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Archive for the ‘Callan Course News’ Category

Paul Callan Is Interviewed for The Excellence in Training Academy Podcast

April 12, 2016 | No Comments »

Recently, Paul was interviewed by Brian Willis, a retired law enforcement professional from the Calgary (Canada) Police Service and Director of “The Excellence in Training Academy.” The Excellence in Training Academy is a membership site for law enforcement trainers who are committed to the pursuit of excellence in their life and in their training. This group of devoted first responders are committed to improving their skills – both hard and soft skills. It was our pleasure to be interviewed and included in this community!

Excellence in Training Podcast Image


In this interview Paul and Brian discuss several key leadership topics and how leaders can best orient themselves, their people, and their organizations to thrive in our modern world. It was a great conversation discussing the Callan philosophy and the value of leadership in modern society.

This podcast is a private access podcast for the Excellence in Training Academy, but Brian was generous in letting us share this podcast episode with you. You can listen to it here:



Paul Talks with U-T San Diego Spotlight Radio about Leadership

January 27, 2016 | No Comments »

In his second visit to the U-T San Diego Spotlight Radio show, Paul chats with host Drew Scholsberg about leadership and The Callan Course Philosophy on Leadership.

Paul Callan Leadership

Listen Here: U-T San Diego Community Spotlight Radio January 22, 2016

In this interview, Paul talks about the Perennial Cycles of Life and Leadership and what this means for leaders today. He also talks about the importance of leadership from the top and how it impacts leaders at all levels of the organization. The second half, the conversation shifts to leading in a modern workplace and the challenges leaders face today.

Take a few minutes today to listen in and get a better understanding of the Callan Course approach to leadership!

Paul Callan Leadership


Paul Callan Interviewed by U-T Spotlight Radio

October 26, 2015 | No Comments »

Paul was recently interviewed by the U-T Community Spotlight Radio Show in San Diego, talking about leadership and The Callan Course.

Paul Callan San Diego

In this half hour interview, Paul talks about how he started The Callan Course and how he defines leadership. And the way Paul described leadership – as a power of influence – was something the host, Drew, hadn’t heard explained that way before.

Find out what Paul had to say about influence and leadership, plus more on what The Callan Course is all about by listening to the radio episode here.


Callan…Coffee…Contemplation for the Week of August 31st

September 1, 2015 | No Comments »

Leadership Thoughts

The Leader as Beacon- Part II

One might ask: What if I don’t seek to master myself and move from technical expertise towards the higher ground of emotional intelligence? What’s the harm if I don’t become that beacon of excellence? The answer is simple and stark: You will fail yourself, and you will fail those you lead. As documented by Daniel Goleman’s research on this topic, leaders who failed to navigate the transition to emotional intelligence failed because of self inflicted “fatal flaws.” Like the blind spots on a vehicle moving down a busy highway, fatal flaws prevent leaders from successfully projecting resonant leadership because they destroy the trust and deep bonds necessary for championship performance. Leaders with emotional intelligence nurture things like camaraderie, companionship, mutual affection, and esprit; leaders without emotional intelligence destroy them. And as Goleman also documented, the two primary fatal flaws that ruin such leaders are rigidity (inability to adapt) and poor relations (alienated their teams).

The Leader as Architect- Part I

It’s essential that leaders first focus on mastering themselves and developing their vision; however, we must then shift focus to execution: How do we realize our plan? How do we make it stick? It’s a mistake to focus only on vision and forget the concrete actions needed to materialize end states. When we move to creating execution plans, we are now moving into the realm of management. Here a leader operates somewhat like an architect, creating the blue print and mechanism to build an organization to last. We begin by properly seeing the organization as a “system of systems,” an ecosystem, comprised of three core elements: (1) an ethos (culture, climate, atmosphere), (2) authority (allocation of responsibility), and (3) technical elements (policy and procedures). As an ecosystem, each of these three elements has its own nature but the entire ecosystem must be understood and managed as a whole. The key architectural action is this: Create mechanisms to measure the entire organization, and create mechanisms that endure. People will leave, mechanisms endure.

