Leaders Eat Last but Still Need Food

Veteran, new and aspiring executives need methods to be successful in their organization. There are 1000s of leadership podcasts, videos, blogs, and articles but few authors address what to do or how to do it.

We have witnessed many executives who are efficient (doing things right), but few executives are effective (doing the right things). We believe this is misguided and aim to remedy the shortfall with executives.

This is the 33rd episode of the Effective Executive podcast. In this episode, Tripp Babbitt discusses the need for methods to grow your company and an organization employees and customers can benefit from interactions.  Download our Effective Executive Starter Kit.

Show Notes

The Effective Executive – Episode 33

Episode 33 – Leaders Eat Last but You Still Need Food

Leadership Attributes

Lawn Company Adventures

Adventures in Opening an Account

Control and Motivation

Making Your Organization One Worth Interacting With



[00:00:01] This is the 33rd episode of the Effective Executive podcast and YouTube video. And this week I have come across, as I do most weeks, what everybody seems to focus on as an executive, how do I get the right leadership attributes? So Simon Sinek, leaders eat last.


[00:00:33] Well, I’m going to add in their leaders eat last, but you still need food. And I would submit to most executives that they typically don’t eat last for the most part, what winds up happening when push comes to shove and there has to be riff’s reductions in force in your organization. The first people to go are not the leaders or is there rarely any sacrifice done? So it rings a little hollow with me whenever I read that. And I know his book goes well beyond that. But my whole focus is, as I’ve talked about before, is not on leadership traits, but really on methods to help you grow your organization and making a place where people want to belong to a place where people want to belong to. And there’s these are different skill sets completely. And the leader attributes I mean, there is so much information out on the Internet as I’ve researched this over the years, sometimes it’s the top five leadership attributes you need to have, and sometimes it’s the top eight and that’s the 15 and there’s 20 two. And it just goes on and on. But they’re typically a lot of the same things.


[00:02:05] So the leadership attributes that are most talked about are, you know, clarity, being decisive, having courage, having passion, having humility, vision, focus, empathy, the ability to motivate active listening and communication. Those come up the most often. Now, you may have other ones that you think are more important, and that’s fine. But none of these help you grow your business and make it a place where people, you know, want to interact with both customers and employees. Now, I would would you would rightly argue. Yeah. I mean, if you show lots of empathy and you have passion and all the you know, some of the things that I just listed there, you’ll say, well, that’s that that’s what makes it a great place to work. And yes, you do need to have those things. But they completely missed the other half of the equation. And to me, even the more important path, which is do you have a method or methods within your organization to achieve growth in the business and making a place that people want to interact with? And again, employees and customers. And when I walk into these places that the answer is typically no. And the first step is developing your synthetic thinking skills, your ability to look at the whole of the system through a customer lens if you’re going to be empathetic. Yeah, I don’t know what the customer is saying about your organization.


[00:03:50] You know, I just went through a whole thing this week with a number of different organizations and talking with executives. And personally, I mean, the lawn company that that comes out and it’s supposed to aerate my lawn, came out, did its aeration and then left and but the whole side yard had not been done. So I had to call up and say, you know, hey, you didn’t finish this. Oh, well, they misunderstood the work order. And that was and that was after a phone call where I had to call up because the guy that was putting down some fertilizer was supposed to put down weed control also. And I had to go back and forth between the company and just basically say, you’re supposed to put both down before we do the overspeed and and the operation. You know, the first two interactions I have with this company, I’ve had to call them up because their work orders were wrong or there’s something wrong with it. They’re oblivious, they have no idea that any of the oil. Thank you for calling and yeah, we’re glad you called up because, boy, that work order was wrong. I shouldn’t have to call it. It’s ridiculous. So this is why I as an executive, you need to know what’s going on in your organization, what’s actually happening from a customer perspective, and you can’t get it from a survey.


