Alison Levine

Looking for inspiration? Motivation? Are you finding the challenges ahead of you similar to climbing Mt. Everest? If so, then you need Alison Levine in your life.

Who is Alison Levine? 

Well, we are glad you asked. According to, she holds the following titles

Adventurer. Explorer. Mountaineer. NY Times Bestselling Author. Leadership Advisor. Beer Muse. Filmmaker. Story-teller. Dog-lover. Empowerer. Knowledge-sharer. Challenge-taker. Boundary-breaker. Growth-enabler. Impact-maker. Game-changer.

First of all, Alison Levine is a polar explorer and mountaineer. For example, Alison made history serving as captain of the first U.S. Women’s Mt. Everest Expedition team.

She also climbed the highest peak of each continent as well as skied both the North and South Poles (otherwise know as the Adventure Grand Slam).

In addition, Alison is a leadership expert. Alison brings a diverse background of experience not only as an adventurer but also……

  • Worked for Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs
  • Served as deputy finance director for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s successful bid as Governor of California 
  • Spent four years as an adjunct professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership
  • Serves as a strategic advisor at the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point
  • Founder of the Climb High Foundation 
  •  Served as a Senior Fellow at the Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics at Duke University

For additional info, here is an awesome article about Alison from Forbes: What Polar Explorer Alison Levine Knows About Leadership That Corporate Managers Don’t

Alison has also built an incredibly successful career as a dynamic keynote speaker on leadership and teamwork.

However, don’t take our word for it. Let us introduce you to Alison Levine by checking out her amazing Ted Talk: 

Alison Levine “On The Edge”Alison Levine

Believe it or not, Alison also found the time to become a New York Times Bestselling author. 

Looking for an incredible book with a 5 star rating? Need some inspiration and motivation? Seeking new ideas and strategies to enhance your leadership skills? 

Well, look no further. Alison Levine wrote the book for you: “On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest and Other Extreme Environments”.

“On The Edge” is truly a must read book. Especially for anyone in a leadership role. 

You will find Alison’s stories fascinating, exhilarating, and inspiring.

She does an amazing job describing every detail from each adventure. With reading each page, Alison makes you feel the extreme cold while climbing terrifying heights. However, she still finds the courage to continue on taking each painful step. For example, she finds herself violently ill on a climb, yet still accomplishes her goal of reaching the peak (you need to buy the book to find out what happens).

Alison Levine on Complacency 

  • “…mountaineering, business, leadership, and life: fear is fine, but complacency will kill you. Don’t ever beat yourself up for feeling scared or intimidated. Fear is a natural human emotion, and it’s a strong survival instinct that keeps us alert and aware of our surroundings.”
  • “Avoiding complacency isn’t just about keeping yourself in check; it also means watching out for all of your teammates.” 
  • “Ironically, complacency is a risk that skyrockets when things are going well—when you feel safe enough.”
  • “You’ll never improve your skills if you keep following your standard route. And getting out of your comfort zone is not enough; you must take it a step further and learn to be comfortable with discomfort. This is an important part of leader development”

To learn more about Alison’s theory, check out her article about complacency: Fear is fine. But complacency will kill you.

Alison Levine on Leadership

  • “Leadership is everyone’s responsibility. It is not solely the responsibility of the C-level executives or the management team within an organization. We are all in a position to proactively work toward having a positive effect on the people around us. Everyone in an organization is responsible for helping to move forward with the mission; but in addition, all employees/ teammates/ people must realize it is also their responsibility to look out for the people on either side of them.”
  • “You want to get out on the route with people who are better and stronger than you are; you yourself can become better and stronger by observing others who are more experienced and more skilled.”
  • “Weak colleagues are not hard to identify. I don’t want to be cruel here, but let’s face it: there’s always that one person who seems to show up on every team—you know, the person everyone else secretly wishes would quit, transfer to another division, or get trapped under something heavy. These people, to put it bluntly, are liabilities in terms of the job you are trying to do. They lag behind, drag everybody else down, and hinder progress.”
  • She continues, “If only they could perform at a higher level, or be smarter, or work more efficiently—or, even better, just go away—the entire team would be so much more productive. And happier! And although it may be painful to even imagine this, there could even be a time when, in fact, you might be the one who can’t cut it—when you are the person everyone else wishes would just go away, even if you are trying your hardest.”

