Archive for personal development

Some Final Thoughts from Dr. Stephen R. Covey

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Stephen Covey Stephen Covey

Stephen Richards Covey was an American educator, author, businessman and motivational speaker.  His most popular book was “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” which was written to help individuals discover how they can be more effective by making conscious decisions as to how they will respond, act, and think.

On July 16, 2012, we lost this pioneer in leadership development.  Dr. Covey died at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho, due to complications from a fall, having lost control of his bicycle in April.  He will be missed my many people here in the United States, and around the World.

Earlier this year, I posted, Good to Great (A Submariner’s Profile in Empowerment), a profile about Captain David Marquet, former Commanding Officer of the USS Santa Fe.  In that post, I mentioned Dr. Covey’s ride on that submarine, and that he discussed one of Captain Marquet’s leadership practices in his book, The 8th Habit.  More recently, upon his death, I posted a guest post by David Marquet to commemorate and honor the man entitled, In Memory of Dr. Stephen R. Covey (1932 – 2012).  That post was an impassioned reflection by Captain Marquet on how Dr. Covey impacted his life.  In that post, David wrote directly to the spirit of Dr. Covey writing, “Stephen, thank you for your influence, clear thinking, and enthusiasm for life. We will miss you.”

Stephen Covey rides USS Santa Fe with commanding officer David Marquet in 2000.Dr. Covey’s ride on the USS Santa Fe had made an enormous impression on him.  As I said earlier, he wrote a few pages in his book, The 8th Habit, but that wouldn’t be the last time Dr. Covey would express his thoughts about that day on the Santa Fe.  Three weeks before his bicycle accident, Dr. Covey sent David Marquet a written draft that would soon become the Foreword to David’s book, “Turn The Ship Around! How To Create Leadership at Every level.”  With the release of David’s book on August 1, this piece would become one of the last public writings Dr. Covey would pen.  With David’s permission, I am posting the Foreword here.  Along with David’s gracious permission to reprint these words, David offered the following:

I thank Stephen for all his support of our project.  It’s no doubt, due to his influence, that the book has started out as the #1 new release in leadership.  I’m sorry he’s not here to see that.
 
L. David Marquet
Author, “Turn The Ship Around! How To Create Leadership at Every Level”
 
I present to you Some Final Thoughts from Dr. Stephen R. Covey; the foreword to Turn the Ship Around! –

Foreword

by Dr. Stephen R. Covey

I had the opportunity to ride the USS Santa Fe during Captain Marquet’s command tour and observed firsthand the impact of his leadership approach. It had a profound impact on what I thought possible in terms of empowered and engaged workplaces.

I had been training U.S. Navy officers in leadership during the dot.com era, when I started hearing about something really special happening on a submarine in Hawaii. When an opportunity arose to ride the USS Santa Fe I jumped at. I embarked on Captain Marquet’s submarine to see what the buzz was about. Never before had I observed such empowerment. We stood on the bridge of this multibillion-dollar nuclear submarine in the crystal clear waters off of Lahaina, Maui, moving silently along the surface of the water. Shortly after getting underway, a young officer approached the captain and said, “Sir, I intend to take this ship down 400 feet.” Captain Marquet asked about the sonar contacts and bottom depth and then instructed this young man to give us another few minutes on the bridge before carrying out his intention.

Throughout the day, people approached the captain intending to do this or do that. The captain would sometimes ask a question or two, and then say, “Very well.” He reserved only the tip of the iceberg type decisions for his own confirmation. The great mass of the iceberg – the other 95 percent of the decisions – were being made without any involvement or confirmation by the captain whatsoever. Wherever I went on the submarine, the control room, the torpedo room, even the galley where they were preparing lunch, I witnessed a dispersed intensity of operations I hadn’t expected. The crew was amazingly involved and there was a constant low-level chatter of sharing information.

I can’t say I actually saw the captain give an order.

I asked David how he achieved this turnabout. He said he wanted to empower his people as far as he possibly could within the Navy’s confines, and maybe a little bit more. There was a mischievous twinkle in his eye when he told me that. He felt if he required them to own the problem and the solution to it, they would begin to view themselves as a vitally important link in the chain of command. He created a culture where those sailors had a real sense of adding value. But that answer only makes clear his objective, not what it actually takes – from the top man in the organization and everyone else – to accomplish this.

How do you create such an organization? What does it take?

The answer is in this book.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK

First of all, this is a great story, one of self-discovery, tension, and the lonely self-doubts of the leader who sets off on an unknown path. We know now that Captain Marquet’s experiment on Santa Fe was wildly successful, but at the time, neither he nor the courageous crew who embraced this new way of running an organization, knew if it would work.

Second, the book provides the specific mechanisms they used on Santa Fe to achieve the transformation. We learn what they did, how the crew reacted – good or bad – and how the mechanisms matured with time. The good news is that these mechanisms are about how we interact as people, and are universally applicable. You can apply them in your organization – business, school, government, and family.

Third, the book presents a comprehensive paradigm shift for how we think about leadership. Captain Marquet has coined the phrase “leader-leader” to differentiate from the leader-follower approach traditional leadership models have espoused. I think that laying out this distinction in such opposing terms is a good idea. Having personally witnessed how Santa Fe operated, I can attest that this new way is not a nuanced modification of how we are doing business now – it is fundamentally different, and that is where its power lies.

WHY YOU WANT TO READ THIS BOOK

No matter where you are in your company’s organization chart, you’ll want to read this book. People at the top will learn how they can release the passion, intellect, and energy of those below them. They may be unwittingly behaving and taking actions that work against those goals.

People on the front lines will also find ways to embrace decision-making and make it easier for bosses to let go of control.

We are in the middle in one of the most profound shifts in human history, where the primary work of mankind is moving from the Industrial Age of “control” to the Knowledge Worker Age of “release.” As Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” They certainly won’t be solved by one person, even and especially the one “at the top.”

Our world’s bright future will be built by people who have discovered that leadership is the enabling art. It is the art of releasing human talent and potential. You may be able to “buy” a person’s back with a paycheck, position power, or fear, but a human being’s genius, passion, loyalty and tenacious creativity is volunteered only. The world’s greatest problems will be solved by passionate, unleashed “volunteers.”

My definition of leadership is this: Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves. I don’t know of a finer model of this kind of empowering leadership than Captain Marquet. And in the pages that follow you will find a model for your pathway

Remember, leadership is a choice, not a position. I wish you well on your voyage!

— Stephen R. Covey, Spring 2012

Learning from Stephen Covey aboard USS Santa Fe

 

*Reprinted with permission from “Turn The Ship Around!: How to Create Leadership at Every Level”, by L. David Marquet, 2012, Greenleaf Book Group Press, Austin, Texas. Copyright © 2012 by Louis David Marquet.

