Four-Star General Stanley McChrystal | The Man Who Helped to Capture Saddam Hussein Shares His Keys for Leading Teams Effectively

Show Notes

The four-star General, is credited with the December 2003 capture of Saddam Hussein joins us to share why it’s so important to set the standard for excellence within your organization.

Explains why starting a business is scarier than jumping out of a plane

  1. Stanley McChrystal, welcome onto the Thrivetime Show, how are you sir?
  2. What have you been up to since you left the military?
    1. I have been teaching at many places.
    2. I have started a company with a friend of mine.
      1. It is a leadership advisor firm which is a sort of consulting.
  3. Stanley, according to Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, you are “perhaps the finest warrior and leader of men in combat I ever met.” What mindsets or character attributes do you believed allowed you to thrive in a military environment?
  4. Stanley, you’ve accomplished much during your career, but I would love to start off at the very beginning. When did you first decide that you wanted to serve in the United States military?
    1. My father and his father was in the military
    2. I wanted to be like my dad and his dad since I was young.
  5. Stanley, how would you describe your time spent at the West Point, United States Military Academy?
    1. It has changed since 1972
    2. It is a very disciplined environment focused on “The Whole Man”
    3. It is a very full and disciplined schedule
    4. I workout every day. That is because I developed many habits at West Point.
    5. There are things that are from forced behavior that stick with you your whole life.
    6. You force someone to do something then you convince them it is something that they should want to do.
    7. Over time, you start to want what you have been doing. It is called soldierization in the army.
  6. My understanding is that you were commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army and that your initial assignment was to the C Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division…for all of the folks out there that are not super familiar with the military and the way that it is organized…what does it mean to be a second lieutenant in the army?
    1. The United States army had 2 airborne infantry divisions. They were both of World War 2 fame.
    2. It is a set of paratroopers and what is special about paratroopers is that you have to volunteer to jump out of the airplane.
    3. Jumping out of an airplane is terrifying at first. You will jump out of the plane at night most of the time. You are going around 190 knots. You stare off into absolute darkness.
    4. The most memorable jump was when I ended 800 Meters off of the jump point and ended up in a tree.
  7. How would you describe what it’s like to be a member of the parachute infantry?
  8. What is it like to fall and parachute out of an airplane and what was your most memorable jump?
  9. What were your roles in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm?
    1. They were operations one after another
    2. I was a part of a small task force. We were in the west of Saudi Arabia where we were attacking Arakai military who had missiles that were on mobile launchers.
  10. When you and your men are involved in combat, what kinds of things did you and your men typically do or talk about when not engaging and fighting the enemy?
    1. Humor is very important. Even when they don’t feel like being funny and upbeat, you are expected to act positive. There is a cultural norm where you have to act upbeat and make jokes because it is infective. Everyone has a tongue and cheek attitude but everyone also has a seriousness to them.
  11. If it’s possible, I would like for you to describe the amount of fear or lack of fear that you were experiencing while involved in combat duty?
    1. The things that make someone was first a mission mindset. You have a mission to finish it. There is a feeling that you are on a team and your mission is to protect the team.
    2. Some of the best soldiers I knew were the ones who stood up and accepted responsibility.
  12. What did it feel like to capture Saddam Hussein in December 2003?
    1. I was the commander of the task force. I got the credit for the thing that my people did. There was a very patient set of interrogations. They connected their operations that led to his hiding spot.
    2. The people who actually work with you are the ones who really the ones who do a lot of the heavy lifting.
  13. I realize that much of what you did was classified, but what was the process like of tracking down the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq?
  14. You worked directly with President Obama. What kind of honor was to be protecting the country you love while working directly with the President of the United States?
    1. Essentially no. We were pretty well taken care of by all administrations. Once you are high ranking all that really matters is the Chief’s character.
  15. You had to lead so many people while serving. In your mind what separates good leaders from bad ones?
  16. What inspired you to first write the book, Leaders: Myth and Reality?
    1. We decided to profile 13 people and find out why these people emerged as leaders.
  17. Chapter One of your book is titled, The Mythology. What is this chapter all about?
  18. Chapter Two is called, the Marble Man: Robert E. Lee. I would love for you to break down that this chapter is about?
    1. Robert E. Lee was the most famous Southern General in the Civil War.
    2. I had parallel much of my career closely to his.
  19. Chapter Three is called Founders and in this book you decided to write about Walt Disney, Coco Chanel, Entrepreneurialism and Ego. What can readers expect to find in this chapter of your book?
    1. I grew up with the idea that Walt Disney was “Uncle Walt”
      1. He was an innovative guy but he was a tough boss.
      2. People still wanted to work for him and work with him because he was doing something.
    2. Coco Chanel could be hard to be around because of her standards but people flocked to work with her
      1. People are willing to work will be difficult people if they can work with an operation that is really doing something.
  20. How do you get the stars?
    1. I graduated form West Point and only 3 of us became 4 star generals. None of us were good cadets.
    2. It is character, stick-to-it-iveness, meshing, and just simply focusing.
    3. Anyone with 4 stars are just the same as anyone else.
  21. Stanley, during a TED presentation, you talked about “Listen, Learn…then Lead.” I would love for you to break down this approach to leadership?
  22. Stanley, you once wrote, “A leader’s words matter, but actions ultimately do more to reinforce or undermine the implementation of a team of teams.” I’d love for you to share about some of the actions that you had to take on a daily basis to lead the way during your time spent leading in the military?
  23. You once wrote, “Our actions, particularly interventions, can upset regions, nations, cultures, economies, and peoples, however virtuous our purpose. We must ensure that the cure we offer through intervention is not worse than the disease.” What did you mean by this?
  24. Stanley, you wrote in your book, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, “Today, a staggering 93 percent of those who work in cubicles say that they would prefer a different workspace.” Why is this important for entrepreneurs to be aware of?
  25. Stanley, you are a very intentional person. How did you typically organize that first four hours of your day when serving in the military, what time did you typically wake up?
  26. Stanley, what is a book that you would recommend for all of our listeners to read and why?
  27. If you could go back to West Point, what would you do differently?
    1. Remember what is important. The things I regret are not the things I did, they are the things I didn’t do.
  28. What time do you wake up and
    1. I get up at 4:30 AM
      1. This is the only part of the day that I can control
    2. I work out for 90 minutes in the morning
      1. I run for an hour on some days
      2. Other days are gym days
      3. I eat once per day. Dinner. I delay gratification all day and eat a big dinner at night.
    3. I get cleaned up
    4. I get to the office early
    5. I answer emails and get prepared
  29. Book recommendation
    1. Once an Eagle – Anton Myrer
  30. My one message
    1. Be intentional about what you want to be. That is typically a service to something that gives you a purpose that is higher than money or personal satisfaction. This tells you no matter how bad this sucks right now, you are doing it for something.

