You’re Probably Doing 1:1’s Wrong, DNA Testing A New Frontier For Leadership Optimisation & Vale Charlie Munger
3 December 2023 Newsletter
“Without Warren Buffett being a continuous learning machine, the record would’ve been absolutely impossible. The same is true at lower walks of life. I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent. But they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than when they got up, and boy does that habit help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.” Charlie Munger 1924-2023
Hope you’re Thriving!
It’s been a productive week with four leadership team workshops and several meetings. I hope your week has been productive as well.
Sadly, this week the world lost a legend in Berkshire Hathaway vice president and Warren Buffet’s right-hand man Charlie Munger.
Vale Charlie Munger
A billionaire, polymath, philanthropist, and teacher, Munger was a lawyer by training and an investor by choice and passion. At the world-renowned Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meetings, Munger was the joke-cracking wise guy at the front of the room—probably one of the wisest people in the room, yet humble to the core.
Back in 1953, when Munger was just 29, his life took a tough turn. He got divorced, lost his home, and had to face the judgmental views (about divorce) of society. On top of that, his 8-year-old son, Teddy, got sick with an incurable form of cancer. With no help from medical insurance, Munger paid for everything to help his son.
Every day, Munger would visit Teddy in the hospital, and the pain was so great that he would walk the streets crying. Sadly, Teddy passed away at the age of 9. Munger was left broke, divorced, and without his child. Most people would’ve given up or turned to bad things like alcohol or drugs, but not Munger.
Fast forward to when he was 52, a surgery went wrong, and he lost sight in one eye. The doctors said he might go completely blind one day. Now, Munger loved reading, but with the possibility of losing his sight, instead of giving up, he said, “It’s time for me to learn braille!”
What’s so amazing about Munger is that he didn’t let all the tough stuff in life bring him down. He kept learning, adapting, and facing challenges head-on. His actions showed that sometimes, the strongest people aren’t the loudest or the smartest; they’re the ones who keep going no matter what.
Charlie Munger on self-pity:
“Generally speaking, envy, resentment, revenge, and self-pity are disastrous modes of thought. Self-pity gets pretty close to paranoia… Every time you find your drifting into self-pity, I don’t care what the cause, your child could be dying from cancer, self-pity is not going to improve the situation. It’s a ridiculous way to behave. Life will have terrible blows, horrible blows, unfair blows, it doesn’t matter. Some people recover and others don’t. There I think the attitude of Epictetus is the best. He thought that every mischance in life was an opportunity to behave well. Every mischance in life was an opportunity to learn something and that your duty was not to be immersed in self-pity, but to utilize the terrible blow in a constructive fashion. That is a very good idea.”
Charlie Munger on learning:
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads and how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.”
“You don’t have to be brilliant, only a little bit wiser than the other guys, on average, for a long, long time.”
You’re Probably Doing 1:1’s Wrong
If you’re a leader who needs to hold a 1:1 meeting with a team member who reports to you, the job of the 1:1 isn’t to discuss projects; it’s to discuss people issues.
Consider the purpose of each structured meeting.
Annual off site – Strategic Thinking
Quarterly off site – Execution Planning
Monthly – Deep Execution Review
Weekly – Shallow Execution Review
Daily – Synchronise
And so, the valuable 1:1 time shouldn’t be used for project updates. That’s the purpose of either project meetings or weekly meetings.
Instead, consider the leader as a coach concept. The job of the leader is to coach and grow team members. If all you’re talking about during 1:1’s is projects then there’s no time for coaching.
Here are a few topics to consider for your 1:1 meetings:
• What’s preventing you from doing your job better?
• Progress from the last performance review
• Career ambition and goals
• Areas you’re stuck
• What should you stop doing?
DNA Testing A New Frontier For Leadership Optimisation
This week I came across an article about DNA testing for optimal health span that I thought you’d be interested in.
When it comes to health and longevity, the technological advances in the past few years have been remarkable. So much so that Dr Peter Attia, author of the book Outlive, the Science and Art of Longevity calls the new industry Medicine 3.0 because up until recently we could only treat illness (Medicine 2.0).
In contrast, now we have the technology to largely prevent illness. Back in March this year, I described Peter’s book as one of the best books I’ve read.
As I’ve been on this journey undertaking DNA testing and building a plan to maximise health span, I’ve also related this to several CEOs I work with who’ve subsequently undertaken testing and planning, and some even for their team members. It’s an interesting thought experiment that we may build a team of A players, but helping them achieve an optimal health state now and moving forward actually optimises the entire team’s performance and pays immense dividends.
In my experience, the leadership teams who’ve embraced this have also substantially improved their cohesion.
The article below includes references the person I’ve used and we don’t get any commission or benefit. I just felt you would gain value from the read. If you’d like an introduction, please contact me.