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Dr. Stephen Covey

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Related Articles –

What I Learned from Stephen Covey: Begin with the End in Mind (posted 18 July 2012) (leader-leader.com/blog)

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Were You Inspired to Become a Leader, or Promoted Into a Leadership Position?

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Earlier today, I tweeted this question from my Twitter account.  And, after giving it some thought, I decided to open this question up to the World to be answered, by way of my blog.

Virtually all leaders have a very unique and interesting answer to this question.  Through this post, I want to survey leaders to hear their story.  And, since this is such a dynamic post and discussion, I will be making it a destination link on my list of pages on my blog’s homepage.  I am hoping to attract leaders from all circles of our World; military and civilian, corporate and government, volunteer and community groups, etc.  I encourage you to participate.

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Why (or how) did you become a leader?  Were you inspired to become a leader, or promoted into a leadership position?

Many people work most of their entire career to ultimately become a leader at various levels; a leader of a team of people or department, or a leader of an entire organization.  In some instances, they are inspired to grow professionally and personally to acquire the traits, talents and skills necessary to be more successful, and to become a leader.  In other instances, progressively successful people simply move up the ladder through meritorious advancement; promoted as a result of doing a good job or passing various thresholds of time, accomplishment and success.

A discussion like this can go very deep; and, I hope it does.  But, quite simply, I wanted to ask you what made you a leader?  In most cases, regardless of the path or motivation, you no doubt became a leader by your own actions.  But, were you inspired to become a leader?  Were you motivated to grow and become a leader because of the organization you worked for?  Were you inspired by a boss you worked for?  Maybe that boss acted as a mentor (or, in the Navy, we called it a Sea Daddy: A senior, more experienced sailor who unofficially takes a new member of the crew under his wing and mentors him. Senior Enlisted Advisor a CPO in charge of your career).  Or, did you just simply punch your ticket while ascending the ladder of success?

In the early stages of my career, I was not a leader, as I did not yet acquire the knowledge or achievements to earn a promotion, nor did I thoroughly possess the traits or virtues of a leader.  I had to continue to develop those things over time.  But, in my case, I did have a few people above me in the chain-of-command who saw something in me;  They saw leadership potential.  Notice I said potential.  These individuals had already been an inspiration to me, and I had a strong desire to emulate them.  I watched them closely, learning from their actions (their successes, mistakes and pitfalls).  I learned how that treated people; how they managed them, how they disciplined them, how they taught and mentored them.  I learned how they ran their respective organizations.  I learned from their business-sense and fundamental management styles, as well as the way they handled their day-to-day challenges.  From them, I learned what to do and what not to do to become more successful.  I was fortunate to have leaders who were worth watching. 

What these individuals saw in me early in my career began to grow and blossom.  Through hard work and a strong work ethic, over time, I was promoted into a series of supervisory positions that acted as a ‘proving ground’ for my leadership capabilities; to foster and nurture the traits and virtues a leader must have.  In those positions, my leadership knowledge, skills and talents became stronger.  Most importantly, I learned about people, and they learned about me.  Quite honestly, I learned about me.  Ultimately, I earned the trust and confidence of my superiors, and I was promoted into middle and upper management.  20 years later, I have grown as a leader.  And, to answer my original question, I was inspired to become a leader by some very special managers and leaders early in my career.  Everything else was hard work and determination. 

How about you?  Were you inspired to become a leader?  Or, were you simply promoted into a leadership position?  I look forward to learning about you and your path to success.

The Junior Officer Reader ~ Not (Just) Another Reading List

Posted in Books, Reading Lists, Reading Room with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

REUTERS/Erik De Castro

Last week, Don Gomez, of the blog Carrying the Gun, posted The Junior Officer Reader – two down.  The post was a plea to fellow bloggers and readers for titles of books written by junior officers or soldiers about their military experiences.  He listed a few that he had in his library, but wanted to know of other books he may not be aware of.  There are two purposes for this post: 1) What books are you aware of to answer Don’s question?, and 2) To answer his question with a few resources recently posted on the internet.

One of the blogs I follow is Time Magazine‘s Battleland, where there are quite the opinionated blog posts about the United States military and defense policy.  But, this morning, they sent out their daily digest of articles which included an article entitled, Not (Just) Another Reading List.  Within this article may be a few of Don’s answers.  From the article:

…I have a shelf of books I own solely because some previous commander put it on his mandatory reading list. These lists are handed down as part of the boilerplate leadership model every commander (in the Army at least) learns early on…I thought it might be interesting to put together a list of literary works that soldiers and others would find helpful or at least interesting and worthwhile…I won’t make this a top-ten list, but rather just a list of a couple handfuls of books and why I think they’re worth including on soldiers’ reading lists…

——-> Continue reading Not (Just) Another Reading List

A link within the above article went to The Junior Officers’ Book Club.  Here, the author may have come a bit closer to Don’s answer.  The links within the below excerpt from the article lead to additional book lists and resources:

This is the second time in six months I’ve written about military reading lists. In August, we looked at the books then Army Chief of Staff, now Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey asked his soldiers and officers to read as part of their professional development. Reading lists are interesting because they’re the books commanders and superiors want their troops to be reading in their free time, which is a precious commodity in the military…In this month’s ARMY magazine, which is published by the Association of the United States Army, company level officers weighed in on the books that had an impact on their effectiveness as platoon leaders and company commanders. What makes this list noteworthy is that the suggestions are by company-grade officers, for company-grade officers–young leaders telling their peers and those coming through the ranks behind them what was important…

——-> Continue reading The Junior Officers’ Book Club

And, as I was preparing this post, I got a Tweet from The Command and General Staff College (@USACGSC).  It was a link to an article written by Admiral James Stavridis, the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander, US European Command.  The article, entitled Twenty Great Novels for Summer Reading, is more a list of literary works, with a few military and war-oriented titles.  From Admiral Stavridis’ article:

We learn so much from reading. In a sense, every novel we pick up and read allows us to live another life entirely.  As we head into the summer, I went back to some of the great reads of the last century in fiction.  Some are famous and well known to generations of high school and college students — but might deserve a re-read. Others are less well known to broad audiences…

——-> Continue reading Twenty Great Novels for Summer Reading

I’d love to hear about other great literary works on the wartime experience.  What else should we be reading?  What books had the biggest impact on your effectiveness as a leader?

Related Articles –

H.R. McMaster: The Warrior’s-Eye View of Afghanistan (online.wsj.com)

Professional Reading is Essential – An Introduction (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

The Development of a Reading Program (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Strategies That Lead to Victory (Part Five)

Posted in Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Yesterday, I posted part four of this series.  I encourage you to read Strategies That Lead to Victory (Part Four).

From an article in Business Insider entitled “33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life.”

