The Choice of Leadership with Cliff Duvernois

In this episode, I share how the podcast is doing; lessons I’ve learned from other leaders; I also talk about that TV show called Lost.  I still think they crash landed on Gilligan’s Island.

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3 Take Aways

  • Leadership starts with a personal choice
  • There is no ideal time to be a leader.  Uncertainty demands leadership.
  • What do you think the third take away should be?

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Transcript

Ladies and gentlemen, Welcome to the Call of Leadership podcast where we interview people from our Michigan community who answered the call of leadership. We’ll hear their powerful stories, get their advice so that we can be better leaders for ourselves, our families, and our communities. I am your host, Cliff Duvernois. Before I get into today’s episode? I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you who take the time to listen to these episodes. Without you, this podcast would be at nothing, but for those of you that take the time to write in, to leave reviews, you have my heart felt thanks.

[00:00:42] Today I will be flying solo behind the microphone and from time to time I’m going to do this. Share comments, reviews, and emails that people are sending in. Also, I’ll be sharing with you some thoughts and ideas that have been laid upon my heart. One of those thoughts comes from a review from Michael SU.

[00:01:00] Now he wrote this review on iTunes about the podcast, and in this review he wrote “In these interviews, you see individual journeys to leadership, which helps you map your own journey to leadership in your own unique way.” He goes on to write, “We are all placed on this earth to shine our light, and we do that by being the unique leaders we are meant to be. Thank you, cliff, for this podcast.” 

[00:01:27] Well, thank you Michael, for taking the time to write that review. I really do appreciate it. His review actually got me thinking about. The concept of a path to leadership and a thought hit me when I was watching that TV show lost. Now, I had never watched lost before. And yes, I know you’re shocked, but believe it or not, you’ll live.

[00:01:51] And a few weeks ago, Sherry convinced me that I should watch it. So one night we popped in the DVDs and we started with season one. [00:02:00] Now let me set the stage for you. This airplane crashes on this deserted Island. They have no idea where they are. They’ve got no food, no water. They’ve been there for four or five days, but I’m going to let you in on a little spoiler.

[00:02:15] I know exactly where they are. They’re on Gilligan’s Island. That’s the only explanation for why that they always look so beautiful. Day after day after day, after being out on this Island, their clothes are perfect. Their hair’s perfect. Aw. Anyways, they’ve been stranded on this Island now for about four or five days.

[00:02:32] They’ve got food, but they don’t have any fresh water, so they realized that they have to work together in order to survive. But who’s going to lead them? So naturally, they turn to the original dr McDreamy and his name is Jack. Now, throughout these episodes, he’s been kind of acting like a natural leader anyways, but when they turned to him and say, we want you to be our leader, he actually turns him down.

[00:02:58] Earlier in that episode, he saw this ghostly figure of his dead father on the beach, and every time he tried to chase this apparition. The ghost would lead him into the jungle. But now for some reason, in the middle of this crisis moment, Jack turns down that chance to be a leader and he decides instead to chase the ghost of his father into the jungle.

[00:03:22] Now as they’re showing cuts of him running through the jungle, trying to catch his dad, they have these series of flashbacks to the relationship of his father that happened maybe six months or a year prior. We don’t really know, but somehow or another, he manages to work things out with his dad. And when he does in these visions, he stumbles onto these caves where there is this freshwater, almost like this ghostly apparition led him to the caves to find the fresh water.

[00:03:50] Jack fills up a cup of water bottles. He returns to the beach to tell everybody. Packed up, we’re going to the caves. I got us water, and as I was [00:04:00] watching this unfold on TV, I remembered something that Dr. John Maxwell said. Now, Dr. John Maxwell, he’s a bestselling author. He’s written over 80 bucks, and he’s largely considered the world’s foremost expert on the topic of leadership.

[00:04:14] And he said. True leadership always begins with the inner person. Now, whatever Jack was battling with internally, he was finally able to put that aside. Then the needs of the passengers, the other stranded people on the Island became greater than any personal needs he might’ve had. Now, a doctor ran into that jungle, but a leader came back to help.

[00:04:40] And washing. This made me think about a moment in my past where I hesitated on accepting the mantle of leadership. It was actually during my senior year of college. There’s a class that all the seniors had to take, and it was an advanced design class. Now, it was only three credits, but every senior knew that this class was going to dominate our schedule.

[00:05:02] There were four of us. We agreed to work together as a team, and the instructor came to us and said. Cool. You’ve got your team who is going to be your team leader. Now the team leader would be responsible, not only for the entire team, but for communicating with the professor, shouldering all of the responsibility for all the calculations and believe you me, there was a boatload of calculations.

[00:05:25] The final written report that had to be turned in all the three D drawings and the final presentation that we had to give in front of the class. And on top of all of that, I knew that my senior design project was going to be a major topic of conversation with any interviews that I would have to get that big engineering job.

[00:05:45] That I ultimately wanted, and as the four of us are talking, two of the members immediately listed off a litany of reasons why they could not be the team lead. So it was just me and one other person. And as we [00:06:00] sat there and discussed the topic in class, the other three agreed that I would make the ideal leader, but I hesitated.

[00:06:08] Taking responsibility for myself as one thing, buffer for people. I mean, this was like our, our, our major, major project. It was going to be a major part of our futures. Did I really want to have that responsibility. I asked the guys to give me a couple days to think about it, and I would give him my answer by the next class, and I tell you what, those few days that were long and it was back and forth, do I want the responsibility?

[00:06:33] Yes. No, yes, no. I never had any formal training as any kind of a leader. I had never even read a book on leadership. I don’t even know if I could tell you what a leader was. The idea to me of a leader was like Hannibal Smith from the 18 and I don’t know very many lessons from the team that I could apply to real life.

