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תוכן מסופק על ידי Sketchnote Army Podcast and Mike Rohde. כל תוכן הפודקאסטים כולל פרקים, גרפיקה ותיאורי פודקאסטים מועלים ומסופקים ישירות על ידי Sketchnote Army Podcast and Mike Rohde או שותף פלטפורמת הפודקאסט שלהם. אם אתה מאמין שמישהו משתמש ביצירה שלך המוגנת בזכויות יוצרים ללא רשותך, אתה יכול לעקוב אחר התהליך המתואר כאן https://he.player.fm/legal.
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Luke Kelvington uses visual practice to help command the USS Pennsylvania - S14/E05

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תוכן מסופק על ידי Sketchnote Army Podcast and Mike Rohde. כל תוכן הפודקאסטים כולל פרקים, גרפיקה ותיאורי פודקאסטים מועלים ומסופקים ישירות על ידי Sketchnote Army Podcast and Mike Rohde או שותף פלטפורמת הפודקאסט שלהם. אם אתה מאמין שמישהו משתמש ביצירה שלך המוגנת בזכויות יוצרים ללא רשותך, אתה יכול לעקוב אחר התהליך המתואר כאן https://he.player.fm/legal.

In this episode, we dive into Luke Kelvington’s fascinating world as the commander of a submarine. Luke takes leadership to a whole new level by mixing in visual thinking and sketchnotes to shape how he and his crew make better decisions. If you're curious about how creativity plays a role in leadership, especially on a submarine, this podcast is a fun journey into Luke's underwater world.

Sponsored by Concepts

This episode of the Sketchnote Army Podcast is brought to you by Concepts, a perfect tool for sketchnoting, available on iOS, Windows, and Android.

Concepts' vector-based drawing feature gives you the power to adjust your drawings saving hours and hours of rework.

Vectors provide clean, crisp, high-resolution output for your sketchnotes at any size you need s ideal for sketchnoting.

SEARCH in your favorite app store to give it a try.

Running Order

  • Intro
  • Welcome
  • Who is Luke Kelvington?
  • Origin Story
  • Luke’s current work
  • Sponsor: Concepts
  • Tips
  • Tools
  • Where to find Luke
  • Outro

Links

Amazon affiliate links support the Sketchnote Army Podcast.

Tools

Amazon affiliate links support the Sketchnote Army Podcast.

Tips

  1. Practice and take courses.
  2. Use tools to perfect your work.
  3. Share your projects.
  4. It's okay to wait to be inspired.

Credits

  • Producer: Alec Pulianas
  • Shownotes and transcripts: Esther Odoro
  • Theme music: Jon Schiedermayer

Subscribe to the Sketchnote Army Podcast

You can subscribe to the podcast through iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube or your favorite podcast listening source.

Support the Podcast

To support the creation, production, and hosting of the Sketchnote Army Podcast, buy one of Mike Rohde’s bestselling books. Use code ROHDE40 at Peachpit.com for 40% off!

Episode Transcript

Mike Rohde: Hey everyone, it's Mike and I'm here with Luke Kelvington. Luke, it's so good to have you on the show. Thanks for coming.

Luke Kelvington: Oh, thank you for the invite, Mike. Appreciate it.

MR: So we got connected through the Cleveland Guardians. We both have a connection through that. And learned about your sketchnoting skills, and you sent me samples and I was like, "Oh, this is cool. We should have you on the show to talk a little bit about your experience and the way you look at it with the people who listen."

So I'm just gonna jump right into, why don't you tell us who you are and what you do, and then go right into how did you end up in this place? Even go back to when you were a little kid, were you drawing for your whole life? You know, was it a late development? I'm really curious to hear how it all fit into what you're doing now.

LK: Yeah, I appreciate it. Yeah. I'm from Akron, Ohio, son of a third-generation mechanic. I'm pretty sure had my name been Earl Risk Kelvington IV, that's what I'd probably be doing. But I got into the Naval Academy in '19 — or 2000 and joined in 2001. And I've been in the Navy ever since. So I'm a career naval officer, submariner. I'm on my fourth submarine.

MR: Wow.

LK: I'm the Captain of the USS Pennsylvania Gold, which is a ballistic missile submarine out here in Banger Washington

MR: Hmm.

LK: Yeah. So as far as, you know, as a kid, I always liked, you know, drawing fonts. I would decorate the upper right-hand corner of, you know, my math homework, and you know, just different designs. And so, I've always just enjoyed just doodling. You know, I was a rugby player, art was not always at the forefront of what I was doing. But I will say that I had a math teacher in 7th grade, and he would give us certificates if you get a hundred on a test, and he would write out your name in calligraphy.

And in 7th grade, you know, I was like, "I'm gonna learn how to do this." So, you know, I learned calligraphy in middle school. And so, you know, that and fonts has always been just something I've really enjoyed doing. And I'll say that I've been challenged in the past by my mentors to make sure that I'm always doing something professionally with respect to journaling.

And when you know, COVID happened, and I got into this space with the Cleveland Guardians, and then I watched your presentation, and I was like, "Wow, it's just something I didn't even know I needed." And the simplicity of you the messaging and how you were able to show, "Hey, as long as you can do these shapes, you know, the idea's not art mantra.

As long as you can do these simple shapes, you could really convey a message. And even if it's just with yourself and your own journal, trying to figure out how to better yourself or your people," I found that, you know, I got really excited about it and started doing it.

And what I found was, I was listening to my leaders speak. So I was on an admiral staff, and so, I started Sketchnoting when he was giving his speeches. What I found was by sharing that with him after the fact, and proving to him that his message was simple enough to be able to capture an imagery and not really, you know, hard things to convey, that he was being very effective in his communication style.

