Episode 139: Transcript

Napoleon Hill’s Major Attributes of Leadership

Speaker 0 00:00:04 Make It Right. The manufacturing podcast
Speaker 1 00:00:10 Recently rereading Napoleon Hill’s seminal book Think and Grow Rich when it came to at a section entitled The Major Attributes of Leadership. And it got me wondering how things may have changed. This book came out in 1937, but it was based on research that Napoleon Hill conducted prior to that over some 25 years. So we’re going back over a century. He interviewed the greatest leaders of his time. Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, John D Rockefeller and Alexander Graham bell. Just to name a few, his access to the knowledge and habits of these people is distilled in this book and think, and grow rich is a treasure trove for those interested in business success, personal growth and contribution with over 15 million copies sold worldwide, it’s considered an all-time bestseller in its field and Kevin Snook. And I are going to look at those 11 attributes of leadership and break them down and see how many are actually being applied. Uh, well in 2021, Kevin. Good to see you.
Speaker 2 00:01:14 Yeah, lovely to be here, Janet. And, uh, great to be talking about such an important book. You know, this is a book that I first read Ooh, years ago and, uh, probably I think the first time I read it was when I was around 15 or 16 years old and I took in a few things and then I, I didn’t really think much more about it. I think I’d borrowed it off. My brother’s a bookshelf and, um, and I didn’t really think much more about it after that. And then I picked it up again probably 10 or 12 years ago. I’ve read through it again. And, uh, I just found it phenomenal and it, it, it truly is kind of like the Holy grail of personal development books.
Speaker 1 00:01:57 Yeah. And I think probably I’ve read it two or three times and every time I read it, like, there’s this other nugget that I went, how come I never noticed that before? Right. Because I mean, in books like that, I highlight and I pencil and I Mark stuff and like, you’ll go through a section and you’ll have no markings. And you’re like, how did I miss this goal? Like, what was I thinking when I was reading this? Right. So,
Speaker 2 00:02:22 Yeah. And the thing you probably were focused on a specific factor or part of your life at that time. Right? Because this book, it covers so much and each time I go back, so, you know, we’ve got this part, there is a part on leadership, there’s a part on what are the key sort of attributes of leadership, but then what are the key things to do in order to be successful? And then it covers things like love life and how sex and relationships and love are such an important factor. And then it covers, you know, other parts. So it, it really is an overall look at, um, what have people thought through as they’ve become successful and help to make them successful.
Speaker 1 00:03:03 So I think let’s go through the 11 attributes. I’ll just list them right here and people can see them on the screen. But the first one is unwavering courage. Uh, the second is self-control. Three is a keen sense of justice. Four is definiteness of decision. Five is deafness definiteness of plans. Uh, six is the habit of doing more than paid for seven, a pleasing personality, eight sympathy, and understanding nine mastery of detail, 10, his willingness to assume full responsibility and 11 is cooperation. So do you see anything in Napoleon Hill’s list there that doesn’t resonate today?
Speaker 2 00:03:48 I don’t think there’s anything that doesn’t resonate or anything that isn’t important. Um, I think there are some things on there that are being less, uh, focused on at the moment and perhaps to the detriment of business. In my opinion, I think there are certain areas that, um, have kind of slipped off the radar a little bit or, uh, for some time have been put lower down the priority list than I think raising some of those up is, is, is critical. One of them that I had written down, um, as I was looking through this list was a sympathy and understanding, um, which was number eight on that list. And what can you say about social media when you read, when you read social media, now I’ve often said this, you know, I could post a picture of a sunset and say, Hey, had a great day today, lovely to watch the sunset.
Speaker 2 00:04:47 And you’d get 50% of the comments back that are like, Oh, fantastic. Glad to see you enjoying it. And yeah, we had a great day too. And then you’ll get 50% of the comments, like, who do you think you are? You’re why are you, so why do you know, who do you think you are to put this picture of a sunset? Or why, why, you know, why couldn’t I have that and why is that? And it’s like, Oh my goodness, you know, what is going on? And so this whole idea around sympathy, understanding each other, being open to different opinions, um, really seeing, you know, I often say that people come in to the factory and in manufacturing, people come into the factories that they’re the same person, but with a different head on their shoulders. And you’re never quite sure what somebody’s woken up within their mind that day.
