Archive for military leadership

Character is Crumbling in Leadership

Posted in Core Values, Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2016 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

In military and civilian academic institutions around the world, above and beyond their core curriculum, character is taught and inspired.  In each of the military academies in the United States, as well as college Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs, the purpose and responsibility is to produce leaders of character.  To accomplish this, they incorporate the values of integrity, respect, responsibility, compassion, and gratitude into the daily life of cadets and midshipmen who aspire to become tomorrow’s leaders.

The U.S. Naval Academy’s mission, for example, is to develop midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor, and loyalty.  They provide graduates who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.[i]  The Naval Academy has a deep and abiding commitment to the moral development of its midshipmen and to instilling the naval service core values of honor, courage, and commitment.[ii]

At the U.S. Military Academy at West Point character development strategy promotes living honorably and building trust.  West Point believes that their approach not only develops character, but modifies behavior over the course of the 47-month cadet experience.  Ultimately, the desire is for cadets and rotating faculty members to depart West Point with the character, competence, and commitment to build and lead resilient teams that thrive in complex security environments.  Most importantly, everyone commits to living honorably and building trust, on and off duty.[iii]

The Cadet Honor Code at West Point:

A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.[iv]

Recommended Reading: Duty, Honor, Country

The U.S. Air Force Academy has the Center for Character and Leadership development, where they advance the understanding, practice, and integration of character and leadership development as a catalyst for achieving the academy’s highest purpose, while also preparing the cadets for service to the nation in the profession of arms.[v]  I think the Air Force Academy has it absolutely correct when they say that there has never been a more critical time to increase understanding of how moral and ethical dimensions interact with the complexities of leadership – not only in the military context, but across many fields of human endeavor.[vi]

The demonstration of moral and ethical attributes are essential for effective leadership as a commissioned officer in the U.S. military.

Those who possess leadership characteristics seek to discover the truth, decides what is right, and demonstrates the courage to act accordingly – always.[vii]  Officers in the military are to epitomize humility, self-effacement, and selfless service.  So, at the basic and academic level, before the bars are pinned onto a newly commissioned officer, candidates are taught the importance of equality, dignity, and respect.[viii]

Aside from all of these foundations for character development from which scholars transition into professionals in varying fields of expertise and responsibility, it seems that the façade of character in today’s military is crumbling.

Recommended Reading: Defining Military Character

The Moral Compass is Broken

In 2015, just in the U.S. Navy alone, there were twenty commanding officers, four executive officers, and eight senior enlisted firings.  In one of last year’s cases, the commanding officer of the Norfolk-based USS Anzio propositioned a subordinate for sex in exchange for career advancement during a “wetting down”[ix] party at a nearby bar.  There was heavy drinking and inappropriate fraternization that evening, followed the next day by an encounter in the commanding officer’s cabin.

The list for 2016 is already growing.  From the firing of top leaders of a U.S. Navy destroyer for allowing fireworks and gambling on their ship, to a Navy officer being accused of spying, it appears that the moral compass for these leaders has broken.

Related: Relieved of Command

How can it be that the moral compass for these leaders has broken?  Why have they ventured off course so far that they ruin their careers, tarnish the branch of service they belong, and betray those who have, up to that point, trusted them with precious people, equipment, and resources?  Has leading by example become so difficult in today’s complex military environment that doing the right thing has become challenging?

In an article on the Military Times website, Andrew Tilghman reported that the Pentagon’s force-wide look at misconduct among senior military officers, and the efforts to prevent it, found that the Navy and Air Force lag behind in professionalism, while the Army and the Marine Corps have a very mature profession of arms.  Rear Admiral Margaret “Peg” Klein, the defense secretary’s senior advisor for military professionalism, attributes the Army and Marine Corps’ success to sending junior officers into leadership positions, and their professional identity is learned very early in their careers, where they quickly learn the importance of trust, humility, integrity, and empathy.

Not only are officers and non-commissioned officer’s responsible for upholding their own ethical behavior, they are responsible for instilling morals in their subordinates.

It seems the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ mentality is a growing epidemic throughout the ranks.  Maybe it’s time for the Pentagon to conduct an ethics stand down to reach every service member from four-star rank down to the recruit in basic training, similar to what the Marine Corps did a few years ago, to emphasize code of conduct and core values.  But, will that really begin the process to reduce and eliminate the problem?

Retired Army colonel, David S. Maxwell, Associate Director for Security Studies at Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, in an article about the growing concern over top military officers’ ethics, was quoted saying, “Faced with stress, and a very complex combat environment, people make mistakes.”  Andrew Bacevich, professor emeritus of international relations and history at Boston University, in an article asking if recent ethics and sex scandals undermine integrity of the officer corps, said “The truth is just because people are wearing stars, doesn’t mean they are immune from human frailties.”  Are these legitimate reasons for these ethical lapses in judgement, or merely excuses?