The Leader as Architect- Part II

Previously, we talked about leaders creating mechanisms to measure the entire organization’s health, vitality, and readiness. Why is that vital? Because teams don’t last; people will move on. Moreover, we never want to build an organization reliant solely on one individual leader. Yes, great leaders make a difference, often profound differences; however, organizations dependent upon a single great leader will likely atrophy and collapse once that leader departs if mechanisms are not built to effectively enable succession, knowledge transfer, organizational resiliency, and the creation of internal talent pools of younger leaders ready to assume the mantle of leadership. Enduring excellence cannot rest solely on the back of a single charismatic leader. To ensure a single leader doesn’t ultimately become a single point of failure, we must create, and then align, mechanisms to sustain our ethos, constantly renew the allocation of authority, and adapt technical policies and procedures to agilely respond to change.

The Leader as Learner- Part I

I often refer to leadership as a master craft, and heroic leaders as a master craftsman. I do this to remind myself that, like all other pursuits of mastery, leadership is a life-long journey in which we never stop honing our craft. Therefore, leaders should never think of themselves as a finished product; we must remain students of leadership, stay fully open to new knowledge, and seek wisdom by availing ourselves to a broad spectrum of experiences. When I reflect on heroic leaders of the past such as Lincoln, Jefferson, T.E. Lawrence, Churchill, and Gandhi to name a few, they all shared these two attributes in common: (1) An unquenchable curiosity, and (2) a bias for learning and understanding. Moreover, their curiosity and passion for learning never waned during their lives. They constantly renewed themselves, renovated their vision, and courageously converted themselves into more wise and effective leaders. When leaders personally model a passion for learning, they in turn create organizations with a similar passion to learn and grow—the true wellspring of enduring excellence.

The Leader as Learner- Part II

To effectively become students of leadership, and to grow as heroic leaders, we must embrace the crucial need to create quiet time and solitude to read, reflect, and discern. Our society often down plays the need for solitude because we erroneously equate busyness with productivity and effectiveness. We think: The busier we are, the more we must be getting done. Wrong! Busyness is a chimera, and being trapped in the chaos of busyness is the antithesis of great leadership. Great leaders, therefore, must discipline themselves to balance “to do” with “to learn.” In doing so, great leaders apportion time and energy to reading, learning, and thinking; they find a place of solitude to disengage from the work-a-day world; and they consider quiet time not only sacred but essential to remaining vital in their lives and in their leadership. Heroic leadership is a marathon, not a sprint; our objective is to be effective across time and to retain a consistent and dependable positive vitality across a broad arc of engagement.

Callan…Coffee…Contemplation for the Week of August 24th

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Leadership Thoughts

The Leader as Adapter- Part I

A mistake leaders often make is thinking of change as an event, or thinking of change as simply a future planning component that can somehow be isolated from the present. A better metaphor for change is to picture a boat riding on a swift-running river, with a helmsman at the rudder of the boat. The river represents change: It is ever-present, constantly rolling, and always moving forward. The boat represents the organization, and the helmsman the leader. We cannot do anything to alter the nature of the river; however, can learn to build better helmsmen and better boats. We do this is by developing leaders and organizations who are comfortable with uncertainty and learn to master adaptation. Adaptation is a mindset in which one correctly understands and accepts the ever-present and uncertain nature of change. Adaptation is also a habit where leaders purposely develop hardiness and resilience in themselves and their groups which, like an immune system, enable us to “bounce back” when change occurs–yet still retain our cohesion, integrity, and core purpose.

The Leader as Adapter- Part II

Leadership author Steven Covey used the image of a group assigned the mission of cutting through a dense jungle, and the need for the leader of that group to remain above the tree line to properly maintain a leader’s perspective. Covey’s metaphor illustrates a leader’s need to adapt; to keep our attention “above the tree line” in order to sense and detect change, and more importantly, to make necessary course corrections. Sensing and detecting are attributes allowing the leader to assess current conditions while also making the necessary corrections to our course, such as speed, azimuth, and tempo. For leaders to effectively adapt we must learn to scan our environment and pay attention to context. Leaders must avoid the temptation to stare at data and fixate on mind-numbing metrics, for in doing so, they risk becoming change blind. If leaders condition themselves to constantly scan and pay attention to changes in context, they will create an agile, flexible, and resilient organization capable of aligning inputs to end states, and outputs to course corrections.