So my job as a leader on a submarine is to design people's decision space. And if I can clearly communicate that in different manners, and one of which is through art. So for instance, last week I have these giant post-it notes, and I have my — we'll talk about nuance of pens later. But I have my Neuland pens, and I'll draw quotes and just simple designs.

This week was, the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack. I found on the noun project this, you know, this very simple drawing of a wolf. And it's just the imagery as they come in. It's not just words on a page. It's got a little bit more to it and a little bit of depth. You know, just a little bit of shading makes it look and makes it pop and makes it something that I think really resonates.

That Cleveland Guardian series, you know, we've been exposed to a lot of amazing leaders. You know, Dan Coyle, James Kerr, you know, Jay Hennessy's just done a fantastic job of bringing these people together. And James Kerr, in his book "Legacy," you know, he says, "Shrewd leaders invent a unique vocabulary of shorthand for communicating new cultural norms and standards using specific words, phrases, mottos, and mantras." And I would argue art is part of that.

Then using metaphor, the leader brings the story to visceral life across as many channels as possible. And in that way, the language becomes the oxygen that sustains belief. And in this way, leaders rewrite the future. You know, so using that metaphor and using the imagery, I think is a way to be very effective as a leader.

With my crew, my message is very, I think, simple. It's to build trust, and then, you know, I break it into character and competency, there's something that can resonate with them. Choose growth, and then to use your best punch.

And I've used that, "use your best punch" in this boxing analogy now and using some of the imagery from that to I think — you know, I've only been in command for about three months, but I think starting to build a culture where that can that resonate. And then you can use other things, like, you know, "what does it mean to be in someone's corner?"

As a coach, as a mentor, as someone that you know, is able to throw in the towel for you, when you see that they're struggling and they don't even know that they need the help. So, you know, being able to just effectively use imagery in order to either help you figure out how you wanna convey it.

So like, I don't share all of my notes, you know, with my guys and girls, but you know, making sure that it's a way for me to help frame again, how do I give them the left and right boundaries and then create that imagery to make sure that we're heading in the right direction.

MR: That's really cool. I'm really curious. You made a statement earlier, you said something about decision space. I would really like you to expand a little on what is a decision space, and then secondarily, how are you — it sounds like you're using this imagery as a way to frame or put boundaries on that decision space.

LK: Yeah. So decision space, I talk about the fact that, life is a choose your own adventure. And so as I get you know, 18 to 20-somethings trying to make sure that we teach them what right looks like. So some of that is in either words or pictures. Other instances is actually showing them on the job training of what that really looks like. So the idea is, as they're more junior, the constraining space is the left and right boundaries.

MR: Smaller.

LK: Yeah, are smaller. So again, if you can either use imagery or figure out how you are gonna frame your discussion with them and you can work that out, you know, what are the left and right boundaries that I want to convey so that you can then, and after the fact, "Hey, did I clearly communicate that?" Because honestly, when someone messes up -- I'm a huge proponent of human error. I think that, we are going to make mistakes. And it happens all the time.

You know, I give 'em the example. I say, "Hey, on your phone, how often do you hit the wrong button and you have to back or auto correct." And that stuff happens in real life. And just your normal day-to-day processes. So, if we can accept that human error — 'cause I think, again, our tendency is to run, hide, cover, and blame. That's kind of where we go. But how do we change that so that they feel safe enough to come in, tell you that they messed up?

And then making sure that there's enough of environment that's safe where they can go ahead and admit those mistakes. So that's kind of what I'm talking about there with the decision space. And again, sometimes it's with words, sometimes, again, in your journal, it's a way to, how do I best convey this message to my people?

MR: It almost seems like what you're trying to do, the way I read it is, they can't see inside your mind and what you're thinking, but you can use words and images and things to basically help each one of those individuals build that decision space in their mind to know where the edges are. And know, like, okay, I'm at the edge of, "I need to talk to somebody before I proceed with this." Or, "This doesn't feel right. I need to talk to someone and make sure something feels hinky about this, I better check."

Like, I'm imagining you're helping them to build it for themselves so they can — 'cause then that makes themselves sufficient. And then I guess the second thing is by making that safe environment where they can say, "Hey, captain, I screwed up. I did this." They're more likely to learn from it, right?

If they feel like they're gonna get beat up over it, then that encourages people not to tell you. And then you can ask something that can be a runaway problem that could build into some huge problem, right? You wanna catch it early before it becomes out of control, I would think.

LK: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I think being able to look at yourself first, "Hey, did I give you the time, the tools, the training to do it right." And when they see you with the humility to say, "Hey, I'm going to look at myself first before I go and try to put any kind of blame on you." I think that that helps us build that psychologically safe space to make sure that they do come forward. 'Cause In my world, troubleshooting a human error and a very technical problem is, you know, if you put the wrong number in, we need to know that, so.

MR: Yeah. That's pretty cool. That's really interesting the way you're using it in that. Now you mentioned too that you do journaling. Can you tell a little bit of detail about how you've integrated, I guess, visualization of some kind? Maybe it's rises to the level of sketchnoting in your own journaling practice, and how has that helped you?

LK: Yeah, so I will, a lot of times when maybe in, even in social media, I'll see something like, Adam Grant puts out a quote, you know, so I'll snap that, and then later on I'll take that quote, and then go into my notes and try to make it something that sticks, right? I mean, you wanna make it so that it's something that's sticky. And then, you know, once you kind of have that confidence, sharing that with others.

I'm a SEC football fan, and I was watching SEC Media Day a couple weeks ago, and Kirby Smart was talking and then Nick Saban, and I was like, "Holy smokes, this is a leadership 101. I need to capture some of this stuff." So, you know, capturing it quickly. You know, we can go into some of the advice stuff later, but make sure that you're able to make some shorthand notes off to the side, and then you can figure out how do I want to present this, you know, in a clear manner that I want to capture and then share in the future.

