After climbing a high peak as a member of a guide-led team, Chris Maxwell, PhD, a senior fellow of the Center for Leadership and Change Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, began a research project to discover how world-class mountain guides help individuals and groups reach difficult objectives in remote and challenging environments. He especially wanted to know if the way guides lead in the mountains could serve as a model for leaders in today's complex and fast-moving organizations. Over the past decade Chris traveled with and conducted extensive interviews with a select group of highly accomplished international mountain guides in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Peru, Patagonia, Iceland, and Nepal. Each had climbed and guided challenging peaks around the world: seven had reached the summit of Mt. Everest. To complement what he learned from the guides, Chris also organized a series of educational expeditions with expert guides and over 200 Wharton Business School participants and corporate sponsors.
His research reveals that world-class mountain guides actively model leadership by demonstrating social intelligence; adopting a flexible leadership style; empowering others; facilitating the development of trust; managing risk in an environment of uncertainty; and seeing the big picture. The story of how these six key leadership strengths were identified, and how they have been productively applied in both business and non-profit organizations, is found in "Lead Like a Guide: How World-Class Mountain Guides Inspire Us to Be Better Leaders." The book will be published by Praeger in September, 2016. Click here to learn more.