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Transcript; The Timing of Leadership; Episode One

Todd:  Good morning. I am your host, Todd Schnick joined by my friend and colleague, Erica Peitler. Good morning, Erica. Wow, we’re already kicking off season 7 of Leadership on the Ground. Wow. 

Erica:  Can you believe it already?

Todd:  Yeah. 

Erica:  It’s crazy.

Todd:  So, Erica, talk about the introduction to the season. The Timing of Leadership. Gosh, I guess we closed season 6 with a really interesting way for me to really encapsulate and understand what we’re doing here. But when it comes to business, leaders always seem to focus on the how and the what. Instead on focusing also on the why and the when. The why was last season on the context of leadership. This season, we’re going to talk about the when and the timing of leadership. Can’t wait to dive into this. But I want to set the table on something first. We did a season – I’m not sure what it was. Was it season 3 , season 4? We talked about the rhythm of leadership. Help me understand the difference between rhythm and timing.

Erica:  Yeah. That’s great place to start. We did. We spent a whole season on the concept of rhythm and the lens that we looked through when we were talking about rhythm was we were talking about what we need to do around time in the business. So timing of our meetings, one-to-ones, planning, and how do we get the rhythm inside the business to be working well and everybody to be focused. This season is really a much higher-level macro look at timing on the business. We’re more concerned with things like environmental dynamics, life cycles, leading and lagging indicators, much more of an external-based, where the leader really needs to keep their eye on the interface between the external on the business dynamics of timing and then be able to link that to the internal in the business dynamics of timing.

Todd:  Got it. Alright. I mentioned at the top of the show the how and the what versus the why and the when. The why and the when or in our context, the context in timing. So, do not work together, I suspect, yes?

Erica:  They do work together and that’s why I’m so excited about both of these season’s coming up for everyone to listen to because connecting why and when at this higher level is really important. These are questions that really take place at the lead altitude. We had gone through altitude. We said, listen, there’s due, there’s manage, there’s lead, and if you play at the right altitude as a leader, you get lift. You get things working for you and your organization. If you’re playing it too low in altitude, you get compression. And the questions of why and when really relate to direction setting. It really relates to resources. It relates to being able to stage and sequence what it is you’re trying to do in the business to make sure that you can seize those entry points and really take advantage of the dynamics in the marketplace. We’ll talk a little a bit, I’m sure, through this season as well about where this prioritization come in. That’s a little bit more “in the business.” But why and when really work together in terms of giving a leader an anchor into are they working at that lead altitude? It’s really a good benchmark. If you’re answering those two questions on a regular basis, chances are you’re leading at the right altitude.

Todd:  Well, you just mentioned “in the business.” We talked a lot last season about working on versus working in the business. Talk more about those two ideas with respect to timing.

Erica:  Yeah. When we think about timing and when in the business, my mind goes to – and I know a lot of people in business, their mind goes to, “Well, who’s going to do what by when?” That quintessential question about accountability. That look and search for the deliverables that we always feel either disappointed or anxious about whether people are going to be able to give to us. And that’s really about working in the business. When we’re working on the business from timing standpoint, we want to make sure we’re catching the life cycle. We want to make sure do we know? Are we in the middle of an early phase of the life cycle, the later phase of the life cycle? What are the leading and lagging indicators telling us? Is it a good time to launch a product? Is it a low-risk time? Is it a high-risk time? So that on the business timing piece is really about almost like surfing and catching the wave at the right point. In the business, really about the tangibles of accountability on the business, more about the dynamics, the lifecycles, and catching the wave of good timing to make sure that your idea can, in fact, be a good business opportunity. 

Todd:  Alright. Erica and I will return after this quick break. We’ll be right back.

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This season is made possible by Leadership Rigor. The leadership development framework founded and facilitated by Erica Peitler. Erica Peitler teaches breakthrough performance and productivity strategies for how to lead yourself, lead teams, and lead at the organizational level. Everything you think you know about leadership, will be turned upside-down. Leadership Rigor can be experienced through reading the international bestselling book ‘Engaging in One-on-One Coaching’ or creating a customized team or organizational leadership journey. To achieve breakthrough performance and productivity, visit EricaPeitler.com to learn more. That’s EricaPeitler.com.

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Todd:  Alright. I’m back with Erica Peitler and the introduction to the Timing of Leadership. Explain further why is context and timing so relevant right now in business?

Erica:  It’s a great question. I feel like in part it’s always relevant and it’s always probably been relevant. But what I see right now and what I’m really sensitized to is, I mean, just ripped from today’s headlines, we’re at a time when John Flannery, the CEO of GE was just removed his job, is in the middle of a tough turnaround and the board was, “Hey, you’re missing some entry points. You’re moving too slow. You’re missing some warning signs.” There are some really, really big risks and consequences. Now, there always have been but today it’s even faster. I mean, he was in the job less than a year, sold off tons of businesses, did a lot of changes, and all of that wasn’t enough. I think if you turn back the clock and you said, if you took a look at all the dynamics that he was navigating through and what he did in a year, five years ago, that would have been acceptable. Today, it was too slow. 

Todd:  Yeah. You’re right. Any other examples. That’s a great one.

