Leadership is NOT a Wardrobe Issue

Excerpt from my new book Leadership is NOT a Wardrobe Issue. Exploring life lessons on horsemanship and how those learnings apply through the leadership programs of The Natural Leader. A fifteen-year veteran of the experiential equine learning industry Nancy has delivered hundreds of programs to thousands of individuals.

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John Scott, horses on the set

“John is and always will be a cornerstone in the Alberta movie business. He has given an opportunity to an awful lot of people.” – Brent Woolsey

A third generation Alberta rancher it would be hard to find words to better introduce John. Along with running a The Scott Ranch and a number of movie locations, John has been a part of over 130 projects, including 4 Oscar winning movies. In his near 40 years in the movie industry John has been a stunt co-ordinator and performer, head wrangler, animal wrangler,  location scout, and transportation coordinator. In 2017 Scott was nominated for the Calgary Stampede Western Legacy Award.

There are few cowboys who have dealt with as many people as John, so I asked him how his experience with horses has helped him through the years.

“Never do anything that will embarrass your mother.” John Scott Grows Alberta by PattonCommunications.

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JS – I think what my horses have taught me about leadership is to have patience and to assess the situation. See if the horse is comfortable with the situation what he is doing, he’ll tell you, his eyes, his ears. Just to be more observant about what is going on around you.

Well the same goes for working with people, if you are more observant working with people and what they are doing, it helps you avoid accidents. Some people need more patience than others.


TNL – Over the years in ranch life and in the movie industry: What do you believe is the most important thing the people you have worked with become aware of through working with horses?

John Scott – ATB Community

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JS – Communication – it’s one word communication – it’s how you communicate with the horse. If you come on rough and gruff right off the bat, he’s gonna get scared of you then the horse will back away from ya, if you approach in a more gentle manner then he’s going to be a little bit more inquisitive about what you want to do and try a little bit harder. And people seem to get it.


TNL – When people begin to see how the horse changes when they change, have noticed that patience shows up in their dealings with other people/

JS – If you are working with a group of people once they come to understand what you are trying to do, and accomplish they might be a bit more forth coming and bit more helpful.

Like once the horse gets to know you they’ll be fine, same with a person, once they get to know you they’ll have confidence that you are not going to hurt them.

TNL – You began with the word patience – have you found your patience has improved over the years with horses and people.

JS – It’s definitely improved with horses – some people are a little slower to catch on.

Be interesting in what they do. Same with a horse you try and pay attention and figure out what interests them. You try and read a horse you try to figure it out. One example we had a horse that we had trouble bridling. He was worried about being beat around the head and very head shy. It took us about four months for get him to over it and he had confidence in us and we were able to bridle him easily.

TNL – If there is one thing a horse could teach another human being in their interactions with other humans.

JS – Well it’s different aspects depending on what you do. Take for example Therapeutic riding they provide an outlet to experience something different. A cutting horse will give the rider quite a bit of acceleration and the rider has to plan what he wants to do and the horse has to know what he is supposed to do and they have to work together. On a bucking horse, the rider has to know what the horse’s pattern is and whether he comes out of the chute to the left or the ride, whether or he drops his shoulder.  You have to be able to assess the situation of what you want to do and what you’re are going to be doing.

TNL – Do you believe you assess the situation the same going into a meeting?

JS – Yes

 

 

Nancy Lowery has been blogging about her Leadership Learning through Horsemanship Experiences for over ten years. This series began as “One Foot in the Arena” exploring what other leaders in Calgary have learned about their leadership through their relationships with horses.

To explore how a day with horses can complement your Leadership Training programs Nancy would love to hear from you. 

 

Wrangling the Greatest Show on Earth – Bob Thompson

The week before the 2018 Calgary Stampede, Past President and Chairman of the Stampede Board of Directors, Bob Thompson took time out of his busy schedule to speak with me. You could say that Bob had the dubious honor of holding that role in what might go down as the toughest year in Stampede history. That was 2013, the year the Bow and Elbow Rivers flooded downtown Calgary and the entire grounds fourteen days before the Stampede was set to open.

