page title icon What is Collaborative Leadership and How to Apply it in Customer Experience?

Collaboration creates ethical and trust-based relationships with the customer, and it is important to learn collaboration skills to help you do that.

Have you ever wondered why geese fly in a V-formation? Scientists gives us two explanations, and we can actually learn a lot important collaborative leadership lessons from them!

First, it’s about energy conservation. Each geese fly just a little bit above the bird in front of him in order to reduce wind resistance. They each take turns being in front and fall back whenever they get tired. This allows them to fly longer distances without stopping to rest.

The second is that it allows them to keep track of everyone. The V-formation allows each bird to communicate and coordinate with each other, which is also the reason why fighter jets also fly in this formation.

These are the secrets in why geese are able to successfully migrate from one place to another, and if you apply them in your organization, you can be surprised how positively it can impact your customer experience strategy.

In this episode of the Fast Leader Show, Dr. Edward Marshall expounds on this more and shares other important leadership skills for you to apply in your strategy and organization.

For a creative view in collaboration, you can check out this episode from Cliff Goldmacher.

You can also check out Tim’s Clark view of psychological safety in improving collaboration in the workplace.

Edward Marshall was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son and grandson of engineers, but grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which he calls home. Now he lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his wife and best friend Julie, a retired teacher, and two of his 3 Millennial sons who are in healthcare and Habitat for Humanity.

Edward’s life work in collaboration was shaped by several formative experiences early in his life: surviving polio at age 1; being moved 23 times in 18 years, and growing up in a dysfunctional family where his father’s need for power and control resulted in Edward’s lifelong commitment to lifting others up and empowering them to be their best selves.

At first, he did this work in India with the Ford Foundation in healthcare; then it was working with low income and minority community economic development corporations in job creation; then, helping minority junior high school students in rural North Carolina get a leg up on life by motivating them to want to go to college.

Edward then started working in industry where he empowered workers in a wide range of companies on 5 continents, helping them learn how to work collaboratively; he has coached executives to become more self-aware and effective as collaborative leaders; and now is equipping graduate students at Duke with the collaborative leadership skills they need to be successful and help save our planet.

How did he come to focus on collaboration? In 1989, he was challenged by his sponsor, Steve Miller at DuPont, to find a way to replace hierarchy with another approach to leadership based on people and principle. He said, “If you don’t like command-and-control, what are you going to put in its place?”

Edward told him collaboration was the alternative. Steve’s response? “Great, but how are you actually going to implement it?” Edward has dedicated his entire professional life to answering that question. With over 3 decades of development, implementation, and improvement of what became the award-winning Collaborative Method, he can now say there is a stem to stern replacement for hierarchy–Collaboration.

His book, Leadership’s 4th Evolution: Collaboration for the 21st Century, not only articulates the theory of collaboration, but also provides leaders a handbook for how to implement it at the individual, team, organization, and global levels. This last of 3 books on collaboration represents the work of thousands of leaders and managers in Fortune 500 and many other companies who wanted a better way to work—one that is grounded in principle and focused on building high trust work cultures. Collaboration is about creating workplaces that empower the human spirit.

Edward’s legacy is more than the award he’s received from the Association for Talent Development, or the Lifetime Top 15 Trust Thought Leader award from Trust across America, or best-selling books, or 23 years writing his In the Workplace column for American Cities Business Journals. His legacy is the creation of a comprehensive replacement for 20th Century hierarchy—Collaboration. His most important legacy, however, is the hundreds of thousands of people whose work lives have been transformed by realizing their own power, that they matter, have a right to be respected, and that they can create trust-based workplaces fit for the human spirit.  

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @4thEvolutnLeadr get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet

“You’ve got to be there for the customers. You have to build a high trust relationship, and collaboration does that.” – Click to Tweet

“Trust, in all relationships, is at the core of everything.” – Click to Tweet

“Collaboration creates ethical and trust-based relationships with the customer.” – Click to Tweet

Advice for others

Learn facilitation because it empowers others to speak.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

My fear of giving talks to large groups of people and inability to navigate organizational politics effectively.

Best Leadership Advice

Trust yourself, you are your greatest asset.

