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Michael Crooke, Ph.D: From SEAL to CEO from The Honor Foundation on Vimeo.

Michael Crooke is a former Navy SEAL and business icon most notably known as the CEO who turned around Patagonia. During the THF NEXT Speaker Series he shared his thoughts effective team motivation and leadership.

Michael is a strong advocate of “flow,” a notion developed by Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Cskiszntmihalyi. It asserts that an individual in “flow” is capable breaking paradigms because he or she is intrinsically motivated. They aren’t motivated by pay, title or what others think. They are pushing themselves and are driven by being placed in an environment where their unique inner strengths are the exact skills needed to conquer a very high challenge.

Michael wanted to take this idea of an individual in flow and apply it to an organization. He discovered that organizational flow came from alignment. That when an employee’s values and goals are congruent with the organization’s – and  those values are authentic and real – that as long as the employee believes management is making decisions through the lens of those values they will believe in those decisions whether or not they agree with them.

To prepare for the kind of leadership this takes Michael gave the Fellows in attendance three things to focus on:

  1. Be authentic.
    Know your strengths. Know you don’t have to make up for anything. Become familiar with what you can do and give yourself permission to be stronger than you in other areas. People want to be around these kinds of people.
  2. Be tuned to your frequency. We all operate on different wavelengths. Stay tuned into yours and you will see opportunities that others don’t.
  3. See beyond the horizons. A leader must be able to create a gaze that can see all three horizons – this year, three years from now, 5-10 years from now. Some people look for the “tipping point,” but the tipping point is way too late. Look further ahead.

Above all else, Michael stressed that once you have done the work to know your strengths you must develop a process for decision-making and then always follow that process. It is from that solid base that creativity can thrive and be the thing that binds everything together and leads to great success.