So, you know, I've got my journals, they're chronological, but, you know, I'll put in the front of those journals like a page number with something I wanna make sure I go back to. Yeah, and it's something that now it's sticky, it's there, it's an image. I can tell you, I do not have a photographic memory, but I can see, you know, an image on a page, and then I can go back to it and say, "Okay, this is —" It's gonna be something I can go back and say, "Hey, this is gonna be something I wanna apply to this situation.

Because, you know, as Mark Twain says, right, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes." And so being able to go back to those and say, "Hey, this is an effective message that I now can then share with my people." So, you know, I've been collecting quotes and reading books and putting those things together for really the last 18 years of my career. And for this moment to be able to pour the stuff out on my people.

MR: That's cool. So it does seem like — the things I take away from that are knowledge and insight can come from any place, right? You're watching SEC Media Day, you're getting stuff from, you know, head coaches to these football teams who are leaders, right? They have to deal with leadership. So even like kids and other people can bring you that. So being aware that knowledge can come from any place and to be ready. So that was one message.

And then the second message was, is when you place it in your journals that you have created in an index, so you can find it again quickly because you have a feeling like, you know, "This might be valuable for my team in the future, I need to be able to quick reference that thing and pull it back."

And then the third thing was interesting too, is you said you can see it in your mind. Like that's the way — the challenge for me is I could see it in my mind, and I know I did that thing and then, you know, I probably need to work on my organization of my books so that I can find stuff more easily. Maybe they need to be digitized, I don't know.

But I can definitely like, "0h yeah, I can close my eyes and imagine that sketchnote that I did." And a lot of times the where and when and details all around it. Now finding it in the book is the challenge. So that's my thing that I gotta deal with, but.

LK: Right. Yeah.

MR: Interesting.

LK: And you know, when we talk about tools, because of the nature of my job, I typically don't have my a cell phone, I don't have much when it comes to digital, so a lot of what I have to do is just on pen and paper. You know, so I have not gotten into — I recently did buy the surface pen to try to try the stuff out the digital world, but a lot of times it's just not something that I can take with me.

MR: Yeah, exactly. I think that feels like a real natural place to shift into the tools you do use. Are there specific pens that you like when you do journaling, are there certain books that you like? You talked about big sketch or big sticky notes and Neuland markers. So talk a little bit about kind of the tools you use and why you like 'em.

LK: Yeah. For the most part the journaling, I'll just use the normal, just regular you know, notebook. I do have your the Sketchnote Ideabook as well.

MR: Oh, cool. Nice.

LK: So, you know, I have one that I'm usually in a chronological order going through. And then I have a couple others that where I'm practicing. So, you know, I got the Bikablo Icons from Neuland, so you can kind of go through and practice the different emotions. I even have a little book that was by — it's my daughter's book. It's how to draw, you know, and it's just simple little things.

So, you know, working on that inventory of icons is really, I think one of the things that's helpful to have kind of a separate journal that I build that inventory and that muscle memory of what those — just like you say those simple shapes, but then you just add a little bit of depth and it just really it pops. I don't know how to better describe it. But yeah, I love the Neuland pens. And I like the fact that I can reload 'em and and the fact they don't bleed through the paper, I think that's the other piece's of it.

MR: Yeah. That's the best.

LK: On a day-to-day, I just have like a ballpoint tool as one of my go-tos, you know, in my uniform. 'cause the Neuland’s don't have an easy way to, you know, kind of stuff it in my uniform there.

MR: Yeah.

LK: Like I said when it comes to — I do it for sermons too, so every Sunday I've got a little sketch note of whatever that sermon was, but off to the side as, you know, saying his outline, I'm putting that on a separate piece of paper just to kind of sketch out, "Okay, this is what it was."

And then, you know, I've done a couple of your workshops, talking about different layouts, like what's gonna fit best for this particular sermon and making sure that I — and you're gonna make mistakes especially if you're just using pen and paper, but figuring out inventive ways to hide those mistakes is always a fun challenge as well.

And then a lot of times, I'll snap a picture of it and share it with my mom or you know, just — again, just being willing to share that stuff and get some feedback, and it seems to resonate pretty well with others. Yeah, when it comes to simple icons the Noun Project is definitely an easy one.

MR: Great resource. Yeah.

LK: And honestly, I'm also not shy about tracing an outline of it, you know? I'll put the phone behind it and trace the outline, and —

MR: That's a good idea.

LK: — you know, as I'm working on trying to, you know, build the repertoire of icons, but you know, sometimes I just can't get the proportions right so I'll just draw it behind there and trace it through, and it still looks pretty good. And then when I was in my job, in my previous job on that Admiral staff, I just had 5 by 8 note cards, and that would be my method of capturing those things, especially if I wanted to share 'em with them.

MR: Yeah. It's interesting, like 5 by 8 note cards, I've got a big stack of them. Well, I got smaller ones right here. I took to a conference years ago. Basically, we said, "Well, here's what we need." And I wanted 5 by 8 card stock, so they got eight and a half by 11, cut it in half, and handed it out to all the students in that workshop.

In person, I was in Philly, and they had all these leftover cards. So I took them and I was like, I really like these are really nice. You know, it's kind of a nice, you know, you don't feel too precious about it. If you screw it up, you just recycle it, start with another one, you know, it's independent so you can kind of move it around. And so that's kind of cool that you use that.

So when you're on the boat, are you able to take — it sounds like you don't take technology, so you take paper and pen or something, or do you take anything when you go on the boat, or is it pretty much get left behind?

LK: I'll take my pen and paper, you know.

MR: Oh, nice.

LK: And my journal. Yeah. So, again, I use it as a leadership journal, you know, capture things you know, obviously nothing classified, but —

MR: Sure. Yeah.

