Leadership Thoughts – Harvard Business Review

Leadership Thoughts – Harvard Business Review

The January/February 2024 issue of the Harvard Business Review’s main thrust is about the leadership mindset.  The table of contents runs the gamut from Leading in the Flow of Work, Leaders Must React, Why Real-Time Leadership is so Hard, How to Sustain Your Empathy in Difficult Times to Lesson About Choosing a CEO.  A lot of content with a focus on leadership is written by bright people.

The article that I found very relevant was Why Real-Time Leadership Is So Hard by Ryann Quinn, Bret Crane, Travis Thompson, and Robert E. Quinn.  The article offers a handful of practices. The article skillfully points one in the right direction on how to avoid feeling stuck, when nothing seems to resonate.

I’ll be upfront the points made here are about our psychological state. “When we’re in the high-performance mode, we transcend our normal frame of mind and enter what he called the fundamental state of leadership.” This thinking is not new and has been taught or communicated for decades.  This article addresses the self-imposed obstacles that block us from achieving the fundamental state of leadership.

The authors have identified the four obstacles that prevent us from achieving the fundamental state of leadership. These obstacles can be overcome, and the article explains how.

The first obstacle is No Alternatives. This obstacle is often the result of process biases, habits, legal regulations, and maybe a lack of experience.  It is often referred to as a mental trap. The article suggests probing questions to get one out of the mental trap like – “How might this situation be like another, unrelated situation?”

The second is No Hope or defeatism.  A deer in the headlights – individuals feel they are facing inevitable defeat, and leading with vision and courage becomes hard. The authors share four suggestions to lead one out of that feeling of hopelessness.

The third is NO Time – I feel this is especially prevalent in the ski area industry.  The response to no time is reactive rather than thought out and planned, not good for a leader. Again, the authors suggest three questions when asked and pondered can address the No Time obstacle.

The fourth one is one I never would have thought about, but it makes sense. It is the No Need obstacle. “Sometimes people don’t see any need for leadership because they’re doing a task that doesn’t involve social interaction. But it’s possible to lead people even when they are not present.” Two questions to ask yourself when confronted by this obstacle are presented by the authors.

As the article states leadership is fundamentally about leashing potential, your and that of the people who follow you. No Alternatives, No Hope, No Time, and No Need come from misguided beliefs, fear, and a focus on what people lack. Challenging fear and misguided beliefs can reestablish the fundamental state of leadership and be a motivation for positive change.

I have paraphrased this article. As with all HBR articles sharing is not permitted; however, on the Harvard Business Review website, hbr.org,  non-registered users can read 5 articles per month. After a free sign-up, registered users can read 15 articles per month. Subscribers pay $10-18/month and have unlimited access to all HBR articles on the website. Some content is heavy but often there are very relevant articles to help you do your job better and easier.

Data and Information

Database of record: Centralized and organized data assists in recognizing and evaluating patterns, resulting in more thoughtful planning and informed predictions.

Rapid, intuitive retrieval of current and historical data (accessible on or offsite) improves decision making at all levels of management.

Simple report generation.

Reduces risk and potential lawsuits.

Supports visualization of current and future mountain infrastructure (e.g. Gazex explosives locations, forest thinning, designing new runs, parking, etc.).


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Ski Patrol

  • Ease of real-time data entry (no more logbooks or spreadsheets!).
  • Use of common language allows for consistent communication and information sharing.
  • Increases safety by minimizing accidents through pattern analysis of incidents.
  • Accident Investigation and Risk Management.
  • Snow Safety (Ski Patrol) Training.

The web and mobile application suite will provide editing and data collection tools for mapping incidents (wrecks, accidents) of any kind.

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Avalanche Module


Ability to document, track and analyze slope conditions with one tool.

Ease of real-time data entry (no more logbooks or spreadsheets!).

 Centralized and organized data assists in recognizing and evaluating patterns, resulting in more thoughtful planning and informed predictions.

Provides detailed current and historical weather patterns for visualizing/predicting.

Saves money through more precise use of explosives. 

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The dispatch and risk module leverage Esri’s Survey 123 for ArcGIS, providing an intuitive survey-form, data-driven workflow for point feature collection and reporting. Data collected with SmartMountain Survey apps, which are available for both web browsers and native desktop and mobile apps for standard operating systems, are integrated with one or more SmartMountain modules, providing real-time or disconnected and later synchronized workflows for data collection and integration.

Each ski resort decided what they wish to display on the Dispatch Dashboard including on-hill incidents, walk-in incidents, on-hill refusals,  missing persons, work details for different departments, ski patrol rosters for the day, clearances, and sweeps.

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  • Logs for Lift Maintenance, Lift Operations, and Groomer inspections, as well as building inspections.
  • Logs can record data and signatures, can record stops, station assignments.
  • Logs are tracked by calendar.


  • Management review made easy through the use of Excel – reviewing a major grouping of assets or a single component of an asset such as a drive or a gearbox.
  • All information related to a system(asset) is in one place whether it be a lift inspection report, a manual, oil analysis, a service bulletin, or a letter from a vendor.


  • Every user has a unique dashboard.
  • Dashboards can be customized to reflect a user’s specific needs.
  • Quick access to the status of work and cost .


  • The schedule function in MountainOffice provides for detailed instructions by task, recording of data such as the temperature of a gearbox, and service bulletins.
  • All schedules can have a time or counter trigger.