On the Edge: The Art of High Impact Leadership

Alison Levine, author of On the Edge and 1st leader of the American Women’s Everest Expedition had the opening keynote on Wednesday during the Snowflake 2019 Summit. A few notes from her very informative talk about The Art of High Impact Leadership.

When building a team, one of the most important teams to take into account is; “Ego”. This ego comes in two flavours. Personal Ego because you want people who know that they are good. You do not want Lionel Messi get on to the pitch with an attitude like; Let’s see what happens today. He has to be on the field rendering he is the best. The other flavour of ego is; Team Ego – Team-members have to be proud on the team.

“Backing Up Is Not The Same As Backing Down”

Progress is not necessarily in one direction. “Backing Up Is Not The Same As Backing Down”. Check out this Youtube-video.

Sometimes, in order to reach a goal, you have to go in a different direction than the route you originally anticipated. Taking a step backward is not a bad thing. Check out this article on Forbes, explaining this quote in more detail.

Leadership is about willing to do what you are supposed to do to reach a teams goal. Every single person within a team is a leader regardless of title, size of a team reporting to you or a budget you are responsible for. You cannot expect your team-members to do anything if you (as a leader) are not willing to do the same.

“A single persons poor judgement can bring down an entire team”

Make hard decisions when the conditions are perfect. Sometimes you have to cut your losses. Because of the weather decisions, Alison had to decide to make the hard bust wise decision to stop the expedition with the Everest Top in sight. You can always head back and try again. Alison went back and completed the 7 summit Grand Slam.

Reaching the top is optional, going down is mandatory. Even if you don’t reach the very top of a mountain like the Everest, you still have climbed the mountain. Alison made a great analogy to while not being a CEO of a company, you still work and have value for that same company.

“We cannot control the environment, but we can control our reaction.”

The most important thing is the way to your goal and the lessons you can learn along the way. Give yourself and your team the opportunity to fail otherwise it’s impossible to innovate.

Be absolutely relentless – one step before the other.

Thanks for reading.


Daan Bakboord



Hi, ik ben Daan Bakboord. Ik ben een ondernemende Data & Analytics consultant. Mijn passie is het verzamelen, verwerken, opslaan en presenteren van data. Ik help organisaties deze interne en externe data zodanig in te zetten, dat ze in actie kunnen komen. Door het inzetten van betrouwbare data kunnen ondernemers hun ‘gut-feeling’ onderbouwen met feiten.

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