Character is the foundation upon which all leadership traits are built.

Moral and ethical behavior is truly where one’s leadership becomes the bedrock of who we are as individuals, and as leaders.  Its strength comes from the fortitude to always do our best, and to always do what is right, no matter what may lure us away from making the right decision.  The four cornerstones of this foundation are the values of integrity, respect, responsibility and professionalism.  Or, to use a different and more common metaphor, these become the four points on the moral compass.  They are the core values of a leader that lead to uprightness and success.

No matter what our challenges happen to be, either driven by stress or human urges, we must strive to reach deep within ourselves to overcome the temptation to make poor decisions; no matter if we are in uniform downrange, or in daily life with our family or friends.  Our country, society, superiors, peers, subordinates, family, and friends are relying on our steady and consistent moral courage to translate into professional decorum and behavior; always.

Many respected military leaders of the past espoused the vitally important qualities of a leader.  Lieutenant General John A. Lejeune, the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps said, “Leadership is the sum of those qualities of intellect, human understanding, and moral character that enables a person to inspire and control a group of people successfully.”  Among General Douglas MacArthur’s 17 Principles of Leadership, which essentially acts as a leader’s self-assessment questionnaire, there is this question: “Am I a constant example to my subordinates in character, dress, deportment and courtesy?”[x]

An excerpt from the West Point Cadet Prayer reads, “Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole truth can be won.  Endow us with the courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.”[xi]

The trailhead to success was clearly identified to us early in our lives and careers.  Ultimately, it became our responsibility to continue to travel along a wholesome path.  But, at some point in our lives, we find ourselves at the intersection of human-nature and temptation, faced with the challenge to make the right decision.  When this happens to you, which way will you go?  Will your moral compass point you in the right direction?  Is the foundation of your character strong enough to stand firm?  Or, will your character crumble to the ground?  What will your leadership legacy be?  Lessons learned through life’s experiences, as well as the awareness and attentiveness to your surroundings, should always provide you the sense of direction necessary to make the right decision.  You must have courage, faith and confidence that your moral compass will point you in the right direction; the path toward the intersection of character and integrity.  If your ultimate destination is success and victory, follow your moral compass.[xii]

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Notes:

[i] U.S. Naval Academy. Mission of USNA. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usna.edu/About/mission.php.

[ii] U.S. Naval Academy. Character Development. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usna.edu/Admissions/Military-Preparation/Character-Development.php.

[iii] The William E. Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic. “Character Development Strategy – Live Honorably and Build Trust.” Letter by Robert L. Caslen, Jr., Lieutenant General, U.S. Army, Superintendent, United States Military Academy: Page 3. Dec. 2014. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usma.edu/strategic/shared documents/west point’s character development strategy(digital-2-4-15).pdf.

[iv] “The Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic – Honor.” The Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic – Honor. Web. Accessed 17 Apr. 2016.  http://www.usma.edu/scpme/sitepages/honor.aspx

[v] “Center for Character & Leadership Development Homepage.” Center for Character & Leadership Development Homepage. U.S. Air Force Academy. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usafa.edu/Commandant/cwc/.

[vi] U.S. Air Force Academy, Journal of Character & Leadership Integration (JCLI). Center for Character Development – Publications Archive. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usafa.edu/Commandant/cwc/cwcs/docs/cwcsPub_Archive.cfm.

[vii] “Building Capacity to Lead – The West Point System for Leader Development.” Officership & Perspective: Our Targets for Leader Development | Leader of Character: Page 18. United States Military Academy. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usma.edu/strategic/siteassets/sitepages/home/building the capacity to lead.pdf.

[viii] Wilson, Dale R. “Schofield’s Definition of Discipline.” Command Performance Leadership. Command Performance Leadership, 23 Feb. 2012. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. https://commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/schofields-definition-of-discipline/.

[ix] A ‘Wetting Down’ is a ceremony or event held congratulating a newly promoted officer.  More information can be found here:  “Social Customs & Traditions of the Sea Services.” Functions & Traditions – Wetting-Down Parties: page 14. Naval Services FamilyLine. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. htttp://www.goatlocker.org/resources/cpo/downloads/customs.pdf

[x] Donnithorne, Larry. The West Point Way of Leadership: From Learning Principled Leadership to Practicing it. New York: Currency Doubleday, 1993. pp. 178-179. Print.

[xi] Cadet Prayer. Office of Chaplains. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. http://www.usma.edu/chaplain/SitePages/Cadet Prayer.aspx.

[xii] Adapted from “Pithy Points to Ponder (A Leader’s Moral Compass),” by Dale R. Wilson on the blog Command Performance Leadership. 14 Nov. 2012. Web. Accessed 15 Apr. 2016. Edited and adapted for this publication. https://commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/pithy-points-to-ponder-a-leaders-moral-compass/.