Erica:  One of the examples I find a lot of in organizations today and I think we’ll talk a little bit more later in the season is the consequences of talent and timing. Talent that’s high potential, talent that’s really, really gifted will not wait for you as an organizational leader to get your timing together. You can tell them, “Hey, we have big plans for you and the future looks really bright for you,” but they’re all about, “Well, when?” and “I’m ready now. So where are those opportunities?” One of the things that I think in context and timing that’s really important for leaders to be mindful of is are you partnering with your talent for succession planning? Are you making sure that the timetable of when it’s right for you as an organization is also right for that talent? Because it’s a competitive marketplace out there. And certainly, everybody wants to get their hands on talent and they’re looking for talent. To keep your talent, you really need to partner and work with them in terms of the succession planning for them.

Todd:  I’ve heard you frequently use phrases like “productive, effective, efficient.” Walk us through and explain them in the context of timing. 

Erica:  Yeah. That’s another great one. There are so many ways that we talk about timing and we have one episode fully dedicated to fun language around timing. But these three words, I think, are really important at the top of this season to get some clarity around. Efficiency is when leaders and team members are trying to get work done as fast as possible with or without maybe a high bar in terms of how right is it. Let’s just get it done. Let’s just move through it and get it done. 

Effective is getting the right things done but maybe not paying attention to time at all, maybe giving ourselves maybe a little bit even too much time to just really get it right, really get it right. 

Productivity which I’m a big fan of is getting the right things done with the right people in a timely way and it really utilizes the resources internally and externally to set a sight on making sure you’re moving through the process with some agility and some sensitivity to timing and doing the right thing. It doesn’t mean it has to be perfect but timing doesn’t have to be rushed and we can’t take all the time in the world. We have to kind of have to find our Goldilocks way through it and productivity is kind of a way to think about that Goldilocks way through it.

Todd:  Can I ask you a question? This idea of timing, in this whole season that we’re about to launch and we’re going to go into the future episodes in just a minute but I want to ask you this clarifying question. I don’t think any of these matters – I don’t think we should invest any energy and worrying about “the timing of our leadership” without the building block of last season, right? I mean, you can have timing down but if you don’t know the real why or the context of what you’re trying to do, then what does it even matter?

Erica:  Exactly. You are the quintessential chicken with your head cut off. 

Todd:  Right, right, right.

Erica:  It doesn’t matter what pace and what phase of time you’re in if you don’t know where you’re going. You have to have that north star. You have to have that direction. And then the timing is getting there in a pace and in a way that hopefully has meaning and purpose, meaning that it creates competitive advantage, meaning that it allows you to make more money, meaning it allows you to take advantage of things that are happening. Having a fast speed or having a great why unless they’re coordinated and aligned with each other is chaos. It’s not really clear direction. And what we’re looking for for leaders is clear direction.

Todd:  I just watched the film that I hadn’t seen in years. It’s City Slickers with Billy Crystal. The one where he and his buddies were driving cattle across the plain and long story short, the three of them were driving these cattle and they don’t know where they are. Daniel Stern has this great line, “Well, we’re lost but we’re making great time.” That’s kind of what we’re talking about. That’s it in a nutshell.

Erica:  Exactly.

Todd:  Alright. Well, we have an exciting season. It’s going to be one of our longer seasons. I think we’re going to have a total of 9 episodes so what can our listeners expect in terms of the next couple of modules?

Erica:  You know, we have a great lineup here. We’re going to get started in our next session with the obsession with time. I think this one is great because we really are obsessed with time, right? And as we talk about it and as everyone listens in, you’re going to see just how crazy we are about time if you don’t think that we are. 

Then we’re going to get into time as the ultimate resource. Like, what is it about time that makes it so valuable and how can we leverage it and how can we learn how to work with it more effectively? 

We’ll then get into a little bit around the timing skillset and specifically, we’ll spend some time on what’s the difference between investing, spending, and wasting your time and giving people some language around that, some context around that. 

We’ll then talk about the strategy of time. There’s a great model that I’m really anxious to introduce everybody to that kind of puts a timing perspective on how you can go about developing your strategy. 

We’ll then get into the time of your life and career and it’s not just a Paul Anka song, right? The timing that is associated with both of those things is really critical. We’ll look at the timing toolset. We’ll remind everybody about a lot of tools that we’ve actually been talking about over the multiple seasons that we’ve been doing Leadership on the Ground but we’ll kind of put them through the timing lines. 

Then we’ll look at the business and language of time and we’ll close up the season with the consequences of good and bad timing. I think that was a really cool episode we did at the last session for context and we’re going to do it again here with timing.

Todd:  It’s going to be a great, great season. I cannot wait to dive in next week. Next week, as Erica said, we’re going to talk about the obsession with time. Erica, before we go, should anyone have any questions on any of this, how do they find you? 

Erica:  Sure. I’m at EricaPeitler.com on the web and you can reach me at Twitter, @ericapeitler. I’m on LinkedIn. And Leadership Rigor, the book that most of these concepts is based on is on Amazon.com.

Todd:  Alright. Todd and Erica signing off. We’ll see you next week.

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