June 29, 2021

DIS: Choose Your Pain

Saru creates the perfect performance feedback model. Oh, and Harry Mudd!


In this episode, Jeff Akin magnifies Saru's performance as an acting captain in Season 1 Episode 5, "Star Trek: Discovery" Choose Your Pain.   Due to the Klingons abducting Lorca, it is up to Saru to take over the captainship and lead the whole crew. As Saru takes on the role, he reviews the qualities set up by the computer to use as his leadership model. These qualities are bravery, self-sacrifice, intelligence, tactical brilliance, and compassion. Will Saru succeed? Later, watch out as Jeff talks about a robust feedback model that can transform you and your team in a crisis situation in light of the lessons from Saru.   Listen to the episode and join Jeff as he talks about the lessons we can learn from Saru's example of leadership and more.     Your After-action After Saru   After Jeff reviewed the episode, we found out that Saru failed to follow the qualities of the fleet's most decorated captains. He disrespected a senior medical officer and the brain behind the spore drive in front of the whole bridge. He even pawned his performance as the acting captain on to Burnham instead of owning up to it.  When he reviewed his performance, Saru displayed self-awareness by expressing, "I know what I did." Having self-awareness is known to be one of the facets of emotional intelligence for leaders. However, Saru was not able to show bravery, compassion, or tactical brilliance in his stint as the captain.   For Jeff, there is a valuable insight in this episode of "Discovery" that can help leaders. E.g., learn the qualities of your leader models. By doing this, you discover and do the successful traits of your standout models quantitative to you. Setting up periodic check-ins on your development is also key. If you're pretty recognized in your field, a quarterly check-in is a good tempo. If you're starting, bi-weekly may be the one that will work.    Jeff also cites a powerful performance review model from J. Elise Keith's "Where the Action Is." We use the Action Review Tool after a task and begin with fact-checking followed by observations and learnings. It is then used to determine an immediate improvement plan plus the incredible insights for the after-action.   Listen more about how you can learn from the episode of "Star Trek: Discovery" Choose Your Pain in the Starfleet Leadership Academy Podcast!     About Starfleet Leadership Academy:   Star Trek is full of great examples of leadership. Jeff Akin, a leader with over 20 years of executive management experience in both the public and private sectors, breaks down each episode of Star Trek, from The Original Series to Discovery and beyond, pointing out examples of great leadership, management, lean/six-sigma, communication and more.   If you enjoy Star Trek, or are even a little Trek-curious, and have an appetite for leadership development, this is the podcast for you!   Outline of the episode: ●      [01:05] How Cornwell sees Burnham ●      [04:51] Saru cross-references his skills with Starfleet's most decorated captains ●      [08:38] Stamet refocuses on a knock-out that's on the verge ●      [13:08] Rating Lorca and Saru based on bravery, self-sacrifice, intelligence, tactical brilliance, and compassion ●      [17:05] Lorca and Tyler outsmart the Klingons; Saru displays bravery and compassion ●      [20:47] Saru pawns his poor performance onto Burnham ●      [22:57] Having self-awareness, Saru interjects the computer's performance review of him ●      [27:28] How to learn from Saru's Performance Review ●      [31:08] The Pareto Chart: In the assessment of skills and qualities of standouts ●      [33:28] The Action Review Tool   Resources: Find Where the Action Is, Book by J. Elise Keith: https://www.jeffakin.com/p/reading-list/   Follow the fleet and connect through: Website:          https://jeffakin.com Twitter:            https://twitter.com/SFLApodcast Instagram:       https://www.instagram.com/jefftakin/ Facebook:       https://facebook.com/groups/sflapodcast/ YouTube:        https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCebdT7xtm2237q0f857BBuw

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Transcript

Welcome, everyone! Thanks for joining me today. We are going to learn how to apply a powerful performance review and feedback model that can transform you and your teams while we see Saru’s leadership in a crisis situation as we watch season 1, episode 5 of Discovery, Choose Your Pain.  

