The Sydcast is all about intimate and informative conversations with fascinating people you may not know. Until now. Because everyone has a story.
Listen in as Syd talks to entrepreneurs, community leaders, professional athletes, politicians, academics, authors, musicians, and many more about who they are and how they got there.
Sydney Finkelstein is an award winning professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and a best-selling author of Superbosses and 25 other books. He’s written for the Harvard Business Review, the BBC, Fortune, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, and more academic journals than you’d care to know about. He spends his time asking questions, and sometimes, even answering them.
When taking off in an Apache helicopter you turn into the wind and face that wind head-on ... and that is how Shannon Polson takes on life. A fighter pilot, mountain climber, and author, Shannon is the embodiment of grit, whose energy and personal story inspires others to change, overcome, and transform. Syd talks with his former student about her unique military experience, family tragedy, and navigating life, in this episode of The Sydcast.
Syd Finkelstein is the Steven Roth Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. Professor Finkelstein has published 25 books and 90 articles, including the bestsellers Why Smart Executives Fail and Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent, which LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman calls the “leadership guide for the Networked Age.” He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Management, a consultant and speaker to leading companies around the world, and a top 25 on the Global Thinkers 50 list of top management gurus. Professor Finkelstein’s research and consulting work often relies on in-depth and personal interviews with hundreds of people, an experience that led him to create and host his own podcast, The Sydcast, to uncover and share the stories of all sorts of fascinating people in business, sports, entertainment, politics, academia, and everyday life.
After eight years in uniform as one of the Army's first women Apache pilots, Shannon Huffman-Polson never stopped looking for challenges. She climbed high mountains, raced long-course triathlons, and took journeys to Alaska's Arctic, all epic in their challenge emotionally and physically. For three years, she has interviewed women in the vanguard of their military fields as research for The Grit Factor to better understand shared stories and lessons in leadership and grit to inspire other leaders in ways she would have liked to be inspired herself. The Grit Institute is a culmination of that work toward the mission of providing resources for leaders at all levels, especially those in transitions or navigating change.
Insights from this episode:
- Details on why Shannon joined the Army, growing up in Alaska, and what it was like to be stranded while climbing Denali, North America’s tallest peak.
- The strategy Shannon used to become the first female attack helicopter pilot and what it was like to fly missions.
- Benefits of her unique military experience that translated to providing mentorship and leadership to other women through personal interaction and her books.
- How to define grit for yourself, what it takes to get it, and how to use it.
- Benefits of telling your story your way and creating a narrative that makes you stronger.
Quotes from the show:
- On working in the military: “I worked with some of the absolute best people that I ever hope to know and ever hope to work with and I also worked with some of the worst.” – Shannon Polson
- On leaving the military: “It was very hard to not be somewhere where I felt like I was making a difference and responding.” – Shannon Polson
- “My experience is, possibly, now a little bit dated. It’s certainly very unique for having been one of the first women to enter into army attack aviation.” – Shannon Polson
- “Absolutely no question that grit is innate to every single one of us and that grit is a trainable skill and I think that’s been proven again and again.” – Shannon Polson
- “Whatever our level [of skill] is when it comes to being an effective leader or a creative person … you can get more, you can learn how to extend that.” – Syd Finkelstein
- “The ecosystem that supports grit is something that we all need to pay attention to and be able to determine as well.” – Shannon Polson
- “Stories are so fundamental to how we think about the world and who we are.” – Syd Finkelstein
- On telling our own story: “It really is just integral, quite frankly, to everything that we do and everything that we are, whether or not we recognize it. To recognize it means to claim the potential to change it.” – Shannon Polson
- “We often don’t see the truth in our own stories without a little bit of help.” – Shannon Polson
- “We all create our masks in life and we’re different types of people in different situations and this whole thing [COVID-19] has stripped it away to our fundamentals.” – Syd Finkelstein
- “Nothing ever happens by just doing what everybody tells you to do.” – Syd Finkelstein
LinkedIn: Sydney Finkelstein
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Book: The Grit Factor: Courage, Resilience, and Leadership in the Most Male-Dominated Organization in the World
Book: North of Hope: A Daughter's Arctic Journey
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This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry (www.podcastlaundry.com)