BEAR LEADERSHIP FOUNDER

EARLE DE BLONVILLE, FRGS

My aim is to share with you some insights on leadership that I have been fortunate to gain in wild and dangerous places, and inspire you to reach beyond your imagined limits to seek your own leadership understandings through your own unique experiences.

For 50 years leadership has been a core part of my life, as a professional mountain instructor helping develop young industry leaders in the wilderness; an expedition leader of scientific and high-risk adventure projects - including four years exploring the Arctic in my yacht; an executive leadership coach guiding senior executives facing career challenges; and as a Doctoral researcher theorising a completely new Harvard-underpinned approach to developing leadership.

What I have learned is that leadership is not an academic discipline, or a set of fashionable theories posited by those with no lived experience, nor a one-week certificate to boost career and remuneration, but a courageous human readiness to meet the unexpected, which always appears as episodic and granular, making each leadership situation entirely unique. For this reason, leadership cannot be taught in a classroom but must be discovered in the crucible of life. And importantly, leadership is all about other people working for a common cause, rather than about you wanting to be the leader.

Until we have faced pivotal or threatening challenges, none of us can imagine who we are as a leader or a team member. Only when we are forced to abandon old certainties in the face of constant disruption to plans and hopes, can any of us really begin to know ourselves.

As you search for your clarity of meaning and life's higher purpose, I hope this mantra will resonate in your heart: "Leadership is neither born nor taught: it is circumstance calling forth a champion". Anyone, anywhere, any time.