Leveling Up You Leadership with Kevin Basik

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Kevin Basik is passionate about leadership and character development.

In this conversation we got to do a deep dive into topics like values how an organization builds culture.  And so much more.

I even shared my family’s personal mantras as an example of how we do this in the family setting.

Kevin knows his stuff!

He’s the Director of the National Medal of Honor Institute, committed to inspiring Americans at all levels to recognize the hero within them, and to live and lead with character.  

He is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, and served 24 years in the Air Force helping develop leaders of character everywhere from entry level programs to with senior leaders in the Pentagon.  

He received his PhD in Organizational Behavior and is a thought-leader and in-demand speaker in the area of Behavioral Integrity as a driver of trust, accountability and performance. 

His passion is inviting others to join him on the journey of “crossing the gap” — moment-by-moment — to live and lead in alignment with our values.

Dan’s Family Mantras:

We team Cumberland believe in each other.

We know that God is with us and for us, 

and we are with each other and for each other.

When one of us wins, we all win.

We are kind, brave, & honest.

We know that everything is figure-out-able, and that small actions add up to big things.

When we fail, we try again.

When hard things happen, we choose how we respond.

We don’t take ourselves too seriously.  

We laugh and have fun.

We walk together.

And we give mom and dad all the peanut butter candy.

We love life.  

We love others.  

And we love our team.

Watch out world, here we come.

Listen in here:

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Resources Mentioned:

Kevin’s Company

MOHMuseum’s Facebook

Software Generated Transcription:

Dan: Kevin, welcome to The Meaning Movement Podcast. I’m just so excited to have you here with us.

Dr. Kevin: Well, thanks Dan. I appreciate this. I’ve been, uh, listening in on, on a number of your podcasts and I get, I get fired up, I get energized and I get nourished, so thank it’s, it’s an honor to be a part of this. Thank you for that.

Dan: That’s so awesome. Thank you so much for that. That’s, that’s, I love, I love that, uh, that it’s been helpful for you. The question I’d like to start with is how do you begin to talk about the work that you do?

Dr. Kevin: Oh, wow. I, I love to basically share with people that I help individuals and organizations get armed to live and lead with character. It’s, it’s, I’m gonna focus on leadership, but you don’t have to be in a formal leadership role. To lead and influence people. And the way it keeps showing up for me is you’re gonna be tested, the test is showing up.

So what can I do to help invite you to the journey I’m on, just as a dude trying to get it right, as a husband, as a dad, as a, as a leader, as a business leader, um, I’m inviting you to that journey. And I think there are some things that can help as we try and live and lead with character. So that’s where I typically go, and then we start the journey.

Dan: I love it, and I love, I don’t, for whatever reason, just, just the fact that you invite people, that word just kind of stood out to me. Like, I love, I love that it’s an invitation, right? That you’re not forcing it on any, anybody, but you’re opening the door and saying, there’s more here. There’s something, there’s something for everyone, so let’s, let’s explore together, which I think is just a really beautiful

Dr. Kevin: Yeah, and if I’m the sage on the stage, that is not the case. Uh, we are all on our own journey, but there’s certain handholds, there’s certain way points that we can learn from each other. But, uh, if nothing else, I can share some lessons from the path I’ve walked so far that might help you on your path. So it’s, as a good friend of mine, Carrie Granger says, mountain with no top, but by, yeah, this is a mountain worth climbing.

So we’re all on the.

Dan: That’s a beautiful metaphor. I love that. Well, just to double click on that, that word of, of journeys in your journey, I’d love to just kind of hear how, how’d you get here? Like what, what, and I mean, I know, I know some of the, just the very high level, but I’d love for you to share, you know, some of your, you know, major, the major twists and turns along the way that’s brought you to, to where you are today.

Dr. Kevin: You bet. So I’m the youngest of six kids. I’m the, I’m the baby of six. So one girl, five boys, and if anybody’s the baby of a large family, you sort of get introduced into human dynamics pretty quickly. Um, so, but I grew up, um, I got introduced to the military honestly through, through my older brothers who followed that path.

And I, I followed some of their steps. And came in through the Air Force Academy. And I will tell you this, anytime you come into any military branch, you’re gonna go through a bootcamp. And the Air Force Academy has something called basic training. And rule number one is don’t do anything to draw attention to yourself in any bootcamp.

Right. Well, in basic training, everyone is referred to as Basic Smith, or Basic Jones is, or Basic Taylor. My last name is basic, so I was basic, basic at a time that you don’t want any attention. So, uh, anyway, entered through the Air Force Academy. Um, I, I really bought into the leadership development side of things.

I was a behavioral science major. Human factors Engineering is what the degree that I got. Um, and I just dug that and went in the Air Force and was just blessed. They, a lot of opportunities they gave me to come back and teach leadership at the Air Force Academy. I taught at the Citadel Perry University, a number of places.

