Published September 21, 2021

Ep 91: Curiosity, Growth, Risk & Silos – General Stanley McChrystal & Paula Faris

TOPICS IN THIS PODCAST

Leading Yourself

As a four-star Army General and chairman of the United States Joint Special Operations Command, Stanley McChrystal has led in some of the most high-stakes, highpressure environments imaginable, and yet he says leading in business is remarkably similar to leading in the military. In this live recording, Paula Faris interviews General McChrystal on some of his most critical leadership learnings, including the role of curiosity, growth and risk, and how to break down information silos in an organization. 

Show Notes

SUMMARY:

As a four-star Army General and chairman of the United States Joint Special Operations Command, Stanley McChrystal has led in some of the most high-stakes, high-pressure environments imaginable, and yet he says leading in business is remarkably similar to leading in the military. In this live recording, Paula Faris interviews General McChrystal on some of his most critical leadership learnings, including the role of curiosity, growth and risk, and how to break down information silos in an organization.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

CURIOSITY AND GROWTH ARE CRITICAL. Leaders should engage in constant curiosity about their own organization and become “question machines”. Growth is critical because what worked yesterday almost never works next week. Become curious enough to understand the situation, adaptable enough to figure out what works.  

 

LEADERSHIP IS NOT ABOUT A SOLITARY MAN OR WOMAN. “Leadership” is not a thing you have: It’s an interaction between leaders and the people they lead, and the context of the moment. The interplay of those things determines whether or not an individual’s leadership is effective or not. 

 

REGARDLESS OF PERSONALITY OR STYLE, LEADERSHIP COMES WITH RESPONSIBILITY. No matter your personality or leadership style, a leader has a responsibility to establish relationship with those that they lead. Choose to be what and who your followers need you to be. 

 

STOP FOCUSING ON RISK AND BEGIN FOCUSING ON RESILIENCY. Most risk we cannot predict, much less control. Instead, focus on what makes your organization strong enough to survive. Focus on building resiliency, and the ability to face whatever comes your way.  

 

YOU ALWAYS LEARN MORE FROM YOUR MISTAKES THAN YOUR SUCCESSES. Most people don’t study their successes enough to learn from them. What’s more, many times we win because of our luck, not our skill. Embrace and learn from your failures, without labeling yourself (or others) a “failure.”   

 

BREAKING DOWN INFORMATION SILOS INCREASES SPEED AND EFFECTIVENESS. To encourage trust and sharing, focus on developing a common purpose; share like you’ve never shared before; understand that it takes time; and push down decision-making. As a leader, refuse to focus on individual performance, and instead focus on whether or not the team is winning.  

 

 

RELATED LINKS:

Global Leadership Network 

The Global Leadership Summit 

Paula Faris 

The McChrystal Group 

Risk: A User’s Guide (Affiliate link)  

Rasmus Ankersen: The Danger of Complacency

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