For 25 years, Daniel ed has supported the public sector, healthcare nonprofit, K through 12 and higher ed organizations. As a management consultant. He holds a master's in business administration and international business from the Alberta school of business and economics at Seattle university. He holds certifications and strategic planning and group facilitation. Dan has a Kaplan Norton balanced scorecard graduate and certified lead practitioner. He has also held the project manager professional certificate and is an experienced pilot trades examiner through the Alliance program, leveraging the genetics of leadership cracking the code of sustainable team performance is Dan second book. His first was transformation management published by Spiro press in 2003. Dan lives in Bellville, Washington, not far from the world headquarters of Microsoft T-Mobile Expedia and Amazon, his wife, Hey, is the pediatric physical therapist for the local school district. Dan serves on the board of three nonprofits and finds time to volunteer at the Monroe correctional facility, where he supports men and their personal journey of transformation in his spare time, when it is available, he enjoys the challenge of capturing through photography, the beauty and majesty of the outdoors.
This might be a flower at the local botanical gardens or one of the national parks in the American Southwest. He continues to be a student of organizational transformation and how leadership hadn't released the human capacity for innovation as always. What I love most about doing these interviews is getting to know my clients and sharing them with you as always. I am my client's biggest fan. So without further ado, I introduce you to Daniel at, okay. Today's guest is Dan EDS and I work with Dan on his book project. And first off, welcome Dan. It's great to be with you. Well, it's great to have you. Okay. So before we get going here, I always ask all my interviewees about the book project. Um, you know, how did you come up with the idea that you had enough content? Uh, cause all of our listeners love to know how do you generate content? So how did you generate the content for the book on how did you know it was going to go into a book and kind of give us an overview of the process and what you went through, maybe the pains that you had getting there, some of the things you learned, just a general overview, what was the book process like?
Well, sure. And thanks for the call. Um, the process itself, um, I have to say it's as much about a personal journey as a professional one. Um, the, the, the idea behind the book actually started, um, uh, in my consulting work, I've been doing management consulting for roughly 25 years. And, um, all too frequently, I would say I would go into an organization, lots of excitement. You know, we're going to go out, we're going to change the world. People are excited about what we did. Um, lots of enthusiasm and, uh, come back a few months later and nothing's changed. And, um, the more I got looking at that, the more I realized it was, it was really, it was leadership, but it wasn't necessarily bad leaders or bad people, but there was something else that was going on. It was almost like this thing that was going on in the background and a lot of research and a lot of questions finally came to a conclusion.
It was really, there was a systems thing going on. And when I saw that, um, the first question I handled as well as anybody else seeing this. Um, and what is this whole idea of a system and how does it affect leadership? And, um, there were any number of hurdles that had to be overcome. One was, you know, what is the system? What is leadership, uh, um, you know, what's wrong with, with organism organizational leadership today and was anybody else seeing what I was saying and turned to come to find out? There's a lot of people that are seeing the same thing I was saying, but one of the more unique things about the journey of writing the book itself, um, occurred about two years, maybe three years into the process where I'd hired a writing coach and I had about six or seven chapters done. I, I had edited them, I'd even paid for an editor to go through it, do all the technical editing. And I was pretty proud of what I accomplished. And, um, I guess that I had hired this writing coach and, um, uh, I sent the chapter sample chapters off to her and she read every word, uh, got on the phone about three weeks later. And she said, Danny, for case studies are really powerful. The rest of it is really boring.
What an ego deflator. Yeah.
Yeah. Well, it was, it wasn't, it wasn't. But, um, what she said was, was really interesting. She said, you have all of these footnotes, you're quoting all these different people, but she said, what I'm not hearing is, and she said, you have a voice. And, um, she said, people might pick up a book to read because of the content, but people will finish reading the book because of your voice. And, um, she, she explained to me that the, all of the research that I had done was terrific, but putting all of the, all of the footnotes into it and quoting all of these experts, um, she said, Dan, you're hiding behind them.
Hmm. Yes, yes.
And, um, the next thing she said, really, um, floored me. She said, Dan, I want to hear your voice. And I want to give you permission to speak your voice.