 

<<Transporter>>

 

We pick up right where we left off in the last episode of Discovery. This series moves so fast! Burnham is struggling. She knows they are hurting, and likely killing Ripper to get the spore drive to work, but she can’t convince anyone. She brings in Dr Culber. He agrees to run some tests to try and prove out her intuition.

 

We join Lorca in front of a group of Admirals. They’ve started building spore drives, but know they need more tardigrades to make them work. They are searching for them, but, in the meantime, they’re ordering Discovery to stand down. They need to take it easy as the Klingons will learn about their secret weapon sooner than later, and there is no indication they’ll be able to develop more usable drives any time soon.

 

After the meeting, Cornwell and Lorca connect. They’re old friends. But, she has a real problem with him conscripting Burnham. “It does nothing for general morale.” He stands his ground, though. “My ship. My way.”

 

What do you think about this? Cornwell isn’t wrong. In the 120 or so years of Starfleet, Burnham is the only convicted mutineer. The only one! That’s a really big deal! As we saw back in Context is for Kings, people do not like her. I mean, she didn’t even like herself at that point!

 

Let’s forget for a moment that she’s the focal point of a brand new Star Trek series and, instead, look at what Cornwell knows. Burnham was a talented and skilled Starfleet Officer that let her own agenda supersede years of reinforced training resulting in the assault of a superior officer and, arguably, a full scale war. She is universally disliked and even hated in some circles and is, presumably, serving out a life-sentence.

 

Until, that is, Lorca pulls her back in the game.

 

If you were in Admiral Cornwell’s position, what would you do? What would you say to Lorca, what would you tell him to do? Join us in the Starfleet Leadership Academy Facebook group and let’s talk about it! Because I don’t think what we saw on screen is what should have happened, at all.

 

On a transport shuttle, on his way back to Discovery a “Klingon Class D7 Battlecruiser” jumps out of warp and abducts them. The shuttle pilot is killed, but they know who Lorca is, and he is captured.

 

Cornwell informs Discovery and names Saru acting Captain. The assumption is that if they don’t already know about the spore drive, they will soon so rescue is a critical priority. Saru immediately starts dishing out orders, “Detmer, maximum warp, Owosekun, scan, Airiam, notify Stamets.” Burnham comes onto the bridge and shares her feelings on what is happening to Ripper. He asks if she has proof, and she does not, so he blows her off. “This is not helpful in any way.” And then he doubles down, “There will be no more discussion until the captain is safe.”

 

Normally, this is where I’d dissect this discussion and point out the numerous missed opportunities Saru let slip by, but I don’t have to. In a moment of self-awareness, Saru asks the Computer for help. This whole scene, and its payoff at the end of the episode are awesome. He sets goals, he develops a framework and he, kind of, assesses his performance against that framework. We’ll take it as it comes up in the episode, but here, he’s asking for a list of Starfleet’s most decorated Captains and what qualities they shared that were key to their successes.

 

The Computer lists Robert April, Jonathan Archer, Matthew Decker, Philippa Georgiou and Christopher Pike. Hmm. 3 of 5 captained the Enterprise, well 4 if you count the short time Decker assumed command in the Original Series episode The Doomsday Machine. Interesting.

 

The Computer then listed the following qualities: bravery, self-sacrifice, intelligence, tactical brilliance, and compassion. He then asks the Computer to record his performance as acting captain to later be cross referenced with the heroes of Starfleet.

 

Pretty great, right? As the episode continues and Saru makes choices or takes action, let’s play the role of the Computer and call out when his actions align with one or more of these qualities. Now, he initiates this review near the end of the episode, but it’ll be fun for us to do too!

 

In the Klingon prison cell, Lorca meets Harry Mudd “Harcourt Fenton Mudd.” He explains he’s in the cell because of bad timing. He bought this girl a moon and fell behind on payments. The Klingons picked him up, sounds like a bounty hunter situation, and then the war broke out, so he’s been here quite awhile.

