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Leader of the Month for June 2005:

Jeremy Gustafson

Jeremy's story:

Jeremy Gustafson is a part of the next generation of emerging leaders, and he embodies crucial leadership qualities. First and foremost amongst these qualities is action, putting in place the lessons one has learned. Jeremy is well-read and familiar with cutting-edge business and leadership concepts. Separating him from many others is his willingness to implement the concepts and ideas he encounters. He is fearless in pursuit of following his passion. For Jeremy, this was illustrated in his decision to leave a lucrative and highly successful engineering career in order to pursue the entrepreneurial desire that he could not suppress. His success is also about hard work. In his personal, spiritual, and business leadership, he demonstrates a steadfast time commitment to achieving established aims. Jeremy's leadership is about empowerment. He is eager to bring others into the process of leading and pleased to see people develop their own ability to lead. Finally, Jeremy's leadership is about sharing, and he has a sense of obligation to others. Spiritually, he shares his story, his time, and his talent to help others experience the best that life has to offer.  For the outstanding leadership that Jeremy Gustafson provides, he is the leader of the month for June 2005.

About Jeremy Gustafson

Entrepreneur and Servant Leader

Home: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA (grew up in Montevideo, Minnesota)

Current personal passion: The understanding of business, especially as it pertains to cultural sensitivity. Using the grasp of business concepts and applications to provide business consulting services cross culturally.

Dream: Move into international business; specifically, identify opportunities and create support solutions in international business.

Most admired leader: Jesus. The servant leadership he provided and the humility with which he led speak for themselves.

Favorite books: The Bible for its wisdom, history, poetry, and inspiring stories. It changes my life.

Place in the world you would most like to visit: the Mediterranean

Leadership highlights you have experienced: 1. To watch other leaders bloom. A great pleasure for me is to see the growth of leaders and feel like I am not needed anymore. 2. Starting my own business.

Judd Axelson shares the following insights about Jeremy Gustafson and his leadership:

"I believe Jeremy truly embodies the concept of a servant leader.  While he is aware of his leadership giftedness, it is not something he flaunts or hoards.  Jeremy cheerfully shares his resources with others for the collective good of all those involved, and I believe it is in the sharing of these skills that he feels rewarded.  He is a man who is more concerned about effectively meeting the needs of his target market than about his personal take in the effort. 

A great leader friend of mine liked to say that the two most important characteristics of an effective leader are humility and teach-ability.  One of the key reasons for Jeremy’s success is his humble heart and his willingness to listen to the wisdom and experiences of others.  Jeremy is able to make decisions and take risks in the execution of his vision, however in these endeavors his ear is always open to the advice of those he trusts.

Jeremy is passionate, confident, disciplined, compassionate, empowering, intelligent, entrepreneurial, self-less, trustworthy, creative, and a man of extremely high integrity."

Jeremy Gustafson and Leadership

Books recommended for aspiring leaders: First Things First by Stephen Covey; The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren; Your Road Map for Success: You Can Get There from Here by John Maxwell; Making Life Work: Putting God's Wisdom into Action by Bill Hybels; Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton

First Things First  The Purpose Driven Life  Your Road Map for Success  Making Life Work  Now, Discover your Strengths

Advice to aspiring leaders: Developing one discipline is simply setting good habits.

Traits most important in a leader: Humility; serving heart; integrity (who you are when no one is looking)

What and where are the best training programs for leaders? The best training program is taking a risk. The second best is giving to and serving someone who can give you nothing back, at least nothing in the traditional sense of what one would expect.

What is your metaphor, story, or analogy for personal leadership? A mentor of mine, Dave Sulack, gave me the idea for the following metaphor, and I have been building on it ever since.

sailboat metaphor

This picture of a sailboat represents our recognition and self awareness. There are two keys to effective sailing: the sail and the rudder. The rudder represents our own personal knowledge and experience. The sail can do nothing for us without the wind and is thereby governed by the wind. The wind represents the spirit of God. We have no control over where the wind (spirit) comes from or where it goes. The idea is to harness the wind, adjusting our rudder to move in concert with the direction the wind is taking us. We must avoid steering in a direction in which we have no wind to take us. For many people, arrival at an understanding of this concept requires much personal reflection and years of steering in the wrong direction.