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July 28, 2022

Becoming A Responsible Leader

Today I’m having a conversation with Earl Breon, a former active duty United States Marine with over 25 years of experience in coaching and leadership development. As the CEO, of the Leadership Phalanx, Earl's purpose is to help others be better people a...

Today I’m having a conversation with Earl Breon, a former active duty United States Marine with over 25 years of experience in coaching and leadership development. As the CEO, of the Leadership Phalanx, Earl's purpose is to help others be better people and better leaders. He is also an incredible Podcast host of, The Responsible Leadership Podcast.

Earl and I are talking about leadership development and how you can become a better leader.


Connect With Earl Breon:

Web: https://www.leadershipphalanx.com/


Listen to Earls Podcast - The Responsible Leadership Podcast




Book a Chat with Laura: https://lauranoelcc.com/calendar

Check Out My Website: https://www.ratracereboot.com/

Connect With Laura at: https://www.stretchintosuccess.com/ratracereboot/


Watch/Listen to the Show on:

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoc1sIm3AlUCrmcaFyZaFbw

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

Podbean: https://infogtu.podbean.com/


Guest Bio:

Earl was raised in the Smoky Mountains of NE Tennessee and is a lover of all things leadership and history related. His view is that if you know your history you know your future.

Earl is also a master storyteller and whether it is coaching, mentoring, or speaking he likes to use stories from history to convey his concepts. He has turned this passion into a successful podcast titled

The Responsible Leadership Podcast where he has interviewed guests with a wide array of backgrounds to include U.S. Ambassador Scott Gration, Howard J. Ross, and former Vietnam POW Col. Leon "Lee" Ellis.

It is Earl's passion for history, leadership, and storytelling that has guided his life's journey. For instance, The Eleven Shields of The Phalanx are rooted in the Eleven Principles of Leadership he learned as an active duty United States Marine. He takes those back even further to the writings of Sun Tzu and Musashi to highlight how these timeless principles are directly applicable to your success today.

Earl's purpose is to help others be better people and better leaders.








Music from Uppbeat (free for Creators!):




people, leadership, shields, leader, military, organization, cognitive diversity, diversity, push, bit, earl, listen, king, fear, leadership development, create, inspired action, shortfalls, thinking, setting


Earl Breon is a former active duty United States Marine with over 25 years of experience in coaching and leadership development. He is the CEO of his own company. And His purpose is to help others become better people and better leaders. He's also an amazing host of his podcast, the responsible leadership podcast, you're going to want to stick around today, because we're gonna have a fantastic conversation. I just know what


the following was recorded in front of a live studio audience at the studio 21 podcast cafe. This is the United Podcast Network.


Welcome to rat race reboot. I'm your host, Laura Noel. And as a certified coach and former 27 year military leader, each week, I provide bite sized mindset pivots that will help you reset your mind reawaken your spirit and regain your control. Hello, hello, everyone. Please welcome Earl to the show. I'm so grateful you're here. You know, a fellow military member, thank you, first and foremost for your service. And welcome.


Oh, thanks for having me. And thank you for your service as well. I really appreciate and appreciate you having me as a guest on your show. I think there's gonna be a great time.


Absolutely. Well, you know, just to give our leader or leaders, our listeners or leaders, our leaders or listeners some context, would you mind just sort of sharing your journey? How did you transition from your military career into into this leadership aspect of development that you're doing right now?


Yeah, no, thank you for that. It's a great question, great place to start is at the beginning, right. So as I mentioned, and I say, my my title, former active duty United States Marine, on purpose, right, I don't like to leave it as just veteran. Because, you know, we live in a time right now where there's a lot of combat veterans. And I like to distinguish myself from that, because, you know, that's not me. You my career was cut short by the interests vaccine, and I was able to get out and transition into a federal civilian service job. But it was that time in the military and transitioning into federal civilian service, where I started seeing a lot of leadership shortfalls. And it made me realize that not everybody gets exposed to leadership development in the same way that we do. You know, we were taught these things, and I'm sure you were familiar with these a little bit there, the, the 11 leadership principles. And so when I got into the federal civilian service, I started seeing all this leadership lacking around me, I thought to myself, you know, hey, Earl, you have some knowledge that you can pass on. And so I started developing leadership training, trying to help at the local level. And that would lead to, you know, going up the chain there a little bit. And as I got better known for this type of training, I had someone actually tell me say, you know, Earl, you're pretty good at this, if you ever thought about doing it kind of private, as No, not really, I just I enjoyed, you know, where I worked, I enjoyed helping those around me become better. And I had a few people start saying that, and I'm a firm believer that, you know, when, when the universe start sending you messages, you should listen. And so that started my kind of transition to building up the leadership failings my company, and setting that, you know, kind of setting that product out into the private sector market. And that's the journey I've been on now for a few years. And it's starting to finally bear some fruit.