ACTION ITEM: What you focus on, it will prosper. Make sure that the things you are  focusing on are positive and are actively helping you get to your goals

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Audio Transcription

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On today’s show, we interview the retired United States four star general on the keys for leading teams effectively. After graduating from west point Stanley McChrystal steadily and diligently moved his way up the ranks of the United States military. Eventually he became the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq and was the top commander of the American forces in Afghanistan. During the early and mid two thousands General Stanley McChrystal is credited with the December, 2003 capture of Saddam Hussein. Yes, this is the man credited with the capture of Saddam Hussein and the 2006 location and removal of,

okay. Just at least give me some background music to hide or three attempts to do this read. Right and June of 2006 general McChrystal, the four star general was responsible for locating and removing Abu Musab owl czar, Kook, Hawaii. Let me try it at Bu. Matt Sab our czar [inaudible] that sounds good. That sounded better. Okay, we go Abu Musab Alizar.

The point is, he was the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq and general stanley McChrystal in his team wiped him out. Woo. I’m up, eliminated him, got him off of the planet, kill the terrorists. Thus making America more safe. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to introduce to you the retired four star general Stanley McChrystal.

Sam shows don’t need a celebrity narrator to introduce the show. This show dot two man, eight kids co created by two different women, 13 mode time million dollar businesses. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome

to the thrive time show. Okay. Yes, yes, yes and yes. Ladies and gentlemen on today’s show, we are interviewing none other

then the retired United States four star general Stanley McChrystal. Mr Stan, how are you sir? I’m Greg every year today on Stan. We are just excited to have you on the show and I want to, I want to ask you my friend up. What have you been up to since your retirement from the military? What kind of things you’ve been doing for the last few months? What are you working on?

Well, it’s amazing. Um, I’ve been very lucky. I left the military and I’ve had the opportunity to write three books or be part of the teams at wrote three books, my memoirs and two others. I’ve been teaching up at Yale University. I’d be teaching again later tonight. So I’ve been teaching a whole Sherry’s of kids there that I’ve gotten to know is they’ve grown up and gone. And then with a friend of mine, I started a company that started at my kitchen table to have a shook hands and began it. Now it’s a hundred people. Wow. Uh, operate all over the world. And so I’ve been, been able to be a part of things that are, you know, exciting and fun. What does your, uh, what does your company do? It’s a leadership advisory firm, which is a form of consulting. We work with a variety of big companies and some small companies to make them operate better, to make them function better.

