Many of you have said that all the world-renown coaches, authors, and speakers are great but sometimes it is hard to relate to them. Their ideas and methods are sound but do they work? You’ve longed to hear about a real leader, one who is there with you day-in, and day-out. A leader who is not an “expert” but rather a peer to help you understand truly what is achievable. Well today that is exactly who we have.

Meet Jonathan

Jonathan Audet’s illustrious background in the military is a testament to his invaluable experience in leading and mentoring personnel. Through his roles as a squadron commander at the Royal Military College and deputy commander of a reserve infantry unit, Audet has honed his leadership skills and embraced the challenges that define effective leadership. His commitment to empowering and guiding individuals extends beyond the military, as he now serves part-time in the Canadian Coast Guard, where he continues to make a profound impact as an operational planner.

Timestamped Overview

00:00 Leaders not relatable; importance of relatable figures.

04:01 John Odette, real leader, motivates, coaches, shares experiences.

08:32 Specialized in air defense, transferred to reg force.

11:09 Transitioning from military to new culture challenges.

16:37 Questioning the urgency of a medical evacuation.

19:51 Dislike formal process, prefer live learning opportunities.

23:08 Recognize mistakes, take responsibility, and learn from them.

24:57 Canceled food for exercise causing major mishap.

29:29 Military communication direct, public service more coaching.

33:22 Rapid career advancement in the military discussed.

35:01 Transitioning from military to public service challenges.

37:55 Retaining talent, finding right fit, optimizing roles.

42:01 Recruiting a new person takes six months.

45:07 Coaching success, fun group, helpful leadership conversations.

Guest Resources

Jon has no resources or anything of the kind. But as a member of the Leader Growth Mastermind, even he finds the value in said group.

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The following is an AI generated transcript which should be used for reference purposes only. It has not been verified or edited to reflect what was actually said in the podcast episode. 


Scott McCarthy [00:00:00]:

It’s today on episode 243 of the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast. Today we speak to a real leader. Someone in the trenches, someone on the front lines, someone who’s doing the job just like you. That’s right folks. Today we’re speaking not to a coach, not to an author, but rather one of your colleagues. Are you ready for this? Alright, let’s do it. You welcome one, welcome all to the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast, a weekly podcast series dedicated to helping you hit peak performance across the three domains of leadership. Those being leading yourself, leading your team, and leading your organization.

Scott McCarthy [00:00:48]:

This podcast couples my 20 years of military experience as a senior Canadian Army officer with world class guests to bring you the most complete podcast of leadership going. And for more, feel free to check out our And with that, let’s get to the show. Yes, welcome all and thank you for tuning in to the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast. So great to have you here. And first and foremost, thank you for all you who checked in with me recently. Yes, unfortunately I got off track with my recording schedule. As you know, if this is not your first time listening, this is my side hustle.

Scott McCarthy [00:01:40]:

And sometimes, you know what, real life gets in the way. And as leaders, we need to learn and need to know how to prioritize. And unfortunately, podcast episodes had to take a backseat for a little bit. That’s all right because I’m here. And thank you for those who reached out to me, said, hey, hope all is well, just checking in, see where the next episode is. Well, it’s here ladies. And you know, we got something different. And you, the listeners, have reached out to me and said, hey Scott, these authors are great, these experts are know, but they’re not us.

Scott McCarthy [00:02:21]:

They’re not us who are doing the job day in, day out. And yes, we can take the lessons that they talk about, of course, and apply them and great results and stuff, but we can’t relate to them all the time because they’re not us. They’re not leaders in the trenches, they’re not in there day in, day out. They are authors, they are coaches, they’re out spreading the word of the concepts that they have. And as great as they are sometimes, you know what, it’s just not necessarily the most relatable thing. So this episode is all about that, getting someone who’s relatable for you to listen and talk about the successes, the struggles and the way forward. And that today is my guest, John Odette. And I’ve known John for quite some time, so it was great to actually get to interview a buddy of yours, someone you’ve known.

Scott McCarthy [00:03:22]:

It’s quite different. So anyway, today John and I, we talk a lot, know different things. Obviously it’s about him, of course, his background, what drove him to become a leader in the military. You see, John still serves in the Canadian armed forces, but rather not full time, but part time. He had a lengthy career as a full time member, since transitioned from full time to part time, and now as well, works for the Canadian government, but in the Coast Guard. The Canadian Coast Guard. So he’s a leader over there as well. So that’s what we talk about.

Scott McCarthy [00:04:01]:

We talk about what works in motivating others in achieving the organization’s aim. We talk about how he coaches others right, and how he leverages that to basically lift the team up. We’ve also talked a bit about failures and the lessons he learned and how he’s applying his military experience for the old military listeners out there to his civilian life. And the interesting thing, the biggest leadership challenge he’s currently facing. So that’s today’s episode, ladies and gentlemen. You’ve wanted someone real. Well, you got someone real, and that person is John Odette. So why don’t you sit back, relax, enjoy my conversation with John Odette.

