What is the one piece of advice does an Apache helicopter pilot has for you? FIND OUT on C-Level

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What is the one piece of advice does an Apache helicopter pilot has for you? FIND OUT on C-Level

- So Lucas tell me, if you were to give one piece of advice to somebody in leadership what would it be?

- Well I'll tell ya I got a great piece of advice a long long time ago from one of the greatest people in the world, my mother. And a that advice was what's the worst thing can happen, they're gonna say no. And so have the courage to go out and ask. Have the to go out and fight. Cause what's the worst thing they're gonna say? No.

- No. _ On this episode of C LEVEL, I meet help with Lieutenant Colonel Lucas Rice Executive Vice President and COO of LDX solutions.

- So Lucas tell me a little bit about your story. How'd you get started? Where you're from?

- Sure yeah, I originally from Cleveland, Ohio. Grew up there playing soccer.

- Indians fan? Of course.

- There you go.

- Indians and Browns.

- Right okay. In reality is I'm just happy when they win anything.

- Right, right, right? We're on a roll right now so it's good.

- Yeah well my Giants aren't doing to well.

- Well that's good. Cause we've had plenty of our own you know loses.

- Yeah.

- But born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio all my family and friends are still there. Grew up playing soccer was fortunate enough to be on a club team. That I got to travel the world playing soccer. And so it exposed exposed me to more than just Cleveland.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- And so I realized and wanting to go to college I wanted to go something a little bit further than right next door. So I ended up actually at the United States Military Academy at West Point. I was recruited to play soccer there. And not your normal school.

- [Inteviewer] Yeah. It wasn't exactly the party atmosphere that you see here.

- Was soccer with what you wanted, you wanted to be a pro soccer player one day? Or what is it?

- No I enjoyed playing. I still play till this day

- [Inteviewer] Yeah. in an old man soccer league.

- [Inteviewer] Yeah.

- But no I love the game. I guess I got pretty good at it. And so when it came, when West Point came to me it really turned the tide for me. That it became a sport I could continue to play, but I was going to West Point because of the leadership. The leadership model, the leadership experience that really is. You know folks talk about masters, talk about what their degrees are in. I've got an Aerospace Engineering Degree, but I went to school for leadership.

- [Interviewer] Yeah. It really is a leadership laboratory. And so that's what truly drew me to it.

- [Interviewer] Yeah.

- It was going to the leadership side. So following that of course I had a military obligation. So I did 10 years active duty service.

- [Interviewer] Yep.

- As a helicopter pilot, I was fortunate enough to pick up Aviation. So I was H64 Apache Helicopter Pilot.

- Wow. Spent several rotations through the states. Fort Rucker, Alabama where we training on Aviation. Fort Campbell, Kentucky was there with 101st Aviation. And then over seas so two years in Korea. And then came back to Fort Rucker and realized it at some point need to start a family. My wife's a West Point graduate also.

- [Interviewer] Yeah

- So at that point we realized that we crossed paths too many times. We literally at one point crossed in the air. I was coming back from a deployment.

- [Inteviewer] Yeah.

- And she was going to the deployment and we waved.

- Yeah, love at first sight?

- Yeah exactly.

- As we crossed paths.

- So we decided to get out and ended up moving here to Atlanta.

- [Interviewer] Yeah.

- Started working in a corporate world for GE Energy through their Junior Officer Leadership Program. Really exposed a lot of different corporate concepts and really a lot of learning. At that point I was 10 years in theory behind my normal college peers.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- But I had the leadership side and so it was really just rounding the edges and getting me up to speed. And so I you know been out of active duty now for about 14 years. And I have been moving around in the corporate world. Currently work for an air pollution control company. International company that we do great things by cleaning up the air. If you have large process, mining, steel mills, we clean that air before it goes up to stack.

- What was it like making that transition from the military to you know civilian business.

- Yeah terrifying.

- Yeah?

- Terrifying.

- Yeah. With that first day I walked into GE ENERGY, I didn't know what I was getting into. I was able to fool somebody enough in an interview that they believed in me.

- There you go.

- But the reality was I really didn't know what I was getting into. The fortunate thing again, going back to the leadership side is the military instills in you flexibility. You know you've got a mission to do but you don't know all the ingredients. I had moved probably six or seven times. So going into a new role

- [Interviewer] Yeah. was normal.

- Right.

- It was just a different capacity.

- Yeah.

- I think in the leadership side in the corporate world, I think too often folks get marred down in what current role is. And when they get moved into that next position.

- Yeah. They're very comfortable where they came from.

- Yup.

- And they keep doing what they did before.

- Fore Right.

- And you've got to realize that you're always gotta be looking and working towards that next oppourtunity.

- Challenging.