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A Leadership Blog Reborn

Posted in Command Performance, Inaugural Posts with tags , , , , , on December 28, 2014 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

It has been far too long since I last posted to this blog.  Shame on me!  First, let me extend my sincerest apologies to those who have found this blog to be informative and inspiring.  I realize that my abrupt departure from writing has disappointed many loyal readers who have come to enjoy Command Performance Leadership.  I realize that one of the worst things a blogger can do is abandon their blog for long lengths of time, running the risk of losing readership, as well as the credibility of what the writer and the blog represents to its audience.  Although I have been mini-blogging on Twitter (@5StarLeadership), there is nothing like writing a blog that presents ideas and perspectives on topics that are compelling; themes and subjects that provoke thought and inspire discussion.

But, I’ve been a little busy, lately.  Let me offer a brief explanation, and bring you up to date on what’s been going on in my World.

In February of 2010, I found myself unexpectedly facing an abrupt transition in my career.  Laid-off from the company I had been working for, and on the brink of exiting the industry that I had spent the first twenty-years of my career, I was thrown into quite a discouraging and frightening set of circumstances for someone who had, up to that point, been settled into a comfort zone of stability virtually their entire career.  For the two years that followed, I struggled to gain footing onto a new career path.  But, In April of 2012, I entered into a hiring process for a business operations management position with an industrial butterfly valve company, serving the petro-chemical and power-generation markets.  After countless interviews, which occurred through the remainder of that year, I was hired to become the Business Manager of Quadax Valves, Inc.; a newly established start-up here in the United States.  I began my job in January of 2013 with the task of organizing the business administration and operations of this new business unit in a highly competitive and seasoned marketplace.  I have been hard at work and deeply engaged in those endeavors, building the North America operation for our parent company, which is headquartered in Forchtenberg, Germany.

In my absence from writing, the military leadership genre in the blogosphere has continued to grow, with online discussions about the synergies between military and private-sector leadership continuing to add new voices.  In a recent Tweet, The Military Leader shared a post from his blog, “7 Military Blogs You Need to Check Out,” which highlighted his ‘go to’ list of blogs that focus on the discussion of military leadership.  That blog post, and the Tweets in reply that followed, revealed that there are many in social media (blogs, Twitter, etc.) talking about military leadership and life in the military; far more than when I first started my blog a few years ago.  The Military Leader has since expanded his Blogs Page, and I am proud that my blog now appears on that list among other blogs I aspire this blog to be like.

So, I better get back to it, if I want to be considered a legitimate and credible resource in this genre.  There’s a lot of work to do to get my blog back to where it used to be, and to enter back into the forum of discussion with those who find that there is great importance in highlighting the traits and skills that our military offers, and to tell the many stories about how military leadership has its place in today’s corporate environment.  Command Performance Leadership will take its place among its peers in the blogosphere.

Of course, this is an ideal time to bring this blog back to life.  With a new year upon us, we should all be looking to kick aside old and bad habits, and to resolve to develop new behaviors and lifestyle changes that will bring greater success and victory.

For those of you that are new to my blog, WELCOME!  I am grateful that you have found it.  Please take some time to browse around this blog, paging back through recent and older posts, and using the search tool to look for topics that interest you.  For a quick-start to the blog, please read About the Blog and The Birth of a Leadership Blog to learn more about the premise and purpose of this blog.  And, I encourage you to look through the Archives of Past Posts.  I sincerely hope that what is within the pages of this blog now, and posts that I write in the future, will interest you enough for you to become a loyal reader.

Your turn to join the discussion 

What would be your “Mount Rushmore” of blogs?

Who are you following on Twitter that brings you valuable information and news?

What are you planning to change in the coming year that will translate to more victories in your life?

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What topics should this blog focus on and discuss in future posts?

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Leadership That Is McChrystal Clear

Posted in Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

When a military leader hangs up his combat boots after a long and successful career, I always hope that they plan to share their experiences, wisdom and leadership philosophies in the pages of a book.  It has become commonplace in the last two decades for a military officer who has been successful on the battlefield to write a book about their life in uniform (Schwarzkopf, Franks, Powell).  And, throughout history, we have been fortunate to learn a lot about our greatest, most storied Generals and Admirals (Washington, Grant, Lee, Halsey, Nimitz, Eisenhower, Patton, MacArthur, etc.) through their own writing and words, and those of historians, biographers, authors, and bloggers who have determined that learning and discussing what made these military officers great leaders is valuable knowledge to current and future leaders and scholars.  You can find an assortment of these books on the internet.

General Stanley McChrystal (U.S. Army Retired) has written a memoir entitled, “My Share of the Task,” adding to the list of many great military leaders whose life in uniform has been chronicled.  Stanley McChrystal retired in July 2010 as a four-star General in the U.S. Army.  His last assignment was as the commander of the International Security Assistance Force and as the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.  He had previously served as the direc­tor of the Joint Staff and as the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command.  He is currently a senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and the co-founder of the McChrystal Group, a leadership consulting firm.

