Archive for the ‘Leadership’ category

Happy Memorial Day

May 31, 2010

In honor of those who lost their lives while serving our country, I would like to share President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Memorial Day remarks at Arlington National Cemetery:

Today is the day we put aside to remember fallen heroes and to pray that no heroes will ever have to die for us again. It’s a day of thanks for the valor of others, a day to remember the splendor of America and those of her children who rest in this cemetery and others. It’s a day to be with the family and remember.

I was thinking this morning that across the country children and their parents will be going to the town parade and the young ones will sit on the sidewalks and wave their flags as the band goes by. Later, maybe, they’ll have a cookout or a day at the beach. And that’s good, because today is a day to be with the family and to remember.

Arlington, this place of so many memories, is a fitting place for some remembering. So many wonderful men and women rest here, men and women who led colorful, vivid, and passionate lives. There are the greats of the military: Bull Halsey and the Admirals Leahy, father and son; Black Jack Pershing; and the GI’s general, Omar Bradley. Great men all, military men. But there are others here known for other things.

Here in Arlington rests a sharecropper’s son who became a hero to a lonely people. Joe Louis came from nowhere, but he knew how to fight. And he galvanized a nation in the days after Pearl Harbor when he put on the uniform of his country and said, “I know we’ll win because we’re on God’s side.” Audie Murphy is here, Audie Murphy of the wild, wild courage. For what else would you call it when a man bounds to the top of a disabled tank, stops an enemy advance, saves lives, and rallies his men, and all of it single-handedly. When he radioed for artillery support and was asked how close the enemy was to his position, he said, “Wait a minute and I’ll let you speak to them.” [Laughter]

Michael Smith is here, and Dick Scobee, both of the space shuttle Challenger. Their courage wasn’t wild, but thoughtful, the mature and measured courage of career professionals who took prudent risks for great reward—in their case, to advance the sum total of knowledge in the world. They’re only the latest to rest here; they join other great explorers with names like Grissom and Chaffee.

Oliver Wendell Holmes is here, the great jurist and fighter for the right. A poet searching for an image of true majesty could not rest until he seized on “Holmes dissenting in a sordid age.” Young Holmes served in the Civil War. He might have been thinking of the crosses and stars of Arlington when he wrote: “At the grave of a hero we end, not with sorrow at the inevitable loss, but with the contagion of his courage; and with a kind of desperate joy we go back to the fight.”

All of these men were different, but they shared this in common: They loved America very much. There was nothing they wouldn’t do for her. And they loved with the sureness of the young. It’s hard not to think of the young in a place like this, for it’s the young who do the fighting and dying when a peace fails and a war begins. Not far from here is the statue of the three servicemen—the three fighting boys of Vietnam. It, too, has majesty and more. Perhaps you’ve seen it—three rough boys walking together, looking ahead with a steady gaze. There’s something wounded about them, a kind of resigned toughness. But there’s an unexpected tenderness, too. At first you don’t really notice, but then you see it. The three are touching each other, as if they’re supporting each other, helping each other on.

I know that many veterans of Vietnam will gather today, some of them perhaps by the wall. And they’re still helping each other on. They were quite a group, the boys of Vietnam—boys who fought a terrible and vicious war without enough support from home, boys who were dodging bullets while we debated the efficacy of the battle. It was often our poor who fought in that war; it was the unpampered boys of the working class who picked up the rifles and went on the march. They learned not to rely on us; they learned to rely on each other. And they were special in another way: They chose to be faithful. They chose to reject the fashionable skepticism of their time. They chose to believe and answer the call of duty. They had the wild, wild courage of youth. They seized certainty from the heart of an ambivalent age; they stood for something.

And we owe them something, those boys. We owe them first a promise: That just as they did not forget their missing comrades, neither, ever, will we. And there are other promises. We must always remember that peace is a fragile thing that needs constant vigilance. We owe them a promise to look at the world with a steady gaze and, perhaps, a resigned toughness, knowing that we have adversaries in the world and challenges and the only way to meet them and maintain the peace is by staying strong.