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Janice Webster – on horses entering her life

Janice Webster is Senior Vice President Human Resources at Solium. For over twenty years she has been enabling high-performing organizations to excel.  She admits these past three years have changed her through what she has learned from the two horses she and her husband now own. In this interview Janice explores what horses have taught her about herself, life and work. You could say it has been a fast ride!

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carey arnett

Horses are her sanctuary – Carey Arnett

Horses are sanctuary for the President of Arnett & Burgess Pipeliners.

Carey’s story with horses goes back a long way. When she was seven she brought home a riding lesson brochure and announced she wanted to ride. “My grandfather thought he’d start me off with a month of lessons to see if I was really interested. I never let my parents quit.”

Carey was hesitant on the question about how many horses she has “they’re a little like potato chips you can’t have just one.”

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Dave Mowat ATBFinancial

On Timing – thank you Dave Mowat

Feel, timing and balance. You can’t improve on those three words when working with a horse. You can’t have one without the other and each builds on the previous in an ongoing progression.

Feel is about the relationship between two individuals, it is the give and take in a conversation. Timing is about when to ask, when to listen and when to just sit. Finally, without balance nothing else works.

In my world, leadership and horsemanship are inextricably linked. So feel, timing and balance could also describe the role that Dave Mowat has played at ATBFinancial the past eleven years.

Timing is everything. Dave recently announced he is set to retire in June 2018 as President and CEO of ATBFinancial. The timing of Dave’s departure is most interesting, Dave is leaving when everything feels good. Through his tenure ATB’s assets have grown to $49.6 billion from $20.3 billion, revenue has doubled to $1.5 billion and branch footprint grown by 9%. That is quite an accomplishment in an economic environment that has been anything but great in Alberta for a number of years.

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World Champion CEO

World Champion CEO – Terri Holowath

My next conversation is with a World Champion!

Terri Holowath attained the title in 2015, winning every event she and her horse Jade (Red Hot Jade) entered in the National Reined Cow Horse Association Tour (NRCHA). Not bad for a part-time rider in the non-pro two rein working cow horse category. Her other full-time position, Managing Partner/CEO with Catalyst LLP in south Calgary, Alberta.

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On Finding Joy

Finding Joy – Steve Fedorchuk

This interview is a slight deviation from my conversations with leaders about what they have learned from a life with horses. Simply because every once in a while something worth sharing happens in The Natural Leader programs. Aside from the odd trail ride, Steve’s experience with horses is not a whole lot broader than the day he spent with us. What showed up for for Steve that day speaks to the power of leadership learning through horsemanship.

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horse doesn't know how to lie

A horse doesn’t know how to lie – Murray McGonigle

Murray is a storyteller. A skill he no doubt employed over his thirty year career in the power line industry. “I would have to say storytelling comes from my father he answered most questions with a story. You had to find the answer in the story, if you didn’t you probably weren’t ready or needing the answer anyhow.”

I’ve heard many a tale this past year and we have covered many topics, most which end back at the importance of reading a horse. We share the goal of a bridle horse, Murray just happens to be a lot further along.

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back to basics

Back to basics – Colette Miller

If you are looking for someone to create an effective tax strategy or succession plan for your agriculture operation or small business. You might want to connect with Colette Miller, a partner with Wilde and Company Charter Professional Accounting and Director on the Board of ATBFinancial. My conversation with Colette began in her office and continued enroute to meeting with AVAC Ltd., a not for profit company she has been a Director with since 2010.

Our conversation was neither strategy or succession planning but rather how Colette’s relationship with horses has contributed to who she is today.

Colette appears to lead a full and busy life. Along with raising four kids, her partnership with Wilde & Company and the board positions she holds, Colette and Craig run a mixed grain and cattle operation outside of Vegreville, Alberta.

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