Trust-Based Leadership and Marine Corps Leadership with Mike Ettore

Trust-Based Leadership and Marine Corps Leadership with Mike Ettore

by Patrick Adams | Nov 15, 2022

In this episode, Mike Ettore and I discuss leadership concepts from the military and how they can help in the corporate world.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • Trust-Based Leadership
  • Marine Corps Core Value
  • Military Leadership concepts in the corporate world

About the Guest: 

Mike has served in leadership roles for over 45 years. He’s earned a reputation for being an exceptionally effective leader and is known for achieving superior results in a wide range of challenging environments. In addition to having retired as a Marine Corps Infantry officer and decorated combat leader, he also served successfully as a C-level executive in Kforce, Inc. (NASDAQ: KFRC), a publicly traded professional services firm with annual revenue in excess of $1 Billion.

While serving as Chief Services Officer, Mike was responsible for the majority of Kforce’s corporate support departments and functions, including Human Resources, Information Technology, the Program Management Office, Marketing and Social Media, Procurement, Corporate Real Estate and the domestic and Manila-based Financial Shared Services teams. He also served as the executive sponsor for strategic planning and most of the logistical activities associated with the integration of acquired companies and the divestiture of organic business units.

Over the course of his Marine Corps and business careers, Mike was highly regarded for being an exceptionally effective mentor and developer of leaders. After retiring from Kforce in 2013, Mike founded Fidelis Leadership Group and has devoted himself to his greatest passion, helping others develop into World Class Leaders. He has successfully coached and mentored executives and senior leaders from a wide range of industries and is sought after for his expertise in all aspects of leadership development and the creation of leadership training programs.

In addition to being a lifelong student of leadership, Mike has earned Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Management. He is also the author of four books devoted to the topics of leadership and leadership development.

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Full Episode Transcript:

Patrick Adams  00:01

Welcome to the Lean solutions podcast where we discuss business solutions to help listeners develop and implement action plans for true Lean process improvement. I am your host, Patrick Adams. Hello, everybody. And welcome to the Lean solutions podcast. Our guest today is Mike E. Torre, and Mike has served in leadership roles for over 45 years. Over the course of his Marine Corps and business careers, Mike was highly regarded for being an exceptionally effective mentor, and developer of leaders. He’s written numerous books about leadership, he’s worked with leaders all over the world in both the military as well as C suite and mid management level. So I’m excited to dive in here, especially on the cusp of Veterans Day. Welcome to the show, Mike.


Mike Ettore  00:48

Thank you, Patrick. It’s it’s a pleasure being here. Thanks for the invitation.


Patrick Adams  00:52

Absolutely. So I came across your your series of books on leadership, and obviously you and I both being Marines. I thought, man, we have to connect and have a discussion about your trust based leadership model. So before we do that, though, Mike, we are on the tail end of the Marine Corps birthday. So the Marine Corps birthday that the Marine Corps is celebrating 247 years, this last as of this last Thursday, and then obviously, we had Veterans Day last week. So thank you for your service. And I don’t know did you? Did you go out and celebrate? Did you do anything for the Marine Corps birthday?


Mike Ettore  01:30

No, I did. I don’t. I’m a pretty boring guy. Actually, I’m not much of a partier. But you know, I told my kids are used to it. And I told my lady friend, you know, watch this watch when the Marine Corps birthday approaches. So I said, you’re, you’re gonna be amazed, I literally am going to get hundreds of text messages and aim and I did a happy birthday. So you know, I had to cut and paste Happy Birthday Marine, happy birthday, marine, Happy Birthday, Happy Veterans Day, you know, and all of that. So now to two great holidays back to back. And I’m sure you feel the same way. I mean, I always tell everybody, you know, they say well, what when’s your birthday? I said, Well, I have to you want the real one? And then the official one? Well, what’s the official one? Well, that’s the day I was born, what’s the real one? November 10. And I explained it to him. And, you know, I always explain, do you have any Marines in your family? And yes, I do. Whatever you’re talking about? No, I didn’t know that. And so I tell them this November 10. You reach out to them say Happy Birthday may well, they always come back to me say Mike, I did that to my dad. First time ever. He’s 78. And he said, How do you know to say that? How did you? You know, he never said that before, you know. So yeah, I love it. I were part of I say the world’s best fraternity essentially. Yeah,


Patrick Adams  02:49

right. That’s right. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Right?


