Understanding Leadership Development through high performers

The first canon for leadership development is being honest with one’s self. Unfortunately being honest with one’s self and loved ones is not the same as being honest with others. The complicating issue is that it is a lot easier to be honest with others than one’s self.

While delving on leadership development, there is a premise that the world is filled with different personalities who possess integrity and honesty along with liars, cheats and thieves. Very often being honest with one’s self means doing what makes one most uncomfortable. The truth isn’t always what’s necessary because most people don’t really want the truth!

The uniqueness of most super high performers is being genuine, resolute, unswerving as trendsetters and going against conventional wisdom. High performers have set the ideals of leadership development and understand the nuance that not having is no excuse for not getting. The difference is they know and walk the talk fully comprehending the decisions taken and reason for making them. The simple axiom – a pay price to action is understood by very few but sums up the whole issue.

Known facts are no one is drafted into opportunity. One of the traits of leadership development is the willingness to volunteer! For ultimate accountability, volunteering means to be a high performer knowing what to volunteer for. This is not the details but the sacrifices in macro terms.

Proper leadership development can achieve success but success is subjective and means different things to different people. Much like war, a super high performance is a series of battles that are not won but the essence is either to hunt or be hunted.


From Dan Peña – Executive Coach and Mentor for The New Millennium

Dear Friend and Subscriber:


As I sit here, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day (December 26th) at Guthrie, watching the snow fall while sending thanking [and some not so thanking] faxes and E-mails around the world, I reflect upon the difference between the grand successes and failures I’ve witnessed.

Since entering the professional world of Executive Coaching over seven years ago, I’ve had thousands go through my various programs. I’ve worked with hundreds personally and dozens individually and a few as if I were their father or big brother. As many of you know, I coached and mentored for twenty years before devoting my full time to it.

I’ve been privileged to make a few great friends like the Verdiers and Whipples, in recent years, and to work with some of the great minds and spirits on this planet: a founder of a Fortune 50 Company that built a $30 billion empire, in 8 years; the heir apparent to one of the top 25 companies in the world; a man that ran for the US Presidency; the CEO of Onassis Shipping Lines and confidant of Onassis; Board Directors of Footsie 100 and Fortune 100 Companies; U S governors; members of the US President’s cabinets; world class athletes including the National Baseball Association and their coach and All American collegiate golfers; mayors; chiefs of police; geniuses; individuals of low I.Q.; brave; cowards; engineers; members of the British House of Commons and House of Lords; former ministers of European Governments; Knights of the Round Table; Counts; Princes; Priests; Rabbis; Doctors; Shaman; Lawyers; Judges; Movie Stars; Authors; IT/Internet gurus; Psychiatrists; Teachers; Professors; Nurses; Chiropractors; Success Coaches; a member of the French Foreign Legion; Professional Soldiers – including soldiers of fortune (mercenaries); Accountants; Children of Dictators and a couple of Dictators (before they were so labeled); the Vatican – including the head of the Vatican Bank; numerous governments; the first Female Fortune 500 CEO; Policemen; Firemen; the extremely well educated and the uneducated; extremely super wealthy and the abject poor; men, women and children of all religious and political persuasions from all parts of the planet from age 14 to 82.

Dealing with all the above I encountered individuals of integrity and honesty along with liars, cheats and thieves. Mostly people lie, cheat and steal from themselves. Unfortunately being honest with yourself is not the same as being honest with others. It can be a lot easier to be honest with others than yourself. Frankly, for most people it’s very, very difficult to be hard on ourselves and the ones we love. Very often being honest with yourself means doing what makes us most uncomfortable. For me, I’ve learned the truth isn’t always what’s necessary. As I’ve aged, or mellowed [which I don’t think I have], I realized, as Jack Nicholson says in a famous film –"You can’t take the truth" — and LORD knows he is mostly correct, because most people don’t really want the truth!

The uniqueness of the very best of the super high performance individuals listed above is genuine and resolute — almost always unswerving! Being trend setters! Going against conventional wisdom!

These very unusual people understood ‘not having’ is no excuse for ‘not getting’. They understood the difference between knowing the path and walking the path — they "Walk their Talk!" Most importantly they understood what "signing-up" and "knowing what your signing-up for" really means.

For those of you that have heard me speak or read my book "Your First 100 Million" [now available on] know I speak ad nauseam about a price that must be paid — "a pay price to action." All too few men and women understand this simple axiom.