I have yet to add McChrystal’s book to my bookshelf, so this post is not a review or endorsement of it.  I absolutely intend on grabbing a copy of his book very soon.  Instead, this post is to highlight his leadership philosophy and wisdom that allowed him to climb the ranks of the United States Army to become a Four-Star General.  While most people are focusing more attention on how his career came to an abrupt end following a Rolling Stone article in 2010, I would prefer discussing his leadership.  I think each of us can learn a lot from this warrior, statesman and scholar.

A one-of-a-kind commander with remarkable record of achievement, General Stanley McChrystal is widely praised for creating a revolution in warfare that fused intelligence and operations.  He stresses a uniquely inclusive leadership model focused on building teams capable of relentless pursuit of results. When old systems fall short, McChrystal believes true leaders must look for ways to innovate and change.  From his extraordinary career, McChrystal reveals a four-star management strategy, stressing openness, teamwork, and forward-thinking.

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General McChrystal is the co-founder of the McChrystal Group.  From his time as a commanding general, he revolutionized key leadership principles such as transparency and inclusion; leveraging the power of teams through shared ownership; and sharing a clear vision for winning with an extended team.

He, along with his team at The McChrystal Group, have developed a program called the CrossLead Way.  The principles and operational structure of CrossLead are based on the exceptional military leadership successes of the General and his staff.  The principles of CrossLead are:

1. Trust

Build a foundation of relationships based on trust and teamwork.

2. Understand
Understand the operating environment and your organization while constantly adapting for purpose.

3. Align
Align the team around a clearly defined vision, set of values and an achievable and resilient strategy.

4. Communicate
Force and foster a culture of inclusion, transparency, and accountability through constant communication.

5. Decide
Create shared ownership by decentralizing decision-making and execution to the most effective level.

6. Discipline
Ruthlessly prioritize, maintain a disciplined and sustainable battle rhythm, and focus on what only you can affect.

7. Win
Accomplish your objectives. Succeed constantly by relentlessly assessing and improving performance. Win.

From these principles, the McChrystal Group believes that the collective wisdom of an organization is it’s most valuable resource – that trust, speed and discipline are decisive – that leaders are made and leadership is a choice.  Most importantly, we believe in winning in any environment.

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Since General McChrystal’s retirement, he has shared what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military as a public speaker and lecturer.  His overall leadership premise is how can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets?  His answer is by listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure.  This blog has featured General McChrystal in the past, but I wanted to again highlight some of the key points General McChrystal emphasizes in his presentations to groups, organizations, companies and students:

1) If your people do everything you taught them to do, and they do those things properly, you led them well. People follow leaders.

2) Leaders can let you fail, and yet not let you be a failure.

3) Leaders build confidence and trust in their people. And, those who you are leading have to have faith and trust in the leader. Leaders have to build faith, trust and confidence.

4) In failure, the leader must reach out to his force and rebuild trust and confidence…rebuilt confidence in the force, rebuilt confidence in the leader, and rebuilt confidence in the seniors of the leader and the force.

5) A leader must build consensus and a sense of shared purpose with his force.

6) How does a leader stay credible and legitimate when they haven’t done what the people their leading are doing? Leaders must become more transparent and a lot more willing to listen.

7) Keep your promises and live up to your obligations; to your subordinates, your peers and your superiors. Be ready to support them when they need you most.

8) A leader isn’t good because he is right. They’re good because their willing to learn, and to trust. If you are a leader, the people you’ve counted on will help you out. And, if you’re a leader, the people who count on you need you on your feet.

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Unfortunately, General McChrystal’s career ended sooner than he or anyone anticipated, but in no way short of victory.  As with any abrupt departure of a high-profile military leader due to controversy, scandal or integrity issues, we should always look at what that person did in their career in total; the quality of the individual, and the successes they achieved.  General McChrystal dedicated 34 years of his life to the United States Army, and his leadership, warrior spirit and patriotism, without question, is what makes him one of the great military leaders of our time.  The military prematurely lost this officer, but the private sector has gained a gem in McChrystal (to use a bit of a pun).  We now become the new benefactors of his teachings, wisdom and philosophy.  Through his new book, we can see inside this man and the principles that have made him successful. , beyond the controversy of the Rolling Stone article back in 2010.  As I said earlier, I intend on purchasing his book, and I think you should too.

