EP 42 Thinking, Acting, Communicating Starting with Why

EM Weekly Podcast Episode 42, Thinking, Acting, Communicating Starting With Why, with Peter Docker and Your Host Todd DeVoe

EP 42 Thinking, Acting, Communicating Starting with Why

[TODD DEVOE] Hi, and welcome to EM Weekly. And it’s 2018, can you believe that? 2018. 2017 went out like a lion, for sure, with all the fires in Northern California, and floods elsewhere, and the hurricane season was one of the worst we’ve seen in years. So, let’s make sure 2018 is a year for us to prepare and to reach out to our communities and get them ready, instead of us responding to disasters.

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Today, we’re speaking to Peter Docker, who is a writer and public speaker. He speaks on The Question of Why. So, one of the things we talk about here is thinking, acting, communicating, it all starts with why. So, what we are doing here is creating a culture of leadership of teams. And we’re getting into the idea here that its leadership versus authority. Leadership, realistically, is something that does not have to have authority associated with it.

If you think about it, when we talk about sports teams, they have the coach, who is the authority, but there is always that locker room leader. And in the military, you have your captain, or officer that is assigned over you, who has the authority; but in some cases, an E3 steps up, and he or she really becomes… is a leader. In the principles of the idea, leadership is a choice.

You have these bosses that you’ve all worked for that go into the office and hide, and they only come out when they have to, and they don’t lead the organization, although they do have the authority. That kind of goes back to the idea of leadership versus authority. Leadership is a choice. And then, I like the idea that Peter gets into, with the idea of content and context. And the context gives the meaning to the content, and that we need to, as leaders, as emergency managers, really provide that context to what we’re doing.

On a personal note, think about your why. Why do you get up in the morning? Why do we do this job? You know, it’s more than just for the paycheck. On Ask EM Weekly, we had Maria, who reached out and was asking about training and education. And it was kind of cool, because I found, through my network, and talking to people, free training for new emergency managers. It’s out of New Zealand, it’s Massey University, out of New Zealand. It is free, on Open2Study. And I’ll make sure that information is down in the show notes as well, but the Open2Study, and there’s a bunch of free classes that are on there as well, not just emergency management, but if you want to learn to write a little more, there’s a bunch of free courses that are on there. So, I’m trying them out; I’m gonna do the emergency management course. It’s more of an introduction, but I still want to try it out and make sure that it’s something that’s cool.

Massey University in New Zealand is one of the older universities down there, and they have an emergency management program. If you’re inclined to, they also have an internship that they do to go to New Zealand for a semester, and work down there, and then work with emergency management down there. I thought that was kind of cool. So, if you’re a student, and you’re looking into that kind of stuff, give it a try, check them out. So, thank you, Maria, for asking that question regarding education and training. And that was through Ask Todd. Please, take time to share this podcast with your friends and colleagues that you think they would get something out of it. I always… in this case, you know, with your family as well, because I think you’re going to learn a lot from Peter. It’s not just this one here; it’s not just on emergency management per say. We focus on it, but it’s a lot about finding your “why” for your daily work. So, no further ado, let’s talk to Peter.

So, Peter, can you introduce yourself?

[PETER DOCKER] Good morning, Todd. It’s great to be with you on your podcast. I’m Peter Docker, I’m based in the UK, just west of Oxford. And I guess, these days, I’m learning as well with the “why” guys. I work closely with Simon Sinek and with the Start With Why Team. And within that, I’m (inaudible) How Guides as well. So, I teach people how to use this concept called “Why”, both in their lives, and also in their organizations and businesses.

[TODD DEVOE] What exactly does “why” mean? Let me (inaudible) this question. How does the Why movement really help with emergency management and our decision-making process, and team building?

[PETER DOCKER] Well, I think the place to start here is to clearly define what we mean by Why, because Why can mean many things. As far as we’re concerned, and Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle, and his 2009 TED Talk, the most downloaded of all times, called “Start with Why”, it has a very specific meaning, and it’s short-hand, really. So, we can view the work that we do on three levels. We can talk about what it is we dteamo, whether that is the emergency planner, or a baker, or accountant, or whatever. We can then talk about how we do it. And in business, we talk about what defines is, what’s our unique proposition, what makes us different or special. But then the Why level is about what’s our heart’s purpose? What’s our core? What’s our belief? So, it’s not using why in the simple dictionary manner.

