Posts Tagged to be or to do

Leadership: Narcissism And Toxic Leaders

This is an excellent run down of a particular type of ‘bad boss‘ that folks might run into out there. The article also talks about what to look for when finding potential leaders for an organization, in order to avoid these narcissistic toxic leaders. They boil it down to having emotional intelligence or the ability to focus on others (respecting others) as opposed to focusing purely on self (narcissism).

Under Jundism, you will find a couple of concepts that promote emotional intelligence. One is to ‘take care of your people’ and another would be ‘people support what they help to create’.  Both of these concepts require knowledge of your people. With that knowledge, you will have the brain power and experience of the group to tap into so you can build a better product or service.

Another more simplistic way to look at this, is to find and hire those individuals who are there ‘to do’ the job of a leader, and not there just ‘to be’ a leader or ‘To Be, Or To Do’ in the words of Col. John Boyd.

One final point that the article mentioned that rang true for both the military and any organization, and goes well with ‘the courage to do what is right’, is this quote.

“If the leader walks by and observes something wrong without making the correction, he has just established the new standard of behavior.”

If a company or military unit knows they have a toxic leader within their ranks, and they do nothing about it, they in essence are saying that it is acceptable. The troops are left wondering, does the organization as a whole really care about their welfare, if they knowingly allow these individuals to stay in these positions of power, or promote folks whom are toxic into these positions of power within the organization?

To that end, I would say that another quote from Boyd is in order–’people, ideas, hardware–and in that order’. Companies and the military must make the effort to ensure that good leaders are within their ranks, representing the organizations well, managing the mission and contract well, and taking care of their people. That they are exhibiting the necessary emotional intelligence to properly use an organization’s most important resource–it’s people. -Matt

 

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Blogs: To Be Or To Do, By J. Scott Shipman

Thanks to zenpundit for posting this. Scott has put together a great little blog and website related to all things Boyd. And you gotta love the title!  So definitely put this on your RSS reader if you are interested in following this stuff and I will put the site on my blog roll. -Matt

 

Welcome to the To Be or To Do Website and Blog!
January 25, 2012
This website and much of my work was inspired by John Boyd’s professional life-example, his “to be or to do” challenge, and his thoughts on teamwork. However I have included principles that do not apply to Boyd and drawn conclusions that Boyd may well have disagreed with. As I’ve told friends and colleagues, I have taken Boyd’s scaffold, or outline, if you will, and introduced my ideas and experiences. This is the substance of my forthcoming book, To Be or To Do and of my service to clients.
The core of the To Be or To Do material is based on five attributes that exemplified John Boyd’s professional life, plus two. The core Boydian attributes, or principles, are:
-Honesty
-Courage
-Curiosity
-Conviction
-Persistence
No doubt, others could find other laudable attributes, but these principles seemed to define the man for me. The two “extras” are:
-Humility
-Optimism
By most accounts Boyd was not a particularly humble man, nor optimistic, however I’ve included because I’ve seen the power of these two attributes up close. My late grandfather, Robert F. Shipman, was the most humble man I’ve ever known, and I’m pretty sure he’d be disappointed if I didn’t include humility as an essential principle by which to live. My late mother-in-law, Janet Turney Mulvaney, PhD, succumbed to breast cancer after an eight-year battle. She attributed part of her longevity to “optimism” and impressed upon me that optimism was a key part of a life well lived. On both counts, I agree.

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Jundism: In Praise Of Those Who ‘Do’….

‘Only accurate rifles are interesting.’ -Townsend Whelen

This is a quick post, but important. For Townsend, only accurate rifles are interesting. I like that quote, and I think it works well with what I believe in, and that is ‘only those that do are interesting’. Over the years, I have received numerous emails from readers who had the courage ‘to do’ what is right. To quote Col. John Boyd, they chose the route of ‘to do’ when they came to that great crossroads of life that everyone experiences, and they wanted to share that with me.

These men and women are my heroes, and they are what inspire me every time I work on this blog or think about how to improve this industry and war effort. They are the unsung heroes of every company, military unit or government, that had the courage to stand up and demand excellence or battle with those who are unjust.  They have also done these things at peril to self, all because being righteous sometimes equates to being unpopular or not advancing in an organization. But at least they did not compromise what they believed in, and this is what makes them more interesting and more of a leader than any of those that strive ‘to be’.

There are other moments of jundism that I hear about that motivates me. Those that came up with the better idea, and fought hard for that better idea and won, are also my heroes. They might have built a snowmobile, and created a new idea, which is really awesome. Or they might have lost the battle, all because of someone else’s ego or pride.  Either way, that individual get’s my respect for fighting the good fight.

The other thing I like to focus in on with my exchanges with the readership, either here or at Facebook, is to empower those individuals in their personal battles. To actually give them the means to win those battles through sound strategy and good intelligence. ‘Know yourself, know your enemy’, as Sun Tzu would say.  But most importantly, win without fighting.