 

There’s another Starfleet officer in the cell. He’s in bad shape “out to lunch.” A couple Klingons bust in the cell and orders them to “Choose Your Pain.” Mudd points to the beat up officer and they proceed to beat him until he dies. Super brutal. Big finishing stomp to end it. They drag the body away and leave.

 

Mudd explains they regularly allow them to either accept the beating themselves or pass it on to another prisoner. Lorca notes that Mudd appears to be in good shape. He responds, “I’m a survivor.”

 

Culber and Burnham go to talk about her concerns with the Tardigrade with Stamets. And she kicks it off beautifully! Kind of. “What you’ve done with the spore drive is brilliant.” Who wouldn’t want to hear that? She is heaping the praise on him; it’s great! But he knows what’s up and cuts her off, “I know I’m brilliant.”

 

That’s the thing with just heaping the praise on. We’ve been conditioned to wait for the other shoe to drop. Like, this is nice and great and all, but where is the but? Part of this is that this is very out of character for her; she’s not one to butter the bread before making somebody eat it. But it’s also about authenticity. You can hear that little sound, that subtle shift in the tempo and tenor of her voice that says she’s just saying this to get what she wants. Praise is awesome, and you should give it frequently, but mean it when you say it, and don’t attach an anchor to it in the form of a big but. Just say it and mean it.

 

Culber steps in and says there is cumulative damage to Ripper and that using him just isn’t sustainable. So Stamets, after a full plate of sarcasm, says one of the greatest and most powerful things in all of Star Trek: “Do you want to be right or do you want to fix this?”

 

It’s like we talked about in TNG’s Up the Long Ladder when Pulaski didn’t argue with Worf even though he was minimizing and was wrong. Here, Stamets puts a stop to bickering and arguing to refocus their energies on the task at hand. I mean, they were on the verge of a knock-out-drag-out, “I’m swallowing the urge to set the record straight,” but, in one masterful phrase, he pointed them at the problem and got them to solving it.

 

He really is brilliant!

 

Back in the prison cell, Lorca finds another Starfleet Officer, Ash Tyler. He was captured back at the Battle of the Binary Stars when his ship, the Yeager, went down. He’s been here for 7 months! Lorca questions how he’s survived for so long. Tyler explains, “the captain of the ship, she’s taken a liking to me.” Lorca nods his understanding. He starts brainstorming ideas to get a communication out to Starfleet.

 

Mudd interrupts and starts downing the Federation. “Starfleet arrogance.” The Klingons bust in again, grab Lorca and leave. Not a word spoken.

 

Stamets, Tilly and Burnham are problem solving. “Fungal roots spread across the universe.” There’s a, well, a DNA swap between Ripper and the mycelial network. They can’t use computers to do it because they lack the processing power. They need a living integration. So they’re on the hunt for a compatible, and willing, life form.

 

Lorca is strapped into the torture chair. The Klingon captain is familiar to us, it’s L’Rell! And she speaks outstanding English. “Have you ever been tortured, Captain?” She’s trying to figure out the secret of Discovery. She also knows about his extreme photosensitivity. She pulls a Clockwork Orange and pulls his eyelids open as she blasts super bright light in his face.

 

The Discovery crew have just about narrowed down what system Lorca is likely in. Seeing the spore drive is offline, Saru barges down to Engineering. The trio is still problem solving and throws himself at them. “No, cadet!” Stamets says they are working on replacing the Tardigrade and that it is a critical, top priority. Burnham explains that humans, so far, are the only match. Because of restrictions on eugenics, this just isn’t an option. She pleads for more time and Saru bites her head off, “I gave you an order!” While he is laying into her, comparing her actions to the actions that led to the death of Georgiou and the war, the bridge crew reports they’ve identified the cruiser holding Lorca. He orders Stamets to prepare the Tardigrade for a jump. Tilly is in tears as Stamets reluctantly nods his acknowledgement of the order.

 

Ok, time for our first check-in on Saru’s performance: bravery, nope. Self-sacrifice, nope. Intelligence, afraid not. Tactical brilliance, no way. Compassion, not even a little bit. Ok, just keeping our eyes on his performance goals.