When we talk about Why, we use a capital W to differentiate that, as shorthand for what’s our cause, what’s our higher purpose, what’s our belief. And those organization, regardless of field, regardless of nationality, regardless of anything; those organizations, those leaders who think, act, and communicate starting with Why it is they do what they do, in other words, their higher purpose, their cause, their contribution, the impact they make in the world. Those individuals, those organizations, tend to engender a great trust, great loyalty, great following. And engender innovation. That thing called, discretionary effort, where people are doing more than they absolutely have to. Because they believe in it, you know? When you think, act and communicate starting with Why, you don’t give people just something to buy, you give them something to believe in. And this can be just as important, if not more important, in the field of emergency planning than anything else.

[TODD DEVOE] How can they do this and make an impact during that crisis? Or is it something that we really need to do prior to the crisis?

[PETER DOCKER] Well, this isn’t a one-time thing, you know? Thinking, acting, and communicating starting with Why really comes back to the culture and the leadership that we have within our teams. You know, in emergency planning, and also in the execution of those plans. And I’m not an emergency planner, but my daughter, Louise, is an emergency planner, we have these conversations. You know, whatever aspect of emergency response you’re involved in, whether it’s the planners or the first responders, it can be summed up as, you are the people who run towards the crisis rather than running away from it. And if you’re going to have people do that, then they must be driven by something they believe in. They must be driven in terms of the service they’re willing to offer to others. To put others before themselves. And there’s something, I think, that differentiates those emergency planning and emergency response above all others. Because those people, your people, are those who run towards the danger, and towards the disaster, to help others. And so, it starts really with ensuring that you hire people, in your organization, who believe in what you believe. Hire people who are in service of others, who do believe in – however you want to articulate it – protecting life, supporting life, enabling us to live the lives we choose to live in our communities. When you hire the right sort of people, you then have a base on which to work, and in which to lead them to. So, any emergency planning (inaudible) is a lot management, and a lot of complicated management. But actually, it started with (inaudible) leadership. A leadership is about creating simplicity. And some of the environments you just mentioned, whether it’s Puerto Rico, or Houston, and many, many others around the world, those situations are hugely, hugely complex. And our plans are actually designed to handle that complexity, and we manage it. What we also need is leadership, and that leadership is creating that simplicity, keeping people connected to why is they do what they do. Which has got nothing to do with money, it’s about being in service. Because when people are truly connected to that Why, then they will continue to dig deep, they will continue to work the long hours in support of that goal, in a way that they cannot be told to do that, they cannot be ordered to do that; they do it because they choose to. And it all starts with that common high purpose, that why.

[TODD DEVOE] So, I wrote a piece for my blog, and I talked about the difference between a management and a leadership in emergency management. And I actually got some criticism from just a couple of people, but it was very similar, the criticism, that say, why am I rehashing old arguments to the same stuff that they talked about back in the 70’s and the 80’s. You know, why are we bringing this back up? And I have a fundamental belief there’s a huge difference between leading somebody and managing somebody. And you know, my background, being in the military, we learn to lead. There are people there were in positions, in higher positions, that weren’t great leaders, but then there were also people who were lower enlisted guys that were phenomenal leaders. And I think there’s a difference. Do you believe that, or what’s your take on that?