Mike Ettore  02:53

No doubt about it. There’s no doubt about that. That’s amazing. And, again, thank


Patrick Adams  02:57

you for your service. And I appreciate the fact that you’ve, you know, what you’ve done to take, you know, the the leadership learnings that you and I both experience in many Marines out there experienced in the Marine Corps, you’ve taken a lot of those things. And you’ve laid them out in a vast number of books. And so I just appreciate that. I love the fact that you have you founded Fidelis leadership group and the work that you’ve done there, but could you tell just some of our listeners maybe a little bit about your background in the Marine Corps, and maybe what that looked like and what led you to found to start Fidelis leadership group?


Mike Ettore  03:36

Sure. I enlisted in 1974 right out of high school. I graduated high school on a Wednesday Monday I was at Parris Island. Tuesday morning, I had wondered what the hell I had done, you know, you’ve you’ve been there done that too. Oh, yeah. So I did. I was an infantry. Marine. Lead really a charmed life had great experience as an enlisted man was actually a drill instructor. Before I EAS before I got off to my initial so I was I was actually a 20 year old drill instructor. I graduated my first platoon I was 20 years old. I was actually the youngest drill instructor in the Marine Corps at that time. And there were others. 21 year olds and 22 year olds, but they were usually most drill instructors in that era were usually 2728 30 many Vietnam vets in that era, you know, I was drawn Strucker 78 to 7778. So my enlisted years were great. I loved them, got all the good deals, and I got out after a four year enlistment, went to college for two purposes. The first was to do get a college degree. And the second was I knew that when I graduated, I was either going to be a high school wrestling coach. I was wrestler from third grade all the way through and I wrestled in college as well. And I realized I was I love the sport. Or I was going to go back and as a commissioned officer, and and so I, you know, I did a little soul searching. My senior year, actually my junior year of college, I realized, you know, I can always go back and be a coach. But I was approaching the age cut off to be an officer. And it was now or never, so I actually went to Officer Candidate School, just like everybody else, just like all the other newbies college kids, my junior summer for 10 weeks. Very interesting experience. And I graduated college in 1982 and got commissioned as a Second Lieutenant infantry officer. Once I got through with the training, I was sent to eighth Marines. I was a platoon commander and Fox Company, Second Battalion, eighth Marines. So this is the 83. I was there from 83 to 8085. So I did a float mice as a second lieutenant. We were scheduled to go to Beirut, so we went to Beirut. We’re headed to Beirut, I enroute to Beirut, we took a right turn and headed south and did the liberation of Grenada. There was something going on in Grenada. So we did Grenada first called Operation urgent fury, and then continued steaming toward Beirut. And while we were headed to Grenada, that’s when the BLT bombing happened. So the unit we were supposed to relieve and did relieve. They got you know, the headquarters building got blown up real tragedy, obviously. So went to Beirut, stayed there, the whole deployment and all that came back, did another deployment. Then went to Parris Island was a series officer and company commander, and then went to schools. Infantry School, I went actually went to an army school, infantry officers advanced course, which was a great course I really loved it went to Fort Benning loved it. It’s when I learned now was all Marines. That’s when I learned you know, the Army’s got a few squared away guys, too, you know, so I met, there was a bunch of them, actually. And I loved it. You know, we’re, I was one of two Marines in a class of about 300 army officers and foreign officers. So we were always the butt of jokes and all of that it was all in good fun, but I love the school. It was a great school, I learned a lot, went back, left there went back to the eighth Marines, this time into one eight, and I was company commander weapons company commander, Fire Support Coordinator for one eight during Desert Storm. So we went to the golf participated in combat operations there. Came back from that took over a rifle company, we went back to the golf and the war was over. Now, we were just doing training mission, just a presence, you know, to keep Saddam Hussein, you know, sane, so to speak. And, and then I left there and, you know, went to Command and Staff College and went to the basic school was on this basic school staff, retired in 1998. You know, I, I was going I was about to go up Patrick for Lieutenant Colonel. And it was 1998. And I’m like, Well, I have attended all wars possible. I don’t think anything’s going on. I was very excited about going out in the business world. You know, I had been a Marine. Since I was 17. I wanted to try something else. Now that said, if I know 911 was going to happen, and we were getting ready to go to 15 years of combat, naturally, I would have never gotten out. I may not be I may not be alive today, but I looked at that as you know, God just said, Yeah, you’re not supposed to be there for these, you know, for whatever reason, I didn’t I didn’t go so. It was it was gratifying to me to see people I know, a lot of lieutenants that I trained at TBS, a lot of my peers went there and just tore it up just did great as combat leaders and all of that and far eclipsing anything I ever achieved in the Marine Corps. So really good to see that. So I retired in 98 actually worked for a high end rifle scope company for a while and then Trijicon. Trijicon was the gold standard and optics for special operations, rifles, weapons and all of that and then they got big they B after I left they got a contract and a Trijicon scope was on every Marine Corps rifle. It’s a great scope. So I was there several months loved it was walking through the airport with a roller bag with an AR 15 and it you know, and checking it and check baggage and all of that, taking it around to various groups to show the scopes and everything was great, but I missed people and I started getting queries from people hey, would you like to come you know and all that and I realized that was doing well financially. They