Drive On Podcast
Deployment Stresses and Leadership Lessons From A Navy Seal
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CAPT John "Coach" Havlik, U. S. Navy (Retired), is the CEO of JRH Consulting, offering individual/team consulting on building and leading high-performance teams. He is also the Special Advisor for Giant Leap Consulting. He retired in 2014 after 31+ years of distinguished military service, 29 of those years in the Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) community.

John enlisted in the Navy in 1982, and was subsequently assigned to the U. S Naval Academy as a swim coach/physical education instructor. He was later commissioned as a naval officer via Officer Candidate School in 1984. He successfully completed Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in 1985. His subsequent military assignments included a full range of duties in the SEAL community, to include the elite Naval Special Warfare Development Group. He commanded several times, and completed numerous deployments in key leadership positions to named and contingency operations around the world during his career.

John’s book, coauthored with his WVU buddy Bill Treasurer, is The Leadership Killer: Reclaiming Humility in an Age of Arrogance, which focuses on humility as the fundamental leadership attribute.

Links & Resources

Transcript

Scott DeLuzio:    00:00:03    Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast, where we talk about issues affecting Veterans after they get out of the military. Before we get started, I'd like to ask a favor if you haven't done so already, please rate and review the show on Apple podcast. If you've already done that, thank you. These ratings help the show get discovered so it can reach a wider audience. And while you're there, click the subscribe button so that you get notified of new episodes as soon as they come out. If you don't use Apple podcasts, you can visit DriveOnPodcast.com/subscribe to find other ways of subscribing, including our email list. I'm your host, Scott DeLuzio and now let's get on with the show. Hey everyone. Today, my guest is John Havlik, who is the CEO of J R H Consulting who offers individual and team consulting on building and leading high performance teams. He retired from the Navy in 2014 after over 31 years of distinguished military service, 29 of those years in the Naval Special Warfare Seal community. So welcome to the show, John, it's really a pleasure to have you.  Why don't you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your background?

John Havlik:    00:01:16    Alright, Scott, thanks for having me on. A good afternoon everybody or morning, wherever, whoever we're talking to.  I appreciate the opportunity to be on here today. It's not much more past that intro that you said. I was of an Army brat, I was born in Germany. My dad was stationed over there and settled in Maryland for his final assignment before he retired. And then he went to work in DC for 20 years. So we settled in that area. So, I grew up on the Army base, Fort Meade, Maryland right nearby. So I have a big Army background and when the service selection came up, I decided to go Navy. So, nothing against the Army. I love good guys, but I wanted to try something different. I went to school and went to college in West Virginia on a swimming scholarship; did pretty well there.

John Havlik:    00:02:18     I graduated, started coaching. Actually one of my first opportunities was to be a coach at the Naval Academy assistant. So I had no intention of ever going into the military to make it a career. I thought I was going to be a coach, but this came up and I took advantage of it, but the catch was, I had to join the Navy. And so nine of us, nine different sports we had to go to boot camp and not get in trouble and graduate and get assignments too. So we eventually all made it to the Naval Academy and coached in our different respective sports. And so when I was there about nine months after I'd been there, I was on the pool deck with head coach and this handsome, good looking guy comes walking down the deck and he introduces himself.

John Havlik:    00:03:13    And as he seemed like a really nice guy, and I was asking the coach what does this guy do? And he goes, Oh, he just checked in, he's working upstairs in the front office. And I said, what is he doing in the Navy? And he goes, Oh, he's a Navy Seal. And I was like, what's a Navy Seal. And my coach had to explain it to me. So I had no clue what a Navy Seal was. So, it's a pretty interesting, and he became a good friend of mine and we work out together and then the coaching thing started. I didn't see that being my long-term goal. So I decided to give the Seals a try and get my commission first through officer candidate school with a guarantee to go to Seal training afterwards.

John Havlik:    00:03:59    And so everybody at the Academy was all on board with it and did everything, sponsored me and helped me to go through the paperwork, the layers of bureaucracy you have to get to go through, but it all worked out. And so I left the Academy, got my commission and then went to Seal training; somehow made it through. I did end up doing 29 years of it and loved every minute, good times and bad times. And enjoyed it. I've worked with some great people and did some fun stuff. So it was well worth it. And then I retired and just transitioned. And so my transition has been hot and cold.  I didn't really want to do a government job.