Best tools in business or life

7 Principles of the Collaborative Work Ethic.

Recommended Reading

Leadership’s 4th Evolution: Collaboration for the 21st Century

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Links and Resources

Edward’s website:

Edward’s LinkedIn:

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Show Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):
Okay, fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because we have somebody on the show today who is one of those people that has the ability to probably change the world. And that’s right. You know, we, we, often times we say that
Jim Rembach (00:11):
And just right, but, um, I truly believe that today is the time and the opportunity for us to stand up, listen, and take action with what we’re going to learn today. Edward Marshall was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son and grandson of engineers, but grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, which he calls home. Now. He lives in chapel Hill, North Carolina, with his wife and best friend, Julie, a retired teacher, and two of his three millennial sons who are in the healthcare and habitat for humanity. Edwards life work in collaboration was shaped by several formative experiences early in his life, surviving polio at age one being moved 23 times in 18 years and growing up in a dysfunctional family where his father ne father’s need for power and control resulted in Edward’s lifelong commitment to lifting others up and empowering them to be their best selves.
Jim Rembach (01:04):
At first, he did his work in India with the Ford foundation in healthcare. Then it was working with low-income and minority community, economic development, corporations, and job creation. Then helping minority junior high school students in rural North Carolina, get a leg up on life by motivating them to want to go to college. Edward then started working in industry where he empowered workers in a way wide range of companies on five continents, helping them to learn how to work collaboratively. He has coached executives to become more self-aware and effective as collaborative leaders. And now is equipping graduate students at Duke with the collaborative leadership skills. They need to be successful and help save our planet. How did he come to focus on collaboration in 1989? He was challenged by his sponsor, Steve Miller at DuPont, to find a way to replace hierarchy with another approach to leadership based on people in principle, he said, if you don’t like command and control, what are you going to put in its place?
Jim Rembach (02:07):
Edward told him collaboration was the alternative Steve’s response. Great. Now, how are you actually going to implement it? Edward has dedicated his entire professional life to answering that question with over three decades of development, implementation and improvement of what became the award-winning collaborative method. He now can say there is a STEM to stern replacement for hierarchy collaboration, his book leadership’s fourth evolution, collaborative collaboration for the 21st century. Not only articulates the theory of collaboration, but also provides leaders a handbook for how to implement it at the individual team organization and global levels. This last of three books on collaboration represents the work of thousands of leaders and managers and fortune 500 and many other companies who wanted a better way to work. And one that is grounded in principle and focused on building high trust work cultures. Collaboration is about creating workplaces that empower the human spirit.
Jim Rembach (03:10):
Edward’s legacy is more than the award he received from the association for talent development or the lifetime top 15 trust thought leader award from trust across America or bestselling books, or 23 years writing his in the workplace column for American cities business journals. His legacy is the creation of a comprehensive replacement for 20 20th century hierarchy, collab, hierarchy collaboration is most important legacy. However, is the hundreds of thousands of people whose work lives have been transformed by realizing their own power that they matter have a right to be respected and that they can create trust based workplaces fit for the human spirit. Dr. Edward M. Marshall, are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Edward Marshall (03:57):
I, I serve it was a privilege to be here, Jim.
Jim Rembach (04:00):
Well, I can tell you that I’m quite honored. Um, and I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you, but if you could please share with us how, what you’re going to share today is going to improve the customer experience.
Edward Marshall (04:13):
Um, the most important thing, Jim, I think is, you know, having worked with customers my entire life as a, as a small businessman and as a consultant, you’ve got to be there for them and you got to build a high trust relationship with them. Um, and collaboration does that. If I come into my customer relationship from that collaborative intention of really engaging them really actively listening to them, really creating a partnership and a relationship with them where, you know, um, I’m, I’m there to, to serve them to, to provide a product or a service to them. Um, then, um, uh, we’re going to have a really, really positive, uh, relationship, you know, if, if I don’t trust it, I mean, trust is in all relationships is at the core of the national and international conversation these days, as you know. Um, but if I, you know, if I don’t trust the pharmaceutical company, you know, with, uh, with these vaccines to deliver me a product that is safe, um, then, um, you know, what kind of, you know, I’m not going to do it right.
Edward Marshall (05:26):