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

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Related Articles –

McChrystal Speaks Out on Rolling Stone Article (foxnews.com)

General Stanley McChrystal: Leadership Lessons from Afghanistan (Forbes.com)

Stan McChrystal: Trading Shadows for Showtime with accompanying video Q & A With General Stanley McChrystal (time.com)

‘I Accept Responsibility’: McChrystal On His ‘Share Of The Task’ (npr.org)

Gen. McChrystal’s Lessons in Leadership

(cnbc.com)

[Video] Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal on Leadership (youtube.com)

Sources –

Plywood Leadership: Lessons on Leadership from a Warrior, Statesman and Scholar – Accessed 13 January 2013 – Association for Corporate Growth (ACG Global) – http://www.acg.org/

CrossLead Way – Accessed 13 January 2013 – McChrystal Group – http://www.mcchrystalgroup.com/home

Listen, Learn…Then Lead – Accessed 13 January 2013 – Command Performance Leadership blog – https://commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com/

Photo Credits –

Book cover and profile picture – The McChrystal Group via http://www.mcchrystalgroup.com/home – Accessed 13 January 2013

Stanley McChrystal: Listen, Learn…Then Lead – http://images.ted.com/images/ted/1e1176d6968f6b244a1962d6231a5410fa7d8ef9_389x292.jpg – Ted.com – Accessed 13 January 2013

The Leader Who Was General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

Posted in Current Affairs, Leadership, Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

We have lost a giant in the ranks of great military leaders throughout history.  General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., who commanded the U.S.-led international coalition to drive Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in 1991, died on Thursday, December 27, in Tampa, Fla., of complications from pneumonia, according to press reports.  This comes as a shock and surprise because this larger than life man seemed to be invincible, never willing to give in to defeat of anything in war, nor in life.  He was a soldier’s general who “embodied the warrior spirit,”[i]

General Schwarzkopf was commissioned a Second Lieutenant after graduating in 1956 from the United States Military Academy at West Point.  He received advanced infantry and airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia.  He attended the University of Southern California, receiving a Master of Science in mechanical engineering in 1964.  In 1966 he volunteered for Vietnam and served two tours, first as a U.S. adviser to South Vietnamese paratroops and later as a battalion commander in the U.S. Army’s Americal Division.  He earned three Silver Stars for valor — including one for saving troops from a minefield — plus a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and  three Distinguished Service Medals.[ii]

Of course, General Schwarzkopf’s most notable and celebrated career achievement was when he was Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Central Command.  In 1991, Schwarzkopf commanded Operation Desert Storm, and a coalition force from 34 nations, against Iraq in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.  It was Schwarzkopf’s blueprint for the defense of the oil fields of the Persian Gulf (against a hypothetical invasion by Iraq), which was the basis for Operation Desert Shield, the defense of Saudi Arabia.[iii]  During the Gulf War, he commanded more than 540,000 U.S. troops and 200,000 allied forces in a six-week war that routed Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait.  The sweeping armored movement he employed during the ground campaign is seen as one of the great accomplishments in military history.  The maneuver ended the ground war in only 100 hours.

General Schwarzkopf was a brilliant strategist and inspiring leader.  If there was ever a leader who knew mission accomplishment was about the troops, and not about the leader, it was General Norman Schwarzkopf.

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Brigadier General John C. “Doc” Bahnsen, Jr. once wrote the following about his friend, General Schwarzkopf:

…I have known (Norm Schwarzkopf) for over 45 years, ever since our Plebe year at West Point in 1952.  He was…personable when I first knew him…Norm has charisma that stems from a boyish-like enthusiasm for being a soldier.  His enthusiasm has been his most important professional trait among a number of other extremely important and unique qualities.  Norm loves soldiers and he loves soldiering, and it shows in everything he does and says.  His outgoing personality has made him internationally popular.  His sincerity is genuine.  What you see is what you get.  He has walked the walk of a soldier all his life and he can talk the talk of a soldier based on solid credentials and impressive performance in peacetime as well as in war.

Brilliant intellect and rock solid integrity have been key factors in Norm Schwarzkopf’s development as a charismatic leader.  Being a big man makes him stand out in a crowd, but what makes people remember him is his bright, infectious, enthusiastic conversation.  You remember talking to Norm, you remember him looking directly at you, and you remember his thoughtful and colorful comments.  His sense of humor is well developed [sic] and although he is not overly profane, he can cuss colorfully if the occasion so dictates.[iv]

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The following quotes attributed to General Schwarzkopf are from Leadership Now‘s Leading Blog:

On Leadership Development
You learn far more from negative leadership than from positive leadership. Because you learn how not to do it. And, therefore, you learn how to do it.

On Character
Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.

On Leadership
Do what is right, not what you think the high headquarters wants or what you think will make you look good.

On Courage
True courage is being afraid, and going ahead and doing your job anyhow, that’s what courage is.

On Knowing Doing
The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.

On Success
Success is sweet, but the secret is sweat.