Scott McCarthy [00:04:47]:

All about leading from the trenches. John, my man, welcome to the podcast.

Jonathan Audet [00:05:07]:

Hey. Thanks, Scott.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:09]:

So brought you on the show because what I’m hearing from the audience is, you know, having all these authors, quote unquote, experts, speakers coming on the show all the time is great, but every now and then, people want to hear about from a real person. Real person from the trenches.

Jonathan Audet [00:05:31]:

Person from the trenches. Okay.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:35]:

Hence why I got you.

Jonathan Audet [00:05:37]:

So okay, that explains.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:41]:

You know, there was obviously a hint in there, folks, the real person from the trenches. So, John, before we dive into the show, let’s just give a quick background on yourself so they know who you are, the background you got going on, and the perspective you come from. Let’s start off with that, and then we’ll dive deeper.

Jonathan Audet [00:05:59]:

Yeah, I’ll keep it as short as I can. So. Retired Reg Force Army guy. So retired as major in the Artillery Corps, transferred over into the reserves as a deputy commander of a reserve infantry unit, and about not even a month ago, just took over the reserve artillery unit in the metro region known as Second Field Artillery Regiment. That’s my part time job. That’s the stuff I do for fun, I guess. Like, we were joking around earlier. It’s my hobby is now the army has become my hobby.

Jonathan Audet [00:06:32]:

My full time job is actually I’m an operational planner for the Canadian Coast Guard Central region, which covers Ontario, Quebec, and we run operations in the Arctic during the Arctic icebreaking season. And I do anything usually that’s within the current fiscal year if it has been planned or it’s an additional add on. I’m the guy that looks at all that. So from a military perspective, we call it the J 35. So the 35 planner.

Scott McCarthy [00:07:02]:

That’S the very quick version. Actually, the funny story is actually our actual history of when we first met. Absolutely, John. So John was actually a squadron commander at the Royal Military College when I was a student.

Jonathan Audet [00:07:22]:

I believe you were in your when I showed up last year.

Scott McCarthy [00:07:26]:


Jonathan Audet [00:07:26]:

Your fourth year when I showed up.

Scott McCarthy [00:07:28]:

Yeah, I was in my fourth year. So we go way back.

Jonathan Audet [00:07:32]:

It’s funny how we, like, passed 2005. 2005 is when we met. Yeah.

Scott McCarthy [00:07:38]:

So there we go. Now, just a couple of years, but let’s keep show. But you interested. What got you to become an officer, therefore a leader in the Canadian Air Forces? What was the driver behind you there?

Jonathan Audet [00:07:57]:

I was all of 18, so I’m not sure what the actual at the time what the answer was. I know when I first joined, actually, I initially joined in the reserves back in 98, and the quickest way in the door, not knowing what was going on, was actually to become enlisted in the Air Defense Artillery. And after about six months, I was like, yeah, this enlisted stuff is not for me. I like doing the handswork, but I like being involved in planning. I like decision making. I like that higher level stuff to then get to the execution. So then I quickly transferred. I applied and transferred to the officer corps within the same branch.

Jonathan Audet [00:08:32]:

I stayed within the artillery, specializing in air defense. And then after I finished my university degree, I just transferred over, did what they call a component transfer into the reg force. And then that was 17 years of my life. But when I first did it, I don’t think there was anything other than, oh, officer, NCO, what’s the difference? Oh, my dad was an officer. Let’s go, officer. Honestly, at 18 years old, that probably was what made sense to me at the time. Now I would say it’s just the challenge. There’s so much challenge and the human challenge, everything that comes with it, challenging the organizational, the organization, challenging the individuals, myself and everything, just that whole construct.

Jonathan Audet [00:09:21]:

Sometimes you just don’t know where to go. And that’s what makes it interesting, is having to find that answer. There’s nothing that’s cookie cutter to any of this. There’s the techniques, the theories, this, the that. They’re all great, but they’re all designed and developed in back rooms or something or whatever. And then you get into the leading soldiers, leading people, like, obviously now I do it outside and dealing with non military personnel, and it’s just a different challenge. So every day is a different challenge. You come and try to figure out how to make people go in the direction you need them to go for the organization.

Jonathan Audet [00:09:57]:

I would say sometimes it’s easier in the military because, well, they’re uniformed and they respond a little bit differently. But the bigger challenge has been outside of the military, trying to get people that don’t have that kind of background, that they’re always there because the institution has called them there. They’re there because it’s a job. And I think that’s the more interesting challenge of getting people to move in the direction you need them to move.