[PETER DOCKER] I couldn’t agree more. You know, I think there is a lot of confusion between leadership and authority. And to your point, Todd, we’ve all come across people who have positions of authority that are not leaders. Leadership is a choice, is not a rank or position. And some of the greatest leaders I’ve come across are folks in the military, perhaps, who have got very low ranks, maybe. But the way they choose to lead, choose to deliver that job, that task, that role, choose to uphold the values of what the organization believes in, in the way they choose to put others first; perhaps put themselves in harm’s way, so others may thrive. These characteristics are what signify a leader. Leadership is a choice. That said, in organizations where we have people who are in positions of authority, there is an expectation of leadership, too. And that leadership, in my mind, is very much about creating that simplicity, when faced with hugely complex situations. Being able to cut through and identify the simple context within which you’re working. You know? There are only two things, Todd, in the world; only two: there is content, and there is context. Content is the stuff that we do; the emergency planning, or whatever our role is. But content has got no meaning without context. Context gives meaning to the content. It’s like… do you remember a jigsaw puzzle, when you were young? You may still have them, if you have kids. And you know, hundreds of pieces of a jigsaw puzzle are out on the table. And you could see all the jigsaw puzzle pieces, that’s the content. But it only made sense when you got hold of the box and you could see the picture on the box. That’s the context. And then we could piece it together. And I had a very challenging jigsaw when I was young, one where, if you turned the jigsaw pieces over, there was a different picture on the other side.

[TODD DEVOE] Oh, no!

[PETER DOCKER] Yeah. And it’s only when you got the other picture on the other side of the box, they made sense again. The point with this is that Starting With Why is not necessarily about changing those jigsaw puzzle pieces, it’s about shifting the context within which you work. And that role of formal leadership, of a senior leadership team, to change the picture on the box sometimes. To shift perceptions that people have, so they can find the energy they need to overcome the challenges they face. And that applies to emergency planning and emergency management as much as it does to many, many other fields, whatever it is we’re engaged in. Leadership is about creating that context, and context is about creating simplicity. And simplicity starts with Why. What’s our higher purpose? How does what we’re doing fit in to delivering on that higher purpose? And that’s when you can unlock potential, when you can unlock huge energy within your team, even in very, very desperate, demanding times.

[TODD DEVOE] Can leadership be taught?

[PETER DOCKER] Yes. I think it can. The key, though, is to come back to this Why. The goal is not to hire everybody who needs a job, the goal is to hire people who believe what you believe. And you know, Todd, you were in the military, and so was I; I was in the Royal Air Force for 25 years, and I was a Force Commander during combat operations. And it always strikes me that when I was hired as a pilot in the air force, I couldn’t fly an airplane. But they spent a lot of time checking that I was going to fit in with the culture. In other words, did I have similar values? Was my own purpose aligned with the higher purpose of the organization I was seeking to join? Only when they decided that, that they spent the equivalent to millions of dollars training me to be a pilot. Often, in business, or outside organizations, we hire people based on their experience and their skill set, and we just hope that they fit in, and that’s the wrong way around. If you hire people who believe what you believe, you can then immediately open up (inaudible) where they can lead. And they are able to lead because they are in service of something they believe in. And when you believe in something, you can get passionate about it. And when you’re passionate about it, you can then inspire others who also believe in what you believe. And that, then, is the catalyst for leadership. So yes, leadership can be taught; however, you’ve got to start on the basis of working with people who believe what you believe. If you push somebody into a situation and tell them to be in service of something else they don’t believe in, then don’t expect them to show up as a leader. Because they don’t want to be at the front, they want to be at the back, because they’re not really interested in the mission, or what you’re engaged in. But when you surround yourself with people who believe what you believe, leadership will emerge at every level, and you can create the space where that can thrive.

[TODD DEVOE] It’s kind of like with the military, when they choose people to go into the special forces. It’s more about them understanding and fitting into that culture than it really is them having the best shots or the greatest ability, for lack of a better term, to skill somebody. It’s more about, can they fit in that team? Because the team is what it really (inaudible).

[PETER DOCKER] Yeah, absolutely. We use that phrase a lot, fitting with the team. What that means, often, is, “Will this person we’re considering be willing to put the team ahead of themselves?” And the military it’s a great example, because people in the military, as you know, Todd, they don’t charge into the line of action and put themselves in harm’s way for any great political motivation. They charge in because they know that the guy standing to the left of them, the guy standing on the right of them, will do exactly the same for them. And that’s what we mean when we talk about people fitting into a team. We feel safe. We feel that others have got our back. And that’s only possible when we’re a group of people who believe in the same thing. This is nothing new. If we go back 50,000 years, when we were out in the open plains, we weren’t the biggest, we weren’t the strongest, we weren’t the fastest animal out there. And yet, we still not only survived, we thrived. And that’s because fairly early on, we figured out that, as individuals, we’re pretty rubbish; but together, we’re unstoppable. And we came together in groups called tribes. A tribe being defined as a group of people who believed in the same thing. And back then, it meant that we could literally go to sleep at night safe in the knowledge that somebody else would be watching over us. Fast forward to the present day, the modern-day tribe is the company, the organization, the team. And those organizations where people feel safe tend to be those who excel in whatever they’re doing, and it starts with having a team where you’re surrounded by people who believe in the same common higher cause, which goes beyond self. So, hire the right people, create the environment where they feel safe, and then leadership will emerge. And the best thing we can do to encourage that leadership is to have people feel they’re safe and feel they’re empowered to take forth their ideas.