haven’t made. I miss people, I miss leading a team. And that’s that higher purpose. So I got an opportunity with a company named K force. Down here in Tampa, the corporate headquarters is in Tampa Patrick and a marine buddy of mine, his sister was married to the CEO, the CEO was a huge fan of Marines and one of the Marines specifically to come in and start a leadership development program, and to hire other Marines to come in, be trained and go out to our field offices as kind of the executive officers to second in command and then take over at some point. So I did that I came in and started a leadership development program didn’t know much about business, but did well right away and the company was great, it was struggling, we had some real issues and crash happened. I just can’t say enough about the opportunity and even more about the mentors that put their arm around me, and saw potential in me and so stayed there for 15 years during which, so the whole genesis of the Book Trust base leadership, if you ask me my net of that, what’s the bottom line? I would tell you the bottom line is everything I learned in the Marine Corps, everything about leadership applies to business leadership, and I lead business men and women Exactly. Like I lead Marines. And that often shocks people, because they think the Marine Corps is like full metal jacket, you know, right, bootcamp or Rambo? And I tell them no. And so that should be a source of encouragement for anybody that’s listening that hasn’t made the transition yet. I tell people, your greatest strength when you leave the military is your leadership ability, your leadership competence, you have seen what good leadership and organizational skills can do. You’ve also seen some bad examples of leadership. I mean, let’s face it, the Marine Corps has returned percent to and I learned I learned as much from bad leaders as I did from good leaders, you know, absolutely. But I was new to business. Didn’t know what I was doing. But I was not new to leadership. And that was very apparent to people. And so I, the I’m gonna date myself here, I retired in 98, computers were very new to the Marine Corps. And I only had a computer my last duty station. And I used to send emails with all caps. I just. And if I had to send something and forwarded an attachment, I used to get a younger guy, like, how do I do that? And of course, I know what he was thinking like, Hey, this guy make major, you know, he can’t even remember how to forward a document and all that. But it was all new. I left the Marine Corps not really sure about how to save a file and where did they I saved it Where the hell did it go get out? Right. So fast forward three years, I was the CIO of the Chief Information Officer for a billion dollar company. 180 people in the department $45 million dollar budget, worst department worse department in a company by far I was a customer of theirs internally, they it was just bad what they couldn’t do anything well. And out of frustration, they said, Mike, would you please take over this department, and I jumped at it and told the assembled group just give me a chance. Just I know, I I’m not bringing any technology skills here. But I bring leadership and organizational skills. I’m a customer of yours. I think I can help. And the place was loaded with good people, that department and within two years, we went from clearly the worst liability in the company into an afterthought. It got to the point two years later was the best off best back office department without question. And we were pulling off very detailed systems integrations and things like that. It’s a very tech complex business, because we were issuing 10,000 paychecks a week in some cases. And they had state laws, taxes, various it was very the technology had to work. And these techies did it. Well, all they needed was leadership. They needed some adult leader leadership and all of that. And then they the group saw that. And they realized, you know, there’s something to this leadership. And they started throwing more responsibility, more departments. And I would say about five years into my 15 years, I was the senior executive in charge of almost all of the back office for a billion dollar company, the IT group, some of finance, all of HR, all of marketing, all of purchasing. We had a Manila Philippines presence and all of that there wasn’t a sales function that generally rolled up to me. I had technical and academic experience or training and none of them. So I literally was a senior strategic executive that relied on subordinate leaders who did know their stuff. And but yet I added value. There’s no doubt about that. My expertise is in leadership, planning and harnessing the efforts and focus of various groups who sometimes were not aligned, and often aren’t aligned and aligning them to accomplish our mission, our goals and objectives. And again, to encourage all the military guys out there, and it’s not that we have a lock on that I met many civilians that could do that, too. We did it. Well. I did. Well, they did. Well, there’s a huge void of leadership out here. Yeah, yeah. And so that’s the genesis of the books, I 15 years, I can’t say enough good about the company, thought I was done, retired, had done well done, well, financially, didn’t need to work anymore. And I was tired. And I figured I’m just gonna take some time off. I retired. And during that first year, Patrick, I bet I had lunch or coffee with 30 people, at least 30 people. And they’re asking me professional advice, leadership advice, I’ve got this problem, what do you think about and I realized, you know, you’re mentoring, your coaching and you love it. You know, I don’t want to be anywhere at eight o’clock anymore. But I love doing this. And so I hung my shingle out as an executive coach, and blew up immediately, I had clients immediately. And the rest is history. So that’s what I do is I teach and coach leadership, initially to senior executives, then whole executive teams. And then they invariably said, Mike, would you we love this what you’ve done for us? Can you put together a training program for our company from top to bottom? And yes, I can do that. So that’s, that’s what I’ve done. I’ve been very fortunate businesses great. And, you know, I’m all about leaving a legacy. Patrick said, that’s all I want to do. I’m going to do this for the rest of my life is help help develop leaders. That’s, that’s what I want to do.