Wrapping It Up

These quotes just scratch the surface of the energy, enthusiasm as well as brilliant insight that Alison offers in her book.

Rather you are climbing new heights, tackling tough challenges, or seeking exciting adventures, Alison Levine delivers outstanding guidance and advice on how to reach success.

Bottom line: we strongly recommend grabbing a copy of “On the Edge” today! 

Also, check out this outstanding article: Business Lessons from Mount Everest: Why Taking a Step Back Can Sometimes Be Better Than Pushing Ahead

After reading this amazing book, you will be motivated and equipped to conquer whatever goal you set for yourself. 

By the way, Alison suffers from Raynaud’s disease, which  causes the arteries that feed her fingers and toes to collapse in cold weather. This leaves her extremely susceptible to frostbite.

Think about that for a minute. So what does she do? She simply becomes one of the greatest extreme weather adventurers in American history. Well done Alison! 

Lastly, to keep up to date on her adventures, follow Alison (& Trooper – her beautiful black lab) on Twitter.

Thank you for reading our post.

To learn more about Falconer Electronics, check out these helpful links below:


Herb Kelleher

Just to kick things off, we LOVE Southwest Airlines! Not just as customers but also as a company to admire and emulate. Why? It’s all about the company culture. How has Southwest separated themselves from the competition for all of these years? Actually, it starts with co-founder and airline icon Herb Kelleher. 

A pioneering entrepreneur and fierce competitor, Kelleher co-founded Southwest which launched its first flight in 1971

The chain smoking, Wild Turkey drinking business maverick created one of the most successful airlines in U.S. history. 

Unfortunately, Herb Kelleher recently moved on to another life on January 3, 2019. 

45 Straight Years of Profitability 

From its humble beginning with 3 planes exclusively serving only Texas cities, Southwest then went on to enjoy 45 consecutive years of profitability

That is a truly amazing track record. In an industry plagued by bankruptcies and failures, Southwest just simply makes money while having a blast doing so. 

Check out this article from Inc: Why Southwest Has Been Profitable 45 Years in a Row

Kelleher focused not only on fulfilling a satisfying customer expedience, he created a cause. A cause dedicated to relentlessly keeping costs low while making flights affordable for average Americans. 

The Southwest tagline: “You’re Free to Fly Around the Country”.

The Stanford Graduate School of Business interviews Herb Kelleher in the video below where he describes “Managing in Good Times and Bad”

Southwest Starts With Why 

In a recent blog post, we discussed the New York Times Bestseller, “Start With Why” authored by Simon Sinek.

According to Sinek:

“In the early 1970s, only 15 percent of the traveling population traveled by air. At that rate, the market was small enough to scare off most would-be competitors to the big airlines. But Southwest wasn’t interested in competing against everyone else for 15 percent of the traveling population. Southwest cared about the other 85 percent. Back then, if you asked Southwest whom their competition was, they would have told you, “We compete against the car and the bus.” But what they meant was, “We’re the champion for the common man.” That was WHY they started the airline. That was their cause, their purpose, their reason for existing.”

Cheap, consistent and fun! 

Herb Kelleher instilled his wild sense of humor into the company culture. 

Once, on Southwest flight, there were a large group of rowdy guys traveling to Las Vegas for a bachelor party (yes, I was part of the group. I was young then). 

These gentlemen were goofing around and joking with one of the stewardesses. Towards the end of the flight, the stewardess was handing out glasses of water on a tray. She walked up to these group of men with a tray completely full of cups. When she approached these men, she stumbled and spilled the entire tray of cups on a couple of the guys…….the cups were empty! 

