Great time catching up with Colin Ryan CPFC, ACEC and Dr. Gary McGrath, CSP® on Wednesday for a Jeffersonian Lunch.

Our discussion at the Bonefish Grill in Cary centered around leadership and communication. Both are specialties for Gary and Colin.

Dr. Gary has a consultancy called Statarius. The purpose of his leadership programs and coaching is clear, “Turning bad bosses into great leaders with compassionate accountability.”

Colin is focused on working with corporate and collegiate leaders to make them more effective presenters.

I really enjoyed the dialogue. Gary shared a leadership lesson his Dad learned in the US Navy from the legendary Admiral Rickover.

Rickover was a naval pioneer with his work around nuclear submarines. I love this quote from the Admiral, “I did not recruit extraordinary people. I recruited people who had extraordinary potential — and then I trained them.”

This message speaks to both leadership and communication. No one is born a leader or a great presenter. Both are acquired skills. Getting the right training is key.

One last thing for lagniappe. I shared a fun training and development example that was inspired by a trident nuclear submarine. It comes from the software company Evernote and it’s called Officer Training.

Founder and former CEO Phil Libin got the idea from a friend who served on a nuclear sub.

In order to be an officer on one of these submarines, you have to know how to do everyone else’s job. Those skills are repeatedly trained and taught.

In Phil’s words to The New York Times:

“And I remember thinking, ‘That’s really cool.’ So we implemented officer training at Evernote. The program is voluntary. If you sign up, we will randomly assign you to any other meeting. So pretty much anytime I have a meeting with anyone, or anyone else has a meeting with anyone, very often there is somebody else in there from a totally different department who’s in officer training. They’re there to absorb what we’re talking about. They’re not just spectators. They ask questions; they talk. My assistant runs it, and she won’t schedule any individual for more than two extra meetings a week. We don’t want this consuming too much of anybody’s time.”

I think this is a brilliant idea, especially as we navigate this new hybrid workplace. We need to create opportunities for team members to get out of their silos and virtual bubbles.