John Havlik:    00:04:51    I didn't want to do a contractor job. I wanted to do something different. And so, I got into the public speaking aspect and a good friend of mine from West Virginia has his own consulting firm. So he would bring me in every now and then I talked to seminars and presentations he had and I did that and I guess being retired, I can work when I want. So I did that.

Scott DeLuzio:  And it's a nice thing.

John Havlik: It's kind of nice, and I kept myself busy in public speaking. I was never very good at it. I've gotten a little bit better, but it's super difficult; but it's a challenge, so I enjoy it. I do it when I can.

John Havlik:    00:05:40    I did it for a couple of years. And then my buddy asked me if I wanted to co-author a book. And I said, sure, absolutely. So, we did that; it took about a year to write the book and then the whole release aspect and everything has just been very cool about that. Never thought I'd be an author. And so, my friends were asking me, what are you going to do next? And so, that’s a great question; somebody mentioned going back to school. And I said, well, I got the GI bill and I need to use this thing. So I decided to enroll in a doctoral program and I'm going for my doctor of education at the University of Pennsylvania. And it's not been easy.  It's very challenging. Very rewarding, very cool at the same time, but they do not make it easy for you. So I'm about a third of the way through that right now. And finishing up the academic side of the house and then I'll go into my dissertation phase of it. But a lot of what I do in the program, I reference all my military experience and try to share it with the class. So that hopefully brings you up to where I'm at.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:07:01    Yeah. And you mentioned how it's not necessarily an easy thing to do, going through this doctoral program, nor should it be really because otherwise everyone would be doing it. Right.

John Havlik:    00:07:13    No, I know Penn doesn't make it easy.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:07:17    Yeah. I mean, it's really the same thing as Seal training, you don't want  every sailor out there to be a Seal because they're not all cut out to be a Seal; that's what part of the selection and the training is all about is to just get the top notch people.

John Havlik:    00:07:34    Well, I mean, I'm very appreciative of Penn bringing me in, and I'm a part of the program. Luckily I'm not the oldest student in the class; my class does look at me like, what are you doing? You know, shouldn't you be retired and just playing golf and doing other stuff. And sometimes I go, I'm writing, I could be playing golf instead of writing a paper, but it's very rewarding to me. And I want to keep learning and I want to keep growing and I still have a lot to offer. So, it's unique and challenging. And I think that's what I've really tried to do since leaving the military is do things that are unique and challenging, and this is definitely challenging and a very unique experience at my age.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:08:21    Yeah. That's great. Actually, one of the reasons why I wanted to have you on as a guest, the first reason anyways, is we briefly chatted last week and before we started recording today, some of the research that you've been doing, in your doctoral program, was on the deployment stressors and performance, burnout prevention. Could you tell us a little bit about that research and the type of stuff that you've discovered, through this research?

John Havlik:    00:08:52    Yeah. We had to do our literature reviews. I was very intrigued on a presentation one of our professors gave. She did her dissertation on stress and burnout and chief medical officers. And so the idea that stress and burnout just knocked me over because you can apply it to the military side of the house very easily.  As an athlete, I experienced it as a coach, I experienced it and you see it in business. So there's a lot of avenues. You can go and take stress or burnout, but when I did this literature review, I really wanted to emphasize the deployment cycle. And everybody who has deployed knows the stressors started the minute you're going on deployment. Everything starts coming in on you.

John Havlik:    00:09:51    And there's a lot of programs gotten better over the years pre and post, but there wasn't a lot. I wanted to know how people get through deployment because no deployment is the same, everybody’s is totally different and how you get through it isn’t the same. And when I was doing the research, most of the research was post-deployment and identified that about 20% of folks that returned from a deployment have some kind of mental health issue. And I get that and I said, well, what about the other 80%? What are they doing? And as we well know, no deployment, whether you're in a combat zone, rear echelon, rear peacekeeping, humanitarian, combat, it's all different, various links.

