Imagine you are a leader with a team of sixteen. Your assignment is to self-propel you and your team 979 miles across wilderness as fast as possible. Sound like fun? Oh, yeah, it’s dead winter, and the group is traveling from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Are you and your team still ready for this assignment?
Meet Dallas Seavey, and the Alaskan classic Iditarod race. Dallas is a 30-year-old man who has already won this race four times. He won his first race at the age of 25, and on March 6th, began the 2017 race. He is one of only seven people in the history of the race to win more than three times.
Firsthand knowledge of every possible situation or circumstance you might encounter will be something your team can confront and conquer. If you push your team to do something beyond their capabilities, you will lose their trust, confidence, and willingness to be led.
When Dallas and the team encounter an obstacle, they have a foundation built to problem solve. They each trust the skills and abilities of one another and know that, together, they are much stronger than any subset.
Dallas and his team may never win another race, but the passion that he and his team share is about the journey and experience. Leaders and teams don’t always win, but they grow stronger with each journey they encounter. The learning gained from problem solving and teamwork through the process of preparation propels the next endeavor.
The Seavey family has a tradition in this race. Dallas’ grandfather competed in the very first Iditarod race in 1973, competing four times overall, but unfortunately never winning. And, Dallas’ father, Mitch, has won the race twice out of his 23 runs, and is currently competing this year. This family has been raising dogs, mushing, and competing in the Iditarod for 44 years. The heritage of their knowledge base must run deep. How many training trips have they ran in 44 years? How many conversations with breeders, veterinarians, dog food providers, sled builders, trainers, nutritionists, meteorologists, and fellow mushers has the family had access to over that span of time? Do you think they have a winning formula?
While we may not be making the run to Nome, here are a few quotes from Dallas Seavey for you to consider as you lead your team:
Follow Dallas and Mitch’s quest to win yet another Iditarod!