UNCONVENTIONAL (DIRTY) WARFAREUNCONVENTIONAL (DIRTY) WARFARE

The following 11 strategies will give a greater understanding of the diabolical psychology involved in dirty warfare, helping to arm you with the proper defense.  It gets nasty.

23) Weave a seamless blend of fact and fiction

Misconception Strategies

Since no creature can survive without the ability to see or sense what is going on around it, make it hard for your enemies to know what is going on around them, including what you are doing. Feed their expectations, manufacture a reality to match their desires, and they will fool themselves. Control people’s perceptions of reality and you control them.

24) Take the line of least expectation

The Ordinary-Extraordinary Strategy

People expect your behavior to conform to known patterns and conventions. Your task as a strategist is to upset their expectations. First do something ordinary and conventional to fix their image of you, then hit them with the extraordinary. The terror is greater for being so sudden. Sometimes the ordinary is extraordinary because it is unexpected.

Occupy the moral high ground25) Occupy the moral high ground

The Righteous Strategy

In a political world, the cause you are fighting for must seem more than just the enemy’s. By questioning your opponents’ motives and making them appear evil, you can narrow their base of support and room to maneuver. When you find yourself come under moral attack from a clever enemy, do not whine or get angry; fight fire with fire.

Deny them targets26) Deny them targets

The Strategy Of The Void

The feeling of emptiness or void — silence, isolation, non-engagement with others — is for most people intolerable. Give your enemies no target to attack, be dangerous but elusive, then watch as they chase you into the void. Instead of frontal battles, deliver irritating but damaging side attacks and pinprick bites.

27) Seem to work for the interests of others while furthering your own

The Alliance Strategy

The best way to advance your cause with the minimum of effort and bloodshed is to create a constantly shifting network of alliances, getting others to compensate for your deficiencies, do your dirty work, fight your wars. At the same time, you must work to sow dissension in the alliances of others, weakening your enemies by isolating them.

28) Give your rivals enough rope to hang themselves

The One-Upmanship Strategy

Life’s greatest dangers often come not from external enemies but from our supposed colleagues and friend who pretend to work for the common cause while scheming to sabotage us. Work to instill doubts and insecurities in such rivals, getting them to think too much and act defensively. Make them hang themselves through their own self-destructive tendencies, leaving you blameless and clean.

The Fait Accompli Strategy

Overt power grabs and sharp rises to the top are dangerous, creating envy, distrust, and suspicion. Often the best solution is to take small bites, swallow little territories, playing upon people’s relatively short attention spans. Before people realize it, you have accumulated an empire.

Take small bites29) Take small bites

The Fait Accompli Strategy

Overt power grabs and sharp rises to the top are dangerous, creating envy, distrust, and suspicion. Often the best solution is to take small bites, swallow little territories, playing upon people’s relatively short attention spans. Before people realize it, you have accumulated an empire.

30) Penetrate their minds

Communication Strategies

Communication is a kind of war, its field of battle is the resistant and defensive minds of the people you want to influence. The goal is to penetrate their defenses and occupy their minds. Learn to infiltrate your ideas behind enemy lines, sending messages through little details, luring people into coming to the conclusions you desire and into thinking they’ve gotten there by themselves.

31) Destroy from within

The Inner-Front Strategy

By infiltrating your opponents’ ranks, working from within to bring them down, you give them nothing to see or react against — the ultimate advantage. To take something you want, do not fight those who have it, but rather join them — then either slowly make it your own or wait for the moment to stage a coup d’état.

Dominate while seeming to submit32) Dominate while seeming to submit

The Passive-Aggression Strategy

In a world where political considerations are paramount, the most effective form of aggression is the best hidden one: aggression behind a compliant, even loving exterior. To follow the passive-aggression strategy you must seem to go along with people, offering no resistance. But actually you dominate the situation. Just make sure you have disguised your aggression enough that you can deny it exists.

Sow uncertainty and panic through acts of terror33) Sow uncertainty and panic through acts of terror

The Chain-Reaction Strategy

Terror is the ultimate way to paralyze a people’s will to resist and destroy their ability to plan a strategic response. The goal in a terror campaign is not battlefield victory but causing maximum chaos and provoking the other side into desperate overreaction. To plot the most effective counter-strategy, victims of terror must stay balanced. One’s rationality is the last line of defense.

A soldier’s greatest weapon is himself

——> Continue reading 33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life via Business Insider

For additional content related to today’s excerpt, please see Part 5: Unconventional (Dirty) Warfare via Wikipedia.

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Source –

33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life – Business Insider / Military & Defense – By Eloise Lee – Posted May 4, 2012 – http://www.businessinsider.com/33-strategies-of-war-you-should-apply-to-everyday-life-2012-5 – Accessed 7 May 2012 – Business Insider – http://www.businessinsider.com/

based on the book The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

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Additional Resources –

The 33 Strategies of War – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – page was last modified on 19 April 2012 at 14:42 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_33_Strategies_of_War – Accessed 7 May 2012 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/

Strategies That Lead to Victory (Part Four)

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

Yesterday, I posted part three of this series.  I encourage you to read Strategies That Lead to Victory (Part Three).

From an article in Business Insider entitled “33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life.”

OFFENSIVE WARFARE

The next 11 strategies outline the form of warfare practiced by the most successful captains in history. 

The secret to their success is a blend of strategic cleverness and audacity — it will give all of your attacks much greater force.

Lose battles but end the war 12) Lose Battles But End The War

Grand Strategy

It’s the art of looking beyond the battle and calculating ahead. It requires that you focus on your ultimate goal and plot to reach it. Let others get caught up in the twists and turns of the battle, relishing their little victories. Grand strategy will bring you the ultimate reward: the last laugh.

Know your enemy13) Know your enemy

The Intelligence Strategy

The target of your strategies should be less the army you face than the mind or women who runs it. If you understand how that mind works, you have the key to deceiving and controlling it. Train yourself to read people, picking up the signals they unconsciously send about their innermost thoughts and intentions.

Overwhelm resistance with speed and suddenness14) Overwhelm resistance with speed and suddenness

The Blitzkrieg Strategy

In a world in which many people are indecisive and overly cautious, the use of speed will bring you untold power. Striking first, before your opponents have time to think or prepare, will make them emotional, unbalanced, and prone to error.

15) Control the dynamic

Forcing Strategies

People are constantly struggling to control you. The only way to get the upper hand is to make your play for control more intelligence and insidious. Instead of trying to dominate the other side’s every move, work to define the nature of the relationship itself. Maneuver to control your opponents’ minds, pushing their emotional buttons and compelling them to make mistakes.