[TODD DEVOE] Yeah. you talk about the tribe, and those organizations that I’m involved with, it’s called Team Rubicon. Are you familiar with them?

[PETER DOCKER] I’m not, no.

[TODD DEVOE] Ok. So, Team Rubicon was started by a couple of marines, when that Haiti hurricane occurred, and they went down there, and they said, “We need to do something about it.” They got a group of five guys, and they basically (inaudible) themselves down to Haiti and started doing a lot of work.

[PETER DOCKER] Excellent.

[TODD DEVOE] Down there. And what they figured out was that, as veterans, is that there’s still that drive for service, and the strive for a certain purpose after you get out of the military. So, one of the common things is, you know, you can be a mechanic in the military; an airplane mechanic, right? And you’re still part of the Royal Air Force, right? And you identify, you have the uniform, and at the end of the day, you’re sergeant or whatever in the Royal Air Force, and they (inaudible) to be a mechanic. And then when you get out of the Air Force, you go, and you work for an airline or whatever, and you’re just a mechanic, and you don’t have that (inaudible) identify. And so, the idea of the culture was, with Team Rubicon, was give military veterans that sense of purpose again, and the identifier as being part of that organization.

[PETER DOCKER] Excellent.

[TODD DEVOE] Yeah, it’s a lot of what we call… it’s called a tribe. And we actually have Team Rubicon UK, and Prince Henry, I guess, it’s part of it. So, it’s really kind of growing, it’s a really awesome organization.

EM Weekly Podcast Episode 42, Thinking, Acting, Communicating Starting With Why, with Peter Docker and Your Host Todd DeVoe[PETER DOCKER] You know, what you just described there, Todd, and I agree, sounds like an awesome organization; it works, because actually, we’re working with the biology, you know? When I talked about 50,000 years ago, in the tribe, it was so successful that biology has reinforced that. So, we are biologically wired to serve others. There are chemicals released in our limbic brains, the old part of our brain, when we take actions that support the tribes staying together. And the more actions we take in support of a tribe, in other words, in support of others, the more of this chemical – or these four chemicals, actually – and often, that means serotonin, oxytocin. The more they are released, and when they are in balance, we experience the feeling that we call happiness, or fulfillment, yeah? And that’s the sort of thing that we all seek. And so, the root of fulfillment is actually biological, and the root to achieve that is through serving others, because that is how we’re wired as a species, and how we thrived over thousands of years. So, this is nothing new, literally. It’s thousands of years old. It’s quite often, though, that in the modern-day business world, which dominates our societies, we have a focus on what we do and the numbers, the stats, and the data. And we lose context, connection, with why we’re doing it, and the contribution and impact we make on others. And so, organizations, Team Rubicon, you mentioned, and emergency planning organizations worldwide. There is a wonderful opportunity to harness that biological power of serving others, and those emergency organizations that tend to really thrive are those that keep that real connection as to why it is they do what they do. You know, this is why, for example, first responders, they’re often of the community they serve; and so, they have this connection to the community, and they want to be able to restore the community, so these people can continue to live the lives they choose to live. You know, this is why you’ve got hundreds of firefighters in Northern California, I believe, at the moment, trying to fight those wildfires. You know, they’re going above and beyond what they may be contracted to do, they’re putting themselves in harm’s way, but it’s in service of the bigger community. And this is why they will continue to do it as long as it takes, because they’re committed. And when you harness that, it’s actually very easy to lead people. You just keep them connected to their higher purpose.