The Leader as Communicator- Part I

Communicating is one of the key distinguishing qualities of great leaders. It is through communicating our vision, our purpose, and our aspirations that leaders create deep resonance with their people and galvanize unity within the group. Like a great melody, communicating with others should touch people deep in their hearts and souls and result in genuine commitment. And in constructing that melody, leaders should always seek to strike these three chords: who, what, and why. When leaders communicate answers to who, what, and why, they help move people from purely transactional, tit-for-tat thinking into a more expansive communal feeling characterized by esprit, camaraderie, and mutual affection. When communicating, I believe we must always start with hearts before minds by creating mental imagery depicting a mission that is elevating and an atmosphere producing peak experiences. These are the qualities creating champions. And when we communicate, we must do so live, on stage, and in person, enabling our people to see our authenticity, our trustworthiness, and our vitality.

The Leader as Communicator- Part II

There is such as thing as the language of leadership—a vocabulary peculiar to great leaders and necessary to unleash championship performance. One good way to understand the language of leadership is to understand what it is not: it is the opposite of technical or bureaucratic language. Technical or bureaucratic language (think here of those long mission statements or multi-page policy letters) are overly passive, impersonal, and burdened with complex terminology and techno-babble that neither inspire heroic action nor create a sense of ownership (beyond the person who drafted them). Conversely, the language of leadership uses basic conversational tones; speaks in the active voice; and is highly personal and contextual. The language of leadership uses stories, parables, metaphors, and analogies to create vivid mental images listeners can relate to deeply and feel intuitively. The language of leadership connects the listener to outcomes worth the effort of pursuing.

The Leader as Beacon- Part I

Because heroic leaders focus on significance as the end state of their leadership, they become beacons to those they lead—true examples of expert leadership. Like a lighthouse on a high cliff, these leader’s example shines through the chaos of the daily grind, pierces the fog of an uncertain future, and elevates above the banal politics of petty cultures. As beacons, heroic leaders stand steadfast as examples of excellence regardless of time, circumstance, convenience, or political correctness. Leaders become trustworthy beacons of excellence by transforming their leadership fulcrum from technical expertise (TE) to emotional intelligence (EQ). Yes, early in our careers we need a firm grounding in cognitive intelligence and TE; however, as we expand our leadership frontage we must move beyond purely threshold technical capabilities and learn to master ourselves. If we are able to successfully navigate this movement from TE to EQ, then we’ll become that resolute beacon, that vital example, because we’ll be firmly grounded in self control, self regulation, and resonant social skills.

Callan…Coffee…Contemplation…for the Week of August 17th

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Leadership Thoughts


The ultimate measure of leadership effectiveness is significance: Did we leave a legacy that is elevating, worthy of following, and enduring? Does our example stand the test of time? Did we make the group better for having led it? I like to think of significance like footprints in the sand. If we are significant as leaders, we leave a trail of trustworthy guideposts for others to follow once we are gone. This residue of example is crucial because we will not always be there to personally shepherd the group. Moreover, enduring organizational excellence is never determined by a single charismatic leader. Greatness has to be cultivated into the group, deep in the groups’ ethos, so the group can thrive even without the presence of the senior leader. Heroic leaders become significant by creating a self-disciplined pattern of behavior based on noble purpose, honorable aspiration, right action, and a commitment to something greater than self. This is the road less taken, but it’s the only path enabling the leader to become the lesson.


