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Leading Steep

Author: Barry Kruse

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Adventure stories, leadership allegories, and wisdom from the world’s great adventure guides. For ambitious business leaders and aspiring adventure guides alike. Barry Kruse interviews those who guide the world's toughest mountains, steepest rivers, wildest safaris, chase the most elusive fish, and cycle the most exotic passes around the world.
11 Episodes
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Leading Steep: The Starretts In this episode, Barry sits down with Dr. Kelly and Juliet Starrett, co-founders of The Ready State, initially known as MobilityWOD when the company began in 2008. For over a decade, TRS has been responsible for pioneering innovative methods to help athletes of every variety with their movement, mobility, and recovery. Kelly and Juliet launched The Ready State on a shoestring in a backyard and bootstrapped it to massive success because they are courageous people and natural hosts—skills they say they learned as guides. Listen in as Kelly and Juliet reflect on their time as river rafting guides in the 90s, which was around the time they and Barry first met. They then talk about their transition into running their first CrossFit gym and physical therapy practice and how this led to the idea of producing a series of videos on all things mobility and, eventually, writing and publishing the unexpected bestseller Becoming a Supple Leopard in 2013. Following the success of their book, Kelly and Juliet were given scores of opportunities to work with some of the most well-known athletes in the world. Kelly himself developed a reputation for giving “hope and permission” to anyone suffering from mobility issues, from Olympians to recreational lifters—that with a bit of work, they can get back to doing what they love. Juliet then shares how she survived cancer—twice—and why she never allowed those experiences to define who she is. Finally, the Starretts let us know what to expect from The Ready State in the near future, as well as their refreshing take on guide ethos. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: ●      [3:29] How Barry met the Starretts ●      [5:40] How Kelly and Juliet became river rafting guides ●      [15:57] Bill McGinnis’s contribution to the industry ●      [21:15] The Starretts’ move from river guiding to business ownership ●      [28:53] How your skills as a river rafting guide carry over into your day-to-day life ●      [30:20] Publishing the book Becoming a Supple Leopard in 2013 ●      [33:36] Rubbing shoulders and working with world-class athletes ●      [42:09] Juliet’s bouts with cancer ●      [52:56] Developing TRS over the years and what to expect in the near future ●      [57:08] The Starretts’ take on guide ethos ●      [1:02:28] Kelly and Juliet’s parting thoughts Key Quotes by Kelly and Juliet:●      “So much of what running a river prepares you for is not knowing what’s going to happen. You’re going to have to show up and find out for yourself, and your past experience does not predict your success this time around.” ~Kelly●      “It’s all about first principles. The human body is the human body. If you’re using your body in any way, those principles really aren’t different when it comes down to it.” ~Juliet●      “The river is really a predictable environment if you know what to see, and there is no more complex, chaotic system in the known universe than the human body; but it obeys basic principles.” ~Kelly●      “Being a cancer survivor is not a core part of my identity. It’s something that I went through and it was unpleasant. I’m very lucky, but it’s not how I define myself. I have 20 other ways in which I define myself above that, that for me are a priority.” ~Juliet●      “Your big adventure days are not behind you. You just have to play a different game.” ~Kelly Resources Mentioned:●      The Ready State (Use the discount code STEEP10 to get 10% off for the life of your membership after your 14-day free trial ends.)●      Books by Kelly & Juliet Starrett●      Books by William McGinnis●      SOTAR
Leading Steep: Ian Elman In this episode, Barry sits down with Ian Elman, Co-Founder and President of Southern Yosemite Mountain Guides. Since its founding in 1991, SYMG has been named one of the "Best Outfitters on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure Magazine. Listen in as Ian discusses the seed of inspiration behind SYMG and how he came to formulate his vision for a business “where we took people into the beautiful wilderness of the High Sierra and gave people a lasting memory of an incredible trip; a trip where the food was fantastic, the guide became a friend, and the scenery refreshed the soul.” He then talks about the heart of his business—people—and how the experience of forming a bond with fellow hikers in the wilderness, day after day, is what keeps his love for guiding alive and well even with 25 years of experience under this belt. Ian touches on the suite of trips that SYMG currently offers, including pack mule-supported trips and their flagship 23-day John Muir trail. Finally, Ian shares his unique guide ethos that led him to find guides who straddle the line between “traditional task-oriented guiding and wilder adventure travel”. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: ●      [2:45] Why Ian got into guiding and what led him to start SYMG ●      [10:17] How Ian, along with two friends, started the business with only $500 ●      [13:42] Why Ian’s passion for guiding never left even after 25 years of running SYMG ●      [16:10] Putting people at the center of every trip ●      [19:36] Ian’s early days camping at Yosemite ●      [20:50] The experience of experiencing Yosemite for the very first time ●      [24:35] Designing SYMG’s beautiful website ●      [25:40] SYMG’s most sought-after trip ●      [28:53] Conducting pack mule-supported trips ●      [33:05] How Ian finds his guides ●      [38:09] Ian’s take on guide ethos ●      [41:16] How SYMG’s guides keep hikers motivated throughout the more strenuous treks ●      [44:22] How the pandemic affected SYMG and how 2021 is looking so far Key Quotes by Ian:●      “When you strip everything else away, it all comes down to the connection that you made with that person in a wilderness setting.”●      “It’s hard to sustain the level of professionalism and experience and fun-factor that you want in a guide; so, we found this niche between traditional task-oriented guiding and wilder adventure travel.” Resources Mentioned:Our sponsor:The Ready State (Use the discount code STEEP10 to get 10% off for the life of your membership after your 14-day free trial ends.)Key Links:Southern Yosemite Mountain GuidesSOTAR 
Leading Steep: Susan Purvis In this episode, Barry sits down with Susan Purvis of Crested Butte Outdoors, an outdoor educational training center specializing in wilderness medicine, avalanche, and avalanche dog training. She is also a Lead Instructor with Wilderness Medical Associates and the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). Susan’s memoir, Go Find: My Journey to Find the Lost—and Myself, won the Nautilus Silver Book Award April 2019. Listen in as Susan shares how she developed a passion for outdoor adventures and how that passion led to her decision to become a wilderness medicine instructor. She recounts her travels to the coldest, hottest, and highest places on the planet, including a 45-day mission to recover and repair a crashed DC-3 aircraft in Antarctica, a documentary shoot in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression, and teaching medical courses to African guides in Kilimanjaro. Susan then talks about her favorite places to visit around the world, for work and for play. Finally, Susan shares what she has learned after 25 years of teaching, and why she believes that every person in their 20s should consider starting their own business. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: ●      [2:21] Susan walks us through a typical day in her life ●      [3:54] How Susan got into outdoor sports ●      [7:27] Susan’s multifaceted professional background, in a nutshell ●      [10:01] What it’s like at Crested Butte ●      [12:25] The decision to become a ski patroller ●      [15:00] How Tasha the dog came into Susan’s life ●      [17:06] What happens in an avalanche and how it becomes a dangerous situation ●      [18:58] Becoming a wilderness medicine instructor ●      [21:45] Susan’s first adventure in Antarctica ●      [26:39] Susan’s second adventure in Antarctica ●      [28:02] Susan’s adventure in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression ●      [29:18] Susan’s principal work ●      [30:18] Susan’s career as a guide ●      [32:39] Why the Eastern side of the divide at Glacier National Park is “one of the most powerful places” Susan has ever been to ●      [34:30] Susan’s favorite places to work and to relax ●      [36:40] What Susan has learned after 25 years of teaching and running her business ●      [40:25] Susan’s teaching style ●      [43:15] A trick to become a better guide or leader ●      [44:20] Why everyone in their 20s should consider starting their own business Key Quotes by Susan:●      “All people need is a little education and you give them power.”●      “What we teach in wilderness medicine is this: Everything we do has risks and everything we do has benefits.”●      “From the partner you go to bed with to the person you do business with to the person you go hiking with—pick your partners wisely.”●      “As guides, we have to have our brain working all the time.” Resources Mentioned:Crested Butte OutdoorsSusan PurvisGo Find on AmazonThe Rescue of LidiaBBC in the Danakil DepressionSOTAROur sponsor: The Ready State (Use the discount code STEEP10 to get 10% off for the life of your membership after your 14-day free trial ends.)
In this episode, Barry sits down with Susan Myers of WINGS Birding Tours Worldwide. She has been birding, traveling, and leading tours in Asia for over thirty years, and has written dozens of papers and articles on ornithology and general ecology in a variety of respected magazines, scientific journals, and books. Susan is the author of the Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, published in 2016, and has recently finished a general guide to the wildlife of Southeast Asia. Listen in as Susan shares her experience and knowledge of the natural world. Her deep affection for and appreciation for Asia and its wildlife is palpable in today’s conversation. She dives deep into how she conducts a typical birding tour in Asia and her personal thoughts on what makes a great guide and leader. Susan touches on her decades-long career as a naturalist, must-see birds in Asia and the American Northwest, and her favorite places to travel. Finally, Susan shares what she is most looking forward to when she can jump back into the field post-COVID. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: ●      [2:57] How Susan became a naturalist and got started guiding bird watch tours ●      [6:46] Susan’s favorite destination in Asia ●      [8:55] Susan takes us through one of her typical tours ●      [12:27] How many birds you can expect to see during one of Susan’s tours in Borneo ●      [15:02] Where Susan finds inspiration as a leader ●      [16:31] Susan speaks on the camaraderie among the guides at WINGS ●      [17:07] The unique intimacy of a birding tour ●      [22:21] How many birds has Susan seen in her lifetime? ●      [24:59] Documenting birds on research trips ●      [27:02] Possible reasons for the huge decline in migratory birds in the past few months ●      [29:05] Susan’s favorite stories from one of her trips ●      [31:17] Susan’s go-to places in Japan ●      [32:23] Tips for amateur bird watchers ●      [34:22] Hard-to-find birds in the U.S. ●      [37:12] What Susan has been working on ever since the pandemic halted her tours ●      [39:44] What Susan misses about leading birding tours Key Quotes by Susan:●      “One of the things you’ve got to know about birding is that the mornings are really important. That old adage really is true: ‘The early bird catches the worm.’ In this case, ‘The early birder catches the bird.’”●      “Birding requires patience, full stop, whether you’re talking about the birds or other birders. It should be mutual—hopefully the clients are patient with me because sometimes it’s frustrating when you can’t find the bird you’re looking to show them.”●      “The most important thing for people who want to come on a birding tour is to have a good pair of binoculars. Very occasionally, we’ve had people come on tours with a cheap pair of binoculars. It’s a bit crazy because you’re spending a lot of money on this tour but you’re not spending money on the equipment you need to enjoy the trip. You wouldn’t go snorkeling without a mask; you don’t go birding without binoculars.”●      “One of the blessings of being a naturalist is that you will never be bored. Not in your whole life will you ever be bored. It doesn’t matter where you are; there will be some sort of critter that is going to give you hours of fascination and keep you busy.”Links:Wings Bird Tours Susan Myers ProfileSusan's Links Birds of Borneo - Susan MyerseBird - Cornell University Waxwings (Songs and photos) Sounds of the Bornean Jungle Our sponsor:The Ready State
Leading Steep: Cari Gray In this episode, Barry sits down with Cari Gray of Gray & Co. After having been an adventure guide and business leader for 14 years at Butterfield & Robinson, Cari decided to branch out and establish her own boutique travel agency in 2009. Today, Cari crafts private trips for the uber-wealthy, and the company itself won the #1 Operator in the 2016 Travel & Leisure World's Best Award. In this conversation, Cari’s not going to be sharing any names, but she will be pulling back the curtain on the ins-and-outs of running her widely lauded adventure venture. Cari shares her thoughts on how empathy and humility play key roles in guide ethos and how she put together a team of guides who embody these traits. Gray & Co. is known for crafting “unscripted” adventures for discretionary clients. Cari explains how choice and flexibility are factored into each and every trip her team puts together. Finally, Cari speaks on the traits that separate stellar guides from everyone else. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: ●      [3:32] Cari’s early days as a guide in her 20s ●      [9:10] The benefits of allowing for moments of serendipity as a guide ●      [11:40] Cari’s favorite experiences during her first year of guiding in France ●      [14:20] What guide ethos means to Cari ●      [17:20] How Gray & Co. came to be ●      [22:30] How Cari finds her guides ●      [25:03] Why great guides are like great wait staff ●      [29:45] Crafting “unscripted” adventures for discretionary clients ●      [33:45] Putting together multigenerational active trips ●      [38:30] Current travel hotspots for Cari’s ultra-high-net-worth clients ●      [48:16] The importance of stamina, resourcefulness, and teamplay for any guide Key Quotes by Cari:●      “The key to guiding, whether with friends or business colleagues, is managing expectations and giving people a really clear picture of how the day is going to unfold. Give people control of some of the variables, but make sure that nothing is formulaic and that there is always that dramatic moment—arriving at just the right time for the sunset or coming across that amazing farmer that was willing to let us taste the grapes. Some serendipity layered on top is always a good addition.”●      “Oftentimes, the things that make the biggest difference to [guests] are not the things you can just buy. It’s the wisdom and the experience and the forethought of what might please these people and then putting all the pieces together to make it happen.”●      “‘Slow down to see the world’ is such a timeless slogan and all the more important now after COVID where we all have a renewed appreciation for the smallest details, a lot of which we’ve been deprived of, whether it’s the perfect bowl of pasta in Italy or the incredible tapas in Spain.” Resources Mentioned:●      Gray & Co.●      The Ready State●      Leading Steep●      Leading Steep Fireside on Facebook●      barry@leadingsteep.com
Solo: Let's Catch Up

