When Does a Soldier Need a Haircut?

[February 27, 2017]  Trick question!!   … Sorry but to ask this question implies something that often goes unnoticed.  I was once asked this question during an interview to determine the ‘Private of Year’ award.  Unfortunately, I got the answer wrong and didn’t win.  The right answer?  A soldier never needs a haircut because they get… Read More »

Don’t Move the Foxhole

[February 26, 2017]  It was mid-August in 1983 when my Infantry training class was on maneuvers at Fort Benning, Georgia.  The heat was oppressive and the humidity seemed like we were swimming through the air.  That was when we were told to dig-in and “defend” a hill from the OPFOR1.  The first task assigned to… Read More »

Good Habits #29: Smile

[February 25, 2017]  Someone once said that a smile is the language of kindness and that is certainly true.  Leaders of all stripes, to be successful, smile in order to be both approachable and motivational.  This is achieved easily for those willing to take the simple step of smiling.  Recent interpretations of ancient writings tell… Read More »

When You Think You’re Good …

[February 24, 2017]  … but you’re not can be a strangely motivating event.  I’m reminded of the Allstate Insurance’s commercials involving the Mayhem Guy who plays out scenarios involving accidents.1  An underlying theme in those commercials is that since we’re humans, we’re often the object of our own failures. Overconfident: foolishly adventurous, reckless, foolhardy are… Read More »

Can We Learn ‘Good’ Things from a Dog?

[February 23, 2017]  I own a dog.  In the United States, more than a third of all families own at least one dog; the most common household pet.1  Whether you’ve ever had one or not, it’s unsurprising that anyone can learn good things from them.  For example, leaders can also learn from a dog (see my… Read More »

Showing Moral Courage: James B. Donovan

[February 22, 2017]  Adversity, uncertainty, confusion … all play a part in how we see great leaders who demonstrate the moral courage overcome such obstacles.  The greater the adversity, the greater the leader who can prevail.  In the civilian world, attorney James B. Donovan showed moral courage when he helped release prisoners from several communist… Read More »

Not to Promote War but to Preserve Peace

[February 21, 2017]  There are many senior government leaders who strongly believe that war solves nothing and therefore it is an important moral duty to avoid war at all costs.  Such a position is contrary to the history of humankind but there are a few academics who study war that agree; they study war, not… Read More »

Leadership is about Producing Leaders

[February 20, 2017]  One of the best things about the U.S. military is the enormous amount of resources used to produce the best leaders possible.  I was fortunate to participate in a number of programs designed to improve the leadership capacities and skills of their senior officers.  What I took away from it was that… Read More »

There Will Always Be People Better Than You

[February 19, 2017]  … and that will always be the case so leaders need to stop using it as an excuse.  I often speak with young adults who’ve simply given up trying to be the best they can be because there are so many people better – much better – than them.  My son was… Read More »

Don’t Criticize the Incoming Leader

[February 18, 2017]  There’s been a lot of criticism of incoming U.S. President Donald Trump.  Critical behavior is certainly not new in the political environment but there is a common understanding among professionals that to disparage an incoming leader is amateurish and ethically wrong. “He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to… Read More »