KEVIN ROSS - Managing Consultant
KEVIN ROSS – Managing Consultant
Colonel (ret.) Kevin D. Ross brings significant leadership experience from a long career in the Air Force and nine years in the Pentagon coordinating special operations activities to his role as Managing Consultant at Triangle Performance, LLC.
Inspired by his military mentors, the principle that guides Ross’ work in coaching executives and emerging leaders is the importance of leaving an organization better than he found it. Ross gets his greatest professional satisfaction when clients have an epiphanic moment of connecting their own behavior (not always positive) with the organizational challenge they’re trying address. Ross also gets fired up (He’s a Texas Aggie who knows how to “whoop!”) when he’s mentoring young leaders – recognizing that great doers don’t become great leaders without help.
He never ceases to be amazed by the similarities in leadership challenges at all levels – whether working with C-suite executives or new supervisors – and how the conversations all boil down to the development of basic leadership skills like communication, trust and empowerment. The leadership attributes Ross values most are those his role models share: unquestioned integrity, genuine, present in the moment, and respectful in their interactions with everyone, regardless of position.
Ross was born in Oklahoma City and raised in Pittsburgh in a family that made him believe that there was nothing he couldn’t accomplish (so he became a 93-pound varsity wrestler in high school). The family’s move in 1978 to The Woodlands north of Houston put Ross on the path to fulfilling his dream of becoming a pilot. He went to Texas A&M on an ROTC scholarship and graduated with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 1983. It was in the Corps of Cadets that he learned about authentic leadership and how to stay genuine as a student leader, making an impact on underclassmen and peers alike.
In the Air Force, Ross was a successful pilot (takeoffs = landings) but says he initially struggled with the officership part of military service. His “blind spot” was not being a good follower, particularly of “leaders” who weren’t leading. With help from a number of mentors he remains close to still, he learned both to follow and to inspire others to their highest performance – following the words of Harry S. Truman: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That idea is woven through his work at Triangle Performance.
After a second tour in the Pentagon working counterterrorism issues on the Joint Staff and as a consultant, Ross left behind amazing cadre of special operations and intelligence professionals to begin Life 2.0 with his bride of 28 years, settling close to his family in the Austin area (but not too close to the Texas orange).
His advice to new leaders: leadership is an activity, not a position, and it has to be intentional; people want to be led, not managed; and servant leadership is hard, and sometimes it hurts.
When he’s not working (when is that?) Ross likes to relax with friends and family on the patio, accompanied by a good cigar and single malt.