The Leader as a Visionary- Part I

One of the core roles of a leader is that of Visionary—clarifying the future for the groups we lead. All groups, regardless of mission, vocation, size, or function want to know this from the leader: Where are we headed, and why? And they want leaders to answer those questions with absolute clarity. The concept of leader’s vision is often misconstrued to mean a soothsayer or prognosticator, which is wrong. A leader’s vision does not predict the future. Rather, a leader’s vision describes what we will be in the future. An effective leadership vision therefore has these key qualities: (1) it provides the necessary context; (2) it is compelling and hard to resist; and (3) it makes the pain of changing worth the effort. In this sense, vision is an ideal end state—a clear point of aim and an azimuth of march. But here’s the really important truth all leaders must embrace with regard to their vision: Initially, the messenger is more important than the message! People must first buy into you, the leader, before they will accept your vision. A leader’s credibility and trustworthiness is crucial. First you, and then the vision.

The Leader as a Visionary- Part II

Aristotle said, “The Soul never thinks without a picture.” This reminds us of the need for mental images in conveying our vision. A leader’s vision must resonate with people’s hearts and souls, more than their heads. Human beings are deeply drawn to meaning as expressed in mental pictures and imagery. Therefore, great leaders often make use of stories, parables, and pictures in delivering their vision. Stories, parables, and pictures help us imagine the vision in both a personal and group context, and more importantly, move us out of our rationalizing minds and into our intuitive souls—the source of all heroic action. That said, once leaders clarify their vision, they should make maximal use of group gatherings and explain their vision through compelling stories and mental images. And in doing so regularly, and consistently, this storytelling helps remind leaders that vision is often more a matter of renovation, than creation. Become a great storyteller, touch people’s souls, and you’ll move people confidently towards your vision and into the future.

The Leader as a Mentor

All great societies throughout history have had at their core a cadre of wise elders intentionally serving as mentors to the younger generation. Classic mentoring was seen as a way of life, not simply an act; a deep personal conviction—a sacred obligation—to obtain mastery and then give it away freely for the benefit of others and for the enduring elevation of the group. Mentoring is thus the essential means through which deep perennial knowledge is passed from generation-to-generation and the mechanism through which communal roots are established. In this sense, the mentor and the protégé become a braided cord, where the development, growth, and excellence of the protégé is seen to be a direct refection on the quality of the Mentor. A classic mentor serves as advisor, champion, guide, and teacher. Great leaders must fully embrace their role as mentor and create for their people opportunities to practice leadership, prepare for increased responsibility, and grow as responsible citizens.

The Leader as Adapter- Part I

A mistake leaders often make is thinking of change as an event, or thinking of change as simply a future planning component that can somehow be isolated from the present. A better metaphor for change is to picture a boat riding on a swift-running river, with a helmsman at the rudder of the boat. The river represents change: It is ever-present, constantly rolling, and always moving forward. The boat represents the organization, and the helmsman the leader. We cannot do anything to alter the nature of the river; however, can learn to build better helmsmen and better boats. We do this is by developing leaders and organizations who are comfortable with uncertainty and learn to master adaptation. Adaptation is a mindset in which one correctly understands and accepts the ever-present and uncertain nature of change. Adaptation is also a habit where leaders purposely develop hardiness and resilience in themselves and their groups which, like an immune system, enable us to “bounce back” when change occurs–yet still retain our cohesion, integrity, and core purpose.

Callan…Coffee…Contemplation for the Week of August 10th

August 10, 2015 | No Comments »

Leadership Thoughts

Heroic Paradigm—Part II

Our paradigm, the lens through which we view life and leadership, is the most crucial determinant of great leadership. I often describe three basic paradigms that leaders can adopt. The first is accidental leadership, where one devotes almost no thought, preparation, or practice to the art of leadership. The second paradigm is cafeteria leadership, where one simply picks and chooses the leadership actions that fit one’s mood, whim, or disposition. Neither accidental nor cafeteria style paradigms are noble, elevating, or capable of producing greatness. The third and correct paradigm of leading is Heroic Leadership. A Heroic Leadership paradigm is based on a conviction that leadership is a master craft, requiring great exertion, life-long preparation, and daily devotion to self mastery.  A Heroic Leader never separates one’s life from one’s leadership. To remain heroic we must constantly clean the lens, transform our eye, and re-tune our ear.