And along that journey I got some nerdy academic coverage too. I got a master’s in industrial and organizational Psychology. Okay. Um, focused on small team leadership and later a PhD in organizational behavior. That that’s a, that’s a management degree. It’s a college of business. But, um, I knew my follow on assignment after that degree was to go back to the Air Force’s Center for character and leadership development, and I dig the values based leadership thing. You know, I’ve seen just the power of that when people are paying attention to it and the cost when people are. So on that journey, I got to sort of operate at all different levels. My last assignment was at the Pentagon, try working with senior, senior leaders at the Pentagon to help foster the identity of commitment and, and the, the, the professional identity. You know, what is it that causes people to do the right thing and how do we prevent ’em from doing the wrong thing, um, and buy into what we’re trying to be about. So that, that’s why values coming to life and all that is, so, I. So I got out of the Air Force, um, after 24 years, and I had been going around speaking and sharing and teaching on these, these values based principles.

And a lot of people said, Hey dude, we don’t mind if you’re in uniform or outta uniform. Would you come and continue to talk to us? So I started my own company, basic Insight, to just do that again, to invite people on the journey to live and lead with character. And after about five years, I got tapped on the shoulder to help with an just something with an amazing mission.

And I find myself now in the role of the director of the new National Medal of. Institute, so it think Leadership Institute, but, but it’s leadership, it’s character development. For youth, it’s thought leadership in the areas of the virtues associated with the Medal of Honor. So I, I’m, I’m there. We’re just creating that structure and that vision, and we take the powerful stories of the Medal of Honor and we create two bridges.

The first bridge. What virtues are evident and obvious there. It’s courage and commitment and passion and sacrifice and re resilience and all that. And then the second bridge is how can that apply in my, my life? How do I take that? Cause I’m not gonna be in the Afghanistan, I’m not gonna be leading a, a trooper battalion, but man, I’m going through a battle in my own life with my teenage kids or my, you know, my relationship here or trying to start up this company or pivot in this direction.

Maybe just, maybe there’s something we can borrow from those stories. And apply into our life. So that’s the journey I’m on right now.

Dan: I love it, man. What a what, what a journey. Um, and so many, so many things. I think I wanna just kind of touch on and maybe just kind of fill out the picture a little bit cuz the things that we’re talking about, I think you and I can agree, like we know, like there are really important ideas of, you know, character and integrity and, but.

When I look at, you know, the, just the high level of, of what, what you were doing in, in, throughout your career really focused on that. Like what does that look like on the day, the day to day? Like how do you, how do you work with an organization? I guess maybe just to, to give like, fill out the picture of like some of the different roles that you had within the Air Force where you were, you know, focused on these, these concepts.

Like what does, how does. Like, how does, what’s the, what’s the downstream effect like, like what are you doing on a day to day basis? What, like, how, how does it play out?

Dr. Kevin: Yeah, so, you know, day to day basis in some of the roles, it was how do we create experiences, immersive workshops and, and programs and, and opportunities to connect people with, here’s your wheelhouse with what matters to them, what’s driving them, what are you aiming at? And you know, when we talk about.

Certain professions or communities of honor, you say, Hey, if you wanna be a part of this, here’s what we’re up to. Here’s what matters. So part of the day to day was to connect with people and go, let’s ground ourselves. What is your stand? What do you stand for? What do you stand from? And let’s get clear on that.

Because you, as a leader, your job is to bring that to life, is to demonstrate you’re actually serious. By how you’re living, how what you’re reinforcing, what you’re holding people accountable to. Um, so the first stop in that is what is the sort of the north star or the point that you stand from, and then what are the obstacles in our organization, in our relationships, in our life that make that hard?

You know, I know you’ve talked in the past about, you know, uh, fear, you know, failure, um, insecurity, mindset. So we’re gonna meet you in those places as well, because those can be some of the obstacles that cause us to drift from who we’re trying to be as a company, as a family, as a father. Um, but if you don’t know what that starting point is, that’s key.

So we start there. So a lot of workshops, activities, um, coaching conversations, coaching programs, and at, you know, at the Air Force Academy, you’ve got students. So you’re trying to engage them and the faculty to get that. Later on at the Pentagon level, it’s going out and meeting people in their organizations and going, all right, let’s meet with the frontline folks.

And we’re gonna talk about, you know, the, the usual cast of characters. We’re gonna talk about trust, we’re gonna talk about psychological safety. Uh, we’re gonna talk about, uh, you know, walking the values we espouse, um, and what happens when we don’t. And language that gets into our. That can pull us toward or move us away from who we’re trying to be.

So it’s really foster and reflection conversations, clarity and things like that. So that’s day to day. You know, sometimes I’m the office, sometimes I’m out on the road. Sometimes we’re doing workshops or programs or conferences and that sort of thing.

Dan: Sounds like, sounds like fun, sounds like just a lot of, you know, very dynamic and, um, engaging, you know, uh, roles that you’ve been in, which is just, you know, it, it it fun, fun. Just like, that’s just how I feel, like as I think about it. Like that’s just like, just sounds like the, like just every day sounds like, just like, like just a joy, which is, I’m

sure it

Dr. Kevin: tell you.

