I had the privilege of serving in the US Army for 35 years, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant General. After I retired from the Army, I was equally privileged to become a leader at one of our Nation’s universities for a couple of years. Those years gave me insights into university operations.
I tell folks all the time that I think the two most important groups in our society are the members of our Armed Forces who protect our freedoms and our way of life, and our educators who guarantee our future. As a result of that, I am always looking for ways to improve operations. I think all would agree that we have some work to do in improving university operations.
From my time at a university, I came to believe we are struggling across America within our institutions of higher learning. The reasons for that are numerous.
There is more to life than just work. Over the course of my military career, Sarah and I have spent many years living in Europe. It is interesting to note that in Europe, folks work to live. In America, we tend to live to work. Think about it. There is a distinct difference.
One of my leadership principles from my book is achieve a work-life balance. Leaders must demonstrate that it is OK to work hard, and play hard. They must highlight the fact that they have a Family and friends that are as important to them as their work. And always remember, your effectiveness as a leader is measured in deeds, not words. You can’t just say that your Family is important to you, and then make work your priority.
It is important to have priorities in life. You must look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what are
I am convinced that everyone is a leader in some capacity, whether it is in the home, the church, the community, or the corporation. In my public presentations I always ask for a show of hands as to who is a leader, and less than 10% of the audience raises their hands. Folks must acknowledge that they are a leader, and they should always strive to be the best leader they can be. Our Nation’s future depends on it. It is important to our Families, to our Community, and to our Nation that we all become effective, adaptive leaders.
I believe that a major characteristic of an effective, adaptive leader is a positive attitude. In my book, Adapt or Die: Leadership Principles from an American General I take 35 years in the Army and 4 years at West Point and condensed it down to nine leadership principles with a focus
Sarah and I are on the Board of Directors for Operation Finally Home, a non profit that builds mortgage free homes for America's heroes. We just returned from their semi-annual board meeting. Over the past 10 years, OFH has built 78 homes, and has another 75 homes either under construction or in the permit and planning stages. We as a Nation have a duty to help these American Heroes and their Families. Let's work together to do all we
I am honored at the kudos my book recently received in a book review of Army Magazine.
Lessons From a Lifetime of Leadership
By Lt. Col. James Jay Carafano, U.S. Army retired
Adapt or Die: Leadership Principles From an American General. Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, U.S. Army retired. Baker Books. 233 pages. $22.99
- See more at: http://www.armymagazine.org/2015/04/20/may-reviews/#sthash.AelRPx5R.Qakm8VVo.dpuf
After centuries of attempting to decipher leadership like decoding a strand of DNA, it’s time to admit all that time might just have been wasted. Reading retired Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch’s Adapt or Die makes a case for getting back to learning to lead the old-fashioned way: by studying people who lead.
In the Western world, from the time of Thucydides until the age of Voltaire, the essence of learning leadership was studying leaders, individuals of both virtue and substance. Today, that seems hopelessly antiquated. After three centuries of trying to deconstruct the secret sauce of
At West Point, the honor code states that a cadet will not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those that do. I left West Point in 1977 and have adhered to that code my entire adult life. When I arrived at Fort Hood Texas for my first duty assignment, I vividly remember folks telling me that the honor code didn't apply to the real Army and that I would need to relax my standards. I didn't do that, and I am glad that I didn't.
I am seeing a troubling trend across our nation where senior leaders are indeed lying and cheating, and are getting caught. I would have thought there would be an uproar in the media, but that has not happened. There seems to have developed a societal tolerance for unethical behavior. Folks are clearly lying, but their activity is being accepted.
We are on a slippery slope if
Adaptive leadership is critical across our Nation. In today’s environment, circumstances change almost continuously. Resources that were counted on are no longer available. Weather, war, natural disasters, and economic issues all impact what we do day to day. To use a military term, the world is VUCA- volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
Leaders must be prepared for changing circumstances. They must build organizations that can adapt to these changes. This can be accomplished by focusing a leader development program on those characteristics that make leaders and organizations adaptive. I describe nine of those characteristics in my book, Adapt or Die: Leadership Principles from an American
Recently, Sarah and I spoke to one of the business units of the DFW airport. We focused on how they can provide better service to folks traveling through DFW.
In the service industry, folks should always have an attitude characterized by the phrase: The answer is yes, now what's the question?
Leaders should have a servant's heart, and remember that People don't care about how much you know, until they know how much you
On Tuesday Sarah and I had the privilege to work on one of our passions---helping Wounded Warriors. We are working with HEB and the Gary Sinise Foundation to build a mortgage free smart home for GySgt (Retired) Guillermo Tejada and his Family. Guillermo lost both of his legs to an enemy IED in Afghanistan in 2010, but he didn't lose his spirit. Guillermo focuses on his abilities, not his disabilities. He and his amazing family are an inspiration to us all. It is an honor to work with great organizations like HEB and the GSF to help this American
Last week I had the privilege of conducting a Skype session with 4 second grade classes from the Pflugerville Elementary School. All told, it was about 80 students, our Nation's future.
We talked about freedom. I emphasize that freedom wasn't free, and that American service members (and their Families) are sacrificing a great deal to protect our freedoms and our way of life. I emphasized the importance of living a life of service to others.
I told them to take the time to thank their teachers. I believe that the two most important members of our society are our service members who protect our freedoms, and our teachers who build our Nation's future. Unfortunately, we as a Nation give those two groups only minimal compensation. We must constantly express our gratitude. My hope is that these future leaders grow-up embracing and respecting our teachers and service member, thus shaping the course of