Leadership as a Journey

We refer to leadership as a journey to reinforce this core truth: Leadership is a master craft requiring lifelong development. That leadership is a journey also reminds us that true mastery will always defy instant gratification. To pursue heroic leadership, we must go through life’s test and trials, not around them. There are no menus, checklists, gimmicks, shortcuts, or killer apps we can download to achieve instant leadership mastery. And, though demanding, the journey to heroic leadership is, in the end, its own reward; it calls forth our best selves, and for the groups we lead, it provides a beacon of noble purpose to guide towards the future. The journey’s path can thus be shown, and the terrain described, but each leader must answer the call to heroic leadership and begin walking. Seen correctly, the journey is not just necessary as a means to excellence, but more importantly, the journey is the handmaiden of our character and our significance.



There’s been much written about transformational leadership from the vantage point of how leaders transform others. A far more important viewpoint is self-transformation: How Heroic Leaders transform themselves. Self-transformation, borne of the leader’s journey, produces an authentic, centered, and wise leader. Like a diamond imbedded in coal, our heroic self is initially buried under surface level limitations, namely—our egos. And like a diamond, our heroic self will only emerge through crucible-like conditions that burn away the external layers and reveal the hidden gem. Consider this axiom: to reach the high ground of leadership, we must first endure the desert. We must leave our comfort zone, cross thresholds, endure tests, and be re-renewed in the cauldron of experience. The shaping events in our lives, properly understood, create inner conversions—a continual turning around and a letting go.  Paradoxically, we must first to go inward, and then and only then–upward and outward.


Heroic Leaders are Resonant

Leadership at its core is influence, and at the core of influence is resonance. Do we resonate with those we lead or not? Consider an orchestra conductor.  A great conductor—a maestro–takes a group of disparate musicians and through his artful influence, creates resonance. Resonance is perfect pitch, tone, tenor, and tempo. Beautiful music. This orchestra appears to operate as a single, seamless entity. They have moved from E Pluribus, to Unum (from many, one). Conversely, a bad conductor takes that same group of musicians and due to his lack of leadership influence, creates dissonance. Dissonance is horrible pitch, tone, tenor, and tempo. Like fingernails across a chalk board! Great leaders are maestros; they take once disparate groups—raw elements—and turn them into gold. The gold they create is reflected as unity, cohesion, and shared intent. Leaders become resonant with those they lead by consistently modeling  excellence, trustworthiness, and foremost—authenticity.  So…do you resonate with your group? To know, look to the quality of the conductor.  Be a maestro!


Leaders want to be successful both for our personal goals and the broader goals we set for our teams. However, we often fail to fully understand the term success. Our modern world often equates success with outer trappings like rank, title, salary, or the size of our house. Our modern world also likes to believe in the myth of instant success, an illusion born of a mania for instant gratification. The truth is real success doesn’t follow a rags-to-riches trajectory. Heroic leaders don’t rise from nothing, nor do they make it alone. True success is neither cheap nor easy, but rather, the by-product of a life-long pattern of successful behavior that results in personal readiness. Success thus comes at the nexus of challenge and readiness. If we are ready when challenge or opportunity emerge, we’ll be successful, and not just for ourselves, but for a greater good. We can’t control the nature or timing of the challenge, but we can control our readiness through practice, preparation, and rehearsal. Understood such, success is a self-disciplined pattern of action—a habit pattern--that great leaders cultivate into their lives.



Callan…Coffee…Contemplation for the Week of August 3rd

August 6, 2015 | No Comments »

Leadership Thoughts

Embracing the F-Word: How Leaders use Failure as a Teacher

No matter how well prepared we are as leaders, we will occasionally fail. What defines a champion is the ability to rise off the mat and respond without losing our integrity and core purpose. We therefore must confront these truths: We learn more from failure than from success; failures will be mostly unexpected;  the playing field is never level; and failure is the most direct path to truth. Leaders must embrace failure as a necessary teacher. Failure, if properly understood, can become the handmaiden of our self-mastery and of the evolving excellence of our teams. To develop an ability to bounce back from failure without losing our core purpose, leaders must cultivate resilience, hardiness, and mental toughness in their teams. Leaders cultivate these attributes by intentionally placing themselves and their teams in situations that test the limits of endurance, push past thresholds, and call forth fortitude. When leaders embrace failure in this way, we emerge from the crucible stronger, more confident, and more hardy. Such is the stuff of champions.

