Archive for victory

Plan For Failure

Posted in Leadership with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2015 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

“I don’t lose any sleep at night over the potential for failure. I cannot even spell the word.”

General James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis

We all strive for victory.  Each one of us hates to lose.  After all, it is essential for us to succeed in our daily lives.  We are obviously not living life to fail.  But, fail we will.

As important as it is to plan for victory, it is just as important to plan for failure.  Every ‘battle plan’ should consider all contingencies.  But, victory, of course, hangs on the details, and behind those details are hidden the pitfalls that can spell disaster and defeat.  We often take our eye off the potential negatives and ultimately find ourselves facing the unexpected.  This can easily be avoided.

Last week, we again saw another data breach hitting Anthem Blue Cross.  And, again, many experts are saying that this ‘disastrous’ data breach was avoidable.  When I first heard about it, my first thought was how something like this could happen again.  Haven’t these major organizations learned from other data breaches, such as to Michaels Stores, Home Depot, Kmart and ebay?  Aren’t major corporations taking steps to prevent these kinds of disasters from happening to them?  I can understand maybe not recognizing the unknown, but I cannot accept these companies blatantly ignoring what is going on around them, and to their peers in various corporate circles.  Again, planning for failure is just as important as planning for success.

In a recent blog post on The Military Leader, entitled 5 Questions That Can Save You From Disaster, author Drew Steadman discusses how failure can be avoided by not getting caught off guard by things that could have been anticipated.  As he states in his article, “A few moments of reflection can cue you in to the key indicators. And asking hard questions will force you and your team to acknowledge the situation you face.”  But, what I take away from Drew’s article is that you cannot wait for things to happen, or circumstances to change, before putting into place a plan that could work to avoid failure.  It is important to be quite aware of the peripheral things, because failure or victory are contingent on how (or if) you recognize and react to them.

One thing that I am certain of is that there will be a lot of uncertainty when planning for any outcome.  In essence, failures and miscues can be avoided by taking action based on our anticipation of the known’s and the unknowns.  And, doesn’t that sound familiar:

Recommended Reading: “The Certainty of Donald Rumsfeld

Part 1: Three Reporters

Part 2: The Known and the Unknown

Part 3: A Failure of Imagination

Part 4: Absence of Evidence Isn’t Evidence of Absence

As my youngest daughter, Kassandra, when she hears something so profound, says, “what does that even mean?”  When Donald Rumsfeld first uttered this statement during a press breifing in February 2002 about the lack of evidence linking the government of Iraq with the supply of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups, he was making a point that there are various levels of certainty and uncertainty based on our knowledge of the facts as we know them, and the facts that aren’t yet clear. [View video of Donald Rumsfeld’s comments HERE]

To better define this, I found an article on SmartOrg by Don Creswell that defined the 3 Basic Sources of Risk and Uncertainty, which came out of a presentation by Kelvin Stott.

My take:

  • We must remain cognizant of those things that we know, while not discounting the possibilities that we think aren’t likely to happen.
  • We need to open more widely the avenues of communication, encouraging everyone to say something if they know something; share knowledge.  Nobody can assume the other knows what they know, nor can they think the information isn’t important.
  • Be Inquisitive and curious.  Ask questions and challenge the status quo.
  • We need to use our imagination, as well as look at the intelligence that is available, to make the best decision possible at the time.

Bottom line: Think outside the box, and don’t ignore the obvious.

“Failure is in a sense the highway to success, as each discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true.”

John Keats (1795-1821) British Poet

In the military, disasters could be due to bad planning, bad execution, bad weather, general lack of skill or ability, the failure of a new piece of military technology, a major blunder, a brilliant move on the part of the enemy, or simply the unexpected presence of an overwhelming enemy force.  But, what bothers me is when defeat and failure occur as a result of a known and preventable cause.  There are many military disasters throughout history that you can spend hours researching and realizing that they could have been avoided.

Recommended Reading: The Five Biggest Disasters in American Military History

I’m not suggesting that we are always going to be perfect.  What I am saying is that paying attention to certain details can make the difference between success and failure.  Being aware and prepared, innovative and imaginative, proactive and intuitive, can all make a big difference.

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”

Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) American speaker and motivational writer

As you look around at the people and organizations who are facing critical issues, problems, and crisis,[i] you should view those situations as instructive and constructive. They should, for you, act as lessons learned.[ii]  We can learn as much from other people’s failures, as we can from our own.  Try to recognize what took that person or organization into the direction of failure, and plan to do the things necessary to avoid them happening to you or your organization.

Don’t be smug thinking that these things cannot happen to you, or that they are rare or isolated incidents.[iii]  And, don’t be arrogant in the thought that these things can’t happen to you … Or, that ‘things just happen.’[iv]  Don’t let things happen because you failed to prepare, or you grew over-confident with success. Plan for failure.[v]  Don’t fall to complacency or laziness.