We don’t reorganize them or do some of the traditional consulting things, but we take things like decision making and communication and it’s amazing the difference it makes in the average company. You know, I would like to start off at the bottom and at the very beginning of your career, when did you first decide that you wanted to serve in the United States military? Well, it’s important to understand. My father was a soldier and my father’s father was a soldier as well, career soldiers. And so it was in my family and in my blood. So I, as early as I can remember, I wanted to be like my dad and I wanted to be a soldier. And so I spent my time thinking about trying to go to west point and then when I was age 17 I did. So I never, I’m not sure I ever made a conscious decision.

I just sorta did what felt right for me. So did you, you went to West Point, correct? You went to West Point. For the listeners out there that have never been to west point or never toured the campus or have attended west point, could you describe what your time was like at West Point? Yeah. I think it’s, it’s changed a little bit from when I went in, in 1972 but I got there 170 years after the academy started. It had changed a fair amount, but the reality was a lot hadn’t changed. It’s a very disciplined environment. The focus of west point is on developing what in those days was called the whole man, or now it’d be the whole man and woman. So it’s a very, uh, full schedule. It was physical, it was college courses. Of course, it’s a university as well. It was discipline. It was a variety of things all to make you a leader for America starting in the military.

And then of course, they hoped into other endeavors as well. Now I’m looking at you on Skype here and I looked up you in Google. You look like you’re 27 maybe 31 I mean, you look, you’re looking great by the way. It’s part of the fish oil, that kind of thing. But what kind of health habits or life habits did you learn during your time as a young man at west point that you still are, they’re still influencing you today? Yeah, it’s interesting. I joke with people that I still fold my underwear and keep them in my drawer. And of course that gets a laugh, but it’s also true. But most importantly I learned a number of things. I work out every day and I do it. People say it’s tremendous discipline. I’d say it’s a habit, it’s a good habit. I got bad habits, but I got some good ones.

And so there were things about what you expect about yourself, how you expect yourself to, to stand, how you expect yourself to interact with people, how you stay physically active. Because in a leadership role in the military, that’s extraordinarily important. So there were things that they, they do through forced behavior that become things that are part of your character for the rest of your life. Well, you say forced behavior. What does, what does that look like? That’s funny. It’s up. You know, they say that you convinced somebody to do something and then they do it. I think it’s the opposite. I think you force somebody to do something and then you convince them that it’s what they want to do. And so when you get to west point, the first thing they do is cut your hair off, take your clothes away, make you wear uniforms, give you a rank in a name.

You start as a new cadet and then you’re a cadet. You have to interact with upperclassmen and officers a certain way. You have to walk a certain way. And when you’re in the mess hall as a Plebe, you have to sit at attention. So they, they put you through a number of things that seem foreign. And, and in many cases they seem silly, but over time you find yourself believing that you want to stand a certain way and act a certain way. So I make sure I’m getting this right here. You said you force somebody to do something and then you convince them that it’s something that they should want to do. Is that correct? That, I think that’s absolutely true. I mean, it’s called soldier as a nation in the army and you’re really changing how they think about things through habits. Okay. Okay.

So, so now you split your time at West Point. Um, you, you did well, and my understanding is that you then entered into the military. You were commissioned at some point to be the second lieutenant in the United States army and that’s your initial assignment was to the seed company, first battalion 504th parachute, Infantry Regiment, 82nd airborne division. A lot of listeners go, we have another yellow. What does that mean? What does, what does all that stuff mean? Right? Um, the United States army, when I entered the service and not, well, I left West Point 1976 head to airborne infantry divisions, the hundred and first, uh, and the 82nd airborne division, they were both of world war two fame. The 82nd had jumped into Normandy and jumped into Holland. If anybody I’ve ever seen the movie a bridge too far. So it was this story division that actually went back to the first world war.

But it became famous in the Second World War. So it’s a set of paratroopers. And one of the things that’s special about paratroopers is someone’s in the army. But to be a parachute, a paratrooper, you have to volunteer. So everyone in the division had entered the service when I entered, every one was a volunteer who’s the volunteer army started, but they’d had to volunteer again to be a paratrooper and go to parachute, infantry training, jump out of airplanes. So it made them a special group of people. Can you describe what it’s like to jump from a perfectly good airplane? Well, what is what, what does that look like? The first time you jump out of an airplane? What was your art, or maybe what was your most memorable jump? That’s a great, well one, it’s, it’s jarring. It’s, it’s frightening when you first do it.

