Meet Expeditionary Leader Peter Bailey

"Leading for legacy is the highest end of leadership"--Peter Bailey in Outward Bound Lessons To Live A Life of Leadership

Peter is the president of the Prouty Project, which delivers strategic planning and leadership development to organizations worldwide. Prior to joining the leadership of the Prouty Project he worked as a global performance consultant for Wilson Learning, designing cross cultural and global performance improvement programs.

Peter was one of the first "urban Outward Bound instructors" in the country and helped pioneer much of the early experiential learning movement in schools. His innovative work and deep grasp of experiential education has led to a career of helping organization's find their highest calling and leaders find their deepest strengths. 

In addition to the work he does with business executives, Peter continues his relationship with Outward Bound by serving on the board of the Voyaguer Outward Bound School in Minnesota. His advice to leaders as...

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Never Give Up On Giving

We're just a few weeks from the publication of my book, Outward Bound Lessons To Live A Life of Leadership. The "lessons" are told through the stories of fifteen extraordinary people. They range in age from a now sophomore in college who was 16 when she launched her first non-profit to a man in his eighties who served in the first class of the Peace Corps. The lessons reflect an approach to walking in the world that I call "Expeditionary Leadership."

Author and master coach Richard Leider, who wrote the foreward for my book, put it this way: "The Outward Bound motto--To Serve, to Strive, and Not to Yield--has always struck a deep chord within me. And, if there is one great secret to becoming an Expeditionary Leader, it is to never give up on giving--to serve."

Universally everyone I spoke with while researching this book referenced the motto. These values: serving, striving, and not yielding, are the core of the lessons that I learned from my years of working with Outward...

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Swayed Always By Beauty and Truth

In case you are jumping into this for the first time, we have been exploring an inspirational saying by Minnesota and Canada Outward Bound founder Bob Pieh:

Be tough yet gentle, humble yet bold, swayed always by beauty and truth.

Swayed always by beauty and truth. These words are the true north of an Expeditionary Leader. They guide actions and provide the moral compass that lay at the heart of Outward Bound founder Kurt Hahn's philosophy. 

Let me start out by clarifying what I am not referring to when looking at beauty. Our culture has objectified "beauty" around the physical characteristics of women, commercialized it and created a half a trillion dollar industry around its pursuit. We could engage (and perhaps we should) in a deep debate around the damage caused by focusing on physical appearance in our culture, but that is not the conversation of this particular post.

Beauty leads us toward the sacred. Look at church, synagogue and mosque architecture. The places we design...

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Humble Yet Bold

In my last post I introduced a saying from Minnesota (now VOBS) Outward Bound School founder Bob Pieh--Be tough yet gentle, humble yet bold, swayed always by beauty and truth. And we discussed the first part, be tough yet gentle.

Humble yet bold describes the ideal qualities of a great leader. Best selling author and researcher Jim Collins identified exactly these characteristics when he described "level 5" leadership in his groundbreaking book, Good To Great. That book came out in 2001. Bob Pieh wrote this in the 1960s. And Outward Bound founder Kurt Hahn began cultivating these qualities when he founded his first school, Salem, in April 1920.  The rest of the world is beginning to discover what all of us who have been associated with Outward Bound have been taught and been doing for its entire history--creating great leaders, who are humble and bold.

Humility is perhaps one of the most misunderstood leadership qualities. With a 24-hour news cycle and the...

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Be Tough Yet Gentle

Anyone who has ever visited Homeplace, the northern Minnesota base for the Voyageur Outward Bound School (VOBS) may remember signs nailed on the trees every quarter mile from Minnesota and Canada Outward Bound founder Bob Pieh:

"Be tough, yet gentle. Humble, but bold. Swayed always, by beauty and truth."

Most wilderness Outward Bound schools hold a personal challenge event as part of the final physical challenge of the expedition. When I was an OB participant in Utah we had a ten mile run up a beautiful side canyon on the Green River. At VOBS the challenge is a type of triathlon--a six mile paddle, one mile portage, and then a five mile run on logging roads back to Homeplace. Some of my most vivid memories working there were setting off in my kayak and paddling to the first check point on Birch Lake at dawn--sitting on a small island and sipping my morning coffee as the first canoes came through the mist, and cheering on the determined paddlers as they pushed themselves and their...

