Tag Archives: leadership

It’s just a little officer pt…

So there I was, a while ago, playing soccer for some friendly officer pt when I realized that the normal rules of soccer didn’t apply. Grrr. Frustration.

Here’s the thing. Soccer is my sport. I like it. I played it in college. I know the game. In a world of jocks (the Army) it’s the one sport I’m halfway good at. Thus, rules matter to me.

But only in the case of soccer. The rest… not so much.

Totally inconstant. I can own that.

There is a film called “Revolutionary Road” where one of the characters says No one really forgets the truth, they just get better at lying.”

This quote was highlighted to me on the day I lost my temper at our morning officer PT. There were some perceived injustices happening (again, I re-iterate that it was my perception) and this tapped a part of my personality that I don’t like. I like to think of myself as relaxed, removed, unflappable and easy going. Which is mostly true however what is also true is that I am a type A, driven, intense person who wants to win. I try really hard to keep all that in balance but sometimes it comes out in inappropriate ways and then I experience shame and guilt and embarrassment and all the stuff that goes along with exposing what I want to hide.

In some ways I think most of us have that. There are parts of us that we are not down with. We don’t really like. It triggers some embarrassment in us when it comes out. Authentic living integrates all the parts of who we are into our lives in a healthy way so that we are more holistic, healthy people who, instead of living out of our projected identity (that we have to go to great lengths to protect), live out of our authentic self – what you see and experience is who we are.

Leadership that rises from our core is the best leadership possible. The question to ask yourself today is, who are you really?”

Leave a comment

Filed under Army, thought of the day

What goes in…

GIGOGarbage in, garbage out. It is a succinct explanation as to why computer findings would be errant. It first shows up in the 50s as computers begin to be used for actual work! It highlights the idea that if the original data is flawed, the conclusions will absolutely be flawed!

2 millennia ago Jesus of Nazareth put it this way. “You brood of vipers!! How can you speak good things when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Leave a comment

Filed under thought of the day

This is the MOST EXCITING blog post IN THE WORLD!!!

Really? Of all the blog posts in all of the world, this one is the most exciting?

Categorically false.

It’s a superlative. An adjective or an adverb that expresses the degree to which the word used is greater than any other comparison. And the inappropriate use of superlatives really gets to me. I seem to hear them being used more and more in common speech. I wonder, often out loud, if the person speaking has the vocabulary to properly describe what they are seeing/hearing/experiencing. I experience their use as unhelpful and often discrediting to the point that the speaker is trying to make. When I hear exclusive language (you do that all the time) or superlatives (you are the worst person in the world) I tend to just turn them off. If I do it…

In relationship counseling that I do, I try to help people appropriately describe themselves so that arguments are about what they need to be about rather than semantics. I can’t tell you how many times discussions are torpedoed because of the unhelpful and inappropriate use of superlatives.

Today I read this from a sitting US Congressman, “The US Government has come out in full force against you, the American people.”

Really? Full force? What I’m hearing him saying is that the Government of the United States, the organization that I personally work for and this man represents (his facebook lists him as a “government official”) is using everything at their disposal to come against all of us, the American people.

Really? Full force?

Categorically false.

Here’s what “full force” looks like – Syria. That’s full force.

I’m fairly certain that this young congressman has never actually seen what “full force” looks like. It’s ugly. I’m thinking genocide, starvation, bombs, hellfire missiles, armed Soldiers on street corners, restrictions on actual, tangible freedoms like the freedom of movement, checkpoints, slaughter. That’s full force. I’ve seen it. I’ve witnessed it and it is ugly and terrifying.

Really? Full force?

This is not a commentary on politics. As an officer in the United States Army, I am very aware of the power of words. They matter. I cannot just say anything I want. When a person is in a position of power, words matter. Context matters. In the course of my career, I’ve pulled leadership above my rank and below my rank aside to help them understand how their words are being perceived and encouraged them to think about the second and third order of effect their words might have.

At a memorial ceremony once, I heard an officer in the heat of emotion tell young privates to “give them hell” and “do what you gotta do” in reference to the enemy. Later, I spoke with the leader and gave him the feedback that when an officer says that sort of thing to a Soldier on the battlefield, it could be construed as an order or, in the least, confusing. Rules of engagement are hard enough without officers using language that seems to contradict those rules. In that context, words can be dangerous.

I would argue that this congressman’s words could be dangerous. He either actually believes this (when then makes me wonder how he would escalate his language if it got worse in his estimation) or he is trying to make a point and get attention. In that case, he needs to think about the second and third orders of effect those words might have. I wonder if a violent and unstable person might hear those words from a sitting congressman and this confirms that the paranoia in his head is real and demands violent action.

Words matter. Context matter. Opinion expressed matters. I would suggest that once you become a congressman, you should not say anything you want in any way you want to say it. It is decrediting to your education, your perspective, and does nothing to broaden support for your position.

When a person is in leadership, they must consider their words. Use some discipline for heaven’s sake!

UPDATE

Today I read this article about public shaming on social networks. It made this statement, “Increasingly, our failure to grasp our online power has become a liability — personally, professionally, and morally. We need to think twice before we unleash it.” Exactly.

Leave a comment

Filed under General

20%

So, I had lunch last week with the FranklinCovey representative to the DoD. I am taking over the leadership of the “7 Habits on the Inside” program and needed to make that connection. During our conversation, I asked a question I’ve always wanted to ask of this company.

“In your evaluation of the program, “7 Habits of Highly Effective Military Families” do you take into account the idea that people who tend to come to marriage events also tend to care more about their marriages, have higher educations, more accessible social skills etc and just will tend to do better regardless of what seminars they attend? Do you adjust your numbers based on that?”

“It’s a fair question,” she replied, “however, we don’t get those numbers from the Army so, no, we don’t track that.” She went on to tell me how they do track success and how they operate their training. It was fascinating. Here’s the basic idea:

In every organization, about 20% of the group are top performers. They are going to perform no matter what. They will do well under bad leadership, excel under good leadership, and when given some tool to succeed with, will do even better.

There is also the bottom 20% who will not do well no matter what tools you give them. They just don’t get it. They are not destructive, they don’t get fired, just ignored. In actuality, most organizations just tend to work around them.

Then there is the middle 60% who tend to move in either direction based on leadership. It is this middle 60 that the FranklinCovey organization looks to influence.

I found this statistic fascinating. It resonates with my own experience. The central question I ask myself as a leader is:

What am I going to do today to lead that 60% to excellence? How will I help them make the best choices? How will I inspire them? They will tend to one direction or another – what can I do today to help them move towards the top?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Army, Chaplaincy

Normal Flies Chaos.

“Should be. Ought to be. Usually. In the past we have…” these are words that, when used always trigger some sense of questioning in myself. It tells me that the person I am talking to is experiencing some kind of internal consternation (in the context of an inspection etc). There is the “normal way things are done” and the real way things are done. Morticia Aadams noted, “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” Indeed. Proverbs 28:2 gives the remedy – When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it, but it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out.

Leave a comment

Filed under thought of the day