Scott McCarthy [00:10:22]:

It’s interesting, you talked about the theories and stuff like this and I often talk about overlays and you got to overlay it to your current situation, see what fits, see what doesn’t fit right? I think that’s a bit of the problem in today’s age is that people want the out of the box per se solution that fits everything. One size fits all. I’m like doesn’t exist in leadership, sorry, just not there. But at the end there you talked about the challenge of motivating people outside of military. I’m interested in your take here of how do we go about doing that? From your perspective, what has worked for you in motivating people to achieve the aim?

Jonathan Audet [00:11:09]:

I would say it hasn’t been easy simply because when I moved over from being military or full time military into a different organization, I’m the outsider. I come in at 40 something years old. Most of these people have been with the same department for quite a while. So a different culture and I show up as an outsider. Some people know me, some people don’t know me. And what I’ve found is trying to lead by example. So if I’m saying I’m going to do it some way or I’m always passing the same message. The example I give for the Coast Guard when I talk to anyone that works for me or when I have a team or when I deal with others, I always say, well, what’s the Coast Guard’s mandate? Where are we going? What does the Coast Guard need to achieve in order to make sure it has success? And that’s how I make decisions and that’s when I make decisions and I pass on decisions to people, I explained it to them that way and I try to stay as consistent as possible so that they understand that I’m not going to flip flop around my decisions because of oh, this or that.

Jonathan Audet [00:12:13]:

Or I try to maintain so like stay the course, maintain. We need the Coast Guard needs to achieve a certain thing. Well, my decisions will all be made, be it good or bad decisions, they’ll all be made. With that in mind, in trying to get to that end state, in our case, I’ll give the example with the Coast Guard is keep the ship sailing. They have to sail. So every decision is made, a budget decision is made with preference of keeping the ship sailing, fixing the ships on time, making sure we have the right crew at the right time. That’s how I do all my decisions and I coach the people that way too. I say like if you’re looking at something, keep that in mind.

Jonathan Audet [00:12:52]:

If you’re going to make a decision, you might have two options, which is the option that is the best suited to keep to achieve the end state that we’re looking for? If one of them clearly doesn’t help it, then it’s a no brainer. Then, if both are there while you try to work with which one is the best at that time, and then therefore you can’t really go wrong. And I also try to make them. I found there’s a bit of people are afraid to make mistakes, whereas I think how we grew up in the military, it’s somewhat encouraged. You have to try, and if you’re going to try, you’re going to make a mistake. Well, that’s the mentality I use, is I bring to the department where I’m at now, is try it. If you’re going to make a mistake, I’d rather you make a mistake trying, and then we can all learn from it and all get better from it rather than not try at all and just let something fester, and then we have to fix it rather than just kind of correct the course.

Scott McCarthy [00:13:46]:

So what I heard from you was you look at the organization’s mission, and you run with that as a guiding principle. Pretty much, right?

Jonathan Audet [00:13:58]:

Pretty much.

Scott McCarthy [00:13:59]:

Which is funny because we were talking about that earlier this evening, were we not?

Jonathan Audet [00:14:04]:

Yeah, we were.

Scott McCarthy [00:14:07]:

We were talking about that during our leader growth mastermind call for the listener out there. Ja’s an active member of the group. So we’re actually talking about mission and vision and values and all those good things and just lined up perfectly, actually. But now, back in line with the interview, though, you said something interesting there, and you said how I coach. This is how I coach. So I want to go down that route because a leader’s role, definitely there’s coaching aspects of it. So outside of that, how do you coach? Do you have a process or some principles? How does John go about coaching people, whether those are subordinates or maybe just other people?

Jonathan Audet [00:14:57]:

You know what? I’m not 100% sure. I definitely don’t have a pattern on this one. It’s more of if I sit in a situation and I see a person, be it a peer, even a little anecdote I can say after. So even a peer, superior or subordinate, another worker, if they’re trying to deal with the situation oftentimes, even if I think I know what the answer is, I won’t give it to them. I will try to have a discussion and work it through and try to get them to get to the solution. Maybe it’s not the one I have in my head, but then it’s not necessarily the one I have in my head is not necessarily the right one either. Come on. I’m an army guy.

Jonathan Audet [00:15:35]:

I know nothing about boats. I know they sit at they float on water. I know they have to do stuff. So I’m not the right guy for boat type answers. But the process to get to an answer, I’ve done it for years. We’re trained, we’ve applied that thought process. The so what the what if. And that’s the example.

Jonathan Audet [00:15:55]:

I’ll try to help them work through it. Or they’ll go through a situation and you can tell they’re not very comfortable with what happened and say, okay, well, let’s sit down, let’s talk about it. Let’s walk through it. What do you think you did right? What do you think you did wrong? What could you have done better? Were you missing information? And I’ll just get people to know that’s the only way I can think about coaching or try to give them different tools or different ways to look at the same situation. We had one come up a while back where one of the captains decided to say they needed, let’s say, a medevac. Well, for you and me, Scott, medevac means something very specific. For some reason there, it didn’t. And even I was confused watching the situation go.

