Connecting with past delegates is always an enlightening experience. It offers perspective that we may not have encountered before as they share invaluable insights of their experience with us. We spoke to US-based Scott Olson who joined Leadership Trust on the Leadership in Management programme in 2017. Here, he shares his leadership journey and Leadership Trust experience.
A Journey Rooted in Leadership
Scott’s fascination with leadership began at a young age, nurtured by his early experiences as a scouting agent and climbing guide. “As I’ve worked through my own processes, starting in 1977 when I was hired to be a climbing guide, I’ve been practicing and working through what leading means. The thing that I have really discovered as being, in my view, the most critical passage that anyone who wants to lead faces, is realising the need for help as they transition from an individual contributor job to one where they are responsible for more than one person can do. That’s the beginning of the team building process.” – says Scott. Guiding climbers on their perilous journey to conquer Mount Everest, he came to understand the art of influencing people in unfamiliar environments, learning has been a constant companion throughout his 45-year work journey.
Having been recruited from Seattle by an FBI agent to join as a trial attorney, his work took him from the very west of the United States to the east in New York, Washington DC and eventually, to be the personal representative of the FBI in Iraq. Upon his return in 2015, he conducted leadership training within the agency headquarters at which point he came across The Leadership Trust and met CEO, Léa Cléret.
Coming onto the Leadership in Management programme in his late fifties and at the end of his law enforcement and intelligence career, he was looking for a point of introduction, connection and learning for his new career. Scott explains, “I went on to build a group of small companies, with a focus on leadership. When you are hiring someone or selecting someone for a promotion into a leadership role, you are fundamentally taking a risk and so I asked, “how do we work to mitigate that inevitable risk?”“
Immersive Learning with Leadership in Management
Scott’s leadership philosophy extends beyond theory; he highly believes in heuristic learning – learning by doing. He came to value this approach through his experience on the Leadership in Management course: “It was a highly immersive, practical and impactful experience. It transformed the way I thought, reacted, and behaved as a leader by focusing on applying the lessons in real-world scenarios.” He remembers how the caving exercise took him out of his comfort zone, forcing him to ask himself ‘What do I do now?’ – a term he would go on to cultivate and incorporate into his work.
Scott challenges the shortfalls of traditional one-day leadership training sessions, likening it to “cramming a whole sandwich in your mouth” which only creates frustration and delivers poor results. Research shows that attention in training drops off at staggering rates of 10% a day and up to 90% a week, and so true transformation requires continuous practice, which Leadership in Management enables through the behavioural change that results from the programme.
Experience the Signature Leadership Trust Transformation
Summarising his experience with the Leadership Trust course, he struggles to find just one word to encapsulate the profound impact it had on him. It exceeded his expectations in coming out changed and better, saying, “Every day is more and more of a stretch, it helped me understand that you can always refine, be better and get a different view.”
A special thank you to Scott for sharing his leadership insights and experience on the Leadership in Management programme. Leadership Trust are on a mission to assist individuals in becoming exceptional leaders who can navigate complex challenges with confidence. We help them unlock their personal power by instilling a transformative mindset that embraces change, growth and lasting success. Contact us today, for how we can help you achieve that today. For more information about Leadership in Management click here.
About Scott Olson
Scott is the co-author of “Can. Trust. Will: Hiring for the Human Element in the New Age of Cybersecurity,” with Leeza Garber. He developed the First Promotion Transition Certificate course, that equips recently promoted people with the necessary tools to ensure the success of their promotion. Today, he applies his acquired skills back in Seattle, with his brother in the family legacy business of timber frames.