Guest Column | July 22, 2015

Leadership Lessons Learned By A Systems Integrator On A 7,500-Mile Rally To Mongolia

By Lief Morin, president, Key Information Systems

Systems Integrator

The most important leadership lessons come from the least likely scenarios. I’ve found this to be true throughout my career as an entrepreneur and executive, and it’s part of the reason I’ll spend a few weeks this summer driving thousands of miles across Europe in a tiny car I rescued from the scrap heap. The Mongol Rally, which bills itself as “the greatest motoring adventure on the planet,” is a 7,500-mile journey from the U.K. to Mongolia. There are few rules. My rally partner and I can travel any route we choose and take as long as we like to finish, as long as we rely only on a beater of a vehicle and our wits. It’s a charity event, and I’m looking forward to reaching our fundraising goal for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. However, I also know that this experience will yield powerful leadership lessons I can tap into long after I fill my passport with stamps from more than a dozen European and Asian countries.

Want to be a better leader? Here’s what you could learn by driving across mountains, deserts and steppes:

  1. Taking smart steps to mitigate risk won’t kill the sense of adventure. Founding, leading, and growing a business is a great adventure, but the adrenaline rush shouldn’t come from a lack of planning or an inability to picture your destination. The Mongol Rally is a great analogy for that leadership tenet. One of the mottos of The Adventurists, who organize the event, is “If nothing goes wrong, everything has gone wrong.” Of course, if everything goes wrong, that’s not good, either. In business as in cross-continent adventuring, you have to balance purpose, strategy, and reason with a thirst for exploration and learning.

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