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ATA Chanhassen Family Martial Arts

On the topic of Leadership

Posted: October 01, 2018

My earlier years grinding it out feeling like a “slave to the corporate world” coupled with my seemingly endless quest for knowledge and personal improvement. I find it the topic of Leadership is easily one of the most overcrowded spaces on the continent yet new and recycled principles continue to emerge.

In my time I have studied the modern-day pioneers such as Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Earle Nightingale as well as the top leaders of business today, Simon Sinek, Angela Duckworth, Tony Robbins and Carol Dweck.

In my recent re-reading of EntreLeadership, by Dave Ramsey, a book I read multiple times per year and reference often, a particular excerpt struck me as if I hadn’t read it all the other times before. Upon walking up to a company BBQ, Dave and his son noticed there were about 100 kids of whom were the children of those employed by Ramsey Solutions. Dave’s son who was younger at the time was embarrassed by the number of young kids then and asked his dad how long he would be required to stay.

Without much hesitation, Dave informed him (the way all great leaders do) through the power of a teachable moment that he ought to be excited to see that many children. As they were a result and byproduct of the hard work and growth of the company and its healthy culture. The kids were also there in part based on his father’s leadership. How he showed up to work, behaved and conducted his business as a leader. Dave then reminded his son that even HIS (son’s) behavior would determine whether the number of children will grow larger or smaller. His example was to the tune of, “If you make stupid decisions and get behind the wheel of a car and kill somebody, we’ll get sued and they’ll come after everything, including the livelihood and security of these families. So, why don’t you put a smile on your face and try to look excited too! Now, let’s go eat some barbeque.”

What I appreciate most about this story and the many others in the book, is that a great leader to any capacity will always find the teachable moment. More importantly a true leader doesn’t call themselves a leader or work to pursue titles in general but considers themselves a “student of leadership.”

Our school not only models its “business playbook” after the principles of this book, but our organization (the ATA) was built upon teachable moments since its founding in 1969 in Omaha, Nebraska. H.U. Lee’s vision, passion for serving others and contribution created a legacy that has been a gift to the Martial Arts world. That’s the very same vision helped carry the sport into the 21st century and has been instrumental to not only my personal success but the very same words have been echoed by many of my peers as well. As a result, we’ve seen martial arts grow from a sport of self-defense into a form of personal growth & development to children and adults of any age.

Later in the book (and I’ve had the pleasure to see him say it on stage in his keynotes), Ramsey talks about when a child is born. The doctor never says, “Congratulations. It’s a leader!”, but rather if it’s a boy or girl. I couldn’t agree more that leaders are not born and would add, it’s what foundation we lay before them that determines whether they become a leader or not. So why not lead by example.