Jonathan Audet [00:16:37]:

And I let it go because I was trying to understand what was going on. And they were coming to me for help and asking me questions because of my military background. They were asking me stuff about airplanes, stuff about this and that, because there was a whole bunch of stuff going on. But the whole time I was trying to dig and go, is this really a medical evacuation? And then at one point, I asked him, I said, okay, if this is this critical, are you willing to cancel something, to redirect an asset, to move this, to do that, to go and save that person’s life? And he said, well, his life’s not in danger. Said, well, then why are we treating this as a medevac? If it’s just he’s hurt, he can stay on the ship, and the ship’s going to hit dock in 48 hours. Why are we rushing to get him off this ship? And they’re like, but we’re not. Then why are we acting like it? And it just kept going. And then after a while, they started realizing they’re like, oh, wait a minute.

Jonathan Audet [00:17:29]:

Maybe it wasn’t as urgent, but they got so wrapped up in the situation that they couldn’t pull themselves away to actually realize that because one person used a word that made it sound critical, it actually wasn’t critical. So I used it as a coaching opportunity because when I realized it, that’s what I did. I was like, okay, let’s use this learning. And I brought it up several times for days after with different people within the watch floor in that organization that were periphery to the incident or that were involved with it, just to get them to think and say, okay, was this the right action? So that’s the way I would say I do it. I just see an opportunity and try to use it. If it can benefit me, if it can benefit the people around me in the organization to better them. That’s what it’s all about, right? I would say when you’re saying leaders, leaders, part of it is training other people. But at some point, in my view, a good leader won’t be afraid of a subordinate that they can train to be a better leader and potentially better than them.

Jonathan Audet [00:18:37]:

Right? Because that’s how you make an organization better. But then again, the organization is I’m just one member of that organization. I’m just trying to make it better wherever I can.

Scott McCarthy [00:18:49]:

No, absolutely. I always look at it as I got to train my guys to replace me one day, and I definitely want them to be better than what I am. So it takes a lot. It takes a lot to drop the ego, per se, and it takes a lot of work. But I like what you talked about, though. It’s like those ad hoc but yet in the moment opportunities. And I think there’s a lot of value in there, and a lot of people don’t place a lot of value on that. They think mentoring and coaching has to be this big formal program, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Scott McCarthy [00:19:28]:

But no, it’s better in the moment. And what I heard from you, what went right? What went wrong, what could we do better? Blah, blah, blah. AAR process. Right? How many times have I talked about that on the podcast? It’s the good old army. AAR. But why? Because it works. It just works, right?

Jonathan Audet [00:19:51]:

I still hate the air process. I hate the formal AR process just because you got to sit down and write the darn thing. But doing it live and seeing someone do something or within a couple of minutes and helping them look and analyze that, it’s like saying the ad hoc just at the moment, seeing it and being able to correct someone sorry, not correct, help them improve. Because I always try to find every learning opportunity, have it like where I am now with the Coast Guard, there’s a watch floor. So I like going in there and taking my years of experience of doing operations and walking in there and seeing how they do it and then trying to help them improve and bring more of a because we’re still building that organization for the Coast Guard. So it’s very young people with not a lot of background in the operations, being asked to be senior duty officers, duty officers, and not necessarily having all that baggage that we do when we put people in those positions. Because usually the junior guy and one of ours is the comms guy who’s just learned how to talk on a radio, but everyone else has five, six years, so many courses before they sit in there and they’re that representative of that branch. Right.

Scott McCarthy [00:21:06]:

Yeah. Getting involved right. In helping develop others, taking your skill sets that might not be even directly related to your current position, but taking your skill sets and helping others grow. I like to change gears a little bit. You obviously got a lot of experience. Your senior officer in Canadian forces still are just quote unquote, part time. Although I hear reservists work more than Reich Force guys sometimes, but I love hearing about the non rosy times and what you can learn. So as a leader, what were some of the big failures? Or if something particular sticks out to you where you’re like, oh, I messed that up as a leader, and what did you learn from it?

Jonathan Audet [00:22:02]:

Yeah, that’s a hard one. That’s a hard one, admitting when you failed. Honestly, I don’t have an exact example to walk through because I find they always help to explain something. But I know a lot of times where I find things didn’t go the way I wanted, didn’t go right, or were usually because I hesitated somewhere. I had that gut feeling where I should have no, I’m being advised about this. I’m being advised about that. You know what? None of it feels right. It doesn’t look right.

Jonathan Audet [00:22:42]:

No. We got to try to do something different. We got to change angles. We got to look at this from a different angle, whatever. And it’s when I didn’t do that, when I had that gut feeling, be it in an HR context where someone was doing something, I was like, we’re looking at promoting him, or we’re looking at moving her forward, and, like, there’s something wrong. I just can’t figure it out. Maybe we need more time. Maybe we need to look at this person longer.