Speaker 2 00:05:33 And the only way you’ll ever find that out is by speaking to them, listening carefully, understanding the situation that they’re in that particular day. And so I think that’s an area that, uh, the definitely needs more focus these days. And it comes down to that whole idea. When I look at all of these 11, I think one of the reasons they haven’t changed much over a hundred years is because they’re all dealing people and people haven’t changed my show over a hundred years. Right. We’re still, we’re still the same sort of issues wrapped up in the same meat suits. Um, but that one that, so that one sympathy and understanding I think is one big one. Um, and the other one that, that stood out to me was this idea of unwavering courage. And again, I’m going to refer to social media because we’re all under so much fire these days, especially when you try to be brave and you put something out there and there is a lack of sympathy and understanding, and there is a feeling of competition or comparison.
Speaker 2 00:06:39 And this idea around the ability to attack each other, um, is, is means that you need to have a huge amount of courage to want to step out, to want to do something different. And to me, that’s a key part of the definition of leadership. You know, people don’t need leadership if they already know where they going, they don’t need leadership. If they can figure it out for themselves where they need leadership is where they can’t figure it out for themselves. And somebody else has to have the courage to step out in front and go where the uncertainty is, where the unknown is and be able to pull the other people along with them, cut the new path. And in order to be able to do that, you need a huge amount of courage, especially in these days where, uh, it’s so easy to shoot people down
Speaker 1 00:07:27 And going back to the social media side of it, it is so easy to say something nasty on social media, because it’s just a bunch of words on the internet and you’re not facing that person and saying it right to them because you’d be very unlikely to say some of the things that you see in social media when you are face-to-face with someone.
Speaker 2 00:07:48 Yeah. And it’s shocking, and you can see it in all walks of life. You know, we were specifically focused on manufacturing and, and what’s going on in the manufacturing floor. But if you take a step back and you look at just sports, for example, and the amount of racial abuse that football players or soccer players are under for, uh, for their race, uh, you know, the, the match doesn’t work the way somebody wanted it to. And all of a sudden people are throwing racial abuse at the players, and it’s absolutely crazy. Um, and you’re right, that would not be done if you were out on the streets, but hiding behind the anonymity of social media, people have this false sense of braveness. And all we can hope is that in, you know, in the future, um, those things open up a little bit more. I’d love to, I’d love to say that people are going to change and, and that negativity is going to move away. But I think first of all, what we’ve got to do is find a way of finding those people and then holding them accountable.
Speaker 1 00:08:49 So I’d like to pull in, um, number 10, which is willingness to assume full responsibility. I mean, to me, that means looking at yourself and your reaction to things and being really honest and critical and go, Hm, I might not have been very nice when I said that, or, you know, just actually accepting responsibility for, for the way you reacted and examining how you react so that you can become that person with the sympathy and the understanding.
Speaker 2 00:09:22 I think there’s a, there’s an element around responsibility. The more you grow, the more you understand yourself, more, you get more self-awareness you realize that you have to take responsibility for everything around you. Now that doesn’t mean that you have to take action on everything around you, but you have to understand that you have the ability to respond, which is the responsibility, right? So if you consider it as I have the ability to respond that in this particular case, my response is to do nothing. Or my response is to walk away from the situation that’s okay. Right. It’s you’re still taking responsibility and saying, yes, that’s what I am choosing to do. Um, I think too much, uh, people are, are not willing to take that responsibility to make the choice, to do one thing or another, and therefore they’re deflecting. And then they’re blaming and they’re passing some kind of issue on to other people.
Speaker 2 00:10:22 Uh, that’s not leadership. I think in, in terms of leadership, you need to be able to say, yes, this happened now, how am I going to respond to it? Let me collect the data, let me figure out what was the root cause for these things. And then how do I choose to respond to each element of that? And a part of it I said might be that you delegate that to somebody else, or it might be the, you just say, okay, that’s one of the things that I’m choosing not to work on. I, because I’ve got more, I’ve got a bigger priority over here. And that falls down to, um, there was one on here. Oh, the definiteness of decision.
