Over the years at COMPLY, we’ve made an intentional effort to select atypical inspirational keynotes who have mastered both leadership and risk-taking characteristics proven to be critical for navigating the regulatory compliance landscape. Past keynotes included U.S. Navy Commander David Baird in 2017, who has commanded aircraft carriers in the Pacific fleet and ran the famous Top Gun flight school, and Frank Abagnale in 2018 whose unbelievable life story inspired the movie Catch Me if You Can. Keeping up the tradition, this year we welcomed Alison Levine to our COMPLY2019 stage where she shared her leadership lessons learned from climbing the 29,029 feet that propel Mount Everest’s summit deep into thin air ...
... twice! Yes, she climbed Everest twice, reaching the summit on her second attempt.
Among her accolades, she served as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, has climbed the highest peak on each continent and skied to both the North and South Poles—a feat which fewer than 40 people in the world have achieved. She is a NYT Bestselling author to the book On the Edge: Leadership Lessons From Everest And Other Extreme Environments. But perhaps most interestingly, she is the only person I know with a beer named after her! If you are wondering, her beer is a chocolate stout. How cool is that?
In her keynote, we learned that the leadership principles that apply in extreme sports also apply in today’s turbulent business environments. Her keynote left myself and conference-goers with mountain-size “nuggets of wisdom.” Among everything she shared, there was one lesson that really resonated with me on the topic of choosing your team.
When Alison was asked to lead as team captain for the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, it came with the responsibility of carefully choosing her climbing team. She turned to her friend and mentor Coach K, who leads the Duke men’s basketball team as well as the U.S. National Olympic Team, for advice. He said that the first thing he looks for in a player is ego, which he broke down into two types - Performance Ego and Team Ego.
Performance Ego: I want people that are good and know that they are good. I don’t want Lebron James to come onto the court and not be confident. I want to be climbing with people who are thinking, "I've got this."
“No one gets to the top of the mountain by themselves.”
“A single person’s poor judgment can bring down an entire team.”
Team Ego: I want people on my team who are going to be proud to be part of something that feels more important than themselves alone, because they realize that their success follows the success of their team.
“The name on the front of the uniform is more important than the name on the back."
“Give your team a reason to fail, help them step out of their comfort zone, and do your job to enable their success. A lack of 'failure tolerance' stifles innovation, risk-taking, and progress. Look out for one another. Nobody gets to the top alone.”
I’m a firm believer that ego is a good thing. I’ve seen the positive impact it has had in my days as a college lacrosse player, as well as in my tenure as CEO building PerformLine. The way Alison and Coach K think about teamwork is reflected in our core value Win As a Team here at PerformLine. Who we are as a team is more significant than who we are as individuals. You won’t find a person here at PerformLine that doesn’t live out this concept.
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