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Summit Leadership

What Kind of Leader Are You?

“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts.
It is about one life influencing another.”
—John C. Maxwell

The Summit Leadership Model works like this. We start at the base of the mountain with our overarching mission—in the simplest of terms, our goal or summit. While we are at the base, we are defining our WHY, getting clear on our values and the values of the team, setting our rules and our code of honor, recruiting the best team members, and above all, training and preparing for the climb.

It is only after all these things are done, that we finally begin our execution, our journey to the summit. Some people like to rush through these steps, taking shortcuts, anxious to reach their goal. Ben and I were a bit like this on our first climb. We didn’t have enough time to adequately prepare for a hike as challenging as Kilimanjaro. And we didn’t make it.

As a leader, it’s your job to make sure that you and your team are fully prepared, motivated, and inspired to reach the summit, whatever that might be. So, I ask, what kind of leader are you?

Most people, when asked what kind of leader they are, immediately consider if they are “good” or “bad” leaders. Those aren’t the two categories that come to mind for me when I think about leaders, however. A good leader can have a bad day, week, or year. A bad leader can have a lucky streak and shine their way to the top… for the moment.

Some folks call themselves leaders if they have profile, persona, charisma, and inspiration, but they have no real team. They have admirers or even worshipers, but not folks who will make sacrifices and accept challenges. You’ll find these leaders in the world of social media and YouTube.

There are others who perhaps have none of the above, but have a loyal, committed following of team members who would go to the ends of the earth to achieve a mission.

This book is about this last group. Why? Because I am not that charismatic and not that smart. But what I observed on Kilimanjaro I can emulate. In looking at my life, any great thing I have ever done or any nasty predicament I got myself out of, was due to the team I had… not just me.

Let’s talk about teams for a moment, because today’s definition of a team may be different than it used to be. A team is a group of people who come together for a common purpose and mission. They play by a common set of rules and procedures to make that mission happen. They may dress a certain way, speak a certain way, and have a core set of values. Some of the team may be on the payroll and some may be volunteers. For example, in my organization some of our best salespeople are our customers who have become part of our team.

As an entrepreneur, you start by building a community out in the world, to a large extent through social media, by sharing what you’re trying to do, who you are, and why you are doing it. Some of the people in that community will ultimately become your customers. They’ll buy from you. And then a subset of those customers might become a part of your team. And what does that mean?

To read more order a copy of Summit Leadership: Taking Your Team to the Top

Building or running a business is more than a journey. It’s an adventure. Adventure assumes there is risk in the air. For many business owners, the adventure of building a business is a long one and there are many lessons to be learned over that extended period of time. That takes unwavering commitment, a serious dose of tenacity, and the ability to embrace adventure.

Using the experience of successfully summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro drives years of business building into a 7-day mountain leadership adventure where the pinnacle, as well as the sometimes harsh lessons of the mountain, track exactly with the building of a business. From the moment your spirit is engaged when you commit to the climb until you return home safe and successful, Summit Leadership mirrors the same trail of mission building and ultimate business team victory that entrepreneurs strive for.

The multi-faceted challenge we faced in scaling “Kili” was a microcosm of all that owning and growing a business entails. Those who have experienced the exhilaration and challenges of it have gone on to build amazing businesses and become legendary leaders. With each ascent in altitude with the author, this guidebook explores the critical lessons to lead you and your teams to the summit and beyond.