Listen to our exclusive interview with Peter Docker:
How do you harness the collective wisdom of teams to generate extraordinary outcomes? We spoke to leadership expert, Peter Docker, to get some insights.
More About Peter:
Peter worked with Simon Sinek for over 7 years and was one of the founding ‘Igniters’ on Simon’s team. He took his years of practical experience to co-author Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team, with Simon and David Mead. Published in September 2017, it has been translated into more than 25 languages and has sold over 380,000 copies.
In December 2019, Peter stepped away from Simon’s team to focus on sharing his wider insights into how organisations thrive. He is now working on his new book entitled Leading From The Jumpseat: How to Create Extraordinary Opportunities by Handing Over Control.
A trained leadership consultant and executive coach, Peter’s commercial and industry experience has been at the most senior levels in sectors including oil & gas, construction, mining, pharmaceuticals, banking, television, film, media, print, hospitality, manufacturing and services – across 92 countries. His clients include Google, GE, Four Seasons Hotels, Accenture, American Express, ASOS, EY, NBC Universal and over 100 more.
Peter served for 25 years as a Royal Air Force senior officer, has been a Force Commander during combat flying operations and has seen service across the globe. His career has spanned from professional pilot, to leading an aviation training and standards organisation, teaching postgraduates at the UK’s Defence College, to flying the British prime minister around the world.
Peter has also led multibillion-dollar international procurement projects and served as a crisis manager and former international negotiator for the UK government. He has been married to his wife Claire for 33 years and has two grown-up children from whom he learns a great deal!
Learn more about Peter and his work at > https://www.whynotunlimited.com/
We also recommend:
- Jeremy Pollack: Creating a Positive Work Environment To Maximize Success
- Felicia Searcy: How to Start Living Your Dream Life
- David Wood: Mastering Your Mind & Business For Real Progress
Transcription of Interview
(Transcribed by Otter.ai, there may be errors)
Adam G. Force 00:03
Welcome to the Change Creator podcast where entrepreneurs come to learn how to live their truth get rich and make a massive difference in the world. I’m your host Adam Force co founder, Change Creator and co creator of the captivate method. Each week we talk to experts about leadership, digital marketing and sales strategies that you can implement in your business and like to go big visit us at Change Creator comm forward slash go big to grab awesome resources that will help drive your business forward. Hey, what’s up everybody? Welcome back to the change credit podcast, this is your host that on force. Hope you guys are all doing amazing today. Just a quick heads up if you missed our last episode was with Jeremy Pollack, we talked about creating a positive work environment to maximize success. There’s lots of great insights in here, guys. And we get into some really interesting conversation about, you know, higher traditional hierarchy structures in a business versus the flat structure that we’re seeing more of is there actually benefits to that or not. And Jeremy has a lot of great insights on that. So definitely check it out if you guys have not already. Today, we have a special guest by the name of Peter Docker. Peter has quite an interesting background. He’s a trained leadership consultant, essentially, and an expert. This is for like C suite executives. So for example, he’s worked with companies like Google, Four Seasons, American Express, NBC Universal, all that kind of stuff. And he works with their leadership team to bring more out of that company and that team, right. So he’s got a really interesting background in the Air Force, actually. So Peter served 25 years as a Royal Air Force senior officer, and he’s been a Force Commander during combat flying operations and has seen service all around the world. His career has really expanded from being a professional pilot, to leading an aviation training to leading an aviation training and Standards Organization teaching postgraduates at the UK Defence College, to flying the British Prime Minister around the world. Right. So I’ve been really interesting stuff. And so the other interesting piece of his background is that he is one of the co authors of the book, find your why with Simon Sinek. Probably a book you’ve heard of before the why became quite famous. So yes, Peter was one of the co authors of that book, he worked with Simon Sinek for about seven years until he went off and did his own thing. And he’s actually writing another book now called leading from the jump seat, how to create extraordinary opportunities. by handing over control, we’re gonna get into some of these leadership insights that he has to share that will help you with your business. All right. All right, guys, if you haven’t followed us on Facebook, follow us over there, you can join our group, I think we’re going to be making some adjustments to the group. It’s called Be a Change Creator. We’re going to narrow that conversation a little bit more into branding and storytelling. How do we convert more sales on our website, just really getting into those conversations, because that’s our wheelhouse. And we’re seeing a lot of people get benefits from from those conversations. So yeah, if you’re into that stuff, you want cash flow systems on your website, you want powerful branding, that’s going to be the place to be we’re gonna start talking more about it in that group. Alright. Alright, guys, you know what, without further ado, why don’t we just get into this? I do want to make mention that on our website, we have a new Insider’s Guide to discover stories that matter. And that’s this discovering stories that matter for your business. Like we don’t want to just make up anything, but we tell stories that actually are meaningful and make connections with people. And we don’t sit there at a screen saying, What do I do for my facebook live? What do I talk about? This will help really stimulate that thought process and be a great first step for you to understand the storytelling process. And we can go deeper we offer a workshop as well to go deeper on how to make them engaging, how to make how to get people to take action and join like what you’re doing with your business. Right. So one step at a time. The first is just how do we discover them make it interesting. And then in the workshop, we go a little deeper, we expand on those ideas. And then we also talk about how we get how we make stories, engaging and inspire people to take action, right. And we give a lot of really cool examples of stuff from our experience and all that good. Good stuff. So Alright, guys, so we’re ready to rock and roll. Let’s get into this conversation with Peter. Okay, show me the heat. Peter, welcome to the Change Creator podcast. How you doing today, man?