16) Hit them where it hurts

The Center-Of-Gravity Strategy

Everyone has a source of power on which he or she depends. When you look at your rivals, search below the surface for that source, the center of gravity that holds the entire structure together. Hitting them there will inflict disproportionate pain. Find what the other side most cherishes and protects — that is where you must strike.

Defeat them in denial17) Defeat them in denial

The Divide-And-Conquer Strategy

Never be intimated by your enemy’s appearance. Instead, look at the parts that make up the whole. By separating the parts, sowing dissension and division, you can bring down even the most formidable foe. When you are facing troubles or enemies, turn a large problem into small, eminently defeatable parts.

18) Expose and attack your opponent’s soft flank

The Turning Strategy

When you attack people directly, you stiffen their resistance and make your task that much harder. There is a better way: Distract your opponents’ attention to the front, then attack them from the side, where they least expect it. Bait people into going out on a limb exposing their weakness, then rake them with fire from the side.

Envelop the enemy19) Envelop the enemy

The Annihilation Strategy

People will use any kind of gap in your defenses to attack you. So offer no gaps. The secret is to envelop your opponents — create relentless pressure on them from all sides and close off their access to the outside world. As you send their weakening resolve, crush their willpower by tightening the noose.

Maneuver them into weakness20) Maneuver them into weakness

The Ripening-For-The-Sickle Strategy

No matter how strong you are, fighting endless battles with people is exhausting, costly, and unimaginative. Wise strategist prefer the art of maneuver: Before the battle even begins, they find ways to put their opponents in positions of such weakness that victory is easy and quick. Create dilemmas: Devise maneuvers that give them a choice of ways to respond — all of them bad.

21) Negotiate while advancing

The Diplomatic-War Strategy

Before and during negotiations, you must keep advancing, creating relentless pressure and compelling the other side to settle on your terms. The more you take, the more you can give back in meaningless concessions. Create a reputation for being tough and uncompromising, so that people are back on their heels before they even meet you.

Know how to end things22) Know how to end things

The Exit Strategy

You are judged in this world by how well you bring things to an end. A messy or incomplete conclusion can reverberate for years to come. The art of ending things well is knowing when to stop. The height of strategic wisdom is to avoid all conflicts and entanglements from which there are no realistic exits.

——> Continue reading 33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life via Business Insider

For additional content related to today’s excerpt, please see Part 4: Offensive Warfare via Wikipedia.

Strategies That Lead to Victory (Part Five), discussing Unconventional (Dirty) Warfare, will be presented on Command Performance Leadership tomorrow, May 10, 2012

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Source –

33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life – Business Insider / Military & Defense – By Eloise Lee – Posted May 4, 2012 – http://www.businessinsider.com/33-strategies-of-war-you-should-apply-to-everyday-life-2012-5 – Accessed 7 May 2012 – Business Insider – http://www.businessinsider.com/

based on the book The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

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Additional Resources –

The 33 Strategies of War – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – page was last modified on 19 April 2012 at 14:42 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_33_Strategies_of_War – Accessed 7 May 2012 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/

Strategies That Lead to Victory (Part Three)

Posted in Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Yesterday, I posted part two of this series.  I encourage you to read Strategies That Lead to Victory (Part Two).

From an article in Business Insider entitled “33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life.”

DEFENSIVE WARFARE

The next four strategies will reveal defensive warfare is the height of strategic wisdom — a powerful style of waging war. 

Get ready to master the arts of deception.

Pick your battles carefully8) Pick your battles carefully

The Perfect-Economy Strategy

We all have limitations — our energies and skills will take us only so far. You must know your limits and pick your battles carefully. Consider the hidden costs of war: time lost, political goodwill squandered, an embittered enemy bent on revenge. Sometimes it is better to wait, to undermine your enemies covertly rather than hitting them straight on.

Turn the tables9) Turn the tables

The Counterattack Strategy

Moving first — initiating the attack — will often put you at a disadvantage: You are exposing your strategy and limiting your options. Instead, discover the power of holding back and letting the other side move first, giving you the flexibility to counterattack from any angle. If your opponents are aggressive, bait them into a rash attack that will leave them in a weak position.

Create a threatening presence10) Create a threatening presence

Deterrence Strategies

The best way to fight off aggressors is to keep them from attacking you in the first place. Build up a reputation: You’re a little crazy. Fighting you is not worth it. Uncertainty is sometimes better than overt threat: If your opponents are never sure what messing with you will cost, they will not want to find out.

Trade space for time11) Trade space for time

The Non-Engagement Strategy

To retreat in the face of a strong enemy is not a sign of weakness but of strength. By resisting the temptation to respond to an aggressor, you buy yourself valuable time — time to recover, to think, to gain perspective. Sometimes you can accomplish most by doing nothing.

——> Continue reading 33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life via Business Insider

For additional content related to today’s excerpt, please see Part 3: Defensive Warfare via Wikipedia.

Strategies That Lead to Victory (Part Four), discussing Offensive Warfare, will be presented on Command Performance Leadership tomorrow, May 10, 2012

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Source –

33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life – Business Insider / Military & Defense – By Eloise Lee – Posted May 4, 2012 – http://www.businessinsider.com/33-strategies-of-war-you-should-apply-to-everyday-life-2012-5 – Accessed 7 May 2012 – Business Insider – http://www.businessinsider.com/

based on the book The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

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Additional Resources –

The 33 Strategies of War – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – page was last modified on 19 April 2012 at 14:42 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_33_Strategies_of_War – Accessed 7 May 2012 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/

Strategies That Lead to Victory (Part Two)

Posted in Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Yesterday, I posted part one of this series.  I encourage you to read Strategies That Lead to Victory (Part One).

From an article in Business Insider entitled “33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life.”

ORGANIZATIONAL (TEAM) WARFARE

The next 3 strategies are about making the most of your team.

Ideas and tactics mean nothing without an organized, responsive, creative, and motivated army. 

Segment your forces

5) Avoid the snares of groupthink

The Command-And-Control Strategy

The problem in leading any group is that people inevitably have their own agendas. You have to create a chain of command in which they do not feel constrained by your influence yet follow your lead. Create a sense of participation, but do not fall into groupthink — the irrationality of collective decision making.

6) Segment your forces

The Controlled-Chaos Strategy

The critical elements in war are speed and adaptability — the ability to move and make decisions faster than the enemy. Break your forces into independent groups that can operate on their own. Make your forces elusive and unstoppable by infusing them with the spirit of the campaign, giving them a mission to accomplish, and then letting them run.

7) Transform your war into a crusade

Morale Strategy

The secret to motivating people and maintaining their morale is to get them to think less about themselves and more about the group. Involve them in a cause, a crusade against a hated enemy. Make them see their survival as tied to the success of the army as a whole.

——> Continue reading 33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life via Business Insider

For additional content related to today’s excerpt, please see Part 2: Organizational (Team) Warfare via Wikipedia.