Solo: Let's Catch Up

2021-02-1211:201

In this episode, Barry shares a quick update on Leading Steep and how to reach out and participate, a recap on recent shows, a preview on future shows, thoughts on leadership and kids, and some very important acknowledgements. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: ●      [0:22] Why a solo episode? ●      [2:35] How to contact Barry and join Leading Steep Fireside Facebook ●      [3:25] On feedback and leadership ●      [3:40] Recapping episodes with Zach Collier, Richard Bangs, and Jim Coffey ●      [5:45] Jim Coffey in Ty Smith’s own words ●      [7:14] An introduction to Barry’s nonprofit, Junior Guides and youth leadership ●      [8:31] Previews of upcoming guests on the show ●      [9:54] Acknowledgements ●      [10:40] Closing thoughts Key Quotes by Barry:●      “Great leaders courageously deliver feedback with love in their hearts. Often, the harder the feedback is to deliver, the more impactful it is to hear.”●      “If you’re genuinely interested in people, it goes a long way towards being an effective leader.”●      “Team leaders are multipliers: They put others in front of themselves.”●      “Adventure guides have a great capacity for calm in a storm that any leader can learn from.”●      “Even a small, seemingly insignificant interaction can change your business or change your life. You never know who you’re speaking to or what kind of impact you may have for them or they for you.”●      “As a leader, one of the measures of your success will certainly be the legacy of the leaders you helped build and nurture.”●      “Young people—young leaders—need to use their voice to change the world.”●      “The best guides I know also happen to be the most humble. Aspire to the notion I call ‘humble brilliance’.” Resources Mentioned:●      barry@leadingsteep.com●      Leading Steep Fireside Facebook Group●      Junior Guides
Leading Steep: Richard Bangs In this episode, Barry sits down with author, TV host, and world traveler Richard Bangs. Once referred to as “Indiana Jones with a conscience” by Expedia.com founder Rich Barton, Richard fashioned a multifaceted, adventure-filled career spanning over 50 years promoting travel that positively impacts the world. Listen in as Richard shares his journey from local river guide to internationally-renowned globe-trotting explorer. He reflects on his interpretation of guide culture, which to him is a combination of openness and curiosity both to the world around you and toward your guests, and the collaboration between each and every member of the group you are traveling with. Richard also shares his thoughts on risk, and how one tragic accident early in his career forced him to reevaluate everything he was taught as a guide. Finally, Richard touches on his many TV projects and business ventures, both past and present. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: ●      [3:26] Richard’s early days as a river guide ●      [6:29] Traveling internationally ●      [10:47] The most memorable of Richard’s 35 first raft descents ●      [14:20] Comparing outdoor adventures to the business world ●      [15:55] What guide ethos means to Richard ●      [20:55] The unique bond that every guide forms with their guests ●      [25:02] Traits that made certain guides stand out to Richard as great leaders ●      [27:37] Richard’s most challenging situations throughout his countless travels ●      [35:09] Working with various guides of various disciplines in many different countries ●      [36:46] Richard recalls his time rafting the Zambezi ●      [41:31] Of the 19 books Richard has written, which one would he recommend first? ●      [44:14] Richard’s involvement with MT Sobek and his various TV and business ventures Key Quotes by Richard:●      “The most apt comparison between [the adventure world and the business world] is being able to embrace the unknown, and actually finding an element of excitement and joy in chaos. [...] If you find meaning, purpose, and clarity in chaos, then you likely can find success.”●      “I think that there are many important elements of ethos when it comes to the guide culture and what makes a successful guide. But there are two that come to mind. One is an innate curiosity. [...] The second one is teamwork.”●      “If you can learn to face adversity in some manner, particularly in the wilderness, it will be something that becomes an ingrained lifelong process for dealing with issues through the rest of your life outside the wilderness.” Resources Mentioned:●      The Lost River by Richard Bangs●      MT Sobek●      Steller app#guide #guiding #whitewater #river #rafting #climbing #mountaineering #guidelife #tripleadertuesday #sobek #mountaintravel
This is the Leading Steep Podcast. I’m Barry Kruse. I’m interviewing adventure guides and leaders from around the world. Some are famous. Some you’ve never heard of. All have extraordinary stories. I’m talking to people who lead expeditions in the mountains, on rivers, cycling the great passes, kayaking blue waters, chasing the most elusive fish, and delivering lifetime memories. I’m focused on both their adventure stories and insights on leadership. I call this “guide ethos.” It’s the common set of characteristics that great guides garner in crisis situations, peak experiences, and over many miles – as I did as a class V whitewater guide. And you should know; these lessons translate powerfully in the corporate world, too. Thanks for listening, subscribing, sharing, and rating the Leading Steep Podcast.See more at leadingsteep.com #guide #guiding #whitewater #river #rafting #climbing #mountaineering #fishing #trout #guidelife #safari #safariguide #tripleadertuesday 
Leading Steep: Zach Collier In this episode, Barry sits down with one of the most well-respected whitewater outfitters and guides in the industry. Zach Collier is the founder and owner of Northwest Rafting Company, which runs many of the best rivers in Oregon, Idaho, and the exotic paradise of Bhutan. Zach is a modern-day visionary and one of the world’s leading experts on the whitewater rafting discipline. Listen in as Zach shares the various instructional video series and published material he is currently working on in the adventure and whitewater rafting space. Zach then gives his thoughts on leadership, how he initially struggled to translate his skills as a guide to the challenges of running a business, and the six traits of leadership that he lives by. Next, Zach talks about how Northwest Rafting Company spread its reach through a few key strategic partnerships. In particular, he discusses his first rafting experience in Bhutan with a group. Finally, Zach goes into his involvement in the political sphere regarding the preservation and cultivation of rivers and river people communities. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: ●      [5:12] Zach speaks on his many ongoing projects in the adventure space ●      [13:56] The slowdown of guide school applications and the increase in female guides ●      [15:39] How Zach entered the world of whitewater rafting and getting into business ●      [20:54] Zach’s leadership competency model ●      [26:45] Why vulnerability is part of Zach’s competency model ●      [30:30] Zach’s strongest and weakest trait from his leadership competency model ●      [32:45] Zach’s models for leadership—as a guide and in general ●      [36:59] Starting Northwest Rafting Company ●      [42:10] Zach’s advocacies for the preservation of rivers and river people communities ●      [46:25] How Zach feels about how his business is going so far ●      [48:16] Zach’s parting thoughts on leadership ●      [44:14] Richard’s involvement with MT Sobek and his various TV and business ventures Key Quotes by Zach:●      “[On the traits of leadership I subscribe to,] one of them is having vision. One of them is empowering growth. One is building community; communicates, honest, vulnerable. That’s it. I want to lead with those traits.”●      “The most I learned is from getting other people’s advice. We live in an age where we can go to a bookstore and read books, and from our phone pull out a podcast and have amazing leaders at our fingertips.” Resources Mentioned:●      Northwest Rafting Company●      Northwest Rafting Company on YouTube●      Zach Collier on Twitter#guide #guiding #whitewater #river #rafting #guidelife #oregon #idaho #bhutan
In this episode of The Leading Steep Podcast, we have invited Jim Coffey. Today, he talks about his company, how it started, and its mission for the community. Jim is the  Founder and Director at Esprit Whitewater Rafting Adventures based in Quebec. National Geographic rated Jim's Company the world's number one whitewater outfitter. He is one of the world's leading authorities on swift water rescue, and he has taught classes around the world. He is a winner of the prestigious Higgins-Langley Award for generously sharing knowledge in life-saving techniques. He also happens to be a leading environmental advocate in Canada.  Jim's Story3:05From an early age, Jim has been into summer camps. From those experiences, he got involved in competitive Whitewater Canoe and Kayak Racing. He then worked as a Whitewater Rafting guide where he could train for his competition. That led him to decide that he would take one year off from college to go work and find fame and fortune as a rafting guide.3:55Jim is pleased that he was able to make a career in the outdoor adventure or eco-adventure tourism industry as a guide, educator, business leader, and environmental advocate. Teaching as a Career7:59Although Jim didn't come from a teaching background, he did have an experience in the early 80s. He went on an expedition in the Arctic where the trip's leaders were both teachers. Out of the 8 participants, 5 of them became teachers, including Jim. He had to create his own school to become a teacher. For Jim, the original teachers' influence from the trip affected him into making teaching a career.9:17For Jim, being around young people and educating them is a way to keep us young and connected to what's going on. It allows us to make teaching reciprocal. Jim thinks that he learns a lot from the young people on the modern way of doing things and new approaches instead of being someone stuck on a teaching route.Lessons from the Company he Founded10:29Jim had no idea what he was doing when he started his company from a business perspective. Yet, Jim is a strong operator, so he had a high level of competency. One of the schools that he teaches for their National Outdoor Leadership is that they have the Pillars of leadership. One of them is to be competent at whatever you are doing.11:24According to Jim, he started his business in a Recession. It taught him how to be wise with his funds, to be creative, and his way of operating.13:30Jim says that you'll never know who will be that one important customer will be and that their best form of marketing is in their product. Also, if Jim and his team had to take a loss on the day, they might figure out a way to turn that into a game.14:10You never know who that most important person will be, and you need to treat everyone as if they're that person. And for Jim, that was a key to their success. Becoming the person he eventually became15:06When Jim started his company, he spent each of his winters working his way around the world as a guide. All of those experiences traveling as a guide made it easier for him to find work in different places because there were fewer local guides in the industry. That helped him become the person he is now. Company Location16:59Jim's company is based in an ideal location right on the Ottawa River banks in western Quebec in a region called the Pontiac. Training Candidates and Students19:39Jim says that the most amazing thing that they worked out over the past 25 Years at Esprit is that it's much easier to train a great person to become a great whitewater guide than take a great whitewater person and train them to become a great person.20:05One of the important things for Jim and his company before they take someone on for training is that they want to get to know them to ensure that they are the right people to represent the company's name.20:40When Jim looks at a resume, he immediately goes right down to the bottom a where the other interests are located. Jim likes people that have traveled somewhere, so they understand the company's travel ethos and the education that happens with travel. He is also attracted to people who can speak multiple languages, showing an interest in other cultures and other places.22:48Esprit does spring training as a guide course or guide school. They also run a 3-month Whitewater Guide Training Program called WILD, the Whitewater Intensive Leadership Development School.  