Dan: sounds along the way,

Dr. Kevin: Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s that sometimes people either don’t quite get it or resonate or sometimes maybe I miss the mark and there’s that whole thing. But my, my going in point in almost every conversation is, I promise this will be relevant to you. There’s no way it can’t be relevant because you get to lay this over the top of your own life and go, Hey, with regard to, you know, creating trust.

Maybe that person there is going, it’s in my relationship with my mother-in-law. This person over here is going, I’m the brand new leader in this team and I’ve gotta create trust there. Somebody else is going, I got it, I got, I inherited a broken organization and I’ve gotta rebuild trust. So the same topics, you just get to plug into what it looks like in your life.

And I love that because man, again, I learn how to do it, you know, in my own life by listening to other people struggle through their battle.

Dan: I love it. I love it. How much of your work, um, with, with your speaking is focused on military folk and, and, um, how much is, you know, outside, you know, business and, you know, the civilian, civilian audiences?

Dr. Kevin: Yeah. So now when I’m, you know, in this new role with the Medal of Honor Institute,

Dan: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: The, the stories are all military because it’s the, the nation’s highest honor for valor and combat. But what we wanna do is invite folks. I think we’ve absolutely hit the mark. If the major, a lot of the people in our programs have no background in the military.

Dan: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: invite folks there. We wanna engage with K through 12 kids out across America that aren’t in the military, may have no exposure to the military these days. They probably. So rewind the clock just a little bit. When I was just in business for myself, I would say about 70% of my clients were were military.

And I’d speak to Special forces and I speak to the the new one Star Generals in the Air Force. So I have these recurring sort of programs I get invited to speak in, but now in this, in the middle of honor institute, blue sky, man, we want everybody to show up and explore this with us and together.

And we’re just happen to be pulling out military stories to advance and here’s what we want. We wanna inspire, we wanna equip, and we wanna connect people around these virtues as they go off into life. That’s the goal.

Dan: I love it. I love it. And then just related to that, I’m curious how much the audience, um, like when I think of, of, you know, all the, your experience of, especially at the academy and, and military, like you’re a part of, you know, if, if from, from the outsider, right? So like, one of the biggest, most organized and structured machines in the world.

Um, And then like from the outside, it’s like that, it feels like such a different, such a different life. Um, as, as a civilian and may, that may or may not be true, but I’m curious how much, how much do you have to tailor the message to the audience and how, how different is, like, how, how different do, do folks relate to, to the content as civilians versus as people who have, you know,

been there and who have living in that real structured like Yeah, just a different mindset.

I think that comes.

Dr. Kevin: Yeah, so the lens we’re gonna enter through is gonna be in in leadership. All right, so you’re in a leadership role and what matters there, and here’s what what I found. It doesn’t matter who’s in the room, whether we’ve got senior leaders, cor CEOs and corporate leaders, or we’ve got military leaders, or we’ve got special forces folks all the way down the organiz. For leadership to be effective, you gotta have certain things and, and they keep bubbling up. Here’s one of the questions I ask in almost all my workshops is, um, and people go on their phones. We use this tool so their phones can be a voting tool, so it goes up anonymously on the big screen. And I go, all right, here’s the deal.

What’s the rest of the sentence for you? If you are going to successfully lead me, you had better. If you’re gonna lead somebody as as impressive as me, cuz I got other options, but you wanna pull it off with me, here’s what you better get, right? I don’t need the list, but what’s at the top of your mind today? And the same thing’s heat bubbling up. There’s about five buckets that just consistently show up. And I will tell you this, the top three buckets happen to all relate to trust, but in order, the third most common response is people go, if you’re gonna lead me, you better be. You better know what you need to know for your job and be a, a student of your craft.

Don’t tell me your master of your craft. You’re always a student of your craft. But part of confidence or competence is also you need to be competent to make the call that falls to you. Make the decision and own it. Blame is never a leadership virtue. Um, there’s competence in, um, obviously job execution, but also competence in communication.

If you know how to do your job, but you can’t articulate where we’re going or what the vision is, that’s gonna frustrate the heck outta me. That’s the third most common response. Second most common response is, if you’re gonna lead me, you would better demonstrate you care about me and the people on this team.

You know? So that’s why you said vulnerability, that that helps with me. Concluding that you care when you know me and know my story when you are willing to be vulnerable and. You may have gotten it wrong or you don’t know, or you’re sorry, man, that’s a strength builder in this relationship. And people go, oh, the leaders in my life who I think just crushed it and got it right.

They were sincere, they were authentic, they were imperfect, and they were okay with that. And they allowed me to be imperfect. So that’s second most common thing. Again, no matter who I’m talking to, the number one most common and most important thing people say is, if you’re gonna lead me, you would better lead by. You show me what right looks like, because I’m gonna hold you up to the standard. You’re espousing the standard, you’re holding me to the values and virtues. You’re kind of are signed based on the role you’re in. Hey, you know, you’re my boss. You shouldn’t talk like that. You know, even though you didn’t say that was part of your value set, dude, that should be.