Exactly. I was going to say, you know what, I went through the same, same darn thing. And I said, somebody had to give me permission and yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a fabulous thing.
It wasn't, and from that standpoint itself, it was worth every minute I've put into this project and, um, and meeting with her, you know, on the phone, uh, and virtually, um, it was funny. I was never really sure if I was talking to him to a, uh, a writing coach or if I was talking to a therapist.
Exactly. Exactly. Well, you know what? We all go through something like this and people don't really know what we have to battle in ourselves to get our words on the pages. And I went through it too, and I said, who am I to write a book? You know? Right. And, uh, and then I needed someone to give me permission, like a school project, you know, like, it's okay. You can, this is your book. You get to write what you want, you know? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
Yeah. It was really the first time anybody told me that I had a voice and that it was valuable and that I had permission to speak it. And for whatever reason, that was just an incredible gift.
Oh yes. Well, I am so glad I asked you this question because I love the emotion behind it. And I've been there myself. So many authors I work with are, and quite honestly, most of my podcasts that are the most popular are the ones that, uh, give people permission to, to, to speak. And, um, you know, it's okay to go forward and getting it done. It doesn't have to be perfect, but you know, we all do have a voice. Right. So that is beautiful. And congratulations. Cause you made it over that hurdle. So yeah.
Well thank you. I'm not sure I've made it over the hurdle, but I'm working at it.
We are all a work in progress, so that's okay. And you know, and I, I need to back up a little bit because I didn't actually introduce the title of your book. So let me ask you, uh, the title leveraging the genetics of leadership, cracking the code of sustainable team performance. So tell me, what is the book about and, and what is it that took you over the hurdle so that you actually decided to write it?
Well, like I said, I've been doing management consulting for 25 years and, um, so many times, uh, I've gone into, into these various organizations and I've met people who are dedicated, willing to sacrifice. They wanted nothing more than to contribute everything they had to their organizations, but all too frequently, their organizations were just happy with average mediocrity. Um, they didn't really care that their people wanted to work for an organization of excellence. And, uh, just to give you an example, um, I'd completed a project for a large state agency. It was an agency that licenses and regulates 450,000 healthcare professionals. And, uh, when I finished the project, uh, finishing up with a final interview with the deputy director and, um, finished the conversation, I was, I was literally standing up, I was ready to walk out to her door and almost in a tone of confession, she said, you know, Dan, I don't even tell my friends where I work anymore.
And I turned around. I said, why is that? And she said, it would be too embarrassing. And, uh, I'd love to say that that was an outlier that I've never heard of that same thing before, but the reality is I've heard that same kind of sentiment, dozens of times, maybe not quite that bluntly, but, um, when I heard that and I've heard the same thing, many too many times, I have finally something Donna me, there, there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we're doing leadership. And the research actually is quite plain. There's lots of things wrong with the way we approach leadership, uh, in our organizational lives today. Um, wasn't just this person. It wasn't just because it was a state agency, um, organizations of all stripes are experiencing the same kind of dysfunctionality in their leadership.
Yes. Well, I mean, some would argue we are seeing that in our presidency right now, so yeah. Yeah. So I know this is not just another book about leadership, but what makes this one so different? And I mean, I know there are a lot of books about leadership in the market, so, so what is it about this one?
Well, Nicole you're right. There are a lot of books on leadership and fact, my last, uh, search on Amazon gave me the number of 197,000 books on leadership. So we don't exactly need another one. Um, basically books on leadership, fallen, what I call two broad categories. Uh, one is a well known executive CEO writes a book on leadership and basically they're telling the reader do what I did and YouTube can't achieve my sense of, of, of, of power print fame. And it's really the radio. It's really a book about, um, legacy and confirming personal legacy. Now, whether or not that personal legacy has any, um, reality or, you know, back to how they actually ran their organizations is a different, different question, but they're really trying to establish their legacy. The second kind of book on leadership really looks at leadership as a series of personal traits, laws, attributes, qualifications. The problem is if you look at all of the traits and attributes and qualifications required to be a great leader, I'm not sure that any combination of Martin Luther King jr st. Francis of Assisi, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Winston Churchill, or Franklin Roosevelt, would be able to model all of the attributes and traits considered essential to be a bit later. There's a third kind of book, um, that looks at leadership, uh, from the standpoint of the organization and, uh, what kind of leadership is required to create an organization of excellence.