That, of course, is the lesson of this century, a lesson learned in the Sudetenland, in Poland, in Hungary, in Czechoslovakia, in Cambodia. If we really care about peace, we must stay strong. If we really care about peace, we must, through our strength, demonstrate our unwillingness to accept an ending of the peace. We must be strong enough to create peace where it does not exist and strong enough to protect it where it does. That’s the lesson of this century and, I think, of this day. And that’s all I wanted to say. The rest of my contribution is to leave this great place to its peace, a peace it has earned.

Thank all of you, and God bless you, and have a day full of memories.


Northern Distribution Network

April 14, 2010

In the Spring of 2008, Taliban insurgents in Pakistan were attempting to choke off NATO’s only ground supply line that runs from the southern port of Karachi north and into Afghanistan. Attacks on ground convoys were becoming a near daily event. The overland route through Pakistan, given the name “Apache,” for obvious reasons, breaks into two points that flow into Afghanistan, at the “Chaman gate,” in the south that goes to Kandahar, and at the “Torkham gate” in the north, also known as the Khyber Pass. That proved to be a very tenuous ground line of communication with all of the eggs in one basket.

The Bush administration was considering doubling the effort in Afghanistan to counter the resurgence in violence. Bush’s policy and strategy review was eventually handed off to the Obama administration with the underpinnings of a comprehensive logistical plan that afforded the Obama administration a new start with Russia and the Central Asia states. This Northern Distribution Network diversified the resupply efforts into Afghanistan, increased European, Russian and Central Asian participation in the support for the effort and secured improved relations throughout that region.

At that time, US relations with Russia were icy and Kyrgyzstan was making noises about access to Manas Air Base. Alternative supply route solutions were a must. Discussions about troop increases in Afghanistan led to the conclusion that the supply routes in Pakistan would be insufficient if the number of forces doubled.

An opportunity to work with South Korean Airlines unfolded that made a lot of sense for the distribution network. The opportunity hinged upon Uzbekistan allowing South Korean Airlines to operate out of Navoi airfield near Taskent. The concept included the South Koreans flying 4 transport aircraft per week into Navoi, transloading the supplies to truck and delivering the supplies overland to Allied forces in Afghanistan. The South Koreans needed cargo to carry and the Allies needed a Northern Distribution Network.

With adroit diplomatic moves and hard work on the part of OSD’s Central Asia team, Transportation Command, CENTCOM, and the State Department, the military was able to open up a northern supply route that uses ports, rails, land and overflight for delivery of supplies into Afghanistan.

The initial meeting with USTRANSCOM and South Korean Airlines President led to access in Uzbekistan and enhancement of the initial concept. Following many months of effort and with a lot of diplomatic work, the Uzbek Embassy presented the South Korean Airlines a contract and the State Department a diplomatic note granting access.

Following the initial series of discussions, other countries became interested in the operation. The Latvian Ambassador approached OSD and proposed using Latvian ports and rail to assist with access. Latvian relations with Russia and Uzbekistan ensured the success of this initiative.

In parallel, work continued with EUCOM and State Department to engage the Russians to allow rail access through Russia. That route flows across Europe, then down through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and into Afghanistan. Agreements for access were concluded with Kazakstan and eventually Russia once the Manas issue was resolved. Additional agreements with the Caucus states added an additional supply route increasing access even further.

Currently, a new rail line is under construction running from Uzbekistan, across the old Friendship Bridge, down to Mazar-i-Sharif, where a new airfield is also being built. All sensitive equipment, including weapons, ammunition and MRAPs and the newer, lighter MATVs, and troops, are flown into Afghanistan. Non-lethal equipment and supplies are moved through the Northern Distribution Network.

This very successful effort accommodated the stretch goals for the 100% increase in operations tempo in Afghanistan. It increased supply capability from one to four alternate routes of supply…limiting vulnerabilities and pilfering. The new routes accommodated a doubling of the 735,000 short tons of essential non-lethal equipment and supplies. The early diplomatic initiatives in 2008 enabled the Northern Distribution Network and ensured delivery of critical supplies before reinforcements arrived…and all before the August 31, 2010 deadline.

