In this episode, Dave interviews Kyle “Cruiser”
Howlin, a former fighter pilot for the US Marine Corps. He was
part of operation Desert Storm to get Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait
in 1991. The success of Desert Storm relied heavily on the
execution of a plan named Prometheus. At the center of
Prometheus?—a strategy to get every military team and every
military person on-board and in-sync with the mission at hand in
order to execute it successfully. Now Kyle is bringing Prometheus
to the business world to help executives and entrepreneurs to new
levels of high-performance.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
- 00:40 – Kyle’s introduction
- 01:15 – Learn to execute ideas like a fighter pilot
- 02:40 – How the military used Prometheus
- 03:05 – Kyle’s background in different places across the
- 03:50 – Kyle is currently a commercial airline pilot
- 04:20 – The takeoff and landing are reminiscent of the work he
used to do as a fighter pilot.
- 05:10 – Kyle has a typical job as well as an entrepreneurial
- 06:00 – Prometheus as a method of strategic planning
- 06:15 – There are a lot of methods out there
- 06:30 – “I do what I know”
- 07:25 – The military needed to get Saddam Hussein out of
- 08:00 – They needed a plan to work with multiple teams to get
to the same goal
- 08:35 – Colonel John Warden was running the program through the
- 10:15 – Open planning was key, and designed around where, what,
how, and what’s the exit?
- 10:50 – The where: where do we want to be in the future
- 11:30 – If we’re successful, what does it look like?
- 14:00 – What it would be like to use this in a company, to
articulate what would make you successful
- 15:50 – It’s more than one element of a business.
- 15:40 – It’s more than just a number goal, it’s about
establishing a culture of excellence.
- 17:15 – Defining what it looks like if we’re widely successful.
- 17:55 – We break down phases to achieve that success.
- 18:20 – Creating more than a vision—creating a transparent
- 19:05 – A marriage of the complex vision and the new culture of
- 20:05 – It’s hard to execute such tactical strategic planning.
- 20:40 – You have to get out of the day-to-day tasks.
- 21:00 – Clients understand our program when we’re through.
- 21:25 – “There is inherent strength in the diversity of
- 22:05 – How Dave and his company went through the process in
- 23:55 – Managing vs. leading
- 24:15 – The key of the Prometheus process is to break down the
goal into systems.
- 24:50 – Looking at “centers of gravity” that will help you get
to your vision.
- 25:30 – The five areas of centers of gravity
- 26:30 – How will we apply our resources?
- 26:46 – Executing in parallel
- 27:03 – Identifying people in the organization
- 27:20 – A straightforward framework and a plan
- 28:10 – Your plans always seem the best… until you show them to
- 29:55 – Everyone in the company has to row together.
- 30:40 – Aligning the team so that everyone is working toward
the better culture and success.
- 31:20 – The philosophy seems obvious, but so many companies
have goals that are not assisting that ultimate goal.
- 32:45 – Some things may seem to generate value on the surface,
but they really don’t.
- 33:15 – Leadership is critical.
- 33:40 – “Red Teaming”
- 34:16 – You need a straightforward, repeatable process.
- 35:08 – The Red Team gives you a chance to solve potential
problems before executing a plan.
- 35:40 – Utilize Red Teaming in your company.
- 36:35 – Using phrases like “Did you consider…” and “In my
- 37:15 – Identifying problem areas before they ever occur.
- 38:00 – Being a little embarrassed vs. going live with some
idea and having flaws come up
- 38:40 – Always plan to debrief.
- 39:00 – Taking time to assess your performance as a team
- 41:00 – Debriefing should happen much more than just when
something goes wrong.
- 41:30 – The Blue Angels and their debrief process
- 41:55 – A team of seven
- 42:20 – They look at “incremental improvement.”
- 42:40 – They may look perfect from the ground, but they know
that they are never really perfect.
- 43:08 – Every person will admit mistakes, and then they’ll talk
as a group.
- 43:25 – Establishing a culture of excellence.
- 43:45 – How they all end their comments in the debrief.
- 43:55 – Blue Angels Debrief on YouTube
- 44:45 – They spend more time in the debrief than they do
- 45:10 – It’s not another meeting.
- 45:25 – Excellence is a habit.
- 45:45 – A story of when Kyle was a flight instructor.
- 46:20 – He had to get them through a “low-altitude”
- 47:00 – He went up on an advanced flight, toward the end of
- 48:05 – He and a student were flying two planes.
- 48:55 – They had to fly the planes down and into a target
- 50:30 – The nose dropped on the other plane.
- 51:10 – He called them to eject and nothing happened.
- 51:35 – Kyle now has to do a search and rescue. The plane
crashed, and he thinks they are both dead.
- 52:20 – He heard a voice on the radio, and he found out they
- 52:45 – A bird had come through the wind shield and knocked out
- 53:35 – There were minimal injuries.
- 54:20 – As they landed in a yard in North Carolina, the man of
the house came out with a shotgun.
- 55:30 – It was all because of open planning and briefing that
they survived that experience.
- 56:10 – This strategic planning is a BIG project.
- 56:30 – These projects require great focus.
- 57:25 – “You get what you tolerate.”
- 57:50 – Leaders need to think about where they want to get
their organization in the next few years.
- 58:20 – What makes a high-performing team.
- 58:40 – The keys to leadership
- 59:25 – The last question, an exit
- 59:50 – A plan to exit if something does not work.
- 01:00:45 – Why doesn’t it work to just create a new mission,
vision, and values?
- 01:01:04 – A cultural issue starts with the leaders
- 01:02:35 – Get input from your team.
- 01:02:45 – Empowering people instead of micromanaging
- 01:03:00 – Give people the resources to be successful, and hold
- 01:04:00 – Let the team make decisions for the company
- 01:04:15 – The best leaders “get comfortable being
- 01:04:45 – A culture of learning foundations a culture of
- 01:05:40 – It’s exciting to be a part of that experience.
- 01:06:20 – Dave closes this interview
- 01:07:03 – http://www.thecorpsgroup.com/
3 Key Points:
- Utilize Red Teaming in your company.
- Always plan a debrief, even if everything goes well.
- A culture of learning is the foundation for a culture of
- thecorpsgroup.com –
Get in touch with Kyle to use his Prometheus strategic planning
Show Notes provided by Mallard