Hmm. So let me guess that you are book leveraging the genetics of leadership is one of these,
As a matter of fact, Nicole, you're absolutely right.
Uh, awesome. So what is it that's important for us today?
Well, several things, so let me, let me just give you four in the U S we spend an estimated $50 billion a year on leadership development yet there's no evidence that that money is creating any kind of organizational return on investment back. There's a growing body of evidence that shows that organizational leadership, the general state of leadership is not improving. They're getting actually worse, uh, Jeffrey Pfeiffer of Stanford university, and a recent book called leadership BS says it does not just that all efforts to develop better leaders, decades of efforts of such efforts, not withstanding have failed to make things appreciably better is making things much worse. Secondly, um, according to the latest Gallup numbers, 53% of the American workforce goes to work, collects a paycheck and goes home. Uh, these are the non engaged. Uh, in other words, they are not psychological of their work.
There's another 13% of the American workforce that is actively sabotaging the workplace, which means that 66% of the American workforce is not contributing to innovation and they're not giving the best of themselves and the basic human capacity for creativity and innovation as being left at the door. Third reason, the average CEO lasts about five years and when she leaves, most of the rest of the C suite moves on with them. And eventually the workforce just gets tired of the circus emotionally and psychologically, psychologically checkout. And they go about the daily work of just doing their job for a reason. Uh, the number one determinant of workforce engagement is not salary or benefits, but the relationship with a manager in other words, leadership is now being recognized for what it always has been, which is a relational enterprise. All of this leads, George Clifton, chairman of the Gallup organization to conclude quote the American leadership philosophy philosophy simply doesn't work anymore and quilt.
That's a bold statement. So, uh, okay. So what is it about your stance or your book or your opinion or your experience that, uh, provides a solution?
Yeah. Great question to call and thank you for that. Most books and training on leadership development starts with a question what makes a great leader? The assumption is that by making great leaders, we can build great organizations. Unfortunately, the evidence is that it doesn't work this way. Individuals go off to a leadership course and they come back to their organizations and they can implement what they've learned because entrenched systems are already in place as supersede the ability of one person to change the system Edwards Deming, who is called the father of the, of the quality of movement. Put it best when he said a bad system will be a good person every time.
But what makes this book leveraging the genetics of leadership different is that it starts with a different kind of question. It starts with a question of how do high performing organizations approach leadership. But what I discovered is that organizations that consistently perform at an elite at an elite level. And by consistently I made four, three, five, six, eight, 10 years or longer. It started out with a designing a system of leadership. And then they, uh, which is kind of like, uh, which is kind of a organizational DNA. And then the emphasize the system and they train coach and mentor every leader or manager the requirements of the system.
Wow. So if I understand that correctly, that a high performing organization would design a great system rather than leaders. That's exactly what they do. Wow. So in an organizational system that sounds maybe a little technical and complicated. How, how do you work that?
Well, it sounds technical and it sounds complicated. And frankly, there's a lot of people who, uh, write about systems and systems theory that make it in my judgment way, overly complex. But let me see if I can explain it with a story that, um, most of us can relate to. Um, excuse me. When my son was in the sixth grade, he wanted to try out for the school basketball team. Now, the idea of a, of a tryout was a bit of a stretch because he went to a school that was so small. They could barely feel the team essentially any way they wanted to play basketball, got to play. Um, well, their coach had played some basketball in college. He was not any kind of a professional basketball coach. Um, he was a youth worker. He liked kids and he was just looking for some extra money to further his schooling, but he knew how to do one thing. And that was how to build a system, how to play the game of basketball. Then empha emphasized unselfish team play. And he created a kind of, of a team DNA that focused all of the competitiveness of young boys and to unselfish team play. It was not about winning or losing. It was about playing to a specific code that gave them the best opportunity to win.
Hm. So, uh, how did that work? Did they become league champions?