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Inspired by five consecutive Tweets (#5Star #5Tweet) I posted on Friday, February 13, 2015:
[i]     Tweet 1 of 5
[ii]    Tweet 2 of 5
[iii]   Tweet 3 of 5
[iv]   Tweet 4 of 5
[v]    Tweet 5 of 5
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Sources:

Resolutions That Are Fundamentally Strong

Posted in Motivation with tags , , , , , , , on January 3, 2015 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Here we are again; the beginning of a new year, and yet another opportunity to pronounce another proverbial New Year’s Resolution that will make improvements about ourselves.  Most of us decide to take actions that drive us to kick aside bad habits, while others just want to try something new in their lives.  Some people simply add new things to their bucket list that they want to accomplish or experience in the new year.  Whatever the motivation, and no matter the goal, the new year presents new opportunity to accomplish more than we did in the past.

New Year isn’t meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes. It is a time for people to reflect on their past year’s behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes[i].  I am often amazed, this time of year, at how we seem to distinctively draw that line between one year and the next, rather than making these choices and decisions progressively throughout the year and throughout our lives.  As I said in a Tweet on December 26th:

Why are we waiting until next Thursday (January 1, New Year’s Day) to start something new or kick bad habits aside.  Let’s start today. (via @5StarLeadership)

It’s never too late to turn a new page[ii], or to start a new chapter in your book of life.  For others, their goal is to accomplish the goals of 2014 which they should have done in 2013 because they made a promise in 2012 and planned in 2011[iii].  And, there are some people who absolutely resent the notion of making New Year’s resolutions.  For those people, making New Year’s resolutions implies that they need to change.  I guess they think they’re perfect just the way they are[iv]. But, shouldn’t we always be resolving to improve?  Shouldn’t we be building a list of goals and objectives all the time that are fundamentally strong?  Isn’t it important and valuable to aspire to achieve these victories throughout our lives?  If we are in a position to set resolutions to make improvements, or to take definitive action to destroy behaviors that have prevented us from advancing, we are obviously fighting these battles now. As Vala Afshar Tweeted recently:

As you enter the new year, you have 3 decisions:

  1. What will I leave behind?
  2. What will I bring with me?
  3. What can I create that’s new?

First, we must reflect on the lessons you’ve learned along your life’s journey to this point.  We must consider the mistakes we’ve made, particularly with past resolutions.  Maybe they were unrealistic or unattainable.  Maybe we weren’t fully prepared to follow-through with the promise we made with ourselves or others, or there were challenges and setbacks we didn’t anticipate.  When making new resolutions, we should consider our strengths, and be totally honest with ourselves about our weaknesses. Second, we need to answer a few questions before truly deciding what actions we are going to take to achieve victory in 2015.  Just like going into battle, we have to make decisions on what we will need to achieve victory.  What are our priorities?  What resources will we need to effectively and efficiently reach each milestone?  Of the resources we have available, which are the ones that need improvement?  How and where can we blaze new trails to reach new destinations in our lives?

Your success in 2015 will be based on how well you mix the ingredients for achieving victories along the path. (via @5StarLeadership)

Last, our choice of targets (resolutions) should be unselfish.  We must think of those around us when determining what we are going to set out to achieve.  What impact will our choices have on those around us?  Your New Year’s resolution should be as much for those around you as it is for yourself.  Do something that benefits everyone[v]. For those of us who are leaders, making resolutions amounts to creating a vision, then determining a set of action steps to accomplish each task along the road to victory.  The principles, virtues and values that go into these intentions considers many of the same thought processes an individual takes when deciding to improve something in their lives, or to take deliberate action to accomplish something monumental.  No matter if you are a leader of a team or organization, or someone who has important goals to accomplish in their lives, it will be important to establish a clear vision for what you are setting out to achieve. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2015 Resolutions For You and Those Around You To Become Fundamentally Strong –

The following can be adapted to fit any person, situation, family, friend, team, company, etc.  Each of the following four initiatives are based on a series of Tweets I posted on New Year’s Day.  After each one listed is a link to the original Tweet:

  1. Inspire greatness among everyone you interact with by creating a positive, engaging environment. (Tweet)
  2. Ensure that you, and everyone around you, are ready to face the challenges ahead, while strengthening the resources you’ll need to ultimately accomplish each and every objective. (Tweet)
  3. Embrace failure as much as you do achievement.  Use every situation as a teaching moment for you and others. Become a student, mentor or coach, as needed. (Tweet)
  4. Take care of yourself physically and mentally to be a stronger person.  And, encourage those around you to do the same.  Build on strengths, tear down weaknesses. (Tweet)

 

 _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Keeping It Real –

Making New Year’s resolutions requires a certain attitude, focus and commitment.  It requires a discipline that is firm and unwavering. Discipline is easy to talk about – but difficult to practice without the right motivation[vi].  And being continuously motivated and inspired to achieve anything in life can be challenging.  Let’s be honest; it’s not easy.  We have too many distractions and negative impulses, as well as constraints on our time.  Some might say that our struggles with resolutions is mind over matter; we don’t mind because it doesn’t matter.  But, you must have a strong desire to succeed and be determined to stick to it. Here are a few keys to success:

  1. Identify a tangible and legitimate resolution that will improve or enhance your life. Make it relevant.
  2. Avoid making one overwhelming and sweeping change.  Smaller, more attainable resolutions will help you reach for whatever you are striving to achieve.
  3. Specify the improvements you want to make, listing their priority of importance and completion.  Then specify the tasks, behaviors, resources and/or requirements that will fulfill every aspect and obligation of the resolution
  4. Recognize and plan for the constraints and challenges that may cause you to fall back or fail.  Prepare yourself mentally and/or physically for those pitfalls, and gain the necessary resources and support mechanisms to overcome them.
  5. Set several milestones with attainable time-bound gates.  Hold yourself to a schedule, and track your progress.
  6. Start with small, attainable goals to start.  It is important to gain confidence in your efforts, and winning a few smaller battles will strengthen your resolve.
  7. Remain focused, and do not give in to complacency or laziness.  Use the lessons you learned with past resolutions to drive yourself to success.  There is no substitute for victory.
  8. Improvise, adapt and overcome.  You may have to change your plans along the way, but do not change your vision.  You have set a firm goal and resolution; DO NOT turn back after stubbing your toe or stumbling.  Don’t beat yourself up if you fall back, even if it seems your setbacks are insurmountable to recover from.  Remember, minor missteps are perfectly normal, and they may seem far greater than they really are.  Face it, you’ll have ups and downs.  But, you must resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

 

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“Success is the ability to visualize what you want to do next with your life—what you want to be, do, and have in life—and to enjoy that process of moving toward that vision, achieving it, and creating new visions.” ~ Norma Carr Ruffino

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See Also –

Being Aware and prepared: A Motto for Success and Victory in the New Year (commandperformanceleadership.wordpress.com)

Footnotes –

[i] Making Your New Year’s Resolution Stick – Accessed 2 January 2015 – American Psychological Association – http://www.apa.org/

[ii] From a Tweet by @E_H_Carpenter, posted on 30 December 2014 at 12:15PM: https://twitter.com/E_H_Carpenter/status/549977008118448128 – Accessed 2 January 2015

[iii] From a Tweet by @Noel_DeJesus, posted on 31 December 2014 at 10:29AM: https://twitter.com/Noel_DeJesus/status/550312847071535104 – Accessed 2 January 2015

[iv] Inspired by a Tweet by @GalleryAriana, posted on 1 January 2015 at 11:36AM: https://twitter.com/GalleryAriana/status/550692050040266752 – Accessed 2 January 2015

[v] From a Tweet by @5StarLeadership (That’s ME), posted on 1 January 2015 at 11:01AM: https://twitter.com/5StarLeadership/status/550683356439269376 – Accessed 2 January 2015

[vi] Pause Now To Consider Your Success Goals for 2015 – Accessed 2 January 2015 – Office Dynamics International – http://officedynamics.com/

* Find more resources and information on setting New Year’s resolution on Google.

Photo Credits –

Being Aware and Prepared: A Motto for Success and Victory in the New Year

Posted in Motivation with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2014 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

It is quite simple, really. Like the Boy Scout motto says, ‘Be Prepared’. You never want to be caught short of essential information or valuable resources going into battle; business or otherwise. Being blindfolded and hog-tied is no way to fight and achieve victory. As we go into the new year, let us all have the motto, ‘Be Prepared’, as our first (of many) New Year’s Resolution. Seek and acquire what is necessary and required to perform at the highest possible level.

And, it doesn’t stop with us and OUR preparation. This should extend to those we work with, those who work for us, and those we work for. Let us not find ourselves limiting the knowledge or tools that will help others, and the organization, win the everyday battles we will all face in the next year.

Have a successful and victorious new year.

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Improvise, Adapt and Overcome ~ Changing Plans, But Not Changing Vision

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

*The following was inspired by a post by the late Timothy F. Bednarz on his blog, Leaders to Leader, entitled, “Plans Must Be Rooted in Past Performance.”

Footnote (in advance of reading this post):  In the context of this article, when I speak of a ‘leader,’ I am referring to a leader at all levels; not necessarily the commander, CEO or department head.  Empowered followers are the key to implementing and accomplishing plans at all levels of the organization.

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Plan for Victory ~ Expect to Win

A vision or goal (short-term / long-term) is where the organization sees itself in the future.  It is a desired result that an organization plans and commits to achieve.  To move towards these results requires planning and goal-setting.  These time-targeted plans should be specific, measurable, realistic and attainable to achieve each objective along the path towards the vision.  The anticipated results guide reactions, according to various successes and failures, as the organization maneuvers towards the objective (vision).  From these plans, a leader must ensure that participants have a clear awareness of what they must do to achieve an objective.

In the military, they call this the Commander’s Intent; the stated description of the end-state as it relates to forces (entities, people), the purpose of the operation, and key tasks to accomplish the mission.  This blog will discuss, more specifically, Commander’s Intent, and mission planning & accomplishment, After Action Reviews (AAR’s), etc., another time.  But, the blog, PurpelINK, defines and discusses Commander’s Intent very well:

A soldier’s every move is predicated upon hours of forethought and planning. After the commander-in-chief approves the order of battle, a soldier will find his personal orders specifying the scheme of maneuver and field of fire. Each battalion is told what to do, what materiel to use, and how to set up supply lines to replace its munitions.

There’s only one problem: no plan survives contact with the enemy because the enemy always gets a vote. Consider the variables; [a weather change], a key military asset is destroyed after it is deployed [etc]. In short, the enemy is unpredictable.