Speaker 1 00:10:59 Yeah. I was just going to say that that’s right there.
Speaker 2 00:11:03 Yeah. So definitely there’s a decision means that you’re brave enough to make a decision. And for me, a lot of the case studies saying, what am I not going to work on? What am I going to say no to? So we have these couple of lists. So one of the list is all the things that I could do in this situation. And then it’s which ones am I going to do? And what that means is that that going to do less, there’s only a very small subset of what you could do. Everything else has to be put on. Okay. I’m choosing not to do this at this point for these reasons. And I have to be able to stay focused on what I am going to do.
Speaker 1 00:11:39 I love this list. I think, I think it’s just fascinating. Yeah. I want to go to your aligned process. Um, your aligned process brings in account into account most of this, if not all of it. So, um, when you share your aligned process, which of these attributes go under, or which of your five steps, can you, can you figure that out?
Speaker 2 00:12:01 Yeah, I think so. And, and it’s clear clearly, uh, because I structured that based on my experience, the align process, Ali G M is based on my experience of what works best in manufacturing. And so it was really designed separately to, to this list. And then when you try to compare the two, there’s certainly some, some overlap in different areas, but there’s also parts of this list that fit into different parts of the align process. But if I, if I was looking at trying to distill it a little bit, let’s stay with a, which in your line processes, aim from the heart. And that’s all about having a very clear, compelling business direction. This is where we as a company or as a business or a division, this is where we’re going. And the aim from the heart means that it has to be, it has to be for you.
Speaker 2 00:12:58 It has to be why you want to get up in the morning. And what is it about this compelling business direction that’s compelling and inspiring to you because if you’re going to inspire other people, you need to be feeling inspired yourself, right? Because that then shines through. So under that a aim from the heart, the unwavering courage, I think is part of that because you’ve got to be able to, you’ve got to have the courage to say, this is me. This is all a part of me. This is where I feel like we want to go. And, you know, and I’m going to get up every day and I’m going to drive forward in that direction. So you need to have the courage to be able to put that out as your conviction and make a clear decision on that. Another one was, uh, I put in here was a pleasing personality because I feel like if you’re going to inspire people to follow that direction and it has to be right for them as well, then having that, the ability to, uh, be a decent individual, um, so that people want to follow you.
Speaker 2 00:14:01 I think that’s a huge part of it. You know, w w one of the other areas is, is around this idea about whether you are going to be a leader who is very dictatorial and forcing things on people, or whether you’re going to be more of a, uh, an inspirational leader. And I feel like just if you’re a decent person and you’ve got that, uh, pleasing personality, it’s a lot easier to be inspiring to people. So that wants to me sort of figure under that aim from the heart and, and another one on here was self-control. And you know, that I’m a, I’m a big fan of having a, uh, a sort of a clear morning routine. So when I get up, I, I, I know how I’m setting myself up for the day. I’m filling myself with positive energy and the things that I love to do so I can keep on a high throughout the day and make sure that, uh, as I, as I create systems of self control around me, I find that I’m in a much better space for everybody else around me as well. So those, those three, I think, all fit in nicely with that aim from the heart and inspire people to follow that compelling.
Speaker 3 00:15:10 Um,
Speaker 2 00:15:11 And then I was looking at the owl, which is really like lead with the front line. And that’s about putting very clear plans in place that everybody is a part of making sure that the plans are, uh, fixed with the individuals that are working on those plans so that they have ownership for what’s being planned. Okay. The job of the leader is to make sure that they’re aligned with the compelling business direction, but as much as possible, we want the individuals to have personal action plans that they have a sense of ownership for. And so within that planning, certainly number, number five definiteness of plans is right in there. Um, may makes complete sense that deafness definiteness of decision, again, around setting very clear priorities and, and moving forward on those. I think they were the two that I had under that area of, uh, planning right.