So I’m gonna hold you against that. And if you are out of integrity with. There’s a bill and that’s where my heart, early on in my, my dissertation and all that, this idea of behavioral integrity just became the goggles I couldn’t take off.

Dan: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: polluted with the importance of that in my own life and watching other people, cuz that is the fast track to getting it right or wrong to with leadership.

Dan: Mm. And so when you say behavior, behavioral integrity, I think of that like as, you know, the opposite, well, not the opposite. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s what you’re talking about there. Leading by example. I would define behavior. Behavioral integrity as, as living in the way that, uh, is an alignment with who you say you are and the way that you say you, you want to be living.

Is that how you define it or do you have a different working definition? What are.

Dr. Kevin: So I got lit up on this when I was in my, my PhD program cuz there was a great researcher out of, uh, Cornell named, uh, Tony Simons. And he’s first sort of operationalize this idea and said, you know, when people look at their leader, they’re gonna ascribe this, this value. Am I seeing a consist a pattern of alignment between your words and your actions.

The espoused values and, and the actual actions promise made is, promise kept, all those things. But what, how it really lands for me and where I like to go in my conversation with it, is the behavioral thing brings up from this big, you know, broad brush stroke of you either have integrity or you don’t.

It’s just an inherent, come on man. It’s, it’s a moment to moment.

Dan: Yes.

Dr. Kevin: of us have had moments where we’ve just been off the bubble on our diet, our faith, our, our standards and all that. So in the moment, that’s why I like to conceptualize behavioral integrity is it’s the moment to moment ta test, how you doing?

Cause in this moment you said this was important to you. In this moment I’m paying attention to whether it looks like it or not.

And if you are out of integrity with your kids, for example, you say, I wanna be as a dad, I wanna be somebody who’s. And engaged. I wanna be a dad who’s, who’s patient. Well, Lord knows you’re a good dude, and I’m sure you’re patient a lot of times, but there are times when you’re not. And in those moments, when you are out of integrity with that commitment in your heart to those little people, there’s, there’s a bill. You know, this, this moment, I, it bothers me because I know I’m better than that. And I know there’s a consequence when I drift from who I’m. So the, to me, behavioral integrity is just that moment to moment test you gotta keep paying attention to.

And Tony Simons has done the research to go, let me show you, you know, in a, in a quantified measure, in an organization, you know, on a five point scale, when people look at their boss and they, they, if you can move that needle on perceived behavioral integrity and eighth of a point on a five point scale, it ended up translating to a quarter million dollars in profit, in this case, per hotel per.

Just that little shift

Dan: Wow.

Dr. Kevin: you that much benefit. But brother, that little shift in the negative direction buckle up because there’s a bill coming the other direction. So it works in our relationships too.

Dan: That’s so good. So good. And just I think translating it to. To me as a dad. I mean that’s, you know, like we were talking about before I hit the record buttons very much my reality of a, you know, six and a half, four and two year old. And, uh, I do try to be a, you know, to be a good dad, a patient dad, a kind, loving, but then there are times when I yell at my kids and when I lose it and

I say things that I regret and yeah.

And like.

Dr. Kevin: So am I.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. And so I guess what I was saying is like, that’s, that’s where like, that really, that example just really took it down a layer, right? Like from a conversation here, like, oh yeah, this feels, this, this feels like, I feel this in my gut, like that, that I, I need this. I’m curious. So what are the, what are the, um, The tools that you offer for like, okay, I can see where I’m out of alignment.

I can see where, you know, I don’t yell at my kids all the time, but there are times when I lose my temper and, you know, and it happens more often than I want it to. Um, and so just use that as the example now than what.

Dr. Kevin: Yeah. So you, this is a great point and this is where the, the what moves to the so what to the now what Absolutely. One of the techniques, I’ll give you one example of, of a technique that, that absolutely has powerful impact on my life and I share with other people is this thing called an ease drop. Okay.

And it’s really just a reflection of a letter. Over the course of my whole career, I’ve sat down when, whenever I make. Big transition moves. It doesn’t have to be, but I sit down and I’ll write a letter to myself. And some of it is just reflecting. Okay, so I’ve just finished that season of my life. I’m about to start a new one, but what’s my takeaway from this last season?

So there’s some reflection. I noticed I’m good at this. Ooh, I notice I don’t do this very well, or I consistently keep making this mistake, and I gotta, I don’t like that. So I’ve gotta, I gotta take a stand from that. I gotta commit to not that, in addition to leveraging my strengths. So in the Srop letter, there’s some, some just sort of assessment in inventory.

But then the, the actual srop portion acknowledges that we have seasons in our life. Man, you’re in a season right now. It’s a window. And, and what your kids and your wife, and your podcast listeners, and your team, what they need from you in this season is different than what the next season will hold.

Right? So you gotta meet them there and feed them what they’re hungry for. All right, well, there’s value in going all right in the season. What are they hungry? Your wife needs you to listen a certain way and be present a certain way and be involved a certain way that may be different than when you guys were movie Wes, right?