The beautiful thing about knowing the [Commander’s Intent] is that it means your plans are never rendered obsolete by the unpredictable. You may lose the ability to execute the plan (involving the timing of men and materiel), but you never lose the responsibility of executing the Commander’s Intent.

[Commander’s Intent] manages to align the behavior of soldiers at all levels of the army without requiring detailed instructions from the High Command. If you know the intention of the order, you are free to improvise to arrive at its fulfillment. If people know the intent, they can engineer their own solutions to accomplishing the task.

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An organization’s history of past accomplishments (or failures), and the acquisition of desired (or poor) results, obviously influences the plans and strategies of the future.  When we are successful, we build on the plans that made us successful in the achievement of certain goals and objectives.  But when we fail, we tend to throw away those plans.  Sometimes we even adjust our overall objective; subtly, or sometimes dramatically.  But, changing our vision and our ultimate goal is the wrong thing to do if you intend to grow, improve and become successful and victorious.

For example, an Army might put their efforts into creating plans that become useless once the enemy is engaged.  Companies do the same thing when they implement initiatives and strategies that are poorly planned out or executed.  But, one should be reluctant to throw aside entire plans because of those failures, or by falling short of mission.  On the contrary, using lessons learned, one should assess the capabilities of their resources (people, material, finances, etc.) that contributed to those results, correct the weaknesses and gaps in performance, and then adjust the plan, re-allocating and reassigning resources to be better utilized for future actions and plans.  Maybe the people, or the team, responsible for certain results were not afforded all of the tools necessary to succeed.  Or, the people were not properly appointed the right tasks to drive towards the desired results; individuals weren’t assigned tasks according to their talents.

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Improvise, Adapt and Overcome

The United States Marine Corps calls it, “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome.”  The Marine Corps has been successful employing this concept mostly because of the creativity of its people and their success-based attitude.  During the chaos of battle and the implementation of plans according to the Commander’s Intent, they must find what works, or people die, equipment is lost, and the battle is lost.  For the Marine Corps, the whole notion of improvise, adapt and overcome becomes second nature.  For companies and organizations, what worked last year does not work this year, and what works now is a radical departure from what worked last year.  They must improvise, adapt and overcome.

My point is that past results should never change your vision.  Yes, you should plan according to past lessons learned.  But, a good leader will never hesitate as a result of, or be intimidated by, past failure.  And, a good leader will never change their vision for the future as a result of those failures.  The future vision or goal must remain the same, never changing because of the past.  One must have the courage to change according to those failures, yet not change their mindset because of those failures. The past can tell you a lot.  But don’t let it tell you to reverse course.

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A good leader will:

  • Align the capabilities of people and resources based on the past, not in spite of it.  They will match the people to the tasks according to skill level and proficiency
  • Manage and monitor time to efficiently and effectively achieve the planned mission
  • Adjust milestones & short-term goal targets, and determine the feasibility of certain objectives
  • Frequently assess, reconsider and change according to the circumstances they are facing
  • Improvise according to the availability and reliability material (supplies, equipment, etc.)
  • Acquire and/or properly allocate the tools needed to achieve short and long-term results
  • Teach, and at the same time learn, the knowledge necessary to improve and succeed, sometimes based on the conditions at the time; gaining feedback, recommendations and reviewing solutions, etc.
  • Implement the plan by breaking it down from a big job into little jobs, and delegate those jobs accordingly

Finally, throughout any situation that requires action and/or change, it is important for any leader to remain optimistic, to be proactive and to cultivate passion.

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Here are my recommendations for making plans based on past performance:

1) Set tasking according to capabilities

2) Your vision (Commander’s Intent) should never change, but your plans must

3) Don’t let short-term setbacks blur your long-term vision

4) ‘Change’ is the only thing that remains the same throughout an organization

5) You might miss your target, but as long as you’ve adjusted and improved your tactics (based on Improvise, Adapt and Overcome), you’re making progress.

6) Remain motivated.  Failure is a hard thing to deal with, but the taste of success (victory) is sweet.

7) Never give up.  You may have failed to reach your target, but as long as you have learned from your mistakes and have acknowledged the lessons learned, you’re making progress and one step closer to victory!

*Inspired by a post on Timothy F. Bednarz‘s blog, Leaders to Leader, entitled, “Plans Must Be Rooted in Past Performance.”

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Sources –

“Problem Solving: Improvise, Adapt, Overcome” – Posted Tuesday, February 1, 2011 – http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/improvise-adapt-overcome/52001 – Accessed 23 July 2012 – Chris Martenson’s Peak Prosperity – http://peakprosperity.com/

“Commander’s Intent” – Posted Friday, August 1, 2008 – http://washelby.blogspot.com/2008/08/commanders-intent.html – Accessed 23 July 2012 – PurpelINK – http://washelby.blogspot.com/

“Goal” – Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia) – Last Modified on 21 July 2012 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goal – Accessed 23 July 2012 – Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia) – http://en.wikipedia.org/

“Commander’s Intent” – Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia) – Last Modified on 24 March 2012 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intent_(military)#Commander.E2.80.99s_Intent – via “Intent (Military)”  at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intent_(military) – Accessed 23 July 2012 – WikiPedia (The Free Encyclopedia) – http://en.wikipedia.org/

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Related Articles –

Douglas MacArthur’s Principles of Leadership

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

Define and Pursue Victory!!