- Yeah. Challenging yourself.

- And challenge yourself.

- And also give the people behind you the opportunity to grow.

- Right.

- Right?

- And so when I transitioned out and through GE it took a couple weeks of you know, what am I really doing?

- And am I in the right place? Fortunately the leadership program that I went through was set up for that. We did three eight month rotations, so I got exposure to multiple businesses. And after that two year program moved into a the black belt role that you hear of with GE. And then that kinda put me on the path that kinda caught me up if you will.

- [Interviewer] Yeah.

- But I was bringing along with me this skillset of leadership that's really worked for.

- I you know and I think that's, I grew up in a public school you know.

- Yeah. And like it was you know structure, structure, structure.

- Sure.

- But there was no leadership training.

- Right.

- And like in my opionion you know I think leadership training is something so key to someone's development. Even whether you're, you want to be a CEO or Entrepreneur. Even just you know working for a corporation. Having those skills, having those certain sets of leadership skills it just, it makes you so much more of an effective even an employee you know and in life. You know just navigating things. So it's great that you learn, you know you got in and you got those leadership skills right early on.

- Yeah absolutely. You know obviously in the military side mission is everything.

- [Interviewer] Right. Right. You have to accomplish the mission. And I think that gets lost in translation to the corporate side. Folks know what they're supposed to do, they know where they wanna go, but they don't have that success or failure. you know gut that tells them I'm gonna knock down doors, I'm gonna you know run through people.

- [Interviewer] Right

- To get this mission accomplished.

- Right.

- You gotta soften on the corporate side.

- Right.

- But you still have to have that burn and that drive.

- Right.

- And I think that former military bring that to not only you know C Suite and the leadership roles, but you got lots of experienced military throughout your ranks.

- [Interviewer] Yeah.

- That are hungry for more.

- [Interviewer] Yeah. That's what we do. We want more, put more on my back.

- [Interviewer] Yeah.

- Put me out front I'm gonna lead.

- [Interviewer] Yeah. And translating that into the corporate world I think is where you start to see this the diamonds really surface.

- You know, one of the biggest things that I absolutley love about the structure the military is that we reward those that are willing to sacrifice themselves for somebody else's glory, for somebody else's success. Where as sometimes in the business world, you've got these business owners that want their employees to sacrifice everybody else for their success.

- Right. And it's backwards.

- It sure is.

- It's backwards. Yeah it's a different mentality and I every time I take on a new role, I tell my team my job is to get in the way when the proverbial crap starts rolling downhill.

- [Interviewer] Right. It's my job to get in the way.

- [Interviewer] Yeah. To protect them and shield them from that.

- [Interviewer] Yeah. So if you have a customer that's angry.

- [Interviewer] Yup. If you have a product that doesn't work for some reason.

- [Interviewer] Yup. It's my job to step out front and take that round if you will.

- [Interviewer] Right. It allows them to to continue to focus on doing the great things that they do. This flip of that is, when we're successful in something I'm not even there. I get out of the way, I totally tout their success. Because that's what drives people.

- [Interviewer] Right. That recognition is what allows people to kick indoors and go I'm gonna do that again cause I like that.

- Right.

- And give me more.

- Right. I want to do more of that.

- That's the key.

- Yeah. People think like the employers think well if I just give you more money well some employees are like I don't more money I love what I do.

- Right I do it because I love doing it.

- Yeah, absolutely. Not that you know it's and that I think that's the biggest thing. Like you were talking about like you'll take the round right. You'll take the round first cause you're leadership. And I think that's a great example of servant leadership to where, I tell my employees all the time you don't work for me, I work for you. I want to empower you. I wanna make you the best leader I can so we grow as an organization.

- You know, and I wanna get you where you wanna go in your life.

- Yeah absolutely. We, I think we're a lot a folks fail at as you grow through the ranks is you have to realize that you're a power of one.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- And that works when it's just you and you're at a computer.

- [Interviewer] Yeah. But when you want to grow and you want to be a leader, you want to move into the C Suite levels.

- [Interviewer] Yup. If you tie your hands just you, you're only gonna be productive as you can be.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- You really need to make you times 20.

- Yeah, you can't scale.

- Times 200.

- You have to scale.

- You have to scale. And then your role shifts.

- Right.

- You want to be able to identify problems. You should be experienced enough to know that something doesn't feel right.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- But I will tell you I can't design you know an air pollution control piece of equipment.

- Right.

- But I can look at a drawing and I can go hmm... Something's not, this doesn't quite line up. We joke in the military a lot of times the secret ingredient is when you got a whole bunch of people lined up and they're all in uniform together. People will how do you know you know. We don't know everything.

- [Interviewer] Yeah.