Jonathan Audet [00:23:08]:

We need to figure out why am I not seeing it the same way as everyone else? I think I’ve had it happen once where I just bit my tongue. I let it go, and I regretted it after that because that person got pushed forward too fast and made a couple of mistakes that, had they been held back a little longer or maybe had been coached, mentored a little bit more in that new position, they wouldn’t have hurt themselves. Like I said, it’s hard admitting when you fail. Right. I think it’s an important trait in leadership is being able to say, yeah, my bad on me. I’ll take this. I’ll correct it. I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve always tried to pass on to the people I work with is if you make a mistake, just own up.

Jonathan Audet [00:23:56]:

Own it. Own it. There’ll be a lot less problems. You own it, deal with it, and move forward. I’m just looking at, you know what? This is probably going way back, and it’s a really weird example. You’ll get it, for sure.

Scott McCarthy [00:24:13]:

Let’s hear it.

Jonathan Audet [00:24:14]:

Yeah. Young troop Commander John still in the Reserve, so it’s my first in. So this is prior to five. My troop sergeant major is a reg force guy, reg force warrant officer. My senior sergeant is a reg force guy. And I was lucky. I was a very lucky young officer. I had some strong NCOs that coached me, that tried to help me learn how to work so it would make sense.

Jonathan Audet [00:24:38]:

Still making me in charge. I have decisions to make. The one discussions we always had the standard beans and bullets. Who’s in charge of the beans and bullets? The NCOs. Right. Let them do the beans and bullets and take care of the boys. You do your officer job plan. Do this and that and that, write the documents, so on and so forth.

Jonathan Audet [00:24:57]:

And we were going on an exercise or field training X in one or two days, nothing big. And then something went wrong at one point, and I inadvertently canceled the food, not realizing I’d done it. Yeah, so show up. We start doing our stuff, and then the food’s just not showing up. And then sergeant major just looks at me. He’s like, sir, where the hell’s the food? I’m like, what are you talking about? He goes, you canceled it. I was like, what do you mean I canceled it? And then we went back through everything, and, yeah, I had canceled it. I had no clue.

Jonathan Audet [00:25:30]:

It’s one of those stupid mistakes. And ever since then, I never messed with those things. I learned my lesson. They hounded me for about a year. And actually, one of the senior sergeant when I was a battery commander oh, my Lord. Almost 15 years later, he was my battery sergeant major. And we still had that discussion every now and then. But it’s a stupid example, but I impacted directly my soldiers, and I never forgot just because this is ridiculous.

Jonathan Audet [00:26:02]:

It makes no sense. I was 20 years old. I was like, how can I allow that to happen? How could I have that happen? So I don’t think I’ve had anything that funny. I would say to talk about more modern, but that one stuck with me. I was 20 years old when it happened. I’m freaking almost 44, and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

Scott McCarthy [00:26:26]:

That’s a good example. You canceled the food. Did you guys get food at some point? What happened?

Jonathan Audet [00:26:32]:

Yeah, we got it sorted out, actually. I think the TSM had picked it up early enough, realized I’d done it. Didn’t tell me. As a learning lesson, obviously.

Scott McCarthy [00:26:44]:


Jonathan Audet [00:26:45]:

And then there’s a couple of stories like that where my first TSM picked up on mistakes I made and corrected them, but didn’t tell me.

Scott McCarthy [00:26:53]:

Corrected it?

Jonathan Audet [00:26:55]:

Yeah. Waited for me to learn. It was good. I never held it against them, because you know what? I retain those lessons. It’s interesting, for sure, teaching sometimes.

Scott McCarthy [00:27:06]:

Now you’re a public servant, civilian now. So how have you taken these lessons across the quote unquote bridge, per se, and applying them in your new role? How’s that working out?

Jonathan Audet [00:27:22]:

Honestly, it’s not that hard. Right. Because the principles and the techniques kind of apply. All you got to do is tailor them to that. These are not soldiers. I hate to say it. They’re not people that have signed the dotted line with unlimited liability, right? Like what we’ve done. But it’s the same thing at the end of the day, you just have to be the wording is a bit softer, I guess is the only way to say I can’t get mad, I can’t yell at people, but that’s of there’s more discussions, it’s a lot more patience, I would find.

Jonathan Audet [00:28:00]:

Whereas with the militaries a lot of times, like examples we did a big exercise two weeks ago here in the Montreal region between the military and the Coast Guard. And a couple of times I was there as not as Coast Guard, I was actually there as military. And a couple of times I had to go into call sign eight. So the logistics guys and have a very direct discussion with specific people as they were not delivering what they needed to deliver where it was asked for on time. So we sorted that out. But that same situation with the Coast Guard, it would have to be a much softer discussion, not as direct. And it’s not that bad. You get used to it, honestly.

