Getting the Old Idea Out

It has been said that the hardest thing about getting a new idea in, is getting the old idea out.   That is what is going on now in the US Army.  Two female Soldiers have successfully completed the most challenging course the Army has to offer – US Army Ranger School.  They are to be commended for their efforts.  They knew how difficult the course was going to be, but they volunteered to attend anyway and accepted the challenge.  They worked thru very difficult tasks and situations, and then successfully completed the course.  I am very proud of them.   I am disappointed, however,  that folks can’t (or won’t) accept the fact that they competed the course successfully.  There is way too much negative traffic on social media today.  Some folks allege that the US Army lowered their standards at Ranger School so that the female Soldiers could graduate.  I don’t buy

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

Demanding but not Demeaning

Individuals and organizations that want to excel must always do their very best.  Everyone within the team must perform to his or her maximum potential everyday.  This includes all aspects of our society: Family, churches, corporations, government, etc.   To get folks to work up to their maximum potential, leaders must be demanding.   They must set high standards for both themselves and their partners / employees, and then demand that folks work to achieve those standards.  And…once those standards are achieved they should “raise the high bar” and demand that folks attain those results as well.  That is the essence of high performing organizations, always doing better.  As Robert Browning once said “ A man’s reach should exceed his grasp”.   To do that, leaders must carefully communicate what the standards are, and what the expectations are for employees to achieve those standards.  To be an effective leader, constant communication is critical.  There

Resiliency

Why is it that some folks come out of difficult / dangerous situations devastated, and others come out enriched?  I argue the difference is resiliency.  Spiritual, physical, emotional, financial resiliency.   Resiliency is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.  It is not some abstract concept.  It is something that can be pursued, and obtained.   To be resilient, folks must have a belief in some greater good.  They must be assured that there is something out there that will help them thru difficult times.  That is a personal decision,  For me, I am a Christian.  I study the Bible everyday and believe what God’s Word tells me.  I ask God daily for the strength, courage and wisdom to do what He wants me to do that day.  Joshua 1:9 tells me “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will

Memorial Services

Sarah and I traveled to Gatesville, TX to participate in a Memorial Service for her brother-in-law.  I delivered the message as part of the service.  This was the tenth memorial service I participated in in the last 3 years, all for Family and Friends.   As I looked out in the audience, I saw lots of faces with regrets.  They wished they had spent more time with him.  They wished they had told him that they loved him more.  They wished they had “mended fences” over some silly argument from times past.   I am always frustrated when I hear folks talk about tomorrow.  They tell me,  “I’ll call my brother tomorrow and tell him that I love him”, or “I’ll visit my parents tomorrow”.   They emphasize the fact that they will work hard today (and maybe neglect their Family) but they will make it up to them – tomorrow.   The problem with that
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