- But you can walk up and go that's different then that. So one of em's wrong, right? And so in the corporate world it's that same things. You're gonna find those folks that are doing the right thing. They're gonna be successful, you're seeing results and put em next to somebody else who's doing a good job.

- [Interviewer] Right. _ But that bug's not there.

- [Interviewer] Yeah. And that will start to surface. And so they're not wrong.

- [Interviewer] Right. But you can see that. Right? [Interviewer] Right.

- You've got a book that your working on.

- Yup. Let's talk a little bit about that. So what is it about?

- Yeah sure. It's called Battlefield to Boardroom.

- Okay.

- It's about,

- Love the name Yeah thanks. It's about tactical leadership and corporate combat, that's the sub-line. And what it is, it's really taking those leadership skills, leadership traits that are so applicable in the military. That are necessary in the military, that get lost in corporate translation. You know one of the examples I'll give is you know it the enemy.

- [Interviewer] Right. We know there's an enemy in the military.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- It's gotten a lot more gray these days.

- [Interviewer] Yeah right.

- But there's always gonna be a threat.

- [Interviewer] Right. And we train for that, and we analyze that threat and we make sure we are prepared for that threat. But you know what there's an enemy in corporate America too.

- [Inteviewer] Right.

- That enemy is trying to take your shares, they're trying to lower your pricing, they're trying to get money out of your pockets, so that it's better for them. It's a known thing.

- [Interviewer] Right. t's okay it's not bad.

- [Interviewer] Right. But we all have competing demands.

- [Interviewer] Right. And so you have to take the approach it, there's an enemy out there, how are we gonna solve that? And so the book really addresses, it's primarily focused around folks that are transitioning out of the military and letting them know that skill set you're bringing needs to be applied. Absolutely is applicable. It's also for folks that have recently transitioned, and I went through this.

- [Interviewer] Yeah. After about three years I felt like I was in a corporate mud puddle.

- [Interviewer] Right. Or I was amongst a lot of folks that worked nine to five or eight to five and at the end of the day we went home. And we had our family and then we woke up the next morning and we came back again. And you just get in this muddy pit.

- [Interviewer] Right. Of just doing and doing it. Well the military knows more than that. And this one goes back to that putting on my shoulders. It's looking for folks that have been in the corporate America for a little while and go I can do more than this. It's reminding them that they can do that.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- And being able to empower them. And then the last piece of it is about managers.

- [Interviewer] Right. Leaders.

- [Interviewer] Yup. The C Suites, knowing that if you need a go to person they're in your ranks. They're there, they want more they want that recognition and that responsibility. And so it's pulling all of that together so that folks can make themselves better at what they do in the civilian world by taking those military lessons learned.

- That's awesome. Yeah.

- So I have to ask obviously cause I work in movies and stuff like that.

- Yeah of course.

- Black hawk down I'm surrounded by all these black hawks and I tell ya.

- Yeah. So in your opionion what is like the closest, cause I know we do Hollywood stuff right?

- Yeah What is the movie that's closest to what's actually happening out in the field. And you know what I mean.

- Oh gosh.

- From a military perspective?

- Yeah from military.

- Oh gosh you know I will tell you that I've been probably most impressed and not in a great way, but most impressed with some of the documentaries.

- [Interviewer] Yeah.

- I think folks that want a real feel for what's it like out there.

- [Interviewer] Yeah. Some of those documentaries are hard to watch.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- But they're real. [Interviewer] Yeah.

- And it, I like that it brings that reality to so many people. I mean only 1% of the world serve.

- [Interviewer] Right. Right? Or the Americans serve.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- And so a lot of people just don't know. And so when you hear a lot about struggles of folks coming back. I deployed to Afghanistan in 13 and 14. And so it's, there is still a fight going on. And I know we've been at war a long time

- Right. and we all hope it ends you know quickly.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- But the reality movies are pretty real and they're hard to watch at times.

- [Interviewer] Yeah.

- I've had some close friends that a they've not come back.

- We know that's part of what we signed up for.

- [Interviewer] Right.

- But it doesn't make it any easier then when that happens.

- [Interviewer] Yeah so.

- Yeah.

- Bringing it back to leadership.

- Yeah.

- You know I a, so I mean I really appreciate everything that you've done and obviously your service. But just as a business leader you know I mean you've got such great advice and I wish you all the success on the book and everything like that.

- Yeah thank you, I appreciate it. Look forward to should be out here in the next couple weeks.

- Thanks Lucas appreciate it man.

- Thanks, appreciate it.

- [Interviewer] Hey guys, thanks for tuning into the episode. If you guys enjoyed it show some love gimme a thumbs up and subscribe. Also make sure you check out our exclusive C LEVEL group on Facebook.
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