Episode 4: Be Obsessed

by | Sep 2, 2020 | 2 comments

Lean Leadership for Ops Managers

Episode 4: Be Obsessed

Be Obsessed - about leadership and lean

I want you to think about one thing you are absolutely obsessed with. 

It could be anything from a fitness routine to a sports team, but I want you to hone in on your excitement and passion. Obsessions like this fuel us. You can hear it in our voices when we’re talking about it. We go to great lengths. We invest – time and energy and money on our obsessions. Now imagine what it would feel like to be obsessed with leadership.

In Episode 4, I share with you my love of mystery solving and together we’ll explore how to apply that same curiosity to the Transformation Trinity and your Lean journey. Investing in yourself to become a better leader – to purposefully develop – to try new things – to fall down and get back up – it’s hard. And there are going to be times when you feel like giving up. 

That’s why it’s so important for us to Be Obsessed.

This podcast is designed for leaders in ops management who’ve had some targeted success with Lean, but haven’t yet built the everybody-everywhere-everyday improvement culture they crave. In each episode, I’ll bring my experience – good, bad, and ugly- as a Fortune 100 ops executive to the table. I’ll teach you how to engage your team, develop a Lean culture, and still get your day job done.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • That crazy thing I did on my 40th birthday and other fun obsessions
  • Why obsession energy is important and the relationship it has with your everyday leadership
  • How you can be obsessed about leadership and Lean


Take Action:

  1. Comment on my LinkedIn posts and tell me what it is (outside of work) that you’re obsessed with these days. 
  2. Share what parts of leadership you’re obsessed with. 
  3. Start sharing with others in your network – your team, your peers, your leader, what it is about leadership that you’re obsessed with. Talk about it. Get excited. Share it. Celebrate when it happens. And use that as fuel for yourself.

Mentions & Features in this Episode:


Welcome to Lean Leadership for Ops Managers, the podcast for leaders in Ops Management who want to spark improvement, foster engagement, and boost problem solving – AND still get their day job done. Here’s your host, Leadership Trainer, Lean Enthusiast, and Spy Thriller Junkie, Jamie V. Parker.

Hello, hello Ops Managers. So I’ve got a question for you. What have you been absolutely obsessed with lately? Not something you like, something you love. Something you can’t stop talking about. My friend Susan is obsessed with Peloton. She talks about it constantly, her favorite rides and her favorite instructors and playlists and how much she’s dripping with sweat after her rides and all of the milestones she’s hitting. She is so pumped about the way she talks about it. There are probably 50 people who bought one because of her, no joke.

My friend Liz is obsessed with the Denver Broncos and I don’t mean just a super fan. I mean, I love the Denver Broncos but mostly I love the experience of going to games, and Liz and I actually go to games together every year. But Liz, she takes it to a whole new level. She takes it to an obsession level. She knows it all. All the stats, all the news, all the gossip, all the strategy. It’s awesome because when I feel my excitement for the Broncos football start to wane, I know I can go see Liz and her excitement becomes contagious and I am all pumped up again.

Now you see, I have a thing for spy thrillers and murder mysteries and crime solving. I mean, if you scroll through my Netflix, you know, all the things I might like and the suggestions, it’s pretty much all one genre. I guess basically, if there is a murder board with red string, I’m pretty happy. And clearly the Facebook algorithms know this too because a year ago, I was scrolling and found my next obsession. It’s called Hunt a Killer. Have you heard of this? Oh, my gosh, Facebook algorithm got me and I love it. So basically, it’s a murder mystery subscription box. So there’s a murder and it takes about six months so I think most of them are six months long and you get one box every month for six months, and you are playing detective. So in your box, you will get some clues and evidence. So you might get some physical evidence or maybe it’s the autopsy report or maybe it’s video surveillance or maybe it’s witness statements. It’s all of the things that as an investigator you’re uncovering, and over the course of these six boxes, you get closer and closer. You start to rule people out and get closer and closer to making a decision about who you think is the killer. It is awesome. I am so obsessed with this, this is what I did on my 40th birthday last year.

My girlfriends and I, we got together, we went to a hotel, we hung out by the pool, right? We went to this little resort and we spent the day at the pool, we went to dinner, and that night, we were in three different hotel rooms, but we all came together in my room and literally did this. I mean, I carried a tripod and a big piece of cardboard into the hotel room so that we could start making our murder board. Then we carried it over to my basement because, of course, we didn’t solve it in one night although I think we did stay up until about 2 am doing two of the boxes.

