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:
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.
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:
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.
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.).
For the fifth time, my graduate business students came back from working with start-up companies in Ireland with the same three take-aways:
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.
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.
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!
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?
We drove from Belfast to Dublin today, and the students had a great facilitated conversation on the bus. Once we arrived in Dublin, the students checked in at Trinity College, and spend the day "off," Tomorrow we head to SalesForce.com, LinkedIn, NDRC, and finish the day at the Cobblestone Pub for a farewell celebration.
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!).
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:
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!
We're 100% as the two remaining students finally made it from Chicago this morning! As scheduled, we visited Kilmainham Gaol (jail) where the students learned about the Centennial of the Easter Rising.
The Irish are known for their gift of gab, and I came across the attached "philosophy" while visiting the beautiful town of Howthe on the coast east of Dublin. This bit of whimsy seems apropos given that most of the time, we worry about First World problems!
What a difference a week makes. One week ago, I was getting stitched up after a bad bike crash in Phoenix. Today, I had a fantastic lunch meeting with Western Union executives in Dublin! Much to be grateful for!