Reality bites…Democracy Wins

March 20, 2010

Good news! Despite unprecedented political rankling, America still stands…perhaps evermore indebted but an intact society.

A majority must be on board…or the very fabric of society is at risk. Fringe elements or the disenfranchised represent warning shots that something is askew.

Many issues that divide our nation are reflected in party politics. Some issues become so divisive that the ability to govern at the national level is limited. The Vietnam War was so divisive that this nation is yet to recover. Iraq and Afghanistan were bubbling to epic proportions. Yet, resistance to the increasing involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan has subsided.

Under the Bush administration, Democrats were loathe to support additional funding or commitment of troops for Iraq and Afghanistan. But when in power, circumstances change for the parties. Has the reality of governing overcome the idealism of campaigning?

Decreased resistance to the war in Afghanistan is a direct result of a change in party leadership in Washington. Isn’t it interesting to see that the once divisive Bush administration anti-terror policies that included warrantless wiretaps, rendition and detention without trial and military tribunals are now a part of the Obama administration lexicon.

I often marvel at the change in power and the subsequent change in policies. While the democratic process is often messy and it alienates a large audience, it does bring forward a national debate that illuminates those toughest of issues. This process is critical to the survival of the very fabric of our society.

When I left office at the Defense Department, we had accomplished a thorough review of Afghanistan and Pakistan with some very comprehensive recommendations, if I say so myself. The results of the review were not implemented but were prepared for the new administration as a point of departure. In hindsight, this was a very wise decision by the previous administration.

Because this nation was embroiled in a heated debate of the efficacy of spending national blood and treasure in far-off lands, it was important for the new administration to take its place in the leadership role. And now with the weight of the White House committed to the war in Afghanistan, America is committed. That is great news for our troops and a huge step from an isolationist approach.

America derives its greatness from the willingness to display it’s messy and sometimes embarrassing kitchen table discussions. National consensus is gained through debate and transparency. America is well served by the transition of power. People are challenged daily and reminded that freedom is fragile and the only way a democracy survives is by the participation of its citizens.

For all its inefficiencies, the democratic process accomplishes its objective. But citizens must move from being spectators to active participants. By all accounts, that’s the way the founding fathers envisioned the process. When properly exercised, vision and acceptance will lead to cohesion in the society.

Yes, reality bites but America is well served by its democratic system. The transition from ideology to governance requires debate understanding and resolve. But in the end, the people win when the fabric of our society is secure. So, enjoy the messiness, celebrate the wisdom of our founding fathers, embrace the change of power and be proud of democracy.

C4 Leadership – It’s Explosive

March 12, 2010


While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in solemn prayer.

Spoken intro to “God Bless America”
Irving Berlin, 1918

Leadership is explosive. When someone oozes leadership, things happen…in fact, they explode. People want to own some of that. So, what makes it so inviting? There are so many elements to leadership that entice. Character, commitment, competence and courage are the C4 of my leadership parlance.

Late one night, I decided it was time to revisit leadership. I marveled at what is important and what stands the test of time. As I took the stroll down memory lane, the glue that held my thoughts together coalesced around these four principles. There is nothing magical about C4—it simply is a useful way to blend concepts learned over the years.

The principles that guide us as individuals and as a nation deserve review and renewal. As America faces what is arguably its most trying time in its history, Liberty and Freedom, in fact, America needs and demands leaders. Leaders committed to what’s best for this nation; leaders who understand what’s at stake…and leaders willing to keep America free. But these leaders must be principled, thoughtfully schooled and dedicated to keeping America great.

So, it is instructive and helpful to observe, talk about and to write on leadership. I encourage you to write about your experiences and observations. It will help you prepare as storm clouds gather. As one of our great Presidents, Ronald Reagan said: “we will always remember, we will always be proud, we will always be prepared, so we will always be free.” You are the leader that will keep us free.


Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. – Abraham Lincoln

One of the most talked about measures of leadership is character. Character is the aggregate of traits that make up an individual’s moral qualities, ethics and principles. So, how is character developed? Is it nature or is it nurture? Internal wiring may lead our initial reaction but nurture encourages the interaction with our environment and peers and is a major part in our development.