Speaker 2 00:16:06 Of leaving women frontline. And then there was a few around, uh, you know, the I and the align processes inspire with information. And so mastery of detail, you know, once we, once we start moving in a direction, we want to know exactly where we are on that path. So having the right information in that, in the right hands, so that people can make really good decisions on the fly, you know, as they’re moving forward in this direction, they know where they are and they know how to move forward on the next step. I think that having that information is critical.
Speaker 3 00:16:41 Um, G
Speaker 2 00:16:45 This is a big one, give, help and support, um, which is, you know, I’ve always said there’s two critical roles of the leader. One is to have a very clear and compelling direction. The other one is to help everybody get there in the areas that they can’t move forward on that themselves. And, uh, so within that give help and support cooperation is clearly one that’s helping support, not only from the leader, but also across departments as well. Um, willingness to assume full responsibility. We’ve talked a little bit about that already. Um, but the idea of I am responsible for my people, if, uh, if I want people to learn and grow, they have to be allowed to make mistakes. And when they make mistakes, I have to be able to take responsibility for that and say, what’s the root cause of what are we going to do next time to help this person continue to grow and make less mistakes or, or not make the same mistake again.
Speaker 2 00:17:41 And so taking responsibility for whatever happens in your organization, I think is critical. And then the last, and which is nurture with feedback and recognition, there was a couple that, that fit on there. For me. One of this is I thought this one was really interesting, a keen sense of justice and the make it right book. I don’t think you could, you could say, I’d be more than that, right? The make it right. Book is all about making it right. Not only making the product, right. So the customers get the right product and they get the right quality and, and making it right for the shareholders. So the businesses successful, but making it right for the employees as well. And when, whenever we get that combination rights, then I think that is what justice is all about. It’s about looking at things in a way that balances everything out, so that it’s just to all the different departments.
Speaker 2 00:18:39 So that idea of the way that we nurture people with feedback and recognition, these looking at their contribution and really rewarding them, recognizing them for their, the huge amount of effort and focus and attention that they’ve put in to helping move the business forward. And so, again, this is not about justice for the, for, just for the shareholders or just for the owners of the business. It’s really so that everybody in the organization grows and feels fulfilled at the end of the day. And the other one was sympathy and understanding. We talked a little bit about that earlier on as well. And parts part of nurturing, I think, is really understanding where people are right now and then how you help them to, to move forward on their own path, as well as move forward on the company part. Now, the one that I found difficult to put into the align process was number six.
Speaker 2 00:19:36 And that was the habits, the habits of doing more than paid for. Now. I love this one. And I always think that, especially in a role of a consultant or an advisor, or even a leader, um, you should be adding 10 times of value of what you charge, right? So I think if a company is working with you and you can say, Hey, look, okay, I’m charging you a hundred and I’m going to make your 10 times that when you look at the, sort of the ongoing return on investment for the advice and for the guidance, I think that’s all about, you know, really, uh over-delivering and really adding value, looking at your role as to add value. And if you’re not adding value, then you shouldn’t be there anymore, right? There’s, there’s, there’s no need for you to be there. But I also see that in the role of every employee, and sometimes we forget that employees are professionals, that they are paid to do a job.
Speaker 2 00:20:34 And if you’re paid to do a job, it means you ought to be practicing training continually growing so that you’re getting better at doing that job. And you should be delivering back to the company a lot more than you’re being paid for. Right? To me, that’s the same idea around always consistently adding more value than you’re being paid for. Well, I don’t see that specifically in the align process anywhere, but I do think it’s one of those core values that a, that a business leader and, and actually any individual in a business should be, should be looking to, to play towards.
Speaker 1 00:21:07 Yeah. Like I think, um, people we all get paid, you know, you look at your hours that you’re putting into your work. Well, you’re not supposed to just put in the hours, you’re supposed to be putting value into those hours. Right. So, you know, you don’t just punch the clock and do your eight hours and walk away and go, well, I was there for eight hours. No, you, you were supposed to be bringing value the whole time you were there. Did you do that? Right. So
Speaker 2 00:21:32 You are a professional, you’re paid to do the carbon, and this is not about being nicey. Nice. See the people and, and, you know, I’m, I’m a big fan of having great places to work and feedback and recognition and making sure that rewards, uh, uh, uh, commensurate to the type of job that people are doing. Um, but it’s not about being nicey, nicey. It’s about, it is a business transaction. It’s an adult business transaction. And so people should be treated like adults, but they should also treat the company in a way of respect as well. Um, and, uh, and I think when anybody comes to work as a professional, that you ought to be training, practicing, growing in their roles.
