Leadership above the Rim – the poetry of possibility

An objective of leadership is to inspire and motivate people to engage in inspired action to reach their goal. I coined a word, “Inspiractional” as an adjective to describe this form of leadership. “Inspiractional Leadership” causes individuals and teams to perform at a very high level. I refer to this in my book of poems entitled Leadership above the Rim – the poetry of possibility. Chris Warner and Don Schmincke uses the term High Altitude Leadership in their book on characteristics demonstrated in Chris’s climbs of K2, Everest and other mountains. Here are excerpts from the preface and three poems that address a company that strayed from these principles (Any Company Anywhere), expectations of these leaders (I believe) and the persistence and of people inspired to perform at very high levels (Time on the clock).


Leadership is not only a function of direction, distance and speed.  It covers altitude and elevation. Leadership is not limited to those blessed with the height of natural skills. Individuals with ambition who display discipline can develop the vertical leaping ability necessary to play at a higher plateau. History and everyday experiences are filled with stories of individuals who played taller than their height would suggest.

The rim is the goal, target or destination. To reach the rim or exceed the rim requires natural ability or talent honed through many hours of perspiration, dedication and delaying gratification. Leadership is priceless when it takes you into the domain of the high fliers.  You can soar among the acrobats who demonstrate the stamina and flexibility to scale heights that would make normal people light-headed.  The rim is the air space where Goliath competes and challenges the competition, the place where David can turn wishful thinking into a positive reality.  The rim is the benchmark for greatness, where the best among us play the game at a higher level.  It is the zone of intimidation.  The timid stand in awe rooted in place and unable to leave the ground.

Leadership is about elevation, a raised platform and heightened visibility; a bar that causes you to step back and get a running start to leap higher.  Leadership is not a drill, a scenario or meaningless exercise.  It is in real-time, face paced and energizing.  It should be taken seriously, for ineffective use can be life threatening.  

Leadership above the rim espouses principles that build courage rather than fear, which encourages people to stay focused on the goal.  It sells the adventure and asks the team members to hold on to the railings, adjust their behavior and follow.

Leadership is about visibility and vision; the vision to see where you are, where you are going and to see those who may be lagging behind.  Leadership is about assisting people to achieve their potential.  It is about credibility through modeling behavior that motivates others to jump higher and strive to play in the higher altitudes.

Leadership above the rim is mandatory to succeed in the playgrounds of industry. It is a perquisite to exceeding professional and personal expectations. This type of leadership will enable companies, teams, workgroups and individuals to excel in the rarefied air of the giants in their field.

Any Company Worldwide

There once was a company

With hope filled beginnings.

The leaders were competent

And focused on winning.

They said the right things,

Through their vision and charters;

Encouraged team work,

To work harder and smarter.

But somewhere between

Their start and today,

Their ambition drove values

And chased people away.

The leaders became distant

And used every crutch

To explain being busy

And far out of touch.

They formed an obsession

To succeed at all costs.

They were numbed by the numbers

And good people were lost.

They were unrealistic

And often demanded,

That more be done with less

And became heavy-handed.

With those who were different,

Who challenged routines.

They bulldozed opinions

For the end justified the means.

So people became selfish,

Disillusioned, filled with doubt;

Fed up with secret agendas,

Favoritism and clout.

There once was a company,

That focused on winning;

Reneged on the promises

It made in the beginning.

It sacrificed training,

These initiatives were postponed,

Which fostered mediocrity;

Development was on your own.

It failed to reward individuals

Or recognize teams;

Its arrogance, symptomatic

Of a bureaucratic regime.

But now the piper

Demands to be paid,

For gross negligence

In strategies made.

So the company steps backwards,

When it should have grown.

The leaders are accountable

For they should have known,

To run a successful business,

The leaders must comprehend,

That you don’t treat people,

As a means to an end.

 I Believe

I believe that if I establish the direction

And show you what perfection

Looks like,

You will surprise me in your pursuit

Of the goal.

I believe that if I give you the reins,

You will ride yourself and sustain

A momentum that will show

Your heart and soul

Are in the journey.

I believe that if I praise your progress,

Your performance unhindered

Will soar to lofty heights

Beyond your imagination.

I believe that if I set the priorities

And surrender the authority,

You will bask in the fascination

Of new-found freedom

As you display your creative rights.

I believe that you are capable

Of enormous outbursts of expression;

But I have to make concessions

So that you will exhibit inescapable

Evidence of aptitude,

That has been sealed in your heart.

I believe that if I do my part,

We will discover the wonder, the art

Of truly being yourself.


Time on the clock

When there is time left on the clock,

The cowards complain and cry foul;

The losers panic and throw in the towel,

But champions persist and hold their blocks,

For they know the score is tentative

Until the game is over, so they give

Everything, for ’til the final gun

There’s unfinished business,

Work to be done.

When there is time left on the clock,

The champions continue to play

Aggressively, to find a way

To anchor confidence so they can rock

The competition out of alignment,

As they execute their assignments.

When there is time left on the clock,

Champions cling to the fundamentals,

They stay in strategy, push potential

To higher levels intended to shock;

As warriors welded to their cause,

They are nourished by internal applause.

When there is time left on the clock,

Thoughts of surrender should be suspended;

Energy on hand should be expended,

Reserves should be exploited to unlock

The genius of skillfully fighting hard,

With valiant effort for the extra yard.

When there is time left on the clock,

You strive tenaciously, always take stock

In your motives for entering the game,

For pride, prestige or personal acclaim;

Though vanquished or victorious, heroes

Are those who fight to the end.

Zeroes on the clock is when the champions say

Is the acceptable time to walk away.

Copyright © 2020 Orlando Ceaser

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