Retired USAF Officer Mark Noon Thought Career Transitions Would Be Easy

Retired USAF Officer Mark Noon Thought Career Transitions Would Be Easy


Check out all episodes on the My Favorite Mistake main page.

My guest for Episode #129 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Mark Noon. He is a professional speaker, executive coach, and developer of leaders at his company, LEADERSHIPTEN.

Mark is a retired USAF clinical laboratory manager and was in that role for more than ten years out of a total 20+ years of service. He is the author of the book Set Up: Timeless Leadership Skills for Your Success.

In today's episode, Mark tells his “favorite mistake” story about thinking that career transitions would be easy. Why did Mark go into “panic mode” after six months, and how did he adjust his approach?

We talk about that story and other topics including:

  • Positional authority vs being authoritative
  • Command and Control leadership?
  • New transition – forming his own company
  • Looked back for previous lessons learned from past transition?
  • Blog post: 10 Reasons Why We Decided on the name LEADERSHIPTEN
  • Is it a mistake for healthcare organizations to ask too much for “10 ratings from patients?
  • Building upon struggles to be a better
  • Coaching to avoid mistakes or focus on learning from them??
  • Telling what to do versus helping them see it

Find Leadership10 on Social Media:

Scroll down to find:

  • Video
  • Quotes
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

Watch the Episode:


"People are people. I say that all the time — inside the military, outside the military, people are people. They still respond the same way. What engages employees in civilian world engages employees in the military."
"Humility is the center, the core, for everything in leadership."

"I don't care if you're the CEO, you have not arrived when it comes to leadership. But are you better than you were? I hope you are. And I hope you continue to get better."

Subscribe, Follow, Support, Rate, and Review!

Please follow, rate, and review via Apple Podcasts or Podchaser or your favorite app — that helps others find this content and you'll be sure to get future episodes as they are released weekly. You can also become a financial supporter of the show through

You can now sign up to get new episodes via email, to make sure you don't miss an episode.

This podcast is part of the Lean Communicators network.

Other Ways to Subscribe or Follow — Apps & Email

Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban (1s):

Episode 129, Mark Noon, retired US Air Force, author of the book Set Up: Timeless Leadership Skills for Your Success.

Mark Noon (11s):

My favorite mistake is the one I've learned actually twice in my transitioning in my career. And that is

Mark Graban (21s):

I'm Mark Graban. This is My Favorite Mistake. In this podcast. You'll hear business leaders and other really interesting people talking about their favorite mistakes because we all make mistakes, but what matters is learning from our mistakes instead of repeating them over and over again. So this is the place for honest reflection and conversation, personal growth and professional success. Visit our website at my favorite mistake, For more information about our guest Mark Noon, you can check the show notes or go to You can learn more about his work, his firm, his book, and more again,

Mark Graban (1m 7s):

Thanks for listening. Our guest today is Mark Noon. He is among other things. A professional speaker and executive coach is a developer of leaders at a company that he's formed called Leadership 10. Before that Mark is retired US Air Force. He was a clinical laboratory manager for more than 12 years. That was part of his more than 20 years of service altogether in the Air Force. He is the author of a book called set up timeless leadership skills for your success. He is a speaker exclusively available through executive speakers bureau. He was formerly with an organization called Studer Group that I've also done some speaking and some training through.

Mark Graban (1m 51s):

So with that, Mark, thank you for being here on the podcast. How are you?

Mark Noon (1m 54s):

Hey, mark. It's good to see you. Pleasure to be here. Thanks. Yeah.

Mark Graban (1m 57s):

And one other thing I was going to mention, and we'll, we'll talk more about the company and I'm going to ask you about the name. We'll, we'll leave that as a teaser. The website is So before we get into that and the other types of work and coaching and things that you do today, mark, what would you say is your favorite mistake?