Speaker 1 00:22:12 Okay. Let’s go to, um, yeah. When I looked at all of the 11 attributes, the word that comes to me is trust or respect. Um, that’s a key to leadership, isn’t it? Because if people don’t trust and respect you, you’re not a leader,
Speaker 2 00:22:28 Right? Yeah. I love the fact that you picked up that from, from these ones. And I think that is critical at, uh, our job as a leader is to build the trust within the organization. I’m a big fan of transparency and a big fan of, uh, giving everybody the information that they need to be able to make really good decisions that, you know, because they are the ones who are making the decisions anyway. And so that’s, uh, uh, th there’s a level of trust from the managers to the employees, which then allows the employees to trust the management. And, uh, and so it’s this, this whole idea around two way trust. And if you don’t build that as a leader, you really on very thin ice.
Speaker 1 00:23:14 So then Napoleon Hill talks about the two forms of leadership. Now it’s leadership by consent of a, which is with the sympathy of the followers. And then he says, or there’s leadership by force, which will fail eventually. So to simplify this, to me, it seems to come down to you either have positive, or you have negative leadership.
Speaker 2 00:23:37 Yeah. You could look at it positive, negative. I think even back in the times of Kings and emperors and even dictators, they probably felt like they were trying to do the right thing and that there was a lot of responsibility on them. And it was their job to be very dictatorial, very directive. Um, and in, in, in societies where there’s maybe a lower level of education, or there’s less transparency of information, um, that kind of system can still work. And it did work for many, many years. I think what’s happening now is there’s this democratization of information, right? With, uh, with all of the ways that we can get information, we can’t be, uh, we can’t be lied to so easily anymore. Um, I say that Kathy, because there’s, there’s a, there’s a huge set of skills around a lot of people at lying to others, right.
Speaker 2 00:24:33 But in general, we have, we have better tools to be able to, to, to figure out whether we trust them, whether we believe in the information we’re being given. Certainly information is a lot more available than it ever was before. So for me, the, the idea of having, um, turning this triangle upside down, right, we talk about here, you’ve got the CEO, or you could call it the emperor of a country. And then the whole job is to tell everybody what to do, and then to find out what’s going on. You know, I have reports and meetings and all of those things that are taken to, to find out what’s going on. If we can turn that upside down of what you’ve actually got is the leader of the company or the country, or whatever is setting a direction and then helping the organization move in that direction, what he has, or he, or she has to be doing is saying to the organization, Hey, what helped you need to be able to move forward?
Speaker 2 00:25:36 What, what can I do for you? Not what are you doing for me? And that’s that whole idea around, uh, leadership by consent and really figuring out what’s going on in the organization, listening, being empathetic, and then deciding how can you best help, uh, or if possible, even have people tell you how you can best help. And then you just execute on that. So, but I think there is this huge turnaround in, in the successful companies of moving from more of an autocratic system to more of a, you could call it servant leadership or, um, more of a democratic system of, of running the business.
Speaker 1 00:26:19 Do you think with that shift? Um, sometimes it requires a shift in some of the employees, uh, because some, some employees just want to go to work and be told what to do and not really not really have to think about that and, and take that responsibility. There are people who don’t want to take responsibility for anything, right. So, so, and I think
Speaker 2 00:26:44 We need to recognize that in people, you know, everybody has a different motivation about why they go to work. That’s part of the understanding, right? That’s probably what we’ll do. You call it a sympathy and understanding. Um, you know, if you have somebody who has a very busy home life and really, they just need to bring in some money and going to work is basically like, uh, that, that that’s that mini escape from the home life to bring some money in, to be able to then deal with a whole load of complexity at home, then they ought to be able to go into the office or into the workplace and have a relatively easy time of it. And I think that’s, that’s fair enough, right? They still need to be delivering. They still need to be delivering value. They still need to be very clear where the organization is going and be aligned with that, but they don’t have to be searching for a leadership position.
