Now More than Ever
In May 2011, I shared some perspectives on leadership in a blog post entitled “Leadership, Innovation, Initiative, and Creative Solutions.” Much has changed in the nearly two years since I shared those perspectives, but the basic principles I shared have not. Given the fiscal challenges we as life cycle logisticians, product support managers, and defense acquisition professionals face, now would be a good time to revisit and expand on some of those themes. Forgive me in advance if, in the process, I start to pontificate.
What am I talking about? Plain and simple, good old fashioned leadership. Regardless of your position, years of service, pay grade, experience level, duty title, job series, or even whether you directly supervise anyone or not, I would simply encourage you to be a leader. And what do good leaders do? To begin with, leaders lead. They don’t take their eyes off of what’s important. They maintain perspective. They’re simultaneously empathetic, energetic, and enthusiastic. They’re people of integrity, character, and competence. They communicate honestly, candidly and regularly. They avoid negativity. They’re committed to the successful accomplishment of their organization’s mission and to the success of the people they work for, work with, and when applicable, who work for them. They’re innovative, creative, and visionary. They care. They plan. They deliver. Perhaps most importantly, they don’t panic in times of crisis; as Andrew Jackson so eloquently said, they don’t take counsel of their fears. As it’s been often said, the true test of a leader is not when things are going well, but when the inevitable challenges, issues, and hurdles arise.
Many of you may recall in the weeks and months following 9-11 that a plethora of articles and advertisements appeared that were headlined with the phrase “now, more than ever”, stressing the importance of unity, commitment, and resolve in a moment of great difficulty. Unfortunately, the saying was so overused, that despite the significance of the event to the national psyche, the phrase itself began to sound tired and trite. So you’ll forgive me if I use it now on the eve of the implementation of sequestration, both because many would contend the fiscal challenges we face arguably pale in comparison to the significance of 9-11 and also because the idiom itself was already so overused. In either case, regardless of sequestration or not, now more than ever, be a leader. We still have a job to do. We still have a mission to accomplish. We still have a nation to protect. We have soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who are depending on us to do our jobs well. And whether we realize it or not, each of us have people we work with who are looking to us for leadership. So in the days and weeks ahead, in addition to “now more than ever”, another (perhaps even more appropriate) phrase we each would do well to keep in mind comes from 9-11 Flight 93 hero, Todd Beamer and his now-famous, yet profoundly simple admonition: “Let’s Roll.”