The Book

"Adapt or Die, Leadership Principles of an American General" condenses 35 years in the Army and 4 years at West Point into 9 leadership principles. With a focus on Faith and Family you will learn how to lead under difficult, changing circumstances.

The Speaker

Rick enjoys spreading his leadership principles to corporate, military, college or religious audiences. Click here to see clips of speeches that Rick has done and how you can get Rick speak to your organization.

The Man

Retired Army Lieutenant General Rick Lynch is a husband, father, grandfather, and a leader to more than 120k employees. Read more about Rick's journey from a small town in Ohio to becoming a thought leader on leadership.

Most Recent BLOG Posting

Memorial Day

The other day, someone came up to me and wished me “Happy Memorial Day”.  I don’t understand that.  How can the day, where we pause and reflect on those who gave their lives in defense of our freedom, be happy?  It’s like telling someone who recently lost a loved one “Have a happy funeral”.   We as a Nation take freedom for granted, because it is all we have ever known.  Folks wake-up each day able to enjoy freedoms, but they came at a cost.  Memorial Day is intended to be that day we as a Nation remember the cost.  Since our founding fathers, over 665 thousand Americans have given their lives in defense of our freedoms.   Most recently over 6000 have died protecting our freedoms and our way of life in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And, behind each of those fallen heroes is a Family that mourns the loss of their loved

Leaders Have Fun Too

Some folks believe it is ironic that one of my leadership principles is “Have Fun”.  They believe that being a leader is all about dedication and hard work.  That’s true, but it is not the complete story.  There is more to life than just work.  We must have fun as well. I believe that leaders must demonstrate that it is OK to have fun.  They must show those folks around them that they have fun, and want them to as well.  They should talk about things other than work.  They should highlight their passions and show everyone what they enjoy. There are people who believe that they should work hard today, but play hard tomorrow.  I hear that all the time.  Folks tell me that they have goals and aspirations, and that if they don’t work hard to accomplish those today they will fall short.  The problem with that logic is

Leadership in American Universities

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. 

Achieving a Work Life Balance

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

All Leaders Raise Your Hands

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

Operation Finally Home

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

Book Review

I am honored at the kudos my book recently received in a book review of Army Magazine.   MAY REVIEWS 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: 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

Duty and Honor to TELL the TRUTH

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 Essential

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
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