Mark Noon (2m 17s):

Favorite mistake? You know, there's so many, and I know all your guests probably say the same thing, right? I've made so many mistakes over the years, but my favorite mistake is the one I've learned actually twice in my transitioning in my career. And that is transitioning from one area that I was so very good at and so very comfortable to a new area. When I retired from the military. My favorite mistake is the fact that I thought it was going to be easy. I thought I've got all of these skills and all of these accolades and all of this that I've obtained in 20 years of being in the military. And all of a sudden I transitioned to the civilian world, civilian healthcare coaching and leading other people thought I would, it would be a breeze to just walk right in and be on the top of the world.

Mark Noon (2m 58s):

And it certainly wasn't, I fell fast.

Mark Graban (3m 1s):

So how, how did you then I, you know, how did, how did you discover that was a mistake? How far into, was it that first transition out of the Air Force?

Mark Noon (3m 11s):

Yeah. You know, with the, I see this so many times now I bought a friends who have retired from the military and some of them go right back into working for a military organization or contractor. And it's a pretty easy transition for them because they're kind of in the same environment, they just wear different clothes to work. For me, it was a total different thing. And I thought, I'm going to walk into this place. I'm going to start coaching executives in the same way I would coach in and work with commanders in the military. I thought I would come in and all this knowledge that I've gained over time, I would just walk in and be able to just, you know, spit it all out to these organizations. And it was a huge learning curve coming into civilian healthcare coaching, these organizations that I did not have a positional area to be able to coach them well, you know, I'm coming in as the outsider, somebody they don't know.

Mark Noon (3m 55s):

And they're gonna tell, I'm gonna tell them what they need to do. Right. That was kinda, my impression didn't happen that way. So I went into this panic mode after about six months of doing this and it was a hard lesson to learn.

Mark Graban (4m 7s):

So what did that, that panic mode? I assume, I hope panic mode didn't last too long. I mean, what adjustments did you make then in navigating that new environment? Yeah.

Mark Noon (4m 19s):

And the panic mode was, you know, I'm so used to just being able to command the environment around me. And I couldn't do that when I got into this role. And after several months I actually had a, you know, this was a student group at the time. And I had a discussion with my supervisor at the time and honest to goodness, I had fallen so fast. And so far that within six months I was this close to losing my job. And so I realized I've got to make some changes. I've got to do something different in the way I approach this. I I'm spending 80 hours a week, you know, 12, 14, 16 hours a day. Sometimes either traveling and, or traveling and working, working all weekend, trying to catch up, trying to figure all these things out. And I just had to sit back and go, okay, where, what am I doing well, and then look, look to my supervisor and others to help me figure out where the gaps were and then just sit back and just try to breathe a little bit and rest and be patient, right?

Mark Noon (5m 12s):


Mark Graban (5m 13s):

Yeah. I mean, I can only imagine, you know, having, having no military experience myself to think about the transition from military to civilian, one of my previous guests, this is going back to Episode 37. Monica Bijou is in the Air Force still. And one of the things she does is actually provide some career coaching to people who are getting ready to leave the service when I'm well, I'll, I'll ask you to, as a question instead of guessing, were you offered any sort of transition services like that before you left the Air Force?

Mark Noon (5m 52s):

Well, they have that. They have somebody like her who's in that position to help you make that transition. But I think there's a lot of things that I, as I look back now that didn't happen that probably needed to. And even when I joined Studer Group and then later on Studer Group merged with Huron Healthcare, we had a veterans group that we formed where we knew people who came in, who were veterans that started with Juran. We did an orientation with them a little bit differently trying to help them transition. And I think there's a lot to be said on the civilian side too, to help military folks transition into their role, even though healthcare is healthcare, you know, you've been working in healthcare a long time. I've worked in healthcare and almost 30 years, it's a big difference even from hospital to hospital, but it certainly is from the military healthcare to civilian world.

Mark Graban (6m 38s):

Yeah. I mean, I've only had the opportunity to maybe in reverse, I've worked in civilian healthcare for 17 years. I've been in a couple of military hospital settings. And in one of those, I won't say where, but the, the, the leadership that, you know, will say commander, it's a word we don't use in civilian healthcare, but we have essentially the CEO and the C suite team in this military hospital. And they were curious, like I was there to have a meeting and to share some ideas, you know, about leadership and continuous improvement, but they were, they were playing a lot of defense I noticed and, and wanting to point out the ways in which they thought military medicine was different.

