Leaders Are Readers Part I: Why We Read

3x5 Leadership Leaders Are Readers 1

Leaders are learners, and learners are readers.

If you’re reading this, I consider you a “student of leadership.” As such, chances are you already understand the value (and really even necessity) of reading to further your personal and professional development. I truly believe that one’s commitment toward reading for learning and growth is a reflection of your professional maturity.

Here are some other wise words regarding the importance of reading for leaders: Continue reading → Leaders Are Readers Part I: Why We Read

[168 Series] Organized Chaos from Doctrine Man!!

3x5 Leadership 168 Series Doctrine Man

This is Part IX of the “168-Hour” series addressing how leaders spend their available 168 hours per week to grow and develop. You can begin this series with Part I, here.

By Steve Leonard, creator of Doctrine Man!!

“There is no greater harm than that of time wasted.” – Michelangelo

There are 168 hours in a week. Seven days, 24 hours per day, with most of those hours spent awake. I average roughly six hours of sleep each night, leaving me 126 hours each week to use as I see fit. How do you make the best use of that time? Do you make the best use of that time? Those are the two questions that gnaw at me the most, the two questions that drive me forward each day, and the two questions that linger at the end of each day.

The answer to those questions can be found in how I organize for the day, the week, the month, and even the year ahead. I tend to be very goal oriented, with a task focus that borders on an obsessive-compulsive disorder: always looking for that next project, that next initiative, that next article, that next opportunity to create something unique. I thrive off checklists, both as a way of organizing and prioritizing those “nexts” and as a method to build and sustain momentum once I get started.

As a leader, I learned long ago to carry one of those ubiquitous green notebooks. Continue reading → [168 Series] Organized Chaos from Doctrine Man!!

[168 Series] If You’re Not Learning, You’re Not Leading

3x5 Leadership 168 Series Jon Silk

This is Part VIII of the “168-Hour” series addressing how leaders spend their available 168 hours per week to grow and develop. You can begin this series with Part I, here.

By Jonathan Silk

In my experiences, I have found a leader’s personal desire to learn at an individual level impacts organizational learning and culture by helping them become a catalyst for change. Formal education and external training programs expose leaders to new ideas and concepts that can be applied to the organization. For an organizational culture to be sustainable, leaders have to embrace learning at organizational level and a personal level. If leaders aren’t learning, they aren’t leading. Continue reading → [168 Series] If You’re Not Learning, You’re Not Leading

[168 Series] Live, Learn, Repeat – Making the Most of a Week

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This is Part VII of the “168-Hour” series addressing how leaders spend their available 168 hours per week to grow and develop. You can begin this series with Part I, here.

By Major General Mick Ryan, Australian Army

The responsibility for professional development between periods in formal programs rests with the individual officer. This responsibility does not stem from laws or resolution as it does in some other professions, but is inherent in the nature of the military officer’s calling. It is inherent because the body of knowledge which constitutes the art and science of war is not only broad and deep, but is also dynamic. Thus, an officer can never truly complete his education. Learning must be a never-ending process.

LTGEN Paul Van Riper, 1982

In 2000, I published my second ever journal article.  The subject was an examination of the maneuverist approach. I undertook two short case studies in the article.  The first explored the Battle of Lake Trasimene where in 217 BC, Hannibal ambushed and destroyed a Roman force of 30,000.  The second examined the 1862 Valley Campaign of Stonewall Jackson.  The process of writing the article kindled within me a growing appreciation of studying our profession.

Shortly afterward, I attended the US Marine Corps Command and Staff College, followed thereafter by attendance at the School of Advanced Warfighting.  This period from 2001 to 2003, was a pivotal professional and personal two years in my life.  The attendance at these schools, against the backdrop of September 11, 2001, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, fostered a deep appreciation within me of the profession of arms.  This dawning appreciation also made clear to me how much I had to learn about our great profession. Continue reading → [168 Series] Live, Learn, Repeat – Making the Most of a Week

[168 Series] Don’t Schedule – Prioritize to Maximize

3x5 Leadership 168 Series The Company Leader

This is Part VI of the “168-Hour” series addressing how leaders spend their available 168 hours per week to grow and develop. You can begin this series with Part I, here.

By Thomas “Doug” Meyer, author of The Company Leader

Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes – if you were able to read that without singing, you haven’t seen RENT. We have 525,600 minutes in a year, each of them equal in seconds, but varying in value. We define the importance of these minutes by how we use them. Tailoring this to a week, we have 168 hours to accomplish that to which we invest our hearts and minds. Josh gave us a great perspective in terms of structured time (See Josh Bowen’s post HERE). But, what if this framework doesn’t work for you? In this post, we will review 3 guidelines to maintain consistent development in an inconsistent schedule. Continue reading → [168 Series] Don’t Schedule – Prioritize to Maximize

[168 Series] Making Time Work

3x5 Leadership 168 Series The Field Grade Leader

This is Part V of the “168-Hour” series addressing how leaders spend their available 168 hours per week to grow and develop. You can begin this series with Part I, here.