That last part is very important.  I want my readership to win their battles, and not face casualty. That is very hard to do though, and even in my personal battles, I have lost. But I have also won some battles, and the key is to learn from those losses and continuously improve upon your ability to win future battles. And of course, the ultimate in war fighting, or the battle of wills and ideas, is to win without fighting at all.

To do this, you must know your adversaries well, and know yourself so you can figure out what ‘winning’ really means. Studying strategy, and borrowing brilliance is crucial. You must also avoid fights that end up in pyrrhic victories. Seek fights where your strength can defeat their weakness, and get that win. I want you to continue working in this industry and become a force of change, or to be the example.  That is winning.  To destroy yourself while destroying your opponent is losing in my book. Remember this when thinking of conducting legal battles, or battles with management and other individuals in your particular occupation.

Finally, it gives me great pleasure to know that jundism and this blog is bringing about a revolution in thought process. I have readers who are now students of good leadership, who are innovators, who are not afraid to do what is right, etc. They are also students of strategy and are continuously improving. These  readers and leaders have embraced these ideas, and have used them to their advantage.  It is a privilege and honor to be a part of that process and serve this family.

For those that fall under the category of ‘to be’, all I have to say is that you do not earn my respect. Although there is something I do like about this loathsome group…..  I like to study you, so I can empower those that aspire ‘to do’, to defeat you. -Matt

“Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road,” he said. “And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.” He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.”
Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction. “Or you can go that way and you can do something – something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference.”
He paused and stared into the officer’s eyes and heart. “To be somebody or to do something.” In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do. Which way will you go?”- Col. John Boyd

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Leadership: The Next Petraeus–What Makes A Visionary Commander?

“One day you will take a fork in the road, and you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. If you go one way, you can be somebody. You will have to make your compromises and … turn your back on your friends, but you will be a member of the club, and you will get promoted and get good assignments. Or you can go the other way, and you can do something, something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. … You may not get promoted, and you may not get good assignments, and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors, but you won’t have to compromise yourself. … In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you have to make a decision: to be or to do.”

-Col. John Boyd

*****

     As I read through this I was thinking ‘What makes a visionary PMC/PSC CEO?’ You really don’t hear much about that kind of thing in our industry.  Although there is plenty of good stuff to learn from the military community, and that is why I wanted to post this.

     I also had that famous quote running through my head ‘to be, or to do…’ from the mighty Col. John Boyd. One of the points of this article is that the military has a hard time producing leaders that are there ‘to do’ the job, primarily because the system really doesn’t lend itself for that.  It is more restrained and not very flexible.  Everyone has a specific career track, with boxes that must be checked off. God help you if you draw outside the lines in this world, or dare to take a different path.

     The other point made was that of life experiences and preparation for the real world of being in the high command. That these guys are having to not only be masters of the combat arms and strategy, but must also be the ultimate ‘everyman’.  They could be working with civilians, talking with Rolling Stone reporters, hanging out with Presidents that could care less about winning wars and more about politics, working with disaster relief organizations in disaster zones, trying to manage a massive civilian contractor force and ‘building snowmobiles’ on a daily basis just to win the numerous political wars, as well as the real wars. Being a general these days is no joke.

     I would also apply the same standard to today’s CEO of PMC’s and PSC’s.  This is an incredibly fast paced and technological world we live in. In order to stay competitive, a company and it’s leaders must always stay ahead of the game and their competitors. At least in our industry, CEO’s either do well and keep the company profitable, or fail miserably and be kicked to the road.  The free market is what produces our ‘visionary commanders’.

     Good article and check it out. -Matt

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The next Petraeus

What makes a visionary commander, and why the military isn’t producing more of them

By Renny McPherson

September 26, 2010

President Obama recently demoted General David Petraeus, the man who led the turnaround in Iraq and is widely acknowledged to be the most effective military officer of his generation.

In June, the president needed a new commander to lead the war effort in Afghanistan, after General Stanley McChrystal spoke too openly with a Rolling Stone reporter and was forced to resign. And, while few may realize this, when Petraeus was appointed to take over in Afghanistan, he was replacing a subordinate. Petraeus may yet be hailed for saving the day. But he also got a new boss and moved one step down the chain of command.

How does this happen to the best our military has to offer? Why was there no other general to take the job?

The short answer is that the US military has failed to produce enough leaders like Petraeus–the kind of broad-minded, flexible strategic thinkers needed to lead today’s most difficult missions. And a large contributor to this failure is the military’s inflexible system of promotion, which can actively discourage young officers from getting the mind-expanding, challenging experiences that could turn them into potent generals.

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Quotes: Colonel John Boyd, ‘To Be or To Do’

     “One day you will take a fork in the road, and you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. If you go one way, you can be somebody. You will have to make your compromises and … turn your back on your friends, but you will be a member of the club, and you will get promoted and get good assignments. Or you can go the other way, and you can do something, something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. … You may not get promoted, and you may not get good assignments, and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors, but you won’t have to compromise yourself. … In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you have to make a decision: to be or to do.”

-Col. John Boyd

 John Boyd on Wikipedia 

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