Mark Graban (7m 20s):

And it put me in a, a challenging position because everything that they laid out is it sounded familiar to me. They said like, oh, well, you know, a leader here tends to only be in their role for two years. I'm thinking what, there's a lot of turnover in the executive ranks and civilians. So not, not to go on and on about that, but there, there is, I think that challenge. So maybe I'll, I'll turn it back to you as a question. How do you face that challenge? Where it might be a mistake if somebody, maybe isn't ready to listen to your experience because they think, well, you come from a different place than where I am.

Mark Noon (7m 55s):

And that was the hard transition I think, is that where I thought it was going to be easy and it wasn't. And there were times in that first six months, especially I thought I should have stayed in the military was comfortable. I knew my job I've been doing it for so long. You know, I was, I was an enlisted lab tech, and then I finished my degree. I got commissioned as an officer, spent 12 years as an officer, you know, to get to that full 20. But what I w what, in the military, you come from a position of authority. A lot of times you'd come from a position of rank and you walk into this hospital then as a coach or as a, as a new consultant, and you don't have that position, you don't have any rank. You don't have any real authority. I mean, you have authority, you have, you know, credentials in the sense that you've been doing this, or you've studied it, or you're part of an organization that has it, but you don't walk in with that.

Mark Noon (8m 37s):

And I didn't walk in with that kind of a confidence that I should have, that I wasn't authority and that I could do that. And so within months I literally would have these meetings with CEOs and C-suite and allowed myself to just kind of get beat down, going, geez, I don't really know what I'm doing. Why am I here? You don't, it's a whole thing that happens because don't come in from a place of confidence.

Mark Graban (8m 58s):

Well, what I hear you describing as the difference between like positional authority versus history experience being authoritative as a person, as opposed to saying, well, he's the laboratory director, or they're the chief nursing officer of that formal position. I mean, that seemed like that would be a challenge for somebody let's say, who was making a leap from, they've been a civilian laboratory director, and now they've become a consultant working with different organizations. They might be in that same situation. What would your advice for somebody like that be based on your experience?

Mark Noon (9m 35s):

No, go in with the confidence of what, you know, and then also be humble enough to say, you know, there are things I don't know, here's the world that I've experienced. Here's what I do know that works. And I brought a lot of military ideas into my coaching and consulting in the civilian healthcare role. There were a lot of things that I think we did really well because of a, more of a structure. And so I was able to bring a lot of structure, some organism, I went to one organization, started coaching. They literally had no organizational structure. Nobody knew who reported to who. It was just kind of a flat line at the CEO and you had everybody else. And so you bring that structure in and you come from that position of credential and authority and say, here's how this can work. Here's how I saw it, work yourself.

Mark Noon (10m 15s):

We can make these things better. So that's, that's really for me how I had to do it, but it came that, that moment where I'm almost going to lose my job to realize, oh my gosh, I have got to do something different here. And fortunately, working for a company like scarier at the time helped me make that transition a little better.

Mark Graban (10m 32s):

Yeah. So let's, let's try and get some resolution to that story then, because you were with Studer Group then for how long?

Mark Noon (10m 38s):

Eight and a half years.

Mark Graban (10m 39s):

Yeah. Yeah,

Mark Noon (10m 41s):

I did. And I did a lot of different roles. So here's another thing is, is sometimes you come in and you transition into something and again, you're a fit, but you're not the perfect fit, you know, it's, it's that idea that you hired the right person, but maybe they aren't in the right position. And so then they shifted me to a little bit different position. I excelled really well for a long time and then found my, my wings, so to speak in the speaking world where you and I met, you know, sharing that stage and, and in those opportunities to do leader development and be in conferences. And which was really something I had worked for for 25 years ago.

