.
Shame and empathy
It is important to understand that shame and guilt are different. It is, “I am bad,” versus, “I did something bad.” This book pulls apart the soft skills in navigating the emotional landscape of things. Note: These are not “soft skills.” These are actually really hard tactical skills. Not acknowledging them stunts emotional growth and does not protect one from emotional shame, it feeds it and lets it grow. We can respect other people’s reality as a full truth, and it is okay as it is. Moving from shame to empathy, is reflecting back what the other person is feeling. It’s understanding the root feeling, not relating to the exact situation. Practice mindfulness and stay present with the individual's situation without getting sucked in. People who can set boundaries and not take on people’s emotions, are the ones that are the most successful in practicing empathy. It takes work on yourself to get to that position. One of the key tools that allows us to get into this conversation is the “shitty first draft.” An example, “The story I’m telling myself is this project doesn’t excite you, so you did a really shitty job.” “The story I’m telling myself” is a prompt we use to kindly get the thought out. With this, the conversation and the reaction both have potential to be shitty first drafts. Keep practicing!
Living into our values
Basically go listen to last week’s episode. No, but seriously, here it is: S02E02. We covered values in depth. The next evolution of values at goodr is building out everyone’s individual values. You don’t know someone until you understand their values.
Most people consider themselves trustworthy, but only trust a few people. Funny how that works… Companies with a high level of trust outperform the S&P 500 by a factor of 3. That’s insane. So people that think these are soft fuzzy skills… let that go. Drop it like it's hot. Asking for help is a trust building exercise, it’s a marble earning behavior, it’s a power move. Most people are excited to help you. The assumption that you should always know the answer is ridiculous. This is something that needs to get deprogramed when you work at goodr. You have to put some trust in people, and if you do it in small increments over time, you’ll be successful in earning trust.
Learning to rise
This section is about learning to fall and fail, so that you can get back up. It’s really all about getting back up. The key concepts here that put a bow on it all is that we need to teach people how to land before they jump. This starts on day one. During week one at goodr we talk about the mistakes and missteps that goodr has had. We let it be known that at the end of the day, we make sunglasses called Whiskey Shots with Satan and Flamingos on a Booze Cruise. We are not brain surgeons (be thankful). At goodr we set up a safe space for failures. We’re actually working on having a “Failure Leaderboard” where we can highlight the biggest fuck ups each month and give prizes to the best ones. We’ll keep ya posted on that one.
That’s the tour of "Dare to Lead." Go read it if you want to.
How many times have you read “Dare to Lead?” Four
What’s your fave quote from the book? The Teddy Roosevelt quote… but Brené says, “If you’re not in the arena getting your ass kicked on occasion, I’m not interested in or open to your feedback.”
The most challenging concept to accept? Clear is kind. We fuck it up all the time because we’re selfish (“Well... I’m selfish,” corrects Stephen).
What’s one thing from the book that we don’t use yet that you’d like to? The personal values.
What’s something cool you forgot about but remembered when you were preparing for this episode? Courage is contagious. Lead by example. That’s Shaun’s favorite part too.
If you ever get to meet Brené what would you ask her? Help me better understand faith as a concept. Deep.
We’re sure there are a hundred things here that we could circle back on. Check out Brené Brown’s website, use her book club. She has worksheets and everything you need to sink your teeth into this knowledge-juicy, thought-provoking read-- you and anyone you lead, live with, or talk to on a regular basis will be grateful you did.
Remember: If you want leaders, you need to cultivate leaders.
Read “Dare to Lead,” get the workbook, discover your values, start practicing, fuck it up, and do it again.