And if I don’t trust the, um, um, the, uh, Johnson and Johnson to deliver me a baby powder that doesn’t have asbestos in it, you know, we’ve, we’ve got a problem there. Um, so I just think that, you know, it’s what collaboration does is it creates, um, ethical and trust-based relationships, uh, with the customer. When I, I worked with a manufacturing operation, um, at one point where, um, they’re, um, their relationship with their providers was, and their supply chain was in serious jeopardy. And what we did was we created a collaborative partnership with their customers. So it wasn’t adversarial, it wasn’t transactional, it was collaborative. And the whole point was that we align. So not only building trust, but that we align our expectations and that we have a process of communication and engagement and accountability. So they’re able to get what they want and we’re able to provide them, uh, what they did, that the company is able to provide them what they needed. And then I think thirdly, um, what collaboration does is it accelerates innovation in the relationship. Um, and if you’re in partnership where there’s high trust, where there is engagement and ownership and communication, um, then you’re going, you’re, there’s greater psychological safety and that relationship greater ownership of what the common, you know, engagement is, is about. And that is going to then result in a greater potential for risk-taking and, and therefore, you know, profitability for, for both companies.
Jim Rembach (07:09):
Well, as you’re talking, I often hear, um, you know, got the Robert Cialdini who, um, is known as the godfather of persuasion and influence. And he, for a long time, uh, was a professor at the Arizona state university. And I’ve been certified in his system and all of that. Now he didn’t talk, he talks about a couple of things that are associated with, you know, professors and, and theorists and all that, and actually practically applying and making things happen. And he’s saying like, look, you know, if we’re academics, you know, all we have to do is just tell you that, Hey, this is gonna to work. You know, we don’t, we don’t have to worry about actually proving it out. And all of that for some of us, what you’re saying is like, of course, right, this is like a no brainer. It makes sense. But I think maybe, um, you know, we can learn a little bit something from geese to help us understand this a little bit better. So what can we learn from Keith’s?
Edward Marshall (08:03):
Well, you know, that when you see a flock of geese flying in formation, I used this in the book as a, as is, it’s actually the beginning of the book, uh, because, uh, we have a lot to learn for them. So when they’re flying in formation, um, there’s of course a head goose, right. Um, and they’re all honking, right? So that’s encouragement and that’s support. Um, and, uh, they’re flying in a V formation because, uh, they’re, they’re flying on the lift of the wings of the other geese. And they’re actually, I think they’re 47%, uh, more productive or more effective fly faster because they are in that formation. So, you know, we’re, there’s synergy and they’re working together as a unit four, the benefit for the collective of the, of all of the gays. It’s not about individual Geest is flying off and doing their own thing.
Edward Marshall (09:03):
Well, you know, when, uh, one of the geese gets injured, um, two geese fly down with them until that to, to, to make sure that they’re taken care of well, that’s nurturing and support and, uh, acknowledging and respecting, you know, the, the, the goose that’s entered and wanting to make sure that they’re taking care of him kick and kind of get back into the flock. Um, I think, um, the other thing is that, uh, leadership is rotated. It’s not about one person being the leader all of the time. So when the head goose gets tired, they’ll fall to the back of the formation and another goose takes its place. And in collaboration, um, we talk about, I talk a lot about it with, uh, with my clients, as well as with my students, uh, to, to rotate the responsibility of facilitator within the group. So what you do in that, in that kind of a process is everybody gets the opportunity to lead and the sense of listening to and engaging and, you know, facilitating the group to come to a result. So there are a lot of lessons that we can, that we have from geese. Um, there’s another one from wolves, but we won’t go, we won’t, I won’t go there right now
Jim Rembach (10:18):
In context, right. Because there’s no judgment there, right. It’s just take care of one another. And now you work together and, you know, judgment free, uh, to be able to get something that we’re going to talk about a little bit later, which to me is, um, I’m looking to get, um, some more insight into, and you talk about 100% true consensus, and we’re gonna get some detail on that. Uh, but in order to build up to really get us to where we’re talking about making some impact and changing the world, and really making some differences in where we are today and getting to that fourth evolution, we kind of have to understand, uh, the prior and what came prior. And so it’s important for us to know and understand who is Frederick Winslow, Taylor, who is Douglas McGregor, uh, and then who is Stephen Covey? You could give us a little bit of understanding.
Edward Marshall (11:05):
Yeah. So we’re talking about the, the, the, the first three evolutions of leadership. So if we go back to, um, you know, 20 20th century industrial revolution, right around 1910, 1920 Frederick Winslow, Taylor was an industrial engineer who, uh, is well known for his going around with a clipboard and a stopwatch and kind of measuring what people were doing. Um, but he articulated a theory of scientific management. And it really was, is the root of, um, along with max vapor, but scientific management is really the root of what we, what I call the power paradigm. The paradigm paradigm, which even is prevalent today is the most prevalent format for now. We lead management organizations, which I’ll get to in a second, but that, that, that approach assumed that management, that management assume that the workers were indolent and lazy and really didn’t want to be there and had to be incented or punished in order to be able to get them, to get them to work well.