So what what’s important is to say, okay, in this season, let me identify who are the key stakeholders. Can be actual individuals, can be groups of people. Um, and you say, all right, in the next one to two years, They’re gonna conclude something about how I did in this season, interacting with them. So you break this season up into specific relationships, you know, audiences or stakeholders, and then identify what do they need, what are they hungry for?

And in that process, what do I tend to screw up in this relationship? I wanna shine a light on that and go, I gotta be better than that to get this right. And the reason it’s called an S drop is I have the format I use. Um, very sort of, uh, conversational. You’re ea dropping in on the them at the end of the two years.

Dan: I love

Dr. Kevin: If as if they didn’t know you were listening and they’re saying, somebody said, oh, Dan’s your husband. So what’s that like? And your wife

Dan: Good.

Dr. Kevin: oh, seriously, let me tell you. And I’m gonna, what’s then here’s the question. What’s the Hall of Fame quote? You would love her to hear, hear, love to hear her say.

She didn’t know you were less. And you gotta unpack that. You know, it usually starts the, the technique is, it usually starts with the bumper sticker just to get the juices flowing. It’s one of those big, hairy, audacious phrases you want your wife to say. We’ve never been so in love, and I think other wives are jealous of the guy I got.

I mean, okay, so that’s bold. That’s you just sort of

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: the, all right, so then the question. What must you have done in order for her to say that, and now you start to unpack it? Man, he, he listens to me. He squints with his ears. He listens to me with his whole heart, and I so appreciate that. All right.

Guess what brother? You’re now on the hook for listening to her and being present in a, in a non-judgemental way, or else she never says that. Now she says the way he contributes to this family, the way he makes me feel, and, okay. You know what’s important to. So for you to put that out there and put it in her language, it would bother you if she chose not to say that, wouldn’t it?

Dan: Mm.

Dr. Kevin: so then, you know, so I’ve got one of these just paragraphs for each one. I’ve

Dan: I love.

Dr. Kevin: like, my, my mom and dad are going through a journey right now. Um, my dad’s in memory care. My mom and dad been married 65 years. Their relationship is, is my mom’s whole identity. So my mom’s still, you know, present, but my dad’s, we we’re lo we’re losing. Well in this season, what does it look like for me to get it right with the two of them, especially her, how do I honor their relationship them? What is she hungry for? So I spend some time unpacking that, and now as I fly down there in a week and a half, it’s the test. I mean, it’s the test now on how I call her and how I can, you know, engage her.

So this is a technique, it’s simp. Define the season by the relationships and what they need from the leader in you. And then it’s a moment to moment test as to whether you bring that to life.

Dan: I love that it’s such a powerful tool to like, you know, take it out of, I don’t know, out of, out of, out of the present and into, into a, you know, a, um, creative exercise. And then also that it’s not, you know, a conversation that you’re having, but you’re overhearing, like kind of takes it out of, out of yourself.

Right. And, um,

Dr. Kevin: So it’s aspirational, but there’s still a fence around it. It’s not, you’re not writing your obituary because I got the rest of my life to be that guy. Right. So it’s, it’s in the season we’re in right now, how you play in this. And as a father of teenagers, one of the things in there is I want my daughters at the end of our this season to say he focused on what was right more than what was. that’s in there because I tend to screw that one up and I don’t wanna be that guy. And I see the consequence, I see it in their eyes when I go straight toward the, the what’s not right in this. And I haven’t even celebrated all the goodness that they brought to the table. So it’s a kick in the go when you’re out of integrity in this moment.

But, but when you are, it doesn’t make you bad person. It just means you got a choice. You, you can either let it ride or you fight like hell to get back into integrity.

Dan: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Kevin: Keep on moving. Another test is coming.

Dan: well, I think it brings an exercise like that brings, I think it brings into focus these things that we, we think and, and we, I think especially feel, but we haven’t necessarily taken the time and space to articulate and puts it into words that then we can, once it’s in words, like we’re more accountable to it and can interact with it more.

But then it also just brings so much more intention, uh, and focus. You know, the time that we, that we have and, and the actions that we take in the present. Just, you know,

Dr. Kevin: Yeah. Right now. This

Dan: yeah. With your daughters or, you know, going and, and visiting your, your parents, like you show up differently because you’ve done that work of like pre pre visioning, if that’s a, if that’s a word, how you want it to go and what you want the outcomes to be.

Um, so I think it’s just a, yeah. A beautiful, um, process that you’re, that you’re inviting people to. I’m curious. How often, like how often should, should folks be engaging in an exercise like that?

Dr. Kevin: it feels like when, when the, the season has shifted a little bit, maybe, maybe one is consistent, so you’re that audience. I mean, my wife is obviously always gonna be a sort of a stakeholder in the audience, but when things have shifted, And, you know, a daughter moves outta the house and goes to college.