So now what we do is we actually get together in my basement. I have two murder boards set up, I’ve got flip charts, I’ve got red string, I’ve got all the things, and it is an absolute blast. Even when the pandemic hit and we couldn’t get together in my basement, we kept doing it but I would just take pictures of everything and put it onto a Google Drive and then we’d get together on Zoom and do it. So I’m pretty excited now that we’re getting close to being able to start doing this on a smaller scale, but I love it. I’m absolutely obsessed. In the last year, I have done three of them, and we’re getting ready to start our fourth. I could just go on forever and ever and ever. It’s really cool because you don’t really know the answer and going through all the stuff and sifting through it, you have to do a lot of reading and you got to work together and you say, “Hey, what did you–? Oh wait, I heard that. No, you heard you read that. Well, how does this connect?” Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

You see, here’s the thing I want you to know, obsessions like this fuel us. You can hear it in our voices when we’re talking about it. We go to great lengths, we invest, we invest time, we invest energy, we invest money on our obsessions, and we should be obsessed about leadership too. I mean, of course, we’re not going to be obsessed about every part of leadership in our management roles. You know, I’m not really a fan of expense reports. I actually kind of hate them, but I do them because it comes with the territory. Managing the performance discipline process isn’t my favorite part of leadership and management. I’ve honed my skill to be effective and compassionate, but I’m not obsessed about it, and that’s okay because there are some parts that I am absolutely obsessed with.

I love the challenge part of leadership. When I help leaders move outside of their comfort zone to stretch and to learn and to grow, I love it, When I have a leader that I’m working with, and they’re like, “Oh, no, I can’t do that. Oh, yeah, no, I can’t do that” it’s so cool because I get to believe in them even before they believe in themselves. I get to watch them do it as they develop pride, as they start to feel good and they say, “Wow”, because now they’re doing things they never thought they could do. I am obsessed with helping to connect dots for leaders, to bring in this piece of Lean with this piece of human psychology combined with this specific leadership skill over here, combined with some random story about an ex-boyfriend, and put those together in a way where leaders experience a grand aha. The things that they were reading and hearing and watching, yeah, they could see them and okay, they get it, except that now I’ve connected the dots for them in ways that they didn’t see before. Now It becomes more meaningful, so much fun.

I can spend hours, I can get carried away with it. I’ll get started and next thing I know, it’s two o’clock in the morning and I had no idea that much time passed as I’m putting together programs. You see, investing in yourself to become a better leader, to purposely develop, to try new things, to fall down and get back up, it’s hard and there are going to be times when you feel like giving up. There are going to be times when you just want to just go with the flow. There are going to be times when you don’t want to put in the type of effort that it takes. That’s why it’s so important to figure out what it is about leadership that you’re obsessed with, and then remind yourself of that often. Talk about it with your team and your peers and your leader, write about it, share it, do it, and then you’re going to get as pumped up about it as Liz is when she’s talking about the Denver Broncos, and it’s going to feel your journey.

I mean, think about it. Think about someone that you’ve had a conversation with and they are talking about something they’re obsessed with. Think about how it changes their mood. This is important and I want you to take action. This week, there are actually three things I want you to do. First, you are going to comment. So you can do this, you can go to ProcessPlusResults.com/podcast, and go to episode four and you can scroll down and go to the comments there. Or I’m going to be posting about this on LinkedIn and posing these questions too, so you can comment there. So I want you to comment and tell me what it is outside of work that you are obsessed with these days. I mean, really obsessed with and yes, I really want to know because I need to know all the things. I need to know all the things out there that I haven’t heard of and I don’t know about and I should be exploring. Please help fuel my obsessions too.

I also want you to comment and share what parts of leadership you’re obsessed with. The parts that light you up and turn you on and fuel you. The parts that changed your mood, the parts that helped carry you through the harder times. It’s not just a “why” and a purpose. Yes, you’re obsessed about your “why” and you’re obsessed about your purpose, but it doesn’t always have to be that deep. It might be something that’s not quite as deep as that and that’s awesome. So you’re going to comment on what it is you’re obsessed with outside of work, then you’re going to comment about what it is about leadership that you’re obsessed with.

Then action number three is I want you to start sharing with others in your network, with your team, with your peers, with your leader, with your family. What is it about leadership that you’re obsessed with? Talk about it, get excited, share it, celebrate when it happens, and use that as fuel for yourself because we can use obsession to fuel effective leadership.

So this is your week. Dive in, let’s get to it and remember, business is personal, and leadership is a relationship.
You’ve been listening to Lean Leadership for Ops Managers with me, your host, Jamie V. Parker. For more information about me and how we can work together, head on over to ProcessPlusResults.com. To help more leaders like you discover the podcast, give us a rating and review, and to make sure you never miss an episode, hit that subscribe button wherever you like to listen to your podcasts.

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  1. David Schwnt

    Personal obsessions: Minecraft, TED Talks and anything Simon Sinek.
    Leadership obsessions: Standard work, working myself out of a job and elevating wins of those on my team.

    • Jamie Parker

      I Love These!


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Meet Jamie

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I’m a recovering Command-and-Control Manager who’s now on a mission to make the world of work more human. With a soft spot in my heart for Ops Managers, you’ll get the straight talk combining Lean, Leadership, and the real challenges of operations management.




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