Jonathan Audet [00:28:39]:

And you just got to try to foresee problems sooner so that you can bring it up faster. And it’s often I hate saying it this way, but you can’t actually go after a person. I think that’s the biggest difference I found with the military. Military I could single out one person, say hey, you made this mistake, you got to fix it right now. And most of the time I found egos don’t get flustered, don’t get ruffled and people carry on so on and so forth. Public service, I have to be much more gentle about it. I can’t speak the same way simply because you can’t be as rough around the edges and the tempo is not as fast. So usually we have more time to fix the issue, to identify the problem for sure on the operational floor if it’s critical.

Jonathan Audet [00:29:29]:

I have seen where it can be pretty direct, but still it’s not. I’ll call it army direct, I guess is the way you can call it. It’s still much more polite and it’s not to say that the military we’re not polite towards each other, it’s just when we’re operational, we’re operational and the focus is very that way. Whereas public service a lot of times is there’s more time available, you can think and it’s a lot more coaching. That’s the one thing I find there’s a lot more ability to coach and mentor and teach people on a day to day basis because we don’t do a lot of oh well, let’s go do a training exercise, let’s go do this over here. We’re in the office all the time so you see the same people and they tend to do the same job over and over and over. Whereas the military, we change all the time. I think I change jobs except for when you’re in command, I change jobs.

Jonathan Audet [00:30:20]:

Almost every year, every second year for 17 years. So I’ve done a lot of jobs. Coast Guard, basically, I’ve been there two years, I’ve on two jobs. But that’s because they brought me in for one thing and said, don’t we need you over here because your strengths are this, we want you over here doing that. But then you have a lot more time. It’s a lot slower paced, at least where I am now. I can’t speak for all departments, I can speak for where I am. It’s the pace.

Jonathan Audet [00:30:47]:

We have time, right? But also I find it takes more time to teach people, to bring them to understand, because it’s the motivation to get them to change. That’s hard. I find us a lot harder because they don’t always have the same mindset, like I said earlier. Whereas I take what’s the mission and what’s the mandate, and that’s what guides my decisions. And if I know we’re not going to achieve it well, we’re going to make changes to try to achieve it well. That Focus Mindset has came over with me, and not everyone’s like that. I would say a large proportion of people aren’t like that. They’re like, hey, it’s my nine to five job.

Jonathan Audet [00:31:25]:

I come in, I do what I got to do. At 05:00, I leave. It’s not done. It’s not done.

Scott McCarthy [00:31:32]:

Yeah, I could see that for sure and feel coming from you. And the coaching thing is definitely interesting, right? Because military is known for leadership development and quote unquote coaching and all this stuff. Whereas, you’re know, you find more opportunities with the Coast Guard right now. Now, with that being said, you’re in operations and stuff. What’s the biggest challenges going on right now from a leadership standpoint? You find this day and age and how are you guys going about tackling it?

Jonathan Audet [00:32:12]:

Um, that’s a hard one, actually, to tell the truth, honestly. I think one of the ones that we see, or that I’ve noticed where I am, is employee turnover. Even in the government. Some people, I’ll say it, I’ve said it to people that were applying for it. Sometimes it’s more about getting your foot in the door and then finding the right fit. And I find that’s what people are having a hard time with is finding the right fit for them so they’ll accept the job. So actually, example I can give is one of the guys that works for me in my reserve unit is a public servant. And we’ve been talking on and off about this and where he is now.

Jonathan Audet [00:32:54]:

He’s like, oh, I’m doing this kind of job. This department is offering me twenty k more for the same kind of job. I’m going to go, he’s gone. He’s been there for about five months and he hates his life. It’s not at all what they said they were going to do. And he’s a hard charger. He wants to work, he wants to do this, and his bosses are micromanaging him now. He’s like, I’m not going to stay here.

Jonathan Audet [00:33:22]:

So he’s hunting for a new job already, and he’s already been there six months. I think you said something right there where you mentioned. In the military, we train our people. So as you come in, you go up, you get leadership training, you get experience, you go up again, you get another set of leadership training, more experience. You go up and you do it throughout, right? And I’ll quantify this is really the army side of the house. The other two elements are a bit different, but from the army, we finish our phase training, we’re put right away as a young officer in charge of troops, and right away you’re faced with a 40 year old warren officer that’s looking at you going, all right, great young guy, what are you going to do? Right? But we do that throughout our entire career in the public service. They don’t do that, right? It’s qualifications, it’s this, it’s that. It is experience, but it doesn’t necessarily mean leadership experience.

Jonathan Audet [00:34:20]:

Whereas us, it’s kind of built into both on the army side and the public service. It isn’t. So we do get people that hit very senior, very important positions. That doesn’t mean they’re bad leaders. They just don’t know how to lead. Some of them could be good leaders with some mentoring and some coaching. There are programs in this public service to get there to do that. But still, you got a guy like you or I that crosses over, and we’re almost an immediate threat because we have so much experience and background for our age compared to a pure public servant, which causes that turnover.