Edward Marshall (12:16):
The consequences of that was the labor unions that organized in the twenties and thirties, uh, with riots and many other things that were, you know, they, they want it to be treated more like human beings while there were some really important research that was done at Western electric in the thirties, uh, by Roethlisberger and, uh, and others, uh, uh, and these experiments showed that it was called the Hawthorne effect basically showed that, you know, so there are all these workers in this, in this lab and they start turning the lights off and productivity went up and then they started, they turned the lights back up, and then they started, uh, cooling the place off and heating the place up. And all those productivity kept going up, or they couldn’t, they were scratching their heads trying to figure out why is that? And the reason is that they were being paid attention to, they were being acknowledged and appreciated for what they were doing.
Edward Marshall (13:15):
And that led to what the was McGregor did. And the human side of enterprise really was groundbreaking in 1960. Um, and he was a professor, uh, um, at, at MIT and he had a lab there and he was doing his work, but basically what, what, what my Gregor said was, look, we’ve got all this research. We understand that there are anomalies in this power paradigm and the tie and the Taylor method. Um, and you know, the people work in groups. They want to be there, we’re social. Uh, we want to have a way to work with each other in teams. Um, and so he really focused in on the psychosocial aspects of interpersonal relations and in organizations as, and, and the people were not lazy and dumb that we were actually responsible. We wanted to work hard. We wanted to succeed. So, you know, kind of roll forward to, you know, 1990, when Stephen Covey a well known for his book on the seven habits of highly effective people.
Edward Marshall (14:21):
Lee wrote another book the year later in 1980, well, his 89 90, I called principle centered leadership. And basically what he argued was, and this was to me, the third evolution, because we were going from power to people to principal. And he said, look, we can’t just lead by ordering and commanding people to do things and compliance. This doesn’t work as a way of really getting the productive energy out of the workforce. So we need to lead by principle. Well, I actually worked with Stephen Covey’s brother, um, uh, uh, uh, when I was doing some work with Conoco, uh, we had some fascinating conversations about the relationship between the collaborative work ethic, which I was developing at the time and the seven habits of highly effective people. And I went through his course and all of that. Um, but there was a great deal of alignment.
Edward Marshall (15:17):
And I didn’t realize at the time that a few years later I would be writing my first book, um, uh, uh, the, you know, the power of that collaborative workplace and transforming the way we work and really kind of built this model together. So I was taking, um, uh, McGregor’s work plus Covey’s work recognizing from my own consulting experience, uh, in working with people and the kind of roll up your sleeves, dirt under the fingernails approach, you know, what do you need in order to be able to work better? And how are we actually going to do this from a practical and applied standpoint? Uh, we came up with this. I came up with this notion of creating a team-based organization in the early nineties with, in my work with DuPont and Conoco. And it wasn’t, uh, what I saw was that people were empowered by this approach and creating a collaborative team.
Edward Marshall (16:11):
And we’ll talk about your consensus in a minute, but what that people take care of, what they own, and when they could own how they were going to work together as a team, regardless of their status or power or whatever their title, you know, things got better. They felt better about themselves. Their productive energy went up. We began producing outstanding results and their lives were transformed. I mean, I never forget a DuPont. There were these guys who’d been working next to each other in cubicles for 15 years, didn’t know a thing about each other, right. There had been bursts and deaths and marriages, babies born. And when we got together as a collaborative team, all of a sudden we released all of that energy. The walls came down, literally they began interacting with each other, um, around stuff that really mattered to them. And as a result of that, um, we, we just, we produced that team produced phenomenal results in that case, which we were really at the core, the beginning of the collaborative method, what I learned so much from that was that, um, they, they w w when I left that organization, we all sat down and I said, you know, okay, it’s, we’re, we’re done.
Edward Marshall (17:36):
And they said, no, we’re just beginning. I said, okay, that’s great. Who’s your leader to your point around leadership, who’s your leader, the geese. And he said, we are the leader. We are the leader, because, you know, when we get into a pinch, we know that Jeff is going to ask the right question that we need to be answering. When we’re feeling down. We know that Harry is going to crack a joke and make us feel better about ourselves. And on, they went around the room and every single one of them had a gift that they were giving to the team. From that I’ve learned about situational leadership then entered a collaborative organization. You know, it’s not like we have one person at the top. It’s not taking you to your leader. It’s like everybody has an opportunity to leave at some point, uh, depending upon their skillsets and depending upon the situation. And so it’s the geese, right?
Edward Marshall (18:36):