In fact, it’s terrifying when you first do it. But the most memorable bull jobs, most of your jumps are at night. So as a consequence you’ll, you’ll be in this aircraft. And those days, either a c one 30 aircraft or a c one 41 cargo aircraft, you’re going about 120 knots. And so they opened the doors to this aircraft and may the wind is wishing your, if you’re up close to the door, you get a real sense of I’m about to jump out. And it just darkness. And so you’re piloting with a pair of tubers and then in a moment the jump master, who’s another paratrooper who leans out the door to make sure it’s safe in the right place, he steps back, he points at you, put you in the door and then says go. And so you’re essentially jumping out into absolute black. And I remember the most memorable for me is I jump out and it wasn’t my first jump.

So I was pretty experienced at this point. I jump out and I said, wow, it’s really dark. I can’t see the, the drop. So, and we were going to drop on an airfield that night and then in the distance, probably a thousand meters away. I, in fact see the drop stones so that the aircraft was other bad having and so, oh wow. I jumped about a problem of, I ended up about 800 meters into the forest or under the trees where you end up hanging in the tree. Oh Wow. Now, okay, so now you uh, went on to to serve honorably your, your careers is extensive, but I’d like to focus on operations, Desert Storm and desert shield. Uh, what were your roles in those two operations? Yeah, well, Desert Storm, desert shield warlike like one operation, one after another, uh, desert shield was when America deployed forces over to Saudi Arabia to prepare to push Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait.

And then Desert Storm was the hundred hours that it actually took to do that. I was at that point in my career, I was a major, I was in an organization called the Joint Special Operations Command and I was a staff officer. I was a current operations officer. So I had planned and help coordinate operations. And I went as part of a small special operations task force that went out to the west of Saudi Arabia. All of the, the bulk of the forces and the focus was in the east over near the border with Kuwait. We were in the west of Saudi Arabia and our mission was to send small teams into western Iraq where the, uh, the Iraqi military had Scud missiles and the Scud missiles could go several hundred kilometers. And they started shooting those missiles into Saudi Arabia and into Israel at the time. And the mission of my task force was to go and suppress or destroy those missiles, withdraw and mobile launchers. You were described by the former defense secretary Robert Gates as perhaps the finest warrior and leader of men in combat that I ever met.

Um, I know you’re a humble guy and I know you don’t want to sit here on a podcast and you know, brag or I know you’re a team and I just want to get, what does it mean in your mind to be a warrior? I cause I Z, Z, Z, you know this, I’m kind of afraid of of of heights, speed, water, needles and you’re over there. People are, you know, you’re getting shot at bullets are flying by. I mean, how do you keep, what is the warrior mindset look like? What, what’s, what are you thinking when you’re in combat?

Yeah, no it’s, it’s a great question. And you know, I was around truly probably the greatest warriors of our generation as I was enjoying special operations command both in the first Gulf war and then the second. So I have a pretty good opinion on this. I think the things that, that makes somebody that, that impressed me and people were first a mission mindset and that is the idea that you get that you’ve got this mission and the people are creative but they’re driven to accomplish it. You’ve seen it in starting small businesses and whatnot and you know, you can almost feel it when you meet someone. Then there’s the sense of I am part of a team and the, the, the point of the team, the purpose of the team is to accomplish something. But my sacred responsibility is to take care of the other members of that team. And so you get somebody who isn’t necessarily easy going. The best soldiers I ever saw weren’t always the ones that, you know, we’re sitting around and joking and whatnot. In fact, they might be a little difficult to get close to, but when you’re really trying to do something that’s extraordinarily difficult and sometimes it requires pushing, other people are pulling them to do it. They are the people who stand up and accept that responsibility. And I saw time and again that proved really important in a, in a difficult combat environment.

I see you, I’m sure you’ll see this in Europe companies, you know, but you, after you’ve had like a really rough daisy, you, you and your comrade, you to guys that you work with in your business and you gotta have like humor, you know, we kind of joke like, oh isn’t that a customer comes in and steals a bunch of stuff from us or someone, you know, someone breaks into your business. It’s not fun, but you kind of get through it with humor and you kind of have that kind of rapport with your team. I want to ask you, they’re a us to Stanley. What kind of, do you guys have like jokes and kind of humor and stuff? I mean have you had like a big fight and you kind of calms down or what kind of stuff do you talk about when you’re in inbetween combat? Your ear definitely engaged in combat, but it was kind of a low for a few hours and you’re in a foxhole and you’re what? What kind of stuff? What kind of conversations do you have?

Yeah, it’s interesting you would say that because first humor is very, very important and I think even when people don’t feel like being funny or they don’t feel like being upbeat, the cultures of good military organizations is, that’s the way you act because that’s the way you are expected to act. So even if things are frightening or if they’re a frustrating or you could be, you have a tendency to be a little bit despondent because you think you might be losing. There is this cultural norm that says, I’m going to act upbeat. I’m going to make jokes. And RingCentral, because it’s infectious. Everybody knows how everybody else feels. You know, you don’t have, nobody sits around and saying, boy, I’m scared. Boy, I’m really worried about this. Everybody takes a sort of tongue in cheek attitude, but chapters to understand that’s a vineyard. That’s every what is also frighteningly serious.