LK: But yeah, just building on those lessons and making sure that again, as I'm trying to visualize how I want to present information, one of the easy ways to do that is if I can — I'm convinced that if I can make it a simple image, then if I can communicate that image with words, then I think I'm winning there to be able to build what that — bringing that story to visceral life like James Kerr says.

MR: There's been a lot of talk about story too. Like we as people, if we see or hear story, if it's well done, it can be almost as though we experienced it personally. So that visceral life is actually like a real thing. Like, you can almost imagine, like in movies you've seen, if you really resonate with it, it could feel as though you experienced that yourself. And you can learn lessons from those experiences. Like, "Yeah, don't do that. Probably, this doesn't feel right. " You know, you're building knowledge from that.

So when you take your journals on the boat, do your do your crew see that? What do they think? 'Cause I saw, you know, you put it up on the screen, it's got stickers all over it and, you know, looks kind of cool. They're like, "Oh man, he is carrying a notebook." Does that seem unusual to them? Do they say anything to you about it? Or how do they react to that, if at all? Maybe they don't.

LK: I think that when I do show 'em the images, I think they do enjoy it, but it is pretty typical for, you know, senior officers to carry around at least some level of a notebook, but to me it's teaching them that, you know, that professional journal that you're learning and making sure you're capturing these lessons. 'Cause people learn lessons from good leaders, and they also learn them from poor leaders too. So making sure that even, you know, you capture both the good and the bad.

'Cause You can say, "Well, I really don't want to do it that way." You know, so when they get in charge, and making sure that they're taking things with them. The Navy is not something that is always a career for everyone, but making sure that those lessons that you learn and you've got something to be able to after the fact digest.

My engineer tour was a very a challenging tour. It was, over three yearS, but the notes that I took during that tour, I was able to then really digest. I ended up writing an article and getting it published in the Naval Institute Proceedings. I would've not been able to really digest that tour and clean all those lessons if I hadn't captured those throughout the tour. Just those little nuggets things I wanted to do better, things I learned. Yeah.

MR: It seems to me too, the other lesson I take away from what you're just talking about is, and this probably from the beginning too, is this idea of you can't just, you know, at the end of three years, like go back and reflect on everything and take every learning because you're gonna forget a lot of it. So it's really important that you are documenting this stuff as it's happening in little micro chunks and letting it build over time.

So you're building this experience, and it's a way of capturing like your lessons, because you know, as much as you'd love to think, you can go back after three years and reflect, and you could do dress and meaning, but having that reference would be huge. So that would be an encouragement for those listening or watching to maybe start carrying a, carrying a book around that they document stuff in the way that you do as a valuable professional tool.

LK: And sometimes it can just either be a small image or just a few words, and that'll trigger, you know, that event so that you can make sure, yeah, You can capture it and use it in the future.

MR: So we've covered your life story. We've covered tools. We're at the point where I would love to hear your encouragement in tips. So the way I frame it is someone's listening, watching their visualization person of some kind, and maybe they feel like they're in a rut or they just need some encouragement. What would you tell that person In three tips? Or you can go beyond three if you want to.

LK: Yeah, I think the first is you know, the practice, you know, building those icons so that later when you're stuck you can open up that other journal and take a look at those items. Or I would encourage 'em to, you know, take courses kind of like what you've offered, just to give 'em a little bit more courage or a little bit more just tools.

MR: Confidence maybe.

LK: Yeah, Confidence. Yeah, Confidence is the word I'm looking for there. That it is just simple images that could really resonate with just a little bit of practice. But then I think also you know, using those tools like the Noun Project and not being afraid to, every once in a while trace it out if it's, you know, to make it look good. I think sharing it with friends has been something that I've really enjoyed and letting them give you a little bit of feedback. I think that that will give them some more encouragement that it's something that people enjoy.

And then it's okay to wait, I think, to be inspired. You know, my journals are not full. Every page doesn't have images on it, right? So making sure that you, you keep the practice of journaling, and even if it's just the story and things that happened, and then as the inspiration comes and that you say, "Hey, this is something I really want to capture with an image." You know, making sure that you keep that muscle memory of carrying that notebook around.

And then that way when — like I said the other day, watching that SEC Media Day was like, "Wow, I need to capture this. And I think this would be something that I could then share with friends and we could get a conversation going." I move a lot, so connecting with others, if you send 'em an image and say, "Hey, let's talk about this. This is really exciting. This is something I just heard." It can help build that conversation. And so, it's not just, "Well, how you doing? Oh, I'm doing fine." so it's not just the family stuff, but it's also —

MR: Go deeper. Yeah.

LK: Yeah.

MR: Cool. That's really cool. I love those tips. Thanks for sharing those. Well, you know, you're probably on a boat some part of the time, and maybe you don't really have social media stuff. Is there anywhere you would send people to learn more about you? Or is there anything online that they can even find? Is there anything that we can send people to?

LK: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, so I'm on LinkedIn. That's the easiest way professionally to reach out to me.

MR: Cool.

LK: I do have a couple articles that I've written in the U.S. Naval Institute proceedings so they can find a couple pretty, you know lessons there that I've captured. But yeah, other than that, my bio is on the submarine Pacific Fleet website, if they really wanna see that, but.

MR: Go dip.

LK: Yeah.

MR: Cool. Well, we'll make sure and get a link to your LinkedIn. We'll put that in the show notes and maybe we can have you find links to your article. So if people wanna read those, we can include those in the show notes too. But hey, Luke, this has been great. It's really been fun to hear — you know, when I started this podcast and never thought that I'd have a commander of a submarine talking about sketchnoting. You know, just the world is crazy. You just never know where it's gonna lead, you know.