Peter Docker 04:35
I’m great. Lovely to be here. Adam. Thanks for inviting me to come on your show.
Adam G. Force 04:39
Yeah, no, I appreciate it. And I had a great conversation with your buddy David. He’s a super cool guy. So I appreciate all your connections and stuff. Yeah, and it looks like you’re have a pretty, pretty extensive background. And I like to sometimes just know, before you even give us that snapshot of your background, just…What’s going on these days? Like, what’s the latest? What’s the greatest? And like, what’s your focus right now?
Peter Docker 05:05
Hmm. Well, I’m really, really fortunate because before this lockdown of this COVID thing that everybody talks about, we don’t have to go into, but it has changed our lives quite a lot. And for me, it’s the longest period in my life where I haven’t travelled around the world. And that’s been quite a step change, you know, because I just love meeting people. And I think I’ve been to 92 countries. And it’s fascinating what you learn. So that all starts but the reason I’m very, very lucky is because I’ve had a focus of writing another book. And that is, has been a joy. And it’s, it’s captured all of my attention and taken all my time. So I count myself very fortunate to have those moments of just peace, if you like. Yeah, focus on writing.
Adam G. Force 05:58
Now you’re one of the first people I’ve heard say that writing a book is a joy.
Peter Docker 06:06
Okay, that’s interesting.
Adam G. Force 06:08
Because most entrepreneurs are like, yeah, I want to share my ideas. I want to write this book with Dan. That is, that’s a tough process to go through. So everyone’s different. So I’m curious, just kind of your feelings about writing this book and your process? Like what gets you pumped up about it?
Peter Docker 06:25
Well, first of all, it’s about sharing what I’ve learned over, it feels like 300 years sometimes, but yeah. What am I now 58. So I’ve had quite a extensive few decades of lots of different careers, and finding myself in often some very challenging situations where my life was on the line, or the lines or others were on the line. And also, beyond that some of the work I’ve done working with some great leaders around the world, and so lots of good ones as well. Yeah, it’s really an opportunity to put down everything that I’ve learned the things that I wish I’d known 30 years ago. But having said that, I don’t regret anything that led me to where I am now. Because it’s all those experiences, the ups and the downs, the highs, and the lows, make us who we are. And it’s great to have the option to pull that together, and hopefully a fairly coherent way that I can share with with others, and it will hopefully help people regardless of where they are on their career path as an individual, or leading a company or a team or even a global organization. So yeah, that’s why I’m excited about it. And I’m just writing about my experiences, I guess that makes it relatively straightforward.
Adam G. Force 07:56
I mean, it could make it fun, for sure. And I’ve always, you know, I think about that kind of process. And like, Man, it’s a lot, but I could see kind of the excitement of sharing that stuff, like your personal experiences that could you know, can help other people. So what’s the name of this book that you’re writing? Now? I feel settled. And I know, I got an email from yesterday, and I saw your updates. I know you’re kind of still playing
Peter Docker 08:18
Yes, there we go. Well, no, we you’re hearing it first, it’s settled. It’s called leading from the jump seats. And it’s about how to create extraordinary opportunities by handing over control. Okay. And, obviously, the stories behind that title, but the focus is very much about how to lead intentionally such that we lift others up. So they become people who can take over and lead and we can take a step back. And the extraordinary opportunities that arise when we do that, because it’s going to end up that way at some stage. You know, if you are an entrepreneur just founded your business, you would hope that at some stage, you will have others who can take that dream on for you, when I don’t know you want to retire or you end up on the other side of the grass. We all shuffle off this mortal coil at some stage. And so when you’re working on something that’s really, really important to you. How about creating something that enables that to continue? After you’re no longer there to do it? It’s gonna happen anyway. So this is about being intentional, around creating that environment where people can step up and take forward your dreams.