That's so wonderful. And I love that, you know, you you're already following your passion, and you were guided to share this information with people and you were open when somebody kind of suggested to you, Hey, have you ever thought about doing this as as your business as your work, you're already doing this? You are open to it. And you know, there's so many people who, you know, get those messages from the universe, right? Or intuition or, and they're not open to it? No, I couldn't do that I'm in this job, you know, and then they they continue forward, and they keep getting that that little push or that little nudge, and eventually they listen or maybe not, and maybe they missed the boat, but you didn't you listened to that inner wisdom and that inner guidance. So I love that for you and for your clients.


Yeah, no, thanks. And again, I wish it was, you know, me listening on the first try, but it took a little bit of poking and prodding, I'll be honest, because, you know, being in federal employment, you know, we do have great benefits. We have great pay, and then transitioning, you know, there's a lot of ethics rules that I had to follow. Hello behind that. And so the scary part for me was essentially starting from scratch. Right? Although I had this 25 years of experience, I couldn't use any of it because it was all as a federal employee. And so it was kind of off limits, I couldn't have personal gain from stuff I did on taxpayer time. And so it's really starting from scratch. That was kind of the scary part for me. But, you know, like I said, it's been a struggle kind of establishing myself a little bit, but it's really starting to pay off now.


That's, that's so wonderful. And, you know, a lot of the our listeners here, and my clients too. I mean, we talk about goal setting, and persistence. You know, I always bring up of course, my mentors work, Bob Proctor, Napoleon Hill, and the importance of being persistent and that paying off. So, you know, I put you on the spot a little bit here. But what were some of the challenges that you had to navigate through and push through for your own growth, to get you to this point now, where your your work is bearing fruit? And, you know, it's, you know, that's awesome.


Yeah, no, thanks. And I think it's a lot of the same, same path there, right is, is having those people that step into your life, that that, see that thing in you that maybe you don't write and listening to them. You know, when I say bearing fruit, like in the last few weeks, I've been speaking to a lot of educational conferences on responsible leadership in education, helping educators realize that they are leaders, right, that their, their followers, our learners, the people that they're trying to reach that transfer of knowledge and this skill set for educators to be able to take on leadership and coaching roles, to help transfer learning better. And that's not something that I'd really thought about before until I ran into a few folks who reached out to me on LinkedIn. And one of them was a gentleman named Dr. Ramo, Lord Haney, with a group called Seabury, community based research for engagement and education. And he's like, these are things that teachers need to hear. And so that was that was the big thing they're like, is realizing that somebody like me who's got a military background, high school graduate, I don't have a master's degree, I don't have a doctorate, I don't have any degree, had value to offer to a roomful of PhDs that we're teaching at Penn State University of Toronto, some Ivy League universities, but the great thing about it is, is there was this thirst for this type of knowledge there, and they ate it up. And it's snowballed, and gave me a lot more confidence that yeah, I can hit hold my own in a room full of PhDs.


Yeah, you know, I find that we sometimes don't value the experiences we've had in the military, when we serve. And there's so much value with what we've learned and what we've been given and what we've been taught. And it does translate to organizations and to high level leaders. And I'm finding, I've been in this business, you know, in my business since 2017, they are thirsty for that I love that you use that word that they want this knowledge, they want something that they can apply, that's simple and easy to apply. And it's impactful. And so we're very blessed in the tools that we've been given. And we've developed and adapted. And so, no, it's a wonderful thing that you're out there sharing this information. And I'm glad that you're by doing this, you know, here's a key point by putting yourself out there and doing this. It's like, we don't wait for the confidence to build and then do it. And it's as we're moving forward, the confidence just builds and grows within us. So, yes, it can be scary when we're, you know, taking that step forward into the unknown, but it is so worth it. And oftentimes what I find it it sounds like you're experiencing the fruits that we that, you know, we bear are just are much greater than we could have ever anticipated. Going through this at the beginning, right.


Yeah. 100% I mean, I had to, you know, listen to my own advice, which I think is something that's hard for us to do. Right is Yeah. And I remembered, you know, courage, right. Courage isn't the absence of fear. That's insanity. Courage, is you understanding that the fear is there and being able to keep going, anyway. And that was really what pushed me like, if I'm going to tell people that they've got to have courage, you know, see that fear and push forward? I got to do the same thing.