No one is drafted into this opportunity. You must volunteer! Jack Welch (GE), Fighter Pilots, Richard Branson (Virgin), Astronauts, Lou Gestner (IBM), Seal Team or SAS Members all volunteer! For ultimate accountability, you must volunteer to be a high performance individual knowing what you are volunteering for! Certainly not the details, but the sacrifices in macro terms!

Virtually all mentioned above had mentors and/or executive coaches — as did I for more than twenty years, and as I still act for a few now.

Coincidentally, as I further reflected upon whom has been more successful than others I received the attached two letters. Ironically they are both from the Netherlands. I receive many "Thank You’s" in a year! In fact, another Dutch partner, upon successfully completing his first acquisition on 11th December, by ‘phone, said; "Thank you for putting up with me Dan . . . " Of course now he has to run the business — the always underestimated difficult part.

Both letters reflect similar sentiments vis-à-vis accomplishing goals. As this new year begins, I wish you the same level of success as they have already achieved — and more ! This will mean different things to each of you. More importantly I wish and pray for you to assume their same level of commitment to pay the price! Some of you reading this have already really given up! Start again — it’s a New Year! Some are on the fence — suck up your pantihose and charge!

Much like war, a super high performance life is a series of battles, as illustrated by the following: All battles are not won, but in the words of the current CEO of Vodafone (Gent), you are either in a "Hunt or be Hunted" mode. Ironically Mr. Gent is a proponent of the use of Executive Coaches — he uses one himself. The Chairman / CEO of Vodafone is not a University graduate, nor was he a member of the privileged. Through hard work he became a distinguished alumni and a Chairman Emeritus of the new global high performance elite and was the successful leader in the recent Vodafone-Mannesman hostile takeover battle in Europe — one of the planets biggest of all time ! It seems to me he is a great model for 2001!

To Our Quantum Leap,
Dan Peña.

P.S. 2001 will only have two three-day Executive Castle Seminars (covering QLA Methodology, Raising Capital and Deals/Acquisitions) — one in March and one in August. There are NO 1-Day QLA, Raising Capital, Deals/Acquisitions Seminars, Workshops or speaking engagements scheduled at this time. This is not likely to change as noted in earlier Newsletters. I am now an Executive Coach to the Corporate World (or as one of my favorite elites calls me — his ‘secret weapon’) and the entrepreneur that has a project intriguing enough to entice me and which can still suck me into the vortex of an early phase deal! Of course, my award winning QLA product, including "Your First 100 Million", is still available to all interested in achieving their own Quantum Leap. Our QLA "Chat Room" will be operational in due course.

P.P.S. As promised, as part of the new QLA Millennium Internet Format, a ‘Free Consultation Program’ will be initiated — 01.01.01. Once a quarter, the subscriber who introduces the most new subscribers to the newsletter, will receive one hour’s FREE consultation. The new subscriber must mention your name. This one hour consultation [worth $3,000.00], can be used in parts, or, all at once over a given year. Alternatively it can be used to reduce the cost of any QLA seminar.

Monthly winners of the introduction program will receive my best-selling book "Build Your Own Guthrie" FREE –a £175.00 value.

Yearly winners will receive a FREE three-day "Executive Castle Seminar" at Guthrie Castle — a $9,000.00 value.

In addition for every "Your First 100 Million" purchased, on my website, a 10% discount on the "Executive Castle Seminar" will be given.

All the above incentives are exclusively for the benefit of QLA Internet Newsletter subscribers ONLY. Specifics on the new QLA Millennium Internet Newsletter program will be posted on my website SOON, but the race begins 01.01.01. Questions can be forwarded to:


Dan Peña
Guthrie Castle
By Forfar
Angus Scotland DD8 2TP

Dear Dan,

Thank you for another year of changing, learning, experiencing, struggling, falling and growing.
Thank you for your support, understanding and guidance.
This year was the most difficult year of all I can remember, a year where so many things have happened A year of making decisions that were not always easy, but as you always say, nothing in live is easy. I am lucky that I learned at a young age to be alone, but not being lonely. Because in the end I have to do it my self, not you ore anybody else.

I wish you a nice Christmas with Linda and the children.

Kindest Regards,


Dear Dan,

Throughout the years I learned a lot from you and your seminars.
Now that I reached my first goal in selling a company for the first time seriously, I want to thank you personally for your mentoring and coaching. I hope we can see and meet each other in the future as friends.
Furthermore I hope that I can call or meet you if I need some kind of advice or coaching.
If you or any one of your Dutch partners needs help or advice in Holland you can always call me if you think I can be of any help.

I wish you, Linda and the children a merry Christmas, a happy new year, good health and all the best for the future.

Kindest Regards