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Change Is A Teacher

As a former Outward Bound wilderness leader, business leader, executive coach and founder of Expeditionary Leadership, I have spent most of my adult life leading people through transformational change. Through thousands of days and with thousands of people I have guided into and through the unknown. In my upcoming book, Outward Bound Lessons To LIve A Life of Leadership (Published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers and in the stores October 15) I recounted a story of leading a group on a particularly difficult hike in Big Bend National Park. The hike leads from the desert floor up into the Chisos mountains, gaining nearly 3,000 feet of elevation in a very short distance with no shade and no water sources. During a particularly steep switchback one of the participants looked at me and asked if I felt any of the discomfort of and difficulty of the moment. My answer was this: "Of course I feel it. My hips hurt from the pack. My legs hurt from the ascent. But the biggest difference...

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Becoming Ourselves At Work

I enjoy listening to people. Whether it's formal listening in my role as a leader and coach--or connecting over a glass of wine or dinner and listening--really listening, to the stories of others' lives. When we make room in our lives to listen we hear, and see, and connect on a deeper level. 

I awaken early. Usually this is my time to think and write, meditate and dream. On Sunday mornings, however, I turn on public radio and listen to Krista Tippett's program "On Being." I climb back in bed, and I listen. 

This past Sunday Krista's program played an interview with Jerry Colonna, CEO and co-founder of a coaching and leadership company called Reboot. Jerry is the author of a book called Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up. 

Here's an excerpt from her interview with Jerry: 

"But then the magic really begins when we start to look at our colleagues, and instead of seeing them as some source of irrationality, seeing them as just a problem that needs to...

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1 + 1 = 3

Uncategorized Jun 15, 2019

I became a fan of Bruce Springsteen in high school. This was many years before Born In the USA made him an international superstar. I camped out in the parking lot of the Cleveland Coliseum to be among the first in line for tickets. There was a feeling of connection among the devotees who stayed up all night, playing bootleg tapes and telling stories of shows they had attended.  His concerts felt more like an old fashioned church tent revival than a rock and roll concert. He would start playing at 8 PM, and on more than one occasion the performances didn't end until after 1 in the morning. We would leave the shows drained and elated. We knew that we had been a part of something that was magical.

I was disappointed that I didn't get to see Bruce on Broadway. I really wanted to get there, but the years of camping out for tickets and traveling to see rock concerts had become distant memories. I was in New York City for one evening in January during his Broadway run. I was kicking...

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In A Time of Deep Disruption

Change-rapid change is upon us. A year and a half ago I sat in the New York headquarters of Google and listened as Google's head of Auto marketing described the rapid speed with which machine learning was being developed and deployed. This past spring I experienced a sampling of augmented reality through a friend who works as a data analyst for Magic Leap. Not only are the rules of the game rapidly changing, but for many out there in the world the game itself has completely changed.

For all of the incredible advances that our technology companies are making, there are many unintended consequences. And for many in our country this has led to feelings of extreme dis-ease. They and their world are being left behind. It's great to think about autonomous cars showing up in the moment we need them, whisking us off to our destination and rerouting on the fly to find the quickest way to our destinations. But when you realize that part of the fallout of moving toward that future is the...

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Introducing Outward Bound Lessons To Live A Life of Leadership

"Courage is the gateway to freedom, to fulfilling your life’s work, and to answering the call to lead. Courage is the choice to do something that frightens you and that stretches your capability and capacity to grow and give. Courage is the constant companion in Outward Bound and in Mark’s writing. Without it, you’ll not take the first step towards your calling."

These words from best selling author and master coach Richard Leider are part of the foreward of my soon to be published book Outward Bound Lessons To Live A Life of Leadership. It will be hitting the bookstores in October of 2019. Richard served on the board of the Voyageur Outward Bound School when I was an instructor and leader there, and his writing and work had a deep impact on my life and work. Richard is the definition of a courageous Expeditionary Leader--a term I am using to describe the principles, approach and impact that comes from people who have experienced Outward Bound in their...

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