Mark Graban (11m 14s):

Yeah. Well, and you know, one of the themes on the podcast here is, you know, we, we all make mistakes, but the key is learning from them and not repeating the same mistakes over and over. It's on, sounds like when you, part of your story here was that, you know, you, you Fe you find yourself in a challenging situation, you learned, you adjusted, you adapted, which allowed you to move forward.

Mark Noon (11m 37s):

It was, and it also helped be part of a company that allowed you to do that. And so when, as I coach leaders, I talk about that. I say, you know, just because something didn't work out when you hired somebody doesn't necessarily make them a bad hire, just finding the right spot. I mean, I get it, there are some that just aren't a fit, but there was fit for me in that. And then I did that for eight and a half years up until this last November, where I transitioned again to a new role. And we'll talk about that in just a few minutes,

Mark Graban (12m 2s):

That one as well. Okay. Sure. So before we talk about that other transition and some other leadership and coaching related topics, I was wondering, I do want to ask you, you used the word command and for perspective, one of the best mentors I've had in my career was actually was a client. This is going back about 12 years ago, he was retired army medicine, laboratory director. So I think very different branch, but very similar, I think, to your role. Right. And, you know, I think Jim had a good transition. He was a very effective leader. And one thing I learned from him and in conversations, we would have, he didn't frame it this way, but I'll say it would have been a mistake on my part to think the military leadership model in military medicine is I bark orders.

Mark Graban (12m 55s):

You follow them. Like he gave me quite an education about how, you know, the, the more empowered participative culture that he was building in that hospital, this children's hospital in Dallas, he said, I was like, in a way, it was really more of just an evolution of, of what daily life was in military medicine, that this was not the battlefield, that it was different conditions than what we might stereotype as quote unquote command and control leadership. So, I mean, what are, what are your thoughts on all?

Mark Noon (13m 22s):

That's a great analysis because people are people I say that all the time, military inside the military, outside the military, people are people. They still respond the same way. What engages employees in civilian world engages employees in the military? Yes, there is that. I said, you do kind of thing. And, and it, it can make things a little simpler, but you still have to get people to follow them. I mean, there's still that, that element, at least mentally and emotionally, that you say I would follow that person into battle. And that is truly what you do. And it's not because I have to it's because I want to, and I think that's the same in civilian world, right? How can we get people to see the direction that we're going, the vision that we have for the organization department, and then have them follow us there, certainly streamlined it, make it a little easier when you have a little bit of rank or a little position, you know, if other people are there and they tend to follow you because of that, but they will.

Mark Noon (14m 15s):

I would rather have somebody follow me because they want to follow me, then follow me with this.

Mark Graban (14m 20s):

So in, and, and that's, that's really interesting in the military context, it seems like there would be less choice than there is in the private sector. What are, what are some of the leadership methods that leads somebody to say, I want to follow them. And is it a matter of enthusiasm that you want to have that level of? Yes, I will run through a wall for this leader. I will follow them into battle what

Mark Noon (14m 45s):

I figure you right on. You know, I looked at it like this, for instance, for me, one of the things I teach a lot is about value and creating value in people. And what do they value? You know, if you were my employee and or you and I worked together, I would want to know what's important to you. What values do you have? And then I would try to connect to those. When I think about my time in the military, here's a great example is, you know, in the military you have a rank and a name. So I would, when I retired, I was Major Noon, right? That's my name? I wasn't Mark. I'm like my name. I mean, you know, you and I have the same name, but very simple name, right? I mean, you can't get much simpler than Mark when it comes to a name, but I love my name. So here's the difference. If a commander came to me and said, Major Noon, I need you to do this, this or this, I would say, yes, sir.

Mark Noon (15m 27s):

Yes, ma'am. And I would go do that. But when they came to me, as they are allowed to, because they were higher ranking than me, and they said, mark, would you do this? Or this? I responded differently. I still said, yes. Ma'am yes, sir. I did what I need to do. But I responded with a different connection. I respond with a different emotion. I am more engaged at that point in what I'm doing now, the outcome is probably going to be the same, but the relationship and the connection is less. Totally.