Patrick Adams  16:50

I love it. What an amazing background. Mike, just so many different things to talk about. Before we dive into the trust based leadership model, though, you mentioned the turnaround. And you did say that you would you would base that that turnaround on leadership and the lack of leadership. But can you just I mean, if you could hit on like one or two things that helped that team turn things around, what what would you say it was? I mean, maybe it’s specific to leadership?


Mike Ettore  17:19

Yes, well, and the IT group, if you’re talking about that, the IT group specifically now, so now you’ve got a non techie in front of a very large IT team. And so I went in, and actually my lack of information technology training, and preconceived biases was a strength. And I always use the human body analogies or automobile analogy. So I went in most techies have certain backgrounds. And they either like Ford, Chevy, or Mercedes, you know, they like SAP, or they like, PeopleSoft or whatever. And they have a bias towards certain platforms. I had no bias. I wanted to make sure that we had the best system for the company to accomplish the mission. So I went in initially, and I would ask the software guys, first, I had to learn that there were software guys and hardware guy systems, guys, and all that different departments. I said, so. So we bought this, this program, we bought this bought this suite of software, tools, software, and, and it runs on our hardware, right? Well, no, actually, Mike, we bought Chevy hardware Chevy software, but we’ve got Ford hardware. And I’m like, How can we do that? You know, and so the bottom line is, it’s very simplistic. The first thing I realized was my departments were not talking to each other. They were not talking and discussing and coordinating prior to making and I’m talking seven figure purchases, or lease agreements or whatever. And so there were huge inefficiencies in that. So I was just asking dumb questions in some cases, and getting even dumber answers in a frighteningly number of instances. And they realized the error of their ways quickly. And the what the only thing that was hurting the main thing Patrick was they had not had a strong leader, they had two CIOs prior to me that were bonafide technical guys. But just suffice it to say they they were not strong leaders. And they did not have meetings, coordination and things like that. And so you had individual departments doing their own things, and there were some personalities involved. And so just basic leadership, that’s all I did just based on leadership. And I’m telling you, I always tell people, it I mean, I think I’m a good leader. I think I have a good personality for it. I’m sure I added value but I didn’t do anything that any competent leader with, with just adequate organizational skills could do. They could do that as well. The big thing was I had the backing of my bosses, when I worked for the COO, COO president and the CEO. And they backed me. So people knew, Okay, this guy doesn’t have technical skills, but he is the CIO. Right? So if I don’t play ball, with what he’s asking, he’s asking legit stuff. I’m probably not long for this organization. And I had to do that in a couple of instances. But the vast majority of people got on board quickly, Patrick, they wanted to be organized, they wanted to be led, they saw the results almost immediately. And to show you how bad it was great people, but how bad the environment was, early on, we celebrated successes, if we could get everybody to a meeting on time. Just get to the meeting on time, we’re making progress. We’re making progress, you know. And then now we actually do good stuff in front of me. So, you know, I want to show people that it wasn’t rocket science. I instituted meetings, which they didn’t really have routine meetings and the right amount of people the right number, or the right people in the meeting, and I insisted that we have an agenda for every meeting, have staggered agenda, and that we would have deliverables after every meeting. So not only will we have the meeting that before we concurred the meeting, we everybody knew, Okay, I’m Joe, and we meet next week, I have done a, b and c. Okay, I’m Sally, by the time we meet next week, I’ll have worked with him on a and b and done F and G myself, you know, we just, you know, common sense. Now I know there’s people sitting there listening and saying, Hello, Kid Mike, you got to be kidding me. But this is my main message is it’s it’s just not rocket science. Even at the billion dollar level, it’s fundamental blocking and tackling, both in leadership and organizational skills, fundamental blocking and tackling.