A true leader knows that there is no substitute for victory.  How is victory defined in your organization?  Are you communicating the will to win to your followers?

Douglas MacArthur’s principles of leadership become a leader’s self-assessment questionnaire to determine their true leadership personality and management style.  I encourage you to honestly answer General MacArthur’s questions, and share your thoughts in the comments below, if you wish.

  1. Do I heckle my subordinates or strengthen and encourage them?
  2. Do I use moral courage in getting rid of subordinates who have proven themselves beyond doubt to be unfit?
  3. Have I done all in my power by encouragement, incentive and spur to salvage the weak and erring?
  4. Do I know by NAME and CHARACTER a maximum number of subordinates for whom I am responsible? Do I know them intimately?
  5. Am I thoroughly familiar with the technique, necessities, objectives and administration of my job?
  6. Do I lose my temper at individuals?
  7. Do I act in such a way as to make my subordinates WANT to follow me?
  8. Do I delegate tasks that should be mine?
  9. Do I arrogate everything to myself and delegate nothing?
  10. Do I develop my subordinates by placing on each one as much responsibility as he can stand?
  11. Am I interested in the personal welfare of each of my subordinates, as if he were a member of my family?
  12. Have I the calmness of voice and manner to inspire confidence, or am I inclined to irascibility and excitability?
  13. Am I a constant example to my subordinates in character, dress, deportment and courtesy?
  14. Am I inclined to be nice to my superiors and mean to my subordinates?
  15. Is my door open to my subordinates?
  16. Do I think more of POSITION than JOB?
  17. Do I correct a subordinate in the presence of others?

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Source –

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

Chief Tecumseh’s Words of Wisdom (from Act of Valor)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Act of ValorAct of Valor is a very powerful movie.  From the personal side of the lives of those in the military, to the fight they face on the front lines in today’s dangerous World, Act of Valor takes you on suspense-filled missions of today’s Navy SEALs.  Although the movie is fiction, you cannot come away from it thinking that the scenarios presented could never occur; they very well could occur.  The members of our military put their personal life on the shelf to go fight our wars.  They leave the ones they love, and the safety of their homes, to go to all points around the World to take the fight to our enemy, so that the enemy never brings the fight to our shores.  The movie reveals the sacrifices of our men and women, who respond when called, to dedicate themselves to the profession of arms, and the courage it takes to do so.  A very good quote from the movie captures all of this very clearly: “If you’re not willing to give up everything, you’ve already lost.”  Our country was founded on this principle, and our military fights for our freedoms and liberties according to it, and damn few choose to make the sacrifices to fight for their fellow-man.  Those who do certainly give up everything for us.

When I was driving home from the movie, it was a beautiful day, with clear blue skies.  Although there was a chill in the air, it certainly looked like a spring day.  The movie had certainly put my mind into a different perspective, and I found myself embracing what we take for granted as citizens.  Of course, on the road with me were people in their hustle and bustle to get to wherever their lives were taking them; for most, I am sure, not a care in the World.  I assure you that I was paying attention to the road, but I couldn’t help day dreaming about the things we take for granted.  Here we are, on such a splendid day, enjoying our freedoms; freedom to go to the mall, to church, to school.  While there are men and women facing the grueling challenges of fighting our enemy, we’re enjoying life.  My mind split between the image of that day’s beauty with that of the images from the battle scenes of Act of Valor.  I thought to myself, “At this moment, there is a soldier somewhere in this World attempting to gain entry into a dilapidated shack in Afghanistan (or anywhere) to eradicate an insurgent who wants nothing else but to destroy our way of life, uncertain of what he might find on the other side of the door.  And, here I am…driving to my home on a beautiful sunny day in my home town.”  Meanwhile, the men and women of our military have put their sunny days aside so that we can enjoy ours.

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At the very end of the movie, the narrator speaks the words from a poem written by Chief Tecumseh, a Native American of the Shawnee tribe.  As I did research on Chief Tecumseh, I found a few other poignant quotes:

“A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong.” (teamwork)

“Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.” (courtesy)

“Let us form one body, one heart, and defend to the last warrior our country, our homes, our liberty, and the graves of our fathers.” (common bond for a common cause)

The words of the following poem, spoken at the end of the movie Act of Valor, have deep meaning, and I wanted to share it with you.  As was stated in the Williamsburg Military Insider, the poem is “truly amazing and I hope that it inspires you to make this life count, to pursue noble undertakings, and live to the fullest  having used all your talents and have no regrets.”

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So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion;
respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.

Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people and grovel to none.

When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.

Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled
with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep
and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

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Shawnee Chief Tecumseh Created a Confederation to Oppose White Encroachment

Act of Valor

Act of Valor ~ (Navy SEALs – Sea, Air, Land…Hollywood)

Prints Tecumseh Poem from Act of Valor Movie

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson

Act of Valor ~ (Navy SEALs – Sea, Air, Land…Hollywood)

Posted in Miscellaneous, Video of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

An unprecedented blend of real-life heroism and original filmmaking, Act of Valor stars a group of active-duty U.S. Navy SEALs in a film like no other in Hollywood’s history.  A fictionalized account of real life Navy SEAL operations, Act of Valor features a gripping story that takes audiences on an adrenaline-fueled, edge-of-their-seat journey.