Okay. What does that look like? Or she’s, she’s no longer working for that company. She’s working from home and, and our relationship we’re, we’re in each other’s chili a little bit more. So it seems like anytime one of the relationship shifts, it’s worth going, right? What’s the target that I’m aiming at as a person now? And here’s the key. You want an accountability exercise. Once you write that out and go, these are, these are who matter. These are the people that matter to me. Here’s who I’m trying to be. share that with those people.

Dan: hmm.

Dr. Kevin: It’s interesting because when I go, this

Dan: That’s sounds scary.

Dr. Kevin: for you. First of all, here’s who I’m trying to be for all these other people.

If you can help me with any of this, I love it cuz this is what I’m trying to be. But is this, does this matter to you? And in some cases though, like you’re putting more emphasis on that. I’ll tell you what matters even more is that little thing you got there. So you know, it, it, you, you wanna meet ’em where they’re.

But it’s a moment to moment thing. And uh, even with the Medal of Honor exploration, it simply reminds us that even ordinary people in the moment can do extraordinary things.

Dan: Mm.

Dr. Kevin: wanna be extraordinary for these people in our lives. So we’ve got, you know, we got proof that it is possible to do something like that.

And face fear. Lord knows I’m facing fear in my normal. . So, uh, I got pushed through the fear to be who I’m trying to be

Dan: Yeah,

Dr. Kevin: maybe other people can help me with that.

Dan: I love it. I love it. And I think that, um, I mean, what, just show sharing that with people, like, it feels, it feels vulnerable, it feels a little bit scary, but also like, just as a whole nother layer of, you know, I, I wanna say accuracy, I don’t know if that’s the right word, but like, make making sure that your goals for your, your relationship are in alignment with, you know, with the, the other stakeholders, with the other, the, the people that you’re, you’re, you’re thinking about.

Um, and, and bringing intentionality to those, to those relationship, which I think

Dr. Kevin: It also brings up a whole nother level of, of accountability is now you, you put it out. And I invite CEOs. Here’s a technique I do with CEOs. I say, all right, um, think of, we’re just, I’m gonna give you one of your audiences, okay? Your audience is your frontline staff, your your senior staff that you are leading.

And if you don’t get that right, it’s gonna trickle down through the organization. So that’s your audience. What two words? Let’s just make it two words. What two words Capture the spirit of how you want to be seen as having lived and. That. Okay. So they spend some time thinking about it, and it might be the word champion.

I want that, or I want, um, uh, elevated. They come up with some good words. Okay, now turn to the person next to you and explain to them what you mean by that, and the spirit of it. And it looks like what? So they get fired up by that. These two words for my team. That’s how I want them to see. See me? I brought this up.

Now I say, all right, now grab your phones and take a picture of your post-it note.

Dan: Mm.

Dr. Kevin: Take picture. I say, text this to whoever orchestrates your staff meetings and say, just make this the first slide of my next staff meeting. And all of a sudden they’re like, wait, wait, what? And I’m like, Hey, you just said this is who you’re trying to be for them.

So here’s how this goes. It’s this simple. Staff meeting starts and you go, Hey, we had this guy come in and we talked to explore with. You know, the, the impact that we’re trying to make as leaders, these two words are what I’d love to bring to life in what we got going on here. These are the two words, and I say, you gotta spend about 20 minute or 20 seconds on each one going, here’s what I mean by that word,

and I’m trying to bring this out.

Okay. Back to our staff meeting. Click. That’s all I have to, it’ll take you about maybe a minute and a half. But as soon as you hit click and move on to your staff meeting, everybody in that room is gonna go, all right, let’s see. tell you, I wouldn’t use that word right now. You know, it is now game on.

And it is your opportunity as a leader to bring that to life moment by moment based on how you live and lead and interact with them. So it’s a, it’s an accountability. Woo. You know, super

Dan: So good. I love it. I love it. My family, um, with my kids, we, we have this, we call ’em our family mantras. It’s just like, um, a handful of things that we, like my wife and I have talked about, we’ve written these out, like that we aspire to be as a family and we, we say them together like, you know, call and response periodically.

Um, and I’ve always, in my mind, that’s been about. Teaching, teaching our kids, building our culture as a family. Um, but I think like having this conversation has really added another layer to me. Like it’s really also accountability to me and my kids and, um, you know, for, for me to live into not just who I’m asking them to be, but also for, for, for how I’m showing.

With them, which I think is, you know, not an aspect of it that I’ve really thought about as much as more of like, you know, the direction that I’m, I’m, I’m hoping they’re gonna grow, but it’s also like, this is, this is a call to action for me and a call to accountability for me.

Dr. Kevin: you, you, you’re hitting on a big deal here. The idea, the power of a battle cry, d DJ and I, he calls it a war. I call it a battle cry. There’s these mantras and they show up sometimes as wrist tattoos and, and, And phrases people go back to because they energize us or they, they orient us or give us some guidance.

Guidance into tough moments. Would you give what, what are, gimme an example of one of your mantras for your

Dan: Yeah, I was just, I was like, I should just, I should just pull it up. Um, I, I could just read it. That feels,

Dr. Kevin: Yeah. Gimme

Dan: vulnerable, but

Dr. Kevin: This’ll help


Dan: It’s, it’s, it’s like, you know, maybe it’s like five, six sentences. It says, we team Cumberland believe in each other. We know that God is with us in for us, and we are with each other and for each other.