Adam G. Force 09:39
Absolutely. Yeah. You know, and I hear a lot of talk to a lot of, you know, really great entrepreneurs and stuff. And there’s one of these guys I spoke to, he had 14 different exits, studies sold different companies. And he was talking about always having the exit in mind whether you plan on necessarily selling or not. It creates a frame of mind about how you’re shaping that business. And I’m seeing some alignment Cuz you’re kind of like, well, don’t you want to see it live on see, like, so if you’re not thinking about those things, you’re not going to create systems that do that stuff. You know, maybe you’re not, I don’t know. But I like the thinking of like, knowing where you’re going, in a sense with that vision, right?
Peter Docker 10:15
I totally agree. It shifts the context. You know, there’s there’s only three things in this world. There’s content and there’s context. Content is the stuff that we do, the things that we talk about, the work we’re engaged in. But context is what gives content meaning. Now, it’s like the puzzle jigsaw puzzle, where the context is the picture on the box that gives meaning to all those puzzle pieces. And so to your point, when we have the context of when do we hand over this, this business, who’s going to take it forward for us, it shifts how we view the people that we hire, how we nurture them, the environment we create, and it’s very similar to being a parent, you know, I’m lucky, we have two great kids, they’re grown up now adults. And it’s like, when you’ve got those young children some stage, they got to grow up, and they get to move out. And you invest your time and effort and energy in preparing them to lead their own lives, rather than relying on you to show them the way. And it’s exactly the same in any group of people who work well together. And that’s what jumpseat leadership is about.
Adam G. Force 11:25
Okay, interesting. Now, give us a little background, now that we kind of know where you’re at. And what’s exciting here today. Tell us just a little background on yourself. So we know what your experience looks like and where your real focus is, obviously, you’re writing this book on leadership, which is grounded in your experiences. So tell us a little bit. Like if you were pulling out some of the key things about your life, like let’s hammer on right now and give people
Peter Docker 11:54
rise? Okay, well, I’ve been very lucky, out of the sorts of things I’ve done, I spent 25 years in the British Royal Air Force in the military as an officer as a pilot. And I flew predominantly large aircrafts, either passengers or as a tanker giving away fuel to fighter jets, that sort of thing. And during that time, I was fortunate enough to lead a squadron, which is the main fighting unit of the Air Force. And also I was the British Force Commander during the Iraq War, the second Gulf War, where I had a couple 100 people under my care. Yeah, and we flew around in these big aircraft, these big tankers totally unarmed, getting shot out, which, you know, it was a bit irritating after a while, but thankfully, everybody I took out came home safe with me at the end of that, and that that was, that was a deep experience for me. Where at times, I felt completely out my depth, felt a huge weight and pressure of caring for my team. And trying to create a foundation on which they can do their work, and go home safe. Yeah, so that that was a peak if you like, in, in my life. I went on, I became I did all sorts of things. Also in the military, I was a negotiator for British Government with the American state department actually on business, on export licensing. I ran a $20 billion program, which was, which is quite large, as you can tell, yeah. I was a negotiator with the Russians on cooperation. After the Berlin Wall came down. I’ve worked in oil and gas mining construction after leaving the Air Force. And then, you know, for the past, what, seven or eight years I’ve been a speaker, keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, taking the ideas that I’ve picked up over all these years, around to my most corners of the world. And that has been one of the greatest joy is because quite often in this world, these days, we focus on what divides us. And after visiting 92 countries, I can see there’s so much more that brings us together than which keeps us apart. And that is a great message of hope, I think and possibility. So that’s been a huge privilege.
Adam G. Force 14:31
Interesting. Now you’re talking around the concept of leadership with your book, which is based on your past experiences. I’m surprised you’re not talking about negotiation. Now, is there a tie in there when you talk about leadership but it sounds like you have a lot of negotiation experience which gets into you know, understanding who you’re talking to and you know, the psychology behind you know, people but also kind of selling in a sense, right. So It’s like, I just see some interesting parallels and great leaders are good negotiators. So are there any tie ins, I guess, in some of what you’re putting together with that stuff, that experience
Peter Docker 15:11
I think that’s a really good observation there. I think life because most of us don’t live a solitary life, we’re with other people. Life is about negotiation. It’s about building relationships. Yeah. And relationship is the foundation of everything that we accomplish the relationship, the deeper the stronger relationships we build, the more we accomplish together, you know, just before this podcast, where you and I hadn’t met before, but we just spent a few minutes saying, Hi, I learned that you’re in Miami. I’m over here in England in the UK. And just getting to know a little bit about one another, enables us to interact better, I hope on this, this podcast. Yeah. So just broadening or deepening relationship, a small amount, enables us to accomplish more. So yes, negotiation is very specific, in terms of, you know, two sides often tried to find agreements, but it’s the same. When we’re running a team or a small business, if you’re starting up a business, you’re gonna have to talk to people, you’re gonna have to convey what’s really important for you, and listen, to understand what’s really important to them. And that’s relevant, whether it’s a supply you’re talking to, or whether it’s your internal team that you’re talking to, it’s about sharing your vision of where you’re going, why it’s important, and actually, being prepared to acknowledge when you don’t know how to get there. And that is one of the greatest strengths. In my belief of any leader, when you are taking a team forward into the unknown as entrepreneurs are, you know, we need to become comfortable leading, while not knowing the answer. I mean, care more about that if you like, but that’s really important. Negotiation comes into it. Understanding is key.
Adam G. Force 17:14
Yeah, I mean, is there a difference? So thinking as a leader, right, of my own company and making decisions and talking to beneficiaries, whether it’s a customer investor or partner, whatever it might be… What’s the difference between negotiation and selling? Or are they closely related in your perspective?
Peter Docker 17:37
Well, in my perspective, from my perspective, it really comes down to the same thing. And that is, first of all, us as individuals, we need to get clear on what’s really, really important to us, not just in that particular conversation, award negotiation, but in life. And I’ll explain why this is important, when we’re very, very clear on what we stand for. And the stand is something we believe in it goes beyond values, values actually aren’t as fixed as some people might like to think they are, they can shift a little bit on circumstances. But what we stand for, is non negotiable. And when we can tap into that, it drives us forward, regardless. So for example, for many of us family is important. Last year, I received a phone call from my wife, she’d been involved in a car accident. Fortunately, she was okay. But I dropped everything to go and help her there would be nothing that got in my way, right? Because that’s very important to me. And so when we translate that into business, we understand what really, really important which goes beyond you know, dollars. It allows us to be guided by that, particularly, when we’re in the unknown when we’re exploring something new. It gives us the anchor for who we’re being. Now, the reason that’s so important is that when we come then to negotiate or talk to another person, if we’re source ourselves from that stand the belief we come across as someone that can be trusted. We come across as someone who’s transparent, who you want to be around. This goes beyond in my view beyond being authentic. Seth Godin, I know you’ve had on your show, I love how you position it. Our right to be authentic ends when we’re about four or five years old. A five year old is authentic, just sharing exactly the feelings they have in the moments. But as we become an adult. We need to develop integrity. And that’s a filter for our feelings, our authenticity. We need to have that integrity. So link that to being very clear on what you stand for what you believe in, what drives you, and then having the integrity to follow through on that. That then builds relationships, whether it’s with your team, or with business partners that they can rely on that they feel they can trust you. Understanding what you stand for is so important, particularly when the road ahead gets a bit fuzzy.
Adam G. Force 20:30
Yeah, I mean, do you have a process or framework or just an idea of? Like, if someone is running a business, and you know, they’re trying to anchor themselves in what they stand for? Should this be naturally? A simple thing for them to define? Or do you ever find that people might struggle? It’ll be a cool, what’s I stand for a lot of things. So what’s my thing like in this situation, that I should really make the priority of what I stand for, you know, we stand for something very specific at Change Creator. And I see in conversations, a lot of entrepreneurs will feel like they know, I know, my mission, my vision, and what I stand for on things. But a lot of times they have a misunderstanding of how to like, come to the right conclusions of like, what’s most relevant and important for their situation. So just here, I agree and love hearing what you’re saying. Because Yeah, you do have to stand for something. Any thoughts on how people can kind of surface…What is the thing that you stand for? Like, what if you feel confused about figuring that out?
Peter Docker 21:44
Well, being confused about it is fine. It’s not necessarily simple to figure out. Let me talk about Change Creator. Let’s go to a specific here. So something drove you, Adam to drop the life that you have, which is beautifully articulated on your website, that manic life of New York of commuting each day, and you saw the light or however you care to describe it, and your site. Now I’m going to do something very different. And we’re going to create this podcast. So tell me what caused that for you? How did you get to that place?
Adam G. Force 22:31
Yeah, so essentially, it was seeing two things, I asked myself a question, what do I want to be doing 10 years from now? And will I be in the same cycle, the same rut? Digging it deeper in the type of work I was doing that I thought I was burnt out from travel and all that kind of stuff. But really, it was burnout because I was doing something that really wasn’t that meaningful to me. And when I saw the reach of business, in a very unspoiled area, plastic coming up on the beach, right? There’s nobody out there, there is no development. So how is that there? That really impacted me to say, Wow, we got to change the way we do business. And so I was like, how do I take everything I know and lean into that mission. And that is really what spiked it. I didn’t want to be stuck doing what I was doing. And I want it to help solve a problem that actually matter to me.
Peter Docker 23:30
Love it. Okay. So this is a great example, you know, you reached a point in your life where you knew something had to change. And you did that because of the experience that you’ve built up through? What not great experiences through the work, perhaps, that they were doing. And then experience in Costa Rica. This isn’t necessarily about going away and finding oneself, or having a eureka moment. But what it does mean is to experience as much of life as you can. I was talking to a young guy, Ben, who’s 18. And as I said to my children, when they’re growing up, you know, cow there and experience as much as you can. Because the more experiences we can develop of our world of our life, the more we can start to consolidate what’s really important to us. Yeah, whether it’s, you know, my daughter loves the the freedom of mountaineering. So she, she goes climbing a lot, and she’s been out in the Himalayas. And she translates, stands, what’s important to her through through the work that she does, which is about having people feel included and having people fully expressed and be able to be who they are. I was talking to Nick baynton to who is a CEO of a sauce, a multi billion dollar global fashion company. Money. And what he believes is that what a source believes is that everyone should be able to express who they truly are. And they help people figure that out through the very powerful medium of fashion. And they encouraged. Everyone have a look on their website, I saw suit is a brilliant website, they encourage people to go out to young people to go out and explore life, and to experience the excitement that can be out there. And as you go through this process, you will start to figure out what’s really important to you. Now, it might take you two years might take you five years. For some people, it can take a lifetime. Yeah. But if you it needs to be intentional, because if you are willing to just get up each day at seven o’clock, go to work, come back at five. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You might be perfectly content with that. And you might focus the majority of your energy on your family or friends or whatever, when you’re not at work. And that’s okay, that’s what’s important to you. But if you want to make a greater difference in this world, then you need to get to work on it get to work on experiencing as much as you can. So you can really crystallize. What’s important to you, what you stand for, and what you’re willing to give up to pursue that you gave up a lot. You got this? You did? Yeah, no, I can tell. And that’s the thing, when something is really important to us, we will give up. Whatever we need to give up, we will sacrifice time, energy and other things in order to pursue that. And when we take that into the field of entrepreneurs, whether we’re talking someone like Elon Musk, or whoever it was early on, Musk, you know that what he went through what he’s given up, ridicule, sometimes he’s attracted through is the suit of electric vehicles or creating a space company. But he was willing to sacrifice all of that in order to achieve what he’s trying to achieve, because he’s got a strong belief in the future of the human race, and the future of this planet. And he’s gonna use all of his resources in town to perfect that in a positive way.
Adam G. Force 27:13
Yeah, it’s fascinating to see because, you know, I would say 80% of the entrepreneurs, I’m talking to are social entrepreneurs, are people that have inspired their change, like we’re talking about to become a new leader, doing something that aligns closer to who they are, from a travel experience. 80% are coming from a travel experience. Blake Mycoskie, we interviewed from Tom shoes, Argentina, all the kids. Maggie doing Jake Orak.. all these guys had travel experiences that open their eyes, to give them this like energy that said, Wow, like, there’s this whole other world out here, all this stuff happening. I want to be part of this, you know, like, I want to change this, I want to help these people. And if you’re not out there to feel that sensory overload of like, what that feeling is to be out in that environment, watching things on TV, and just going through your routine here at the house, it’s really hard to have that same level of like, inspiration hits you.
Peter Docker 28:18
I totally agree. And linking back to what I mentioned earlier, I haven’t had the privilege of visiting 92 countries. Yeah, even though my only language I can really speak is English. Nonetheless, the the feeling I can get from different cultures and different people from around the world. It helps you realize that we’re all on this blue dot together. And, you know, what, what brings us together is much more than what keeps us apart. And it shifts our perspective, it gives us a fresh context. And if travel enables people to to land on what’s really, really important to them, what they stand for, they can then turn that as many of your listeners have into a commitment, and a commitment that we declare to others as you have with this podcast. You know, the existence of this podcast is a declarations, your commitment, to shift something to cause something to happen that wouldn’t ordinarily happen by itself. And that’s leadership. And the more we’re able to articulate what we stand for, and the commitments that we make, in relation to that stand, it can then attract others who want to be a part of that commitment. And we might have many commitments during our lifetime, but it’s what we’re focusing on. Right now. That’s important and the people who we attract to help us figure out how we can bring what we imagine into existence.
Adam G. Force 29:49
Absolutely. So you know, before we wrap up and stuff, I want to just talk a little bit about some of the insights that are in the book that you’re putting together around this idea of leadership. You know, here we are talking about taking a stand. And I think this is an important, like, foundation of a great leader is is taking that stand and having your story, right, we’re talking about the experiences and the story, really become the driver for what you’re doing and how you’re connecting now with the world based on that write that experience as leader. So let’s say we’re starting our businesses, and we’re going forward. What are some of the insights in your book, maybe one or two that stand out to you that you can share that are kind of like, really interesting lessons that people can walk away with and have an understanding? Like, yeah, I took a stand, I have this business, I want to be a great leader. What are some of those shiny moments that are written about that you can share?
Peter Docker 30:50
So let me come up with three. The first, and we’ve mentioned standard already. But let me be clear this difference between a standard and position? Okay, yeah, a standard is for something, a position is against. And with a position the existence of a position, while a position can only exist if there’s a counter position. Yeah, yeah. But a stands can exist on its own. A stand is like saying, right, this is my island, I’m going to plant my flag on this island. And you can see from my flag, what I stand for, and any ships going past, you see my flag, if they believe that they can come and join me on this island. but crucially, if they don’t believe that, that’s okay, they can sail on by on why this is really important to focus on a stand rounded position is that a stand for something is much more generative. And it can go on and on a position against something tends not to be so generative, it can be destructive sometimes. So I think that’s a really important distinction for for people to think about, whether it’s in business or in life, a stand for something, rather than a position against, generates so much more. The second is ego.
Adam G. Force 32:17
Peter Docker 32:19
Everything that drives us, either comes from fear, or it comes from love. Everything. And it’s natural for us to become fearful on occasion. Yeah, if our life is threatened, then that’s the human reaction. But quite often, our life is not threatened, thankfully. And we live our lives through business, through our friends, family, and we can either be driven by love or fear is our choice. And ego can arise that comes from, from fear, fear of losing our status, reputation, what we’ve built, fear of not knowing the answer for something. And ego can come forward. And we’ve all been around people whose egos perhaps enter the room before they do, yeah. And it tends to make us feel a certain way. And the way it makes us feel is that we take a step back. And in extreme Extremis, we’ll just let them get on with it. Even if we can see that they come up to a full. Yeah. So being aware of your own ego is really important. And what we can use to replace ego is what I refer to as humble confidence. And then there’s where we’re very clear, resolute and focused on what we stand for, where we’re going. But we have a willingness to listen to others and to engage with others too. And create an environment where they feel able to contribute to whatever it is we’re working on. It doesn’t absolve us from making decisions. You know, if we’re the leader of a team or organizing, we still gonna make decisions, but it’s about how we listen how we engage with others. And that leads me on to the last thing, perhaps I’ll share, which is tapping into the collective genius. If we’re clear on what we stand for, if we have humble confidence instead of ego, then it’s helps us create the environment where we can leave in situations where we don’t know the answer, and instead, we can draw on those around us who can help us figure out the answer. Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur he talks about, he focuses on hiring people who are much smarter than he is. He then remains focused on their commitments, the joint commitments of the organization or the projects keeping that alive, bit like the picture on the jigsaw puzzle box I mentioned earlier, and he then invites others who are smarter than him to help him figure it out. And I think that one is probably one of the most challenging, particularly for entrepreneurs, where you’ve got this, you’re you’re the master of your own business, you know where you go, you’ve got this. And we’d like to know the answer to the problems that come up, we like to be the go to person and solving it. But if we’re only going to work within what we know, we become the drag on the process. When we start to become comfortable leading when we don’t know the answer, by having humble confidence, be very clear on where we going and drawing on others to help us figure it out. That’s when we can tap into that collective genius. That’s what’s helps us put people on the moon, helps create breakthrough electric vehicles, etc, etc. And it’s a particular skill to learn that all entrepreneurs need to learn at some stage, if they’re going to progress as fast as they can. Otherwise they become the drag on the system.