Act of Valor follows a Navy SEAL squad on a covert mission to recover a kidnapped CIA agent, which unexpectedly results in the discovery of an imminent, terrifying global threat.  An elite team of highly trained Navy SEALs must immediately embark on a heart-stopping secret operation, and in the process takes down a complex web of terrorist cells determined to strike America at all costs.

Act of Valor combines stunning combat sequences, up-to-the-minute battlefield technology, and heart-pumping emotion for the ultimate action adventure film–showcasing the skills, training and tenacity of the greatest action heroes of them all: real Navy SEALs.  The filmmakers had unprecedented Naval access resulting in never-before-seen military operation scenes which are composited from actual events in the lives of the men appearing in the film and their comrades.

Here is the Extended trailer for the movie –

The Navy SEALs in Act of Valor

Behind the scenes of Act of Valor

Oh, and did I mention that they’re using REAL BULLETS????

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Related links discussing The United State Navy SEALs –

Inside Navy SEALs Team Six, Training

An Inside Look at the SEAL Sensibility

The True Undercover Boss

Act of Valor

Leadership Lessons of the Navy Seals

The True Undercover Boss

Posted in Current Affairs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Meet Admiral William McRaven: The True Undercover Boss

Admiral William McRaven was the Special Operations coach for SEAL Team Six for the operation that brought down the World’s leading terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, last May.  And, last night, Both Adm. McRaven and SEAL Team Six had another big night.  Adm. McRaven was the guest of Michelle Obama at her husband’s State of the Union Address.  And, before President Barack Obama’s speech to combined session of Congress and the American people, forces under Adm. McRaven’s command were carrying out a special operations mission to rescue two hostages from the hands of pirates in Somalia.  Navy SEAL Team Six, the same unit that killed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, carried out a nighttime helicopter raid on Somali kidnappers during the rescue of American Jessica Buchanan and Poul Hagan Thisted of Denmark, aid workers taken hostage last October.

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A Select Biographical Summary about Admiral William McRaven –

Admiral McRaven is the ninth commander of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.  USSOCOM ensures the readiness of joint special operations forces and, as directed, conducts operations worldwide.[i-a]

Adm. McRaven served from June 2008 to June 2011 as the 11th commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C.  JSOC is charged to study special operations requirements and techniques, ensure interoperability and equipment standardization, plan and conduct special operations exercises and training, and develop joint special operations tactics.[i-b]

Adm. McRaven served from June 2006 to March 2008 as commander, Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR).  In addition to his duties as commander, SOCEUR, he was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and interoperability of all NATO Special Operations Forces.[i-c]

Adm. McRaven has commanded at every level within the special operations community, including assignments as deputy commanding general for operations at JSOC, commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group 1, commander of SEAL Team 3, task group commander in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, task unit commander during Desert Storm and Desert Shield, squadron commander at Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and SEAL platoon commander at Underwater Demolition Team 21/SEAL Team 4.[ii-a]

Adm. McRaven’s diverse staff and interagency experience includes assignments as the director for Strategic Planning in the Office of Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council Staff, assessment director at U.S. Special Operations Command, on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations and the chief of staff at Naval Special Warfare Group 1.[ii-b]

Adm. McRaven’s professional education includes assignment to the Naval Postgraduate School, where he helped establish and was the first graduate from the Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict curriculum.[ii-c]

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Admiral McRaven was the terrorist hunter on whose shoulders Osama bin Laden raid rested.  Soon after the successful operation that eliminated Osama bin Laden, conducted by SEAL Team Six, Adm. McRaven’s name emerged as the architect of the mission.  At the time, Admiral McRaven was former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ recommended new leader of U.S. Special Operations Command.  One of the most experienced terrorist hunters, Adm. McRaven tapped a special unit of Navy SEALs for the mission two earlier.  The author of a textbook titled “Spec Ops,” McRaven had long emphasized six key requirements for any successful mission: surprise, speed, security, simplicity, purpose and repetition.  For the especially risky bin Laden operation, he insisted on another: precision.  A former SEAL himself, Adm. McRaven had overseen weeks of intensive training for a covert operation that could cripple al-Qaeda if it worked, or strain an already troubled alliance with Pakistan if it went awry.[iii]

Choppering 25 Navy SEALs into a populated area covered by the air defenses of an unsuspecting sovereign nation.  Fast-roping them down into a fortified compound containing unknown numbers of enemies.  Killing or capturing the world’s most dangerous terrorist.  Extracting them safely and flying them to Afghanistan the same way they came.[iv]  That was the plan.  A daring plan that we now know was a great success, although one of the two Blackhawk helicopters that carried the SEALs into bin Laden’s Pakistani compound grazed one of the compound’s wall and was forced to make a hard landing.  Osama bin Laden was eliminated, SEAL Team Six became American heroes, and Admiral McRaven became a household name.

Fast forward nine months, and Admiral McRaven again finds himself front and center.  Last night, he was one of Michelle Obama’s many guests, along with other military guests, at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.  As the television cameras captured him sitting in the gallery of spectators, he appeared calm and composed.  He did not look like a person who had just ordered the rescue of two hostages being held by pirates in Somalia, nor did he appear to be stressed or anxious about the mission’s outcome.