Strategies That Lead to Victory (Part Three), discussing Defensive Warfare, will be presented on Command Performance Leadership tomorrow, May 9, 2012

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Source –

33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life – Business Insider / Military & Defense – By Eloise Lee – Posted May 4, 2012 – http://www.businessinsider.com/33-strategies-of-war-you-should-apply-to-everyday-life-2012-5 – Accessed 7 May 2012 – Business Insider – http://www.businessinsider.com/

based on the book The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

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Additional Resources –

The 33 Strategies of War – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – page was last modified on 19 April 2012 at 14:42 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_33_Strategies_of_War – Accessed 7 May 2012 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/

Strategies That Lead to Victory (Part One)

Posted in Leadership with tags , , , , , , , on May 7, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

From an article in Business Insider entitled “33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life.”

SELF-DIRECTED WARFARE

The first 4 strategies are all about getting your head in the game.

The mind is the starting point of all war and all strategy…

Declare war on your enemies1) Declare war on your enemies

The Polarity Strategy

Life is endless battle and conflict, and you cannot fight effectively unless you can identify your enemies. Learn to smoke out your enemies, to spot them by the signs and patterns that reveal hostility. Then, once you have them in your sights, inwardly declare war. Your enemies can fill you with purpose and direction.

2) Do not fight the past

The Guerrilla-War-Of-The-Mind Strategy

What most often weighs you down and brings you misery is the past. You must consciously force yourself to react to the present moment. Be ruthless on yourself; do not repeat the same tired methods. Wage guerrilla war on your mind, allowing no static lines of defense — make everything fluid and mobile.

Amidst the turmoil of events, do not lose your presence of mind3) Amidst the turmoil of events, do not lose your presence of mind

The Counterbalance Strategy

In the heat of battle, the mind tends to lose its balance. It is vital to keep you presence of mind, maintaining your mental powers, whatever the circumstances. Make the mind tougher by exposing it to adversity. Learn to detach yourself from the chaos of the battlefield.

Create a sense of urgency and desperation4) Create a sense of urgency and desperation

The Death-Ground Strategy

You are your own worst enemy. You waste previous time dreaming of the future instead of engaging in the present. Cut your ties to the past — enter unknown territory. Place yourself on “death ground”, where your back is against the wall and you have to fight like hell to get out alive.

——> Continue reading 33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life via Business Insider

For additional content related to today’s excerpt, please see Part 1: Self-Directed Warfare via Wikipedia.

Strategies That Lead to Victory (Part Two), discussing Organizational (Team) Warfare, will be presented on Command Performance Leadership tomorrow, May 8, 2012

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Source –

33 War Strategies That Will Help You Win Everything In Life – Business Insider / Military & Defense – By Eloise Lee – Posted May 4, 2012 – http://www.businessinsider.com/33-strategies-of-war-you-should-apply-to-everyday-life-2012-5 – Accessed 7 May 2012 – Business Insider – http://www.businessinsider.com/

based on the book The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

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Additional Resources –

The 33 Strategies of War – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – page was last modified on 19 April 2012 at 14:42 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_33_Strategies_of_War – Accessed 7 May 2012 – Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/

Schofield’s Definition of Discipline

Posted in Leadership, Toxic Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

“The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army. It is possible to impart instruction and to give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or the other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them regard for himself, while he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect toward others, especially his inferiors, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.”

Major General John M. Schofield
Address to the Corps of Cadets, U.S. Military Academy
August 11, 1879

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Major General John M. Schofield’s quote is required knowledge, and to be memorized and recited verbatim, among Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) students, Officer Candidate School (OCS) candidates, Cadets at West Point and at the United States Air Force Academy, and other military leadership institutions.  I thought I would bring to you some background about General Schofield, and a little history about his quote on discipline.  Ultimately, the purpose of this post is to use the quote as a backdrop to the topic of toxic leadership that we’ve been discussing here at Command Performance Leadership.

First, I will provide a biography of Major General John M. Schofield.  For those of you who only know of his quote will be fascinated at his military experience and success.  Then, I will put into context General Schofield’s definition of discipline.

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John M. Schofield, US Army

John McAllister Schofield (September 29, 1831 – March 4, 1906) graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1853, ranking seventh in his class of 52 graduates, and was commissioned a brevet[i] second lieutenant in the artillery.  Schofield served for two years in the artillery, was assistant professor of natural and experimental philosophy at West Point from 1855 to 1860, and while on leave (1860–1861) was professor of physics at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.[ii]

When the Civil War broke out, Schofield became a major in the 1st Missouri Infantry, and served as chief-of-staff under Major General Nathaniel Lyon.  During the Battle of Wilson’s Creek (Missouri), Schofield acted with “conspicuous gallantry” during the battle, and received the Medal of Honor for that action in 1892.[iii-a][iv-a][v]

On November 21, 1861, Schofield was promoted to Brigadier General, and placed in charge of all the Union militia in Missouri.  He was again promoted to Major General on November 29, 1862, though the Senate did not confirm the appointment until May 12, 1863.  From 1861 to 1863, he held various commands in the Trans-Mississippi Theater, most of the time in command of the Army of the Frontier.[iii-b][iv-b]

On April 17, 1863, he took command of the 3rd Division in the XIV Corps of the Army of the Cumberland in Tennessee, but returned to Missouri in May of 1863 to command the Department of the Missouri.  In January of 1864, Schofield led the Army of the Ohio during the Atlanta Campaign under Major General William T. Sherman.[iii-c][iv-c]

After the fall of Atlanta, took the majority of his forces on his infamous “March to the Sea” through Georgia.  Schofield’s Army of the Ohio was detached to join Major General George H. Thomas to stop the invasion of Tennessee led by Confederate General John B. Hood.  On November 30, 1864, Hood managed to attack Schofield’s Army of the Ohio in the Battle of Franklin.  Schofield successfully repulsed Hood, effectively crippled Hood’s army, and joined his forces with Thomas.  Two weeks later, on December 15 and 16, during the Battle of Nashville, General Thomas used Schofield and his XXIII Corps to effectively destroy what was left of Hood’s army.  For his service at Franklin, Schofield received a promotion to Brigadier General in the regular army on November 30, 1864.[iii-d][iv-d]

Schofield was ordered to operate under Sherman in North Carolina, and moved his corps by rail and sea to Fort Fisher, North Carolina.  He captured Wilmington on February 22, 1865, and fought at the Battle of Kinston on March 10, before meeting up with Sherman on March 23 in Goldsboro.  Working together with Sherman, Schofield led the Department of North Carolina until the surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston at Durham Station.  For his service, he was brevetted to Major General in the regular army.[iii-e][iv-e]