We were absolutely rolling with laughter. This event defined the culture at Southwest created by Herb Kelleher. 

As a company, Southwest personifies Herb Kelleher’s attitude towards life and business. 

Herb Kelleher preached, “Hire for attitude – train for skills”.

Below includes a great video where Herb Kelleher describes “How Southwest Built Its Culture”: 

The Herb Kelleher Leadership Style in the News

Below includes small portion of the endless number of outstanding articles that describe Herb Kelleher’s leadership style: 

Herb Kelleher: The Arm Wrestler 

Lastly, just to grasp the zaniness of Herb Kelleher, you must watch this video below where Herb arm wrestles another CEO.  

The “Malice in Dallas” took place in 1992 where Herb Kelleher arm wrestles Kurt Herwald, the CEO of Stevens Aviation over a marketing slogan, “plane smart”. 

This turned into a brilliant publicity stunt where both companies greatly benefited. 

Check this out: 

Wrapping It Up

Thank you for reading our post. 

To learn more about Falconer Electronics, check out these helpful links below:

Start With Why!

Why should you start with WHY?

What does it actually mean to start with WHY anyway?

In his book “Start With Why”, Simon Sinek pulls together powerful stories and examples of individuals who built wildly successful companies based on passion, vision and a belief in a cause.

“Now consider what a company is. A company is a culture. A group of people brought together around a common set of values and beliefs. It’s not products or services that bind a company together. It’s not size and might that make a company strong, it’s the culture—the strong sense of beliefs and values that everyone, from the CEO to the receptionist, all share. So the logic follows, the goal is not to hire people who simply have a skill set you need, the goal is to hire people who believe what you believe.”

He also points out numerous individuals who completely changed our culture and mindset based on their passion and belief. 

Let’s take a look at this amazing book! 

Start With Why

Start With Why

Simon Sinek authored the New York Times Bestseller “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” in 2009. 

Sinek explains that plenty of companies know their WHAT and HOW. 

Yet, it’s the companies that understand their WHY who truly “get it”. 

More importantly, their customers understand their WHY too. 

A mutual understanding of WHY between a company and customers creates a cult like following and raving fans:

“But when a company clearly communicates their WHY, what they believe, and we believe what they believe, then we will sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to include those products or brands in our lives. This is not because they are better, but because they become markers or symbols of the values and beliefs we hold dear. Those products and brands make us feel like we belong and we feel a kinship with others who buy the same things. Fan clubs, started by customers, are often formed without any help from the company itself. These people form communities, in person or online, not just to share their love of a product with others, but to be in the company of people like them. Their decisions have nothing to do with the company or its products; they have everything to do with the individuals themselves.”

Apple & Southwest Start With Why 

Examples of companies that “Start With Why” include Apple and Southwest Airlines

Both companies were founded and led by dynamic individuals with Steve Jobs and Herb Kelleher respectively. 

Sinek makes this interesting point regarding Apple:

“I spoke favorably of Apple long before I bought one. And I spoke disparagingly of a certain PC brand even though I’d been buying their products for years.”

Herb Kelleher built Southwest into one of the most successful airlines in history. Southwest has 46 consecutive years of profitably to show for it.

Check out this article from Forbes on Herb Kelleher: 20 Reasons Why Herb Kelleher Was One Of The Most Beloved Leaders Of Our Time

Harley-Davidson Raving Fans 

Sinek points out another excellent corporate example with Harley-Davidson

Over the years, Harley-Davidson built a cult like following with raving fans as customers. 

Sinek points out that fans tattoo the Harley-Davidson logo on their bodies. Some don’t even own a Harley.