U.S. military forces sent helicopters into Somalia in a nighttime raid Tuesday and freed the two hostages who had been captured on October 25, 2011.  The raid was conducted by a joint team involving Special Operations Forces, including Navy SEAL Team Six, the same unit that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011.[iv]  See Fox News’ television report on this raid at this link.  The two hostages were freed uninjured after a shoot-out that resulted in nine of their captors being killed.  There were no casualties reported among US forces.

In an interview on ABC News Good Morning America this morning, Vice President Joe Biden said that the senior leadership of the Special Forces (Admiral McRaven) recommended that now was the time and the opportunity to act, and the President authorized the mission.  In discussing the Special Forces that conducted the raid, he said that they are “The most incredible warriors this World has ever seen.”

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Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta released a statement this morning on the hostage rescue operation in Somalia:

Last night U.S. Special Operations Forces conducted, by order of the President of the United States, a successful mission in Somalia to rescue two individuals taken hostage on October 25, 2011. Ms. Jessica Buchanan, an American citizen employed by the Danish Demining Group, and her Danish colleague, Mr. Poul Thisted, were kidnapped at gunpoint by criminal suspects near Galcayo, Somalia.

Ms. Buchanan and Mr. Thisted have been transported to a safe location where we will evaluate their health and make arrangements for them to return home.

This successful hostage rescue, undertaken in a hostile environment, is a testament to the superb skills of courageous service members who risked their lives to save others. I applaud their efforts, and I am pleased that Ms. Buchanan and Mr. Thisted were not harmed during the operation. This mission demonstrates our military’s commitment to the safety of our fellow citizens wherever they may be around the world.

I am grateful to report that there was no loss of life or injuries to our personnel.

I express my deepest gratitude to all the military and civilian men and women who supported this operation. This was a team effort and required close coordination, especially between the Department of Defense and our colleagues in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They are heroes and continue to inspire all of us by their bravery and service to our nation.[v]

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Members of the military, and those who lead them, do not seek fame or fortune for the heroic acts they perform.  They are doing their job.  The results of their success are felt throughout America in the sustained freedom, and the protection from foreign aggressors who threaten that freedom, that we all enjoy.  We sometimes take for granted what these men and women do, and we sometimes forget that they are out there doing these kinds of things when we least expect it.  The members of SEAL Team Six deserve the recognition and praise on this day after such a daring and successful mission.  And, to Admiral McRaven, our gratitude for mastering the profession of arms and the ability to be a leader of character and a gentleman in the face of challenge and adversity.  Admiral McRaven’s charisma displayed on Tuesday night is a true example of what our senior military leaders are all about.

Copyright © Dale R. Wilson


Footnotes –

[i-a,b,c] “Admiral William H. McRaven – Commander, United States Special Operations Command – United States Navy” – United States Navy Biography – Updated 24 January 2012 – http://www.navy.mil/navydata/bios/navybio.asp?bioid=401 – Accessed 25 January 2012 – NAVY.mil (Official Website of the United States Navy) – http://navy.mil

[ii-a,b,c] “What Michelle Obama’s guests tell us about the State of the Union”Guest List for the First Lady’s Box – State of the Union Address – Posted by Brad Plumer – Posted on 01/24/2012 – Ezra Klein’s WONKBLOGhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/what-michelle-obamas-guest-list-tells-us-about-the-state-of-the-union/2012/01/24/gIQAJw4COQ_blog.html – Accessed 25 January 2012 – The Washington Post – http://www.washingtonpost.com/

.[iii] “Adm. William McRaven: The Terrorist Hunter on whose Shoulders Osama bin Laden Raid Rested” – By Craig Whitlock – Published: May 4, 2011 – The Washington Post Nationalhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/national/adm-william-mcraven-the-terrorist-hunter-on-whose-shoulders-osama-bin-laden-raid-rested/2011/05/04/AFsEv4rF_story.html – Accessed 4 May 2011 – The Washington Post – http://www.washingtonpost.com/

[iv] “Spec Ops Chief Sketched Out bin Laden Raid…in 1995”– By Spencer Ackerman – Posted May 3, 2011 – Danger Room – http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/05/risky-bin-laden-raid-came-from-commanders-book/ – Accessed 25 January 2012 – Wired – http://www.wired.com

[iv] “US Military Raid Frees American, Dane Held Hostage in Somalia” – FoxNews.com (with contributions from The Associated Press) – Published January 25, 2012 – http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/01/25/sources-us-raid-frees-american-and-dane-held-hostage-in-somalia/ – Accessed 25 January 2012 – Fox News – http://www.foxnews.com

[v] “SECDEF Releases Statement on Hostage Rescue Operation in Somalia” – Press Released Statement by the Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta – Release Date 01/25/2012 – http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=64962 – NAVY.mil (Official Website of the United States Navy) – http://www.navy.mil

Listen, Learn…Then Lead

Posted in Leadership, Video of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 6, 2012 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

by Stanley McChrystal (as seen on TED.com)

The Video of the Week

(scroll down to see today’s video)

With a remarkable record of achievement, General Stanley McChrystal has been praised for creating a revolution in warfare that fused intelligence and operations. A four-star general, he is the former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan and the former leader of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees the military’s most sensitive forces. McChrystal’s leadership of JSOC is credited with the December 2003 capture of Saddam Hussein and the June 2006 location and killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. McChrystal, a former Green Beret, is known for his candor.

