Sinek says at meal times officers are the last in line, making sure soldiers are fed before they take a plate. However, in instances where an officer is left without food, his soldiers all take a bit off their own plate so the officer never goes hungry.
It’s not a rule; it’s just a culture.
It’s quite a contrast to the imperatives I learned when I started my career as a banker some 25 years ago. Leaders were scarce and special. Hierarchy was vertical and a leader’s position was relative to their power.
There is a great TED Talk which describes the work of evolutionary biologist William Muir. He studied chickens and he wanted to know what could make chickens produce more eggs.
Muir devised an experiment - he separated his average-producing chickens from his most-productive ‘superchickens’ and put them in separate flocks.
Over time he found the average group were doing just fine; they were plump, fully feathered and egg production had increased dramatically.
The second group? All but three were gone. The survivors had pecked the others to death.
It turned out Muir’s ‘superchickens’ had only achieved success by suppressing the productivity of the rest.
In my opinion, organisations have traditionally run themselves in a Superchicken model.
We thought success would be achieved if we chose the best and brightest men and women and gave them all of the resources and all of the power. But the result has been just the same as in William Muir's experiment: aggression, dysfunction and waste.
From the ashes of the old world came new superpowers – the technology giants – and leaders with drastically different skill sets (think Steve Jobs or Elon Musk) who could navigate rapidly changing business environments.