Axel Lloyd and Quinn Pinaire


Adventurous Leaders

What would it take to paddle 2,800 miles to the Arctic Ocean? These guys know.
Quinn and Axel met at Camp Koochiching or“Kooch” as they call it over 15 years ago.  A random encounter? Maybe, but I don’t think so.  Starting as boys and well into early adulthood they grew up, learned about wilderness and became trip leaders; leading younger campers on rigorous adventures all over Canada. 

Now, at age 28, they, made a commitment to themselves and to each other that has changed their lives and given them awesome perspective on a whole bunch of stuff, including leadership.  You can follow their journey here The Source Runs North; I urge you to take a look, as the pictures and stories are magical.

Their Unique Brand of Leadership
Over the course of 10 years being trip leaders, the men each experienced being the one person who had to make hard choices on behalf of a group.  So, when they started planning their trip, the inclination was to take turns as trip leader. Quickly though, they realized they would have to make decisions by consensus. This decision was reached because of their belief that sharing power would lead to the best outcomes for the group. Quinn told me that every choice required input and a commitment from each member of the team.  Because these decisions were highly consequential it was important that no one person would feel responsible for a bad call. They call this philosophy the shared burden of power.  I love that. 

What they know about leaders
Leaders, working as a team, can accomplish incredible goals. A shared vision, mission and values create a secure framework.  Quinn described a team that wanted to excel as individuals, to learn from each other and to succeed with their team safely and with pride. To quote Quinn, “the conclusion of the trip was bittersweet and a true manifestation of effort and sacrifice.”

What I learned from Axel and Quinn

Extreme Ownership
I felt a shiver when I heard these two words and the ideas they represent.  Axel learned about the concept from an author named Jocko Willink who has written a book and given a Ted Talk about his experience as a U.S. Seal. What resonated with Axel was the concept and discipline of controlling your ego and taking responsibility for your actions.  He quoted a line from the book that helped him when things got rough on the trip; “when you take ownership for problems the problems get solved.”  

Extreme ownership requires self awareness of your impact on others, honesty about what you are learning from your mistakes and a strong commitment to “being better moving forward.”  Wow. (Feel free to get in touch with Axel and Quinn via The Source Runs North instagram account if you want to hear more.

And let me know how you think Extreme Ownership can impact your leadership.

Betsy WesthoffComment