[TODD DEVOE] I grew up in Upstate New York, outside of Albany, and out there, there are tons of volunteer fire departments. And most of these are volunteer, (inaudible) out there. And you can see that, that sense of community that those volunteer fire departments give. And also, the community members, the prize that they have, you know, when they see those guys march down the parade and stuff like that. So yeah.

[PETER DOCKER] That is good, and it’s important that we not only recognize, but celebrate first responders. And that again, releases a chemical in our brains, called serotonin, and that keeps the group together. There’s always one thing there that I would like to highlight, because I think it’s very relevant here. Having worked with a number of police forces, but in the UK and the US, connecting to this higher purpose can be more challenging than one might think, at first. I ran what we call a “Why Discovery” workshop for the senior leadership team of British Police (inaudible). And it was actually quite a challenge to run that workshop, because the Why Discovery workshop is about reflecting on specific events that made you proud of the work that you do, and it’s quite an emotional thing, you know? And because police officers around the world are often faced, on a daily basis, with very tragic circumstances, human tragic circumstances, in order to cope with that, the natural reaction is to try and shut down the emotional side of it. And so, it took quite a while for these people to be willing to open up, because there can, sometimes, be a culture of, “Well, we don’t share our feelings, because that’s not a damn thing.” Actually, it’s absolutely essential. It’s essential to ensure that stress and post-traumatic stress doesn’t build up within individuals, and we can all be affected by that. Talking it through and sharing with others is a vital component of the process, to ensure that these feelings that we’ve experienced facing very difficult situations don’t build up, and build up, and build up. And so, it’s important to keep that alive in cultures where people are faced with these situations. But also, by reconnecting to those emotions, it actually it’s a source of what enables those police officers to do such a fantastic job with their communities in the first place. Unless they feel emotionally connected to the communities they serve, then they can start to become very disconnected, and then it can turn into a sort of “us an them” type of situation, which we really don’t want in any community. So, it’s essential that, in my belief, it’s essential to give police officers and other first responders the opportunity to talk about these events. And I don’t know for you, Todd, but certainly, in the military, often in operation, we would have the hot tea brief, and we’d talk it through and get it all out. And sometimes, there would be tears and all sorts of things. But you get it out, and then you’re refreshed and you’re ready to move on to the next thing. I think there’s a big danger in the civilian communities, where we have our first responders, who were not given the opportunity to do that, and we see the results of that in the mental illness that come plague many of those agencies.

[TODD DEVOE] Over here, in the United States, we have this thing, the average, is about 22 veterans that kill themselves every day. And I think a lot of that is, is that we have the American bravado, if you will, that we can take care of ourselves. And that if you do ask for help, it’s a sign of weakness. And I think we’re doing a good job by changing that culture right now, but…

[PETER DOCKER] Yeah, and we got to work on that. We have to work on it. We are, all of us, we are emotional animals. This is how we’re biologically wired. The way we make decisions, all decisions, is through our limbic brains. Our limbic brains, the old part of our brain, are responsible for all decision-making, all human behavior, and yeah, I forgot, no capacity for language. This is why quite often we hear ourselves saying, “Yeah, I understand all the facts and figures, but it just doesn’t feel right, I’m going to do this instead,” you know? We talk about a (inaudible) decision, or leading with our hearts; actually, it’s our limbic brain. So, we are emotional animals, and emotions can stem from everything, from fear, or anger, all the way to sadness, everything in between. But when you realize and acknowledge that we are emotional animals and we work with that, instead of in spite of it, then it can create some remarkable cultures where people feel safe, where they feel supported. And when people feel safe and feel supported, in whatever field they’re involved in, they are more likely to push the boundaries of what’s possible, which is as important in such things as emergency planning and emergency response, as it is in routine business or developing the next innovation in Silicon Valley, you know? If people feel safe, then they’re more likely to push those boundaries. And people feel safe when they feel that others have got their backs. And if they fall on the way, then they’re gonna be supported to get up and have another go.

[TODD DEVOE] And it goes back to the (inaudible), right?

[PETER DOCKER] Yeah, there’s a connection there too, yeah.

[TODD DEVOE] Let’s just say, you get a job, and you’re the new hired leader of an organization, if you will, the manager.

