The Surrounded Leader

The Leadership Marathon

The focus on leadership development in today’s organizations seems to be at an all-time high. US companies are now consistently spending billion on leadership development each year. Unfortunately, this has not always translated to better-prepared leaders. The Surrounded Leader is a community looking to reverse this trend.  

Many surveys show the majority of organizations still believe their leadership development is not preparing them for future success. With this level of spending, where are the results?

The Leadership Marathon

About 10 years ago I began to realize the unhealthy eating habits of my youth had not combined well with my sedimentary desk job. 

Apparently pointing and clicking my way through the workday wasn’t burning the same amount of calories that I once did as a wrestler. 

In an attempt to reverse the impacts of my sedimentary lifestyle, I joined a weight loss competition team at work. I adjusted my diet and I found our treadmill. It had been doing a fine job as a clothes rack for most of its life. 

Through the diet changes and repurposing our clothes rack, I was able to drop about 90 pounds by the end of our competition.

To help continue to keep the weight off, I began to train for several 5K races with my wife and a few friends. Feeling confident in my new level of fitness, I had the crazy idea that if I could run for 3.1 miles, I could certainly run for 26.2 miles. 

In my excitement to get started on my new quest I purchased “The Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training”. 

It was a great book, packed full of all the information I would need to successfully prepare for a marathon. I read through the book several times and I even memorized some of the most important parts. Sadly, to this day I have yet to complete a full marathon.

In hindsight, there are two reasons a marathon still eludes me:

#1 – Failing to intentionally take the steps necessary for success

As well as I knew the information in the “Big Book”, I couldn’t accomplish my goals when I didn’t take the intentional steps to put the information into practice. 

In preparing for a marathon, success requires incrementally working through a program that prepares your body for the next level. 

Not intentionally sticking to my training program in the first 6 weeks of training left my body unprepared for what would be required in week 16.


#2 – Training without the support of a community

When I crossed over into marathon training territory, my wife gave that look that says “Awe, that’s cute, thinking we can finish a marathon.” 

When I presented our friends with the challenge, their response was similar to my wife’s…but it also came with hysterical laughter. 

While I was once surrounded by a supportive group, I was now starting a journey on my own.

No, I’m not blaming my friends and family for my failure to reach my goal. However, it was amazing to see the impact surrounding myself with a supportive group had on my training.

The Leadership Development Path 

In many ways, developing leaders can struggle with the same challenges I encountered on my marathon quest. When we attempt to develop as leaders by going it alone, we rarely achieve our potential.  Without intentionally taking steps to turn information into practice, we won’t build long last leadership habits. 

The transition to a leadership role for many can be a lonely and trying time for many. The closer you get to the top of any organization and the depth of isolation only increases. We are forming the Surrounded Leader community to reverse these trends.  

Are you ready to start your own surrounded leader journey? We are building a community to help us all grow no matter where we are at in our leadership journey. Sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on our progress.    

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