Well, call I'm sorry to say, but they actually lost every one of their games. Oh no. Um, and I was like, yeah, I could tell you, it was heartbreaking watching these young boys just play their hearts out, but lose every game.
Okay. So what happened?
Well, the second year they actually did a little bit better. They, they want about half their games. Um, but we'll, we'll, their coach kept working with them and how to play the game of basketball in a way that focused on unselfish team play, win, or lose. They're going to want to play unselfishly as a team. So the second year, like I said, they did a little bit better. They want about half their games. What was amazing to me though, was that nobody quit because I think these young boys would, it have been quitting on their best friends. Now, the third year the unthinkable happened, same boys from the same small school where everybody got at boy got a chance to play one undefeated and won the league championship.
Oh, what a great story.
Okay. And this and this dad still gets cheery. I just talking to him about it.
Oh, that's awesome. I love your emotion. So yeah, you, yeah. You've got the right interviewer here because I lead with emotion and I wear my heart on my sleeve and yeah. So, but that is an awesome story, so. Okay. But what is the connection to organizational leadership?
Sure. Well, um, there's actually three of them, but, uh, one of the first ones is that systems have a really critical or essential attribute. Um, systems always produce more than the sum of their parts. This is why coach will, was able to design a system that took boys of modest talent and turn them into champions. In fact, in most cases, a system will generate exponentially more than the sum of their parts. Uh, for example, one of the case studies and the book is of an elementary school principal elementary school teacher. When Erin, the principal took over, uh, this school was failing on multiple fronts. Um, there was infighting among the staff. Uh, there were no community partnerships. Uh, it was the lowest performing school in a district of 25,000 students and 18 different elementary schools. Five years later, it was the highest performing elementary school.
And when that was not enough, it took it up another notch and became the only school to close the achievement gap, which is a monumental achievement. So I like to say that that a system can takes, can take one plus one and create 10. Wow. Yeah. Second thing is a system always deliver something of significant value. Let's call that a purpose. For example, a system that we call DNA organizes a handful of elements, you know, that can be found in virtually any household kitchen called sugar and phosphate. Um, but the way those, the interactions of sugar and phosphate, uh, of those basic elements happen is that those, the interactions creates biological life. Um, I found in researching how elite organizations approach leadership is that they've stumbled on this idea and they have designed systems, a leadership to produce something that's totally unique to them. It turns out it always includes the experience of the workforce.
So like the, the system, the coach will design those young boys, experienced the joy of playing on a team where each player supported each other, because it was what motivated those boys to stick with a team, even though they were losing every game. And my research, I found organizations that consistently perform at an elite level, set a purpose for their leadership, things like relationship, respect, safety, collaboration, servant leadership, and my all time favorite loving grace, which simply means that for someone working in one of these organizations, they could go there. They can get up in the morning, go to work, know that they were going to experience relationship, knowing that their voice was going to be respected, knowing that their personal safety was going to be valued, knowing that collaboration was part of, part of the, um, the process of being there. So it was really the, uh, the, so when they taught, when these organizations divide these, uh, excuse me, determined the, uh, purpose of their leadership has always included some kind of experience of the workforce cert thing.
Um, coach will knew that when he was, um, uh, coaching these boys, uh, as a basketball team, he was doing more than just, you know, coaching young boys to play basketball, but he was also turning them into young men. And one of the unexpected findings in my research is that elite organizations are as intentional about, uh, developing better human beings as they are about the technical skills of their workforce. For example, one of the case studies in the book is about a hospital that is consistently ranked as one of the nation's safest hospitals. Some of these even spec later did is one of the safest hospitals in the world. And they, uh, they not only want to develop better doctors and nurses and medical assistants and research people, but they also want to develop a stronger and more confident. Um, human beings have learned that when they develop a workforce that is confident and has the courage to speak up, when they see an opportunity to improve their system, you have not only created a better nurse or a doctor, but they have created a better human being and this additional value gets passed onto their patients.