Jonathan Audet [00:35:01]:

I know I’m not actually answering so much to your question. That was my hardest transition point for me, is going from a military that understands when I show up, they see my rank, they see my name, they see my trade, they understand my background, the general background of what I bring as I show up, go to the public service. They have no understanding, and it’s not their fault. It’s a different world. So at 44, I come in with so much job experience, and then you try to get them to understand they’re like, that’s impossible that you’ve done all that, or it’s impossible that you manage such a budget. I’m like, well, no, I was a project officer in DLR. I was managing a $2.5 billion project. There was me and a major.

Jonathan Audet [00:35:46]:

That’s it. That’s almost the entire budget for some departments, and people have a hard time understanding that idea. So now let’s try to take that and use that to not make myself better, but to provide more insight or more help to the department that I’m in now. But I think it’s that turnover part that it’s stabilizing. Now. Maybe it’s because I came over during COVID So that’s also part of the weird transition I transitioned right at the start of COVID So my first two years, I didn’t even go into the office in the Coast Guard. I received my computer by mail. I set it up.

Jonathan Audet [00:36:26]:

I met most people that I work with in the last six months. I’ve started meeting face to face, not just like this on a computer. So that was interesting for two years. So that definitely made transition hard. That definitely made the aspect of coaching and talking to people hard. I’ll have to quantify that maybe what I see is part and parcel due to what we’re living right. The COVID or I think what do we call it? The great resignation. You guys, the term you’ve used a few times.

Scott McCarthy [00:36:57]:

Yeah, great resignation.

Jonathan Audet [00:36:59]:

And it’s hard to get people honestly, we have competitions open constantly to hire people, and I keep telling people, just go, look, sign up. And it’s just hard to get people to do it. It’s unbelievable. We’re short people left, right and center. Maybe our processes could be better, I don’t know. But recruiting and selection is not easy just because you don’t get that right amount of people or people will do it and go, you know what, I’m not interested. No, which is surprising. Why would you go through putting your application in? Doing government applications are pain because you got to do a CV, you got to answer questions.

Jonathan Audet [00:37:40]:

Everything is long winded. And then you do an interview and then you do security check and then your references, and then turn around and say, no, I have a hard time with that one.

Scott McCarthy [00:37:55]:

You said a few things in there, though. Resignation, the great resignation. Getting people, holding on to people, definitely, I would say is one of the top leadership challenge this day and age. But you said something interesting, which I think a lot of people don’t hold enough weight to, and that is getting people in and getting their foot in the door. And we kind of need to look at this a little bit better. So it’s kind of like, oh, a negative connotation, but not necessarily. Let’s get people in, let’s get them to experience the organization and see what they’re good at, what they enjoy and then go, okay, well, you’re obviously not the best fit for my team, but you’re a good person, you’re a good worker, you fit in well with the organizational what are you interested in? Where can we fit you into elsewhere within the organization and use it that way by simply saying, oh, you’re not good fit for my team. And inversely, the members who are people who are applying for these jobs and go, wow, this place sucks.

Scott McCarthy [00:39:02]:

I don’t like my team, I don’t like my job. Well, what else is around there? And enabling that, enabling that kind of flow with internal a bit better, I think is what could help us. Now, obviously, you working with a public servants and me being in military, it’s not easy. So much political red tape or political as in policy red tape to go through, to get through those things. But for a lot of businesses out there, private sector businesses, that stuff doesn’t exist. So for you to leader, they’re listening to this and you have that problem. Have a look at your ability for people to shift amongst jobs and try different things and maybe you got Jim in one job and Jane in another. Jim doesn’t like his and Jane doesn’t like hers, and all of a sudden you flip them and boom, both are happy.

Scott McCarthy [00:39:57]:

Instead you don’t and then you got two vacant.

Jonathan Audet [00:40:04]:

Yeah, no, I would absolutely it’s I think the public service, we’ve gotten a little bit better that we can so there’s a way where you can do I don’t like this job, I’m just going to apply somewhere else. Once you’re in the system, you’re in the system, it’s a lot easier. But even within the system, sometimes it’s very much we need to try. And I know with the teams that I’ve been working with, we do try. When we identify someone’s got a strong potential for leadership, well, we try to do short term little acting jobs and put them in a leadership position and see how well they do. And then there is an attempt to try to do that building that I was talking that doesn’t really exist, but that’s department dependent, team dependent. So I have the advantage. That where I am.

Jonathan Audet [00:40:48]:

There’s a couple of retired military, so retired Air Force, retired Navy, all within the Coast Guard. So we get together and actually, it’s funny. We talk military, but we talk about how we apply within the department, how we can use that and how we can use our people and when we see a strength. So the Watch in the operations center that’s exactly what they do, is they target the strengths of everyone that’s there. And when they have little projects that come up, they ask them. That’s a bit of the difference. You have to ask them if they want to do it versus in the army. We can say, well, here you’re strong there, we’re going to make you do it.