Continue reading Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf 1934-2012 via Leadership Now‘s Leading Blog

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GULF WAR Schwarzkopf – The Victory

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There is much more that can be discussed about General Schwarzkopf’s leadership.  This blog intends to continue to study and discuss this remarkable military officer in future posts.  Since General Schwarzkopf’s death last week, much has been written about his leadership, and his influence on the troops, the United States Army and the military he served.  Below, I share a few of these articles and resources with you.  Additionally, I have interspersed a few (much) older articles and resources that you might like to read and view.  I recommend and encourage you read each of them.

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

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Footnotes

[i] From a statement made by U.S. Army General Martin E. Dempsey, 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GENDempsey) on Friday, December 28, 2012. (accessed Monday, December 31)

[ii] God Speed Stormin’ Norman… – Posted December 27, 2012 – http://www.blackfive.net/main/2012/12/god-speed-stormin-norman.html – Accessed Monday, December 31, 2012 – BLACKFIVE – http://www.blackfive.net/main/ ~ Details of General Schwarzkopf’s service in Vietnam can also be found on Wikipedia at Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. under the content Service in Vietnam.

[iii] Persian Gulf War – Wikipedia (Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.) – Last modified on Monday, December 31, 2012 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Schwarzkopf,_Jr.#Persian_Gulf_War – Accessed Monday, December 31, 2012 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/

[iv] Leadership: The Warrior’s Art. Christopher D. Kolenda, Barry R. McCaffrey, and Walter F. Ulmer. Carlisle, PA: Army War College Foundation, 2001. Chapter Fourteen, Charisma, by John C. “Doc” Bahnsen. p. 266. Google eBook. Stackpole Books, 2001. Web. Date Accessed on 31 Dec. 2012. http://books.google.com/books?id=F57e_IYaHn8C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=

Photo Credits

Schwarzkopf in 1988 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NormanSchwarzkopf.jpg via Wikipedia Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Schwarzkopf,_Jr.

General Schwarzkopf with the troops – Coaches Hot Seat Bloghttp://coacheshotseat.com/coacheshotseatblog/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/NormanS6.jpg via “Coaches Hot Seat Quote of the Day – Friday, June 3, 2011 – General H. Norman Schwarzkopf”http://coacheshotseat.com/coacheshotseatblog/archives/6089

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HIGHLY RECOMMENDED CONTENT

A Great Warrior Passes (seanlinnane.blogspot.com)

Statement on behalf of McHugh, Odierno on passing of Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf (army.mil)

Schwarzkopf On Leadership (inc.com)

Norman Schwarzkopf: 10 Quotes on Leadership and War (forbes.com)

[VIDEO] Schwarzkopf on Leadership: 50th Anniversary of D-Day (cultureunplugged.com)

[VIDEO] Schwarzkopf Speech to (West Point) Corps of Cadets 5/91 (Part 1) (Schwarzkopf speech upon his return to West Point shortly after the end of Desert Storm) (youtube.com)

[VIDEO] Schwarzkopf Speech to (West Point) Corps of Cadets 5/91 (Part 2) (Schwarzkopf speech upon his return to West Point shortly after the end of Desert Storm) (youtube.com)

[VIDEO] Schwarzkopf Speech to (West Point) Corps of Cadets 5/91 (Part 3) (Schwarzkopf speech upon his return to West Point shortly after the end of Desert Storm) (youtube.com)

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Norman Schwarzkopf, U.S. commander in Gulf War, dies at 78 (reuters.com)

Remembering Gulf War Commander Norman Schwarzkopf (pbs.org/newshour)

EDITORIAL: Stormin’ Norman, a general for all times (lehighvalleylive.com/opinion)

Moral Courage and Faith to Become a Leader of Character

Posted in Leadership, Quote of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Quote of the Day

“Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole truth can be won.  Endow us with the courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.”

Excerpt From the Cadet Prayer, United States Military Academy, West Point

Courageous Confidence

Posted in Leadership, Quote of the Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

“Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking.”[i]

Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch

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Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch

During World War I, in 1914, Field Marshal Foch was selected to command France’s newly formed Ninth Army during the First Battle of the Marne.  Only a week after taking command, with the whole French Army in full retreat, he was forced to fight a series of defensive actions to prevent a German breakthrough.  Foch pushed the Germans back across the Marne, and on 12 September he regained the Marne at Châlons, liberated the city.  His counter-attack was an implementation of the theories he had developed during his staff college days, and it succeeded in stopping the German advance.  Field Marshal Foch is said to have declared the words quoted above during the advance at the marshes in St.-Gond.  These words were seen as a symbol both of Foch’s leadership and of French determination to resist the invader at any cost.

Throughout our life, we face many challenges that we never envisioned we would have to face.  At times, they come as a complete surprise.  Our education and experience do not always prepare us for these encounters, although it would be convenient and helpful.  You can never be prepared for every situation and circumstance.  But, life experiences provides us building blocks to develop many of the core values and qualities that lead to success that are necessary to function, grow and survive.  These experiences influence our behavior, attributes and personality, as well as the actions we take and the decisions we make.  From this, we are able to act courageously, and with confidence, when we are consumed by overwhelming circumstances that seem insurmountable.

