"Turn extraordinary into the ordinary" - Joshua "Atlas" Aultman, Founder & CEO
In the military, we are issued "KIT." These things are the baseline of things you can use to give you an advantage while doing your job. A standard uniform, boots, helmet, etc. Why isn't this the case for leadership? Why aren't we given a standard way to lead? After everything is laid out, leadership has basics and like anything - these fundamentals can make or break you. This is why Atlas Aultman created Leaders-KIT.
There are many baselines out there - but which ones actually work. Over three decades of leadership study and practice, various no-fail missions, and leading elite teams around the world with elite leaders - there is a baseline that produces excellence. But before we get to that, here is what Joshua "Atlas" Aultman had to go through, in his own words.
"We all have tough times in life that create stories. My life is like many of others. As an infant, my father left my mother. This happens to many people in life, but we had absolutely nothing after it happened. This is when Mom and I moved back in with my grandparents. As I began my formative years, I began learning from my grandfather. That is where my love of studying leaders all started.
He was an Army Special Operations Soldier who taught me how to walk, or rather, march. In fact, my first words were "hup-two-three-four." I wanted to make him proud, so I would try to say that four-word sequence of words as I pulled his boots on and waddled around in my diapers. Needless to say, my earliest memories were formed in military fashion, by learning how to use a commanding voice and control my body. All while people under his charge would come to the house for his help. This man, a highly decorated combat veteran with a heart of gold, was the foundation of who I wanted to become - a humble, respectable, teacher who wanted me to succeed. In other words, he was a successful military leader.
Then, mom met the man who later adopted me and became my dad. And guess what, he was a military leader too. He would often tell me stories about his time in Korea and how his troops would come to him because they knew he would deliver. After his service to the Army, he continued to lead others in the local community and still champions kindness and understanding that is often talked about and seldom seen.
At age 17, I told the only father I ever knew that I wanted to be a military leader. I wanted to study leaders. He said, "the Air Force has the best schools, development programs, and push continuous personal education - son." I tested high enough on the military tests to get into the Air Force and enlisted in 1995.
In my military career, I have been blessed with the absolute best influences. My first supervisor was a freshly retired Chief Master Sergeant (Top enlisted rank in the Air Force). He pushed college, reading, and self-development into my head like he was talking to his son. Because of his leadership - I deployed, made every promotion early, and began working in the front office of the most senior general officers and executives in command. With that experience and a few leadership schools under my belt, I excelled and became self-motivated to help others. It wasn't long before I was selected for a commissioning program that allowed me to finish my degree and continue my journey as a continuously evolving military leader.
While in college, I had little money and I noticed that my friends at the gym were in the same boat. So, I studied leadership at the university. People who were actually doing something and I founded a bodybuilding team that was sponsored by the university. I founded my first organization and became a champion bodybuilder. Team members exploded with success, in academics, in fitness magazines, and in competition. I learned that your ability to take care of others starts with your ability to take care of yourself.
After earning the commission of an Air Force Officer in the Department of Defense, I deployed to multiple continents, combat zones, and joint-service missions across the globe. I have commanded multiple times at different levels, and also had the opportunity to lead in multiple capacities. My specialty changed more times than I can count and in the ever-changing world of tech, I found myself surrounded by excellent technical minds and leaders from industry, academia, and other mission partner organizations.
I was in the thick of a major change to military operations, culture shifts, and technological increases. All of the units that I have been assigned to have won major organizational awards for blazing a trail in technology, collaboration, and process improvements. I also helped stand up one of the first three major organizational pieces to what are now core cyber focus areas in much of the government. I was recruited and selected to lead teams for the White House Communications Agency and another elite unit that I am currently not authorized to disclose. I won't list everything but trust me - I have been around and served what many consider the world's best leaders of our time. And, as a continuous student of leadership, I took notes.
In my last few roles as a senior advisor to top military leadership, I have been able to have side-bar discussions with contacts that I have had the pleasure of working with over the years, as well as new contacts. I've noticed that there is a huge void and lack of understanding on what leadership is. Many will claim to be great leaders and many of them are great managers, but there is a need for people to look at themselves and realize this - we can always do better. At leaders-KIT, we are making KITs you need to gain the status of the next-level leader you could be. Adding best-seller, experience, or another certification to your resume. We sell these upgrades, and I thank god every day that we've gotten to help thousands around the word level-up."
As with any passion, one can never truly be satisfied. Do you want to help more people? The problem is continuous and larger than us. What is it? The problem is common leadership is ineffective, ignored, and accepted. I'm fighting against those common mindsets to create better people, teams, and organizations through extraordinary leadership.