Grit & Leadership Lessons with Jan Rutherford

Jun 27, 2024

Leadership lessons are crucial for cultivating grit and character to become an effective leader. This pressing question is at the heart of the latest episode of Fordify LIVE! The Business Growth Show, where Ford is joined by Jan Rutherford, a former Green Beret turned business consultant, who shares his journey and valuable insights into leadership.

In this episode, Ford and Jan delve into the essence of effective leadership and the importance of character traits such as courage and grit. Jan’s experiences, both as a Green Beret and a successful business consultant, provide a unique perspective on why character still matters in today’s fast-paced business environment. He emphasizes that the willingness to have tough conversations is what distinguishes effective leaders from those mired in mediocrity.

Ford and Jan explore the challenges executives face in prioritizing and balancing new responsibilities, highlighting that internal grit is essential for overcoming these hurdles. Jan discusses how developing grit can help leaders build trust, navigate tough times, and achieve extraordinary results. He shares his belief that grit involves sacrifice, determination, and discipline, but it also requires the ability to seek and embrace solitude. This reflection enables leaders to step back, slow down, and view problems from a calm, strategic perspective.

Ford and Jan also discuss the concept of being ‘squared away’ as a leader, emphasizing the need for leaders to be mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared. Jan explains that self-reliant leaders understand their impact on others and regulate their emotions to respond in ways that benefit the team rather than satisfy their egos. This ability fosters trust and commitment within the team, leading to greater ownership and accountability among team members.

Jan shares practical advice and real-world examples, as he underscores the importance of self-awareness and the need for leaders to develop strong, trusted relationships within their organizations. This, he argues, is crucial for creating a culture of communication and alignment where everyone understands what success looks like.

Ford offers his insights into leadership, addressing common pitfalls and emphasizing the importance of situational leadership. His practical approach complements Jan’s focus on character and grit, covering both the strategic and personal dimensions of effective leadership.

Jan and Ford emphasize the importance of setting clear expectations and understanding the consequences of actions. Jan points out that many leaders neglect developing their team members, focusing instead on status meetings. Thus, resulting in a lack of accountability and performance issues. Effective leaders, on the other hand, dedicate time to one-on-one interactions, asking questions that encourage self-discovery and align individual efforts with organizational goals.

Jan offers sage advice for leaders, emphasizing the need for continuous self-reflection and personal development. He shares a simple yet powerful journaling exercise that can help leaders track their progress, identify patterns, and maintain focus on their priorities. Ford echoes these sentiments, encouraging listeners to take actionable steps to improve their leadership capabilities.

Join Fordify LIVE! every Wednesday at 11AM Central on your favorite social platforms and catch The Business Growth Show Podcast every Thursday for a weekly dose of business growth wisdom. Don’t miss out on these engaging discussions that can transform your approach to leadership and business growth.

About Jan Rutherford

Jan Rutherford, a distinguished business consultant and former Green Beret, brings a wealth of experience from both military and corporate environments. He believes that character, especially courage, is crucial for effective leadership. Jan emphasizes that internal grit, which can be developed by anyone, helps leaders build trust, navigate challenges, and achieve extraordinary results.

Jan advocates for solitude to reflect and address problems strategically, enabling leaders to become ‘squared away’ physically, mentally, and emotionally. Self-reliant leaders understand their impact, regulate their emotions, and foster trust within their teams. This leads to greater ownership, accountability, and alignment with organizational goals, eliminating silos and politics.

His Self-Reliant Leadership® philosophy focuses on cultivating grit, fostering accountability, and balancing discipline with innovation to unlock the potential of individuals and teams.

Learn more about Jan and get his new book at

Show Host: Ford Saeks, Business Growth Specialist, Keynote Speaker, Author and Consultant. Helping you find, attract, and keep your customers. Find out more about Ford