Patrick Adams  22:14

You’d be surprised how many companies do not have structure around their meetings, like and I’m sure you know, that just based on your experience. But it’s it is the simple things, you know, having an agenda and coming out of a meeting with decisions actually made versus more questions, is just such a simple, simple concept. But so many companies struggle with that. Yeah, so I agree completely. Mike, let’s talk about your trust based leadership model. So tell tell us a little bit more about that, you know, maybe even, you know, dive into again, just a summary of your book or just the model itself. Yeah, yeah. When you when you talk about trust based leadership, what is that?


Mike Ettore  23:01

Fair enough. So to to someone like you, I know you’ve got the book, to someone that’s been in the marine environment, you just looking at the table of content, realize, now I could use this book as a curriculum, if I was teaching leadership. And that’s exactly what it is. So I wrote this book. After several clients, I realized I needed a course curriculum. So it’s a big beast. It’s 574 pages. But but I use it, you know, in my coaching, and trainings and all of that, so the trust based leadership model is also the Marine Corps leadership model, shaped and adapted to the business world. And I will just say that the trust based leadership model really is the common sense leadership model. That’s what I tell people, that if you took my book, Dale Carnegie, Stephen Covey, Marshall, Goldsmith, any of the leadership gurus, any leadership book, that what I’m teaching 90% of it is common to all leadership models, if it’s a good leader, and that’s what I tell people, Look, you don’t have to hire me, go out and buy this book, or hire this consultant and do what the system says. And if you execute, because a good leadership system is all about fundamental blocking and tackling. And that’s what the book is about. And it’s not rocket science, as you know, Patrick, unless you haven’t been taught it. And then it’s rocket science. Because you know, and, and I will say that, so the book is sectioned off into leadership, science and art, and everybody wants to leap to the art first, without learning the science, and to be an effective leader. You have to know the science and then you have to develop and acquire the wisdom to artfully To apply and implement that science, teach it to others and things like that. And so the analogy that I use that you’ll understand is in the Marine Corps when they teach people how to shoot, they have a concept that when you look through this sites before, there were scopes, she looked at his sights, and it was called sight alignment sight picture. And I bet you haven’t heard that term in years. But you know exactly what I’m talking about. Yes, I gather words, if you look through the sight, the backside, the rear sight, and you look at the front blade tip, if you line it up, right, assuming that your rifle is mechanically zeroed, well, you’re gonna hit what you’re shooting at. And if you don’t, it’s probably a human error, you haven’t accounted for the wind, you jerked a little bit on the trigger, you pushed your shoulder into it, and all of that. So because even at my advanced age of 66, haven’t shot a weapon in years. If you hand me a rifle that I’ve never shot before, if it’s mechanically zeroed, if it’s you put it in a vise, and it’s going to hit where it’s aimed at, I’m going to pick that weapon up. And because I know sight, alignment, sight picture, even with different sights, I’m gonna hit what I’m shooting at nine times out of 10. Right. And now where I go to this is the science of leadership. If you know the science of leadership, you will able to be you will be able to adapt and effectively apply those leadership science, you know, the fundamentals of science, in any organization, and any environment, schools, charitable organizations, military sports teams, if you’re dealing with human beings, the fundamentals of science of leadership do not change. How you apply them could change based upon the demographic, the environment itself. But here’s the here’s the punch line. People are people and leadership is all about artfully and effectively handling human nature. And human nature has not changed, and will not change. We’re civilized now we have technology that people couldn’t dream about, even 50 years ago, much less 500 years ago. But when I look at ancient leadership stuff from the Stoic philosophers of 2000 years ago, the Romans and how they beat people and all of this, how they declined, and it’s all the same, Patrick, because the human being is still the same. So that’s the whole essence of trust based leadership is yes, leadership is all based on science and fundamentals. And it’s you got to trust people, there’s got to be trust there. If people trust you, they will bring bring your problems, if they trust you, they will listen to you, you follow your advice. It’s all based on that 360 degree trust, not unlike very much I like the trust between a man and wife and a marriage. And the trust from the children, to the parents. And vice versa. That same level of trust, that level of trust, is actually I say, attainable in the business world. It takes work. But when you get people approaching that level of trust, there is nothing an organization can’t do.


