Dirty, Dull, and Dangerous Tasks

The Army sent me to MIT in 1985 to study robotics, and I have had a passion for that technology ever since.  Over the past 3 decades the technology continues to evolve at an amazing pace.  The question is whether or not we as a society are taking advantage of that technology.   My passion is to use robotic technology to remove human beings from dirty, dull and dangerous tasks.  From a military perspective, unmanned systems could be sent into harms way in place of the Soldier.  Many dangerous tasks, like ground surveillance, route clearance, and convoy operations could all be performed by unmanned systems.  If the system gets destroyed, it can be replaced.  A human life cannot be replaced.   From a civilian perspective, the same thing holds true.  The most pressing case is in law enforcement.  Let’s develop unmanned systems that allow police officers to “send in the robot” first….before exposing

Think Before You Speak

It is amazing to me how many folks in senior positions get themselves in touble because they don’t take the time to think before they speak.  It’s like they can’t help themselves.  In the words of Plato” “Wise men speak because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.”   I like the acronym THINK.   Analyze what you are going to say, before you say it.  Is it True?  Is it Helpful?  Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? It is Kind?   If we would all just take the time to ask and answer those questions…..and then act appropriately, we would have a better world.   A lot of what we hear senior leaders saying these days is just downright inflammatory.  I am not sure if they are saying it just to get press coverage, or spark conversation….but it is just plain wrong.   Let’s all pause and remember the words of

A Nation at Risk

I tell folks in my public presentations that if they slept well last night, they are not paying attention.  We are a Nation at risk.  We are at risk from both external and internal threats.   Externally we have threats from terrorist organizations like ISIS and Al Qaeda.  We have Russia trying to reestablish it’s dominance, and Iran working to get a nuclear weapon over time.   Internally we have threats from domestic terrorists, as evidenced by the recent attack on the recruiting station in Chattanooga, TN.  We also have folks trying to divide our country along racial lines, and folks advocating disrespect to law enforcement personnel.  It’s all very scary.   We must get our Nation back on track.  The key is electing folks to positions that have the best interests of America in their hearts.  We need decision makers who always ask the question:  “What is best for America”, as opposed to what

What to do with 7 hours?

  I am convinced the difference between an extremely successful individual (or organization) and a moderately successful one is time management.  It is possible to “do it all” if you simply manage your time.   I have always advocated a 15 /7/2 approach.  Think about it.  You need 7 hours sleep a night, and you should spend at least 2 hours per day on your physical health and well being (exercising, etc).  That leaves 15 hours each day to do whatever you want to do.   Assuming you have a normal job, you are probably working 8 of those hours.  OK…that still leaves 7 hours.  You can do a whole lot in 7 hours.  You can pursue a hobby, spend time with Family and friends, or work on improving yourself by reading / studying.   What I see is lots of folks spending those 7 hours “vegetating”.  They get stuck in TV, or social media, and

The Source of Strength and Courage

We all need help.  We need strength, courage to do the things that need to be done on a daily basis.  There are many sources for that strength and courage.  I get mine from my relationship with God.  In Joshua 1:9 it is written Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go   Knowing that God is with us wherever we go is an amazing  source of strength.  Many times throughout my military career I was tasked to perform something that was very dangerous, but I could do it without fear knowing that God would be with me.   During Desert Shield and Desert Storm, I was the Executive Officer of a Cavalry Regiment.  We were stationed in Doha, Kuwait and were the last American presence in Kuwait.  Everyone else had returned

Service to Others

  My favorite book is entitled A Life God Rewards, by Bruce Wilkinson.   In the book the author contends that God really doesn’t care about how many stars you wear (in my case), or how much money you make….He cares about the number of people you touch. I am convinced we would have a better Nation if everyone made it a point to serve others.  Today, less that 1% of the American public serve our Nation in uniform, but we all enjoy the freedoms provided by those select few.  That’s service. Of note, you don’t have to be in the US Military to serve others.  There are many professions (medical, education, law enforcement, clergy, etc) in which folks make a remarkable contribution to society, and they should also be commended.  That’s service as well. I tell folks in my public presentations that the most important piece of furniture in their homes is their

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
Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On Linkedin