Reading about real, seemingly ordinary people doing extraordinary things is my favorite kind of read. I’ve picked up Undaunted Courage again.
Thomas Jefferson and Meriwether Lewis knew they were doing something that would change the course of American history. But they could not have known to what degree or really how. The overall mission was to find a single, direct waterway from sea to sea. During the way Lewis was to keep detailed journals of topography, flora and fauna, climate and soil conditions, indigenous people, etc. Lewis had to study hard, fast and deep to prepare himself on subjects from astronomy to medicine to boat building to Indian affairs.
But what would you guess was the single most important factor in terms of ensuring a successful mission?
The other crew members. More time, thought, consideration and evaluation went into the selection of these men than anything else. Each selection was a long, arduous process. Clark pointed out in a letter to Lewis, “a judicious choice of our party is of the greatest importance to the success of this vast enterprise.” Jefferson was well aware, too.
They understood they were doing something great and to accomplish their goal they needed great men. The best applicants from the hundreds of strong, young men eager for adventure and reward. Men were thrown off the expedition or seriously disciplined for infractions. There was no tolerance for tom-foolery, insubordination, drunkenness or fighting.
This was a military operation and Lewis and Clark were the Co-Captains that had to demonstrate strong, decisive leadership. They were responsible for the expedition outcomes and clearly understood that their success hinged on having the right people in their crew.
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Take a moment, to dream and wonder what amazing things you could accomplish with a stellar team and being a stronger leader? Somebody just might be telling stories about your leadership and accomplishments in 200 years.