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The Epic Crash

One of my favorite new hobbies is mountain biking. 

I began mountain biking about seven years ago and my enjoyment of the sport grew as my confidence grew.  I was able to tackle harder terrain and ride trails I had yet to explore. 

Then it happened…my first epic crash. 

I remember heading down a relatively easy section of trail that had a slight drop-off.  I decided instead of easing off, I would try and fly it.  My front wheel connected the ground first and my tire caught the edge of a rock.  The shock compressed at the same time the tire blew and next thing I remember, I was lying on my back with my friends standing over me asking if I was OK.  Fortunately, nothing hurt more than my pride. 

You see, as my confidence and experience grew, I began to lose sight of my true ability. 

A blind spot had emerged.  This same problem often occurs with leaders. 

Travis Bradberry, author of  Emotional Intelligence 2.0, reported that “EQ scores climb with titles from the bottom of the corporate ladder upward toward middle management. Middle managers stand out with the highest EQ scores in the workplace because companies tend to promote people into these positions who are levelheaded and good with people.” 

However, for positions beyond middle management, the results are quite different. “For the titles of director and above, scores descend faster than a snowboarder on a black diamond. CEOs, on average, have the lowest EQ scores in the workplace,” he shared. 

At Milestone, we note this trend in a very real way. 

In our experience working with leader at all levels, we note as leaders progress in the organization, their success can often cause them to become comfortable with who they are as a leader.  They can become overconfident in their leadership style and stop growing.  Simple things like seeking open feedback in the right way, surrounding themselves with diverse thinkers, finding a truth teller in their leadership life, can often fall by the wayside.  Blind spots have the potential to grow. Left unattended, this can cause unnecessary “crashes”. 

Nelson Mandela once noted“One of  the most difficult things is not to change society — but to change yourself.” 

Doubly difficult if you have no idea what needs to change. 

A leader worth following realizes when there is a need to change for the greater good of the mission. 

They humbly avoid becoming too comfortable or overconfident.  It could be argued that I learned from my cycling mistake so in the end, it was growth.  Yes, I have not had an epic crash since that time, but it was not because I avoided the fun of increasing my capabilities. It was because I sought the advice of seasoned riders and grew my skill.   


Written by: Alex Cornett, Partner – Milestone Leadership

Milestone Leadership offers immersive leadership development options to identify and overcome the blind spots that can lead to an epic crash.

We’re filling limited seats now for two of our well-known programs:

Milestone Leadership Intensive

Through our flagship leadership development program, we bring together a class of cross-industry peers to inspire growth in all participants as we discuss the common leadership challenges and opportunities all of us face. The intentionally small class size allows personal access to inspiring speakers, as well as time to meaningfully interact and connect with other participants. Participants develop a clear understanding of their leadership capabilities and learn to maximize influence through emotional intelligence. Additionally, we work with each class member to create a specific and individualized action plan for continued personal development. Coming up May 18-20, 2021, we only have a few spots available for the next development program. For more information, call 866-752-7180 or message us at milestone@milestoneleadership.com.

Leadership Circle for Suppliers

This cohort-based program is designed to support the development of high performing, high potential supplier talent, helping them excel in their current roles as well as attain career advancement over a six-month span of time.  The opportunity fosters development of an external peer network, and participants receive multiple 1:1 executive coaching sessions from seasoned veterans with 20+ years in the supplier community. We are now opening registration for the Fall of 2021 and will begin our next journey of building leaders worth following through individual assessments, five half-day general sessions covering important leadership topics, and our off-site Milestone Leadership Intensive program. For more information, feel free to reach out directly to Milestone’s Executive in Residence Lori Brown at (479) 366-1495 or LoBrown@milestoneleadership.com.


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