Jonathan Audet [00:41:26]:

Here we go. Hey, we know that’s one of your strengths and something you like. You want to do this as part of your normal daily job. You want to do this little project for us. And most of the time they say yes, and it actually keeps them motivated because then they look for more. But we do that flexibility. But again, this is specific to where I am currently and this organization, the sub organization I’m with, and they’re good at that because there’s a high turnaround there, so a turnover rate. So they’re trying to keep them as long as possible because you’re getting people, you got to train them, prepare them, then they become functional and then they leave.

Jonathan Audet [00:42:01]:

Well that doesn’t really help us, especially that recruiting someone new can be a six month process. Six to eight month process, so that’s how we’ve been doing that. But yeah, what you’re saying is finding get in oh not the right fit. You applied for this job, you got it, but you’re not working. Do we have somewhere instead of wasting that person’s time and the company’s time, can you use them to better affect, to better benefit that person, to better motivate them and then therefore they bring more to the company? A good example of that is one of our members on the Mastermind and everything. I think he’s got a obviously I’m not going to give any details, but he’s got a potential of going to a new company and he’s motivated to progress and he hasn’t even started yet, so I’m just hoping that that company sees that in him when he shows up.

Scott McCarthy [00:42:52]:

Oh I’m sure they will, I’m sure they will.

Jonathan Audet [00:42:57]:

If they don’t see it, they’re blind.

Scott McCarthy [00:42:59]:

Absolutely. I can’t wait. That’s such a huge success story. Yeah, no, and he’s definitely taking advantage of the group for sure. Oh John it’s been great conversation budy as we wind down I got a couple last questions for you. I’m sure as the podcast listener know what they are so final question according to you Jonathan Odette, what makes a great leader?

Jonathan Audet [00:43:26]:

I should have known you were going to ask me that. Could have prepared you know what honestly a great leader is someone that’s not afraid to make a decision, that not afraid to accept responsibility when it goes wrong but also share when it goes right. It’s not all him, all her, it’s the team that helped that person make that decision and put everything forward. I can lead myself every day. It’s not hard, I just got to get up and do something it’s that team and a real leader is at the end of the day if that team can’t follow him and he doesn’t acknowledge that team, I think then you’re not leading right at the end of the day.

Scott McCarthy [00:44:12]:

Couldn’t said it better myself and follow up question always has been shameless plugs but you have nothing to plug. You’re not here at the beginning as I said at the beginning of an episode, this is all about getting perspective from the trenches per se. But if there is something you like to plug or shout out, whatever, feel free. It’s all I guess open mic for you.

Jonathan Audet [00:44:39]:

Like I said, there’s not much for me to plug. I work for two different departments in the federal government. One part time, one full time. And then I guess this is the other hobby is helping you and doing this stuff. Honestly, I would say. With what, for those who are listening, is if you need a place to talk, if you need a place to bounce ideas off the mastermind that Scott’s got going. I’ve been there since the beginning. I help him out as much as I can.

Jonathan Audet [00:45:07]:

Example, we had that one success story. I’m the one who did the coaching with him prior to his just it’s a fantastic little group right now. It’s still a little nucleus, a little tiny group, and it’s good fun. We get some good laughs most of the time, and we get some good ideas going too. I would say that’s anyone that is looking for that kind of conversation, looking for other people in leadership environment to just connect with that’s not necessarily connected to your company, to wherever you work, to bounce ideas off and not feel worried that it’ll come back at you because it’s within the company kind of thing. I think we do that on a weekly basis, honestly, when we get those conversations. There you go. I plugged your stuff.

Jonathan Audet [00:45:51]:

How’s that?

Scott McCarthy [00:45:53]:

That was not a paid advertisement, by the way, ladies and gentlemen. No, but I appreciate the words. No, I appreciate you, man. Thank you again for taking time out. I know you’re, but thanks again.

Jonathan Audet [00:46:09]:

All right, thanks. Have a good night, man. Take care.

Scott McCarthy [00:46:13]:

And that’s a wrap for this episode, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening, thank you for supporting the Peak Performance Leadership podcast. But you know what you could do to truly support the podcast? And no, that’s not leaving a rating and review. It’s simply helping a friend. And that is helping a friend by sharing this episode with them. If you think this would resonate with them and help them elevate their performance level, whether that’s within themselves, their teams, or their organization, so do that. Help me help a friend win win all around. And hey, you look like a great friend at the same time.

Scott McCarthy [00:46:51]:

So just hit that little share button on your app and then feel free to fire this episode to anyone that you feel would benefit from it. Finally, there’s always more there’s always more lessons around being the highest performing leader that you can possibly be, whether that’s for yourself, your team, or your organization. So why don’t you subscribe subscribe to the show via subscribe. Until next time. Lead. Don’t boss. And thanks for coming out. Take care now.

Jonathan Audet [00:47:30]: