The T3 Leadership Blog

Teamwork • Tone • Tenacity™

Sir Ernest Shackleton, British Antarctic explorer, died 100 years ago today.  He famously led a 28-man expedition in 1914 to be the first to cross Antarctica. He did not achieve that objective, but made history by heroically saving his entire crew despite incredible hardships over the course of nearly two years.  It’s unusual to devote attention to a leader whose expedition failed.  Shackleton is an exception, and I highlight his achievement in almost every keynote presentation on leadership and overcoming extreme adversity, because what happened instead provides impactful lessons about what we now call “crisis management” with an emphasis on...

This week, the world lost exuberant American football legend John Madden. He was an incomparable Coach (Super Bowl Champ and Hall of Famer with the highest winning percentage of any peer), Broadcaster (20+ years with several networks as their #1 commentator), and Video Game entrepreneur (“Madden NFL” a top seller).  For more than 50 years he was the most recognizable name and voice of the National Football League (NFL).  A man of integrity and intensity, he improved and informed others about his profession like no other.  His most inspirational leadership traits: TEAMWORK:  Husband, Father, Friend, Coach, Broadcaster, Businessman.  In all...

NFL Football Player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman was born 11/6/1976.  Corporal Tillman served in Iraq 2003  and was tragically Killed In Action in Afghanistan 2004, the first NFL player to perish in combat since Vietnam.  His inspirational style: TEAMWORK:  At Arizona State, Pat was the team MVP and PAC-10 Defensive Player of the Year.  He was patriotic. While an Arizona Cardinal, enlisted in the Army at the end of his fourth season following 9/11, remembering his great grandfather who served at Pearl Harbor.  Pat said in an interview, “I play football, and it just seems so goddamn unimportant compared...

Beginning Native American Heritage month, we celebrate the life and legacy of Admiral Joseph James “Jocko” Clark.  A member of the Cherokee Nation and native Oklahoman (b. 1893 - d. 1971), he was the U.S. Naval Academy’s first indigenous person graduate (1917) and America’s first Native American four-star Officer from any service.  His inspirational style:  TEAMWORK: Heroic on the seas as a Destroyer sailor in WWI in the Atlantic.   An Aircraft Carrier Commanding Officer (SUWANNEE, YORKTOWN and HORNET) and Carrier Task Force commander during WWII in the Pacific, and Commander of the Seventh Fleet during the Korean War.   ...

Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Poland was elected Pope on this date in 1978 at age 48; the first non-Italian Pope in 456 years!  He took the name John Paul II and presided over the Catholic Church for 26 years.  A clandestine seminarian in his native Poland during Nazi occupation, he helped many Jews during the Holocaust.  Ordained in 1946, he was recognized for being the spiritual impetus for the end of Communist rule in Poland, and the building of bridges to people of other faiths. One of the most travelled world leaders in history, he visited 129 countries during his pontificate...

Lea Iacocca was born October 15, 1924. The son of Italian immigrants, he was an engineer from working class Pennsylvania who became an auto exec at Ford (developed the iconic Mustang but also the risible Pinto).  He was President and CEO of Chrysler from 1978-1992 (developed the top selling Chrysler Minivan) and saved that company from bankruptcy (paid off Chrysler’s 10 year government loans in three years … which impressed President Regan and began a close friendship between them).  Iacocca served as the foundation Chairman for the rehabilitation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the 1980’s (I...

Lady Margaret Thatcher was born on OCT 13, 1925.  She was the first woman British Prime Minister and longest serving British PM of the 20th century (1979-1990).  Her uncompromising conservative political philosophy, support for a strong national defense (Falklands War of 1982), close friendship with President Regan, alignment of Cold War foreign policy goals with the U.S. and domestic economic policies that emphasized deregulation and privatization contributed to her nickname as “The Iron Lady.”  She could command a stage through intellect, quick thinking and a sense of humor.   Whenever I need motivation for a national security keynote presentation, I...

Eleanor Roosevelt was born OTD 1884 in New York City.  She was our longest serving and most consequential First Lady (1933-1945).  Eleanor was a Humanitarian, Social Activist and Diplomat.  Th wife of our 32nd U.S. President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), she defined the role of First Lady on her own terms; leading an unprecedented independent life and actively playing a role in FDR’s administration.  In 1921 she encouraged and steadfastly supported Franklin’s choice to stay in politics after he was stricken with polio. Following FDR’s election as Governor of New York in 1928, and throughout the remainder of his public...

The visionary Norwegian adventurers and ethnographer, Thor Heyerdahl, was born October 6, 1902.  He treated oceans as bridges, not barriers.  Heyerdahl is most famous for his 1947 “Kon Tiki” expedition.  He sailed 5,000 miles across the eastern Pacific in 101 days on a hand-built 40-square-foot raft to demonstrate ancient peoples could have conducted long sea voyages from South America - Polynesia to establish contact between societies.  I read a book about the expedition in elementary school and wanted to be an adventurer!  A 1952 documentary film about Kon-Tiki  was awarded an Oscar.  During Heyerdahl’s “Ra II” expedition of 1970, he...

Ray Kroc, the inspirational founder of the McDonald's Corporation and its CEO from 1968-1984, was born in Oak Park, IL on this date in 1902.  A transformational leader who changed America’s dining lifestyle, Kroc is credited turning McDonald's into the world’s most successful fast food corporation.  He was also owner of the San Diego Padres of MLB from 1974 until his death in 1984, when the Padres appeared in their first World Series. His motivational style included:  TEAMWORK: “None of Us is as Good as All of Us.”  Kroc was a hard charging perfectionist when it came to McDonald's food...