Mark Graban (15m 54s):

So what I hear you saying is if a higher officer comes in and addresses you as mark, is that inviting a little bit more of a collaborative discussion? Are they in a way, and I mean, this is a positive you hear sometimes in leadership circles are talking about lowering yourself to be more of a, to be more of a peer to peer conversation. Is that what was happening?

Mark Noon (16m 16s):

I would say it's not lowering, I'd say it's connecting. You know, it's, it's knowing that. And maybe they don't even know that I value my name. I value when people use my name. So in, in context of that, I would be very quick to use other people's names and conversation when it was appropriate. You know, if you're a first time customer and I say, Mr. Graban, that's that's okay. But then you say, Hey, go ahead and call me mark. I use the name mark over and over. That's a connection, right? That's a relationship. It's not me coming down to any level or you're coming up to any level. It's that connection that builds. And when we have connection as a leader and people will follow us and do whatever it is, it needs to be done.

Mark Graban (16m 54s):

There's a similar dynamic. I'm sure you're familiar with, with the title doctor. I always err, on the side of, you know, Dr. Smith. And if they say, well, Hey, you can, you can tell me Jane. Oh, okay. And I still might err, on the side of say Dr. Smith out of, out of respect, but I'll tell you that the mistake I would make, and I'm trying to remember if I've really made it, like if I get too casual about it that time, when I say, okay, bill that's when they're gonna say it's Dr. Jones,

Mark Noon (17m 30s):

Right. And we probably all experienced, let's see, have you worked in a hospital long enough? Eventually you get to know people well enough that you're kind of on a first name basis. And we would see that in the military too. And sometimes people will become very comfortable, but I am the type that wants to respect the position of rank or title as much as I can. And exactly that is at what point do we say, okay, I have to be professional here. I have to be personal here. You know, where's that difference. And as long as I think we can do that, I don't think there's anything wrong with that kind of a connection, but in the right left, all of a sudden, a bunch of people come in the room, it's that to Dr. So-and-so versus bill or Jamie or whoever, right? Yeah. Surely.

Mark Graban (18m 6s):

Yeah. So what happened? And this was more recent than Mark. What happened when you made that other transition into what you're doing now?

Mark Noon (18m 14s):

Yeah. So back in November, I made the transition from student group to forming my own company. Pretty much doing a lot of very similar things, not just in healthcare, but branching out into all several different industries, but the transition was different because at this time one, I, even though I was making it as a decision myself to, to be able to form my own company, the transition was, was different because I had more patience. I wasn't in a panic. I knew what to do. I knew how to move into this. Not that I know everything, not that I knew how to build a website. I knew how to do some of these other things when it comes to business, forming an LLC and things like that. But it was less panicked because I looked back and I said, what lessons did I learn over that six to eight months after I had transitioned out of the military, what did I learn in how to move forward in things without being in a panic?

Mark Noon (19m 1s):

I mean, I certainly wasn't working 60 or 70 hours a week as I transitioned this time. Like I did last time. Sure. The learning curve was a little bit less, but then there were other things I had to learn and that was it. It's just being patient through the transition, knowing we all transition in life from place to place, level to level and knowing how to get through that and just being patient. Okay.

Mark Graban (19m 22s):

Well, I'm glad you could set that example for the audience in terms of learning from mistakes. Because again, that's what we're all about here.

Mark Noon (19m 31s):

Well, it is. And, and, you know, do I think that I, I mean, I didn't even think about it when I made the transition. It wasn't like I looked back, it's just, you kind of knew what to do at that point. Yeah. You know, it's like you've made the mistake years ago, but you didn't think about the mistake at the time. You just kind of went forward and you did things better than you did before now. It's like, when you and I talked and we talked about doing this podcast, I got to thinking, okay, what did I learn? How you know, now I'm starting to think about it. I wasn't thinking about it five or six months ago when I started the company. But I am seeing that. And I'm seeing, Hey, I did some really good things in his last six months to make this transition.

Mark Graban (20m 3s):

Yeah. Well, good. So I did want to ask the name Leadership 10. What's the meaning behind that?

Mark Noon (20m 9s):

Yeah. Everybody asks a question. It, we actually just wrote a blog post on our website. The 10 reasons why we're called Leadership 10. I won't give you all 10, but one number one is leadership has 10 letters. And so we just got back. That was a pretty good combination. You probably never counted them. There were letters that were in that word before, but that's what We did. But you know, 10 is also the complete number. It's, it's a, it's a whole number. It represents completeness. It represents wholeness. When you think about a rating scale, everybody rates one to 10. I mean, everybody wants to be a ten, right? Bo Derek, 1970s, 10, that was the movie.

Mark Noon (20m 50s):

It was this, that kind of the standard of where you want to get to. The other part of that is in my talk about wholeness. You know, one of our values is integrity, integrity. Most people look at us honesty, and that is that definitely. But there's also another definition of integrity. That's called wholeness. And that definition also goes along with that 10 and Leadership 10 for us is how will we make organizations and people truly whole, truly complete.

Mark Graban (21m 14s):

Yeah. So I will link to that blog post in the show notes and for the listener who does not know both Derek they'll, we'll probably Google that that's probably, as they say, safe for work, which is generally Google Bo Derek, or Derek 10, maybe be a little careful. I don't know how careful

Mark Noon (21m 38s):

Considered safe.

Mark Graban (21m 41s):

So listener can, each listener can determine their, their, their, their risk on their, on their own there. But well, cause you know, hospital, it's not just hospitals, hotels are different. Businesses will sometimes aggressively prompt people say, oh, please give us a 10. Right. Make sure you remember, we provided excellent service because the word excellent is triggered and tied into these, these surveys. So I think it's just kind of random aside, unrelated to what you were saying that sometimes I think that can be a mistake if organizations are a little too aggressive in sort of, you know, begging for the score as opposed to providing service, that would make me want to give a 10.

Mark Noon (22m 28s):

I agree. You know, in my military days we had a rating scale of one to five and eventually over time that if I became the normal, like if you did a good job at work, everybody got five, right. It was like, if you got four, that was an insult. And the same with getting like a nine or even an eight, you know, we look at an eight, you know, on a, on some scales and especially in healthcare at eight doesn't even count in the store. Right. But at night in a 10 is all that counts is a nine a bad score. Not at all, not at all. I mean, I probably a lot of places I go and get great service and I give them a nine. I mean, 10 is, wow. My socks off. This was the most impressive thing I've ever seen. And that's exactly why Leadership 10 and wants to be that kind of organization.

Mark Graban (23m 6s):

Yeah. So one of the questions Mark, thinking back to this is going back now to your first leadership role back in the Air Force. So in, in your bio, there's a part of the story I think is interesting. It said that, that you entered this new leadership role, lacking the skills and training needed to lead others in his department. And, and I guess that is to me a surprising thing to read because I would think the military would excel at leadership, training, development, building people. What, what would you assume are reflections of why, what, how you had to navigate that, as you said, lacking the, and maybe that you weren't completely lacking, but there was, there was some gap.

Mark Graban (23m 49s):

How would you describe that?

Mark Noon (23m 51s):

Yeah. I have more of a gap than lacking. I mean, it's certainly were some stills that were there and you know, everybody goes through different levels of your career. You go to these leadership schools, these leadership academies, and they truly are great places to learn, but a lot of the learning is practical. It's our, sorry. It's it's principle. It's ideas. It's but it's not necessarily practical. It's not like we're, role-playing these things in it. We're learning it. People are teaching us, we're writing these notes. We take a test, we pass the test. We say, yep, you pass leadership school, move on. And then you get back to your department and you're not in a leadership role maybe at that point. So you don't get to practice it. Or here's what happens sometimes. And this is a rare occasion, but it does happen is you come back to your department and here's what the supervisor will say, Hey mark, that was great that you got to go to leadership school, you learn all those things, but that's not how we do it here.