Field Marshal Foch faced such a situation during World War One at the first Battle of the Marne.  He was not deterred, nor did he back down.  He was never intimidated, and he took appropriate and courageous action.  His words seem almost blithe in the face of danger and uncertainty.  He wasn’t trying to defy the reality of the situation, nor was he trying to deceive his superiors about the complexities, dangers and realities on the ground.  He was merely expressing confidence that his Ninth Army were capable to adapt to the unfavorable conditions, against all odds.  He knew the strength of his soldiers, and he had faith in them.  He knew that they were capable of accomplishing the objective; pushing the Germans back across the Marne.  He knew he had to take certain risks, and he was driven and determined to achieve victory.

Ferdinand Foch knew what kind of person it would take to size up a situation and make a decision.  He knew that indecisiveness is a weakness.  He knew that it would take a leader who is unwavering, determined and courageous.  From his book, Precepts and Judgments, Foch wrote the following:

When the moment arrives for taking decisions, facing responsibilities, entering upon sacrifices — decisions which ought to be taken before they are imposed, responsibilities which ought to be welcomed, for the initiative must be secured and the offensive launched — where should we find a man equal to these uncertain and dangerous tasks were it not among men of a superior stamp, men eager for responsibilities? He must indeed be a man who, being deeply imbued with a will to conquer, shall derive from that will (as well as from a clear perception of the only means that lead to victory) the strength to make an unwavering use of the most formidable rights, to approach with courage all difficulties and all sacrifices, to risk everything; even honour [sic] — for a beaten general is disgraced for ever [sic].[ii]

Courage and fear are perhaps the most natural of the human dimensions of combat.  With courageous confidence as Field Marshal Foch’s beacon of example, the French Ninth Army instinctively followed his lead, in spite of any fear they may have had.  Leading by example, and the willingness of Foch to show a demonstrable acceptance of risk and sacrifice drew his soldiers to do their duty and fight.[iii]

Obviously, in our daily lives, we are not going to find ourselves in a position to fight an army of thousands, nor are we going to make life or death decisions.  But, there will come a time when we will have to face a tremendous challenge, and we will need to make hard decisions.  When that time comes, it will be essential to have courage and confidence.  Your power of influence, demonstrating bold leadership and poise in the face of adversity, will establish trust, loyalty and support among your people and superiors.

I’ll leave you with another poignant quote from Field Marshal Foch on the execution of a plan:

The fundamental qualities for good execution of a plan is first; intelligence; then discernment and judgement, which enables one to recognize the best method as to attain it; the singleness of purpose; and, lastly, what is most essential of all, will – stubborn will.


 

 

Footnotes –

[i] Message to Marshal Joseph Joffre during the First Battle of the Marne (8 September 1914), as quoted in Foch : Le Vainqueur de la Guerre (1919) by Raymond Recouly, Ch. 6

[ii] Precepts and Judgments. Ferdinand Foch, Hilaire Belloc, and A. Grasset. New York: H. Holt and, 1920. p. 139-140. Google eBook. Electronically Published / Digitized 09 Oct. 2008. Web. Date Accessed on 08 Nov. 2012. http://books.google.com/books?id=VkYuAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0

[iii] Inspired by the writing in the book, Leadership: The Warrior’s Art. Christopher D. Kolenda, Barry R. McCaffrey, and Walter F. Ulmer. Carlisle, PA: Army War College Foundation, 2001. Chapter Two, Teaching Combat Leadership at West Point: Closing the Gap between Expectation and Experience, by Charles F. Brower, IV and Gregory J. Dardis. p. 32-33. Google eBook. Stackpole Books, 2001. Web. Date Accessed on 08 Nov. 2012. http://books.google.com/books?id=F57e_IYaHn8C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0


Sources and Recommended Content –

Ferdinand Foch – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Foch – Last Modified on 8 November 2012 – Accessed 8 November 2012 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/

Ferdinand Foch – Wikiquote – http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Foch – Last Modified on 4 July 2012 – Accessed 8 November 2012 – Wikiquote – http://en.wikiquote.org/

World War I: Marshal Ferdinand Foch – By Kennedy Hickman – About.com Military History – Accessed 8 November 2012 – About.com – http://about.com/

Ferdinand Foch – Encyclopedia Britannica – http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/211837/Ferdinand-Foch – Accessed 8 November 2012 – Encyclopedia Britannica – http://www.britannica.com/

Unjustly Accused: Marshal Ferdinand Foch and the French ‘Cult of the Offensive’ – Feature Articles – http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/foch.htm – Posted Saturday, 22 August 2009 – Accessed 8 November 2012 – Firstworldwar.com – http://www.firstworldwar.com/

