It’s time for another enlightening chat in our ongoing #MeetTheTeam series, introducing you to members of our terrific faculty at RBLP. Today we’re speaking with James Meade, RBLP-T!
Hi James! Thanks for chatting with us. Tell us a little about who you are and where you’re from.
Hello, I’m so honored to be with you today. My name is James Meade, but I go by Jim most of the time. I was born and raised on the east side of Columbus, Ohio by a team of parents that both served themselves: My mom was in the U.S. Army Reserve and my dad retired from the U.S. Air Force’s Security Forces.
I love my hometown and try to get back there often, especially for Ohio State football. However, in my hometown you had to know how to breakdance and roller-skate if you were going to make it. I was proud to be raised there because it was truly diverse, much like the military. It taught me from an incredibly young age that no matter what you looked like, there was significant value in understanding how differences can make us better and stronger.
What can you tell us about your education and career background before you started working with RBLP?
After attaining the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, I joined the U.S. Army in 1989 as a Medic. I left active duty after my first enlistment so I could go home, join the U.S. Army Reserve, and attend The Ohio State University. A change of plans in late 2001 and I was called back to active duty, where I remained until my recent retirement in May 2020. I was able to finish what I had started, receiving my Bachelor’s degree in 2006; I started my Master’s degree in 2010 and finished my last class while attending the U.S. Army Sergeant’s Major Academy, graduating both in 2015. After the Academy, I was assigned as a Battalion Sergeant Major at Fort Story in Virginia Beach. My final assignment was a Brigade Sergeant Major as my MOS’s Branch Chief and Chief Instructor. My assignments and deployments have taken me around the world. Some places were amazing, others less so but either way, my family and I are so very proud of our service to this great nation. We wouldn’t change a single thing.
Who is a role model that you’ve interacted with in your life that inspired you toward this career trajectory?
This is like being asked who your favorite band is when you love all kinds of music, especially when music has shaped my life and career. But, if I had to narrow it down to as close as I can get to a role model, it would be my family. I’ve always been driven to do my absolute best to honor my wife’s decision to say “I do”, make my parents proud, give my children something to aspire to, and have the closest of friends who are pleased to have us in their life.
What drew you to the role that you’re fulfilling with RBLP as a certification instructor?
The excitement and passion for leader development. I feel that as we senior leaders get older, we may not be as physically intimidating – I know I’m not at 49 years of age – but the ability to unpack and distribute what we have stored between our earlobes can have a significant impact. Leaders at all levels understand that the issues of today are much like those of the past.
Additionally, when I help our clients with the prep training, of course I’m hoping they do well on the exam. But, it is my greatest hope that they take what they’ve learned back to their team. As the client gets better, so does the team. When that happens, I feel like I have a small piece of their victory which is the purest form of fulfillment.
In your mind, what is the best definition of “resilience” for those who might be unfamiliar with the program that RBLP offers?
I’ve never once thought that resilience was about reaching your goals or “pushing through” as most military minds would say. It is, however, all about knowing that along the way, you will stumble. By knowing that ahead of time, you a) anticipate that it’s coming, and b) can already formulate a plan to reengage. The road of life rides through adversity, and overcoming it makes us understand that we can prevail over setbacks whether they are ours or our team’s. I see resilience as mental fitness; a skill that can be learned and sharpened as needed. RBLP offers our clients the perspective of experiential commonality centered on “we” not “me”.
What are the three most important components, in your opinion, that you try to convey to every team that you train under the RBLP certification program?
1. It’s all about developing leaders through synergistic resilience; building resilient teams that will win and succeed when faced with extreme and continuous adversity.
2. We help leaders become change agents for spirited optimism. When the climate is changed to the point people can flourish in psychologically safe and committed environments, the victories are limitless.
3. When a team has a high level of collective efficacy, it increases the overall possibilities and odds for continuous victories.
What is one of your own best personal experiences in your career that has influenced or inspired you in your certification training?
For me, it was the poor leadership along the way. I’m certain that I grabbed what I could from the great leaders in my career. Still, for me it was the toxic leaders that when given a little bit of power exploited it to get what they wanted or lead in a way that benefited them. They gave me an example of what wrong looks like. The way I was treated, along with so many others as well, serves as a form of inspiration to lead people and not manage through toxicity. Our military service members deserve great leadership. I’ve never looked at my soldiers as pawns, I’ve always looked at them as sons and daughters; husbands and wives; aunts and uncles; brothers and sisters. When you see people as individuals that others count on, it’s easier to see their worth because you’re exactly the same.
In your time as an RBLP instructor, what is one of your best memories of a training program that you’ve accomplished with a company and why?
I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one because there are many things I feel I can learn from our clients. There’s definitely a chance with each one that I’ll learn more from them than they may learn from me, but that’s the point in an environment where learning and growing is centered on experiential knowledge.
Pivoting a little bit from the program – tell us a little about yourself outside of work! What other activities or hobbies do you love
I really haven’t gotten into too many hobbies, having just retired while COVID-19 is still a factor. However, here in Texas it’s a great time of the year to be outside. With that said, I’m getting in more golf, hiking, and helping veteran organizations as a volunteer.
Can you give us a quotation that you feel really inspires you to continue inspiring others?
“Your greatness is measured by your kindness; your education and intellect by your modesty; your ignorance is betrayed by your suspicions and prejudices, and your real caliber is measured by the consideration and tolerance you have for others.” – William J.H. Boetcker.
RBLP leadership certifications are about Building Resilient Teams™ that overcome adversity and then can adapt and grow together!