When they do that type of course, they spent 3 months with their potential candidate guides.24:35Jim believes that we need to be educators and trainers who are unselfish and generous with our knowledge and skills and thatwe want to pass those on as well as possible. If that means that some people move on, that's fine. But the key is how well they perform while they're with us, and they can't do that if we're not generous with the tools and in sharing those with them. Adversity and Uncertainty25:40Whenever Jim speaks to any of his long-term guides and asks them where their strength in leadership is, they always answer that they have a high tolerance for adversity ad uncertainty.27:05Jim says that the whole idea about training people well in his summer, which was in jeopardy, ended up being saved by an incredible staff led by one of his top guides and closest friends over the year. Building Relationships in a Team27:57Jim says that you learn a lot of things. These types of operations and acting as a guide is about being part of a team. And when you're part of the team, either as a designated leader, or an active follower, whatever your role happens to be, you want to have some great teammates. You want your teammates to be as best as possible, from the most experienced one down to the newest one.29:00Jim states that when things go sour, you want to keep the door open because you'll never know when those people you've contributed to will come back and contribute back to you. 29:41According to Jim, the key is that to start with the right people. If you have the wrong people, you can try and have them buy into your culture or sell them your culture, and if they're not going to, they're just not going to. What Jim teaches to his new guides30:28Jim wants his new guides to get away from the idea of how fast and adrenaline oriented their activities are and teach that it's all about control.31:26What Jim and his company do is about people rather than that passion or that wild and crazy activity. It's about sharing it with people, being an ambassador for the environment, and the river corridors we descend. 32:00Jim believes that you have to be good with names because it's all about people in their industry. What Jim's company teaches to their staff is how to remember everybody's name.33:05Jim and his team would direct their guides over a flatwater section before a forced raft to sit at the raft's very front. When they sit at the front of the raft, they'll ask the person on the front left their name. And then they get them to repeat everybody's names the entire way through.35:07Jim thinks he has failed if he's teaching a course without 20 participants or if he hasn't worked everybody's name out by the first days' lunch. The Elite Guides36:34Jim's elite guides all start off with being exceptional people. They're smart, kind, compassionate, self-aware, and understand their role in life and the community. They show a sense of humility or humbleness. They're also great communicators. They have great judgment and decision making. They've got this tolerance for adversity. They behave well while wearing the company crest. They show a high level of competency in each of the disciplines in which they work in. Leaving the Nest41:17One of the things that Jim and his company do is that the students have a self-led expedition without any staff members on it at the end of the program. It's like the graduation or the pushing their students out of the nest so that they feel calm at day 91, that they're competent to do this on their own, that they don't need one of the WILD instructors holding their hand through that whole section. Making his own Luck44:5Jim often thinks that people sometimes say that they were lucky in the world of outdoor adventure, but for Jim, they manufacture their own luck. They were able to manufacture their own luck where preparation collides with opportunity or opportunity collides with preparation Proactive vs. Reactive47:14According to Jim, being proactive versus reactive is very important in whatever industry, whether in outdoor adventure or finance. The Higgins-Langley Award47:40The Higgins-Langley Award is the premier award for swift water rescue, divided into a wide variety of categories. One of those categories is for program development and education. Jim was fortunate enough that he fell into creating a water rescue video series, one of the first of its kind, called Rescue for River Runners. Jim decided that it was time to do a series of short, instructional rescue video clips so people could get a little bit hungry about the idea of swift water rescue. Things Happen51:03Jim says that we sometimes go out on a limb and make things happen. Usually, we're able to turn that around. If there needs to be some type of financial payback or whatever, we're then able to make something like that happened. It just happens naturally, and it makes you feel good. Know more about Jim's Company at:https://whitewater.ca/http://www.rescueforriverrunners.com/ Follow Jim Coffey on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-coffey-3762a6a/ Subscribe to the Leading Steep Podcast:Website: https://www.leadingsteep.com/Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/leading-steep/id1549778206?uo=4 Follow the Leading Steep Podcast on Social Media:Instagram: https://instagram.com/leadingsteep/Twitter: https://twitter.com/leadingsteep/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leadingsteep/Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/showcase/5883341  
About Leading Steep