At a certain point in time, we’re going to rotate that leadership to the person who really has the skills. You know, I use Eugene Krantz and Apollo 13 as a case study. And they’re, you know, it’s like at, when we’re, when they’re saving Apollo 13, they had to rely upon the electrical engineer, not Krantz. They had to rely upon the electrical engineer who knew where everything was and in a different point in time, it was Capcom. Right. So it’s just, I think if we can realize in our organization and working with our customers, that we all have a gift to give that we all want to succeed, that we all want to, um, you know, have a winning solution that we respect each other. We can build that trust. And the result of that, it will be outstanding results.
Jim Rembach (19:26):
I start thinking about, you know, the work of Taylor and McGregor and Covey, and, you know, you talk about the collaborative piece again, I’m sitting there saying, yeah, okay. No brainer. It makes sense. I mean, but, but it’s like, well, why, why it doesn’t have to be the fourth evolution and why right now,
Edward Marshall (19:43):
Why right now, well, Jim, I think we are, we all know this, so I’m not saying anything that is profound here, but I think it’s important to say we are at an inflection point, a transformative moment in this country. And I think in this world, uh, for a lot of reasons, the most obvious one is COVID-19, you know, we just passed 25 million infections and well over 400,000 deaths. Um, and with no end in sight and just today, a new variants, uh, we don’t know if the vaccine is going to work against the new variants coming in from the UK, and it’s much more deadly than we thought. So, you know, we’re in this for quite some time, we’ve got, you know, the economic consequences associated with that millions and millions of people are on the edge of losing their homes, losing their health benefits. Um, there are people lines that are, you know, for waiting in line for hours, for food, um, et cetera, et cetera.
Edward Marshall (20:54):
We’ve got a long list of things of woes, but we need to restructure our economy so people can get back to work. Um, we have the racial inequities that, uh, we learned about this last summer that had been present for 250 years. I’m reading Isabel Wilkerson’s book on cast a book. I would recommend everyone read it’s, it’s just phenomenal, um, to really understand the root causes of where our structural racism comes from. Um, and we have climate change. Um, we, we have nine years left, uh, to, uh, actually according to, uh, the international, uh, protocol, uh, panel on climate change, we have about a year or two to make the critical decisions needed to reduce, get ourselves to net zero carbon emissions, uh, well before 2030, um, we’re not on path to do that. Uh, we’re at 1.2 degrees centigrade above industrial levels and rising.
Edward Marshall (22:00):
Um, so we have a desperate need for collaboration on all of these friends. Um, and in terms of, if we can begin to do that in our customer relationships, in our team relationships, in our organizations, and we can begin to operate at a level of ethical, um, ethics above reproach is what I, uh, uh, preach and teach and practice. Um, then I think we, we may have a shot at it. Uh, but that’s the context. I think that we’re, that we’re living in in terms of that. And so if we put, um, leadership let’s, let’s, let’s, let’s, let’s put that into the context that umbrella over the leadership context. Um, we have about 95% of organizations is my rough estimate. It’s not scientific of organizations today, still have all of these levels of hierarchy and all of these silos where people aren’t speaking with each other, and we have all of the politics.
Edward Marshall (23:04):
I mean, I, I, I dealt with it for 40 years in my consulting business. It’s not going, going to go away easily. Well, that’s the part burden that’s Taylor today as 20th century industrial management and the 21st century digital age. Well now we’ve got 65, 75% of the global of the global workforce is millennial and gen Z. They don’t want to work, work in that kind of a culture. And my friend, Rob cook at the university of, uh, bill and I did some things fantastic work, statistically proven, and a sample of well, 4 million people all around the world. Over 40 years, that 95% of the people want to work in a collaborative, constructive culture. So there’s a fundamental mismatch between where we are and where we want to be. And so this book is designed this methodology, this theory of collaboration can help us make the transition in this critical moment from the power paradigm to the collaboration paradigm.
Jim Rembach (24:15):
Well, you know, as you’re sitting there and you’re going through all of this, I mean, for me, I start thinking about the daunting nature of it all. Um, and then all these different elements in it. But even so when you start also talking about the proliferation 95% of organizations, I, even for me, cause I’ve had this discussion before start going back to our school system that is crushing school system was built because of Taylorism. I mean, it was, how do you create a new, a better factory worker? That’s more obedient and compliant. That’s right. I’m hearing my kids talk about the things that they’re doing in school, which is, you know, a school that’s supposed to be thinking about differentiated learning and, and preparing, you know, a better human being for the future. It’s like, I don’t see much change
Edward Marshall (25:01):
That’s right. Yeah. And you know, it has to start in here, right? So at the individual level, I talk about the collaborative leadership journey that if we make a conscious choice, if we really want to change the world, if we want to survive, because I I’m, I’m telling you, Jim, you know, I I’ve done the research on, on climate. And some people say we’re already cooked. I am hopeful. But if we do not start working with global, the global leaders around the world, and if we don’t start achieving sustainability and work in our businesses and in our rethink relationships and at home, we’re done, we’re cooked. So we have the urge, the fierce urgency of now to teach this next generation how to work with each other differently. And so it starts, it starts in here, you know, I’ve got to look at my own values, my own ethics, my own choices to how I’m going to lead.