Mark Noon (24m 38s):

Here's how we do it. And so then you learn the real kind of skills that are not necessarily leadership. They're more management, they're more authoritative, maybe. So it's that aspect where I say, I entered this role without real leadership skill. And so I had to learn on the fly. I mean, I knew the job because I was transitioning from the same area within the hospital laboratory, but now I'm in charge of people and I'm responsible for a budget. I used to know how to spend money. I didn't know how to budget my that's a whole different world. And is that a leadership skill? Part of that's a management skill, but there's leadership things that go into that. How do you have a conversation with somebody who is doing a great job? And then how do you have a conversation with somebody who's not doing a very good job?

Mark Noon (25m 21s):

I learned principles for that, but not practically how to apply.

Mark Graban (25m 26s):

I guess then there was a learning curve as you described when you came into the civilian world and that's sometimes all we can do is just keep, keep learning, keep practicing. Hopefully we're getting mentored and coached and keep getting better.

Mark Noon (25m 39s):

Well, and I think that's the whole leadership thing, right? As you've never really fully arrived, I don't care if you're the CEO, you have not arrived when it comes to leadership, but are you better than you were? I hope you are. And I hope you continue to get better. And that's where I think coming in, I'm assuming at some times that, that commander's my world, the military CEO's and civilian world have arrived at that certain point. I found that there are so many who have not been fully skilled in some of these, what I would consider very basic leadership elements. And that's, that's where coming into this world and having a coach that now it was a difficult transition because again, you know, I could do it from a military perspective because of a position of authority.

Mark Noon (26m 19s):

Now I'm doing it from a position of, you know, somebody who's coming in as the outsider. Yeah.

Mark Graban (26m 25s):

And I've talked to some other guests where, you know, they've talked about how their own struggle helped them become a better coach because they can better relate with people who are struggling. We don't think this is going back. This is a more, the older reference in Bo Derek, Ted Williams, you know, one of the greatest hitters of all time in baseball, at least the way I remember some of the story being told when he became a coach, she was not a good hitting instructor because he has just so much skill and talent. It was hard to relate. Like what do you mean? You can't see the spin on that curve ball is designed to

Mark Noon (27m 2s):

Right. Well, and you see that in, in football, even we see a lot of players who become coaches in the football world wanting other sports too. And they are not great coaches. They were fantastic. Players could become great coaches that there absolutely is a skill. And I think my military world, I was really, really good at what I did. And I was a good leader at what I did coaching. It is a different world because you've got to put a different perspective. One of the reasons we started Leadership 10, which we really started the organization, I have to partner, as I say, we, we officially became an LLC this last fall, but we've been doing this for about two and a half years now. We've been coaching young professionals in our area. And one of my partners says it like this. He said, it's therapy for us to coach because we're reliving all of our past mistakes and saying, don't do this.

Mark Noon (27m 48s):

Here's how you should do it better. Right. And that's really what coaching is, is, is almost a therapy session for those around us.

Mark Graban (27m 54s):

Yeah. Well, and, and the thing in terms of coaching goes in the opposite direction as well. So I think of times when I live in San Antonio and I'm still a big fan of the spurs and Gregg Popovich, Gregg Popovich did not play in the NBA. He did play in college, but you know, it kind of goes to show sometimes a coach, you know, sometimes it's helpful for the coach to have been exactly in that person's shoes. And sometimes the coach can be effective anyway and can have a different perspective and something else that they're bringing to the equation.

Mark Noon (28m 27s):

And I think you have to have a knowledge of what the game is, right? I mean, so very positive. It's certainly had a knowledge of basketball, probably played all through high school, probably played since he was five years old. But so you learn that, but it's not necessarily then are you able to take what the skill and translate it to practicality for people? And again, I go back to the military, as we learn, we learned a lot of information, a lot of principles. How do you then coach that practically? And that's what takes a really skilled leader to get, get, to be able to coach people beyond what even they think they're capable of doing. And I think Gregg Popovich is a great example of somebody who's been able to do that.

