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JC Glick On Thought Leadership and Adapting to Positive Change

Speaker-Buzz Staff | August 02, 2018


J.C. Glick, LTC (r) U.S. Army Special Operations

Speaker-Buzz recently spoke with author, speaker and leadership consultant J.C. Glick. We were curious to discover what makes someone an inspirational leader who leaves behind a legacy. Here's what he shared:


SB: Tell me how you first got involved with leadership consulting?

JC: You know, this is actually a difficult question. The truth is, I have been involved in leadership for my entire adult life. When I first started ROTC at the University of Rhode Island I was mentored by three Non-Commissioned Officers: two from the Infantry and one Special Forces. I watched how they led – not just down, but how they led their peers and their supervisors. I was fascinated they didn’t hold their power from their rank (something I think we all secretly think of the military before we understand it), they were able to talk to people in this incredible way that inspired others to do more, get better and be better.


From my first interaction with those men, I have been studying leadership – as a student and practitioner. That last part is important – being a practitioner. You see, the “new” fad of experiential learning isn’t new at all – in fact, studies after studies have shown that experience is the best teacher. So being a student of leadership is great – and we have professors, and authors, and believe it or not leadership coaches, who are students of leadership and teach what they have studied. But what we don’t have much of is folks who were not only students of leadership, but also had the experience of leading.


When I first transitioned from the military to the civilian world and started looking at being a leadership advisor, I was struck that most of the names in the sector were folks who hadn’t actually spent a day leading (with the exception of the McChrystal Group). I heard names like Simon Sinek and Robert Keegan – and I loved some of their stuff but was amazed that they were teaching things they had learned, but never experienced. So, when I left service three years ago, I decided I wanted to add to the leadership space by not just being a student of leadership, and not just being a practitioner, but also being a thought leader and developing new ideas that helped people lead better. I had a ton of help getting to that conclusion – men like Forrest Lindkedins and his brother Sacha gave me the inspiration and my first start. Then Kenning Associates gave me a home to start to practice. Now I am the founder and a partner in my own company and really ready to expand the space and make it more about experience than theory.

SB: How would (someone) describe you?

JC: I guess that would depend on who you asked, and the answers to that would probably be as varied as the numbers you asked. That said, I know how I would like to be described. I would like people to say that I am thoughtful, kind, caring, empathetic, a good listener and a friend who will be there for you. Now, I know, I have never been all those things to any one person, and that bothers me, but I will continue to try to be the man that I want described.


SB: What has surprised you most about working with others?

JC: I guess what surprised me the most about the people in the civilian world vice the people I experienced in the military was the idea of trust. When I ask people if trust is earned or if trust is given, 95% of the time they tell me trust is earned. Then I ask them a series of questions:


What was your pilot's name and where did they get their training the last time you flew? The last time you were in an Emergency Room where did your doctor go to school and how were their grades? Do you count your change every time you go to the cashier and inspect your food when the waiter delivers it to make sure there is not spit on it? Do you like to be followed around the store to make sure you don’t steal anything?


See, these questions illustrate how freely we give trust to total strangers on a daily basis. Heck, we trust that every person on the road will do the right thing driving a multi-ton machine that can kill us in a heartbeat. And if you say you don’t trust them – my question to you then is: do you get mad at the person that cuts you off on the road? If you do, do you know why? Because you trusted them to do the right thing. If you didn’t, when that person cut you off, you would shrug your shoulders and simply think, of course, that person did that. In the military, we give trust – we have to – and though, if it is lost it may have to be earned back, we give it.


I also think it is funny that we give trust to all these strangers, with our very lives, and we think the people closest to us, those who tend to have a vested interest in us, have to meet some imaginary bar in our head before we trust them. Seems backward to me, and always surprises me. The good news? Usually, after that discussion, people start looking at trust a bit differently.

SB: What do you find most challenging about life?

JC: I guess what I find challenging is trying not to make life challenging. I believe that we create most of our own challenges, and even the ones we don’t manifest ourselves, we compound the challenge by our reaction. Now, I am not saying that I don’t have issues or frustrations on a daily basis at a number of magnitudes, but I really can’t think of any true “challenges” in life. I think the challenges in our lives are opportunities to test or build ourselves – our resiliency, our problem-solving abilities, our ability to self-examine. While I know that life is certainly not “sunshine and unicorns”, I also know we make challenges larger or smaller based on our perspective.


Upcoming book "Meditations of an Army Ranger"

SB: What do you wish other people knew about being an authentic leader?

JC: I think what is important, and actually unique about what I do as a leadership advisor, is that I am not a coach, or a motivational speaker, or even a “life-guide” (I heard that one and almost fell over laughing so hard). I am, exactly as the name implies, an advisor. A person to talk to and bounce ideas off of who has similar (and some not so similar) experiences. I find that most senior leaders are pretty good at what they do – that tends to be how they got there. They are good leaders – they just want assistance getting better. The higher up you go, the less people you have to talk to, to vent to, to share ideas within a confidential way.


