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Greg Mortenson on Leadership

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Submitted By naz2721
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Greg Mortenson reflection Leadership is formed through a set of cumulous skills that are enhanced through the experiences of life. It is not something that can become in a single day or even year, in fact there is no person who has mastered the art of leadership. Every leader has his or her assets that contribute to their success, but with all success comes failures and flaws. As George R. Zalucki stated famously “Without failure there can be no success!”, this can be backed up with the experiences of Greg Mortenson, the co-founder and executive director of the non-profit Central Asia institute. Mortenson was climbing one of the highest peaks in the world called the K2 summit when he came across a village in the country of Pakistan. Here he had new customs and traditions to account for. He learned how important praying as a community was and how the community came together for many daily activities. It was important for him to encourage the heart of the villagers so that they would trust him. It was then when a little girl planted a seed into his brain, a seed of education. He had a vision of a better life for the children, especially the girls, in the country of Pakistan. So he made the promise to give this girl and her village a place to learn, and feel safe while learning. When he returned to the United States he couldn’t take his mind of this girl and her village. This is where Mortenson used a set of fine leadership skills, which was to inspire his vision amongst others around him. He wrote 580 letters to celebrities and businessmen through out the country about what he came across while in Pakistan, and how he wanted to build a better learning environment. However it wasn’t successful, for the only reply he received was a check for $100 from Tom Brokaw. But his determination on this project is what counter acted his failure. He then contacted an elementary school where his mother was the principal, and sold all of his belongings. And although he only raised $2,000 it was a step in the right direction. It also was the root to the beginning of his non-profit organization called pennies for Pakistan, or later called pennies for peace. And eventually he was given an additional $12,000 from a Swiss climber and physicist, Dr. Jean Hoerni. On Mortenson’s many other pillages to Pakistan, he found how scarce building materials and routes for materials were. The highways and roads, where there were some, were far coarse and uneven. He actually was forced to build a bridge in order to even get some of the materials to the area where he chose to build the school. He enabled others in the village to act as well, getting them excited about this new school that he was going to build for them. One elder in the village actually carried heavy wooden planks on his back to the site of the school. Almost the entire community was engaged in the building of the school after the bridge was built. They realized how much their village would benefit from this school and how grateful they were to have Mortenson choose their village. Mortenson was faced with a challenge when producing a girl’s school in the Pakistani village, since the government was not supportive. He challenged the process by not allowing prejudices of authoritative figures stop him. After an extensive war that the country had gone through the government chose not to fund money on the education system, causing the modern day problem in Pakistan. They also believe the small amount of education opportunities available in the country should go to the males only. So when Mortenson chose to build a girls school it was a huge change for the Pakistani people. Through all of his failures came a major success in Mortenson’s project to build a school. The first school was finally finished in 1996, it had 5 rooms, and could hold 100 children inside of it. This was only the start to the now 52 schools in Pakistan and 6 built in Afghanistan today. He modeled the way for not only the people living in these countries to show them how important education is but also for the individuals who never got the chance to visit this places. Thanks to Mortenson’s book “Three Cups of Tea”, people from all over the world have been able to see how life is so different across the world and how easy it is to make a difference in their lives. He has created several organizations to help fund for his programs such as the pennies for peace organization and the Central Asia Institute. Mortenson like all leaders had his flaws as well, for example he had an exceptional lack of organizational skills. He never mapped out his ideas with a plan but rather just attacked them, which sometimes wasted time and labor. There is no such thing as a flawless leader, but it is the flaws that make a leader. We learn from our mistakes, which creates skills and assets that we can use to enhance our leadership qualities. And with leadership qualities we can create or change anything.

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