When one of us wins, we all win. We are kind, brave, and honest. We know that everything is figure outable and that small actions add up to big things. When we fail, we try again. Man, I get emotional about

Dr. Kevin: Yeah, see, hey, there’s a reason for that. Keep going.

Dan: yeah. When hard things happen, we choose how we respond. We don’t take ourselves too seriously.

We laugh and have fun. , we walk together. This is a line that we always change and usually say something funny. Right now it’s written, uh, we, we give mom and dad all the, all the peanut butter candy. Um, which is just a fun, it’s usually just some funny reference to something that’s happened recently. We love life, we love others, and we love our.

Um, and then always at that point we’d look at each other and say We love our team. Um, and then the last line is, watch out world. Here we come.

Dr. Kevin: Oh my gosh. What are gifts you’ve given your kids and your family and what that is? That’s your stand. I mean, that’s you saying, right? It looks like this now when we aren’t kind to each other. When we do keep the peanut butter candy to ourselves, when we do that, we’re out of integrity with what we said.

We’re not bad people, but we’re better than that. Or we’re, we know what we’re aiming at here. First of all, Dan, if that’s not posted on your website someplace,

Dan: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: wrong because that’s a gift to model what you’re doing in your family and to go, you know, Oh, this is, I’m so glad we’re talking about this.

The fact that you just shared that with me and all the people who listen to this, you know what can, what happens? People will now rally around you and they’ll go, okay, I get you now, man. I get you. And as a matter of fact, I’ve, I’ve wanted to do that too, and I’ve found something that helps. So let me offer this to you.

You have now a tribe of people who can help you be what you just said. You wanna.

Dan: I love

Dr. Kevin: And those battle cries are great and sometimes people will go, I love that. Here’s how it showed up. Same concept in my life. And as you move into a new season, guess what you’re gonna do? You’re gonna shift those, your mantras a little bit.

And maybe when the teenage years show up, you adopt. One of the ones Jen and I have used just in little, little moments was, we’re gonna love our way through. And you know, if it’s, if we don’t know, if it feels like we’re swinging in the dark sometimes or something’s not working, here’s what we know. We’re gonna love our way through this.

We’re never gonna parent into anger, and we’re gonna love our way through this. Um, and it, it’s that deep. We can connect the dots easily to some of the things in your life, but the season just shifts and says, here’s what it looks like now. So you, you get it, you see it and you know that the reason you get emotion. Is because you want it so bad, man. You want to be that and you want that for them,

Dan: Yes. So much. Yeah, so much. Yeah. Mm. Yeah. I get all, all the feelings. Um, yeah. Such, this is just such good stuff. Um, I feel like, and yeah, I mean, for people listening, um, I mean, one, one thing I, I, I guess I wanna say to listeners is, you know, I offer, offer my, my, you know, attempt at at a, at a family mantra, as, you know, as a starting place for, if that resonates with, with folks that are listening, take that and run with it.

I’ll, I’ll post it. I’ll post it in the show notes. Um,

Dr. Kevin: I will tell you this, Dan, to go back to your first question though.

Dan: Yeah,

Dr. Kevin: People in the military will appreciate your mantra as much as people in the corporate world

Dan: yeah.

Dr. Kevin: human beings show up and go. I needed what you just offered me, so please put that out there. It’s a

Dan: Yeah. Yeah. Well, I’m curious if you have, have anything else, you know, for people that are listening and maybe responding to this, this concept, like where do they start in like, thinking about these, these ideas? And I think, I mean, I think your, your srop exercise I think is a really, I would, you know, say that that’s, You know, probably the, the best starting place, but I’m curious if there’s more that you would add just even as a, like, just real, you know, moment of application or, or giving, giving some homework.

Like someone who’s listening to this can go, can be like, okay, I’m gonna hit the pause button, or after this, this interview wraps up and I’m gonna go, you know, get out a pen and paper and do something about it.

Dr. Kevin: Yeah, so let’s just connect the dots back to what we’ve talked about so far is, um, pick sort of a, a context in your life. Okay. With regard to my work team, with regard to my family, or just myself and my faith and my health or whatever. What do I stand from and what do I stand for? Just to distinguish that and a stand from.

Can be, what do I need to let go of? What do I need to stop giving energy to in my life? What do I need to commit to not doing anymore? It’s maybe part of a habit, so to say. I know I’d be a better version of myself if I, if I recommitted to this and if I deliberately stood from this. That can add some clarity for folks and then the testable moments show up a little bit clearer and you’ve got some strength.

So the stand for stand from approach is helpful. Uh, another thing ironically, dude, you te this up beautifully, is just visit some of the battle cries in your life, the mantras that you go to that give you strength, that, that remind you of what’s important, that help keep you, keep things in perspective or give you resilience.