Adam G. Force 36:00
Yeah, no, that makes complete sense. And I think they all work together really well. And I remember reading something about NASA, I think it was NASA, where when they’re problem solving, and they can’t find an answer, they have a large network around the world could be teachers of science, like, you know, just all these different people. And I’m talking about just regular school teachers and stuff, you know, and they will send the problem out to this network of all these just everyday people doing their thing. And something that NASA would be stuck on for like a long time. Some teacher from a Podunk town will respond and and have the answer within like, you know, week time and they’re like, holy shit, man, like, and they tapped into the collective genius. Like, they’re not letting their ego get in the way. They’re reaching out saying, we’re going to this destination, we need an answer on this particular thing. And they reach out to the network and if they can’t figure it out, and they solve it faster, so it speeds up the process too.
Peter Docker 36:59
It does. And actually, since you bring up NASA, Adam. 51 years today, the three guys stranded in space on Apollo 13. What for those who don’t know the story, Apollo 13, launched in April 1970. They had an explosion on board the spacecraft as they’re traveling towards the moon, and three astronauts Jim Lovell, jack Swigert, and Fred Hayes were, well, their lives were absolutely on a knife edge. And well, the the short version of the story is they all managed to get back safe. Ron Howard’s produced the film in nice 95, Apollo 13, which I recommend to watch. Yeah, if you want to see how to lead where ego doesn’t get in the way where you have humble confidence, where you clear on where you’re going, which was to get them all home safe. and empower your people to figure out the answer to which Well, nobody knew the answers to be in with the problems that we’re facing. How we’re watching that film, Gene Krantz, who was the mission controller for much of this emergency, he gave an interview in 2019, the Smithsonian. And he said one of the greatest things he had to learn most difficult things he had to learn, during his time as a leader at NASA mission control, was learning how to listen, and how not to jump to an answer because he thought he knew. But instead frame the problem, be the one to ask the important question. Yeah, key question, focus on that. And keep people very much directed towards what the outcome is you’re trying to achieve, and then create the environment where you lift them up, so they can figure out the answers. And the how movie of Apollo 13 is a brilliant representation of how that was done. So if you want to have a look at lean from the jump seat, and how to create extraordinary opportunities by handing over control have a look at that film Apollo 13.
Adam G. Force 39:17
Yeah, that’s a classic one. And, and I’ve always been a fan of the whole concept, because we’re speaking about space and all these things, of the overview effect that people bring back from those experiences. I used to write about that kind of stuff, too, because I found it so powerful, to shape that perspective and how we see the world that humbles you just that like understanding, right? It makes you think differently, and all that kind of stuff. So listen, I want to be respectful of your time. So what we’re going to do is, I want to make sure people know Well, how do I learn more about what Peter’s doing, get the book, check it out? Where can they find some more information?
Peter Docker 39:56
Sure. Well, I have a website whynotunlimited. We’ll put that in the show notes perhaps but you can also Google me and the website will come up. The book you should be coming out in the fall, autumn of this year. And that will cover everything we’ve spoken about and much, much more. And importantly, quite a few things for people to consider and take action on should they choose to help practice these ideas that I’ll be sharing the book. And you can find in the usual places on on social media, LinkedIn, etc. Peter Docker, you’ll find it.
Adam G. Force 40:36
Perfect. Well, I really appreciate your time here today, Peter. It’s awesome.
Peter Docker 40:39
It’s been great talking with you Adam. Thanks very much.
Adam G. Force 40:45
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