Secrets of High Performing Teams – The Sacagawea Crucible Expedition
On a recent expedition, our singular aim was to learn the secret of what makes a high performing team. Our hypothesis was that diversity, and diversity of thought, are the differentiators. What we learned was not what we expected. [caption id="attachment_5129" align="alignright" width="300"] Picture via Dan Marostica - captured the essence of the Crucible on his office whiteboard.[/caption]
What Do a Special Operations Soldier and an Executive Have in Common?

The Self-Reliant Crucible Expedition is designed for executives and veterans to take their leadership abilities to new levels. The challenge and intensity of the trip maps to today's business climate. In this short interview, Jan Rutherford speaks with executive Bruce Guest, and recently retired Special Operation...

Trading Money for Time – Corporate Suit Turned Mountain Man

The following interview with Dennis Lund was conducted at Camp Halton - 8 miles from Joseph, Oregon. Dennis was in the publishing business before he purposefully and methodically "checked out" of corporate America and traded money for time. One thing he said that really struck me...

Is The Vision for Your Team Big Enough?
Teams everywhere are BROKEN, and leaders need to ask the following three questions:
  • Are the stakes big enough? Have you created a Point of No Return? Have you burned the boats?
  • Have you created an environment where most of the people can do the right thing most of the time without supervision?
  • Is the accountability to the right & left; or is it up & down? Do you have true commitment versus mere compliance, and is the loyalty to each other versus you and the organization?
  • For leaders addressing the issues of a dysfunctional team, the best tool is the bathroom mirror accompanied by this question:
Can you push yourself out of your own comfort zone?
Iveagh House
The house for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade once again did not disappoint the students.  From the marbled halls, mahogany doors, and ornate ceilings, the students were in awe of the grandeur of Iveagh House.
A (functional) Team: More Than Just A Collection of People
  We’ve got a great group of MBA students from the University of Colorado Denver on this year’s trip to Dublin and Belfast. It’s our sixth annual trip, and this year we have 15 tremendous scholars with a curiosity craving, a sense of shared accountability, and a genuine respect for each other. In some ways, every class is similar, and in some ways, very different. I’ve been wondering a lot lately about how setting, and reiterating, the selection criteria is actually what creates aligned expectations. I have stated three primary ground rules for the students:
Should Our Focus Be on Teaming versus Leading?
  I just returned from our fifth Crucible Expedition to Moab where executives and Special Operations soldiers participate in a transformational experience. Though perspectives vary greatly (life & death versus time & money), the challenges of people in teams and leadership roles are rife with similarities.
What Happens When You Combine Special Operations Veterans & Business Executives in Patagonia?
The combination of audacity, adaptability, agility, and a high adversity quotient produced a team of teams. Self-Reliant Leadership has been running Crucible expeditions for a few years now with the primary goal of assisting Special Operations veterans with their transition to the business world. With a recent international expedition, we expanded our goal to include figuring out the recipe for accelerating team development. Based on our work, we know that most teams struggle with some degree of dysfunction, and our aim was to prove the hypothesis that a team can gel extremely quickly if the right "recipe" is applied. Here is what we did: Selection
The 4 P’s for Building a New Team
Twelve of us are headed to Patagonia next month. In fact, we start our Crucible expedition in one month and one day. We’re a team of two technical guides, one leader, one videographer, and four special operations veterans paired up with four executives (with generous sponsorship from Western Union). It’s a diverse group, and we believe we have selected folks who possess a good combination of adventure and aspiration.
Two Words You Should Never Say to Your Team
Before I get to those two words, let’s review how Frederick Herzberg enlightened us with his two-factor theory about motivation way back in 1968. There are things in the workplace that motivate (e.g., achievement, recognition, work itself, etc.), and there are things that if “not right,” can demotivate (e.g., company policies, supervision, work conditions, etc.).
What We Learned About Leadership in Ireland
  For the fifth time, my graduate business students came back from working with start-up companies in Ireland with the same three take-aways:
  1. It starts with people and it’s always about people. Connecting. Networking. Relationships. No one with heroic aspirations to make a difference in the lives of others goes it alone.
  1. Putting yourself out there, and leaving your comfort zone is the only way the magic happens. It’s about a risk posture. None of the success people the students met hadn’t failed, and adversity was the crucible by which they figured out the right path.
The Leadership Podcast has Launched!
Very exciting stuff - Jim Vaselopulos and I just launched The Leadership Podcast, and our first three guests are listed below (with links to the new website)!  Please join us each week as we interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them!
The Leadership Podcast – coming June 21st!
My co-host, Jim Vaselopulos and I created The Leadership Podcast, and our first three interviews are in the can! We're preparing them for launch on June 21st.  In the meantime, we're continuing to scour the business landscape for movers, shakers, and thought leaders when it comes to inspiring others! Along with each episode, we'll also recap each episode in a one-pager that will include the guest's bio, a summary along with ideas for action, links to books mentioned on the show, and what we're calling "Points to Ponder."  That will be 5 questions for you and your team to discuss after each episode to turn ideas into action. So who are the first three distinguished guests?
Ireland – Day 8 – Amazing
We had an amazing day in Northern Ireland today.  A Black Cab tour of Belfast, and then the same cabs took us to Giants Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and some great overlooks and harbors.  I have way too many pictures to post, but I can say in all the years coming over here, we have never had a more perfect day of weather (I actually got a sunburn in Ireland!).
Ireland – Day 7 – Grace
The three student teams presented their deliverable to the start-up companies in Belfast and Derry today.  The teams presented their projects today with presentations to the CEO's and their team at the following companies:
Ireland – Day 6 – Teams
The three student teams spent the day working with the start-up companies in Belfast and Derry.  I took the train to Derry today, and visited with the team at Modern Democracy.  At the Science Park in Derry, I “bumped” into Graine Kelly, the CEO of Bubble Bum!  She was a student-favorite speaker when we first ran the Ireland course here in 2011.  I am happy to report that she and her company are going stronger than ever!