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A Christmas Reflection on Servant Leadership

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This year, I have the good fortune of celebrating Christmas with my family at my sister’s house in Bremerton, WA. She is a Navy Lieutenant (O-3) assigned to an aircraft carrier at Naval Base Kitsap. On this Christmas day, we joined her on her carrier to receive a full tour and eat lunch on her ship’s mess deck; it was the best military meal I’ve ever received in my seven-year career. We met many of her Sailors, peers, and superior officers. Characterizing the experience as impressive is an understatement.

Beyond the incredible machinery and systems on that massive vessel, one of the most impressive aspects of my visit was being served Christmas dinner by the ship’s Captain (O-6), his wife and children, and the Command Master Chief (CMC, the ship’s senior enlisted leader). I was humbled to see these leaders not only taking time to spend the holiday with their Sailors, but also include their families. Furthermore, I’ve read multiple accounts today of battalion command teams replacing their Soldiers on duty, company command teams delivering stockings to barracks, and multiple echelons of leaders checking on their formations this holiday. Continue reading → A Christmas Reflection on Servant Leadership

The Legion of Boom: A Case Study in Culture

lob-post-imageOne of the most successful groups in the NFL is a tribe called the “Legion of Boom (LOB).” The LOB is the self-named Seattle Seahawks defensive secondary. Its most well-known members are cornerback Richard Sherman, strong safety Kam Chancellor, and free safety Earl Thomas III. Despite your personal opinions on their attitudes on or off the field, their success and results are undeniable. The LOB was indispensable in the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII victory. Sherman, Chancellor, and Thomas alone have 12 Pro Bowl selections between them, and Sherman was the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. Now, the defense and LOB are well on their way to being the league’s best defense for the third year in a row.

What makes this group so successful? Skill is certainly a factor, but that is a natural requirement to play in the NFL. What sets this group apart from the other 31 defensive units in the league? The answer is an established culture, unmatched across the league that serves as the foundation of this team’s success. The LOB built a culture through several deliberate steps that can easily apply to your team to improve your professional culture, to elevate your success, and take your organization to the next level: Continue reading → The Legion of Boom: A Case Study in Culture

Leadership By Wandering Around

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I was first introduced to the term, “leadership by wandering around (LBWA),” in one of my Engineering Management Masters courses. Being such a natural concept to me, the idea that being present and interacting with your Troops had to be defined in black-and-white astonished me. However, three years after being introduced to this term, I’ve learned that it is in fact NOT a natural concept to many leaders. Continue reading → Leadership By Wandering Around

A Leader’s Organization

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Organizing your thoughts, tasks, and goals on a regular basis can be a daunting task in itself. Often, leaders and professionals have no single unifying framework that streamlines their efforts to stay organized and avoid merely treading water at work. During my almost seven years as a military leader, through multiple attempts in revolutionizing my organizational methods, I finally found success in this area: Evernote.

Continue reading → A Leader’s Organization

The First Post: Post-Command Reflection

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Prior to taking command, I read a comment by an unknown Army field grade officer which argued that military leaders are in the business of organizational improvement; he called it the business of MakeSh*tBetter.com. We come in, make the organization better, and then we move on. His message resonated significantly with me and has become the bedrock principle of my leader philosophy.

Continue reading → The First Post: Post-Command Reflection