John Havlik:    00:10:49    How did you get through it, how do people get through it.  It's not really heavily researched and I read a very good article and it offered up some stuff, but unfortunately my professors are like, a lot of your stuff is personal reflection. And I was like, well, there's not a lot of research, so I have to sell it. It intrigues me. I know not everybody goes through the same way. I mean, somebody who sits on a base, a year on a base and doesn't leave the wire and how do they stay engaged? How do they not get burned out? I look at what I did, and how I got through my deployments of various lengths and you did the same thing. And everybody else, it's an interesting topic because I think I can take it into a lot of different areas. So that's where I'm leaning right now and professors are trying to lean me in another direction, but we'll see how that goes.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:11:56    Well, it sounds like an interesting topic, where you're heading with this, and one of the keys I would think would be identify the 80/20 split; identify those people who come back with some sort of mental health issues. And then the other people who come back with not really so many mental health issues. Secondly, I would think that some of the techniques that can be used to either help prevent those issues in that 20% from cropping up, could be stuff that you learned from studying what the 80% that come back with little to no issues, or maybe to help them cope with these  issues after the fact. What has your research found with regards to identifying those two groups of people, but then also, what are some of the things that they're doing, some of those techniques that can help with the mental health issues, either to prevent them or mitigate some of that after the fact?

John Havlik:    00:13:11    I think the big one, it's not earth shattering to me, but it made sense when I was reading one article that says the common thing, whether it's pre-deployment, deployment, post- deployment is folks are just reluctant to ask for help, because they don't want it to negatively affect them in their career. And in some of the more formal ways of dealing with stress go on your chain of command, getting help, of course, going to see the doctor, or if you can't sleep, they will give you some Ambient or something like that. But the general consensus was, it seemed like people were waiting until it was almost too late; things have escalated, they become unmanageable and that's when they really have to go get help and the fear of asking early to get help and having a somewhat negative effect.

John Havlik:    00:14:19    And I think the big thing is you don't want these for me. I never wanted anybody to say I didn't carry my load, and I never wanted to be sent home from deployment early. And I think those are some common themes that you would get if we interview folks, is I gotta get to work. I can work through this, you know? And so that was kind of where the problems that got identified post-deployment was because they waited too late. And it became unmanageable. I think some of the things that the non-formal side of the house or nontraditional to me was I always heard, get into your battle rhythm as soon as possible, find out your routine, find your place in it.

John Havlik:    00:15:09    Your niche in command, what are your do outs? When are your meetings? What are you going to do? What are your responsibilities; get into that as soon as possible, because once you find that, then you can figure out when can I go work out? When can I go eat? When can I go to the exchange or when can I sleep, all that other stuff? So that was one of the big things that you would hear, just finding your place in getting your battle rhythm going as soon as possible really helps you set the tone for your deployment, but you can get burned out doing the same thing over and over again. So everybody has a different time and maybe I need to alter my battle rhythm or for me, it took me half a deployment to figure out when I should I work out before I went on shift or after.

John Havlik:    00:15:59    And after it took me half a deployment to figure that out. It kind of broke things up. And I think some of the other things are a sense of unity, working with your peers, especially I worked with a lot of Army and I was often the lone Navy guy in the organization. And it was me just looking for another Navy person to talk to get a sense of, they call sense of belonging or sense of having a peer nearby where you can go just talk Navy or Hey, you got a different uniform, can help you out too. And at least on one deployment I had, I worked with fifth group and on one deployment and with very small group of Navy folks, and we would have a Navy night, we would just go to the DEFAT, just Navy and get away from the Army, and it was cool, it's just, get away from the Army oversights.

John Havlik:    00:17:10    So it was little things like that, depending on where you were at, the exchanges MWR facilities working out is huge. Fitness is a big factor in hope. Folks stay engaged, can take care of themselves. Two areas I didn't even go to, didn't want to apply because there's a lot of conflicting research out. There was alcohol and tobacco and I’ve never been a smoker, but I know a lot of guys, a lot of folks start smoking more and I've been on deployments where alcohol was not allowed and I've been on deployments where alcohol was allowed. And it's a fine line of when it's available, whether you've used it or not. And then when, of course, in Iraq and over in Afghanistan, you can't drink, you know?