That’s a powerful brand when an individual tattoo’s a company logo, yet in some cases they are not even a customer: 

“They’ve tattooed corporate logo on their skin. Some of them don’t even own the product! Why would rational people tattoo a corporate logo on their bodies? The reason is simple. After years of Harley being crystal clear about what they believe, after years of being disciplined about a set of values and guiding principles and after years of being doggedly consistent about everything they say and do, their logo has become a symbol. It no longer simply identifies a company and its products; it identifies a belief.”

Martin Luther King 

To Start With Why begins with an individual who shares a grand vision or a DREAM. 

Sinek points out an incredibly powerful example with Martin Luther King

Yesterday, the United States celebrated one of the greatest leaders in our history with Martin Luther King Day. 

Think about this for a second. 

250,000 attended the civil rights rally in August of 1963 when Martin Luther King delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. 

This took place with no internet. No email. People were not chatting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to rally this large crowd. 

That’s amazing! 

In case you need some inspiration, please click below: 

Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk  

If you find yourself short on time and prefer cliff notes, check out the Ted Talk by Simon Sinek explaining his theory on Start With Why. 

As of this post, Simon Sinek’s famous Ted Talk boasts over 42 million views.

The Ted Talk simply offers a snap shot of his brilliant theory of Start With Why (However, the book goes into much greater detail with amazing examples of leadership).

In case you have not watched the wildly popular Ted Talk by Simon Sinek, please click below:

In conclusion, we strongly recommend downloading or picking up a copy of this phenomenal book.

“Start With Why” explains that successful leaders dedicate themselves to sharing their true purpose and belief. 

It will leave you thinking about your WHY as well as wondering if your clearly communicate your WHY to your own team and customers. 

Wrapping It Up

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In a recent post, we discussed creating a team and culture based around reliability. Reliability leads to consistency, stability, quality and most of all, happy customers. To follow up on this important topic, today we explore an incredible business book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni.

“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”"The Five Dysfunctions of a Team"

“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is truly an amazing book! A quick read with an extremely powerful message:

“It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare. A friend of mine, the founder of a company that grew to a billion dollars in annual revenue, best expressed the power of teamwork when he once told me, “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”

Check out this video from Patrick Lencioni explaining “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”:

Dysfunction at DecisionTech

Patrick Lencioni does an outstanding job by combining theory and fiction. “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” tells the story of a Silicon Valley company, DecisionTech, which is past the start up stage and entering year 2.

Unfortunately, the company finds itself severely struggling.

It lags behind the competition in spite of possessing better funding.

The company also boasts superior technology along with a more talented team of 150 employees.

Yet, morale runs extremely low. In addition, company goals and potential are not being met. 

Thus the story describes the “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”.

The founder and CEO decides to take a demotion allowing new leadership to right the ship. 

In response, the board of directors hires a new CEO, Kathryn, who hails from manufacturing.

As a tech industry outsider, Kathryn faces a massive challenge to turn the company around. 

First, Kathryn immediately diagnoses the ailments of DecisionTech and puts an action plan in place to build the team. 

However, Kathryn was not fully aware of how deep the dysfunction ran at DecisionTech. 

“And that is where the rarity of teamwork comes into play. For all the attention that it has received over the years from scholars, coaches, teachers, and the media, teamwork is as elusive as it has ever been within most organizations. The fact remains that teams, because they are made up of imperfect human beings, are inherently dysfunctional.”

She then dives in to explain to her executive team “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”

Identifying The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

According to Patrick Lencioni, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” consist of:

Absence of Trust

“Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”

Fear of Conflict

“If we don’t trust one another, then we aren’t going to engage in open, constructive, ideological conflict. And we’ll just continue to preserve a sense of artificial harmony.”

Lack of Commitment

“…committing to a plan or a decision and getting everyone to clearly buy in to it. That is why conflict is so important.”

