No Clear Leader: a Sign of Trouble

[March 24, 2017]  A number of years ago a friend retiring from the U.S. Navy as a senior navy Seabee, and having just come from command of Naval Construction Regiment, was offered a job in a large city as its City Engineer.  A job perfect for him … but he declined.  It turns out the… Read More »

Fascism is Not Your Mother’s Ideology

[March 23, 2017]  There’s been a lot of name-calling lately; in the media, among politicians, and on the streets.  Likely the common reaction today is to call someone a fascist who we disagree with politically.  But fascism is not what most people think it is, or its history, and therein lays a problem that leaders… Read More »

Leaders Grandstanding: A Case for Failure

[March 22, 2017]  My grandmother was a wise lady who often put the pain in life’s lessons with a vigor that I rarely forgot.  While visiting her church one Sunday, my family was introduced to the congregation.  Asked to stand, we did so but I went further by bowing and raising my hands up with… Read More »

Public Feuds by Leaders are Foolish

[March 21, 2017]  I’ve witnessed plenty of public feuds during my time; the results were often unexpected and distasteful.  The most renowned and historic public feud in America (over 200 years ago) was the long and bitter rivalry between politicians Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.  It played out famously and culminated in a pistol duel… Read More »

The Challenge of Leadership

[March 20, 2017]  One of my favorite senior leaders in the President George W. Bush administration was Donald Rumsfeld, the U.S. Secretary of Defense.  Yet, next to Vice President Dick Cheney, Rumsfeld was the most disliked member at the White House and I found his thinking to be profound and insightful.  It is therefore not… Read More »

North Korea: a U.S. Strategy Change

[March 19, 2017]  Three years ago I wrote that the U.S. policy toward North Korea is one of “strategic patience” and that it has been successful if measured pragmatically; it has prevented war.1  Yet, if we measure this U.S. strategy on a scale of decency and morality, it is one of the greatest U.S. leadership… Read More »

Leaders Who Do It All

[March 18, 2017]  Spoiler alert!  No leader does it all; though many have attempted, they all have failed when they tried.  Leaders who attempt to do it all inevitably run into the complexities, ambiguities, and unpredictability of reality and quickly discover that humans are far from perfect. “No man will make a great leader who… Read More »

Leaders Stay Healthy

[March 17, 2017]  Leaders are human too and they require regular healthy activities to keep them at the top of their game.  Staying healthy is something leaders acknowledge as crucial for their performance in any job; just ask any senior leader about how much they take it seriously.  But there is much more to the… Read More »

Good Habits #30: Give a Simple Thank-You

[March 16, 2017]  I remember it like it occurred yesterday.  My maternal grandmother was a kind yet tough individualist who spoke her mind plainly and often.  One day after I was baptized as a young boy in church she said, “Douglas, you’re a good kid, thank you.”  It should be no surprise that the best… Read More »

Roll With the Punches

[March 15, 2017]  Tenacity is an essential characteristic of successful leaders and cannot be underestimated for its veracity in making it so.  That is why so many folks that do well have learned to roll with the punches that life dishes out.  Those who feel the ups and downs know that it depends on how… Read More »