Stan, what was tougher for you starting your business that you around the dinner table or jumping out of a plane? Oh, that’s a great question. Um, I think starting a business because jumping out of the plan was something I had expected to do as I was growing up. I knew I wanted to be a soldier. I knew I wanted to be a parachute trooper. And so you, you just have this sense that this is another step in my career. When I left the military, I had never thought about starting a business. And I thought, wow, it must be really hard because all these people who’ve started businesses, they must be really brighter than it must be really lucky or something. So it was the unknown for me. It was much more unknown than anything militarily that I ever experienced capturing Saddam Hussein. What, what was, what was, uh, uh, your role in capturing Saddam Hussein?

Were you the guy who tricked him? He said, come over here. What was your role with Catholics compensated? That’s great question. No, I was the commander of the task force, so I’m in the position of getting the credit for something that actually my people did. And so, uh, Saddam Hussein was captured, like many cases with someone big, there was a, a very patient set of interrogations of people who’ve been detained and putting together other intelligence then an organization when they, they got a good beat on where he might be. They conducted an operation act to this farm area north of Baghdad. They went to an area and a informer had gone with the task force who was prepared to help guide them to where he thought Saddam Hussein was. And then my forces went there and in fact found him in a little spider hole. So I’m the person who orchestrates it.

I’m the person who, uh, commands your organization, but it, but it’s true in almost any organization, actually, the people that work with you and for you, they do the heavy lifting. They do the hard part and they deserve the lion’s share of the credit because it’s the very difficult, as we call it, the pointy end of the spear. Are you allowed to give a shout outs, Aka a credit to specific individuals that you were very close to that situation, that, that are you allowed to share that or not so much? Yeah. Not so much. Not Appropriate, but they were, they were just a set of real professions. Okay. Now I’m going to ask you a quick, I’ve never painted a guest into a corner and I’m not going to do it now, but I just wanna get your take on this idea and feel free to say I don’t want to answer it and I’ll be happy to edit it out.

Okay. Um, we have, uh, you served under President Obama. You serve under different administrations, you know, different, uh, it is Republicans and Democrats had an office. And what was it like to serve under different administrations? Like what was it like to serve in the military? Met say under a Republican or under a Democrat because a lot of our listeners are business people and you know, they all vote one way or the other, but it was there. Is it, was it different voting or running uh, the military or leading or the mill being involved in military under different presidents. What was that like? Yeah, essentially no, when you’re a junior, you’re down there in the four. She never meets sheet of president. You read newspapers. Got It. You were pretty well taken care of by all administrations. As you get more senior and as I got very senior and you have personal interaction that it doesn’t matter what party they’re from, it’s, it’s more their personality, their style.

Got It. Got It. Now you have decided to write this book. You wrote this book called leaders myth and reality. And what first inspired you to write this book? Well, it’s funny, I had gone through a long career, I’d written two books before this and then I came to this frightening conclusion that I really didn’t understand leadership as much as I thought I did. So along with two coauthors want a former navy seal and one of a former marine infantry infantryman, we went back to first principles to, to try to get our arms around what really leadership is. And so we went back to Pluto, mark, the first century biographer historian, and we looked at how he had written about leaders in his famous parallel lives. And we, we decided to to profile 13 people and not to figure out what traits determined leaders, but really determine why this diverse group of people, why they emerged as leaders.

Got It. And it was a, it was an interesting journey. So in chapter two of this book, he talks about Robert E. Lee, I’d love for you to share with our listeners out there who Robert E. Lee was it kind of breakdown maybe some of the nuggets of knowledge you might find inside this chapter two of your book. Sure. Robert E. Lee. For people who either were in the military or from the south. He was the most famous southern general of the civil war. And I had grown up near where he grew up in northern Virginia. I had gone to Washington Lee high school and I’d gone to west point like he had. So I had paralleled much of my career on him. And at West Point I lived in Lee barracks. He was considered maybe the best connect ever, go to west point and the most effective general officer, uh, of 150 years.

And so he was this iconic stereotype of military leadership perfection. I want to go back to this. See this notable quotable, I mean, I don’t have any tattoos, but if I were going to get one, I probably get a tattoo that said, you force somebody to do something and then you convinced them it is something that they should want to do. This you’d want to do. Uh, I run call centers for some of my companies. So people get a job in a call center. Their job is to make outbound calls and you’ll give them a quota. Like you have to make a minimum of 100 calls a day. It usually they’ll say something like, I’m happy dad. I want to, I have anxiety, I get nervous. Is there any way I could do it for me? That kind of stuff. Oh yeah. And it will say some, you know, not encouraging like Nope, get on the phone.

