Tuesday, December 01, 2015

December Book Report

In my stack of library books was Simon Sinek's new book "Leaders Eat Last."  I had just started reading it when Don Kardux sent over his book report for this month -- the very same book.  So get a little peek by reading below.

The words Potpourri and Smorgasbord come to mind after reading Simon Sinek's most interesting collection of facts, theories and stories.

The subtitle "Why Some Teams Pull Together And Other's Don't" really is answered in the source of the title. A United States Marine Corps' tradition is that during their gathering to eat. General George J. Flynn writes in the forward to the book "you will notice that the most junior are served first and the  most senior are served last. When you witness this act, you will also note that no order is given. Marines just do it. At the heart of this very simple action is the Marine Corps' approach to leadership.
Marine leaders are expected to eat last because the true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own."

Throughout this book Sinek continues this approach to leadership and the understanding that members of the team - employees- are the most important part of the leadership and success equation.

He emphasizes the 'Circle of Safety' and illustrates it with Aesop's  sixth century B.C. fable. 

"A lion used to prowl about a field in which four oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them they turned their tails to one about, so that whichever way he approached he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell a-quarrelling amongst themselves and each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four." 

His focus on the 'Circle of Safety' also directs itself to primitive man and gathering around the fire for mutual protection.

James Sinegal, cofounder of Costco, is one of the examples used to illustrate this 'Circle of Safety'.
Sinek recalls "In April of 2009 Costco experience a 27 percent decline in sales. The industry began to retract and some chains announced layoffs. What did Sinegal do? He approved a $1.50 -an hour- wage increase, spread out over three years." He summarized his decision "This economy is bad, we should be figuring out how to give them more , not less."

I have noted over 37 really interesting revelations in this fine book.

One of my revelations focused on motivation through chemicals. The chemicals to which Sinek alludes are produced naturally in our bodies:
·         "Our ability to work hard and muscle through hard labor is thanks to endorphins
·         "Our ability to set goals, focus and get things done comes from the incentivizing powers of dopamine. It feels good to make progress and so we do."
·         "Serotonin is responsible for the pride we feel when those we care for achieve great things or when we make proud the people who take care of us."
·         "Oxytocin helps us form bonds of love and trust”

Which leads to his conclusion about motivation. Sinek writes:

"We cannot motivate others, per se. Our motivation is determined by the chemical incentives inside every one of us. Any motivation we have is a function of our desire to repeat behaviors that make us feel good or avoid stress or pain. The only thing we can do create environments in which the right chemicals are released for the right reasons. And if we get the environment right. If we create organization cultures that work to the natural inclinations of the human animal the result will be an entire group of self- motivated people" but, its premise is sound and it is worth the read.