Patrick Adams  28:26

Absolutely. I agree. 100%. One of the things that you talk about with trust based leadership is the the marine core values, the core values of honor, courage and commitment. How do you feel like, you know, because every Marine, recruit every officer candidate they all learn? And, you know, do they have a deep understanding of those core values of honor, courage and commitment? How do you think those values help them as they transition in leadership into the corporate world?


Mike Ettore  28:59

Yeah, great question. I think they I think it’s seamless in the sense that now, guys that are transitioning have to realize that they have to learn the operational terms and symbols, Patrick of the business world, you’re just can’t come out and talk marine to them. They don’t know what you’re saying. No different than if I went in, and they reactivated me to active duty. And I showed up and I was talking to Marines only in business speak. And they’re like, What the hell is this guy talking about? You have to learn the language of the environment of the tribe that you’re with and all of that. Sure, I will tell people that are transitioning from the military to the business world, that they will be pleasantly surprised that the vast majority of civilians, just like the vast majority of Marines, sailors, and airmen, or whatever, actually do desire to live by that code. honor, courage and commitment. Most civilians have I’m talking 99.9 civilians. have integrity, they want to be led with integrity. They want to have great leaders lead by example. They want to be good followers they do. And so the honor, I wrap that up in the hole, you know, I always tell people, characters number one, and right up there with character right next to it is integrity. That’s the only zero defects mentality I have is character and integrity, everything else I can work with, I can train you, I can hire you, we can send you to school, whatever. But if you don’t have sound character, and you’re not 100% impeccable, when it comes to integrity, I have no use for you. And that’s what gets people in trouble in the Marine Corps, and in the business world, and all that. So that’s honor, as far as courage, you know, in the marine quarters, visible courage, you know, tough things you’re doing during training, but mostly it’s aimed at combat and all that. Well, that’s not, that’s not going to be out here. Now. There’s very few civilian professions that require physical courage. Maybe professional sports, or if you’re working on an oil rig or something like that. What I say is courage out in the business world really is moral courage, the ability to stand up and do the right thing. And I tell people, this moral courage is one’s ability, willingness and ability and willingness to do the right thing. Instead of the correct thing. And people looking, what do you mean by that? I say, well, sometimes the correct thing per the human resources, SOP is if somebody makes this mistake, he gets fired. That’s the correct thing. That’s the procedure. The right thing is for the leaders to sit back and say, well, he clearly did this. And it’s going to cost the company $300,000, big mistake, ruin the product or whatever. But He’s new. And frankly, we didn’t train him well enough. And so the correct thing, the manual says we can fire him, the right thing to do is to realize we were kind of sent a boy to do a man’s job, it’s our fault. And so it’s on us now we need to train them and get them to see as the errors way. So he doesn’t repeat that mistake. And that’s it. That’s a simple example of doing the right thing. Instead of the correct thing, bureaucrats, managers tend to gravitate toward the correct thing, because it’s easy. Well, Emanuel says it takes a judgment out of it. Leaders, real leaders know when it’s this is a situation where I am going to do the right thing instead of the correct thing. And sometimes they have the authority to do that on their own. And other times, as you know, Patrick, they have to go to their boss and say, look, here’s, here’s the correct thing to do. But the right thing to do is this. And I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a situation where a boss argued against doing the right thing. Again, most most people, including most leaders out here, do value their people, their