Could you, cause you now you do business consulting at a certain level, I mean you do leadership consulting. Where do you see business leaders getting it wrong as it relates to getting their people just to do what they’re supposed to do? Yeah, I think sometimes you, you fail to explain to people the connection between what you’re asking or forcing them to do and what the outcome is. So if you talk about we’re a client or customer centric organization, everybody nods and you say, well what does that mean? And it is how does the customer feel about the interaction with your people and your firm on a daily basis or as often as they interact. And so if everyone in the organization understands that the customer essentially makes a decision every day, whether or not to be your customer, they do it through every aspect of, of their experience.

And so if you step back and say, I’m going to treat that customer as the most important person is the world as exactly like I did, I would want to be treated not like a distraction or something that I just have to do to make money. Yeah. And then you have a different approach. So chapter three of your book, you talk about your whole book by the way, provides so many, uh, I think counterintuitive approaches to leadership. But chapter three, it’s called founders and uh, you talk about Walt Disney in their Coco Chanel. Uh, can you talk to us about some of the character traits of Walt Disney or Coco Chanel? Some of the things we can find in chapter three of the book. Yeah. I grew up with the idea that Walt Disney was uncle Walt every Sunday night at seven 30. He was on any given an introduction to what was then a story that was going to be on the TV show.

And he seemed like everybody’s kindly uncle. And he was a brilliant guy and he was an innovator, but he was a tough boss. And if you really read the story, he could be hard to work with and it can be driven and he can be demanding. And when he created Disneyland, his attention to detail was extraordinary, but people still wanted to work for him. They wanted to work with him because he was doing something special. Coco Chanel was much the same way. She, she had employee stand essentially at attention in a little receiving line when she arrived at work in the morning. And she would come inside and they had to be dressed in Chanel clothing. And then she could be very hard to be around during the day. But again, they work with her. And so one of the things you learn is people want to be part of something special. They want to be part of a really good organization, and they’re willing to tolerate difficult work. They’re willing to tolerate even leaders who aren’t touchy feely kind of people. If they can be part of an organization that operates to a high standard, it is doing something special. Now DoctorZ has a as a tough, probably a special quote, diseases assessable or I’m going to kind

of personal now your father was the general also, right in the army? He was, yes. And he got, he was a two star general. Correct. And you just blew right past him. I mean, you went to four stars, right? We on steroids. What’s up? What’s up with the stars? I mean that the average guy out who is not military stars. I mean, how do you get to start and you just go and you just saw them on yourself. I mean, what do you just, you just go you, you say, Hey, sell me like a forester. I feel, I feel, I feel like four star today. I’ve took some days I feel for it. And how

very seriously when you were a civilian and when you’re junior in the military, you look up at people, these starts and you think, oh my God, that’s, that is the most talented, the smarter,

yeah, that’s right. Yeah, let’s do that. There’s quick week does what you’re saying,

but that’s the mythology. And I’m going to let you in on the story. You know, I, I graduated from West Point in 1976 with, I think 847 of my classmates, three of us became four star generals. Wow. None of the three of us were very good cadets. No one would have picked us. So there’s a, there’s a certain amount of just luck. You’re just sort of there. You’re around. But I think the rest of it are, uh, it’s character. It’s a sticktuitiveness as you know from starting business. It’s not the genius who necessarily creates the best business. It’s this meshing together opportunity of who you get to work with, but also this idea that you will just focus in, you know, you’ll have this drive and get to it. So when you see these general officers, they are just the same as everybody else, but they’ve had a series of opportunities and they, they were fortunate enough to take advantage of them.

You are a very proactive person. I’m just curious, we’d like to always ask our guests about this. How do you spend the first four hours of every day and what time do you now wake up?

Yeah, that’s great. I get up early this morning. I got up at three o’clock so I could work out before my wife and I hit the road. We had to drive from DC up to Yale at 5:00 AM and I don’t always get up at three but I typically get four 30 or five and I do that because that’s the only part of the day you really control when you’re busy. The rest of the day is calls, emails, meetings, et Cetera. So what I find is I have to start my day working out or psychologically I’m not good. So I work out for about 90 minutes in the morning and then I have enough time to, you know, get myself cleaned up to do a certain number of things. And then I like to get into the office early so that when I get there, I have a little bit of time to grab a cup of coffee, talk to my assistant and a couple other people who have the early habit to all veterans.

