Walking the Plank to Leadership
Shared Leadership and the Starfish Model
Reliance is the heart of trust. For a team to be dynamic, its members of a team must implicitly and fully rely upon each other to complete the tasks that are essential to performance of the team’s mission.
Think of it like using a rickety footbridge to cross a deep gorge; one must be confident in the ability of the bridge to bear one’s weight before one steps out into the open. Similarly, confidence in our teammates -- and the team’s reliance on its leader to get the job done -- gives a group the ability to move forward into the unknown.
This reliance and trust comes from team members seeing their leader in action under stress.
At The Iron Project, we believe in customizing each session to fit the needs of the client. While we have six main teaching experiences, we offer multiple topics related to leadership development. My personal favorite topic we teach on: the Starfish model.
The idea comes from that fact that if you cut a leg of a Starfish off, it will not only grow back, but a new Starfish will grow from the leg you cut off (“The Starfish and the Spider”). There is a valuable lesson in this: leaders can be grown.
A Vision Expanded
As a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy in the 1980s, my days typically began before sunrise and ended close to midnight. It was a fact of life at the academy -- continuous mental and physical challenges were part of the training to prepare future officers to lead in situations that would surely test them in all ways.
Like most Midshipmen, I was in top physical condition, but it wasn’t unusual to feel mentally and physically drained – something I attributed to the strain of academic and military life at the Academy.
During a routine medical exam, a doctor suggested another cause -- my bloodwork indicated that I was anemic, a result of a diet that was low in iron.
As I’ve written elsewhere, when we started the movement that became F3 Nation on 1/1/11, it was with a simple vision: Give It Away.
“It” was a model of gathering men for free, early-morning group workouts, led by different members of the group, that my friend Dave Redding and I had discovered at Freedom Park in Charlotte, N.C.
In the more than six years since that first F3 workout, we have expanded to 20 states, more than 1,100 workouts a week and some 16,000 members completely by virtue of men following that same vision and being willing to pass along what was given to them.
Using that same model, Females in Action (FiA) has spread to 7 states since its beginning in 2013, often right alongside F3.