Are you frustrated by the inability to be productive in a task saturated work environment? Our new business podcast entitled The Business Thorcast was created to bring you tools and techniques that will accelerate your team performance, create inspired alignment and foster disciplined business execution. Join host Joel “Thor” Neeb as he shares personal insights, as well as interviews with industry leaders and inspiring individuals that will motivate you to get out of your comfort zone and create lasting change within yourself and your organization.
Thor leads Afterburner’s team of elite military professionals who accelerate business execution performance for organizations from Fortune 100 companies to NFL teams. He has personal experience of operating in a high-stakes environment, during his military career he escorted the U.S. President through the sky and flew missions to ensure the safety of the United States after the attacks of 9/11. He is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, a former F-15 fighter pilot and a graduate of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas.
[Below is a transcript of the episode.]
Joel “Thor” Neeb: I wanted to start a podcast, because I’ve had the same conversation over and over again with business leaders, CEOs, and executives who say, “We’ve got a strategy, but I don’t see it connected to daily execution,” or people in middle management who say, “I’ve got a team, but I don’t quite know how to lead them through all the misaligned priorities and the hundred things that we could do as a team. And how do we wade through that, and figure out the three things that we must do?”
One of my favorite phrases is a Japanese proverb that says that “Vision without action is daydream and action without vision is a nightmare.” And I love this phrase because it’s a good reminder that in order to really succeed, it requires two things. First, you’ve gotta build inspired alignment. You have to build alignment towards that vision as a team, but it’s not enough to have that vision. If we just build the vision, and we never connect it to any activity, well, then, that’s just daydreaming. So we very quickly have to connect our inspired alignment to disciplined execution.
Well, on the other side of that coin, if we have disciplined execution, if we have a cadence and execution rhythm that’s working for us, but it’s never really connected to a strategy, or to a sense of purpose, or a sense of why, that can be a nightmare, right? That’s just busy for the sake of being busy. We need to be able to create both of those things at the same time: Inspired alignment and disciplined execution. Those are the two strongest pain points that we come to help out with at Afterburner.
And then the last one is, “How do I create the culture that’s a learning organization, that’s gonna learn from its mistakes, and stop repeating them, that’s gonna identify best practices, and scale those throughout the rest of the team, throughout the rest of the organization? How do we create the new normal that just gets better and better every single day?”
I’m also gonna introduce you to some incredible individuals that I have the privilege of spending time with. One of those individuals is Chris Gomez. He’s on the Afterburner team as well. He’s a US Navy SEAL and he put more than 200 SEALs through the training program that filters out the best to go on our most dangerous missions in our nation’s history.
We’ll have a conversation with an actual astronaut and we’ll hear about the longest spacewalk in US history. And he’ll tell us the story of how he was petrified to walk out that door, but he was able to steel himself, and use his training, and use his team to be able to overcome that objective.
We’ll talk to Matt Brady. Matt Brady was the helicopter pilot for Operation Red Wings. You may not recognize it from that name, but I bet you’ve heard of “Lone Survivor,” the movie, the search for Marcus Luttrell, the Navy SEAL. Well, Matt Brady was the helicopter pilot in that scenario, and his commander was shot down, and Matt needed to step up after his commander had died, and lead 120 men and women in the search for Marcus Luttrell, as he evaded through enemy territory.
Not just that, we’re gonna hear from some business leaders as well. We’re gonna talk to somebody who’s in charge of a $2 billion vertical in the tech industry. He’s gonna tell us how the Internet of Things, and how the tech transformation that’s taking place right now is making the market move faster than it ever has before, which means that his team needs to be violently aligned towards the same common objectives as a group, and they need to be able to figure out from the hundred things that they could do, or maybe even should do, “What are the three things that they must do as a group, and how do they create a cadence, and an execution rhythm to accomplish that?”
Well, why should you listen to me on all these topics? Well, for the first 17 years of my professional adult career, I spent that time as an Air Force fighter pilot and a trainer pilot. And when I was up in the sky, I was flying faster than the speed of sound, flying with two, three, sometimes eight wingmen at a time. These are 24-year-old individuals, and I’m trying to keep them safe, trying to stop them from running into each other, or running into that mountain inside the cloud. And, oh, by the way, I’ve got 350 instruments in my cockpit, so I’m operating in an incredibly complex, dynamic, high stakes environment. And I’ve got to distill that environment down to the critical few. I can’t pay attention to 350 instruments. At best, my team and I can pay attention to two or three things, so those two or three things better be the right things for us to focus on.
We’re gonna teach you how to identify and focus your teams on the critical few. How do you create an execution rhythm that leads to success? I’m looking forward to sharing these insights that I’ve gained from my military career, as well as my exposure to Fortune 100 CEO C-Suites, individual contributors, people that work at every level with these organizations to achieve success. These are all trying to do the same thing. We’re trying to navigate task saturation, we’re trying to keep up with the rate of change, we’re trying to operate in an increasingly complex dynamic environment, and there are specific skills and toolsets that we can use to manage that.