After the war, Schofield went on to become the Secretary of War under President Andrew Johnson; June 1868 to March 1869.  In 1873, he was tasked by Secretary of War William Belknap to investigate the strategic potential of a United States presence in the Hawaiian Islands.  Schofield’s report recommended that the United States establish a naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.[iii-f][iv-f]

From 1876 to 1881, Schofield was superintendent of the United States Military Academy.  From 1888 until his retirement in 1895, Schofield was commanding general of the United States Army. He had become a major general on March 4, 1869, and on February 5, 1895, he was commissioned a lieutenant general. Schofield retired on September 29, 1895, upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 64.[iii-g]

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Schofield’s Definition of Discipline

The foundations of leadership are taught in every military institution, from ROTC students, to OCS candidates and those who attend each of the service academies.  The demonstration of moral and ethical attributes are essential for effective leadership as a commission officer in the United States military.  Leaders of character are defined as one who “seeks to discover the truth, decides what is right, and demonstrates the courage to act accordingly – always.”  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.[vi]  Therefore, General Schofield’s quote encapsulates the philosophy to develop relationships that promote mutual respect and trust.  So, there is good reason for an officer candidate to learn Schofield’s Definition of Discipline to the letter.

Schofield’s quote comes from a much longer address on the venerable vice of hazing, and the treatment of new cadets by their seniors in the Corps, that existed at West Point while he was Superintendent there between 1876 to 1881.  Schofield said, “The practice of hazing is both injurious and humiliating to its victims and degrading to those who engage in it.  Your constant associates after you leave the Academy must be the members of higher and lower classes.  The memory of ill-treatment will remain with its victim as long as he lives.  You can never be a ‘brother officer’ to him whom you once degraded.  The stern discipline of a commanding officer will soon be forgotten when it can be remembered that he always treated his subordinates with justice and due respect.  But wanton injustice and contumely can never be forgotten, except by a spirit too mean to feel its sting…The very foundation of civil society is mutual respect for individual rights.  And nowhere is such mutual respect more strictly enjoined and rigidly enforced than in military organizations.  Without it, tyranny on the one hand and disaffection and mutiny on the other must destroy the efficiency of an army…A veteran soldier sees but little difference between the different grades, from his own down to that of a junior cadet, and treats them all with nearly equal respect.  It would be well for young soldiers to profit by such examples.  The road to military honor will be guarded all the way by the hearts of those who may be your subordinates.  You cannot travel that road unless you can command those hearts.”[vii]

The Army defines respect as treating people as they should be treated.  It is the “Golden Rule” principle — do unto others as you would have them do to you.  Attitudes about the worth of people, concepts, and personal belief systems are expressions of their values.  Respect means recognizing and appreciating the inherent dignity and worth of all people.  This concept goes well beyond issues of discrimination and harassment; respect includes the broader issue of civility, the way people treat each other.  Respect involves being sensitive to diversity and the impact of one’s own behaviors on others — behaviors that others may perceive as being insensitive, offensive, or abusive.  Ultimately, the Army fosters a commitment to ethical excellence essential to leaders of character for our military and our Nation.[viii]

Too often in the Army, leaders want unqualified loyalty.  Schofield knew that such loyalty had to be earned. He knew that harsh treatment– the kind too frequently mistaken for authoritative expertise– comes at the expense of performance.  He knew that hard-earned respect– the kind that comes from compassion, empathy, and a commander’s genuine interest in his subordinates– makes men reliable in battle.[ix]  General [Schofield] was trying to tell us that we’d succeed in gaining the discipline necessary for any future overwhelming fight, if we treated our people with respect and in a manner and tone of voice appropriate for American warfighters.[x]

The foundation of discipline is not accountability or punishment, but respect.  A leader must establish trust and credibility, communicate effectively, employ empathy, intimately know their people’s capabilities, and move their people into positions to be most successful.  Nobody should be the ‘bad guy’ when leading people.  No leader should be a bad guy intentionally, or go out of their way to be one.  If a leader is working to perfect his ‘bad guy’ image, he is dishonoring his responsibility as a leader, and is creating a hostile environment for his followers.  If a leader has successfully become a ‘bad guy,’ shame on them.  Their subordinates deserve better than that; and, so does the service they represent and the Command (organization) they are responsible for.[xi]  Ultimately, a good leader will lead through respect instead of leading through fear.  When you treat people right, word gets around.

The poisoning results of harsh and tyrannical treatment can be detrimental to people, teams and organizations.  A leader’s job, along with guiding individuals and groups towards victory and success, is to be a mentor.  All eyes are on the leader; everyone looks up to them.  However, the wrong tone of voice or form of ridicule, no matter how isolated or common, can have a negative impact on individuals and teams.  The results of such toxic leadership can have destabilizing effects on command and control, as well as destroy esprit de corps.

Good leaders seek to develop and nurture relationships that lead to growth and fulfillment.  They:

  • Understand their needs and goals for relationships
  • Are able to take the perspective of another in relationships
  • Are able to transcend or step-out of their own self-interests to serve the good of the relationship
  • Work to establish cooperative relationships so all benefit
  • Seek relationships where they are respected and valued
  • Respect and value others in relationships
  • Seek healthy relationships that provide autonomy and support for growth
  • Meet their responsibilities in relationships
  • Treat others in relationships fairly and honestly
  • Effectively communicate with others in relationships
  • Build relationships based on trust
  • Understand the impact of military service on relationships[xii]

General Schofield’s quote is not very long, but it certainly says a lot.  For the Army, and any organization for that matter, to work properly there must be a bond between the leader and those being led; a bond that rests not on authority alone – but on professionalism, good will, and above all MUTUAL RESPECT.  As I said earlier in this post, there is good reason for an officer candidate to learn Schofield’s Definition of Discipline to the letter.  The knowledge and execution of its very meaning will serve officers well when they are in a position to lead people in the military and in life.