John Havlik:    00:18:15    So, I didn't even go there because there was a lot of research on that and maybe it's something I look into further, but it's just all these little things, seeing the chaplain was a great opportunity, at least for me, the fifth group, chaplain was a good guy. I liked the workout and he'd always come up and give me a hard time. And I gave him a hard time, but he was a good guy, and he was ranger qual and real gun-ho guy. So, if you competed with him in the weight room, he liked you, and you could talk about him in this way of just decompressing a little bit. And Oscar always asked how I was doing, because I was a deputy commander and he's like, you okay, sir? You know, the Army taking care of you. Yeah, I got it. I got it. You know, so it was good, but those things like that I think are just real important. And some of the things that I found got folks through their deployment.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:19:09    Yeah. So it seems like the fitness and comradery in that sense of belonging and togetherness seems like those are some things that can really help people getting through the deployment. I know you were saying, a lot of times people don't want to be that person who gets sent home from a deployment or whatever. We were talking before we started recording here, my own personal experience with my brother passing away while we were on deployment, he was killed in action. I was sent home the day after he was killed, I was actually on the same flight out of Afghanistan that he was.  He and the other soldier who was killed that day.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:19:59    We all flew out together. I know what you were saying. I didn't want to leave, I had my guys there, I had my people that I was in charge of. I didn't want to leave them alone. I didn't want to leave them stranded without me being there because God forbid something happened to them.  I don't know that I would have forgiven myself for not being there to help them. At the same time, I also knew that my head was just not in the right place. I had to keep myself together for the last little bit that we were on this mission, as we were engaged in a firefight, as well.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:20:44    Shortly after I found out about my brother and to dump my personal issues aside for a little bit to go back in and take care of my guys and make sure that they had what they needed and that they were positioned in the right place so that God forbid we didn't end up sending anyone else home in a flag draped box or whatever. I knew after getting home that I just wasn't going to be very helpful over there.  I knew my head was just not in the right place. And I think there's something to be said for the people who want to tough it out and go back and be with their guys and not leave their unit. There's also something to be said for looking in on yourself and recognizing that whether or not you're going to be able to be effective in your job and taking the help when it comes. And I had the opportunity to stay home afterwards. And I think I chose correctly by not going back because I don't know that I would have been in the right state of mind to be able to continue with the job that we had.

John Havlik:    00:21:53    Yeah, absolutely. My first deployment, I was the deputy commander with the fifth group in and of this taskforce and my mom got real sick when I was over there. And in the process, she’d been read her last rights twice, and just like everything you're getting emails and communications weren't that great. So you're trying to get the line back to the States to find out, to talk to everybody what was going on, what are the doctors saying? You know, and everything in me, the boss came in and he was like, look, you're no good to me, so you got to go home, and I did, and I got home early and about halfway through I felt horrible about it, but I also needed to go home and I couldn't come back because things were bad at home.

John Havlik:    00:22:42    And I had to take care of that, but there was just that guilt of, I loved what I was doing. I loved being overseas but I had to go home and take care of family stuff. And before my mom had some quality time with her and she passed away a few months later, but I got home and then the next thing I'm like, I need to get back, come from starting to okay, when can I redeploy again and do the other stuff. And luckily I was able to go back a year later, but it all adds up.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:23:16    It does. And I know that feeling too, because when I got back about a month or so after I had gotten back, I turned on the news and there was CNN or whatever video of right outside of where our base was.  We were right along the Pakistan border, along a major border crossing where a lot of the shipping trucks and cargo trucks and things like that come into Afghanistan. And that was one of our jobs just to secure that area. And there was a situation at the border where Pakistan basically shut everything down. And there were trucks that were backed up miles and miles away. And they were all like right outside of the base basically where we were stationed. And I was like, man, I really need to be there. But at that point there was nothing I really could do. It was tough to see that stuff going on the news and everything like that.

John Havlik:    00:24:14    I feel bad because somebody had to go relieve me that wasn't ready to go. And then, it's that sense of, Hey, I didn't finish up what I started and people were like, what are you doing back? Or I thought you were going for… And I didn't really get into the details of anything, but you don't know it gets back and forth of work, passing away. John got sent home early, why, it was not because of performance. It was because of family, and it's hard. It's definitely hard.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:24:49    Yeah. And sometimes there's just things that you have to take care of and you're not going to be the right person for the job. If you're not taking care of that stuff back home,

John Havlik:    00:24:57    This was perfect. He just came in and he says, when I'm not around and you're in charge and you're a mess right now.  I just didn't know what was going on. Everything from home was bad and I'm trying to do my job and he's like, dude, just go home. We'll live without you.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:25:17    Yeah, exactly. So, I mean there's a lot of different things that are going on that people experience and we all have our own different perspectives. And so, the research that you're doing to identify some of this stuff, I think is good stuff to talk about. And I think we need to also realize that it's okay to have different experiences or at least different outcomes.  Even if you have two people who are in the same situations and they were exposed to the same combat or deployment or whatever. They both could come out on the other end with two completely different experiences where one could have some mental health issues and the other one doesn't. So it doesn't make you any weaker or stronger, depending on which side of that coin you fall on. It's just, people are different and they experience things differently.