Avoidance of Accountability

“The enemy of accountability is ambiguity, and even when a team has initially committed to a plan or a set of behavioral standards, it is important to keep those agreements”

Inattention to Results

“As obvious as this dysfunction might seem at first glance, and as clear as it is that it must be avoided, it is important to note that many teams are simply not results focused. They do not live and breathe in order to achieve meaningful objectives, but rather merely to exist or survive. Unfortunately for these groups, no amount of trust, conflict, commitment, or accountability can compensate for a lack of desire to win.”

Lastly, Lencioni does an amazing job creating a page turning story explaining how to correct “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. For that reason, we strongly recommend downloading or picking up a copy today. 

The Table Group

Author Patrick Lencioni founded of The Table Group, a consulting firm dedicated to creating Organizational Health.  Lencioni also authored 11 books which have sold over 5 million copies. In addition, his books have been translated into more than 30 languages. 

The Wall Street Journal called Lencioni “one of the most in demand speakers in America.” Consequently, Lencioni writes articles for numerous publications including Harvard Business Review, Inc., Fortune, Fast Company, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek.

Wrapping It Up 

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Sam Walton

Sam Walton was the founder of Walmart. He valued his customers as well as his employees. Therefore, he encouraged his employees to be great leaders. He also encouraged them to be successful.

Walton also believed that the customer should come first. In addition, he believed that the customers’ needs should be the most important thing in not only his business but in every business. Without customers how can any business flourish? Furthermore, Walton encouraged all leaders to be successful by putting their customers first. Using this strategy, the company of Walmart that we know flourished.

Sam Walton on Customers

Customers are the main focus.

Sam Walton believed that customers were the most important part of any company. Therefore, there are many memorable quotes that focus on them. Furthermore, he knew how to continue to be successful. Not only did Sam Walton speak about the importance of customers he also ran his business with that at the forefront.

* There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.

*  The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.

* Exceed your customer’s expectations. If you do, they’ll come back over and over. Give them what they want – and a little more.

* If one of our customers comes into the store without a smile, I’ll give them one of mine.

* If you don’t listen to your customers, someone else will.

* Each Walmart store should reflect the values of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community.

Sam Walton on Success

Walmart has shown success throughout the years.

Sam Walton had many things to say about success. He believed that success was directly related to hard work. Also, Walton knew that with time things change. Therefore, in business, you need to be flexible as well as ready for those changes. Furthermore, Walton knew while keeping up with changes you need to also be able to continue to put the customers’ needs first.

* You can’t just keep doing what works one time, everything around you is changing. To succeed, stay out in front of change.

* To succeed in this world, you have to change all the time.

* Celebrate your success and find humor in your failures. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Loosen up and everyone around you will loosen up. Have fun and always show enthusiasm. When all else fails, put on a costume and sing a silly song.

* The secret of successful retailing is to give your customers what they want. And really, if you think about it from the point of view of the customer, you want everything: a wide assortment of good quality merchandise; the lowest possible prices; guaranteed satisfaction with what you buy; friendly, knowledgeable service; convenient hours; free parking; a pleasant shopping experience.

* The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say. It’s terribly important for everyone to get involved. Our best ideas come from clerks and stock boys.

* If you want a successful business, your people must feel that you are working for them – not that they are working for you.

Sam Walton on Leadership

Leadership is important to success.

Good leaders are essential to a good business. Walton knew that if you take care of your employees, they, in turn, will take care of you. Therefore, he had a lot of positive advice for leaders. Along with leading, Walton believed that leaders were responsible for keeping other employees on the track for success. Furthermore, he knew good leaders produce good employees. Also, good employees produce good customers.

* Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.

* Communicate everything you can to your associates. The more they know, the more they care. Once they care, there is no stopping them.

* Leaders must always put their people before themselves. If you do that, your business will take care of itself.

* Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.

* There’s absolutely no limit to what plain, ordinary, working people can accomplish if they’re given the opportunity and encouragement to do their best.

* If you love your work, you’ll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you – like a fever.

Lastly, check out our post on: Inspiring Business Quotes Help Conquer Tough Times 

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