 

The Klingons return a pained Lorca back into the cell. He’s confirmed that Mudd has been feeding them intel. Tyler threatens to choose him the next time their asked to choose their pain. Mudd counters by telling the story of Lorca’s last ship, the Buran (ber Ahn). “Only one crewman managed to escape.” He’s trying to paint Lorca as a coward. But Lorca explains he left the ship and blew his ship up himself. He did it to save them the pain and humiliation of Klingon capture. Ash Tyler watches him as one watches a hero grow.

 

Pretty extreme for sure, but I can see how an immediate death would be preferable to the torture, humiliation and slow death the Klingons would have offered. So, if we use those same qualities to rate Lorca’s performance there, bravery, self-sacrifice, intelligence, tactical brilliance, and compassion, I’d say he showed them all! Albeit in a violent and brutal manner. I mean, you could argue bravery and self-sacrifice. Maybe the brave thing to do would have been to stay on the ship as it was destroyed, but I don’t know how he destroyed the ship; maybe he needed to be in a shuttle or whatever to handle that. And I imagine the sacrifice of living with that decision, the decision to kill your crew, rates the self-sacrifice piece. But intelligence, tactical brilliance, and compassion? Yeah, I think those are fairly clear.

 

So even in a moment of violence and brutality, Lorca is outperforming Saru. Unless you see this differently? If you do, I would love to hear about it!

 

Speaking of Saru, he’s preparing to order the jump. Stamets beams Ripper into the cube and Saru orders the jump. The drive attaches to Ripper and its clearly in pain! The jump is successful and Ripper spills out all of its water and enters a “state of extreme cryptobiosis.” Dr Culber says it’s not dead but, close. Saru off-handedly responds, “Hydrate it.” When Culber tries to respond Saru sticks his hand in his face to shush him! Wow! He doesn’t stop, though. He pushes back saying it has been severely hurt and damaged but Saru persists telling him to “crack it open if you have to.” Culber plays his whole hand. He says Ripper is very likely a sentient being to which Saru responds he will take full responsibility if it ends up being true. “be ready to comply.” Culber responds that he will not be party to murder and Saru, Saru sticks his hand in his face again and tells Culber that he wasn’t talking to him, but to Stamets. Stamets stares at Saru, pauses and says, “yes sir.”

 

Ok, it’s time, once again, to check in on Saru’s performance….nevermind, I’m not going to bother. I mean, even if he turns out being right and Ripper is just a ‘dumb animal,’ nothing he did here is ok. Because the point I think I left out is that all of this happened on the bridge! In front of everyone! He just completely disregarded and disrespected a senior medical officer and the brains behind the spore drive! Wow!

 

Well, in what may show us more solid leadership lessons, the next scene takes us back to the Klingon cruiser and Lorca’s cell. The Klingons bust in and tell them to Choose their Pain. Mudd starts to panic as Tyler steps up and says, “choose me, Captain.” They put quite a beating on him, and when the guard goes for his patented finishing move, a modified, standing coup de grace, he dodges, Lorca attacks and they take down the Klingons! Tyler and Lorca leave and Mudd follows. “There is no we, Mudd!” They walk out and lock Mudd in the cell who screams, “You haven’t seen the last of me!”

 

Star Wars style corridor fight ensues. Tyler’s hurt and can’t continue. Lorca leaves him in a covered spot and says he’ll find a way out and come back for him. As he leaves, L’Rell rounds the corners and taunts Tyler who absolutely loses it!! He just unloads on her! Lorca returns and takes a shot at her but just grazes her. It’s enough for them to get to the docking bay, steal a Raider and head out. A couple Raiders are in pursuit. Discovery is there, watching. Saru analyzes the lead Raider and hails it. Lorca confirms it’s him and they beam him and Tyler to the ship. Lorca orders them to jump.

 

Saru asks Stamets if he has revived the Tardigrade and he answers, “we are able to jump.” Saru orders it, and they’re away to safety!

 

Super tense scene – really well paced!