Mark Graban (29m 1s):

Sure. And coincidentally, it didn't occur to me until after I brought him out also United States Air Force veteran. Oh

Mark Noon (29m 10s):

Yes. I did not know that

Mark Graban (29m 12s):

He was, he wa he graduated from the, the Air Force Academy. He played basketball there. I believe

Mark Noon (29m 18s):

I did not know that. I'll have to look that up. Yeah. That's awesome. Well, that makes thing better.

Mark Graban (29m 24s):

There you go. So maybe one, one last, last question earlier, I jotted down a phrase that came to mind when you were talking about command. And I think he might have also used the word authority. There's a Toyota expression that I've learned from, from people there, this interesting “lead as if you have no authority.” And so I'm curious what your reaction to a sentence like that lead as if you have no authority and I'm putting the emphasis on the, the, the, as if part,

Mark Noon (29m 55s):

Yeah, I know. I understand that. And I think it comes back to humility. Humility is the, the center, the core for everything in leadership. And I don't mean necessarily servant leadership. I know we hear that term a lot, but it's just being humble to say, I am an authority, but I don't have to act like I'm an authority. I know what I'm talking about. Here's why I know what I'm talking about, but we don't have to necessarily say that we're the authority. You know, we used to coach it like this, a student group, even when we would coach organizations about how to introduce yourself and kind of bring that confidence to up to a patient was simply, you know, you don't walk in and go, Hey, I'm Mark Noon, I'm the best doctor in this hospital. I'm here to save your life. You know, that's not how you walk in, but you walk in with a competence and you let people know that you're good at what you do.

Mark Noon (30m 36s):

And when you know, they know you're good at what you do, do they tend to react more, more effectively. When I think about how, you know, even as a leader, employees want to know you're good at being a leader, how do they know you're going to be a leader? Is one, you talk about it and you talk about how you're learning and becoming better and getting better at what you do. Right. That's that authority without saying, you know? Yeah.

Mark Graban (30m 58s):

Well, thank you for sharing your thoughts there. And there there's one other Studer Group habit. This idea of managing up when you introduce somebody else. Dr. So-and-so is a great doctor. You're in really good hands. And hopefully I did a little bit of the same at the beginning here. The, the Mark Noon, you're in, you're in good hands with him as well.

Mark Noon (31m 18s):

That's exactly. That's, that's exactly where that comes from. This is just letting people know the other person's good or you're good at what you do

Mark Graban (31m 26s):

Well. So again, our guest has been Mark Noon. His website is That's spelled out T E N His book, if you wanna check it out is called Set Up: Timeless Leadership Skills for Your Success. And I did mean to ask. So just real quick, this, I make this mistake sometimes of having too many final questions. When you, when you use the phrase set up, is this about setting people up to be successful leaders?

Mark Noon (31m 56s):

It is, you know, originally the title was going to be set up to step in, but that was a little tongue twister that the publishers didn't like it. But it's really about this idea, Mark. And I'll use this as kind of my last phrase, I guess, is, you know, in a leadership role, if you've done well in preparing others are done well in preparing yourself for leadership, you're able to step into a new role and not have to step up to it. And that's the key to that phrase.

Mark Graban (32m 24s):

All right. Well, thank you Mark. 10 out of 10. I'll give you the top box score as they call it in healthcare.

Mark Noon (32m 32s):

It's a pleasure to be with you.

Mark Graban (32m 33s):

Okay. Thank you. Well, thanks again to Mark Noon for being such a wonderful guest today. For more information, look in the show notes, or you can go to, As always. I want to thank you for listening. I hope this podcast inspires you to reflect on your own mistakes, how you can learn from them or turn them into a positive I've had listeners tell me they started being more open and honest about mistakes in their work. And they're trying to create a workplace culture where it's safe to speak up about problems because that leads to more improvement and better business results. If you have feedback or a story to share, you can email me And again, our website is

Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's upcoming book is The Mistakes That Make Us. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.