Wow. Wow. You know, actually I have a friend that owns a bunch of subway stores or restaurants, and he told me that he realized very quick into it. He's got several franchises. He said, he's actually raising our youth. And yeah. And you know, that's a big, that's a big moment when you acknowledge that you're not just running, you know, a franchise, but you're, you're training our future. And, um,
Yeah. And then the interesting thing is when you do their research on millennials, um, they are pretty clear. They're not interested in being led. Um, they're not interested in being told what to do. They want to be a contributor, but they are in love with the idea of being developed. They want their value to be developed, um, the unexpected, talk to a millennial and tell them what to do and have them be happy about it. But if you work with them and development, they're all in.
Wow. So this maybe is a new idea that leadership can be understood as, as an organizational system.
Well, yes and no. Um, it certainly is a new idea. Um, the U S military has actually been treating leadership as a system for years, and it's one of the reason why they are the, uh, acknowledged world's best in developing leaders. Um, outside of the U S military though, there's a handful of scholars and researchers that are just beginning to talk about it. Um, one of them which was, who has a tremendous, uh, mentor and encouragement to me was, uh, dr. Barbara Kellerman. Uh, she teaches at the Harvard Kennedy school of government and is one of the most respected scholars around Lee, uh, about around leadership in the country, excuse me, but outside of her and a handful of others, it really is a revolutionary new idea.
Hmm. Wow. So what you may not know about me is that I actually have a pretty extensive background in executive management in the automotive industry. And so, as you're talking, I'm thinking, okay, so if say I'm a CEO or even a mid level manager of maybe a hospital, or in my case, was the automotive industry. What does this all mean to me?
Well, um, one of the reviewers for the book, um, he's one of the habits of being one of the foremost experts in systems research. He teaches at a university in England, uh, and this is what he said about, uh, about the idea and about the book. You said, it means that anybody with integrity and a reasonable level of emotional intelligence can learn how to lead. And I think this is the lesson of the military. The military is terrific picking young men and men of average talent and turning them into leadership, you know, rock stars. It's the same thing that coach will did with those young boys. He designed a system that took, uh, athletes of modest talent and turn them into champions.
Hmm. So I know that you also did a lot of interviewing. So tell me about the organizations that you researched and some of the people you interviewed.
Well, that's a great question to call and I love talking about this. Um, it, it really took about two years just to figure out what a leadership system look like. But when I, when I figure out what to, what, to, what, you know, what they look like, and if I saw one walking down the street, uh, could I recognize it? Then I began to see, um, every time I found an elite organization that was performing at a high level for a long period of time, I found the evidence, but design system organizations included, um, several in the healthcare industry and manufacturing companies. I mentioned an L an elementary school. Um, also included organizations is the, versus the New York mafia for salvation and on the other end of the spectrum, the army, um, and award winning Ford dealership, and even an NFL Superbowl champion, uh, who is a perennial playoff contender.
Wow. So that's a pretty diverse group.
Yeah. And the w you know, the, the, the fun part, it was really the, the, the people I got to interview or allowed me to interview them. Um, there are some of the most amazing people I've ever had the opportunity to meet. Um, they'll never hear any of them and the national news media. Um, I think they're too busy to, uh, uh, recreating the world of work, um, than, uh, to be concerned about, um, their, uh, their national reputation. But, um, just, uh, a couple, um, one was, uh, I mentioned this elementary school principal. And when I sat down with her, I said, um, I want to ask you about your approach to leadership. And she looked at me and she said, leadership, I don't know anything about leadership. And then she went on to describe the most eloquent system of leadership I found. Um, another one was actually two gentlemen, both senior us army officers.
One was a full Colonel, um, 34 year veteran us army veteran, us army ranger served. Most of the most of his career was with a special force. And, um, the other one actually happened to be a guy by the name of general Barry McCaffrey, uh, general McCaffrey, um, retired after three, two years. He was a four star general. Um, when he retired from the army, he went on to serve in the Clint cabinets as the nation's drugs are. Uh, if there was anything about leadership, uh, general McCaffrey doesn't know about, it's not worth knowing. And, um, you know, I interviewed him about a year and a half ago, and I, frankly, I'm still really from that interview, it was hands down the single most, uh, probably impactful one hour conversation in my career.
Wow. Wow. Wow. So, um, these leadership systems, can they, uh, be designed to each organization specific needs? Like, is there a one size fits all?