[PETER DOCKER] Yeah.

[TODD DEVOE] And you get a team that’s just not working well together, or the morale is down for whatever reason. What can you do to increase that morale in that organization? And these are people that – ok, we’ll talk about first responders and/or emergency managers. People that we already know took the job because they have to have some sort of feeling of service, but yet, for whatever reason, they’re down. How do we turn that around by using Why?

[PETER DOCKER] There are often questions around this, because we often find ourselves in those sorts of situations. And usually, people think along the lines of what can I get others to do? What systems or processes can I change, how can I push them to do something differently? Actually, the starting point is not them; it’s you. And I invite people to ask themselves, “Who am I being, that’s causing those around me to be who they are?” If you are somebody who’s just (inaudible) and is just gonna be focused on telling people what to do, then depending on your experience level or your perceived authority, people will either just get on with it, or they will do their own thing, or they will build up resentment, or whatever. If, however, you pitch up and you focus on who you’re being as a leader, and you focus on why you do what you do, talk about why you are passionate about the work that you’re in. If you’re not passionate about the work that you’re in, how can you expect anybody in your team to be passionate? So, first of all, understand how you fit into the organization. How your personal Why, the reason you get out of bed each day, how that fits within your organization, the job that you’re doing. And talk about that with passion, and explain why you do what you do, and talk about the higher purpose of the organization, and how it inspires you. And when people hear you talk like that, when you hear the willingness to be vulnerable, to let people in, then it opens up the possibility where they can be inspired, too. And if they are fundamentally in a job that they love, they might not like everything in the job, but they fundamentally love their work, then they will be inspired to help you to find solutions to the problems that you’re facing as a team. That’s a bad leadership. If you focus just on the management and telling people what to do, then they will just wait until you tell them what to do, and they will not become a factor in finding those solutions, as much as they might be, when you create a space of inspiration focused on the Why, where they do step forward and help you find solutions to those problems you’re facing. It’s a different story, the management approach and the leadership approach. And leading a team is about giving them that context, that context starting with Why. Generally, teams are pretty good, they can figure out the content, they can figure out how to do stuff; but if you’ve got a senior position, or you’re leading that team, then focus on the Why. Because unless you focus on the higher purpose, chances are other people in the team won’t.

[TODD DEVOE] I (inaudible) with David Marquet, he wrote the book “Turn the Ship Around.”

[PETER DOCKER] David Marquet, absolutely, yes. We’ve worked with him, he’s part of the Start With Why community, as it were.

[TODD DEVOE] But I find that what you’re talking about right there is illustrated in this book, where he talks about the mission statement of a ship, and that some places, it’s just a mission statement that’s on a piece of paper.

[PETER DOCKER] Yeah, yeah.

[TODD DEVOE] And he talks about how you have to get our crew to buy into that statement, and (inaudible) that statement every day. I see that as being an important… I mean, he’s a change agent. I mean, he went into a ship that was failing, and turned it into one of the best ships in the fleet.

[PETER DOCKER] Turn the Ship Around, great book. And that was David’s experience, and I’ve had similar experiences during the Gulf War, as a Force Commander, looking after 200 people; aircrafts, pilots, technicians. And I hadn’t been in that situation before. I didn’t have all the answers. But what I could do was to express why we were doing what we were doing. Which had got nothing to do with politics, but had everything to do with the fact that if we didn’t do our job, which was to launch and fly air refueling missions to air refuel fighter jets. Unless we did our job, and the fighter jets couldn’t get their fuel, and if they didn’t get their fuel, then they wouldn’t be able to support troops on the ground, with close air support. And people on the ground, wearing American, Australian, and British uniforms would die. As simple as that. And so, a Why is not complicated, a Why is simple. Because when it’s simple, everybody can understand it, they can remember it, and it’s actionable. And I can tell you, in the four and a half months of the mission that we’re on, the morale, the energy that came from my people, was something like I’d never seen before. And I spent the vast majority of my time reminding people why we’re doing what we’re doing. And that is why the air crew climbed into the jets, which were completely undefended large air refueling jets, day after day, taking on anti-air craft fire from the ground. They would do that, because they knew why they were doing it, what they were in service of. Likewise, the technicians, fixing these 45-year-old air crafts without sufficient spares. They would work day and night, through sun storms and all the rest of it, to ensure those air crafts were serviceable. Over the four and a half months, we were tasked with 479 missions, and we flew 479 missions. We didn’t drop one. And most importantly, everybody who went out there, came home safe. So, this Starting With Why thing, A) is nothing new. It’s just a way of expressing what it means to work with purpose, on purpose. And it’s simple. It’s about creating that context, that higher purpose context. And when we do that, when we focus on that, it releases enormous energy in our teams, whether we’re on a submarine, in David Marquet’s case, or leading a Force out in the Gulf War, or a first responder team, or accountants in business, or anything else out there. When we’re clear on that Why, it creates a space where others can feel safe, where people that believe what you believe can join you in your case, and when remarkable innovation and energy occurs. It really is quite simple.

