Socializing a New Idea

By | April 29, 2020

[April 29, 2020]  Senior leaders are experienced in resolving vague, uncertain, complex problems. Solving such issues will inevitably get supported or disagreement on its effectiveness, reliability, and appropriateness.  When problems are highly complex, and there is time available, one way to overcome resistance is by socializing the new idea. One of the most significant decisions in the Iraq… Read More »

Signs Your Mentor is giving you Bad Advice

By | April 28, 2020

[April 27, 2020]  Many years ago, a friend of mine, Bill Johnson, was finishing the U.S. Infantry Basic Officer Course at Fort Benning, Georgia.  An armor Captain that had been a mentor to Bill for many months suggested that my friend ask for an assignment at Fort Polk, Louisiana, after graduation.  The mentor was giving bad advice. Back… Read More »

Good Leaders Value Criticisms from Subordinates

By | April 27, 2020

[April 27, 2020]  I’ve been around performance reviews long enough to understand they have value.  Written by someone who outranks the person rated, the evaluation has both good and bad points.  But, some evaluations are truly valuable.  Those criticisms from subordinates will frequently contain the starkest surprises and bluntness. As such, feedback from subordinates can knock a leader… Read More »

Tar and Feathering: Mob Vengeance?

By | April 26, 2020

[April 26, 2020]  In late 1775, on a sunny afternoon in Kinderhook, New York, several young women had gathered for a quilting bee.  Suddenly, their peace was interrupted by a man who dropped in and commenced to harangue “against the Continental Congress.”1  The quiltmakers had had enough, they stripped the young man naked to the waist and commenced… Read More »

Fighting the Last War

By | April 23, 2020

[April 23, 2020]  In December 2004, I had the opportunity to interview captured Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.  During that brief encounter at his prison cell at Camp Victory in Baghdad, I asked him one question, “Why did the Americans defeat your army?”  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting an answer.  But he smiled and told me that “defeat” is a… Read More »

A Story of Audacity

By | April 21, 2020

[April 21, 2020]  In early spring of 1942, there was little that citizens of Paris cold look forward to during their German occupation.  The Nazi war machine had taken nearly all of Europe, and the “city of lights” was now under the oppressive thumb of the German military.  Shortly after noon on one sunny day, a lone RAF… Read More »