Lead From Action

Lead from action

Hey team, so I wanted to talk to you on this Workshop Wednesday, the last workshop Wednesday of July. I wanted to talk to you about, that you can lead from anywhere, even if you’re at the bottom, even if you’re the new guy on the team. Today I want to tell you a little story I tell in leadership. 

I was a United States Marine, the shirt kind of tells that doesn’t it? Anyway, I was a young Marine. I was a very young guy, new to the Marine Corps.

New to my new team, my new squad. I wasn’t there to lead.

I was doing a nuclear mission somewhere in the United States, can’t tell you where. And we had this thing where you do 48 hours on, 48 hours off. You do two days on, two days off, two days on, two days off. You do that for a few cycles and then you go to one week of training. 

Well, Staff Sergeant was mad at our Sergeant. The easiest way for a Staff NCO to really teach a Sergeant a lesson is to be really mean to his troops. Yeah, being mean to his squad, being mean to his team. Some of you are sitting there going “That doesn’t seem fair, Chad.” Yeah, we take the brunt of Staff Sergeant’s anger and frustration on our Sergeant towards us. 

So, at the end of a 48-hour tour working 4 on, 8 off, being really tired, being cooped up indoors for two days, we want to go out on liberty. Go out and spend two days. Maybe go get a nice restaurant meal. Go have some fun, maybe go to the mall, right? Young Marines. Anyway. Go to a movie, or two, or seven, stuff like that. 

Well, Staff Sergeant tells us our clean up our squad bay. So, we’re going to clean the squad bay, a room for 16 men to live in. It’s not that big, I mean, about 30 by 30. Shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes or so to keep that room cleaned up. Especially, we haven’t even been there for two days. We’re sleeping somewhere else in the building anyway. 

So, we’re cleaning, six hours into this, that’s right 48 hours off, we’re six hours into cleaning a room, that is super tiny. As I said, Staff Sergeant wasn’t going to let us go until he felt like he wanted to let us go. Well six hours in, people are bickering.

They’re angry. They’re frustrated.

Again, I need you to remember, I’m the youngest, newest guy on the team. I have no power. Zero power. I can’t lead anybody. Nobody will listen to me, and so I’m sitting there and everybody’s yelling at each other, they’re starting to get really upset with one another. Frustration starts blowing up. “Hey, don’t sit on that rack, hey, turn off the TV. Hey, don’t spit in that trash can.” This constant bickering goes on because everybody wants to go on liberty. 

So, I go to my wall locker where I have all of my possessions. Little bitty locker and I pull out a rifle-cleaning AP brush. It’s basically a toothbrush and I go to the entrance that is into our squad bay, and I kneel down on the carpet, and I start scrubbing the carpet. I start combing the carpet hairs, and my Corporal he comes over and he says “Withrow, what are you doing?” I jump up to the position of attention and I say “Corporal, this PFC wants to go on liberty, Corporal. I am aligning the carpet hairs, Corporal” and everybody, all 16 guys, start busting out laughing. They just laugh and laugh, and laugh. 

All of a sudden, the stress melts away because everybody started to realize something they already knew. Staff Sergeant is going to let us go whenever Staff Sergeant is going to let us go.  We have no control. All of a sudden Staff Sergeant walked in. He looks at me and I swear to God if you’ve ever seen a United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant smile, I think I saw that. If you believe it could happen, and the Staff Sergeant he looks at me, he looks at the Corporal, he says “You can send your guys on liberty.” He walks out, just like that. 

I changed the course of frustration, anger, and bitterness, and all the different things.

And I even maybe change Staff Sergeant because he was probably just right out in the hall. I changed his outlook on what was happening. 

That is why I want you to know that no matter where you’re at on this team, no matter where you’re at inside Northwest Enforcement, Inc. you two can lead from the bottom. We’ve seen this happen here at Northwest Enforcement Inc. I’ve seen patrol officers lead from the bottom.  I’ve watched them institute change within the company by doing certain kinds of things that are very positive, and uplifting and they do it in such a neat way that it changes the course of the way we do something here. 

That is what I want you to recognize on this Wednesday, that you can take the ingenuity, and the influence that you have, and you can lead… not from position, but from action.

 All right you guys, have a wonderful rest of your Wednesday. I’ll see you guys next week.

 God bless and I’ll see you soon.