The First Battle of the Marne, 1914 – Battles: The Western Front – http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/marne1.htm – Posted Saturday, 22 August, 2009 – Accessed 8 November 2012 – Firstworldwar.com – http://www.firstworldwar.com/

Execution Is Key: Getting Beyond The Plan (theentrepreneurinheelsblog.wordpress.com)

The Navy SEAL’s Way to Business Leadership Success

Posted in Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 10, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Recently, I came across a three part article series entitled, “From the Battlefield to the Boardroom: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Business Leadership Success,” on Forbes.com.  These articles were written by Brent Gleeson, a former Navy SEAL and a cast member on NBC’s new reality super show “Stars Earn Stripes.”  Brent’s articles are another example of how military experience and leadership are invaluable when applied to business.

I find Brent’s articles to be quite informative and educational, and I wanted to bring all three articles to you.  In his articles, Brent discusses training, planning, communication, teamwork, managing in a chaotic environment, recruiting great talent & hiring great leaders, and successful leadership traits, among other topics taken directly from his Navy SEAL training and experience.  What is discussed in these articles translates nicely to a business environment.  It is Brent’s thesis that it would be beneficial to any organization to put these critical lessons learned on the battlefield into action in the workplace.  Additionally, he emphasises the importance and value of hiring veterans because of their leadership ability and the skills they’ve gained as members of the United States military.  In these three articles, Brent lays out the battle plan that will make business successful, profitable and victorious.

Below, I present abstracts and links to each of the three articles.

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From the Battlefield to the Boardroom: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Business Leadership Success

Six Aspects of Military Leadership Critical to Building a Successful Business and Developing a Driven Team (Part 1 of 3)

  1. Mission Communication
  2. Mission Planning
  3. Mission Team
  4. Mission Structure
  5. Mission Debrief
  6. Mission Training

Continue reading “From the Battlefield to the Boardroom: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Business Leadership Success (Part 1 of 3)” via Forbes.com HERE

Managing in a Chaotic Environment – Building a Team In the Midst of Chaos:  Forging SEAL Leadership (Part 2 of 3)

Originally, Part 2 was going to focus on strategic planning but I thought it would be more appropriate to discuss team building first and address that important topic later.  In this post, I will focus on building the team and managing in a chaotic environment. Most of my readers will probably never serve in the military or be in a combat situation, but we all deal with our own chaotic environments every day. In business, this could be a brand crisis, employee turnover, economic issues, or even externalities that mentally affect your staff. It’s essential that leaders know how to successfully guide their teams through these situations.

There is no better time to have a strong unified team than amidst chaos. That’s the basic principle of the Navy SEAL training program.  Before we can manage a strong team within our organizations, we must build one.

Continue reading “From the Battlefield to the Boardroom: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Business Leadership Success (Part 2 of 3)” via Forbes.com HERE

Identifying Great Leaders (Part 3 of 3)

The Result of War

Having been at war for more than a decade now, it is inevitable that the U.S. workplace has been, and will continue to be, flooded with men and women leaving the military.  This consistent wave of military veterans entering the workforce is a great opportunity for any organization looking for leaders.

Military men and women are taught leadership skills from their first days in service.  In Part 2, I wrote about SEAL training’s brutal Hell Week and how it teaches the students to immediately learn how to lead under pressure and amidst chaos.  In the SEAL teams, both Officer and Enlisted team members are given incredible amounts of responsibility during training as well as in combat.

Continue reading “From the Battlefield to the Boardroom: A Navy SEAL’s Guide to Business Leadership Success (Part 3 of 3)” via Forbes.com HERE

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About the Author –

Brent Gleeson spent five years in the Unites States Navy as a Navy SEAL.  During his service he completed several combat deployments to Iraq and Africa in support of the War on Terror.  His team’s primary objective was running capture or kill missions working in conjunction with the CIA.  Since leaving the Navy, Mr. Gleeson has become a serial entrepreneur that is passionate about leadership, building companies, and fostering positive change in his community and beyond.  As co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Internet Marketing Inc. (IMI) it is Mr. Gleeson’s primary focus to oversee brand development and marketing strategies.  As co-founder and one of the primary owners, Mr. Gleeson also leads strategic planning initiatives and recruitment.  Internet Marketing Inc. is currently one of the fastest growing integrated online marketing agencies in the country and is headquartered in San Diego, CA. with offices in Las Vegas, NV and Miami, FL.

Mr. Gleason earned his undergraduate degree in Finance and Economics from Southern Methodist University, studied at Oxford University in England, and earned master degree in real estate finance and development from the University of San Diego.

Brent is also an accomplished public speaker with topics ranging from entrepreneurship and team building to integrated online marketing strategies for growing businesses.

You can follow him on Twitter at @BrentGleeson.

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