Yeah, that's a perfect question. And that's one of the, the, uh, the, the, the great, um, applications of this. So let me give you an example. Um, Anchorage, Alaska, there is a native American health care system. Uh, this system serves 200 native American tribes in the South central part of Alaska it twice been awarded the nation's highest honor for organizational excellence, which is the Nat, the national Malcolm Baldrige quality award, uh, to win this award once is a monumental achievement when it twice is perpetually unheard of their system and their system of leadership begins and ends a core value of relationship relationship, and the whole idea of relationship. And I would probably have to add story in there as well is what drives the model of healthcare delivery and drives how the approach leadership it's the lens through which they engage their, their patients on their staff.
Um, in fact, the value of relationships means they don't even call their patients. Patients. They call them customer owners because it's a better expression of that relationship. Um, native Americans come to them for care. Um, and they are these, these are the people who come to them for care. They are both customers, but they are also owners of the system. So they call them customer owners. Um, and relationship is also a central theme in native cultures. Um, they have survived for thousands of years based on the whole idea of relationships. So when someone comes to them for care, they're not just going there as an individual, but they're going to there the hospital or to a clinic, because there are a whole human being of, and they're a network of individuals with families and communities. And so the healthcare system actually look at that looks at the individual customer owner as part of a network of relationships.
One of which happens to be native American sound sense of spirituality where most Western Minnesota medicine would, um, ignore spirituality, if not scorn it, this healthcare system actually absolutely celebrates it. Wow. So, um, while it would be maybe easy to say, well, we need to take their system of leadership and bring it into another healthcare organization. It's a great idea that wouldn't work. You wouldn't, you'd be, you'd be foolish to try to take their views of leadership, their system of leadership, and drop it into say a large teaching hospital and a, um, an art in a large urban community. And while some parts of their system might be trans transferrable, much of it would, would be rejected outright because of institutional values, customs and cultures.
Wow. That's, that's really actually, it's very touching. Um, it, it, it really is, um, building relationship and it's really quite beautiful.
Well, it is in a works for them, uh, and, and it works for them because the whole idea of relationship is, is it's, it's part of their culture. They value relationship. Now, um, there is a health care and other health care organization that I use in, uh, in the, in the book as a, as a case study. Um, they don't talk about relationship, but they do have a core value of respect. So everything for them is driven off of a value of respect. Now you could argue that they all end up in the same place, but, um, the idea of relationship has a special meeting for a native American healthcare organization, or for a large urban healthcare, uh, system, the value of respect. Um, it it's meaningful to them in this meeting, meaningful to their patients.
I'm currently helping a friend through, uh, their cancer treatment. And I, you know, I thought, well, this is kind of cool. And I looked and saw that they gave him a cup and, you know, it had their logo on it. And I'm like, Oh gosh, well, that's your token for, Hey, thanks for coming to our hospital. And here's your cup, sorry about your cancer. You know, and I'm like, I don't know how I would read that, but I guess, you know, they've acknowledged clearly that they are a business. And, um, you know, if a cup is their token, I think it's maybe a little bit cold, but, but, uh, yeah, so, you know, I think a lot of these healthcare, uh, you know, hospitals and clinics and whatnot, they're all realizing they're in competition for, you know, so much. And yeah, he just don't think about it. I mean, when you're sick, you're going, Oh, I need care. But you know, if you have a relationship built, you'd probably be likely to go there.
Well, so, you know, that's a great observation and, and, and you're right, more and more, um, healthcare organizations are realizing they are in competition and they're in competition, um, significant competition. Um, I mentioned, uh, another healthcare system, that one that operates off of a value of respect. Um, and they define respect as respect for the work respect for the worker and respect for the patient and, um, respect for the work means to them that they need to, um, and respect for the patient means that they need to focus on, um, the perfect patient experience and error free healthcare. Now that's a long ways from giving somebody a cup with their name on it.