About Leading Steep

2021-01-2011:03

This episode is "About Leading Steep"Leading Steep: Lessons in Leadership from the World's Great Adventure Guides is for aspiring business leaders and ambitious adventure guides alike.We've all got things to learn from those who guide the world's toughest climbs, fish the most challenging waters, cycle the highest passes, and run the most intimidating rivers have hard-won wisdom that can benefit others who lead teams — far from the extremes. Leading Steep distills leadership lessons in a way that is practical, understandable, and usable — in a podcast, blog posts, social media, and in a book to be published in 2020.From the Author:"As a business executive and whitewater guide, I have come to admire others who lead in the most challenging circumstances: whether they are mountaineers, anglers, cycling guides, safari leaders, or others. These professionals have refined the way they communicate, learned how to mitigate risk, and designed ways to lead their clients past their own self-imposed limitations. A great guide helps people do, see, and experience what they otherwise might not.As a young guide myself, I learned so much about leadership; how to communicate effectively, work with teams, deal with adversity and triumph, and the very real impact of decisions that could mean life or death.I love speaking to other guides about the things they've learned as leaders and how they’ve become standouts in their fields. I hope you'll enjoy the Leading Steep Podcast.
Comments (4)

Kim Clary

What a legend! Jim's hiring for culture practice is was SO ahead of the times. Such an engaging story and people. I am on to listen to ALL of these podcasts-I can't wait!!

Feb 11th
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Kim Clary

Another fascinating journey of a self made leader. The lesson to share our best work expecting zero in return is a new motto for me and the company I work for.

Feb 11th
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Kim Clary

Hippo attack survivor and Expedia founder - what an amazing life! I thoroughly enjoyed traveling the journey and learning about resilience.

Feb 11th
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Kim Clary

The cadence, storytelling, nd intrigue of this podcast make it a riveting listen. Barry's style of interviewing is engaging and provides his interviewee ample time to expand upon their beautiful stories that have led them into their intricate paths of leadership. And I could listen to Barry’s voice forever - so smooth, calm, intelligent, and soothing. I highly recommend this podcast!!

Feb 9th
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