LK: Yes, sir. Absolutely. It's been an absolute pleasure. I'm blessed to have been part of that Cleveland Guardian speaker series to get to know some of the awesome people like you, Mike, and yeah, it's been a pleasure.

MR: Well, thanks, Luke. We appreciate you. Thanks for your service. And for everyone who's watching and listening, this will be another episode of the Sketchnote Army Podcast. Until the next episode, talk to you soon.

LK: You could make it Navy, you know, just for this episode.

MR: That's true. Yeah, the Sketchnote Navy. Never thought about that. Yeah. That's funny.

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Manage episode 386306999 series 2804354
תוכן מסופק על ידי Sketchnote Army Podcast and Mike Rohde. כל תוכן הפודקאסטים כולל פרקים, גרפיקה ותיאורי פודקאסטים מועלים ומסופקים ישירות על ידי Sketchnote Army Podcast and Mike Rohde או שותף פלטפורמת הפודקאסט שלהם. אם אתה מאמין שמישהו משתמש ביצירה שלך המוגנת בזכויות יוצרים ללא רשותך, אתה יכול לעקוב אחר התהליך המתואר כאן https://he.player.fm/legal.

In this episode, we dive into Luke Kelvington’s fascinating world as the commander of a submarine. Luke takes leadership to a whole new level by mixing in visual thinking and sketchnotes to shape how he and his crew make better decisions. If you're curious about how creativity plays a role in leadership, especially on a submarine, this podcast is a fun journey into Luke's underwater world.

Sponsored by Concepts

This episode of the Sketchnote Army Podcast is brought to you by Concepts, a perfect tool for sketchnoting, available on iOS, Windows, and Android.

Concepts' vector-based drawing feature gives you the power to adjust your drawings saving hours and hours of rework.

Vectors provide clean, crisp, high-resolution output for your sketchnotes at any size you need s ideal for sketchnoting.

SEARCH in your favorite app store to give it a try.

Running Order

  • Intro
  • Welcome
  • Who is Luke Kelvington?
  • Origin Story
  • Luke’s current work
  • Sponsor: Concepts
  • Tips
  • Tools
  • Where to find Luke
  • Outro

Links

Amazon affiliate links support the Sketchnote Army Podcast.

Tools

Amazon affiliate links support the Sketchnote Army Podcast.

Tips

  1. Practice and take courses.
  2. Use tools to perfect your work.
  3. Share your projects.
  4. It's okay to wait to be inspired.

Credits

  • Producer: Alec Pulianas
  • Shownotes and transcripts: Esther Odoro
  • Theme music: Jon Schiedermayer

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Episode Transcript

Mike Rohde: Hey everyone, it's Mike and I'm here with Luke Kelvington. Luke, it's so good to have you on the show. Thanks for coming.

Luke Kelvington: Oh, thank you for the invite, Mike. Appreciate it.

MR: So we got connected through the Cleveland Guardians. We both have a connection through that. And learned about your sketchnoting skills, and you sent me samples and I was like, "Oh, this is cool. We should have you on the show to talk a little bit about your experience and the way you look at it with the people who listen."

So I'm just gonna jump right into, why don't you tell us who you are and what you do, and then go right into how did you end up in this place? Even go back to when you were a little kid, were you drawing for your whole life? You know, was it a late development? I'm really curious to hear how it all fit into what you're doing now.

LK: Yeah, I appreciate it. Yeah. I'm from Akron, Ohio, son of a third-generation mechanic. I'm pretty sure had my name been Earl Risk Kelvington IV, that's what I'd probably be doing. But I got into the Naval Academy in '19 — or 2000 and joined in 2001. And I've been in the Navy ever since. So I'm a career naval officer, submariner. I'm on my fourth submarine.

MR: Wow.

LK: I'm the Captain of the USS Pennsylvania Gold, which is a ballistic missile submarine out here in Banger Washington

MR: Hmm.

LK: Yeah. So as far as, you know, as a kid, I always liked, you know, drawing fonts. I would decorate the upper right-hand corner of, you know, my math homework, and you know, just different designs. And so, I've always just enjoyed just doodling. You know, I was a rugby player, art was not always at the forefront of what I was doing. But I will say that I had a math teacher in 7th grade, and he would give us certificates if you get a hundred on a test, and he would write out your name in calligraphy.

And in 7th grade, you know, I was like, "I'm gonna learn how to do this." So, you know, I learned calligraphy in middle school. And so, you know, that and fonts has always been just something I've really enjoyed doing. And I'll say that I've been challenged in the past by my mentors to make sure that I'm always doing something professionally with respect to journaling.

And when you know, COVID happened, and I got into this space with the Cleveland Guardians, and then I watched your presentation, and I was like, "Wow, it's just something I didn't even know I needed." And the simplicity of you the messaging and how you were able to show, "Hey, as long as you can do these shapes, you know, the idea's not art mantra.

As long as you can do these simple shapes, you could really convey a message. And even if it's just with yourself and your own journal, trying to figure out how to better yourself or your people," I found that, you know, I got really excited about it and started doing it.

And what I found was, I was listening to my leaders speak. So I was on an admiral staff, and so, I started Sketchnoting when he was giving his speeches. What I found was by sharing that with him after the fact, and proving to him that his message was simple enough to be able to capture an imagery and not really, you know, hard things to convey, that he was being very effective in his communication style.

So my job as a leader on a submarine is to design people's decision space. And if I can clearly communicate that in different manners, and one of which is through art. So for instance, last week I have these giant post-it notes, and I have my — we'll talk about nuance of pens later. But I have my Neuland pens, and I'll draw quotes and just simple designs.

This week was, the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack. I found on the noun project this, you know, this very simple drawing of a wolf. And it's just the imagery as they come in. It's not just words on a page. It's got a little bit more to it and a little bit of depth. You know, just a little bit of shading makes it look and makes it pop and makes it something that I think really resonates.

That Cleveland Guardian series, you know, we've been exposed to a lot of amazing leaders. You know, Dan Coyle, James Kerr, you know, Jay Hennessy's just done a fantastic job of bringing these people together. And James Kerr, in his book "Legacy," you know, he says, "Shrewd leaders invent a unique vocabulary of shorthand for communicating new cultural norms and standards using specific words, phrases, mottos, and mantras." And I would argue art is part of that.

Then using metaphor, the leader brings the story to visceral life across as many channels as possible. And in that way, the language becomes the oxygen that sustains belief. And in this way, leaders rewrite the future. You know, so using that metaphor and using the imagery, I think is a way to be very effective as a leader.

With my crew, my message is very, I think, simple. It's to build trust, and then, you know, I break it into character and competency, there's something that can resonate with them. Choose growth, and then to use your best punch.

And I've used that, "use your best punch" in this boxing analogy now and using some of the imagery from that to I think — you know, I've only been in command for about three months, but I think starting to build a culture where that can that resonate. And then you can use other things, like, you know, "what does it mean to be in someone's corner?"

As a coach, as a mentor, as someone that you know, is able to throw in the towel for you, when you see that they're struggling and they don't even know that they need the help. So, you know, being able to just effectively use imagery in order to either help you figure out how you wanna convey it.

So like, I don't share all of my notes, you know, with my guys and girls, but you know, making sure that it's a way for me to help frame again, how do I give them the left and right boundaries and then create that imagery to make sure that we're heading in the right direction.

MR: That's really cool. I'm really curious. You made a statement earlier, you said something about decision space. I would really like you to expand a little on what is a decision space, and then secondarily, how are you — it sounds like you're using this imagery as a way to frame or put boundaries on that decision space.

LK: Yeah. So decision space, I talk about the fact that, life is a choose your own adventure. And so as I get you know, 18 to 20-somethings trying to make sure that we teach them what right looks like. So some of that is in either words or pictures. Other instances is actually showing them on the job training of what that really looks like. So the idea is, as they're more junior, the constraining space is the left and right boundaries.

MR: Smaller.

LK: Yeah, are smaller. So again, if you can either use imagery or figure out how you are gonna frame your discussion with them and you can work that out, you know, what are the left and right boundaries that I want to convey so that you can then, and after the fact, "Hey, did I clearly communicate that?" Because honestly, when someone messes up -- I'm a huge proponent of human error. I think that, we are going to make mistakes. And it happens all the time.

You know, I give 'em the example. I say, "Hey, on your phone, how often do you hit the wrong button and you have to back or auto correct." And that stuff happens in real life. And just your normal day-to-day processes. So, if we can accept that human error — 'cause I think, again, our tendency is to run, hide, cover, and blame. That's kind of where we go. But how do we change that so that they feel safe enough to come in, tell you that they messed up?

And then making sure that there's enough of environment that's safe where they can go ahead and admit those mistakes. So that's kind of what I'm talking about there with the decision space. And again, sometimes it's with words, sometimes, again, in your journal, it's a way to, how do I best convey this message to my people?

MR: It almost seems like what you're trying to do, the way I read it is, they can't see inside your mind and what you're thinking, but you can use words and images and things to basically help each one of those individuals build that decision space in their mind to know where the edges are. And know, like, okay, I'm at the edge of, "I need to talk to somebody before I proceed with this." Or, "This doesn't feel right. I need to talk to someone and make sure something feels hinky about this, I better check."

Like, I'm imagining you're helping them to build it for themselves so they can — 'cause then that makes themselves sufficient. And then I guess the second thing is by making that safe environment where they can say, "Hey, captain, I screwed up. I did this." They're more likely to learn from it, right?

If they feel like they're gonna get beat up over it, then that encourages people not to tell you. And then you can ask something that can be a runaway problem that could build into some huge problem, right? You wanna catch it early before it becomes out of control, I would think.

LK: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I think being able to look at yourself first, "Hey, did I give you the time, the tools, the training to do it right." And when they see you with the humility to say, "Hey, I'm going to look at myself first before I go and try to put any kind of blame on you." I think that that helps us build that psychologically safe space to make sure that they do come forward. 'Cause In my world, troubleshooting a human error and a very technical problem is, you know, if you put the wrong number in, we need to know that, so.

MR: Yeah. That's pretty cool. That's really interesting the way you're using it in that. Now you mentioned too that you do journaling. Can you tell a little bit of detail about how you've integrated, I guess, visualization of some kind? Maybe it's rises to the level of sketchnoting in your own journaling practice, and how has that helped you?

LK: Yeah, so I will, a lot of times when maybe in, even in social media, I'll see something like, Adam Grant puts out a quote, you know, so I'll snap that, and then later on I'll take that quote, and then go into my notes and try to make it something that sticks, right? I mean, you wanna make it so that it's something that's sticky. And then, you know, once you kind of have that confidence, sharing that with others.

I'm a SEC football fan, and I was watching SEC Media Day a couple weeks ago, and Kirby Smart was talking and then Nick Saban, and I was like, "Holy smokes, this is a leadership 101. I need to capture some of this stuff." So, you know, capturing it quickly. You know, we can go into some of the advice stuff later, but make sure that you're able to make some shorthand notes off to the side, and then you can figure out how do I want to present this, you know, in a clear manner that I want to capture and then share in the future.

So, you know, I've got my journals, they're chronological, but, you know, I'll put in the front of those journals like a page number with something I wanna make sure I go back to. Yeah, and it's something that now it's sticky, it's there, it's an image. I can tell you, I do not have a photographic memory, but I can see, you know, an image on a page, and then I can go back to it and say, "Okay, this is —" It's gonna be something I can go back and say, "Hey, this is gonna be something I wanna apply to this situation.