After McChrystal graduated from West Point, he was commissioned as an infantry officer, and spent much of his career commanding special operations and airborne infantry units. During the Persian Gulf War, McChrystal served in a Joint Special Operations Task Force and later commanded the 75th Ranger Regiment. He completed year-long fellowships at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1997 and in 2000 at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2002, he was appointed chief of staff of military operations in Afghanistan. Two years later, McChrystal was selected to deliver nationally televised Pentagon briefings about military operations in Iraq. From 2003 to 2008, McChrystal commanded JSOC and was responsible for leading the nation’s deployed military counter-terrorism efforts around the globe. He assumed command of all International Forces in Afghanistan in June 2009. President Obama’s order for an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan was based on McChrystal’s assessment of the war there. McChrystal retired from the military in August 2010.

In the following video from TED.com, General McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military. How can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets? By listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure. Some of the key points General McChrystal emphasizes in this discussion are:

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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Sources –

TED.com: Ideas Worth Spreading – Listen, Learn…Then Lead: Stanley McChrystal on TED.comhttp://blog.ted.com/2011/04/05/listen-learn-then-lead-stanley-mcchrystal-on-ted-com/

TED.com: Ideas Worth Spreading – Stanley McChrystal’s Profile on TED.com – “Stanley McChrystal: Military leader”http://www.ted.com/speakers/stanley_mcchrystal.html

Leadership Principles

Posted in Leadership, Principles, Video of the Week with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2011 by Dale Wilson - Author of Command Performance

Leadership in Battle

Hal MooreConsidered one of the top battlefield commanders in world history, Lieutenant General Harold G. Moore (US Army Retired) established his place in military history in 1965 when he led his vastly outnumbered troops to prevail in the first major battle of the Vietnam War.  Both on the battlefield and off, he has spent his lifetime studying and encouraging strong, principled leadership as a soldier and a human being.

The following video lays out Lt. Gen. Moore’s four main principles for a leader in battle.  Although they are discussed in the context of battlefield leadership, one can easily apply these leadership principles to a corporate environment by slightly adjusting the circumstances to a team or workplace scenario.  No matter if it is on a battlefield or in a corporate boardroom, leading a team to victory is the common goal.

Below are the four leadership principles for a leader’s conduct in battle, as discussed in the video:

1. Three strikes and you’re not out! There is always one more thing you can do to influence any situation in your favor.

There are two things a leader can do:

  • Contaminate his environment, and the unit, with his attitude and actions.

OR

  • He can inspire confidence.

A leader must be visible on the battlefield.  He must be self-confident, with a positive attitude, and exhibit confidence under any set of circumstances.  The determination to prevail must be felt by all, no matter what the odds or how desperate the situation.  He must have and display the will to win by his actions, his words, the tone of his voice, his appearance, his demeanor, his countenance, and the look in his eyes.  Instill the will to win. There can be no second-place trophies on display—awarded or accepted.

He must remain calm and cool; NO FEAR.  He must ignore the noise, the dust, smoke, explosions, screams of the wounded, the yells, and the dead lying around him; that is all normal.  He must not give off any hint or evidence that he is uncertain about a positive outcome; even in the most desperate of situations.

2. There’s always one more thing you can do to influence any situation in your favor.  And, after that, one more thing…and, after that, one more thing, etc., etc.

A leader must ask himself, “What am I doing that I should not be doing, and what am I not doing that I should be doing, to influence the situation in my favor?

3. A leader must always be ready! When there is nothing going wrong, there’s nothing going wrong except there is nothing going wrong.  That is when a leader should be most alert.

4. Trust your instincts.

In critical, fast-moving battlefield situations, Instincts and intuition give you an immediate estimation of a situation.  Your instincts are the product of your education, your reading, your personality, and your experience.  TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.  When seconds count, instincts and decisiveness come into play.  In quick, developing situations, the leader must act fast and part confidence to all around him; he must not second-guess the decision.  MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!  Face up to the facts, deal with them, and move on.

In addition, General Moore had a few more principles for military leaders to apply to their course of conduct:

  • Everything in leadership boils down to judgment. Intelligence and good character does not imply you have good judgment.
  • Study history and leadership qualities. Pay special attention to why leaders fail.
  • A person in a position of authority does not automatically become immediately respected or trusted. This is earned.
  • Every person in an organization is as important and necessary to a mission as the next person. That goes from the top to the bottom.
  • Never deprive a person of their self-respect. NEVER!
  • To do well in any field of endeavor, it is an advantage to work with good people.
  • Strive to have one or two people around you who are totally trustworthy.
  • Spend quality time with the team, learning who they are and what motivates them. Create a family.
  • Great leaders learn to lead themselves first. Before you can lead others, leading yourself successfully must be accomplished day in and day out.
  • Successful leaders create the future.
  • Leaders must lead. Be the first boots on the ground and the last boots off.

 

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