Edward Marshall (26:08):
Then let’s look at the team. All right. So I created the collaborative team governance process. And this is to get at the whole point around, you know, uh, uh, a hundred percent true consensus. What I learned was that, you know, it’s like a basketball team. If you’ve got five all-star McDonald players on your team, like we sometimes do at chapel Hill, terrible team this year. But, um, and they’re all playing by their own rules. Then, you know, they’re not gonna have much of a team. So we have to have be working. And most corporate teams do not have a governance process. And so I developed, they do storming, forming, norming, whatever, you know, what my clients used to call is storming, storming, storming. Non-performing right. And so then somebody has to jump in and drive the process. Well then you’re back into the paradigm. So I front load a team with this governance process to create operating agreements by 100% true consensus, no reservations so that they all own the agreements.
Edward Marshall (27:18):
And what happens in that process because of that 100% true consensus, no reservations is they have to work through their differences with each other. So it’s not about consensus. It’s about how we manage dis census in our relationships. How do we manage disagreements and difficult conversations with each other? And that’s how we can, I think in this transformative moment begin to build unity, begin to build some sense of we’re in this together. Um, because we all own this team. We all own this mission of this company. We all own this problem, climate change, et cetera. Um, so, uh, there are there’s, there are mechanics to the a hundred percent true consensus, no reservations I could go there. But I think the main point is that, uh, as I teach my, my students and as I’ve worked with hundreds of teams, people always say, well, we can’t do that.
Edward Marshall (28:19):
You know, let’s just go along to get along. Let’s just do majority rule. And I say, well, if you do that, here’s, what’s going to happen. Let’s say you’ve got 10 people on your team. And the first decision, two people disagree, the second team to two to two other people disagree, third decision. And so you go around the room. I said, what do you got now say no team. I said this, right? So where, where it counts, where it really matters where your corporate life or your team life or your project success depends on it. Make sure everybody’s on the same page and agrees. And if you have a disagreement, what I’ve seen is amazing changes in decision-making improved changes in decision-making because they listened to the center. It’s not about Mike make, right? So we’re all in this together. So let’s make sure we’re all on the same page and not speed bump each other.
Jim Rembach (29:20):
Well, and, and as you’re saying that, I start thinking about all these human dynamics and factors, and heck we don’t, we don’t have to look at it. And you even said it right now. Uh, now if you start focusing a little bit differently, I mean, just look at the whole, uh, duopoly that we have in the U S government system in regards to Republicans and Democrats. I mean, w we have all these role models. We have social where we, you know, attack, you know, it’s shoot, shoot, shoot. Um, all of that. I mean, when I started looking at all of these would have become social norms. I’m like, how do we prevent, you know, okay. Yes, we’re going to agree to the a hundred percent true consensus. Um, and then if something does, uh, essentially get, you know, rolled out whatever the case may be implemented, um, and it fails, do we prevent that one person from saying I knew it. And I knew, I mean, how do you keep that from coming in?
Edward Marshall (30:13):
Well, by doing this front-loaded process, because what happens when they all agree to their decision making agreement and how they’re going to handle disagreements, how they’re going to handle the communications, how they’re going to be responsible for the, for themselves and each other, how they’re going to hold each other accountable, et cetera. Yeah. There are like 14 different operating agreements. Most teams usually need only about 10, but when they all agree to that, there’s nobody saying, I told you, so now if you go with, you can live with consensus, which is a misnomer. There is no such thing as can live with consensus, but as it might be 90%, you know, you go with that one dissenter, you can have one dissenter on every team. Then you end up with that. I told you, so you just didn’t listen to me. And what it builds is distrust within the group.
Edward Marshall (31:03):
And that seed of distrust then moves to the next person or to the next person. And within a matter of six months to nine months to a year, you just don’t have the group dynamic anymore. So what I’ve been able to prove is that this method of building a team and applying it to organizational change so that the workforce actually owns the change because 75% of change processes fail, I’ve been able to demonstrate with 90% of change processes succeeding because people that’s the workforce owns the change process. They participate. I did it at Marriott, in a DuPont Conoco. I’ve done a wide variety of companies, style crest up on the, up in Ohio when people, people take care of what they own and if they don’t and, you know, they don’t wash rented cars. And so we, we’ve got to create, if we’re going to survive in this future, you know, every single company is going to survive.
Edward Marshall (32:03):
We’ve got to learn how to do this. This book is a compilation of my life’s work. And so it’s, it’s a handbook. So if you go into chapter seven, you’ll learn how to do a collaborative team. If you go into chapter eight and nine, you’re going to learn how to do organizational change. Uh, if you go into chapters four and five, you’ll learn how to do the individual. Um, the, you know, the, the, the, the leadership journey. So it’s, it’s designed to be not only a new theory of collaboration, but also a handbook for how to do it.
