Emer Sanabria: Leadership Lessons from a 20-Year Marine

By: Michael Cirillo   |   05 Jan 2023

Emer Sanabria is an accomplished Marine Corps veteran and a highly-successful business leader. His experience both on and off the battlefield has made him a sought-after leadership consultant with a track record for turning stagnant businesses into growth machines. 

What we discuss in this episode

Key takeaway points from the episode:

Involving the team in goal setting is important for strategic planning and ensuring the team is invested in achieving the goals.
Encouraging team members to teach back their understanding of the goals and plans can help ensure they are committed to achieving them.
Maintaining a focus on growth and continuous improvement, both individually and as an organization, is important in the goal-setting process.
Anticipating challenges and having a standard operating procedure in place can help a team navigate difficult situations.
Business leaders should set SMART goals (sustainable, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive) with a focus on growth.
It is okay to feel nervous! But it's also important to use those feelings to guide decision-making and not let them control actions.
Businesses should have a strategic plan in place and be prepared for both defensive and offensive positions in the market.

In this episode, we discuss how to make wise decisions under pressure. Emer shares his thoughts on how business leaders should focus on the excitement of setting smart, sustainable, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-sensitive goals with their organizations. He emphasizes the importance of being excited about growth, even if it may not be big, and of not letting nerves hold you back, but instead using them to guide you toward your goals. 

Emer also shares his experiences from military missions and how they apply to the business world. He talks about being able to make wise decisions under pressure and being able to adapt to new situations. He advises business leaders to be growth-minded and to see challenges as opportunities to get creative.

Emer also discusses the concept of the "leader sets the thermostat," and how the mood and attitude of a leader can have a huge impact on the rest of the team. He confides that feeling nervous as a business leader is normal and that it's OK to have those feelings, but leaders can use them as a guide toward goals. He shares his thoughts on the importance of having a clear vision and being able to execute it, as well as the value of surrounding yourself with a team that you can trust and rely on.

Effective goal setting is essential for any business leader looking to drive growth and success within their organization. One of the key elements of successful goal setting is ensuring that the team is fully involved in the process. By allowing your team to come up with their own goals and plans for achieving them, you create a sense of ownership and accountability that can drive results. To ensure that these goals are achievable, it is important to measure them against your organization's past performance and consider the resources and time available to achieve them. Additionally, it is important to consider the role of ego in the goal-setting process. While it is natural for team members to have a sense of ownership over their ideas, it is important to foster a sense of humility and teamwork within the organization. By mentoring and encouraging team members to work together towards a common goal, leaders can mitigate the negative effects of ego and create a stronger, more cohesive team.

We discussed the importance of having a standard operating procedure (SOP) in place for unexpected events and how it can help an organization to be prepared and respond effectively. Emer expresses concern about how the past few years of stability in the market may have made people soft and worries that this may negatively impact their ability to adapt to the changing landscape in the coming years.

We also touch on the concept of worth, both in terms of what individuals believe they are worth and what a job is worth, and the need to distinguish between the two. He recounts an experience of needing to turn down a contractor who believed they were worth more than the job was worth and emphasizes the importance of being able to adapt to the market and do what is necessary to validate one's worth to an organization.

Overall, this episode highlights the importance of being prepared and adaptable in the face of uncertainty, and the need to be mindful of the value of both individuals and the work they do.

Tune in to this episode to get valuable insights and wisdom from Emer on how to navigate the unpredictable landscape of 2023 and beyond. Whether you're a business leader or just looking for some guidance on how to stay motivated and focused in these uncertain times, this episode is definitely worth a listen!

Listen to the full episode for insights and context from Emer Sanabria!



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