By Josh Powers, author of The Field Grade Leader

Self-development is a critical facet of our education as leaders. I use my blog as a method to frame self-development, providing space to think and interact with other professionals while being held accountable for regular contribution. Here is a summary of how I make use of available time each week for self-development while contributing to the profession through blogging and social media. Continue reading → [168 Series] Making Time Work

[168 Series] Taking the Time

3x5 Leadership 168 Series Joe Byerly

This is Part IV of the “168-Hour” series addressing how leaders spend their available 168 hours per week to grow and develop. You can begin this series with Part I, here.

By Joe Byerly, author of From the Green Notebook

“Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed (successfully or unsuccessfully) before. It doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.”

—Secretary of Defense Mattis

Before becoming Secretary of Defense, James Mattis has long held the reputation for being a warrior-scholar. LTG H.R. McMaster is another great leader also known for his intellectual prowess. To some, the magnitude of intellect possessed by these leaders might seem unachievable, but it doesn’t have to be.

We all share something in common with Mattis and McMaster: time. What sets these two apart from other leaders is that they invested their time in self-study and professional development. Over time, their investment grew, and eventually the books they read, combined with their experiences, produced leaders who have left their mark on the military profession. We, too, can make the same investments. A mere 20-30 minutes of reading a day can expose us to knowledge that our experiences alone cannot provide.

In that light, here is how I invest my time. Continue reading → [168 Series] Taking the Time

[168 Series] Swimming Against the Current: Leader Self-Development

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This is Part III of the “168 series” addressing how leaders spend their available 168 hours per week to grow and develop. You can begin this series with Part I, here.

By Angry Staff Officer

You’re told all sorts of things before you become a leader: how integrity is important, how you’ve got to practice what you preach and lead from the front. How leaders eat last and always look out for others. And all this is true. But you’re never told the dirty little secret that leaders just do not have any time.

Because in addition to all of the above, you’ve also got all your job requirements, and then your additional duties, and not to mention the time you take to work out. Oh, and then there’s your family, too. Put it all together, and you’re juggling priorities just to find a few spare moments to go into a dark room to sit in silence and mourn your sanity. It’s kind of like swimming against the current. Or, I suppose, like swimming in porridge, since current implies movement of some kind.

On top of all this, we’re told that we need to do self development. That can be the proverbial straw on the overworked camel staff officer’s back, but it doesn’t have to be. Because while the Army likes to speak in doctrinal terms about self development, it’s really all about just getting people to think. Here’s a few ways that I do self development on the go. Continue reading → [168 Series] Swimming Against the Current: Leader Self-Development

[168 Series] 6 Ways I Develop as a Leader Each Week

3x5 Leadership 168 Series Bowen

This is Part II of the “168-Hour” series addressing how leaders spend their available 168 hours per week to grow and develop. You can begin this series with Part I, here.

By Josh Bowen

This list has taken me eight years to develop. I remember in 2012 as a junior Army staff officer, my boss (battalion XO) making a casual recommendation that I should try and read a professional publication like an engineer magazine once or twice a week. That is my first ever recollection of someone proposing a personal leader development program to me. However, it didn’t resonate back then.

Then, as a company commander in 2015 during a commanders’ lunch with my brigade commander, he mentioned a blog written by Joe Byerly (then a field grade staff officer in our brigade) called From the Green Notebook, which was a creative way to engage in and contribute to Army professional development. I read every post on that blog within a week. It opened my eyes to the extensive resources available across numerous platforms to help me grow as a leader. Finally, I was hooked. Continue reading → [168 Series] 6 Ways I Develop as a Leader Each Week

[168 Series] How Are You Developing Your Leadership Every Week?

3x5 Leadership 168 Series Intro

Leader development occurs daily, not in a day. But, with only 168 hours in a week, how are you using your time effectively and efficiently to grow as a leader?

The Army’s ADRP 6-22 states that “to prepare for increasingly more demanding operational environments, Army leaders must invest more time on self-study and self-development than before” (para. 7-32). This is not an Army issue alone; professionals across every industry must invest more and more into self-development in order to be successful in our modern and complex world.

In his highly regarded leader development book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey provides habit #3 as “put first things first.” He claims that “the key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Stephen argues for a weekly planning model, over a daily one, because daily planning merely turns into managing crises and busywork.

We are students of leadership and committed leader developers. I argue that if you’re reading this, you recognize the need to dedicate personal time and effort to self-develop as a leader. The question, now, is how to do that. Continue reading → [168 Series] How Are You Developing Your Leadership Every Week?