[00:06:51] So how in the world was I going to lead. Then what I did is I took a look at the responsibilities and a few things stood out to me. First, I knew that I would put in the extra time. I wanted the a in that class and I wanted it bad and I was willing to work my face off to get it. Second, if any member of the team ever got into a pickle.

[00:07:13] Like they had to take an extra shift at work or something to help pay the rent. I could and I would do their workload. Most importantly, I accepted whatever the end results might be. If things went South, I would blame myself. And if the team succeeded, I’d let the team take the credit for it. So when I went into the next class, I told the team, I said, I will lead.

[00:07:37] I committed to each one of them to support them in any way that I could. And believe you me, that commitment was tested. You know, you’re working your face off when the days of the week just blurred together. You have no idea from day to day because the minute I would get up in the morning until the moment I collapsed in bed at night was doing nothing but working on this senior design project.

[00:07:59] Now, did all that [00:08:00] work pay off. At the end of the semester, the team scored a 97 out of 100 the team did it. Now, I didn’t have any formal training as a leader, but the decision had to be made. The conditions certainly were not ideal, but. Are there any ideal times to really be a leader? And it made me think if I could only find a way to emulate what this young student did in the 1960s who suffered from dyslexia, because you see back then, the student, he couldn’t read, he couldn’t do basic arithmetic.

[00:08:32] Now, back then, schools didn’t have tests for dyslexia. They just thought you were stupid. So the best way to cure stupidity was to cane the student. And the headmaster would cane him on a regular basis. Now, if someone could explain to me how a kid can get books smarts by smacking him with a wooden stick, please let me know cause I would love to hear the rationale behind it.

[00:08:59] Now during the 1960s in the entire world, there was all this upheaval that was going on. You had the Vietnam war, there was the Korean conflict. There were protests happening on every continent. There was a huge upheaval in politics. You had national figures that were being assassinated left and right now this student, he felt that the students didn’t have a voice in what was going on.

[00:09:24] And when he shared that with his friends, they all agreed, but what could they do? How could they rally the students all together to get them to talk about their views? There was no social media. There was no Facebook, there was no internet, certainly no cell phones. The only thing that they could think of to do was to put out a publication, a magazine, or some kind of a newspaper like that.

[00:09:44] And all of his friends agreed that the student. Should be in charge of it. The editor in chief, how in the world are you an editor in chief of a magazine? If you have this? Lexia. He almost turned them down, but then he realized that the needs of the [00:10:00] students took priority over his own needs and he accepted that responsibility.

[00:10:04] So with his friends, they formed student magazine, a magazine for students by students with an editor and chief. That had dyslexia and you know what? They made an impact, but little did anyone suspect that this young man would go on to found one of the world’s largest record labels? He would start his own airline.

[00:10:26] He would be building a company that would literally be taking people to the stars. That young man was sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin records, Virgin airlines, the head of the Virgin galactic, as well as the entire Virgin group. But it was that fateful decision that was made decades earlier. That taught him the valuable lessons in leadership, that there are no ideal times to accept the mantle of leadership.

[00:10:54] But it was his decision to move forward with the mission to lead. And it was made during uncertain times, not only uncertainty with himself, but in the world around him. And it made me think about the uncertainty of this podcast when I launch it. Because you see, when I had the idea for this podcast, the central thesis.

[00:11:15] That God laid on my heart is that strong leaders make for stronger communities. So when starting out, I was blessed to have some really great interviews with leaders in our community. And in February I put the entire plan into action. I was moving forward. I was getting the interviews and as the official release date was coming, something else came with it.

[00:11:37] Covert 19 now covert 19 swept across the globe. And before we knew it, the president of United States, along with all these governors from all the States, shut everything down in an attempt to keep everyone safe. Now this of course put a huge question Mark over many businesses, owners that I was set to interview.

[00:11:56] Not surprisingly, many of them canceled their [00:12:00] interviews with me because our priority was to their business, how to keep their employees paid. How do they keep food on the table? So what was I going to do. I seriously considered putting the entire podcast on hold and just wait for this whole Corona virus thing to sweep by.

[00:12:18] That is until I read a passage by Dr. John Maxwell in his email newsletter and Dr. Maxwell wrote, I have found in times of crisis and uncertainty, the tendency is for people to freeze. They stand still. They basically say, I don’t know if I want to make a decision. On the other hand, leaders must constantly be leading.

[00:12:42] Even in times of uncertainty. That’s when it hit me. If anyone needs to hear these stories, these messages, the time is now, not two months from now, not six months from now, but now. So I launched, I put my podcast out there, and of course I started wondering, am I even having an effect where people even listening.

[00:13:05] In review on iTunes. Tibor wrote, if you want to become a better leader for yourself, you definitely want to hang out with cliff and his guests. Love the energy, keep it up in another review. As from Michigan writes, listening to your show is a great way to start my day. Your positivity is uplifting and the diversity of the leaders provide valuable information and insight.

[00:13:28] I am inspired. To be a better leader. After listening to your podcast, keep up the great work and thank you for all your effort. The podcast is having an effect. People are being impacted. That was my mission from the start. It doesn’t matter if Corona virus is going on. It does not matter what’s happening out into the world.

[00:13:52] The mission is more important than any doubts or any reservations that I might have. The time to take [00:14:00] action. The time to lead is now. Questions, comments? You can email once again, that’s cliff @ callofleadership.com and that ladies and gentlemen is a wrap .

About The Host

About The Host

Cliff Duvernois

Cliff is the host of “The Call of Leadership” podcast.  He has published over 500 short stories over Facebook, Medium and LinkedIn.  He is a passionate lifelong learner, marketer and philanthropist.  He currently lives in Reese, Michigan with his fiancé Sherry and her two children.

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