Character develops over time and does not change quickly. A person’s observable behavior is an indication of their character. A person with strong character shows drive, energy, determination, self-discipline, willpower, and nerve. He sees what he wants and goes after it. He attracts followers. On the other hand, a person with weak character shows none of these traits.

Misinformed and poorly developed character leads to wrong decisions and susceptibility to wrongheaded nurture. This recent story from a German newspaper relates the negative effects of nurture when allowed to proceed down the wrong path. “Two German converts to Islam and two Turks were found guilty Thursday of plotting a thwarted attack that a judge said could have killed large numbers of U.S. soldiers and civilians in “a terrible bloodbath.” “Increasingly, violent Islam has a devastating pull over young people in our society,” Judge Ottmar Breidling said in his ruling, calling international terrorism “the scourge of our time.” “This case has shown with frightening clarity what acts young people who are filled with hatred, blinded and seduced by wrong-headed ideas of jihad are prepared and able to carry out.”

So, character does matter and peers and the environment play a big part. Developing the pillars of trust, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship are key to enabling character. Having the right role models, setting the right vision and developing positive self-esteem are keys to success. Healthy self-esteem comes in large part from our upbringing, how we are loved and cared for. No matter how we have grown up in this world self-esteem plays a large part in how we live our daily lives. We have the ability to transform any situation by focusing on what we want.

People exhibit strong character in many ways. During a unit visit, I spoke with an employee who had strong character, was very respected and had high self esteem. Helga was an aircraft-sanitation worker who was extremely proud of the work she accomplished. She explained her duties with pride during our discussion. Her tasks included cleaning the lavatories from the aircraft after they were completely removed. She detailed the lavatories with necessary disinfectant using a toothbrush and good old elbow grease–clearly an unpleasant task that she had to repeat multiple times if the aircraft’s lavatory were to be completely cleaned. While I was hesitant to shake her hand on the site, I certainly enjoyed our conversation and I was very appreciative of what she did for our organization. What was so amazing though was that Helga was even more appreciative. She enjoyed what she did and it was important to her to take that equipment from dirty to sparkling. I gained complete respect for her abilities, dedication and character. What to some of us would seem like mundane and undesirable work, she embraced with the knowledge that the lavatory was a part of the required equipment for mission success and she was not having any part of failure. Helga was a true leader and she set a standard of excellence that challenged the most dedicated.

Leaders of character build excellence. The essence is to do the right thing when no one is looking. Excellence in all you do is essentially “being all you can be” within the bounds of doing what is right for your organization. To reach excellence you must first be a leader of good character. You must do everything you are supposed to do. Leaders drive vision, instill guidance and exhibit good management of the resources entrusted to their care. Excellence starts with leaders of good and strong character who engage in the entire process of leadership. And the first process is being a person of honorable character.

Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing. – Warren Bennis, Ph.D. On Becoming a Leader


“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” – Goethe

Commitment is a pledge to do something, a dedication to a course of action or engagement. As leaders we often underestimate the power of commitment. There is something powerful about being committed to a vision or to a meaningful purpose. You become more attuned to a new set of events occurring around you much like when you purchase something new; you then tend to increasingly notice that item.

The moment you commit, providence moves too. A whole stream of events including unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, become available. So making a decision to act and taking bold steps to bring that vision into reality is key.

Commitment, like any other leadership tenet, has its cautions. Some may assume that commitment means long hours, while to others it may mean productivity. Getting ahead of the process to define expectations will help success rates soar. Remember, we all must be convinced that the course of action is the correct one and to just assume that everyone is “bought in” may leave you short of teammates. So, walking through the process with your team is important. Address doubts and fears and give people time to think about the commitment.