John Havlik:    00:26:10    Yeah. I would always wonder if maybe my research will come up with the ideal deployment length, because as we all know, everybody had different lengths they were overseas. And  so maybe there's a way of, Hey, this is perfect. This is the right time and other stuff. So I don't know.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:26:33   And hopefully something like that does come up. I don't know if length of time is necessarily the right metric to use for that.  Maybe it is. I don't know, I haven't done the research like you have into all of this stuff, but I would imagine someone who experienced some traumatic event on day one could be just as likely to come home with some mental health issues as someone who didn't experience a traumatic event until 110 or something like that.

John Havlik:    00:27:08    They did some of the research I looked at it; it didn’t just have to be a traumatic event. You know, it just could be day to day problems back home and you're 10,000 miles away and you can't do anything about it and the same stuff adds up. And then even if you're in a non-combat role, you get thrown into a traumatic event or something like that. I tell everybody, I go back to my hooch and I live 50 yards from the wire and they were mortaring everywhere. It was indiscriminate care. So, I could go to bed even though I wasn't really in a combat environment. And I was stationed in Ballade and there was an indoor pool I used to go swim at.

John Havlik:    00:27:58    And in three weeks after I redeployed my NCO that I worked with said, Hey, they mortared the pool. Just through a random round hit went through the lifeguard’s office, so, you know, it all adds up. I mean, combat definitely intensifies it, but just the day to day aspect of being overseas and privacy, I don't know how you did, but I didn't know the person you share in time different work schedules. I mean, nothing was perfect and nothing added up. So it's just a lot of things you sacrifice overseas.  It's part of being on being on deployment.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:28:45    Yeah. For sure. And yeah, like you said, privacy is definitely an issue, you don't really have a space to yourself. I mean, our setup was a little bit different. We had these basically plywood huts that were set up and we had like plywood divider walls, but you could see over the wall, so it wasn't like really private. It was like enough that you can change your clothes in private. And someone's not staring at you while you're changing in your corner or whatever. But it was privateish I guess. You never really had complete privacy over there.

John Havlik:    00:29:22    No, it was a different experience. I can't really explain it to people. It's just you have to experience it.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:29:33    One of the other reasons why I wanted to have you on the podcast was to talk about your book that you coauthored. The books named, The Leadership Killer Reclaiming Humility in the Age of Arrogance. The book focuses on humility, is that right?  As basically the fundamental leadership attribute?

John Havlik:    00:29:56    Yeah, yeah, yeah. My coauthor was a fellow West Virginia grad. So he was a diver. I was a swimmer, so he has his own consulting firm now. So, he's been very good with me again, I think I mentioned earlier, he brings me in and I special advise. So I write blogs and talk to his seminars and stuff in great opportunity and it's been fun, but he wrote four books and might write a fifth. And so he says, Hey, we would talk as we were prepping for these events, we always highlight what just seemed like every week now you see military, which is a lot of military leaders getting relieved and everybody kind of knows why, it's not rocket science, but then he was a corporate business side of the house.

John Havlik:    00:30:55    So he saw the same thing. So why do these leaders, good leaders do these stupid things and things that they know better? And we started talking about the term hubris and excessive arrogance, self-confidence and I think it's just the people just for me, my 2 cents on it was I didn't think you'd get caught or nobody would say anything. There you go, your mirror, you should be relieved just for thinking that, so we talked about that and so we tried to do that as hubris is kind of the theme of what makes good leaders go back and how to control that, how to check it and then how to remain a good effective, humble leader.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:31:55    Yeah. So what is maybe one piece of advice that you can give people, leaders especially to maybe stay more humble and keep their ego in check to be good leaders.

John Havlik:    00:32:10    Well, I thought it was always really good and military, at least I saw it in the Army. I saw it all over, but you know, the top three, when I got up executive officer and then commanding officer, there was always a top three, the CEO, EXO, and then the command master chief senior, or command Sergeant major, the senior enlisted of the unit. And I always thought the most effective units were when the leadership triangle worked and talked as one. And the message was the same.  They talked and Sergeant major, the mass command master chief walk around, they talked the same message to the skipped or talked about, or the XO was enforcing the day to day operations. And so, I always thought that was when I became a CEO.

John Havlik:    00:33:09    I told my XO and my senior enlisted, you gotta call me out when I'm stepping over the line, or my head's getting too big, you know?  I think it's real important that you have a check, you find a check, someone that you trust that can call you out when you're getting too big or getting a head of yourself. And so, we always try to tell folks that whatever position you're in, whatever organization, you always need somebody watching your back because when we try to identify everybody looks out front, tend to forget their flanks and especially in the rear and that's where you need to have your check. Always watching you having a good 360 rounder keeps you in your scope of responsibility, so to speak.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:33:58    Yeah. And you don't want to have, a yes man, working for you or yes woman, who’s just going to agree to every idea you have and everything that you come up with and everything you say, just agreeing with it, as opposed to on the flip side, having somebody who is willing to challenge those ideas when they think that there might be something wrong with it.

John Havlik:    00:34:22    And that's what I felt was very effective. And I felt it was really good. I tried to implement when the leadership was good. It seemed like those guys would go in the morning and the afternoon, close the door and just talk things out, you know? And that was really the, Hey boss, you're thinking like an idiot, I don't think he wanted to do this, you just talk it out. And then when you open the door, you walk out unified with a common goal, a common message. And so you don't confuse the command, and everybody knows what you're doing, why you come to work and what you're going to do. And I thought that was very effective. And that's what I tried to do. But I also mentioned, if he disagree with me, then let's talk offline.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:35:11    Right. For sure. Yeah.

John Havlik:    00:35:12    That's where the confusion really comes in with two different messages. And if there's any doubt, no doubt raises when CEO's saying one thing, the X, was like, what are you talking about? I don't think that's what we talked about us not going. And so, yes men are great.  You want some people to boost you, but in reality, you really need somebody who can call you out and say, no, you're not doing that. So, but do it in a closed door.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:35:45    For sure. And if they start challenging you in front of other people in front of the whole organization, or whatever the group of people is then that's probably where the ego starts coming in. And on the leader side where you're not going to challenge me and you're not going to make me look like an idiot, I'm going to put my foot down and this is how it's going to be kind of thing. I could imagine.

John Havlik:    00:36:07    Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, I did learn that early in the Seals. The guys are always quick to tell you you're wrong, you know? So you had to come down to understand that, I'm sure it was same in the Army. I got in a platoon, I walk into the platoon space and I did everything wrong, and I was like, well, you can do better. You'll get a commission. And here's the paperwork do what you gotta do. But I think in reality, I think what I found with the guys, they appreciate it when you ask them their 2 cents on something, because you're all working towards a common goal and I think they were professional enough to know not to do it in public because that's really where you raised out.

John Havlik:    00:36:57    And when you're trying to sell yourself on an op, you're briefing. I used to see it all the time. You know, you're briefing somebody who's going to make a decision on what unit is going to execute the op, especially a lot in special ops, because I'm not going to go with the Army or I'll go the SF guys or no, I'll go Seals, last thing you want to do in front of the guy, making the decision is adding confusion on their part because you don't know what you're talking about, or you're not talking about same sheet of music. So it was real important. Talk together, have the one voice.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:37:31    Yeah, for sure. So it sounds like a great book with a lot of information in terms of how good leaders go bad and what you can do to correct the course there. I'll have a link to that in the show notes so people can check that out if they're interested. Anything else that you wanted to talk about in terms of maybe going back to your research or anything else with the leadership or your time in the Seals?

John Havlik:    00:38:07    If somebody has got a good topic for a dissertation, I sure would appreciate it. I'm trying to figure that out right now.  I love my military time, I really wish they would establish a program where we, as a retiree could throw the uniform on every now and then just take those staff jobs and nobody wants to take, but still be involved because 30 years’ experience, see you later, you know? And well, yeah, there's a lot to do, but I do I miss the guys. I think that's the biggest part. I miss the guys the most and the locker room. That environment atmosphere is good, but it was time to move on. I enjoyed every minute. School has been as good.

John Havlik:    00:38:56    And the challenge of the COO aspect.  I think the big thing we try to tell everybody, Bill and I is find yourself a mentor, find a good check. And the biggest leadership thing I always felt most effective was getting out of my office and going down and talking to my sailors on the deck plate where the work was being done. And I found the department heads, the information flow was getting filtered a lot. And if I wanted the honest to God truth about what was going on in the command, I had to go talk to the sailors. And one of my first XO jobs, I started hearing things about leadership at his command doesn't know what's going on. And I was like, I used to say that when I was a JL and now they're saying, I'm leadership.

