What does a hike up the Manitou Incline have to do with leadership? Well, lots…for starters there’s the necessity for a person to master themselves in order to get to the top. Before a person can lead others, he/she has to see their goals, know their own limits, and most often persevere through a little pain in order to achieve something. A tough physical challenge like the Incline is a perfect opportunity to practice those skills.
The Manitou Incline is less than a mile from bottom to top, but it’s almost 1,000 vertical feet of lung pounding, quad burning climbing along an old cog railway to an altitude of 9,000 feet above sea level. There are plenty of chances to quit…including a “bail out” trail halfway up…and it takes between 40 and 60 minutes to make the climb depending on how hard you go.
This past Saturday, my executive officer 1Lt Suzanne McCurdy (photo, left) and I made the climb. It was my first time up the trail and her upteenth…and with a few quick hints for making it to the top we started the climb together. Suzanne is an outstanding athlete (and 15 years younger than me!) and I’m proud to report that she beat me to the top by a full 5 minutes. She is in great physical condition, but the real secret to getting to the top of the Incline is determination and willingness to “suffer” a little to achieve something.
One of my favorite leadership quotes comes from Coach Tom Landry…and I was thinking about Coach Landry as I put one foot in front of the other during the climb. He said, “The art of leadership is to get people to do what they don’t want to do in order to achieve what they want to achieve.” While I wasn’t leading anyone on Saturday, I could see the summit and I wanted to be up there. I definitely had to “do what I didn’t want to do” (endure the pain) to “achieve what I want to achieve” (reach the summit). When I started, the summit seemed so far away, but with Pandora blasting some Classic Rock in my ears, and with one step in front of the other, soon I was making progress.
I stopped a couple of times to catch my breath and admire the view. About halfway up I looked around…”Boy,” I thought, “If the view is this good here, I’ll bet the view from the top is amazing!” That (and seeing that Suzanne was getting ahead of me!) was enough motivation to continue the climb. When we got to the top we were rewarded with a spectacular view….but the real reward was a sense of accomplishment for persevering through the pain of the climb to reach the summit. A leadership lesson in 1,000 vertical feet.
I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be speaking at the San Antonio chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Annual Conference on Thurs, February 21, 2013.
I’ll be presenting two sessions on my leadership philosophy, a character-based and time tested system that anchors any team-building effort and is guaranteed to improve morale, the work environment, and productivity! I’ve developed this system during over 25 years of military service, including commanding three squadrons and a 1,900 member group.
My Start Here: leadership philosophy is summarized in five “bricks” of the foundation to any leadership task: Integrity, Respect, Teamwork, Leaders Lead, and Little Things Matter.
This week I continue my discussion on leadership with CMSgt(ret) Bob Vasquez on KAFA 97.7 FM. This week’s topic is “Leaders Lead” where I talk about taking charge when you’re put in a leadership position.
I’m back on KAFA-FM’s Character Matters! with Chief Master Sergeant (retired) Bob Vasquez to discuss leadership…this week’s topic is “Respect.” You can listen online at the Association of Graduate’s website.
Well…the first draft is complete! I’ve got some editing to do, then I’ll ask reviewers to take their first look as well. Still have to work on the title, though, Start Here is still the working title…for now!
You can listen starting today! The first topic is “Integrity”, and they started with my senior picture from my Aggie Corps days. Join us tonight at 8pm on 97.7 KAFA-FM for a preview of my new book “Start Here” (still a working title!).
I’m very excited to be appearing on USAFA’s KAFA-FM starting this Wednesday (16 Jan) in a four-part series based on my leadership philosophy. It was fun to spend a couple of hours with Chief Master Sergeant (retired) Bob Vasquez recording the series and I’m looking forward to hearing the finished product. While you’re at it, check out KAFA’s Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter.
It will be a preview of my upcoming book, Start Here: the Foundation of Leadership and it’s the same philosophy that I’ve developed over the years from Cub Scouts, high school sports, military college, and a 25 year Air Force career. I’ve distilled a lifetime of leadership experience into a “cornerstone” and “bricks” in the “foundation” of good leadership: Integrity, Respect, Teamwork, Leaders Lead, and Little Things Matter.
Should be a great series and introduction to the book! Listen online at www.usafa.org/kafa courtesy of the USAFA Association of Graduates.
I’m proud to announce that my third book, a leadership primer with a working title of “Start Here: The Foundation of Leadership” is nearing completion. I’m hoping to send it to the printer before June 2013. Watch this space for updates!
For God and Country: Saturday Morning Notes for a Monday Morning World is a collection of short articles and essays covering contemporary topics for American Catholics. This book comes from a personal experience of the Catholic Faith with simple explanations of the basics of the faith. Commandments to Sacraments, precepts to politics, this book is a useful resource for Catholics seeking to live out their faith in the world, without being swallowed by it.
Saturday Morning Catechism, a companion to For God and Country, is a collection of short articles for the parish catechist, or just for someone seeking a little information about what Catholics believe. Easy to digest explanations in plain language, this book is a terrific resource for study groups, RCIA, Bible Study, or even the casual reader.