Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Follow The Leader

At TechStars you learn a lot of things about being a leader FAST and new CEO's look like their taking some language immersion course at Middlebury -- Arabic?  Russian?  Serbo-Croatian?  Laotian?  No, they are learning fluent LEADERSHIP.  24/7 they are speaking it and geeking it and getting down and dirty with it and getting it down.  Some take to it faster than others.

I've been a CEO and I know it's a tough row to hoe, so I'm pretty impressed with our fearless leader.  Chris is such a natural leader, he's really a bit of a ringer.  He was likely born this way from what I can tell.

Here's what we did last week -- took a long trip to the SXSW -- we drove an RV -- and when we got there -- it rained, very very hard -- and there was ample time for total misery if our leader didn't exert his excellent skills.

For instance, after an exhausting day of attending conference events and being soaked and cold and tired, we came back to our RV park to the comfort of our big boxy home away from home to find it LEAKING.  One bed was soaked and we did not have a lot of extra beds.  Chris stepped up to it.  It wasn't his bed, and in fact,  he never expected to take the best accommodations, and that night he took the worst.

He faced the disaster quickly.  He set up a tent in the downpour, pulled together the remaining slightly damp cushions to make a bed, then slept out in the tent while we all slept inside.  In the morning, he woke like a pirate, in a puddle that was cold and very uncomfortable, feisty and ready to lead our band in a new adventure.

One morning we ordered the 2 taxis required to get the team from the RV park over to the Austin Convention Center.  In the meantime, I lost my phone and then the taxis came and Chris stepped in, deciding quickly that he would let the others go ahead and stay behind with me, help me find my phone and then head over later.  Not a complaint, not a hesitation, never making me feel like an idiot for losing my phone (I was busy feeling that way anyway.)  The result -- no taxi available in the downpour for a long time -- I messed up our morning, but he didn't sweat it.

Did I mention, it kept raining and he slept in the tent a second night, wetter and colder conditions than the night before?

Did I mention he always works harder, starts earlier and stays up later than any of us, so there's no way we can avoid giving our all for such a guy?!

Maybe I forgot to say this guy is fair, decisive, funny, inspiring in ways every leader should be -- but few are?   Well, he is.

Does his go-the-extra-mile attitude make us believe we can do anything and need to match his killer abilities?  YES!

Would we follow the leader just about anywhere thanks to the discipline, consideration and maturity this funny young CEO demonstrates every day?   Uh, that's another YES.

Photo Credit:  Sodahead 

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