John Havlik:    00:39:52    So, what don't I know. And so what I found very effective was getting out of my office and just going down and talking with my sailors and asking for honest feedback, which is very hard for a leader, because you're not always going to hear what you want to hear and you have to keep an open mind. And what I found, it was a commitment on my part. So you have to make the commitment and you have to take the time to do it and be consistent about it. And I used the weekly cleanup field day on Fridays to walk around and talk to my sailors. But what I found over time was they warmed up to me big time and we used to just have good discussions, you know?

John Havlik:    00:40:41    So if you want to tell him why you do things at the command, or what the boss is thinking about, it's from the horse's mouth, and they can give you feedback about it and you may not want to do that. Sir, there is a better way of doing it. And what's great about it is I got feedback. And then I go right up to the talk to the old man about it, and he appreciated it. He loved it, because we were getting good, honest feedback from the sailors. So I always try to say the best thing I ever did as a leader was to get out of my office and just go down and try to talk to my troops or sailors even when I was deployed.  The only way I ever got to know anybody, being the chief of one Navy guy, I had a big Army staff was I had to go knock on doors and I had to learn Army.

John Havlik:    00:41:29    And I can tell you the Army doesn't give you a loan. A lot of time when you're deployed to get into the seat, so to speak. Hey, at 20, 48 hours, you don't know your job, you need to leave. It was a big transition, but it's just those little things that just go down and learn your people, talk to your people, listen to what they have to say, take their feedback. And I think people really appreciate that opportunity to talk to the leadership one-on-one and where there's no filters in between. And it was great. It was great for me. I learned so much and it was a practice. I tried to take home with me wherever I've lived.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:42:06    Yeah. And that's good advice. I think, not just from the military standpoint, but I think for any organization, if you're in a factory and you have the management and the factory and you have the people on the shop floor or whatever assembling products or whatever they're doing, you gotta get out of your air conditioned office and go down on the shop floor and talk to the people who are doing the work and see what is actually going on. Messages do get filtered and for one reason or another, I don't know all the reasons why they do get filtered, but they do. You need to get out of your day to day routine, even if it's once a week; you go out and just chat with some people, to see what's going on.

John Havlik:    00:42:55    I mean, it was real important. And I tried that my last deployment I was there when we shut down Iraq; so, it was a senior Seal officer over there shutting down everything, special operations. And I can always remember, President Obama with Prime Minister Malakai on TV, we're going to be out of Iraq by the end of the year. It was October. And I'm like, shit, that doesn't give us much time. So, the general looked at me, he goes coach and make it happen. We had two months, so we had just like everything and there was shit everywhere, and we had to account for, and we had to move it in, everybody's leaving and going home and we still got stuff to do.

John Havlik:    00:43:45    And I found it very effective and I had different services, different ranks on the staff that had to execute this plan is, getting everybody out. And I think it worked real well. We communicated, got on the same message and things change, especially as we got closer, got into December, it was changing hourly, you know? And so we spent a lot of time at the embassy that changed. So I think the big thing was effective. Talking to people, don't just want to send an email out or whatever. If you can get out there, talk to your people, take advantage of it. And I grew as a person and as a leader too, which was really good for me.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:44:27    Yeah. That's great. Well, John, it has been a pleasure speaking with today.  Before we wrap up, where can people go to get in touch with you, in terms of your consulting, find out more about what you do there and where to find your book.

John Havlik:  you can go to <inaudible> dot com. That site is not ready to go back up again, then redesigning it and stuff. So it should be up by the end of the week. There's ways of contacting me there. If you want to get ahold of me, the book, leadershipkiller.com, you get a background on that. You can order the book online and sign audible too. So we've hit all the right avenues for the both at <inaudible> and Twitter and that's about it, and like I said, anybody got a good dissertation topic. They send it to you and Scott and you send it to me. I appreciate it.

Scott DeLuzio:  Yeah, absolutely. I will forward any of those topics over to you. So, thank you again for joining us. I really enjoyed the conversation and I think you had a lot of good information, from your research and also from the book and also your experience as a Seal. And thank you for joining us.

John Havlik:  Thanks, Scott. I appreciate it.

Scott DeLuzio:    00:45:53    Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website, DriveOnPodcast.com. We're on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at DriveOnPodcast.