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Perserverance Archives, Page 1 of 1
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Apr 3
Learning Leadership in Moab
There is a something magical about riding a bike. And there is something beyond magical about riding a bike in Moab, Utah. Last week, I joined seven longtime friends on a two-day adventure of mountain biking across the sand and slick rock that is uniquely found in Moab.
moab 1.JPG
Between the sore muscles, scrapes, steaks, Gatorade and near constant laughter, I found glimpses of inspiration on the Porcupine Trail (that is me in the yellow sleeves). These glimpses reminded me of the importance of good friends, trust, balance in life, community and teamwork.

Moab is one of those special places on the earth and perhaps mountain biking mecca. It is not just its beauty, but the feeling it engenders among its inhabitants and visitors. There is a shared joy and sense of community among those we met on the trail, as if we were somehow linked together in a common quest to not only survive but conquer the elements, rock and gravity.

Don’t get me wrong, it is mostly fun and laughter but I also observed some important leadership lessons from the experience as we rode one of the top rated mountain bike rides in the U.S.

I came back with this:

Adapt – Going uphill requires patience, balance, perseverance and burning legs and lungs. Gravity owns you. Suddenly, gravity which has been your enemy, turns friendly as you reach the summit and start downhill. The skill set required to successfully ride changes. While you no longer work against gravity, you can’t relax too much lest you find yourself in a heap from too much speed. Arms, back and shoulders are required to guide the bike as it hurls over rock, drops and turns. Terrain also causes one to adapt as your bike and required effort changes as you ride on slickrock, sand, packed trail or loose rocks.

Vision - Like skiing or snowboarding, you look for a “line” when you ride downhill on a bike. You must constantly look ahead and adjust your speed, steering and position on the bike to account for changes in the trail and terrain. Look to the side or directly in front of you (not out ahead) and you may get severely hurt. Your fellow riders may attack the trail differently or take a different line. It is not so much that there is one perfect line, you just have to find your line and commit to it. Not planning or looking ahead and a crash is the likely result.

Risk – Throughout a ride, there are many risks. Taking risks is part of the experience and admittedly part of the fun. Attempting to conquer more difficult and challenging terrain is the only way to improve. However, foolish and cavalier riding may result in serious injury to you and others on the trail. In one section of our ride, it may have resulted in death as we rode near cliffs. Assessing risk and measuring it against one’s ability is critical.

Teamwork – On one of our rides, a rider from our group had a broken chain thatMoab Teamwork could not be repaired. Finding ourselves several miles from any aid, the choices were few. Fortunately, we were near the summit. He was able to use gravity over much of the terrain to get down the hill. As we hit a flat dirt road that led us back to our vehicle, we still had miles to go. With the disabled bike and rider in the middle, two riders pushed from each side forming a “flying V” that enabled us to literally fly down the road and return to our vehicle. Incrementally, no one person expended much more energy but the combined cooperative effort resulted in a great solution.

Adapting, having vision, measuring and taking risks and utilizing the strengths of a team contributed to a great time for me in Moab. These same principles can make us all better leaders and successful in our professional endeavors.

Thanks to David K, Hondo, the Beav, Smiley, Cousin Todd, Gordo and Red Leader for the great time. I appreciate your patience, friendship and sense of humor. Good luck Tara – don’t forget the salsa next time. Thanks to Chile Pepper bikes. And what about Pat and Terry? Doik a merle.
Mar22
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is a Leadership Pioneer
It is hard not to mention Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf when discussing examples of leadership. As Africa’s first democratically elected female head ofLiberian President.jpg state, she has provided hope to a country ravaged by her exiled predecessor, Charles Talyor.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, who studied economics at Harvard, met with President Bush in the Oval office and addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress this week. Sworn into office in January, she is faced with the task of unifying a country torn apart by 25 years of crisis and chaos, 85% unemployment and an economy based primarily on illicit activity used to finance wars that resulted in the killing of 250,000 people.

Women leaders such as Johnson-Sirleaf are playing a significant role in bringing democracy to Africa and reshaping countries that have been ravaged by violent dicatators. From an article in Foreign Policy in Focus

“Few Americans would guess that the country that leads the world in political gender balance is Rwanda, where women make up half of the members of parliament, a development that started in the mid-1990s. South Africa and Mozambique, also high on the list, are both countries with women composing more than 30 percent of their parliaments. This stands in stark contrast to the United States, where women make up only 15 percent of Congress. African countries also have higher percentages of women in cabinet-level positions. In South Africa, 13 out of 28 are women, and in Rwanda there are nine women to 22 men.”