Sometimes leaders just need a different perspective – not a better perspective, just a different one. I want people to know I am not trying to fix them, or their organizations. I am trying to partner with them and assist them in the outcomes they want – not what I think is best, or what I can do. For me, it is about working with people, not for them. It is about transformational relationships, not transactional ones.


SB: Tell me about some of the interesting people you've met?

JC: I am extremely fortunate. When I was in the military, I got to meet people from all walks of life, all different backgrounds, all different beliefs. I was worried I would lose that when I left service. I didn’t at all. In any given month I will get to work with a professional football team, a manufacturing plant, a law firm, a professional basketball team, a college, a pharmaceutical sales company, a secondary school, a law enforcement department, a group of educators, and a government agency. I get to work with people now from all over the world and share thoughts on leadership and culture.


What I love is what bridges all these different agencies together – people. You see, every organization has people. All those people need a positive culture and good leadership. Doesn’t matter where you come from or what you do – culture and leadership are constants. So I get to work with amazing people – some you probably have heard of, and some you will never hear about, but all amazing in their own right.


SB: Tell me about someone who has inspired you in life?

JC: I wouldn’t know where to begin – so many people influence me on a regular basis – from Kant and his view of doing “the right thing” to a guy I met on the train the other day, who told me what it is like to be a Union Plumber in New York City. Believe it or not, each influenced my thinking – certainly to different levels, but always in some way. I can certainly say that leaders like Stan McChrystal, Dan Allyn, Greg Birch, Mike Ferriter, Brad Becker, Mic Nicholson, CSM Hall, CSM Connell, CSM Hardy, etc. influenced me from my military life. Or guys like Forrest, Jim Stagnitta, Tim Paul, Mark Ledden, etc. influenced me, and continue to do so in my new civilian life. However, it would be more accurate to say that everyone I got to serve with influenced me, specifically the NCOs. They molded and shaped my views on what was important in combat – and that carried over to what was important in my life. So if I had to pick one person – I couldn’t, but if you let me pick a group – I would tell you the NCOs I met in service.


SB: What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?

JC: I think people would be surprised to find out that I am very sensitive – not necessarily the folks that know me, but the people that first meet me probably don’t think “sensitive guy." I think they see a 6’3’, 225-pound gym guy, who was an Army Ranger and looks mean. The truth is, I am extremely sensitive. I want the world to be kind to each other, and I want to be kind to the world. I know, sounds kind of hippie – but I think I probably would have been a hippie in another time.


SB: What do you do when you aren't working or volunteering?

JC: I spend most of my time reading, writing or in the gym. I love to go see my kids play sports – my daughter plays lacrosse in college, my son plays football in college and my youngest son is an amazing athlete on the football and lacrosse fields and on the basketball court. I love the beach, and would love to surf more, but I get out there when I can.


SB: Where do you see yourself in ten years?

JC: Wow, I am trying to figure out where I will be next year. I guess if I could lay it out right now – I will be living on a farm, near the beach somewhere, spending my days exercising, reading and writing and raising alpacas.


Five Buzz Questions:

SB: Hunter or a Gatherer?

JC: I am definitely a hunter – but I am not above gathering.

SB: What were you like in high school?

JC: I was a huge dork – weren’t we all?

SB: What do you want to be when you grow up?

JC: I have zero desire to be “grown-up” – we should never stop growing.

SB: What inspires you?

JC: People - every day.

SB: What do you work toward in your free time?

JC: Trying to be a better person, trying to do more for the world around me.


Hazard Ground

Episode. 65 JC Glick (Ranger, Leadership Consultant, Author "Light In the Darkness")



About JC Glick

JC is a leadership consultant and considered a thought leader in adaptive and proactive programs of instruction centered on the development of leadership behaviors and values suited to dynamic environments and situations of ambiguity and adversity. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies, and professional sports teams like the NFL Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. JC served in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer for 20 years, primarily in special operations and special missions units with more than 11 combat tours. JC is also the author of "A Light in the Darkness: Leadership Development for the Unknown", which has been implemented by major corporations including the NFL and Microsoft and endorsed by leaders in the field of education, business and the military.


JC speaks on many topics, including, but not limited to: Inspirational Leadership, Building Elite Teams, Leading Millennial's, Creating Culture, Promoting Innovation, Establishing Trust, Developing Resiliency, How to Create Accountability, The Difference between Discipline and Obedience/Compliance, The Fallacy of Standards, Building Capacity in People, Leading and Understanding Diversity, Hiring for Capacity, Leadership Challenges for Women, Overcoming Fear, Adapting to Change.


Contact Speaker-Buzz if you're interested in adding JC to one of your corporate programs or private events. Send an email to info@speaker-buzz or call p: 737.888.0038


JC Glick Bio | Speaker-Buzz

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