Nancy & Jack

What Motivates You?

What motivates or drives you? Are your goals personal or do you seek external reward? In The Natural Leader program’s these questions often show up as we examine internal versus external goals of leadership behaviour. Do your actions reflect what personally important or do they reflect what looks good on your resume? Do your actions reflect your values? 

In one of those mind-blowing moments, I realized how internal versus external indicators apply to my horsemanship. While they are concepts that relate to everything I do with a horse I’d not really, and I mean really, considered how I applied them in my riding and every request I make of my horses. 

It was a series of questions on cues versus aids that helped me see the missing piece of my puzzle. 

The first What is it I envision the horse doing? In other words what is my thought, or goal. How clear am I on the outcome I seek? What is my internal goal? I am talking as simple a task as “I’d like the horse to walk forward.” Or “I’d like the horse to shift his weight back a step.,” to my end goal of riding a bridle horse. 

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Leadership is NOT a Wardrobe issue

An Invitation

The following is an excerpt (of sorts) from my latest book “Leadership is NOT a Wardrobe Issue” the book continues to document the learning I have gained through interactions with horses and people, connecting the power of horsemanship to leadership learning . Leadership is NOT a Wardrobe Issue expands on earlier works: The Games People Play with Horses; Creating Exceptional Leaders through Learning with Horses; and In Business to Define. 

An Invitation can be accepted, modified or declined. 

Leadership is an invitation. It is an invitation to step up, take a risk, and step outside your comfort zone. 

My mentor, Fred Jacques introduced me to the “Invitation.” Through eight years working with Fred I had the opportunity to see excellent leadership facilitation in action. Fred’s observations are always spot on, he is gracious, funny and could brilliantly articulate the connections between humans and horses to leadership in the workplace. I can’t begin to express how much I learned watching, listening to and asking questions of Fred. 

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The Natural Leader participates in The Calgary Stampede
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What is a better question? The Natural Leader

What’s a better question?

The following is an 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.  

What’s a better question?

Questions can improve learning, encourage exchange of ideas, fuel innovation and improve performance. So how do you ask better questions in order to build rapport and trust with a client or among team members? 

We often approach asking questions the way a lawyer would: to provide answers in support of what we already know, to ensure specific outcomes or confirm a bias. In coaching with horses, or pretty much any situation, we need to ask questions the way a scientist would—questions that invite curiousity, vulnerability and honesty.

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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.

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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

December 2019 – Carey awarded one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40. A program that identifies outstanding achievers, visionaries and innovators, changing the way things are done. Congratulations Carey.

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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