[00:05:19] I filled out a survey this week from a company took three weeks to open an account with. You know, I gave my one on everything, nobody called, nobody, you know, contacted me to say, boy, we want to try and fix what’s going wrong here. It’s just like, OK, so what do you do? This information was in a survey. So being involved as an executive and going to look through the customer lens as they see your organization has to be a priority for any executive. If you’re you know, if it’s something you don’t want to do, then you really shouldn’t be an executive, in my opinion. I mean, you’ve got to to understand what’s happening in your organization, in those interactions with the customer, in your organization. There’s there’s no substitute. You can’t get it off a spreadsheet. You’re not going to get it off a survey. You have to go and really see or listen to what the customer is saying.


[00:06:19] Then the other component and it’s funny, you know, a couple of the attributes that we talked about were motivation, and that’s a huge one. And how your organization thinks and and controls the things that are happening in the organization, which is the other component that executives. You know, it’s not an attribute, but it’s everyone. It’s an attribute that every executive, they want to control the work, I shouldn’t say every most executives have as they want the ability to control the work in some manner.


[00:06:49] They do that sometimes through motivation. They do that sometimes through micromanagement. And these are things that make your organization intolerable to work for or do anything or interact with because you aren’t seeing what that thinking is doing within your organization. So what are their methods? Well, if you get better at decision making or at least going into it, it’s not just the making of the decision. As I’ve said many, many times before, it’s the ability to pivot off of your decision to understand what the problems are with your decision making process. The second thing is innovation, constantly having new products and services and thinking and so forth within your organization is going to make it exciting for both employees and customers to want to be able to interact with your organization. What’s new? What are they working on now? I mean, isn’t that what we’re doing with Elon Musk every time, you know, Space X? And I mean, he just goes on and on and on. And people are mesmerized by that. And being proactive in, you know, developing new products and services and ideas for your organization is makes it something exciting. And people want to be a part of. The third thing is executive data analytics, you know, having a method for taking data to useful knowledge. And most of the data that people are managing the organizations with have to do with the motivation and and controlling aspects of what’s going on.


[00:08:27] And unfortunately, too often not the things that matter to customers. And so the data that they’re collecting is the wrong data or the data are the wrong data because the data is plural, the word data. So it’s it’s a matter of getting data that can help you learn and having a tool to do it, which I’ve talked about in previous YouTube video. Now, organizational design is another thing is is your organization set up to be able to handle what the customer throws at you? Because I’ll throw a lot of different things at your organization. And if you are if you can’t handle it based on the fact that, you know, this department handles it and they call the customer service and. Oh, well, you know, the the salesperson didn’t write it up. I don’t care as a customer. I just want it correct. I don’t want to have to pick up the phone every time and spend 30 minutes on the phone straightening out something that you should have done correctly at the beginning. So, you know, and people may say, well, why are you lamenting over lawn care? Because, well, that’s. I expect as a customer for me not to have to be involved in everything, I expect that once I’ve explained what I need for my yard that you’re going to ask the right questions and then I can leave that I won’t have to call up each time you come out and say, well, you didn’t do this or you didn’t do that.


[00:10:05] It’s just it’s aggravating. You think I get they’re going to get a referral from me no way. So, you know, yet they’re advertising. You know, they put the you know, they’ve got balers out and they’ve got this. But the one thing that they could be successful with is making it a a an organization that I want to interact with. So these are the things that are happening in your organization and they happen every day. And to what degree? I don’t know. But that’s why, you know, leaders eat last and, you know, leadership attributes. I yeah, they’re important. I’m not I’m not denying that. Yes. It’s important to have courage and passion, humility and empathy and all those things. But you better be able to have an organization that people want to interact with and that you are growing it organically in your organization. And when I say organic, I’m not talking about buying another organization or something like that, you know, being a part of many of those types of things over the years. But if you can grow your business through innovation and good design of your organization that that both employees and customers want to interact with, you’re going to be way ahead of the game.

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