Peak Performance: Lessons in High-Stake Leadership

A rapidly-changing world is putting leaders—and their organizations—under stress as never before. In this episode, Gautam Mukunda is joined by former Navy bomb specialist Daniel (Danny) Glenn and biomedical researcher Aleksandra (Sandra) Stankovic to explore human performance in extreme environments and how to lead when the stakes are increasingly high.

Danny is a former Navy Special Operations Officer who was the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Commander for the Special Operations Task Force in Iraq. After the Navy, he was a Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University and the CEO of a major family office in California. Sandra is an Assistant Professor at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. She is an aerospace psychologist, human factors engineer, and spaceflight biomedical researcher who studies human performance in extreme operational environments.

“It’s not necessarily strength you want to build, but resilience. The ability to rebound back and forth from periods of intensity.” — Aleksandra Stankovic

@gmukunda On Twitter


Books Referenced:

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything, by Chris Hadfield

The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien


Guest Info:

Dr. Aleksandra Stankovic is an aerospace psychologist, and a human factors engineer and spaceflight biomedical researcher working to optimize high-level human performance and sustained behavioral health in extreme operational environments, much like the ones Danny was in disarming bombs. Human factors engineering, for those who don’t know, is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to improve the design of systems and technologies in a human-centered way through the application of principles from psychology, physiology, and engineering, and she’ll tell us more about it as we get into the conversation. Sandra was previously an Assistant Professor in the Space Medicine Innovations Laboratory at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and has recently joined the Neural Systems Group of the Department of Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where she is starting up a new research lab focused on human performance.

@AeroAleksandra on Twitter


Daniel Glenn served in the United States military for a decade, acting as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy’s elite Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit, where he was deployed to Iraq and other hotspots around the globe. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his work in countering the terrorist group ISIS. He studied International Relations at the United States Naval Academy before earning a Master’s degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland. He was also a Schwarzman Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where he earned his second Master’s degree. He was hired in Silicon Valley as a turnaround CEO and is now working in the private sector.