A leader must commit to the people who bring life to the organizational goals. Establishing an atmosphere of trust and inclusion encourages the commitment process. When trust prevails, team members are more willing to go through a difficult process, supported through ups, downs, risk and potential loss. With leadership’s commitment to a clear vision, and a genuine plan to share risks and rewards, the atmosphere for trust is in place. General Omar Bradley said, “A leader should possess human understanding and consideration for others. Men are not robots and should not be treated as such. I do not by any means suggest coddling. But men are intelligent, complicated beings who will respond favorably to human understanding and consideration. By these means, their leader will get maximum effort from each of them. He will also get loyalty.”

In addition, leaders must become deeply committed to the organization and the vision must be that of their organization and their boss. Absent that, people will doubt. If they can achieve this type of commitment, enhanced mission accomplishment and success are just around the corner.

In order to succeed, leaders must always keep in mind what they want to accomplish and they must persist. As Calvin Coolidge said, “nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Leaders must articulate the mission to their people. They must understand the vision, commit to the mission, address the fears and concerns, establish trust and persist in their efforts to achieve success.

“You can be anything you want to be, if only you believe with sufficient conviction and act in accordance with your faith; for whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”
— Napoleon Hill


“Did you ever see an unhappy horse? Did you ever see a
bird that has the blues? One reason why birds and horses are
not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other
birds and horses.” –Dale Carnegie

Competence is the result of hard work and study. Performance is a must and there is no substitute. Performance for the horse is measured in number of riders or miles traveled or some other metric but focused on an objective. And success is not determined by someone else but by the horses strength and speed. Much the same, a leader is measured by his ability to get the job done. To get the job done and excel in any walk of life, the leader must be competent in good times and bad. The real measure of competence appears in tough times. It goes beyond just not screwing up. Real competence is measured when there are hard decisions. Real competence shines even in the darkest times.

People want to follow someone who is competent. That person will have all the tools for the occasion and will know which one is appropriate. The competent leader will do what is best for everyone involved and will ignore the path of least resistance. He will use the appropriate mix of knowledge, skill and attitude to be effective in the organization.

Competent leaders assess the full spectrum of events and are not paralyzed by the risk. They can create the right outcome at just the right time. Intuition, informed by experience and study, leads them to do the right thing regardless of the surrounding confusion. And when mistakes are made, they have the self-confidence to admit the mistake with transparency and to grow from the lesson along with their team.

Seldom do competent leaders splash in the headlines because they aren’t looking for the glory; they are satisfied with a job well done. They are confident in their achievements and their history of success speaks for itself. When people in the organization respond to some action taken by a leader with a thought like “I’m glad he’s in charge” or “no wonder he’s in charge” then the complement recognizes competency.

Life long study is a lifestyle choice that improves competency and leads to wisdom and self-awareness. To develop good leadership characteristics, you need to commit to continual learning–both formally and informally. It is easy to take a class or two each year while turning the pages of that well creased book on the nightstand. I learned early on that learning from history would prevent wasted time trying to reinvent the wheel. Learning how others overcome adversity build’s competence and confidence in one’s own ability.

As Yogi Berra said: “If you don’t know where you’re going…you’ll end up somewhere else.” A competent leader will map a winning direction and will actively communicate his vision. His ability to influence the organization in that direction is key to success. Many times when a leader has no time to think and plan for the future, it is because most of the time is spent in the present. Their organization and systems probably rely too much on the leader for input at every stage.

Some leaders have a clear vision, but won’t share it. Concern over losing credibility if they are not able to achieve the objective overrides their sense of trust. People need to know that a leader has a strong vision for the future and a strong plan for going forward. Absent that, organizations flounder. Leaders can communicate their goals and vision for the future without making promises that they may not be able to keep.

“The reason God gave you two ears and one mouth is so that you can listen twice as much as you talk.” We’ve all heard this adage but have we applied it? Listening and responding affirmatively inculcates a sense of a “Yes Leader.” People know that their ideas will be considered. They know that you will take on the additional commitment and responsibilities to research and follow-up with their ideas. Even if the follow-up answer is you can’t, just the act of being inclusive adds to your respectability and competence quotient. And who knows, you may be able to accomplish a majority of those ideas with a little hard work and some personal commitment. So, prepare yourself to be a competent leader through hard work and study.