Jim Rembach (32:41):
And I think that’s a really important point. I mean, now there’s this thing as a mom. I mean, you can say it’s a monster while we’re talking about monster work, right? Yeah,
Edward Marshall (32:50):
Yeah. This is, uh, this is the, the word, this shift from power to collaboration from the industrial age to the digital age is the work of our time. And I figure it’s going to take another, you know, 30, 40, 50 years, but that’s why I am teaching, um, the next generation of leaders. That’s why I wrote this for the next generation of leaders, um, because they’re the ones that are going to make, um, the difference on this, in this planet. And, uh, I am so hopeful. I mean, I love my engineers and they are just full of energy and VIM and vigor and excitement, and want to discover, and, you know, let’s make stuff happen. Um, and that is what I’m counting on. I’m counting on the next generation, really being able to lift us up and to make this transition
Jim Rembach (33:43):
Well. And we’ve talked about some of the challenges that exist, and they are many, you actually bring up five E collaborative team challenges and they are being in a complex organization. And when we say organization, you can just put that in your context, right. And it could be everything from, you know, government to nonprofit, to small org, to medium, large org working across silos, um, cultural islands, maintaining team trust, and then working globally and virtually. So if he could kind of give us some insight into those
Edward Marshall (34:19):
Well, you know, the, the, the most important one is people working across silos. Um, you know, w we throw up walls, uh, functionally, um, we throw up walls, uh, uh, uh, culturally across countries, across time zones. We have all kinds of barriers that we have erected and the power of the power paradigm has erected those for reasons. I, I, you know, I understand in terms of functional specialization and, um, you know, uh, but you know, what we need to do is we need to take those walls down. What I’ve learned in my income, in my career, my professional career in the workplace was that, you know, people in the front line, they get along with each other because they have to, and they don’t mind reaching across the walls. Right. Um, but, uh, uh, when you, as you move up the organization, those walls become firmer and firmer, and we have to protect and defend our territory.
Edward Marshall (35:16):
Well, you know, Desmond Morris wrote a book called the animal, you know, the, the animal imperative and, and that it’s, it’s, it’s just, we can continue to do that. But what happens is we have breakdowns in terms of, of, of the work. I work in a high-tech company out in the Silicon Valley, where I was trying to build cross-functional collaboration. They had worked with each other for 10 years and virtually, right. They’re on the same campus, throwing brickbats at each other and blaming each other, doing this because, you know, they weren’t getting the product that he, that they needed at, uh, you know, at the end, which was a test bed. And when we, when we got them all in a room, uh, we found not only that they liked each other, uh, and as we went through a governance, but we found six and a half million dollars in stranded assets on the first day, simply because they were talking with each other.
Edward Marshall (36:19):
And then we were able to take 35%, uh, out of the supply chain, out of the, uh, out of the process in terms of cost reduction, simply by people talking it’s exactly what I was talking about, the manufacturing operation before, where the company and the customer actually speak with each other, rather than having it be transactional. Um, so, uh, I think in, you know, in terms of silos, uh, the same applies to complex organizations, um, where, you know, we’re working across boundaries globally, and we have, um, all kinds of barriers that we erect either, whether it’s cultural or whether it’s legal, or whether it’s, um, interpersonal. And we have to break those walls down as well. All of my teams at, at, at Pratt at the press school of engineering are cross-functional across national teams, so that we learn how to work with each other different languages, same thing, virtually all of our teams now are working virtually our Chinese students are still in China.
Edward Marshall (37:25):
I have a student in Germany, I have a student in France in Paraguay. And so, you know, we, um, we have to learn how to work this way, especially in this COVID environment, because that’s how it’s going to be for awhile. Um, so collaboration becomes a leveling effect. I mean, let’s just look at zoom, you know, as I like to tell, tell people all the boxes at the same size, you know, it is an action forcing event to have us treat each other as equals as human beings. Sometimes we have cats and dogs in the background, right. But we’re actually, we’re, we’re all having a conversation about things that matter. And we’re focused on our relationship with each other. So collaboration becomes a culture, if you will, a leadership culture within which we can do amazing things by learning how to work with each other differently.
Jim Rembach (38:25):
Okay. So when I start thinking about this transformation process and what you started out with talking about this timeline, just in regards to, you know, and culture change, you know, you talked about, you know, an, the data is showing that, you know, we have a certain window in timeline, otherwise we’ve gone too far, but then you also talked about this transformation process over the next 30, 40, 50 years. Uh, I don’t see those dissecting. I don’t see us making an impact. Are we just doing,
Edward Marshall (38:56):