 

Owosekun reports that Stamets’ lifesigns are fading. Saru and Tilly rush to engineering and they find him in the cube, on the floor passed out and bleeding. He injected himself with the Tardigrade DNA compound and handled the jump himself. He totally answered Saru’s question the way he wanted to. Saru confirms he’s alive and he wakes up “Did we make it, hahahaha.”

 

The cameras are super tight on both Saru and Stamets in this back and forth; an almost uncomfortable extreme closeup! And, I’ve got to say, Saru’s makeup is amazing. You’re right in his face, he’s bathed in white light, and looks totally natural. Well done!

 

But here’s the problem with this scene, well, not the scene, but with Saru. He is clearly, deeply concerned for Stamets. He rushes into that cube and immediately check on him. This is a level of compassion, and even bravery, we haven’t seen from him this entire episode. I say bravery because, honestly, who knows what’s going on in that cube?!? He could be risking his own life to save Stamets.

 

What this demonstrates is leadership without authenticity. He has been trying to be someone he is not this whole time. Instead of aspiring to the qualities the Computer laid out for him, he’s pretending to be what he thinks a confident leader would be. Imagine how different this episode would have been if he allowed even a little of his caring and compassion to show through as acting captain. This is a really great example of the value of authenticity in leadership; and, we get even more here in the next scene.

 

Saru comes to Burnham’s quarters and updates her on Lorca and Stamets. One thing I’ve appreciated about Saru is his blatant, almost aggressive honesty. You see, he has the capability to be a deeply authentic person, when he chooses to, and he does so here. He says to Burnham, “I am angry. I am deeply jealous.” And then he blows it again. He thinks he should have been able to study under Georgiou as her first officer. “If I had, I’d be better prepared for today.” What a cop out. Nope, not letting him get away with pawning his poor performance onto Burnham and other circumstances. It was clear in the first episode of this show that the trio was Georgiou, Burnham and Saru; he had plenty of time to learn and prepare. On top of that, the Computer straight up told him….ok, I’m going to chill out. We have a whole segment of the podcast dedicated to this.

 

Now, I won’t let him get away with this, but, apparently, Burnham will. “You did well.” Ugh. Facepalm, I’m facepalming right now. I don’t think you can hear that, but I totally am. This is just, just bad.

 

But then she demonstrates two of the qualities Saru has yet to: self-sacrifice and compassion as she gifts Saru with her telescope “You should have the privilege to see the universe the way she did.”

 

Burnham and Tilly are going to try and save Ripper. The theory is that being free, out in space, will make it happy and save it. She dumps some spores on its shell and they eject it into space. It unfolds, appears to kind of smile, and then takes off along the mycelial network.

 

Saru initiates his performance review with the Computer, and then stops it. “I know what I did.” Which is great! Self-awareness, though not listed as a quality by the Computer, is a critical quality of effective leaders. In fact, in our last episode where we looked at Enterprise The Catwalk we learned that it’s one of the facets of Emotional Intelligence. So now the real test for Saru will be if he applies his learning or not. The next chance he gets to lead, will he apply what he learned from this experience? Good news there! We absolutely get some chances to find out in future episodes.

 

Stamets and Culber are in their quarters. This is one of the most impactful scenes in Star Trek to date. Not only are they brushing their teeth with really cool, black toothbrushes that, apparently don’t use messy toothpaste, but we see a gay couple just being a couple. It’s not kissy or romantic, it’s just real life. When this episode first aired I remember the LGBTQ+ community applauding it for, well, for normalizing this on TV.

 

It also normalizes what every couple goes through when one is “a maniac willing to risk his life.” It gets dark for a second, “you’re in danger,” but then it shifts to him describing the awe of seeing the network. As they walk away from the mirror, the reflection of Stamets remains there, staring, until it slowly walks away.

 

Creepy!

 

<<Red Alert>>

 

Another great installment of Discovery! A lot happens in this episode: we get a glimpse into the dire situation of the war as the Admirals are trying to speed production of spore drives, we meet Harry Mudd and Ash Tyler, Ripper is freed and there’s something about Stamets.