Fly the Middle Way: Great Leaders are Simplifiers

In Greek mythology, Icarus is told by his father to resist the urge to fly either too high or too low and instead—to fly the middle way. This myth is a great metaphor for leaders too. Great leaders learn to fly the middle way by not being susceptible to extreme lows (negativity, pessimism, cynicism) or extreme highs (untamed emotion or uncontrolled passion). As such, great  leaders take complex issues and simplify them to their core element–the “main thing.” A key way for leaders to fly the middle way is to master quiet time. Leaders must set aside quiet time every day to think and reflect, be that in a designated venue removed from work or going for a walk or run. It is in the solitude of quiet time that deep thoughts emerge…and leaders are able to move beyond the surface-level frenzy of work and clarify the “main things.” Great leaders understand that effective leadership is about focus, awareness, deep knowing, and informed action, and one can only activate these qualities by flying the middle way.

Heroic Leaders Possess Vitality and Energy

One of the foremost qualities of a heroic leader is the ability to point to a better future. In this sense, leaders are like beacons, clarifying where we are headed, why we are going there, and the ultimate end states of our actions. In this beacon-like role, leaders must consistently project vitality and energy; a confident and optimistic attitude that cuts through the fog of uncertainty and orients us toward the future. Vitality and energy are equally a mindset and a way of living. Vitality is a mindset  in terms of personal paradigm—how the leader views his role as exemplar of spirited leadership. Vitality is a way of living in the sense that one adheres to a vigorous and strenuous lifestyle. Great leaders understand that an organization without energy and vitality is like a waste land, barren of purpose, spirit, and strength. To combat this waste land experience, great leaders use their personal vitality to infuse vitality in their followers, and by doing so, they bring renewed life and a contagious optimism to the group.

Heroic Leaders Possess a Deep Wellspring of Decency

Decency is too often shunned as a core leadership virtue because it is viewed, incorrectly, as somehow being “too soft.” That is an unfortunate perception, because it is wrong. Decency is not a tactic or a technique, it is a virtue! Decency reflects our character, and flows from a deep sense of gratitude and respect. Decent leaders project civility, trustworthiness, respect, and honor in all human dealings, even when under extreme pressure or in dire conditions. Decency, like all core virtues, is “non negotiable” and does not change with situations or conditions. Instead, decency serves as a firm anchor point, buttressing us against the ever-changing winds of politics, passion, or convenience.  Decency is neither soft nor weak as a leadership virtue; it is made of the most solid and sturdy substance a leader can possess: Character! We are reminded of the importance of decency in this quote attributed to Kass: “We stand most upright when we gladly bow our heads.”

Heroic Leaders Possess Self-Discipline

The central maxim of our Callan Course philosophy is this: Great leadership starts with self-leadership; self-leadership starts with self-mastery, and self-mastery is achieved through self-discipline. Self-discipline is a habit born of an intention–achieved by the daily, purposeful allocation of time and energy to mastering ourselves. And like all successful habits, we must combine the intellectual acceptance of the need for the quality (self-discipline) coupled with the tangible actions that create a pattern of behavior. Think here of the master archer: The most crucial thing the archer will ever do to master his craft, to become an expert marksman, is develop self-discipline to master himself—the shooter. Heroic leaders, like the master archer, are also shooters, and our arrows are made of our leadership influence.  We will consistently place our arrows of influence in the center of the target by mastering ourselves through self discipline.


Callan…Coffee…Contemplation for the Week of July 27th

July 27, 2015 | No Comments »

Leadership Thoughts

Why Ethos is the Key to Organizational Excellence

Ethos is a Greek word meaning “the essential character or spirit of a group.” Ethos is the deep perennial knowledge and communal roots that define the spirit of a people. Ethos is what is passed from generation to generation to form a deep sense of common identity, common purpose, and common reference. When alive and thriving, ethos provides to the group answer to these three elementary question: Who are we? What do we do? What do we stand for? Ethos is akin to the underground root system of a tree, in that ethos is the life-blood and wellspring of the organization’s enduring health, vitality, and resilience. When ethos is built and sustained by leaders, ethos protects the organization from living solely in a present-tense culture, allowing the organization to feel its past in the wind while confidently looking forward towards the future. Ethos is a affect image…touching hearts and souls in a deep and powerful way, and as such ethos instructs, informs, galvanizes, and reinforces cultural expectations and aspirations..

