Monday, April 29, 2024

SPRING LEADERSHIP SERIES – Featuring Gregg Vanourek

Last fall, I featured an inspiring series here on my blog called, "Fall Back to Reading Series." Nearly 30 leadership, marketing, and customer experience experts participated and shared their favorite books and their thoughts about the importance of reading.

Joseph Lalonde, one participant, wrote a book entitled, REEL LEADERSHIP, which focuses on nontraditional ways to think about leadership. After I read the book, the seeds for this "Spring Leadership Series" were planted. Today, I’d like to introduce Gregg Vanourek, and following a brief introduction, Gregg shares some nontraditional ways to think about leadership!

Gregg Vanourek is a writer, teacher, and TEDx speaker on personal development and leadership. He is co-author of three books, including LIFE Entrepreneurs: Ordinary People Creating Extraordinary Lives (a manifesto for integrating our life and work with purpose, passion, and contribution) and Triple Crown Leadership: Building Excellent, Ethical, and Enduring Organizations (a winner of the International Book Awards). He teaches at the Stockholm Business School; served as a senior executive at a tech startup, now a market leader with $1 billion in sales; and has given talks/workshops in eight countries.

QUESTION: Which TV show or TV series showcases leadership in a memorable way? This could be due to a specific character and their actions, a series of events, the plot of one or several episodes, or a specific time reflected in history.
GREGG VANOUREK: The TED LASSO series is brilliant on many fronts, including the way it showed the human aspects of leadership and the complex dynamics of being part of a team and community. For leaders (and others), it has powerful lessons about heart, humanity, dignity, love, hope, belief in people, and the transformation of pain and hardship.

Ted observed, "If you care about someone, and you got a little love in your heart, there ain’t nothing you can’t get through together." This was true for owner Rebecca Welton: "I lost my way for a minute, but I'm on the road back."

Even though Ted admitted, "You could fill two Internets with what I don't know about football," his keen sense of observation and unique approach brought so much to the team. He remarked, "I do love a locker room. It smells like potential."

Ted connected with others - and inspired them - while proving the naysayers and cynics wrong. He reminded us that love and humanity are at the heart of great leadership.

QUESTION: Which film showcases leadership in a memorable way?
GREGG VANOUREK: In the film DEAD POETS SOCIETY, we see how heart, inspiration, passion, and conviction can be at the heart of leadership.

Teacher John Keating says, "Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, 'Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.' Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!"

Keating taught that how we show up matters. We have a choice as to how much to bet on our dreams and convictions. He taught, "This is a battle, a war, and the casualties could be your hearts and souls."

QUESTION: Which work of fiction showcases leadership in a memorable way?
GREGG VANOUREK: When we read J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE HOBBIT and THE LORD OF THE RINGS, we can learn much about leadership (and life):

(1) Leaders step up: "I will take the Ring," Frodo said, "though I do not know the way."

(2) Leaders must make grave choices: Frodo said, "I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened." Gandalf said, "So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

(3) Leaders rely on trust and fellowship: "You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours - closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word. We are your friends, Frodo." ~Merry Brandybuck

(4) Leaders fight for what's right: "...there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo...and it's worth fighting for." ~Samwise Gamgee  

(5) Everyone can lead at times: "Even the smallest person can change the course of the future." ~Lady Galadriel

From the Ring Quest, we see that leadership is a group performance, not a solo act. Leadership was a dynamic that bounced around between Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn, Sam, and others.

SHARE THIS: Leadership is a group performance, not a solo act. ~@gvanourek #SpringLeadershipSeries #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: Which product, or product line, stands out as a symbol of leadership?
GREGG VANOUREK: The RUBIK'S CUBE, like leadership, is a challenging puzzle. It requires a combination of different skills: observation, attention, concentration, pattern recognition, and agility. To rise to the challenge, it requires patience, determination, and grace under pressure. It helps if we practice a lot, and it's incredibly rewarding if we stick with it and develop mastery.

QUESTION: Which brand do you consider the best embodiment of an industry leader, and why?
GREGG VANOUREK: Here are two:

APPLE is a great embodiment of an industry leader. The standard at the company is "insanely great." Steve Jobs once advised, "Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected." And the assumption is not just to sell a lot of products but also to put a "dent in the universe."

SPOTIFY is also notable because it brought a new way to experience music while being innovative, collaborative, and playful. It also seeks to celebrate music, creativity, and artistry.

Did these questions open your eyes to thinking about leadership in nontraditional ways? That was the hope. My gratitude to Gregg for appearing on my blog, and for sharing his leadership insights.

Image Credits: Debbie Laskey, iStockphoto, Amazon, and Classroom Clipart.

Connect with Gregg at these links:

Check out Gregg’s previous appearance here on my blog:

Does Your Organization Have Culture Champions and Cultural Stewards? (January 2022)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment!