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E167 | Finding Your Super North Star with Floyd Woodrow

If you’re looking for some inspiration to help you find your Super North Star, let Floyd Woodrow DCM MBE be your guide. Floyd is Managing Director and founder of Chrysalis Worldwide, a world-leading values-based organisation and owner of Quantum group. But as you may have guessed from his post-nominal letters he hasn’t always been a businessman. 

Floyd spent his formative years first in the Parachute Regiment before joining the Special Air Service at the age of 22, where he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his work in Iraq and an MBE for his work in Afghanistan. 

While he was serving, Floyd realised the importance of continual learning and wanted to continue down this path of pursuing excellence when he left the military. And that’s precisely what he’s done. 

He’s also written several books including Learning to Learn, and more recently, The Warrior, The Strategist and You in which he outlines the “Compass for Life model for leadership and life”.

In today’s episode Floyd discusses the idea of having a Super North Star and how a compass provides the framework you need to achieve balance and point toward your Super North Star. He also talks about the importance of mindset, and he succinctly sums up, in 30 seconds, what it takes to be an amazing salesperson

This is a fantastic conversation with Floyd, we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  

On today’s podcast:

  • Finding Your Super North Star
  • The four cardinals
  • Summing up selling in 30 seconds
  • Learning through hostage negotiation


How to Use a Compass to Find Your Super North Star with Floyd Woodrow

Floyd Woodrow is the Managing Director and founder of Chrysalis Worldwide, a world-leading values-based organisation, and owner of Quantum group. He has an excellent track record of success as a military leader, director, non-executive director, consultant, author and negotiator, but his love is coaching and development. 

“When you’re teaching your subject to somebody else, that’s when you really get clarity because it just will not come out correctly if you don’t simplify it and connect and adjust to your audience, then your message will be lost.”

Before excelling in civvy street, Floyd was a career SAS soldier. Having joined the Paras at 18, Floyd tried his luck at Selection and made it into the SAS aged 22, where he stayed until he left the military in 2008. 

“For me, coaching and development and getting people to perform at the highest levels was significant, because obviously, it matters quite significantly when you’re in the Special Air Service that people are trained to the appropriate levels. And more importantly, that training is ceaseless. So that pursuit of excellence is one of the tenets of the Special Air Service.”

Based on this belief, Floyd created the idea of the Super North Star to help him unlock people’s potential. 

Finding Your Super North Star

The bottom line, says Floyd, is your purpose – why you are doing something is fundamental, it gives you a clear direction. And that holds true whether you’re an individual, a team, an organisation. 

You have to know what your purpose is, and you have to know what your strategy is, to get you to where you want to go. 

“How far away is that to get to that level? Is it a year away? Is it 5-10 years away? And so breaking it down into steps, clear milestones, is massively important.”

And you have to be able to do this without emotions coming into play. 

The four cardinals

Floyd’s Compass for Life model is a unique approach he uses to bring together the best aspects of leadership training. The framework is simple, concise, and effective. 

  • To understand your Super North Star (the North pointer on the compass), the clear unambiguous statement of intent that draws you forward, you must first identify your current start point. 
  • You also need to know how to be a great strategist (the South cardinal on your compass). As well as how to ensure your team fully understands how they can support you on your journey. 
  • You then need to have a strong ethos (the East cardinal on your compass) and team code of conduct. 
  • And finally you need the warrior element of the compass (the West cardinal), which is your strength of character, the warrior that will help you reach all of the milestones that you have set yourself.

You use the four cardinals of your compass to create balance, if you want to find your Super North Star, says Floyd. And you must be authentic in your decisions, in what you’re trying to achieve. 

If you’re working in a team, it’s incredibly important that everyone has the same Super North Star so that you can all challenge each other, and raise your game collectively. 

All it takes though, says Floyd, is one wrong person with enough influence to ruin a team. You have to have the right mindset, and you have to be consistent in your approach. You need to have longevity and the ability to perform at a high level for a long time. And you have to practice. How can you hope to get good at something if you don’t practice?

“I would never even think about going into a negotiation had I not gone through it two or three times before. What are your opening lines? What are you going to say to this person on the first meeting? What are you looking to get from the first meeting?”

Summing up selling in 30 seconds

When you’re negotiating, says Floyd, you’re working as a team, not as an individual. You come up with tactics and ideas together. One person delivers these, everyone else has to listen. Because the person on the other side of the table will be giving you gold, as long as you’re asking the right questions.

“Ask the right questions, and shut up, and you’ll get all the information you need to make a really good judgement. And then they’ll feel that you’ve listened to them, you’ve understood them. And then you’re in a much better place to move forward. But without rapport, nothing happens.”

Learning through hostage negotiation

One of the best ways of getting better at something is to practice. And if your team needs to practice, a great way to take them out of their comfort zone and get them working for real is to put them through a crisis that their mind thinks is real. 

“Because you’re under pressure, this now becomes real. So you act in the right appropriate manner, you’re under the same pressure and there are consequences.” 

And there needs to be consequences in training, says Floyd. Without consequences, the mind won’t treat the training seriously. 

“I’m not asking everybody to be a superstar, what I’m asking you to be is incrementally better than you were last week, because that’s how you improve performance.”

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