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Leadership lessons of a rock climber
Extract from Fast Company – Jim Collings:
As an avid rock climber for more than 30 years, my whole approach to life and career has been inextricably linked with my development as a climber. I began in my early teenage years, when my stepfather signed me up for a climbing course against my will. (“I’d rather study,” I whined.) At the end of the first day, however, I knew I’d discovered one of my life’s burning passions. Growing up in Boulder, Colorado, I had one of the world’s great climbing centers as my backyard, and some of the greatest climbers in the world as mentors. After visiting Stanford University during my senior year in high school, I effused to my parents about my college choice: “They’ve got these really cool sandstone buildings to climb on between classes!”
One day during my freshman year, while climbing a new route on the philosophy building in the main quadrangle, I heard a shuffle of feet behind me and then the voice of emeritus philosophy professor John Goheen. “Really, Mr. Collins. Do you think this is the ultimate solution to the existential dilemma?” I named the climb Kant Be Done.
Rock climbing, for me, has been the ultimate classroom, with lessons applicable to all aspects of life, including business, management, leadership, and scientific study. It is a sport from which you do not always get a second chance to learn from your mistakes–death tends to stop the learning process. But I’ve been fortunate to survive my own blunders and to learn some important lessons that apply to life and work outside of climbing.
Sep 18 2012Change Management
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