Because, you know, as Mark Twain says, right, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes." And so being able to go back to those and say, "Hey, this is an effective message that I now can then share with my people." So, you know, I've been collecting quotes and reading books and putting those things together for really the last 18 years of my career. And for this moment to be able to pour the stuff out on my people.

MR: That's cool. So it does seem like — the things I take away from that are knowledge and insight can come from any place, right? You're watching SEC Media Day, you're getting stuff from, you know, head coaches to these football teams who are leaders, right? They have to deal with leadership. So even like kids and other people can bring you that. So being aware that knowledge can come from any place and to be ready. So that was one message.

And then the second message was, is when you place it in your journals that you have created in an index, so you can find it again quickly because you have a feeling like, you know, "This might be valuable for my team in the future, I need to be able to quick reference that thing and pull it back."

And then the third thing was interesting too, is you said you can see it in your mind. Like that's the way — the challenge for me is I could see it in my mind, and I know I did that thing and then, you know, I probably need to work on my organization of my books so that I can find stuff more easily. Maybe they need to be digitized, I don't know.

But I can definitely like, "0h yeah, I can close my eyes and imagine that sketchnote that I did." And a lot of times the where and when and details all around it. Now finding it in the book is the challenge. So that's my thing that I gotta deal with, but.

LK: Right. Yeah.

MR: Interesting.

LK: And you know, when we talk about tools, because of the nature of my job, I typically don't have my a cell phone, I don't have much when it comes to digital, so a lot of what I have to do is just on pen and paper. You know, so I have not gotten into — I recently did buy the surface pen to try to try the stuff out the digital world, but a lot of times it's just not something that I can take with me.

MR: Yeah, exactly. I think that feels like a real natural place to shift into the tools you do use. Are there specific pens that you like when you do journaling, are there certain books that you like? You talked about big sketch or big sticky notes and Neuland markers. So talk a little bit about kind of the tools you use and why you like 'em.

LK: Yeah. For the most part the journaling, I'll just use the normal, just regular you know, notebook. I do have your the Sketchnote Ideabook as well.

MR: Oh, cool. Nice.

LK: So, you know, I have one that I'm usually in a chronological order going through. And then I have a couple others that where I'm practicing. So, you know, I got the Bikablo Icons from Neuland, so you can kind of go through and practice the different emotions. I even have a little book that was by — it's my daughter's book. It's how to draw, you know, and it's just simple little things.

So, you know, working on that inventory of icons is really, I think one of the things that's helpful to have kind of a separate journal that I build that inventory and that muscle memory of what those — just like you say those simple shapes, but then you just add a little bit of depth and it just really it pops. I don't know how to better describe it. But yeah, I love the Neuland pens. And I like the fact that I can reload 'em and and the fact they don't bleed through the paper, I think that's the other piece's of it.

MR: Yeah. That's the best.

LK: On a day-to-day, I just have like a ballpoint tool as one of my go-tos, you know, in my uniform. 'cause the Neuland’s don't have an easy way to, you know, kind of stuff it in my uniform there.

MR: Yeah.

LK: Like I said when it comes to — I do it for sermons too, so every Sunday I've got a little sketch note of whatever that sermon was, but off to the side as, you know, saying his outline, I'm putting that on a separate piece of paper just to kind of sketch out, "Okay, this is what it was."

And then, you know, I've done a couple of your workshops, talking about different layouts, like what's gonna fit best for this particular sermon and making sure that I — and you're gonna make mistakes especially if you're just using pen and paper, but figuring out inventive ways to hide those mistakes is always a fun challenge as well.

And then a lot of times, I'll snap a picture of it and share it with my mom or you know, just — again, just being willing to share that stuff and get some feedback, and it seems to resonate pretty well with others. Yeah, when it comes to simple icons the Noun Project is definitely an easy one.

MR: Great resource. Yeah.

LK: And honestly, I'm also not shy about tracing an outline of it, you know? I'll put the phone behind it and trace the outline, and —

MR: That's a good idea.

LK: — you know, as I'm working on trying to, you know, build the repertoire of icons, but you know, sometimes I just can't get the proportions right so I'll just draw it behind there and trace it through, and it still looks pretty good. And then when I was in my job, in my previous job on that Admiral staff, I just had 5 by 8 note cards, and that would be my method of capturing those things, especially if I wanted to share 'em with them.

MR: Yeah. It's interesting, like 5 by 8 note cards, I've got a big stack of them. Well, I got smaller ones right here. I took to a conference years ago. Basically, we said, "Well, here's what we need." And I wanted 5 by 8 card stock, so they got eight and a half by 11, cut it in half, and handed it out to all the students in that workshop.

In person, I was in Philly, and they had all these leftover cards. So I took them and I was like, I really like these are really nice. You know, it's kind of a nice, you know, you don't feel too precious about it. If you screw it up, you just recycle it, start with another one, you know, it's independent so you can kind of move it around. And so that's kind of cool that you use that.

So when you're on the boat, are you able to take — it sounds like you don't take technology, so you take paper and pen or something, or do you take anything when you go on the boat, or is it pretty much get left behind?

LK: I'll take my pen and paper, you know.

MR: Oh, nice.

LK: And my journal. Yeah. So, again, I use it as a leadership journal, you know, capture things you know, obviously nothing classified, but —

MR: Sure. Yeah.

LK: But yeah, just building on those lessons and making sure that again, as I'm trying to visualize how I want to present information, one of the easy ways to do that is if I can — I'm convinced that if I can make it a simple image, then if I can communicate that image with words, then I think I'm winning there to be able to build what that — bringing that story to visceral life like James Kerr says.