Bush called Johnson-Sirleaf a "pioneer" and added "You're the first woman elected president to any country on the continent of Africa, and that requires courage and vision and the desire to improve the lives of your people."

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is providing a vision of democracy and economic self-reliance. We all should hope she has the courage and support to bring peace to this part of the world and that others will be inspired to follow her pioneering spirit.

Thanks to Robinhood for the tip on this story.

Read more in the Washington Post.
Mar 7
JetBlue Faces a New Challenge
Last month JetBlue announced its first quarterly loss since going public in 2002. The AirlineHub detailed the specifics of the loss.

I point it out here because I have written about JetBlue – and its CEO Dave Neeleman – before. Neeleman is a dynamic leader that approached the tradition and bureaucracy-bound airline industry from a completely new angle and in the process set a new standard for air travel.

Five years into it, JetBlue is facing its first true crisis. Fuel costs, which skyrocketed in 2005, and the impact of the fall hurricanes on travel to and from Florida were a big part of the loss. The airline is also facing maintenance costs for perhaps the first time as its fleet starts to age. Neeleman expressed disappointment but not excuses while the naysayers piled on.

The USA Today reports,

“Since JetBlue's launch in February 2000, the skeptics have said making money in the early years would be easy but that it wouldn't last. At first, its maintenance spending would be next to zero, and its employees would all be at the bottom of the pay scale. But that cost holiday someday would end, they warned. Now some of those skeptics are whispering, ‘I told you so.’"

Continue Reading
Mar 6
Reese Witherspoon is Trying to Matter
I can’t say that there is ever much at the Academy Awards that inspire me or makesjohnny & June.jpg me think leadership. I was happy to see “Walk the Line” garner some accolades. I am fan of Johnny Cash and I enjoyed the movie.

What made me stop and pay attention for a minute was Reese Witherspoon’s mention of June Carter. Witherspoon said. "People used to ask June how she was doing, and she would say 'I'm just trying to matter.'”

Trying to matter…..to your employees, friends, family, team, neighbors is a start to leadership. Making the world better for others and not just you is leadership. June was part of the first family of country music and rescued Johnny from self-destruction. She mattered.

Check out the Washington Post for all the Oscar details.

Thanks to Locust Fork for the quote.
Jan20
A Team of Greatness
For many of you it might be hard to think all the way back to 1987. For me it is memorable as my first real job after graduating from college in 1986. Ronald Reagan was President of the United States. The cold war was still cold, although thawing. You may recall that the Cosby Show, Cheers and Family Ties were the top TV shows. Michael Jordan started his second season in the NBA and won the scoring title but it would be four more seasons before he would lead the Bulls to an NBA championship.

For most current high school seniors, 1987 was one year before they were born. But here in Brea, California we know 1987 season as they year the win streak started…….

………And we will remember 2006 as the year the streak came to an end. That is right, the Brea Olinda Ladycats won 183 consecutive basketball league games from the 1986/87 season until last Friday when the improbable but eventualladycats.jpg occurred. The Ladycats fell. It took a period of overtime for El Dorado of Placentia to end the streak.

Brea, California is near the border of the Los Angeles and Orange County line in the Los Angeles basin. About 17 million people live in the LA area so this streak was played out in a competitive environment. The span covered 183 games over 20 seasons and remarkably included three coaches, a league change and only one overtime period. The last time Brea lost in league was February 10, 1987, in the season's second-to-last game.

For perspective, the next longest streak in California is 107 and held by a team in the rural central valley of California. The loss endangers another state record. Brea has won 23 consecutive league titles, 10 more than the next current active streak.

The full story can be read in the LA Times,  if you are interested.
Continue Reading
Oct20
Leadership Qualities are Timeless
Well, the fall classic is now set. Houston closed out the Cardinals last night and now will face the White Sox in the World Series. If you have been paying attention to the race for the National League pennant, you certainly have heard mention of the Houston Astros’ comparison to the Miracle Braves of 1914. If you haven’t been paying attention, you can catch up now because there are some great lessons in leadership and management from this “classic and current” baseball tale.

With their win last night, the Astros became the first team to win a pennant after dropping 15 games under .500 since the 1914 Boston Braves. These two comparable comebacks seem like a formula for a gazillion bad Hollywood movies. But this is real life drama and a great model for business leadership.

Both the Astros and the Miracle Braves celebrated their first pennant win in their 44th season. Both teams showed a can-do, overachieving attitude. Both teams were led by managers that were unafraid to innovate and take risks.
Continue Reading

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