Heroic Leaders Embrace Paradox

Leadership is a master craft, and like all master crafts, gaining true excellence in leadership requires embracing paradox. Not everything about leadership is linear or simple. Heroic leaders, in mastering themselves and gaining true inner authority, have to accept and internalize leadership paradoxes such as these:

  • To get, you must give
  • To excel, you must release power
  • To speed up, you must slow down
  • To lead others, you must master yourself
  • To win, you must occasionally fail
  • To detect, you must reflect
  • To integrate, you must disintegrate
  • To get hard results, you must master soft skills
  • The higher you go, the less you need to know (technically)

Heroic Leaders Avoid the Slippery Slope

Like Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey, all leaders will occasionally be lured by the siren’s call to the shores of ignoble behavior. It is tempting to follow the siren’s call and step onto the slippery slope towards our lesser ambitions, and when we do, we end up crashing on the shore and shipwrecking our integrity, our honor, and our trustworthiness. When leaders step on the slippery slope, they fall prey to these toxic mindsets and behaviors:

  • Convenience
  • Instant Gratification
  • Victimization
  • Cynicism
  • Rights without Responsibility
  • Entitlement without Sacrifice

Like Odysseus before us, we must lash ourselves to the mast of moral courage, avoid the slippery slope, and chart a wiser course to uphold our integrity and our honor.

Heroic Leaders Understand the Necessity of “No”

Like the mythic Pandora, leaders often mistake success as saying “yes” to everything. And like Pandora, when leaders lift the lid of the box and say “yes” to everything, they unleash a torrent of unfocused tasks and misguided energy that results in chaos and confusion. Why do leaders often fall prey to this Pandora effect and focus on doing more and more and more? Because of the chimera of activity and business! When leaders perceive busyness, they automatically correlate that busyness to production and effectiveness, which is often the opposite of what is actually achieved. Busyness and unfocused energy creates dissipation, not focus! Heroic leaders therefore understand the necessity of saying “no.” Heroic leaders must discipline themselves, and their organization, to focus on their ethos, their core strategy, and their ultimate end states, and say “no” to things that do not align with these core purposes. Great leaders instill in themselves and their organizations a willingness to ask these crucial questions: What should we stop doing? What should we never do? In this way, leaders foster a discipline for “no” and create healthy mechanisms for removal.

Heroic Leaders Know Honor is Worth More than Glory

Heroic Leaders know that when honor is abandoned for personal glory, convenience, instant gratification, or self-gain, that loss of honor becomes a fatal wound, seriously diminishing the leaders trustworthiness. Conversely, Heroic Leaders know that when honor is upheld during trying times, that act is galvanizing and reinforcing of the leader’s trustworthiness. When we abandon honor we descend, when we uphold honor we elevate. Seen this way, honorable behavior relies on moral courage. Moral courage reminds us of this eternal maxim: The more it costs us to defend and uphold, the more it is worth! Honor can be an inconvenient thing, as honor requires leaders to see beyond the moment, to reach beyond personal glory, to refuse the temptation of instant gratification, and avoid the well-worn path of convenience. To remind ourselves of the value of personal honor, and the necessity of moral courage in upholding our honor, we should always remember these facts: (1) You won’t recognize honor if you don’t practice it; and (2) you can’t expect honor from others if you don’t model it yourself. Honor requires the leader to apply judgment, and in doing so, choosing elevating over descending.

The Callan Course is Featured in the California Business Journal

July 24, 2015 | No Comments »

Paul was recently interviewed by the California Business Journal regarding The Callan Course. This article gives some great insight into how Paul started the course, how the Callan Course works, and why others enjoy it and find it so valuable.

You can read the whole article here:


cal biz journal

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