It was an accident more than anything. While I was a corporate executive, I became extremely interested in the (new) idea and science of followership - the flip side to leadership. It's how to show up as your best when you are not leading, for example, when you are helping someone else make a decision or working for someone else to get something done. Ultimately, that led me to an exploration of collaboration - how do all partners show up as their best - and the decision to consult in this space so that more people could benefit from what I had learned and discovered.
I love the ability to provide tangible help to people, in some cases, even change their lives!
Because I work on the edge of new ideas, the hardest part of the job is explaining the value of what I do (but only before I do it... afterwards, the results are pretty self-evident).
I've had lots of satisfying engagements so thinking about the most satisfying is difficult. Recently, for example, one of the people in the client organization I was helping was having a hard time wrapping his head around followership. He thought of it as a subservient role, and as nothing other than order-taking (with leaders 'telling' followers what to do). A long discussion ensued. Eventually, he realized it was actually an active, engaged role with a huge amount of importance for getting things done and getting promoted, completely changed his mind, and is now a huge fan. I love seeing those personal ‘aha’ moments.
However, my most satisfying engagement was with a large and diverse collection of teachers in South Africa. Many of them worked in one-room schoolhouses with no supplies (literally), and students who came in every day hungry and tired, with little understanding of leadership or followership. It was a short engagement with them, but one of the most meaningful experiences of my career as we worked together on what it meant to create teams and develop skills in this environment. So often the focus is on leadership, but followership is often where you have the most latitude to act, to be creative, and to make a difference.
Creativity and persistence. I know that's two, but one without the other is incomplete.
I'd probably take a kindle fully loaded. Otherwise, I'd take a book on how to build a boat when stranded on a desert island. As for the luxury item, I'm thinking a solar powered shortwave radio would be my first choice.