This is my Kala Patthar

This is my Everest (T.I.M.E.).  That slogan has provided me inspiration when facing large challenges in my life.  More importantly it serves as a reminder to fully experience the journey.  It is particularly meaningful to me this time of year.  The inspiration comes from my cousin, Lute, who was part of the first American expedition to climb Mount Everest, reaching the summit himself on May 22nd, 1963.  In the talks he gave later he would tell people that everyone has their own Everest.

When it comes to leadership, however, I have a slightly different perspective, and the mountain that comes to mind is Kala Patthar.  It is not the height of Kala Patthar that earns the mountain its distinction.  While the summit is a lofty 18,192’ (5545m) it is overshadowed in the Himilayas where it stands.   What is notable about Kala Patthar is the excellent view it provides of Mount Everest, which stands at 29,029’ (8848m).

The leadership vision I hold for the world is grand in scope and ambition, and is not a vision I expect to ever see come to reality, not in my lifetime.  I cannot even fully imagine what the world would be like if these principles became the norm and not the exception.  And there is so much I need to learn about leadership.  My hope is that in my lifetime I will at the least come to a point where I can fully envision and articulate what the reality would look like.

This is my Kala Patthar.  To fully experience my own leadership journey.  And then to some day stand and look off to the lofty heights and see the possibilities for a world that universally embraces principles such as these:

  • Leadership and management are seen as unique concepts, distinct from each other, to the benefit of both.
  • Leadership is on PAR – each and every person has the Permission, Ability and Responsibility to lead when a situation calls upon them to do so.
  • Managers are not seen as the victors, the ones who achieved their prestigious post as a reward for being the best at what the organization does. They are not seen as leaders simply because they are ahead in the race up the ladder. Managers are managers because they are the best at managing. Leaders are leaders because others have chosen to follow and they have accepted their responsibility to lead.
  • A person’s value to an organization is assessed only in the context of their intrinsic worth.
  • Being and becoming precede doing and achieving.
  • The primary intent of doing and achieving is to become more from it.
  • Doing and achieving produce results never before imagined when based on a foundation of being and becoming.
  • Leadership is primarily a matter of the heart, based on compassion for another as they are, and passion for what we can be.

What is your Everest? What is your Kala Patthar?


Red Wings, Whitethroats and purpose

When the male Red-Winged Blackbirds first arrive in spring they are relatively relaxed, and even gregarious at times.  But when the females arrive a couple weeks later suddenly the males are aggressive and their KonKaRee call becomes raucous.  You can tell when the ladies are back in town just by observing the change in behavior of the guys.

When the White Throated Sparrows come through in the spring they sing “Old Sam Peabody” with pure tone and precise pitch.  In the fall when they come back through they sing the same song, but the pitch is all over the place, and they put no effort into it.  The song that’s so beautiful in the spring is hilarious in the fall.

What makes the difference?  Purpose.  The analogy may be obvious but I will state it anyway, birds and people are alike in this regard.  A clear task spells out exactly what to do.  A clear goal gives direction.  A clear purpose bolsters tasks and goals to the Why power.  Purpose shows why to do that task and why to take that direction.  When people have a clear task with a clear purpose towards a clear goal they sing a different tune.

“Purpose is what gives life a meaning.” Charles H. Perkhurst

Image: Vail Daily, Preston Utley / AP Photo