“Success is the place in the road where preparation and opportunity meet. But too few people recognize it, because too often it comes disguised as hard work.” – Anonymous


“Courage is the first human virtue because it makes all of the other virtues possible.” — Aristotle

John F. Kennedy said: “Courage – not complacency – is our need today. Leadership not salesmanship.” It remains true today. One must summon the courage, whether in business or personal life, to march toward the sound of the gunfire. When your courage stops, your leadership stops.

It takes courage to face our fears and doubts, and then to act. Being courageous is having the perseverance to accomplish a goal, regardless of the seemingly insurmountable odds. Doing what is standard, common and habitual is natural. We can walk the path of least resistance without thinking. But to be true to our character, to step out with integrity, to instill trust and competence requires the courage to embrace change and its associated discomfort.

Courage is crucial in all walks of life. A lack of courage can be paralyzing. Speaking up at a meeting, confronting gossip, embracing change, admitting a need for help are all examples of every day opportunities to exhibit courage.

Offering opinions and solutions that may be unpopular is a scary proposition. Yet, the courage leader leaves conformity and comfort behind to voice their opinions and judgments and they stand by that commitment even when challenged. I ask myself, what’s the worst that can happen? Usually, the worst doesn’t happen, so take the risk.

Organizations need new ideas. It takes courage to introduce those ideas. And it takes time and nurturing for those ideas to mature. To overcome challenge, we must think and act out of the box. People must do their homework and they must effectively present their ideas. Between the conception and the execution, there is courage. Leaders fail when they don’t act on their ideas. Be bold and faithful to yourself and your team.

The recent massive corporate failures of Wall Street and Detroit are only the latest in a recent series that includes Enron and WorldCom. These corporate failures represent corruption and unethical behavior on an unimaginable scale. They also represent a major failure of courage. To speak out against the madness may be the downfall of those who have succumbed and also those who report. The culture of restraint to “whistle blow” is a failure of nerve and courage because it is far safer to be wrong with the majority than to be right alone. You must have the courage to care, to care enough about your deeply held personal principles that you hold to these in the face of personal risks. Companies and their leaders must hold themselves to higher standards and not to short term profits. And when infractions occur, it takes courage to point out the weaknesses.

“The encouraging thing is that every time you meet a situation, though you may think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it you find that forever after you are freer than you ever were before. If you can live through that you can live through anything. You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, `I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. If you fail anywhere along the line, it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt


A commitment to review and renew personal tenets of leadership is essential to sustaining a healthy perspective on personal and business life. Understanding underlying core values and ethics strengthens character and essence. One of my favorite stories about David and Goliath ties C4 leadership principles together. Because of his character, David was willing to standup and fight against evil. He faced a giant and was able to defeat him. He was principled and committed to accomplishing what he was called to do. David ran to the battle. He knew that action needed to be taken and he did the right thing in spite of discouraging insults and fearful threats. David took the skills that he learned as a youth and using his sling shot, brought the giant to the ground. He then displayed even greater courage as he completed his duty with the sword in spite of his small stature.

When facing leadership decisions, we all face giants. How to face them is the question. So, be prepared because America needs and demands your leadership. C4 is a great recipe for facing those leadership demands.

To do the right thing when no one is looking is character
To know how to do it is competency
To dedicate to doing something is commitment
To uphold your values in the face of risk is courage
To get others to do all these things is C4 leadership