I would never say that. Um, but I would say that, you know, based upon the existential threat that we face from climate change, that if we do not, uh, start, um, uh, dealing with each other differently globally, and if we don’t start meeting some targets, instead of just talking about the targets, uh, within the next nine years, then we are, um, we w if we had three degrees, we’re on track to hit three degrees above, um, uh, industrial age levels. Uh, so thank, uh, uh, the melting of the permafrost in Siberia. I think the, um, piece of, uh, Antarctica that just broke off and is headed towards, uh, uh, the Island George Island, I think it is off of Argentina, um, the size of Florida. Um, thank the burning of Australia. Now this last summer or California, we now have fires in California, in January coming from California, and we’ve never had fires in January. Um, so yeah, I’d say we’re, um, um, it’s the, um, we’re the frog in the pot and the temperature is rising. And so if we don’t act now, uh, we’re in serious, serious trouble. There won’t be a planet to collaborate on in 50 years or a hundred years.
Jim Rembach (40:26):
So when, when you start talking about making impact at the type of level that you’re talking about, now give us some insights, how on, how your work and what you’re bringing forth is going to essentially make that impact sooner or sooner than later.
Edward Marshall (40:49):
I’d say, if we are able to do our individual work, um, and take our commitment, our conscious choice to start leading collaboratively and bring that into our organizations in our teams, um, and apply some of the tools and methods that I provide in this book. Um, uh, if we do that now, and then we bring, we give our workforces ownership over the mission and values and strategy of the company and over their own jobs. And over any changes that we have, he will begin process of making this transition. And then we have to, um, aggressively, uh, work with our political leaders to get them to, you know, to put pressure on them as gratitude Barry has been doing, uh, as a 14 or 15 year old, um, and, you know, create a world or give some hope to the next generation that they’re going to have a world to actually, to, to live in where they can raise their children. Uh, so I think it starts in here. It goes to the team, most of the organization, most of our communities, um, and then, you know, uh, and then to the national and global level
Jim Rembach (42:15):
On the fast leader Legion, and hopefully everybody who listens in ha has still yet to, um, you know, really catch onto this, does it quickly. And we wish you the very best. Now, before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor. And even better place to work is an easy to use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement, along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone using this award winning solutions, guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers to learn more about an even better place to work visit [inaudible] dot com forward slash better. Alright, here we go. Fastly to Legion. It’s time for the home home now. Okay. Dr. Marshall, the pump they hold on is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. And I’m going to ask you separate questions and your job is to give us robust yet revenue responses that are gonna help us move onward and upward faster Dr. Marshall. Oh, down. Yep. All right. So what is holding you back from being an even better leader today?
Edward Marshall (43:14):
You know, it’s my fear of giving talks to large groups of people and my inability to navigate organizational politics, uh, very effectively.
Jim Rembach (43:25):
And what is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?
Edward Marshall (43:28):
Trust yourself? You are your greatest asset and what would be one of your best tools
Jim Rembach (43:34):
That you help you lead in business or life?
Edward Marshall (43:37):
Well, I, um, I developed, uh, the collaborative work ethic, uh, a series of seven core values and to live my life by those seven principles to me is, is how I do it.
Jim Rembach (43:47):
And what would be one book you’d recommend to our Legion? It can be from any genre.
Edward Marshall (43:51):
Well, uh, there are a couple, um, I just recommended cast by Isabel Wilkerson. Um, but I, uh, I think for, uh, for everyone, in addition to my book, I would encourage them to read two. One is the leadership challenge by James [inaudible] and Barry partner. And the other is Edgar Schein’s humble leadership,
Jim Rembach (44:11):
And we will put a link to all of those, as well as leadership support is on your show notes page. All you have to do is go to fast and do a search for a doctor, Edward M. Marshall, and it’ll come up for you. Okay, Dr. Marshall, this is my last question. Imagine you’ve been given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25, and you can take knowledge and skills that you have now back with you, but you can’t take it all. You can only. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?
Edward Marshall (44:39):
Uh, facilitation, because it empowers others to speak. Um, it puts you in a position of listening and engaging, uh, and because people then feel heard, respected and honored. And as a result of that, there’s loyalty, there’s trust, there’s safety, and there’s hard work.
Jim Rembach (45:02):
Dr. Marshall I’ve, I’ve had an incredible time with you today. Can you please share it the fast leader, Legion, how they can connect with you?
Edward Marshall (45:09):
Well, I’m a LinkedIn, uh, for one, um, I’m at Uh, I have a website Marshall Um, I have a Twitter handle, which I don’t use very much. Um, but, um, uh, you know, LinkedIn is probably the best way to get to me for, for most people that worked or, or through my email. But, uh, also, you know, my, my book is on Amazon and, um, you know, if anyone has, uh, I can also send you to my publisher, uh, where you can get a discount. So, you know, let me know
Jim Rembach (45:44):
Edward and Marshall, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with Fastly Legion honors you, and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.