Archive for March, 2021

A Thought Experiment For Modern Leadership Education – Adapting to Uncertainty

March 10th, 2021

I had an opportunity to participate in a thought experiment on military leadership in times of revolutionary change in the operational environment. I was struck by how the discussion resonated with the concept of “transparency”. Here is a summary of the key points that emerged, any of which resonate for broader issues of leadership of all types:

Conventional times:

· The Commander is the most senior and experienced in the unit.

· His experience is directly relevant to the current situation.

· He knows what else he needs to know from the staff to complete his vision and concept.

· By exception the staff may bring things to his attention.

· The staff reports the needed information.

· The commander is smart and experienced; wise; the final authority; the director.

· We look to him for certainty, and would consider his “confusion” or “not knowing” to be a sign of weakness and concern


Exceptional times:

· Situations are new, dynamic, unique and evolving.

· Experience is not directly applicable, and may actually be harmful (constraining, confining, blinding).

· Commander doesn’t know what he needs to know because his frame does not fit or is unformed.

· Subordinate staff and subordinate commanders, who are CLOSER TO THE SITUATION, have more direct exposure & experience .

· Staff and subordinate commanders MUST push their vision and interpretation and “framing” higher.

· The senior commander must actively seek, and encourage their input to drive the collaborative process of team learning.

· The Commander MUST be open and emotionally vulnerable to share the limitations of his knowledge. His values must be solid, but he must be transparent, and finally, perform the role of final judge and ratifier of the process.

· He must be wise, not smart; Open and questioning, not clear and decisive (until it is time for action) .

· This places a premium on intellectual humility, a commitment to inquiry and subordinate empowerment.

· Must be willing to be the least informed guy in the room, AND the best critical thinker.

· Must have an empathetic, loyal staff who supports his vulnerability


· If you believe we are inside a revolutionary shift in battlefield requirements, then how do we live and educate to these new ideas?

· How much of a transition would this shift in perspective and culture represent to our warrior profession?

· How would YOU go about the leading the transition?

· What are you DOING about it?

Do You Create a Picture of a Problem With Which Your Prospect Can Resonate Emotionally?

March 10th, 2021

One thing that marketing can do better than print advertising is create an emotional picture with which your prospects can identify. Education-based marketing can create the experience that will resonate with prospects so they know you know and understand what they are going through and that they are not alone.

It happened suddenly. No one noticed anything until 45-year-old electrician Tom was lying at the foot of an 8-foot ladder from which he had fallen at a pueblo casino where he had been working on ceiling lights. He had smashed head-first onto the concrete floor, incurring what would be diagnosed as an epidural hematoma in the right temporal region, a concussion, and shattered right arm. Disoriented and in excruciating pain, Tom was rapidly hoisted into an ambulance that sped him to the Trauma Center at UNM’s University Hospital.

After a quick look at his CAT scan, the emergency neurologist rushed him into surgery to relieve the pressure of the rapidly accumulating blood under his skull, which threatened to permanently damage a large region of his brain.

Coming out of the anesthesia post-surgery,Tom was semi-conscious, drifting in and out of awareness. But his body recognized with horror that he had a large irritating object, like a garden hose, thrust down his throat. Even in his haze, his survival instinct told him to remove the object ASAP or choke to death. With unknowing hands, he frantically pulled on the ventilator tube, getting it out just enough that a nurse had to rush to his side to reinsert it, causing him even more pain and panic.

Strangely, with every breath he took there was an accompanying sound – a disgusting sucking sound. It was viscous secretions building up around the tissue-rubbing tube opening, and beginning to cut off his air supply. He was on the ventilator to help him breathe and the ventilator was going to asphyxiate him if he could not get help. Again and again his hands made their way to his mouth to save himself.

But on seeing this, medical personnel, who were totally oblivious to what might have been causing his desperate behavior, immediately and routinely tethered his wrists so he could not remove the ventilator. As the secretions replaced the air in his ventilator tube, his reddening face and full-body-agitation signaled a crisis was at hand.

His quick-thinking parents grabbed someone and forced them to listen to the heavy bubbles in his throat as he struggled to breathe. Finally a nurse responded by suctioning his tube. The process was even more frightening for Tom who did not know what was happening. This was something they were going to have to do numbers of times a day if they wanted not to be responsible for his strangling to death on their watch.

Two weeks later he was discharged from the hospital with a traumatic brain injury from which he would never recover. He would never work again or even be able to socialize with his friends. The question that remained for his parents was to what degree did the problems with the ventilator and lack of oxygen contribute to his final condition.

Real-life events or stories that make your point well, with salient, details immediately connect with prospects.

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