 

They also set up a lot for future episodes in this one. Some we can see now, and others only make sense on a rewatch. In fact, I think that’s part of the brilliance of Discovery – it is an entirely different show after you’ve watched it the first time!

 

It’s a lot like Knights of the Old Republic in that way. There’s a twist in that game that is mind blowing!! I still remember intimate details about the moment I first experienced that twist. And every time you play the game afterwards, it has a different feel. That’s totally this season of Discovery.

 

But we know there is something between Tyler and L’Rell, Mudd has vowed revenge and now, apparently, Stamets is the mycelial navigator.

 

As much as Lorca has failed us as a leader so far, he sure shows up as a badass in this one. I mean, L’Rell hits him with the lights, and based on the gear he was strapped into, who knows what else, and he just shakes it off. I really enjoy his character.

 

Oh, and guess what! The bridge crew have names! There was some stuff with Detemer, Owosekun, Rhys and Airiam in this one. 5 episodes in and we know most of their names now…not bad, I suppose.

 

And it has to be said. Rainn Wilson is amazing as Mudd. Great look, great attitude…darker than the Mudd played by Roger C Carmel in the Original and Animated Series, but given the tone of Discovery, appropriate.

 

A great episode that leaves you wanting more. What’s not to love?

 

<<Command Codes>>

 

It’s almost like this episode was custom built for this podcast! We start off with Saru setting leadership and management performance expectations for himself, then we have the opportunity to assess his performance in real-time, and, finally a chance to reflect on his performance.

 

So we’re going to spend a moment reflecting on his performance, but then we’ll look at practical ways you can apply this same framework for yourself and for your teams.

 

The Starfleet Leadership Academy is supported by listeners, just like you. Click the link in the show notes to support the ongoing production of this podcast.

 

“Initiating performance review, Acting Captain Saru.”

 

Saru started by asking who the most decorated captains in Starfleet were. With the organization being just over 100 years old at this point, you could imagine there would be a wealth of individuals to choose from. But, with the exception of Jonathan Archer, everyone is a contemporary of Saru’s. I bring this point up because it poses both a unique challenge and unique opportunity for him. The challenge is that many of these captains are still forging their paths, still writing their stories. Pike, for example, is about to get his own series set after the time of this episode. This is challenging because it can be helpful to look at the totality of someone’s contributions.

 

Take Archer as an example. Now, as of the time this podcast episode is released, we’ve looked at only 4 episodes of Enterprise. So, if you’re watching along with us and haven’t seen all of Enterprise yet, take this as your spoiler alert, but, Archer goes on to…seriously, this is a pretty huge spoiler, skip ahead 15 seconds if you don’t want this ruined for you. Bur Archer goes on to help found the Federation and becomes President of the Federation in 2184; just 72 years before this episode of Discovery. So, your view of him, and the lessons you can learn would be very different if you were a contemporary of his as compared to Saru who can look back on his entire career.

 

The opportunity here is networking! I mean, he’s serving in the same organization, at the same time as Pike, Decker and April. Write them a letter, set up a meeting, do something! He complains at the end of the episode for missing out on learning from Georgiou, which I still think is totally ridiculous, but if he makes the same mistake with the 3 people still serving, well, shame on him.

 

He then asks what the qualities are that most contributed to these captain’s success: “bravery, self-sacrifice, intelligence, tactical brilliance, and compassion.”

 

So, I’m not going to beat a dead horse, or a defeated Saru here. He objectively failed on all points. He failed to demonstrate any of these qualities until the very end of the episode. If I were using this as the framework for Saru’s performance appraisal, at best he would rate a ‘needs improvement.’

 

His performance aside, his approach was brilliant. Here is what you can do, right now, today, to use this as a constructive framework for your own performance and even that of your team! Just follow his example:

 

Think of 3-5 people that exemplify or at least consistently demonstrate the qualities you want. Now, these don’t have to be leadership qualities. Maybe you’re developing sales skills for your team. Or, if you’re an architect, for example, who are incredible architects you look up to? Howard Roark? Peter Keating? I’m kidding, sorry. But, in all seriousness, whatever field you are looking to grow and develop in, identify 3-5 standouts.