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

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Related Articles –

Schofield’s Definition of Discipline – West Point Association of Graduates – Gray Matter (westpointaog.org)

Bugle Notes: Learn This! (west-point.org)

Why You Should Treat Your People Like it’s 1879 (thoughtleadersllc.com)

Leadership and the Golden Rule (courageouslearning.wordpress.com)

Leadership as Influence (weareallleadersnow.wordpress.com)

Toxic Leadership (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Authoritarian Leadership vs. Democratic Leadership ~ The Officer Corps Explained (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

(Hard) Lessons Learned About Leadership (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Respect for Others: A Bedrock of Leadership (digital-library.usma.edu)

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Footnotes –

[i] The Articles of War adopted by the United States Army in 1776 and slightly revised in 1806 established the use and significance of brevet ranks or awards in the U.S. Army. When first used, a brevet commission in the U.S. Army entitled the officer to be identified by a higher rank but the award had limited effect on the right to higher command or pay. A brevet rank had no effect within the officer’s current unit, but when assigned duty at the brevet rank by the U.S. President such an officer would command with the brevet rank and be paid at the higher rank. This higher command and pay would last only for the duration of that assignment. The brevet promotion would not affect the officer’s seniority and actual permanent rank in the army (“Brevet Brigadier Generals in Blue” by Roger D. Hunt and Jack R. Brown. Gaithersburg, MD: Olde Soldier Books, 1997. “Introduction”, p.v.).  Beginning on April 16, 1818, brevet commissions also required confirmation by the United States Senate, just as all other varieties of officer commissions did (“Civil War High Commands” by John H. Eicher and David J. Eicher. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. p. 34.).  Brevet promotions were quite common because the army had many frontier forts to garrison and other missions to perform but could not always appoint appropriately ranked officers to command these forts or missions. The U.S. Congress permitted only a limited number of each rank of officer. Thus, an officer of lower rank might receive a brevet commission to a rank more appropriate for his assignment. Also, newly commissioned officers often received brevet rank until authorized positions became available. For example an officer might graduate from West Point and be appointed a brevet second lieutenant until a permanent posting opened up (“Brevet [military]” – Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brevet_(military)– Accessed 19 February 2012)

[ii] “Civil War High Commands” by John H. Eicher and David J. Eicher. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. p. 472-73.

[iii-a,b,c,d,e,f,g] “John Schofield” – Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Schofield – Accessed 19 February 2012

[iv-a,b,c,d,e,f] “John M. Schofield” – Civil War Trust (Saving America’s Civil War Battlefields) – http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/biographies/john-schofield.html – Accessed 21 February 2012

[v] “Master of War: The Life of General George H. Thomas” by Benson Bobrick. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2009. p. 288, states “Much later, as secretary of war (1868-1869), he would award himself the Congressional Medal of Honor (actual award was in 1892) for Undocumented valor at Wilson’s Creek.”

[vi] “The Cadet Leader Development System (CLDS) – Moral Ethical Domain”– United States Military Academy Office of Policy, Planning, and Assessment – http://www.usma.edu/opa/clds/moral_ethical_domain.html – Accessed 22 February 2012 – United States Military Academy – http://www.usma.edu/

[vii] “Schofield’s Definition of Discipline” – West Point Association of Graduates – Gray Matter – Posted 4 November 2010 – http://www.westpointaog.org/page.aspx?pid=4329 – Accessed 19 February 2012 – http://www.westpointaog.org/

[viii] “Cadet Leader Development System” – USMA Circular: 1-101 (page 49) – 3 June 2002 – United States Military Academy – West Point, New York – http://www.dami.army.pentagon.mil/pub/dami-fl/Cr1-101.pdf – Accessed 21 February 2012 – Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2 (Army Intelligence) – http://www.dami.army.pentagon.mil/

[ix] “The Discipline Which Makes Men Reliable” – By Rich Stowell – Posted 29 March 2011 – http://my-public-affairs.blogspot.com/2011/03/discipline-which-makes-men-reliable.html – Accessed 21 February 2012 – My Public Affairs (A Teacher’s Education in the Army) – http://my-public-affairs.blogspot.com/

[x] “Year of Leadership: American-Made Discipline” – Commentary by Lt. Col. Mark Allen, 341st Operations Support Squadron – Posted 10/16/2008 ~ Updated 10/17/2008 – Malmstrom Air Force Base – News/Commentary – http://www.malmstrom.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123119911 – Accessed 21 February 2012 – Malmstrom Air Force Base – http://www.malmstrom.af.mil/

[xi] “(Hard) Lessons Learned About Leadership” – By Dale R. Wilson – Posted 01/24/2012 – https://commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/hard-lessons-learned-about-leadership/ – Accessed 23 February 2012 – Command Performance Leadership – https://commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com/

[xii] “The Cadet Leader Development System (CLDS) – Human Spirit Domain”– United States Military Academy Office of Policy, Planning, and Assessment – http://www.usma.edu/opa/clds/domain_of_the_human_spirit.html – Accessed 22 February 2012 – United States Military Academy – http://www.usma.edu/

BookLink: Army Leadership (Organization and Strategic Leadership) {Book 1, Wk. 3}

Posted in Army Leadership, BookLink with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Last week, I took a brief departure from BookLink and our weekly review of The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual.  Instead, I posted Leadership Effects (A Guest Blog Post from the Front Lines), which originated from a comment to this series about the Army’s leadership field manual.  From a weekly reader’s standpoint, it amounted to a virtual field trip to the front lines of military leadership.  If you haven’t taken the time to read that post, please set aside some time to do so.

Our previous assignment had been to read Chapter 10 thru Appendix A (pages 107 thru 155).  But, we are only going to summarize Chapters 10 thru 12, leaving Appendix A (pages 145 thru 155) for next week.  If you are new to the BookLink series, and you want to catch up on our reading of The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual, you can find links to the recent posts below.  Also, below, I have included links to the field manual found elsewhere on the internet for you to view and download.

BookLink ~ The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual – Posted 01/23/2012

BookLink: Army Leadership (BE ~ KNOW ~ DO) {Book 1, Wk. 1} – Posted 01/30/2012

BookLink: Army Leadership (Lead ~ Develop ~ Achieve) {Book 1, Wk. 2} – Posted 02/06/2012

http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/repository/materials/FM6_22.pdf

http://www.scribd.com/doc/6255277/FM-622-Leadership-US-Army

This coming week, our assignment is to finish reading the field manual; Appendix A thru the end of the book (pages 145 thru 216).  Then, on February 27, I will have a post for discussion on what we have read.

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Army Leadership FM 6-22 (FM 22-100) (Paperback) ~ US Army Cover Art

There are many influences and challenges that affect leadership.  Some of these are predictable, based on experiences.  Some are unpredictable, surfacing because of the situation.  As General Dennis J. Reimer, Chief of Staff of the Army (1995-1999) once said, “The role of leadership is to turn challenges into opportunities.”  Obviously, many of the challenges a soldier in the Army may face are a result of evolving threats, and their ability to adapt to those ever-changing challenges.

Stress –

In all walks of life, both military and civilian, stress is a human dimension we all have to deal with.  Leaders play a significant role in managing the stress levels of their subordinates.  The mental discipline and resilience to overcome the contributing factors of stress, and implementing countermeasures to confront it, becomes the responsibility of both the leader and follower.  Here are just a few of the ways to handle stress, as discussed in FM 6-22:

–          Admit that fear exists

–          Ensure communication lines are open between leaders and subordinates

–          Do not assume unnecessary risks

–          Provide good, caring leadership

–          Recognize the limits of a soldier’s endurance

Although the emphasis of FM 6-22 is on Army leadership, and applies to soldiers, there are obvious parallels to managing stress among people in the civilian community.  Stress is a result of varying levels of fear.  Dealing with fear and anxiety is vital to remaining focused and strong; easier said than done, I know.  But, good leadership will recognize the signs of stress among their people and teams, and will employ the necessary measures to manage those stress levels.  As General George S. Patton, Jr. said, “All men are frightened.  The more intelligent they are, the more they are frightened.  The courageous man is the man who forces himself, in spite of his fear, to carry on.”  (War As I Knew It, 1947).