teammates, and they do want they see the value in doing the right thing, instead of the correct thing. So there’s like everything I talked about with leadership. There’s judgment involved here. There’s judgment, you know, and not. And so that comes with time and experience and learning and things like that. And then lastly, the commitment. Some people might argue with me, but I will say that I have been in organizations where the commitment level to that organization is every bit as high as the commitment. I saw it from Marines to the Marine Corps, who said, now I’m in now I’ve never seen that I’ve seen it. I’ve helped develop it. It’s a beautiful thing. When it’s even, it’s even harder to develop out here. Because, you know, in the Marine Corps, when when you and I enlisted, we were in four years, six years, we were at, you know, we couldn’t raise your hand say I’m out of here. Well, as you know, in the business world, people don’t like what’s going on, they can leave that day. I mean, I’ve seen people. Now it’s maybe a little bit unethical and inappropriate, but I’ve seen people go away for lunch and not come back. You know, the standard is saying, Hey, I’m resigning. I’ll give you two weeks and all of that, but I’ve I’ve actually seen people come in in the morning, drop their computer off their laptop off at the front desk receptionist with a little letter and say, Hey, give this to the President. I’ve resigned immediately, you know, and I’ve seen that. And so the trick is to get people to lead them well put in an environment where they can’t wait to get to work every day, and they’re just having fun, and it’s beyond their paycheck. They just feel such such inclusion, such excitement. They’re listened to their respective they see the progress To the fruits of their labors and all that, you get those things going. And it’s highly doable. And you’ll have very low, very, very low voluntary attrition. And so when I call, when I call it, The analogy I use when I teach is, there used to be a thing back in the old western, the cattle drives, where there were professional cowboys, and they would sign on for a cattle drive. And that meant for however, you know, it was months, several months to take them from certain places to the stockyards in St. Louis, and all that. So I think it was like four or five months to get these drive these cattle. And so they would say, here’s what you’re gonna get paid and all that. So they were kind of mercenaries and they called it riding for the brand. Because each each Cattle Company had a brand and they put on the cows, that’s how they said they’d go out there. They’re all grazing on the plains, as you know, the Cowboys are Groudon and identify the herds and say, Okay, this is our this is the XYZ brand. And I’m, I’m writing for the XYZ brands. And that was a term. And I tell people, if you do it, right, you’ll have people that willingly and happily and loyally ride for your brand. But you as a leader, you have to establish that brand. You have to let people know what it stands for. And more importantly, you have to live that brand every single day and all that you say and do so yeah, honor, courage, commitment. I think what those explanations, and they’re certainly not the only explanation, but explanations and adaptations like that highly applicable to the business world. i A lot of people fear going out in the business world, military guys, because they don’t think I’ll never again be in his organization as committed as positive, as dedicated as ethical. And I would say, hold that thought, because if you go out there, that’s kind of it’s not only a misguided thought, but you could be prone to arrogance, and and you’ll learn to errors or your way pretty quickly, because most people out here, I mean, I’ve met some people out here that I looked at that person is oh my gosh, she she would have been a great Marine. She doesn’t know it. As she did, she had been a great Marine, or this guy. And he’s, he, he certainly wouldn’t have been a marine physically. But from mental acuity, professionalism, leadership, compassion, leadership skills, and all that notice guys as good as any Marine Corps leader I’ve ever worked with, or for observed and all of that. So I hope some military guys are sitting back saying, Oh, my Wow, has that been your experience?