And, um, so just as an example of how that plays out, um, if, because they put so much energy and to, um, providing air free healthcare, they are able to produce an Olympia. They're able to eliminate a waste whenever and wherever they see it, which simply means they, they have higher productivity, they have less deck economic waste. So Darren, the 2007, 2008 recession, most hospitals around the country or laying off doctors and nurses and medical assistants. This was this particular healthcare system was one of the few in the country that didn't have to lay off anybody. And the fact is they still continue to pay bonuses to their staff who qualified for bonuses. So you can imagine if you're a patient of that organization and everything is driven off of a value of respect, logic would suggest that your experience with that, with that healthcare organization is going to be one of respect. And that's exactly what they see. They have some of the highest rates of patients satisfaction in the country. And I don't know that they give people cups, but something tells me they don't, but what they, what they do give though, and it all begins with a value of respect. What they do give though, as a patient is a, is a patient experience, or the patient has heard where the patient is valued. The input, it's really a collaborative process and it drives and drives the, the perfect patient experience.
Well, I I've had a bunch of questions for you, but I'm going to skip ahead a little bit, cause we are, uh, running a little bit long here, but I want to ask you, so I have always thought of leadership as a person who is inspiring, someone others will naturally want to follow, but this idea of leadership systems seems like it's, it doesn't really need personal inspiration. Yeah.
Great observation, Nicole. So you know that the reality is inspirational. It goes so far after a time inspiration gets sold. And we must all just get down to do the work of taking care of customers and designing products and services to meet their needs. What I discovered is that organizations that consistently perform at an elite level for a long period of time really are a focus on giving their workforce and experience, which in turn will then be passed onto their customer. For example, I mentioned Aaron, the elementary school principal, she created a culture or a leadership DNA that focused on, on creating, creating a collaborative work and fire environment. So while their staff were certainly inspired by the challenge of education, and I mean, they teach us go into education because they liked the idea what they could expect to experience when they walked in the door of that school was a collaborative experience with their fellow teachers.
It was not about inspiration, but it was about an experience for her team that, that motivated to get them up out of bed in the morning. Um, the same thing in one of the manufacturing companies that I looked at, they very proudly state that they practice serve and leadership. And, uh, so they've designed their system and they've trained every one of their leaders, not even to be, they don't even call them leaders, they call them mentors. So as a worker in this, in this firm, you walked in and you're working in this company and they design and develop manufacture high end custom furniture. You can expect to be mentored. You can expect to have an experience where your supervisor was there to help you to find an eliminate waste. It does not about inspiration, but it was about the experience, the daily experience of working there.
Second thing is the idea of, of inspiring followers, um, is anymore an idea that I get kind of angry about. Um, give me an example. There's a park right in back of my house and not long ago, there was a football coach running fitness, fitness drills for eight, nine year old boys. And this was a guy that had a, a girl that suggested a pretty healthy diet of pizza and beer. And his message to these young boys was, um, you know, it was a run faster and as encouragement was, there are leaders and there are followers who are my leaders and I'm in my backyard and I'm hearing this and I'm thinking, what is the message to these boys leaders are better athletes and followers? I don't think so. It's really rather stupid yet. Even in our business language today, we do the same thing.
I was, I was recently on a conference and a very highly respected CEO of a, of a major healthcare organization. It was talking about developing followers as if people, uh, with positions of authority were better than those. Um, and those who didn't have authority. And, and, you know, she was talking about having to develop this sense of followership. And I thought, you know, I don't recall anybody ever being excited about the idea of being a follower. Um, you know, there's a half a billion people that have profiles on LinkedIn. I don't think I've ever seen one that said, I am a courageous, um, uh, happy to be follower everyone. Everyone wants to be a leader. Um, and so we, we w there was a lot of organizations, a lot of people are talking about, you know, creating followers when no one wants to be a follower, especially not millennials today.
Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So if I'm looking at getting a job, I'm going into an organization and I was, I was being interviewed for the job. I was on an interview. Um, what should, what should I ask to learn about what their leadership leadership system is all about? Yeah. Great. And,
Um, having raised a millennial, um, this is, uh, a question that I I've thought a lot about, but, um, if I was, if I was being interviewed for a job, one of my first questions would be what are you going to do to develop my value? And what are you going to do to, uh, make me, help me to become a better human being? And if the inter if the, if the recruiter couldn't answer that question, I would get out of there and run as fast as I could. On the other hand, if it's the recruiter had a very clear path, how this organization was going to develop my value, that's not just professional values, personal value as well. Um, so one of the things that I saw is that high, uh, high performing organizations, they put a lot of emphasis on, on creating personal value, right along with the professional value. Um, but if I found an organization that had a game plan on how to do that, I would take whatever they offered because in a few years, the world would be knocking at my door.