MR: There's been a lot of talk about story too. Like we as people, if we see or hear story, if it's well done, it can be almost as though we experienced it personally. So that visceral life is actually like a real thing. Like, you can almost imagine, like in movies you've seen, if you really resonate with it, it could feel as though you experienced that yourself. And you can learn lessons from those experiences. Like, "Yeah, don't do that. Probably, this doesn't feel right. " You know, you're building knowledge from that.

So when you take your journals on the boat, do your do your crew see that? What do they think? 'Cause I saw, you know, you put it up on the screen, it's got stickers all over it and, you know, looks kind of cool. They're like, "Oh man, he is carrying a notebook." Does that seem unusual to them? Do they say anything to you about it? Or how do they react to that, if at all? Maybe they don't.

LK: I think that when I do show 'em the images, I think they do enjoy it, but it is pretty typical for, you know, senior officers to carry around at least some level of a notebook, but to me it's teaching them that, you know, that professional journal that you're learning and making sure you're capturing these lessons. 'Cause people learn lessons from good leaders, and they also learn them from poor leaders too. So making sure that even, you know, you capture both the good and the bad.

'Cause You can say, "Well, I really don't want to do it that way." You know, so when they get in charge, and making sure that they're taking things with them. The Navy is not something that is always a career for everyone, but making sure that those lessons that you learn and you've got something to be able to after the fact digest.

My engineer tour was a very a challenging tour. It was, over three yearS, but the notes that I took during that tour, I was able to then really digest. I ended up writing an article and getting it published in the Naval Institute Proceedings. I would've not been able to really digest that tour and clean all those lessons if I hadn't captured those throughout the tour. Just those little nuggets things I wanted to do better, things I learned. Yeah.

MR: It seems to me too, the other lesson I take away from what you're just talking about is, and this probably from the beginning too, is this idea of you can't just, you know, at the end of three years, like go back and reflect on everything and take every learning because you're gonna forget a lot of it. So it's really important that you are documenting this stuff as it's happening in little micro chunks and letting it build over time.

So you're building this experience, and it's a way of capturing like your lessons, because you know, as much as you'd love to think, you can go back after three years and reflect, and you could do dress and meaning, but having that reference would be huge. So that would be an encouragement for those listening or watching to maybe start carrying a, carrying a book around that they document stuff in the way that you do as a valuable professional tool.

LK: And sometimes it can just either be a small image or just a few words, and that'll trigger, you know, that event so that you can make sure, yeah, You can capture it and use it in the future.

MR: So we've covered your life story. We've covered tools. We're at the point where I would love to hear your encouragement in tips. So the way I frame it is someone's listening, watching their visualization person of some kind, and maybe they feel like they're in a rut or they just need some encouragement. What would you tell that person In three tips? Or you can go beyond three if you want to.

LK: Yeah, I think the first is you know, the practice, you know, building those icons so that later when you're stuck you can open up that other journal and take a look at those items. Or I would encourage 'em to, you know, take courses kind of like what you've offered, just to give 'em a little bit more courage or a little bit more just tools.

MR: Confidence maybe.

LK: Yeah, Confidence. Yeah, Confidence is the word I'm looking for there. That it is just simple images that could really resonate with just a little bit of practice. But then I think also you know, using those tools like the Noun Project and not being afraid to, every once in a while trace it out if it's, you know, to make it look good. I think sharing it with friends has been something that I've really enjoyed and letting them give you a little bit of feedback. I think that that will give them some more encouragement that it's something that people enjoy.

And then it's okay to wait, I think, to be inspired. You know, my journals are not full. Every page doesn't have images on it, right? So making sure that you, you keep the practice of journaling, and even if it's just the story and things that happened, and then as the inspiration comes and that you say, "Hey, this is something I really want to capture with an image." You know, making sure that you keep that muscle memory of carrying that notebook around.

And then that way when — like I said the other day, watching that SEC Media Day was like, "Wow, I need to capture this. And I think this would be something that I could then share with friends and we could get a conversation going." I move a lot, so connecting with others, if you send 'em an image and say, "Hey, let's talk about this. This is really exciting. This is something I just heard." It can help build that conversation. And so, it's not just, "Well, how you doing? Oh, I'm doing fine." so it's not just the family stuff, but it's also —

MR: Go deeper. Yeah.

LK: Yeah.

MR: Cool. That's really cool. I love those tips. Thanks for sharing those. Well, you know, you're probably on a boat some part of the time, and maybe you don't really have social media stuff. Is there anywhere you would send people to learn more about you? Or is there anything online that they can even find? Is there anything that we can send people to?

LK: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, so I'm on LinkedIn. That's the easiest way professionally to reach out to me.

MR: Cool.

LK: I do have a couple articles that I've written in the U.S. Naval Institute proceedings so they can find a couple pretty, you know lessons there that I've captured. But yeah, other than that, my bio is on the submarine Pacific Fleet website, if they really wanna see that, but.

MR: Go dip.

LK: Yeah.

MR: Cool. Well, we'll make sure and get a link to your LinkedIn. We'll put that in the show notes and maybe we can have you find links to your article. So if people wanna read those, we can include those in the show notes too. But hey, Luke, this has been great. It's really been fun to hear — you know, when I started this podcast and never thought that I'd have a commander of a submarine talking about sketchnoting. You know, just the world is crazy. You just never know where it's gonna lead, you know.

LK: Yes, sir. Absolutely. It's been an absolute pleasure. I'm blessed to have been part of that Cleveland Guardian speaker series to get to know some of the awesome people like you, Mike, and yeah, it's been a pleasure.

MR: Well, thanks, Luke. We appreciate you. Thanks for your service. And for everyone who's watching and listening, this will be another episode of the Sketchnote Army Podcast. Until the next episode, talk to you soon.

LK: You could make it Navy, you know, just for this episode.

MR: That's true. Yeah, the Sketchnote Navy. Never thought about that. Yeah. That's funny.

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