Patrick Adams  37:32

Absolutely. What 100%? Yeah, I run into people all the time. And I feel the same way, Mike. But definitely has been, it’s always interesting to me to see people that have gotten out of the military, and then went went right back in, you know, for whatever reasons, but I love it when I run into individuals who have been able to make the the transition and take the skills that they’ve learned from the military and actually apply them and they found success in the business world, because of what they learned while they’re in the Marine Corps, or whatever servant branch of the service, Mike, if someone wants to learn more about trust based leadership, where would they go? What would they? How would they contact you? What’s the what would you say would be the next steps?


Mike Ettore  38:19

Well, thank you for that. So I have four books, stress base leadership as the big textbook. And then I have the principles of war as applied to corporate America. And then I have victory disease, which you know, I give military examples of how great armies and states and corporations succeed and fail. And I’ve written a book on the ancient Stoics and how I applied that to leadership and all of that. So those four books are available on Amazon. My website where you can reach me is the Dallas Anybody that knows anything about the Marine Corps knows our motto Semper Fidelis, so I’ve right you know, people tell me as soon as I saw your post on LinkedIn and saw your logo, I realized like this guy’s a Marine. Yeah, he was a Marine. And then that’s a good segue into LinkedIn. I post leadership under Mikey tour my account, I posted a leadership related post almost every day on LinkedIn. I am grateful that I have a large following on LinkedIn. I have 1000s of followers that see my posts and opine on them. They’re not rocket science. They’re not posted any competent leader couldn’t do it themselves. But but I’m doing it. You know, I put the time to make memes and audios and videos. I have a podcast Fidelis leadership podcast that you can find on my website. So I guess the easiest way is if you just Google me Mike a tour. If you didn’t know anything about me, what’ll come up is okay. I don’t know how good this guy is. But he’s been a leadership guy forever. He’s got articles, posts, books, podcasts, and he’s been interviewed. So he’s been doing it so at least he’s, I can see where he at least thinks he’s a leadership guy. And so I’m pretty easy to find.


Patrick Adams  40:08

Yeah, what I’ll do, Mike is I’ll throw up all those links into the show notes. So if anyone is interested to reach out to Mike or get his book, you can definitely find the, the the link in the show notes. And then Mike, I’d love to have you back. Because, you know, I had a number of things that I wanted to talk about love to talk to you about. Leading by example, which is one of the things you talked about, as well as, bam, CES and some of the concepts that come behind that. So let’s, let’s try to connect again, in the near future on another on another episode,


Mike Ettore  40:40

I’ll do that. And I’ll leave with one last lesson relative to leadership by example. That’s one of the first things I teach leaders because it’s it is the first requirement aside from character integrity, you have to lead by example. And I tell people, that you have to lead by example, and everything that you say, do and tolerate. And I capture in this saying, our leaders main duty is to show others what right looks like. So think about that. A leaders main duty is to show others what right looks like, and character integrity, ethics, behavior, tact, composure, bearing ability to weather stress, you get it you know what I mean? Showing up on times conduct in meetings, just being a professional or being a colleague. It’s our essence. So to show you again, the importance of it is I did not have I could not show that technology group what right look like technology wise. I absolutely showed them what right look like leadership wise and organization wise and skill wise competence, making sure we were a unit and we thought as a unit and all of that. So as you can see, I love this stuff. It’s it’s a passion of mine. I come back anytime you want to talk about if it’s leadership. I’ll get up in the middle of night to talk about it. I just love it.


Patrick Adams  42:06

All right. Well, thanks again. Mike. Appreciate your time.


Mike Ettore  42:08

You’re welcome. Thank you.


Patrick Adams  42:11

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Meet Patrick

Patrick is an internationally recognized leadership coach, consultant, and professional speaker, best known for his unique human approach to sound team-building practices; creating consensus and enabling empowerment. He founded his consulting practice in 2018 to work with leaders at all levels and organizations of all sizes to achieve higher levels of performance. He motivates, inspires, and drives the right results at all points in business processes.

Patrick has been delivering bottom-line results through specialized process improvement solutions for over 20 years. He’s worked with all types of businesses from private, non-profit, government, and manufacturing ranging from small business to billion-dollar corporations.