Wow. You know, having done so much time in executive management and in the corporate world. And I did project and program management for years, uh, my MBA was in technology management. So I used to manage large systems with large budgets. And I can tell you, I used to spend so much time just sitting in the ladies room, crying my eyes out because it was miserable. So I, I have to say if all of what you're saying has a possibility of happening in a new environment and a new workplace. And, you know, honestly, I think all things COVID, we are now seeing exposed all of the things that aren't working. And I think it's a perfect opportunity to explore new ways. And, you know, we're all doing something totally different working at home when we used to go in the office. So I, I personally think your book is awesome timing. And, um, so I know we're going to have a lot of listeners that want to know how to get a copy of your book and how do they do that? Where do we go?
Well, uh, actually the best place to go to get the book is my website, Daniel eds.com. And as a special offers offer to your listeners, um, if they let me know that they heard, um, heard this podcast, I'll be happy to personally sign the book. And I'll also send them a, a special report that I am just now completing, that shows a fit. It documents 14 strategies to an engaged workforce for excuse me, four strategies to engage the workforce and 14 steps to engage the workforce. Um, and I really think that the next generation of leadership is going to be focusing on engagement of the workforce, because that's where the that's where the largest value add going to come from, uh, is, uh, uh, is as a workforce that's engaged with the work. Um, and, and Nicole, to your comment about, uh, being miserable. One of the things I found in these, these exceptional organizations is that number one, they had very high levels of engagement.
Um, they had very high levels of employee satisfaction. And the, uh, one of the, one of the more unusual experiences I had was, um, uh, this manufacturing company that designs and manufactures custom furniture. Um, as I was waiting my tour, I was, uh, got there a few minutes early. I was sitting in my car in my car drinking my morning latte, and I was watching people come in the door. And when it was the, almost, it was almost surreal. People walking in the door were smiling and, and walking through their plant and interviewing some of their people. Um, it was, it was stunning. People would meet you, they, they they'd look at you in the eye and they would smile. And, um, and you could tell people, enjoyed people, enjoy being there. Um, there were a highly diverse culturally, a highly diverse workforce. Um, you go into the big, uh, you know, more room work room where people eat lunch and it smells like an international food bizarre. Wow. And, uh, but you could just tell people enjoyed working there. And I walked into hundreds of organizations and I've never seen anything like that.
Wow. Wow. Well, I have to say talking with you gives me just, uh, an incredible sense of, of comfort knowing that, you know, somebody like you has done the time done the research, you know, written the book and you're, you're watching this and you're looking for improvements. And I have to say, wherever you're working, I would know that's a great place to work. Cause you're, you've, you've done your work. And, um, you know, and I, I just, I it's so refreshing it's
Well, thanks. Thanks, Nicole. I like to say I, um, I like to start a revolution of how we approach leadership. Uh, cause I think it's so critical for today. And as you mentioned, especially with COVID, um, it's COVID is going to require that we, we absolutely look at leadership in a different way. People working virtually from home, um, there's a lot of leaders that are, they're losing a lot of power or control and, uh, and, uh, how they deal with that is really going to be telling and, uh, what kind of productivity and experience so the workforce and ultimately the experience of the customer that they provide.
Well, Dan, I want to thank you so much for your time today, and I wish you the best of luck with your book and your mission to strengthen leadership. And I am biggest supporter of all of my clients and what you're doing and, uh, congratulations. Cause you, you made it through this, you got the book done, you've put so much experience and the world needs to hear what you have to say. So thank you,
You so much. Well, thank you, Nicole. I appreciate the time.
Awesome. Alright, you guys, I'm going to place this interview over on my website on the blog and you can link over to Dan's website from there. So until next time I'm wishing you peace love and light.
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