WashingtonExec has been reaching out to leaders in government and government contracting to learn more about their habits, experiences and perspectives. Next in the series is Kevin Wideman, CEO of Koniag Government Services. His experience includes 30 years of leading and growing several mid- to large-size government contracting organizations.
What’s on your reading list?
“Leadership and Self-Deception” by The Arbinger Institute. The book was recommended to me by a colleague. This book articulates the manners by which we deceive ourselves when evaluating problematic situations. And as a result, most of our solutions will be off-point as well. My takeaway hope is that of greater “self-awareness,” which I find to be the greatest weakness of most leaders.
“Raise the Roof” by Pat Summitt. I love Coach Summitt’s leadership style. This book details the trials and tribulations that Coach Summit endured during one special basketball season. Her team had won the National Championship the year before. Although most starters were returning, she recruited the most talented class of incoming freshmen ever. My primary takeaway was Coach Summitt’s ability to convince such an overly talented group of people to put aside their personal agendas for the good of the team’s agenda. This helped me forge my “Company First” philosophy.
“Mind Gym” by Gary Mack. Given to me by a fellow coach, this book basically touches on the various mental approaches to achieving inner excellence. My primary takeaway was to always look inward first when things are not going well, while continuing to focus on the things that you can actually control.
Tell me about a time in your life when you had to really stretch yourself in order to learn and grow.
My father passed away during my junior year in college. There wasn’t much in the way of life insurance, thus I had no real financial path to complete my education. At that point, I had to assume control of that particular phase of my destiny by working two jobs — commuting 50 miles each way to school to save room/board — and continuing a full electrical engineering course load. The greatest lesson learned from that process was one of hard work and perseverance can get you through most dire situations.
If you could go back and give your younger self career and/or life advice, what would you say?
I would tell myself to never assume that just because someone is in a leadership role, that they are equally equipped to judge your ability to assume his or her role. Always respect the position of leadership, but never let any human being limit your ability to dream and reach higher aspirations.
What’s your favorite city to visit? What do you enjoy doing there?
I love visiting Fort Collins/Denver, Colorado. Great combination of down-to-Earth people, restaurants and outdoor activities. I actually love to golf there as the golf ball travels so much further in that thin air. Fort Collins has historically made the list of the top five places to live in the USA, and I know why.
Tell me about an app, device or type of technology you personally love and why.
I still love my old school iPod touch. It is my primary music device. Just music. I have over 20,000 songs on it, with a playlist for nearly any occasion.