Interestingly enough in the military. Yeah. And then I’ll answer some emails and I’m kind of clear my head because I like to be prepared. I’m not one of those people who likes to walk in at the last second a without getting my mind or other preparations set before I do something. What, uh, uh, if you’d recommend a book, what’s the one book that you would recommend for, for all the listeners out there that there’s, if they’re looking for one book, just one book to read that could really make an impact on their lives? Yeah, I would, I would say a 1968 book called once an eagle by an author named Anton Mirror. And it was made into a 19 seventy’s many Sherry’s, not a, not a great one, but it’s a story of two army officers and it goes from the first world war up until the 1950s and it’s really about character and leadership.

And it doesn’t have to be a military story, but it’s about these two characters, one who has much more admirable than the other. But if you go through the journey, it really gets to the heart of what leadership is, what responsibility is, what values are. Some of it people say, well that’s not important. And I would tell you after my years of experience, I come back to the point that that’s more important than anything else. So how, how, how old are you at last count? 64 how many pull ups can you do? Um, yeah, I do pull ups pretty regularly. I do sets of pullups so I, I start in the morning, I do five sets that I do, one set of 12 and then four sets of 10. So I can probably do, if I had to, if you held a gun to my head, I could probably do 16 on one set.

But uh, so what does your routine look like? Your, your workout routine? What, what’d you do today? Oh, well today was a, a gym day. So I alternate on one day I’ll run and I run for an hour, which is an impressively far, but it’s, it’s good enough for me. Uh, and then the other day I do this thing where I do four sets of pushups and then I do a five sets of pull ups and I intersperse that with a set, a different, uh, combination of, of Demo, abdominal exercises. I do 105 sit ups and then I do these crossover setups and then I do things that are different kind of crunch. I put planks in there and so it, the whole thing. And then I, at the end, I go to incline bench press with dumbbells and curls and I have, uh, you know, uh, a couple of other apparatus.

I do some things. So it’s about 90 minutes, you know, it’s not huge. You know, I, I’m not, you know, looking to be is stronger than the next guy right now. But at my age I find if I push myself pretty hard, I can do a lot more than I think I would otherwise. And what, what do you eat? Like what, what does the typical daily diet look like for you? Because the show’s all about being proactive, how to become the best you you can be. And I know you’re intentional about your, your diet and intentional about how you live your days and organize your day. What do you eat during a typical day? Well, I’ve got kind of a quirky habits. I eat once a day and so I dinner every once in one. If I’ve got, if the cycle is such, I’ll eat lunch in lieu of that, but I typically just the one meal a day and people say, wow, that’s, you know, that shows in like or whatever.

No, it’s not, it’s just a habit. I started like 40 years ago and I do it at night. So I, I sort of defer gratification all day and then at night I sort of eat whatever I want to. I eat a normal dinner. Uh, it’s probably bigger than, you know, I’d eat if I was eating three meals a day. One meal. Yeah. It’s, uh, it’s fine for me. When did you start? Why did, why did you start this habit? What, I was the lieutenant, I thought I was getting fat and so, uh, and I was probably getting a tiny bit pudgy and so I just started doing that. I started running very seriously. And so that just became habits.

That’s impressive, my friend. Is there a way, if you had to communicate a message, I give you a billboard. I give you the mic, I let you have the floor. You could wrap up today’s show by encouraging the listeners with anything new they’ve been, maybe there’s a message you want us to share a specific, a word of encouragement. What’s one message that you’d like to communicate to the 500,000 people who listen to this show each and every month?

Yeah, I would say that you need to be intentional about what you want to be and when I say that you have to decide what you want to be and I think the best road to that is some kind of service doing something, not necessarily military service, but service in something, service to something that gives you a purpose higher than money or higher than personal gratification. Because when you do that, no matter what else is happening in your life, are you on a daily basis? You just take some satisfaction that says, no matter how much this sucks right now, I’m doing it for a really good purpose in a business. It can be doing it for your employees. It can be doing it for con contributing or contributing to something. But I think absent that sense of service and purpose, I think things can feel pretty hollow. You know, you, you uh, uh, wrote

in your book team of teams, new rules of engagement for a complex world. You said that a staggering 93% of the people surveyed who work in cubicles say they would prefer a different workplace. My friend. Should everyone be working in an open mind and an open office environment or what, what would you recommend for the listeners out there who have an office where there’s cubicles?

Yeah. I think that a combination works very well. And what we’ve experimented my firm is most of it is open, but we have areas where people can go because there are times when you need to write something or read something we had don’t need distractions and you want to be able to literally just immerse yourself in, in some privacy and thought. But most of the time I found out that the open area and the constant engagement stimulates people. It creates relationships and people work better.