 

Then, list their qualities, their skills, their abilities and identify the top 4 or 5 of those. Are you familiar with a pareto chart? I love pareto charts!! They’re based on the pareto principle which you may know as the 80/20 rule. This is used in lean and six sigma to, well, to prioritize problem solving efforts. I’m dramatically oversimplifying here, but the theory, with an alarming amount of statistical and historical evidence to support it, is that 80% of your problems can be solved by tackling 20% of the issues. So there’s a little homework for you if this is all new to you. Study up on the pareto principle and how to use pareto charts.

 

In our context, today, though, you can use a pareto chart to determine the top 4 or 5 qualities of the people you identified. List the qualities out, by person, and note how many of them are shared across the 5 people. The more shared they are, the higher up the list they go.

 

Ok, with me so far? At this point you have a list of about 5 people that are standouts in your area of development, and you’ve identified about 5 qualities they share that have most contributed to their success.

 

Now, go out there and do your thing. But set up periodic check-ins where you assess your performance. Where are you doing well? Where do you need to improve? The rhythm of these will vary from person to person, but in my experience, the check-ins will range based on how much of a stretch the qualities are. If you are already fairly competent in the area and are working to sharpen yourself and improve, maybe quarterly is a good tempo. If this is new to you, you might need assess bi-weekly or even weekly.

 

If you want to supercharge this approach, enroll your coach, mentor or supervisor into it. Have someone to help guide you through execution and someone you can discuss your performance with. If you’re using this for your team, that person should, most likely, be you, and if not you, it should be someone you know and trust.

 

You can also use a powerful tool J. Elise Keith talks about in her book, Where the Action Is. You can find a link to this book in the Reading List page at jeffakin.com.

 

She recommends a tool called an Action Review. These are exactly what they sound like. After an action is taken, you meet up with those involved to review it. These are commonplace in the military where they call them after action reviews. They also hold before action reviews to ensure everyone knows the plan prior to execution.

 

But an action review meeting begins with an objective review of the facts followed by discussion on observations and learnings. These can be used to determine an immediate improvement plan. Plus, they offer incredible insight since they should be held right after the action is taken. So, in this episode, we when we paused to check in on Saru’s performance, those would be ideal moments for an action review meeting.

 

If you work in an organization that does annual performance reviews, I imagine you think of them as being about as valuable as that little piece of plastic that comes with cheese and cracker packs. But if you roll this framework we just developed into that annual review process, they will become invaluable! They will be a meaningful record of your progress, or your team’s, and can clearly outline performance goals over the next year. In fact, that review time is a great opportunity to refresh your lists! Is it time to swap out one or more of your standouts? Is it time to move down your pareto chart and start focusing in new skills and qualities?

 

In an attempt to do the best he possibly could, Saru laid out a powerful and, honestly, simple framework for you and your teams to boldly go where you’ve been working so hard to get to.

 

<<Hailing Frequencies>>

 

How would you have handled that interaction with Captain Lorca of you were Admiral Cornwell? Have you had a highly skilled person on your team that is toxic to your culture? How did you handle it? Or, even more complex, have you ever had a Burnham on your team? Someone that is wildly high skilled but is perceived by others to be toxic? Let’s talk about it! Join us in the Starfleet Leadership Academy Facebook Group, the link is in the show notes, and share your thoughts and your stories.

 

And you can always hit me up on social media. We’re on Twitter: @ SFLA podcast and you can follow me just about everywhere else, @jefftakin Jeff, t as in Tactical Brilliance, a k i n.

 

Computer, what are we going to watch next time….

 

Season 2, episode 3 of the Next Generation – our first holodeck episode! Elementary, Dear Data. This kicks off a fun, short arc through TNG set in the world of Sherlock Holmes.

 

And, I appreciate all of your support! Visit jeffakin.com to join our mailing list and check out our blog posts and peruse my reading list.

 

 Until then, Ex Astris Scientia!