Silver Flag: A Concept for Operational Warfare

March 3, 2010

Wargaming is like deterrence. It has to be credible, believable, and clearly communicated. Red Flag exercises have internalized this concept very well in a training context, but Air Force wargaming would improve if it incorporated the Red Flag approach. Just as Red Flag exercises the tactical level of war, so would Silver Flag wargaming steer to the operational level. In doing so, our wargaming could rally back to a valuable use of the human dimension of gaming and better organize its processes and infrastructure by capitalizing on available assets.
With the war on terrorism and homeland defense in full swing, along with many other national-defense challenges, the urgent but continuing need for effective education and training is enormous. Wargaming can and should play an important role in that process. Red Flag has become a monumental success in “training as we fight” at the tactical level, and we should capture the same visionary approach by using wargaming in education and training at the operational level of war (OPWAR). A Silver Flag, based on an effective use of wargaming, could complement our present Blue Flag exercises to round out an overall systemic approach to OPWAR. For nearly two centuries, wargames have proven vital in teaching military leadership how to think better–how to ask the right questions, how to anticipate, and how to adapt. Wargaming promotes understanding of the “operational art” of war. It provides experience in decision making. It makes book learning and classroom study come alive, reinforcing the lessons of history and illuminating the theories behind effective planning and execution. These tremendous benefits from wargaming, however, do not come without an investment that starts with recognition of the value of wargaming to professional military education (PME) and training as well as to military operations. Wargaming as an innovative tool for achieving successful war-fighting strategies. Wargaming is an integral part of the “organize, train, and equip” mission of the service. There should be a back-to-the-future focus on the human aspects of wargaming to enhance greater effectiveness in how the Air Force approaches wargaming today. Finally, improved organizational efficiencies in the service’s wargaming infrastructure to better meet current and future national-security needs is prudent. Historically and pragmatically, strong reasons exist for refocusing and refining use of this invaluable tool in order to better plan and execute war.

Inspired Leadership

March 3, 2010

The Habit of Lifelong Learning
Lifelong learners develop good leadership qualities that include humility, openness, willingness to take risks, and the capacity to listen. They have high standards, ambitious goals, and a real sense of mission in their lives. The learning habit will enable these leaders to stay abreast of the latest techniques and processes to make business grow.
Achieving the Next Level
The rate of change in the business world is not going to slow down anytime soon. A “do it now” approach is essential for keeping up with change and will build a high sense of urgency to tackle both problems and opportunities. In a fast-moving world, teamwork at the top is essential to enable an effective response. Leaders provide the vision, communication, and empowerment that are at the heart of transformation and, without them, change will simply not happen well enough or fast enough to satisfy needs and expectations.
Passion and Enthusiasm
Being passionate about the work to be done brings about a level of enthusiasm that can produce win-wins all around. High energy levels motivate others to perform. Energy is contagious—a genuine sense of enthusiasm for what you are doing builds a desire to succeed in others; The effort put forth will bring success quickly. Feeling like you are winning generates the willingness to win.
Inspiring Respect
Compassion, care, concern, understanding, wisdom, and confidence are traits that inspire. Respect is not automatic . . . it must be earned over time. Setting high expectations and achieving goals goes a long way to earning respect. Leading by example coupled with respecting individuals and taking care of others will return tenfold.
Let Personality Ring
Be yourself . . . each person brings a unique quality to the mix. Manifesting a presence and charisma engages and energizes an organization and its people. Celebrate individual talents and others will respond positively. It isn’t about being stiff and formal. Adding personality and enjoyment will improve productivity, increase creativity, and produce positive results. A team with an engaging spirit brings heart to its projects. A leader who encourages the light to shine brightly will influence team members and earn high respect and loyalty.
Developing Talent
Hiring the right people and allowing them the freedom to exercise creativity in performing their duties provides a great platform to identify new growth opportunities. The successful company will reward intelligent risk-taking and encourage dynamic people to take the initiative. A cohesive team spirit provides people with the incentive to excel—both the employees and the company will reap the rewards.
Leadership Does Not Mean “I’m in Charge!”
It’s important for company leadership to be in touch with the organization. In many organizations, key leadership positions itself in the “ivory tower” and is remote from the front lines. Effective leaders know what’s happening in their companies and have their fingers on the pulse of the organization at all times. Great leaders aren’t afraid to get into the trenches and do what’s expected of them—lead!
Infusing Trust
Core to the soul is a belief in integrity, a resounding commitment to excellence, and demonstrated service before self. With these characteristics in play, individuals can feel accepted and learn to trust both the organization and its leaders. When colleagues are heard and their opinions encouraged, trust ensues. Even when opinions may not be popular, allowing individuals to explain their thought processes can shed new light on a particular development or project that often leads to new opportunities. Trust is the core of a team.