[TODD DEVOE] This is some really changing concepts here. I think, as leaders, if we could really embrace this, we will do right by our people, and we’ll do right by the citizens that we serve, and I think that this can really make a difference in communicating with why we do things, right? You know, we talk about evacuations and, you know, why we’re evacuating. And sometimes it’s just, well, this is the decision that was made and we’re gonna put it out there. And I know that we take our time to decide why we’re doing it, but to understand the impact it is on other people and the people that are living there. And if they could understand the whole why we go through that process, they’re gonna listen to us, and we can save lives that way.

[PETER DOCKER] Totally. Totally. We can have the best emergency plans in the world, but unless we communicate what they’re in service of, in terms of maintaining or restoring a community – because, ultimately, that’s what it’s about – we all want to lead our lives in the way that we choose, in harmony, in communities that work, and emergency planning and the delivery of that is about maintaining those communities, so we can continue to live the lives that we choose to lead. And sometimes, perhaps, there’s more focus that can be placed, as you say, on communicating that message. Because when people understand the context of why, using your example, why we asked them to leave their homes, then they’re more likely to work with us, instead of in spite of us – or even worse, against us. And sometimes, I think, we don’t communicate that, perhaps, as well as we might. And so, we end up having to manage the problem, rather than lead people to safety, so their homes can be protected, and hopefully, restored.

[TODD DEVOE] Yeah, for sure. Well, sir, it’s coming close to the end here of our conversation. One last question, and I think this one is going to be, for most people, the hardest question of the day. What book do you recommend somebody who would be interested in, number one, leadership; and then, number to, this whole Why idea.

[PETER DOCKER] Well, actually, that’s quite simple. Again, there are several books that I’ll recommend. The first one is Simon’s Start With Why book, of 2009, which puts a little bit more detail around his TED Talk in 2009, called Start With Why, all about how greatly this inspires action. Then, his second book, called Leaders Eat Last, which talks about creating environments where people feel safe, and the results that occur when people feel safe, and that leads back to my tribe example. He did another book called Together Is Better, which again, is all about team work. And then, just over a month ago now, Simon and I together, with our dear colleague David Mead, released the book Find Your Why. So, this is how to go about discovering your own Why, and also the Why for your team. By discovering your Why, what we’re talking about is being able to put into a single sentence, a single sentence, why you get out of bed each day; the contribution and impact that you make in the world. It doesn’t talk about what you do, it talks about why you do it. And so, we’ve put everything that we’ve learned into that last book, Find Your Why, which is available everywhere, and it will explain exactly how to discover this thing, called your Why for yourself or your team.

[TODD DEVOE] That’s great. Thank you so much for your time, and keep asking that question of Why and keep doing the great work you’re doing.

[PETER DOCKER] Well, thanks Todd, for the opportunity to share these ideas. And to all the emergency responders, the emergency planners out there, thank you for all the work that you do, which is often unheralded, often not seen, but it’s absolutely essential to help our communities wherever they are in the world. Stay safe, thank you for the service you give.

Links

https://startwithwhy.com/igniters/peter-docker

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/peterdocker

Twitter: PeterDocker

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pdocker1

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About Brian 6 Articles
Eat, Sleep, Shoot, Repeat! Executive Producer of EM Weekly and Staff Photographer

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