Sometimes capturing those, you realize there’s themes in here. Control what you can control. Maybe I need to remind myself of that because I get so anxious about stuff and I, I’m trying to grab onto things that are outside my, my purview. But sometimes mantras remind us to take inventory. The blessings we’ve gotten.

The resources we’ve got around us we’re not using, which is contributing the anxiety. Um, and if you share some of your mantras, it’s amazing how many people go, Ooh, I got one for you. This is, it’s on posted on my refrigerator. Which usually means you got a good one there. Um, you know, we do hard things.

That’s Brene Brown, her family says that. And man, I know you get that cuz that’s basically one of your mantra.

So, um, you can borrow these battle cries. You can share them, you can shape them, but they exist for a reason. And it’s because human beings need to tap into those to help guide them. So go to mantras, identify your stand, and then be aware of the testable moments where you gotta prove, you say, this is important to you.

Prove it.

Dan: Show. Mm. So good. Thank you for that. And I hope people listening, um, well, we’ll take that to heart and, and spend some time on that. I would love to hear from listeners, you know, I wanna hear your, your mantras. If you’re, if you’re listening and this is, you know, responding your, your battle cry, like what are those words that you come back to with a phrase, the word.

Whatever it looks like. So, you know, go to our show notes and post ’em there. Or, or reach out to, to me and, and Kevin on, on social media. We’ll have links, you know, everything in the, in, in the show notes. But, um, I would love, you know, to take this conversation, keep this conversation going with, with our listeners just to, just to see, cuz I’m, I’m sure there’s things that people are thinking about that.

I would say here and say, yes, I wanna add that. I wanna add that in to, to what I say with my family and what I do with my family and who I, who I’m, I’m, I’m trying to be. And so, um, yeah. I,

Dr. Kevin: And it helps people in the topics that you talk about in your. Help me with courage, help me with focus. Help me with that. So, I mean, I heard a great one. You know, when, when it’s this bad, you can either be bitter or be better. I mean, that’s just reminds us, we’ve got a choice on our attitude. So yeah, fill the show notes.

And again, those are gifts that you give to each other.

Dan: I love it. I love it. Well, this has just been so much fun. I feel like it feel like this time’s gone by so fast and I I, I’m so sad that we’re at this point, but, but, but we are coming up on, on, on time and, um, this again is just one of these conversations. I feel like we could just. Just keep, keep going indefinitely.

It’s just, I think there’s so much, so much camaraderie, so much, um, similarity in, in the way we, we think about, think about these things. So thank you for sharing it with me, with listeners. I know that, um, everyone listening will, um, you know, take it so much to heart, you know, in, in this. And so, um, thank you.

It’s, it’s a

Dr. Kevin: Well, hey, this means, this means a lot to me, so thanks for sharing what you shared. I mean, your, your mantras. I, I look forward to rereading them on your website.

Dan: Thank you so much. For folks that want to connect with you or follow along with your work, is there anything you’d like to invite people to?

Dr. Kevin: Well, first of all, I invite people to just keep an eye on the National Medal of Honor Museum, which is sort of one of the main elements of what we’re doing, the National Medal of Honor Museum. It’s an amazing experience there. And then as part of that, the National Medal of Honor Institute. Is profiled inside the museum website, so just keep an eye honest there and see opportunities will be posted stuff as well.

I’ve got a YouTube page. Uh, just Kevin Basic, just b a s i k. And I’ve got some YouTube small videos and things like that that might trigger some ideas and thoughts about living, uh, in alignment with your values and commitments. Uh, and then please reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’d love to keep the conversation going.

There’s even a cool LinkedIn group that I chair, which is, uh, the Courage Forum, and we just sort of explore the virtue of courage because courage is every virtue at its testing point and it’s at that gap. You’re either in or out of integrity with what you’re trying to be. On the other side of the.

Dan: So good. I love it. I’ll make sure to link up to, you know, to your site, to the national medal, uh, of honor, um, museum website, um, and everything in, in into your LinkedIn as well. And the show notes. Is the museum, is the museum open? I wasn’t sure when I, um, it looked like from the website that it, it’s in concept mode, but maybe it’s hasn’t


Dr. Kevin: the ground has been broken. Matter of fact, this morning they, they poured the first huge footer for this amazing structure. But the museum has, AMA has phenomenal resources in there to just sort of get you exploring. But one of the tabs inside the museum website is the institute, and it too is growing and changing.

But, uh, we’d love for you to join us on that journey. It’s scheduled, the museum scheduled to open up in 2024, but we’re already, this November, we’re doing our first leadership development program through the institute.

Dan: So awesome. Well, it looks like just really exciting and important work, and so really excited, um, yeah, that you’re a part of it. Excited to, to, you know, point, point people in that direction. So thank you again, Kevin, for coming on the show and, um, just been just a really great conversation.

Dr. Kevin: Well, thanks for having me. And, and thank you for what you do for people. You, you put some good stuff out there that they can, they can leverage to be better, so thank you.

Dan: Thanks. Really appreciate that.

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