Episode #190: Peter Docker

Dana GoodierOut of the Trenches Podcast

Peter Docker is a keynote speaker and facilitator who presents around the world to inspire people to lead from the jump seat. He worked alongside Simon Sinek for more than 7 years, co-authoring the book Find Your Why, and now draws on his 25 years of experience in the Royal Air Force to help organizations around the world build capacity for leadership.

Peter teaches people how to navigate the challenge of leadership. His latest book, Leading from the Jumpseat, delivers the message that leadership is about lifting people up and giving them the space they need so that, when the time is right, they can take the lead.

Peter draws on his career in the Royal Air Force, and over 14 years spent partnering with businesses around the world, to inspire others to Lead from the Jump seat.

Buy the book here: http://smarturl.it/gypw4g?IQ

Trenches story: there are lots of stories there, all of them deal with resilience, leadership of self and others. He was literally in the trenches. He suggests look at the book first to see if one would capture the attention of the listeners. He can headline something that would fall into the bracket of trenches- 2nd Gulf War in 2003, he led 200 people undefended. Flew VC10’s around refueling mid-air, saw off 14 soldiers, not sure he’d see them again. Flying in an area where people wanted to shoot them down. Flew humanitarian relief in Sierra Leone. Every story in his book has a point to it- about leading oneself & leading others. What we can learn from it, how we can apply to it in our own lives.

What is “jumpseat leadership” & why the name “jumpseat leadership”? Name comes from how he decided-story, senior large officer flying large aircraft. He mentions story w/ Callum in chapter 2. His job was to give Callum final check. Flying into San Fransico, busy airfield. Callum did a great job landing. Next day they were to fly back to Dulles. He wanted Peter to sit in the jump seat to act as extra pair of eyes. It was a good request for him. The jump seat is the 3rd seat on flight deck. Few 100 ft above ground dealt during emergency and Callum fumbled with the controls. Peter knew he needed Callum to feel like he had his back. Flight deck of aircraft is metaphor for leadership. It extends beyond aircraft. It’s like having your own kids leave home. Jumpseat leadership is about embracing that possibility. It’s all about people. How people tick. Create environments to be able to hand over the controls. Click To Tweet

How we can choose to lead/the culture we can create. How can a school leader apply this type of leadership, if they’re, let’s say, hiring a mostly new admin team for the 22/23 SY?

3 principles: Commitment, humble confidence, belonging. Goes down to values. He refers to non-negotiables, including family. When we get clear what’s deeply important, it comes back to our values. Principal-what are your non-negotiables? Look at choices you’ve made in life. Put those into words. It fuels commitments. It shapes our character.

How can teachers of teens lead from the jumpseat when interacting with teens (referring to your 15 Feb 22 Talking with Teens podcast. Same advice to principals applies. Get clear to what you stand for. 2nd practice- humble confident. Be clear where you’re heading. Have the humility to listen. Hugely important subject, we may want to mention leading from the jumpseat talks about starting with college- how teachers can help teens figure out what’s important to them, non-negotiables. Those go deeper. It’s linked to choices we make. 2nd thing: in HS education- moving away from having st’s think knowing the answer is the good thing. We’re rewarded for knowing the answer. Typically, you start to focus on those areas you get rewarded on, you get hired for that. It comes from the sense of belonging. Example of teen daughter washing her clothes. Don’t lead with ego.

When you’re leading a team, you’re looking after the people who are doing the work. When facing crisis, uncertainty- you can’t always know the answer as the leader. If you teach ppl to take “weakness” of not knowing the answer, turn it into a strength. Draw on the collective genius of the team. It will accelerate quickly. Asking a ? for people not getting the answer right, ppl holding the answer.

In terms of his book writing process, he didn’t want to go down the traditional publishing route so he formed his own publishing company. He had proposal and sent to publishing houses. They asked how much success he’s had a single author. He’s seen how amazon works. Writing the book is easy- it’s the distribution that’s more challenging. Find your Why was traditional route. Used as junpseat leadership practice. Negotiated with printing houses in UK, US. Jeff on his team is a renowned opera singer. Peter sent him a chapter a week. Everyone on his team has their own businesses.

Upcoming keynotes/training in N America? They are company-based.  He will be in N America working with a grocery store chains in the next couple months. His focus has been giving talks virtually. He likes to stay over in city a few extra days to talk to schools.

Is currently developing a facilitator-led course. 200 videos, broken into 4 sessions, each module lasting a week with support materials. Organizations with their own facilitators play videos introducing topic, exercises. Teachers could facilitate it as well. He’s been focused on the work- companion & facilitator’s guide. It doesn’t depend on him being there. Company he’s working w/ has 5000 employees, it’s not practical for him to deliver in person. Using Apollo 13 movie for case study, has the rights to illustrate practices of jumpseat leadership. It’ll be available in the fall. Will shoot rest of videos. Companion guide, facilitator’s guide, also one for participants.

Key quotes: Be yourself. Was given that advice upon graduation from RAF in ’83. Elon Musk said, “if something’s important enough, you’ll do it anyway”.

Find Peter online: Get the book, Leading from the Jumpseat: How to Create Extraordinary Opportunities By Handing Over Control here: http://smarturl.it/gypw4g?IQ

Visit the website, LeadingFromTheJumpseat.com

Follow Peter on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter @PeterDocker 

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/LM4Zkj2gYGY



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