Yeah. Fear. I like to look at fear as kind of a mechanism to know that I'm going in the right direction. Yeah, you know, we call that the terror barrier and You have to be willing, cognizant of what's going on in your mind. And just acknowledge it. Okay, I'm, you know, I'm feeling fear this is something unknown, but I'm choosing to go through it. And oftentimes what I have found that that fear is pretty tissue paper thin once we break through it, but then we become somebody else on the other side.


Yeah. I mean, that's, that's just it right? And you're never going to grow from a place of comfort, right? We always said the, you got to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And you know, a lot of people will talk about, you know, taking ice cold showers and all that good stuff. sure that that's part of it. But it's, it's these things that we're talking about here. Right, those things that, that make us question ourselves a little bit, can I do this thing? Is it going to make me feel uncomfortable to get outside of, of whatever my little bubble is. And it's when you feel that discomfort that you're going to grow? You can't help but change once you go through a period of discomfort and come out on the other side? Accomplished?


Absolutely. Well said, well, with your coaching and and your teachings, you had mentioned on your website and in conversation, a big part of what I truly value here. And what I try to, to bring home to our audience, is this idea of leveraging the talents of other people. And a big part of that is diversity. So how do you bring diversity into your practice? And specifically, you talk about cognitive diversity, which is also very important.


Yeah, no, thank you for that, you know, and again, being in the military, you probably get this too. But it's, you know, no, nobody ever succeeded with just everybody looking the same thinking the same, acting the same, right? We had to have in the military, we had to have ground support, we had to have air support, we had to have administrative support, we had to have logistics, we had to have all of that, right. And so it's the same thing here with leadership and diversity and inclusion. A lot of organizations you'll they'll say, Hey, I value diversity and inclusion. But when you start looking at their programs, it's really just kind of fill a number, right? Somebody somewhere has said, Hey, we need to have 10% this demographic or 5%, this demographic, but nobody ever asked the question why. And nobody ever understands how to pull those people in. I shouldn't say nobody, a lot of times people don't understand how to pull all that in. And so I tie those two together leadership diversity and inclusion d&i, because I call them the inextricable link. Right? Good leadership understands that you need all of those pieces, to drive innovation to drive support to to make your organization better. And one of the reasons I focus on cognitive diversity is because it's very easy to get lost along those kinds of traditional diversity, metrics, age, sex, race, religion, the protected classes. But it's also very easy to fill those slots with people who think just like you, right. And that can be very, very dangerous. So you not only want the traditional diversity metrics, but you want people who can think differently. And that's one of the places where I feel like I do provide quite a bit of value to the teams that I work with is because I am again, the high school graduate. And that's it, I don't think about things in that very critical, analytical, like PhD level type of thinking, I can think about it kind of as a user, and those are the people when I talk about cognitive diversity, I encourage people to bring those people onto their team, go bring the janitor into a conversation, right? If nothing else, they're gonna give you feedback as a user, bring the administrative folks in, let them give you the feedback from their perspective. And so cognitive diversity, that diversity of thinking of being able to look at a complex problem from an angle that you probably aren't going to see because you're too close to it. That is so valuable in problem solving and innovation.


Yeah, I 100%. Agree. I mean, that, you know, even in some organizations where we've done like a cantor profile, where we have an understanding of people's motivations and how they operate in the context of a group, you know, for example, I had a strong buy stand, which means not that I'm lazy and I buy sand, but I'm one of those people that I'll kind of sit in the room and listen to all the sides and be able to kind of create links, but then there's other people who there predominantly a move. So they want to, you know, they're ready to take action and move. And then we have people that are are opposed, it doesn't mean that they're, you know, saying no to everything. But they kind of play devil's advocate or they're thinking of another side to it. So having a mixture of different sort of personality types in there, you want that kind of diversity as well, because it gets it gives you pause, it creates movement, it helps you connect the dots in a way that otherwise you wouldn't have been able to. And it's it. That's why it's so important to have somebody a coach or consultant in the organization to help people create the space for this and the psychological safety to make it happen. So I love that you're thinking of these things as well.


Yeah, no, and I love that you mentioned psychological safety, and especially the people that push back, because that's the one. That's the one piece where I see a lot of leaders get uncomfortable with, they have the one person who is always pushing back, and they want to label them as rebellious or whatever. And, to me, that's one of the most valuable people on the team is the person who is willing to push back and make you think a little bit harder about the problem. You know, so I say value those people that push back, because I think one of the biggest danger signs for leaders, if you walk into a room, and everybody is telling you Everything's perfect. And all of your ideas are the best, you probably need to start looking for a different room to be in.


Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And, you know, I'm thinking about that person, that that might be labeled as kind of a problem. You know, if we go beyond what they're saying, or the fact that maybe they're disagreeing, and they're bringing up, you know, some some item for dissent. Why, why are they bringing it up? What are what's their objective? What are their needs, challenges and objectives. And so we can get a deeper understanding of that we can get beyond the surface level of a disagreement, and then really start to drill down on on what's going on here? And how can we make this better? How can we advance this even further?


Yeah, and again, that's the value right? Is getting those people to be able to, to help push the solution a little bit further. Kaizen, continuous improvement for good who's the person that says, hey, this thing we're doing right now is fantastic. But we make this little tweak, it can be even better?


Yeah, yeah. So well, how do you work with clients? How do people begin their drink? Do you work with, like groups or individuals give us a little bit of an overview of how that operates?


So I'm gonna give you a very military sounding answer. And I'm just gonna say yes, right? No, that's the great thing, right, is that was making this, this transition. And I was looking at programs, I came across this piece of data from 2012. And it asked a lot of questions, but two of them were, what is the age that you receive your first leadership training, and what is the age that you were first put in a leadership role. And what they found out was there was somewhere about a 10 to 12 year gap from when you were promoted, until you got your first bit of training. So as I'm putting my program together, I'm thinking very much of the military and how we started on day one with leadership development. And that's what the shields of the leadership failings really are kind of a civilian eyes version of those 11 leadership principles that we started with, because I can take those, and they're foundational elements. So I can work with an individual with these and get great results, I can work is an entry level program, and give you a great baseline leadership development program for your organization. And then we can go and move our way up the chain through your mid level managers into your C suite, using the same 11 Shields, as that foundation, but building more complexity on to the scenarios and the situations. So that's kind of what I can do is is you know, we can do one on one coaching and working with these shields. But if you're an organization that finds yourself in that role, and there are a lot of them, if you're looking for a ready made leadership development toolkit, I've got that with the shields and we can build a program to take somebody from entry level to the C suite, with the shields


out well, I'd love to hear what are those 11 principles or shields?


Alright, you're gonna go through all 11 of them. Well, if


you're sure if you're tired, just give people an overview of what we're talking about.


Yeah, no, I'll tell you what they are. And I encourage you all to go to the website. Yeah. The first one we usually start with is you're always on display. Then we moved do introspection improvement, build relationships and look out for your people as number three, number four is be rational and decisive. Number five is be a power broker Information is power, then we have trained how you want to perform, play to your team strengths, define success and Power team members and achieve results is Next, create an environment of success. Look for opportunities and only outcomes. And last but certainly not least, is stay technically and tactically relevant. And the way these things work is, again, if you're familiar with the old formation, the Phalanx the shields, you know, the strength of that was each one of these shields, you know, interlocking with the person next to you to create strength to create an impenetrable wall. And so we can go through those 11 shields, and you can do one you can do two, they're all going to make you better. But when you do all 11, when you build that failings, that that shield wall, that's when you have that that very strong foundation that can help you pretty much deal with any situation. Because if you remember that you're always on display, you're going to be cognizant of what you're doing and making sure that what you say and how you act are in alignment. If you say you want an inclusive environment, you're going to treat people with inclusivity. If you say that you want a calm, caring, empathetic environment, you're gonna treat people with care and empathy. If you're building relationships, and looking out for your people, you're going to have those conversations that are going to make you aware of some of those policy shortfalls that your organization may have, you're going to understand that the person who's pushing back is pushing back from a place of care for the organization. So as you go through these 11, if you do all 11 That's where the real magic happens. But you can do any one of those shields.


Oh, I love I love how they're interlocking and how it just all, you know, it just builds up your strength overall, just by adding to the you know, the one lesson and then adding all the rest. Well, how do people get in touch with you, if they want to work with you and want to learn about more about what you're doing?


Yeah, no, thank you very much for that. So just leadership failings. And for those of you I know, failings is kind of an old word. But p h a l a n x leadership phalanx.com. That'll get you to the main site, you can find the responsible leadership podcast on there, you can find more information about the shields, and you can reach out through that and there's contact form, you can reach out and get with me there. Or if you want to just email me directly, it's just URL at leadership failings.com


Perfect. And we will have all of your contact information as well in the show notes. So you don't have to memorize it. You can go to the show notes there. And you can connect with Earl and I highly recommend that you do well, Earl, any last words of wisdom for people just kind of getting started any favorite books or quotes or anything that can kind of get people in the mindset of just leadership and growth? Yeah,


so I'm gonna go back to a book that's really kind of inspired me a lot along this journey was one that we were required to read, as part of the Commandant's Reading List in the Marines, Steven Pressfield Gates of Fire, and it does a real in depth look, it's kind of a historical fiction look at the Spartans. But there's one quote in there that I want to share. And you know, for those of you who can see this, I am looking at it because I always want to get this exactly right. And this is why I decided to take on the Spartan iconography. This is why I decided to call the shields the Phalanx because of this quote, right because this was after the battle, and the king Xerxes was asking one of the surviving people why they followed qinglian itis. And this is what he said, a king does not abide within his tent while his men bleed and die upon the field. A king does not die and while his men go hungry nor asleep when they stand at watch upon the wall, a king does not command his man's loyalty through fear nor purchase it with gold. He earns their love by the sweat of his own back, and the pains he endures for their sake, that which comprises the harshest burden a king lifts first and sets down last. A king does not require service of those he leads, but provides it to them. A king does not expend his substance to enslave men, but by his conduct and example, makes them free. And that for me was the embodiment of responsible leadership, the embodiment of strong leadership. And, yeah, that that right there, that piece just gives me goosebumps Every time I read it,


yeah, that's beautiful. It just servant leadership comes to mind as well. Thank you for sharing that that quote. Well, Earl, I want to thank you so much for joining us today, I know that our listeners have gained so much value and learned a lot from you. I highly encourage you listeners out there to get in contact with him, go to his website, check out the show notes. And yeah, thank you so much. Yeah, I think this was fantastic. So we're going to end our show, like we always do. And we're going to focus on taking inspired action. And maybe for today, think about you as a leader, your leadership, and how you want to show up in the world for yourself, for your family, for causes maybe that are near and dear to your heart, or maybe for your organization. And so wherever you are, just take a deep inhale through your nose. And exhale. Take another deep inhale. And exhale. Take one last deep inhale, holding your breath at the top for just a moment. And then exhaling any signs of tension, letting go knowing that you have right here right now. And I want you to bring to mind what we talked about today. Leadership. How are you showing up as a leader in your life? A leader of self, a leader of others. And there's always room for improvement no matter what we're doing. So ask yourself, How can I be a better lever leader? A better servant leader? How can I inspire myself and others? How can I turn the dial up just a little bit in one area? And Now ask yourself, what would that look like? If I were showing up. As the leader I truly desired to be the leader that I know I'm capable of becoming? Confident, caring. Supportive, whatever that is for you. Just bring that image to your mind's eye and see yourself leaning in that way. Maybe even start to bring the picture in to focus a little bit more. And notice those you're leading? How does it feel? Being you? How does it maybe even feel being led by you?


What are you able to accomplish together? How does it feel being you right now? Hold that image. And then ask yourself, What can I do today? To move me closer to that vision. That's meant for you. That's who you already are. You're on your way to becoming that in your physical reality. And as ideas float to your consciousness, just jot them down and take action. So that's what we call taking inspired action. You're in alignment with the vision of your future self and any ideas that float to your consciousness. I want you to write them down. They may not make complete sense but take action on them anyway, you're in harmony with what you want. So I want to thank you again for joining us for another episode of rat race reboot. Definitely we want to hear your comments leave us a five star review. You can go to rat race reboot.com or wherever you listen to your podcast, write a review we read them and if you have suggestions for A topic that you'd like to know more about in the realm of psychology, organizational psychology and leadership, the universal laws and mindset, then let us know that as well we'd be happy to accommodate. But until then, have a wonderful rest of your week and remember, everything is created twice, first in your imagination, and then in physical form. We'll see you next time.


The views and opinions expressed by the hosts guests or callers of this program do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the studio 21 podcast cafe, the United Podcast Network, its partners or affiliates.

Earl BreonProfile Photo

Earl Breon


Earl was raised in the Smoky Mountains of NE Tennessee and is a lover of all things leadership and history related. His view is that if you know your history you know your future.

Earl is also a master storyteller and whether it is coaching, mentoring, or speaking he likes to use stories from history to convey his concepts. He has turned this passion into a successful podcast titled
The Responsible Leadership Podcast
where he has interviewed guests with a wide array of backgrounds to include U.S. Ambassador Scott Gration, Howard J. Ross, and former Vietnam POW Col. Leon "Lee" Ellis.

It is Earl's passion for history, leadership, and storytelling that has guided his life's journey. For instance, The Eleven Shields of The Phalanx are rooted in the Eleven Principles of Leadership he learned as an active duty United States Marine. He takes those back even further to the writings of Sun Tzu and Musashi to highlight how these timeless principles are directly applicable to your success today.

Earl's purpose is to help others be better people and better leaders.