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It's The Power of a Pioneering Spirit That Brings Change


“We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” 
Max DePree

I spend a good portion of the third quarter of each year contemplating what the year ahead might look like, its challenges, possible highs, and lows, embracing what’s new and letting go of what’s served its purpose.

Who can predict the future of such an innovative, rapidly changing society? I’m still fascinated with AI and all the questions it brings with it. Successfully integrating AI into our “new normal” will be an exciting challenge to our pioneering spirit.

Author Saba Saleem answers a question about the pros and cons of AI, replying, “The pros of AI include increased productivity, improved decision-making, enhanced healthcare, improved safety, and increased creativity. The cons of AI include job displacement, bias, security risks, and loss of control. It is important to weigh the potential benefits and risks of AI carefully and to develop ethical guidelines for its development and use.” (1)


What is The Pioneering Spirit?

The Collins English Dictionary defines pioneering spirit as,

  • “A willingness to endure hardship in order to explore new places or try out new things. America has always retained her pioneering spirit.

  • The pioneering spirit of the Americans as they pushed and fought their way from the east to the west coast of their continent

  • The pioneering spirit of our ancestors took them to many other lands.”


Three Characteristics of a Pioneering Spirit

A Pioneering spirit holds qualities within a leader that drive him or her to explore the road either less traveled or carve out a route of their own. Every leader may develop and continually improve upon these characteristics.

1. Seeing Beyond the Horizon

Leaders who focus beyond the horizon are vision-bearers driven to explore new territory and discover new opportunities, laying a foundation for future generations to build on. They push themselves and inspire their teams to always go beyond the status quo.

2. Always Be Testing Your Limits

Always test your limits and pursue your personal best daily. Always strive to be better tomorrow than you are today. Always go further today than you did yesterday.  This attitude requires learning to be comfortable living outside your comfort zone.

3. Become Others Oriented

Leadership, by definition, must be others-oriented. No one achieves greatness alone. Great leaders are noted for their ability to work with teams.

To become others-oriented, invest yourself in developing your team’s personal and corporate growth potential.

a. Have a compelling vision

b. Develop a workable strategy

c. Assemble a team of passionate lifelong learners

d. Develop a culture of family

e. Stand with and support your team through all situations (2)


Forbes staff member Jena McGregor, in her article, What a difference a year makes, writes, “In a year when ChatGPT exploded onto the scene, a chastened tech industry laid off more than 200,000 workers, and the economy seemed to lurch in slow motion toward a possible downturn, the conversation around the “future of work” isn’t as rosy as it was a year ago.

The “big quit”— remember the “Great Resignation”? — has become the “big stay.” Extra days off to unplug were canceled for a “year of efficiency.”

Every day brings another warning of all the jobs AI will replace. Yet amid all that cause for concern, there are bright spots: Generative AI might replace some jobs, but it could make many others easier and less tedious. A stronger labor movement is gaining power and scoring wins — from airlines to autos to Hollywood.

More companies are hiring based on workers’ actual skills rather than the pedigree of a diploma. And even if many bosses are mandating workers back in the office, the numbers show hybrid work — and the flexibility that comes with it — is here to stay.” (3)


In Closing, “As surely as America’s pioneer spirit made us the industrial giant of the 20th century, the same pioneer spirit today is opening up on another vast front of opportunity, the frontier of high technology.” Ronald Reagan


End Notes

(1) Saba Saleem: “Do the Pros of AI outweigh the Cons?

(2) A Pioneer Spirit of Leadership by John S. Picarello

(3) What a difference a year makes by Jena McGregor

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***

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