Speaker 2 00:27:37 I think there’s other people who are looking for leadership positions in order to get that they want to be growing. They want to be learning. They want to be challenging. They want to be trying new things or want to be making mistakes. They want to be coached and recognize that those things are a little bit different. So for each individual, we need to be looking at what what’s right for that individual to be able to help our company move forward in the best possible way. It’s not about having a company full of leaders, full of active aggressive leaders. It’s about seeing the people that we have working with us, and then figuring out how, how best to utilize them for the benefit of, of everybody involved in the business.
Speaker 1 00:28:22 So you said, you’ve read this book a few times, Kevin, and, um, you know, we looked at how your aligned process works with all of these 11 attributes. Um, what kind of final thoughts do you have on this book and, and what, what do you want to share with people about how powerful it can be?
Speaker 2 00:28:43 For me, it’s, it’s sold 15 million copies or whatever, because it’s incredibly good. And if there was one book that you would say, okay, in terms of personal development, it’s called think and grow rich, but it’s not really about growing rich. It’s more around, it’s more around think and be successful and whatever success means to you. You’ve still got to figure that out, right? Because that’s different for everybody as well. But if you can figure out what success is to you, for me, it’s being healthy and happy, having a loving, warm family, having the money that I want to be able to give me the freedom to do the things that I want to do, et cetera. Right. And so it, I know what that is. I can then look through the book and I can figure out what are the points in that book that will help me accelerate my path towards where I want to go.
Speaker 2 00:29:41 And for every individual that’s a little bit different. What I would say is that because it’s based around people, because it was written by a guy who understood people and was talking, I think he talked to more than 500 millionaires of their day, right. Which is probably posted a billionaires of our day, um, because he actually spent 25 years talking to these people and then summarizing that all into, you know, these 260 odd pages of, of, uh, of the book. I think he’s done a phenomenal job of looking at the human and then figuring out what works for humans. And so I would say if you have the opportunity to read the book, if you have the opportunity to go through a chapter by chapter work, through there’s even, there’s even lessons in there for you to follow and for you to do kind of like, uh, assign many assignments on, I would say really take the time to go through that.
Speaker 2 00:30:40 And, um, you know, when I, when I wrote my book, it was, it was five steps to help you figure out the best way, the fastest way to increase the productivity and the profitability of a manufacturing company. Cause that’s what I knew now, uh, Napoleon Hill, after this 25 years with people, he really knew what it took to deliver leadership in people. So he’s the right person to listen to about that. The question is, do you have the discipline, the self-discipline, the self-awareness to work through those exercises and then figure out how that’s going to work for you. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:31:19 Yeah. I, like I said, I’ve read the book over and over probably three, four times and I always find a new nugget in it. So, um, I just think it’s a fascinating book and I, you know, I look forward to having this conversation with you, Kevin, because I know how you feel about leadership and, uh, thanks for sharing your thoughts. And I think we pulled some really good stuff out of the book that people might be able to, um, really learn from and grow rich personally, as opposed to, you know, bags of wealth. If that’s not, I don’t know whether anybody’s really going for that anymore, but thanks so much for taking the time to chat,
Speaker 2 00:31:54 Right? It’s a pleasure to be on Janet.
Speaker 1 00:31:56 So Kevin Snook is the author of a Make It Right. Five Steps to Align Your Manufacturing Business from the Frontline to the Bottom Line. You can find it on Amazon. It’s a great book for manufacturers to get their manufacturing up and running in a smooth and aligned manner, which is our favorite word. That’s our show this week, please check out our Twitter and LinkedIn feeds that are on our podcast page. And you can subscribe and share the podcast with friends and colleagues, please with iTunes, Google play, Stitcher, Spotify, and YouTube. That is the Make It Right podcast. Thanks so much for listening. We’ll see you again next week. Thank you, Kevin. Thank you. Thanks for listening to Make It Right.