Wow. Well. Z that, that that’s, that’s all the questions I want to ask if they have, I know you have one more problem you’re student on, right dude, I just want to make sure because we don’t know if we’re going to build to interview the, the, the, the, our good friends. Dan here again. I mean we had to trick him. I, we thought this was Oprah, right? Thrive nation and he in the preinterview before we started this, he told us to call him Stan. So we’re being, I respected

his wishes. Right? So I mean, the fact that we didn’t get too general and they just keep calling him stand right now. This is an open one, to be honest. It’s yesterday I said, I even asked him, is it Stan the man? He said, no, just stand. So I just want to get that clear. Okay. So you could go back to west point. Back in 1972 there’s a new cadet learning how to walk, learning how to sit, learning how to do all this stuff. And you could sit down with that young man. Wow. What would you tell him? You know, it’s funny, I asked my father that when I first,

yeah, he had graduated 30 years before. I said, what would you do differently? And he said, I wouldn’t work so hard. I said, hey, that’s easy for you to say, you know, you made it and all this kind of stuff. He said, no, you’re gonna make it. Remember what’s important. If I go back to young people now, I think people should work hard. I believe strongly in that. But those things I regret about my life are not things that I did. There’s some things I wouldn’t do again, but, but for the most part, I feel good about those. It’s things I didn’t do. It’s things I didn’t do for people. Uh, reunions. I didn’t attend weddings I didn’t go to or things that I just, cause at the time they didn’t seem as important. But in retrospect, I think they were more important.

That’s a powerful word right there. I mean, you probably high, you would at least high five them go, dude, you gotta be a four star. Just keep that.

Okay, well here’s the, here’s the deal. Our brother stand. I know you have to go, uh, deliver a lecture at Yale, which, uh, and I respect your time. I just want to tell you thank you for your service. Thank you for keeping us a safe. Uh, thank you for your, I mean I, I’m, I mean that, I mean to be kind of hard to be an entrepreneur if we didn’t have to safety. We enjoy here and I’ve traveled all around the world into that. America is a great place because the guys like you and the people that you’ve OLED and worked with. And I just wanna say thank you again on behalf of the thrive nation

where you’re kind of having me and thank you.

Now Thrive nation, we’ve just had knowledge bombs dropped on our craniums in massive quantities, but I want to make sure we don’t wrap up today’s show without giving you some very specific actionable items. Action items, one, when a general McChrystal said, you force somebody to do something and then you convinced them it is something that they should want to do. I 100% agree. I can just say that as a business owner and if you have a call center and you ask your salespeople how many calls they want to make, they’re going to say, well, I just want to focus on the quality of calls and not the quantity, and let me tell you this. If you have video editors and you ask them how long it, they think it’s going to take them to edit something, they’re going to tell you a long time. By default, most people will do the minimum amount of effort possible.

They’ll put forth the minimum amount of effort possible, and so it’s your job as a leader to set the standards as high as possible. You have to demand excellence in your organization. You have to do it, and if you don’t demand excellence, you can’t possibly lower the standards low enough to meet the requests of your employees. I’m just try to explain this to you. You have to set the standard for excellence within your organization. Now, the final action item I want to, I want to give you is I would encourage you to think about this. What you focus on will expand. It will, it will grow, so make sure that you are focusing on things that will actually help you to achieve your goals. Don’t focus on things that you cannot control my friend. If you enjoyed today’s show and you learned anything at all, I would encourage you to share today’s show with somebody you care about.

Surely you can share today’s show with somebody that you care about. Our smoke signal or craigslist or VF fabulous graffiti or via the dark web or via a van via a Sherpa or a small sites fan. Either way, if he have physical mail or via a physical female, perhaps you can share it on my space. Or You could walk in the park with your friend Gary and said, Gary, look at this. Or You could use Morris code, or you can walk with your friends, Steve and the park for hours and just say, hey, look at this. These are all just ways you could share today’s show. Heck, maybe. Maybe take a picture of today’s show, the podcast player, and then fax it to him. Or he had gone to your friends Facebook wall and you could just write whatever. I think that’s the move. Now this is the move here is the moon.

What you’re gonna do is you’re going to got to a Porta potty and you’re going to write for a good time. Listen to the thrive time show. Just carve it in there. Just take a picture of today’s podcast player and fax it to somebody. Or You could go to one of those really excellent truck stops where they serve subway and everything and you really have to chowers and the whole deal. You just go in there and just say for a good time listening to the thrive time show. Or You could just tell somebody, hey, listen to the thrive time show. Or You could make a Pinterest board and on that board you could pin the thrive time. Show it just awesome. Or maybe you could just call your friend and tell him about the thrive time show. And now that any further I do, we like to end each and every show with a boom. Here we go, three, two, one, boom.

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