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As a leader grows in knowledge and experience, they are preparing themselves for greater responsibilities, and will become organizational and strategic leaders.  These leaders lead by example, have a wide range of knowledge, and apply their competencies to build teams of teams with discipline, cohesion, trust and proficiency.  They focus their organizations down to the lowest level on the mission ahead by disseminating a clear intent, sound operational concepts, and a systematic approach to execution.  In some cases, these leaders may lead complex organizations, where they would have to apply elements of direct, organizational, and strategic leadership at the same time.  These leaders must be agile.

Now that they’re in charge of a larger organization, these leaders’ influences are more often indirect than direct down the chain of command.  They rely more heavily on developing subordinates and empowering them to execute their assigned responsibilities and missions.  They visualize the larger impact on the organization and mission when making decisions; they look at the big picture.  Lower level personnel and leaders look to their organizational leaders to set achievable standards, to provide clear intent, and to provide necessary resources.

A fitting quote to encompass the leader’s ability to drive the organization and lead by example is a quote by General Gordon R. Sullivan, author of Hope is Not a Method:

“If you are the leader, your people expect you to create their future.  They look into your eyes, and they expect to see strength and vision.  To be successful, you must inspire and motivate those who are following you.  When they look into your eyes, they must see that you are with them.”

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Organizational leaders play a critical part when it comes to maintaining focus.  They are at the forefront of adapting to changes and exploiting emerging opportunities by applying a combination of intuition, analytical problem solving, systems integration, and leadership by example.

Organizational leaders ensure clear and understandable communication.  They share as much information as possible with their subordinates, and allow for a two-way exchange of information to ensure a clear understanding of intent, priorities, and thought processes.  Within the organization, there should be a coordination of communication through multiple channels, creating a more complete picture.  With reliable information, staffs at different levels can productively assist in turning policies, concepts, plans, and programs into achievable results.

Middle level organizational levels also interact with the next-higher staff to gain a better understanding of the superior’s priorities and impending shifts.  This helps set the conditions for their own requirements and changes.  Constantly sensing, observing, talking, questioning, and actively listening helps to better identify and solve potential problems, or to avoid them.

Organizational leaders take a long-term approach to developing the entire organization.  They create a positive environment, they prepare themselves for the future, they develop others by building team skills and processes, they encourage initiative and acceptance of responsibility, and they choose talented staff leaders (middle managers).  Ultimately, they empower their organization to be prepared to take initiative and to make decisions, while holding them accountable for their actions.  They tell their people what needs to be accomplished and why, and leave the details to them.  Known as Pushing Smarts Down, soldiers today have better intellect and education and don’t need to be told how to do certain tasks, or be guided by step-by-step processes.  It is truly the elimination of micromanagement and the establishment of empowerment.

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Strategic leaders are high-level thinkers who sustain an organization’s culture and envision the future of the organization, and then convey that vision to the entire organization.  Strategic leaders apply knowledge, experience, techniques, and skills beyond those required by direct or organizational leaders.  They must think in multiple time periods and apply more adaptability and agility to managing change.  They operate in intricate networks of overlapping and sometimes competing constituencies.  They participate in and shape endeavors extending beyond their span of responsibility.  Strategic leaders must concentrate on the future.  They spend much of their time looking toward long-term goals and positioning for long-term success even as they often contend with mid-term and immediate issues and crises.

The constantly changing World challenges strategic leaders’ decision-making abilities.  Despite the challenges, strategic leaders personally tell the organization’s story, make long-range decisions, and shape the organization’s culture.  Like direct and organizational leaders, strategic leaders lead by example and exert indirect leadership by communicating, inspiring, and motivating.  Providing a clear vision is vital to the strategic leader, and they share this vision with a broad audience, gaining widespread support, and use it as a compass to guide the organization.  Strategic leaders identify trends and opportunities, and threats that could affect the organization’s future and move vigorously to mobilize the talent that will help create strategic vision.

Strategic leaders are skilled at reaching consensus and building coalitions.  They apply these skills to tasks, and routinely bring designated people together for missions.  Using peer leadership rather than strict positional authority, strategic leaders carefully monitor progress toward a visualized end state.  They focus on the health of the relationships necessary to achieve it.  Interpersonal contact sets the tone for professional relations: strategic leaders must be tactful.

And, strategic leaders lead and inspire institutional change.  They accept change in proactive, not in reactive fashion.  They anticipate change even as they shield their organizations from unimportant and bothersome influences.  Ultimately, good strategic leaders can effectively shape change to improve the institution while continuing to deal with routine operations and requirements.  They know that institutional change requires influence grounded in commitment rather than forced compliance.  Commitment must be reinforced consistently throughout the multiple levels of the organization.  While all levels of leaders lead change, strategic level leaders make the most-sweeping changes and ones that focus on the most distant horizon.  Strategic leaders guide their organizations through eight distinct steps if their initiatives for change are to make lasting progress.  The critical steps of the leading change process are:

  • Demonstrate a sense of urgency by showing both the benefits and necessity for change.
  • Form guiding coalitions to work the process of change from concept through implementation.
  • With the guiding coalitions and groups, develop a vision of the future and strategy for making it a reality.
  • Clearly communicate the future vision throughout the institution or organization; change is most effective when all members embrace it.
  • Empower subordinates at all levels to pursue widespread, parallel efforts.
  • Plan for short-term successes to validate key programs and keep the vision credible.
  • Consolidate the successful programs to produce further change.
  • Ensure that the change is culturally preserved.

The result is an institution that constantly prepares for and shapes the future environment.  The strategic leaders’ fundamental goal is to leave the organization better than they found it.  They create a positive environment to position the institution for the future.

When providing direction, giving guidance, and setting priorities, strategic leaders must judge realistically what the future may hold.  They incorporate new ideas, new technologies, and new capabilities.  From a mixture of ideas, facts, conjecture, and personal experience, they create an image of what their organizations need to be and where it must go to get desired results.

The strategic leader’s vision provides the ultimate sense of purpose, direction, and motivation for everyone in the organization.  It is the starting point for developing specific goals and plans, a yardstick for measuring organizational accomplishment, and a check on organizational values.  A shared vision throughout the organization is important for attaining commitment to change.  A strategic leader’s vision for the organization may have a time horizon of years, or even decades.

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