Nov 30, 2016
On this Mastermind episode, co-hosts Jim Vaselopulos
and Jan Rutherford talk about their Crucible expedition in
Patagonia. Self-Reliant Leadership has been running Crucible
expeditions for a few years now with the primary goal of assisting
Special Operations veterans with their transition to the business
world. With a recent international expedition, Jim & Jan
expanded their goal to include figuring out the recipe for accelerating team development. Based on
their work, they know most teams struggle with some degree of
dysfunction, and their aim was to prove the hypothesis that a team
can gel extremely quickly if the right "recipe" is applied.
So what do you get when you mix Special Operations
veterans and executives in Patagonia? Listen in to get the back
story, and discover the recipe for accelerating team
[2:12] Jan gives a quick overview on their most
recent Self-reliant Crucible — a venture to digitally
detox executives and help Special Operations veterans
transition to the business world.
[4:25] Jim talks about the first meeting dinner.
People are people, In a few hours they were building camaraderie,
and the fun started.
[5:37] Humor is a way to test boundaries. It has
limits, and people are always probing them. It lowers barriers and
brings in commonality. We share the same sense of humor.
[8:52] You’ve got to be very careful about the use of
humor in the workplace, and you’ve got to be honorable. But if you
never cut loose, there’s a level of trust you never reach.
[9:30] Curiosity manifest is an important trait on
[12:54] Team consensus through bad weather and
physical distress. Individual self-reliance supporting the team
[18:28] Jan was struck by the 100% commitment to each
other and to what they needed to accomplish. He realized that
business teams often settle on goals that are not big enough, and
they never get to that degree of commitment.
[20:30] The application in business is not just the
size of the goal, but how well people understand the commitment of
[23:58] On the second day, as Jim was leading,
someone asked if they should take some of the load out of Jim’s
pack, and someone answered, no, let him do this — he’s got to do it
on his own.
[31:20] How the military and business leadership
skills worked together.
[36:00] Jim shares a favorite experience. On the day
he was in charge, climbing with crampons, Jim was slowing down. One
of the guys, Clay, stood with him and recited the Ranger Creed.
That poured so much energy into him — just what he needed to hear
at that exact moment.
[39:59] Your comfort zone is comfortable, but nothing
magic happens there. As Bill George said, “The thing that defines
leaders, is that they’re constantly testing themselves and
reframing their life story.”
“Not only are [Special Operations veterans] great
warriors, but they’re also great diplomats, and they have all the
skills necessary from a business acumen perspective."
“We might be able to figure out the recipe … Can we
simplify ways that leaders can be more effective; teams can come
together more rapidly? And I actually think we figured that
“Humor … brings in commonality. Someone’s going to
laugh about the same Will Ferrell quote that I laugh about.”
“Mentally, I’m ‘Green.’ Mentally, whatever is
hurting, I’m going to suck it up and get through it, because the
team’s depending on it.”
‘“Everyone knew the playbook, so they could play any
Books Mentioned on the Show
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others
Don't, by Simon Sinek
Jan Rutherford brings his training as a former U.S.
Army Special Forces soldier with over 25 years of business
experience. His purpose is developing self-reliant leaders and
teams. He is founder of Self-Reliant Leadership, LLC, as well as
speaker, author, coach, workshop facilitator, and strategist. Jan
teaches organizations to grow through the development of their
Jim Vaselopulos brings his years of C-level executive
experience as a rainmaker, entrepreneur, new business development
expert, and board member. He has turned around underperforming
organizations and has been a consultant to various organizations.
Jim has an Engineering degree from the University of Illinois and
an MBA from Marquette University.
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