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A rather inspiring list for leaders

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So, back to the ol' grind at my internship again. Been going in feeling much better lately.

I was sitting at my desk, clopping away at the keyboard to make up a quick questionnaire my boss had asked for when he sent me an email.
"Look through that, see if there's anything important in there we might need to save for the future," he said off-offhandedly. See, my position right now is to sift through the history of this place and compile a book on it that gives the brief history of the place and helps any new members figure out what the hell is going on. Half fun, half technical. It's something from the military (called a 'Continuity Book' there), and since everyone I work with was in the military at some point, my boss thought it was fitting. Master-sergeant habits die hard, did you know?

So I open up the email and started clicking through the different responses. The conversation was something mundane and totally menial until I stumbled upon this gem you'll find below. I was struck by a lot of what was said here, and I think everyone should see it frankly. As such, rather than allow this to disappear into the dusty confines of my continuity book, I thought this was as good a place as any to share some striking wisdom. Enjoy

Some military leadership mantras for you to consider, per our conversation:

  1. "When in Charge, BE in Charge."
  2. "Fight the Fight, not the Plan."
    • meaning people can get so fixated on a plan that they ignore changing surroundings...with costly results

  3. "No Plan Survives First Contact."
    • this is a corollary of the above...one can plan all one wants, but once the plan is launched, things beyond the planner's control will influence the outcome (positively or negatively)

  4. "Embrace the Suck."
    • things will not always be pleasant or fun. As a leader, one has to expect this...embrace it...& know how to lead others through the sucky times.

  5. "The partial solution now is better than the 100% solution too late."
  6. "In an Absence of Leadership, Create Leadership."
  7. "To Be a Good Leader, One First needs to be a Good Follower."
  8. "Lead Others as They Need to be Led."
  9. "Hope is Not a Plan."
  10. “Leadership is a Privilege, Not a Right. And I must Earn it in the Arena of Action.”
    • – Mark Devine, SEAL (Not so much a mantra, but a great quote.)

  11. "Don't Rush to Failure."
    • when we rush, we are prone to make mistakes. Then we end up either a) having to do things over again, which consumes time or b) failing outright.

  12. "The Enemy Also Gets a Vote."
    • We can plan and decide and act and implement all we want. But, as with some of the others above, outside forces influence our outcomes. The "Enemy" could be a literal enemy - a personal adversary. Or it could be bad weather, the constraints of time, an accident, something lost or stolen, illness or injury, lack of funds...any number of agents that can act against our success.

  13. "Take Care of Your Soldiers (People) and They'll Take Care of the Mission (Job)."
    • When leaders invest in people 1st, when leaders understand their people, then the people will be motivated to work harder. And by shielding your people from b.s. and focusing on removing their obstacles and increasing their quality of life on the job, they will function better. And mission success will follow.

  14. "Policies Exist to Help Your People; People Don't Exist to Help Your Policies."
    • Similar to #13, but the focus here is on bureaucracy and why it exists. It should be an means to an end, not become the end in and of itself."

  15. "Let's Not 'Fire and Forget'."
    • Some munitions/ordnance you can "fire and forget," meaning they are self-guided and will hit the target by themselves after you pull the trigger. But most tasks/jobs/missions are not like that. They require perpetual oversight. Leaders cannot just assign tasks (which is really management, anyway) or deliver guidance, and then walk away, assuming it will all happen according to plan. Leaders cannot "fire and forget."

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  1. Smith's Avatar
    A lot of these axioms are reminiscent of Sun Tzu's "Art of War". Surely not a coincidence.

    Very glad you shared this! Definitely good advice to follow.
  2. PrinzeCharming's Avatar
    "Embrace the Suck."

    Most People Think:

    And others will agree like:

    And nice people are like:

    Great advice! This is brilliant stuff. Thank you.
  3. Plasticweld's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing. I love the whole concept that "No plan survives first contact." and "The enemy gets a vote." both are so true in business and life, it is being able to adapt and change with new information and circumstances that separate those that are winners and survivors in life from everybody else.

    It is great to see such a positive post from you sharing some great information :}
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