Recently I read a book called Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink, which is a very cool leadership book. Jocko spent 20 years in the SEAL Teams and was the commander of Task Unit Bruiser during the Iraqi war. If you watched American Sniperabout Chris Kyle, Jocko was the commander of Chris’s entire unit. From that book I learned that one of the laws of combat is cover and move. Cover and move is teamwork. Individuals and teams must mutually support one another, working together in order to accomplish the mission. The key in all of this is to build relationships. This is something that we at Agfinity have been working hard to employ in our business for the past few months and I can proudly say that we a seeing the fruits of that hard work.
You may wonder what cover and move has to do with a grain brokerage company like ourselves. With what we do every day to find the best grain trading opportunities for our customers it takes a strong team and on point communication to successfully put a deal together and execute it. One of the ways that we use cover and move in our organization is, rather than blame someone for missing something or doing it incorrectly, we communicate how we would like to see it done in the future and communicate the expectation clearly. This way the whole team is on the same page so that we can all do the task or protocol the same way. We take care not to blame or point fingers, or just correct the mistake for the individual and not tell them. This avoids the individual feeling bad or us thinking its quicker just to do it ourselves. We’ve learned that taking time to help all team members communicate and work through problems together in the same way, in the long run, always saves time.
I have always felt that to be strong leader I had to serve the people that work for me, not the other way around. Being a good leader doesn’t mean you need to be perfect, especially if you build strong relationships that enable your team to cover and move. Yesterday in our trader meeting Nelson brought up a situation where a bid was entered incorrectly, and a contract had to be cancelled because of miscommunication. As we discussed it and worked out a strategy to help us avoid this issue in the future, it came to light that I was the one who entered the bid incorrectly. My team employed cover and move brilliantly, communicating the issue, coming up with a plan to mitigate this from happening again and communicating it in front of the entire team. All of this was done without pointing figures and, also, the topic wasn’t avoided because the boss did it and we’ll just work around it and not tell him. In fact, if I hadn’t specifically asked if it was me, I wouldn’t have known. Thanks again Nelson.
I also acknowledged Erin and Clayton how they are perfect examples of using cover and move in their daily trading in Red Deer North – Vegreville West. Yesterday they were joking how one of them would push out to reach customers while the other team member oddly enough would receive all the offers for that opportunity. They both use cover and move every day to assist each other and give their customers in that area the best possible and impossible opportunities. They don’t always have to help each other but they do, and it is a very cool team dynamic to be part of.
So, daily I find I’m putting my ego in check, and leading my team to be professional and build strong relationships through trust, professionalism and mutual support. Instead of demanding they support me, I’m working to show how I can and will support them. Give us a call and let our team cover and move for you and your team as well!
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