OK, so was hoping my first notes would be about some profound event.  Especially after this week; Iran seizing cargo ships, EMP worries in the WSJ, Taliban offensive in Afghanistan, earthquake in Nepal, a volcano in Chile, and now an underwater volcano off the Oregon Coast.  But no, my worries today, outside of taking the red-eye back east is Leadership (or the lack of it).   Leadership is always a funny thing.  Some believe it is about calm cool management, others think its making a decision - right, wrong or indifferent but make a decision.  It is really a combination of a bunch of learned skill sets - and personality traits that allow a leader / manager (hate that word) to provide vision, guidance, mentorship, and a framework that rewards good behavior and effort, and limits stressors or mitigates risk (but not risk averse).  Good leaders do not want "yes" men and women, good leaders understand perfection is really not "reality" 80-90 percent is probably the best we can hope for, good leaders compromise - but don't give up everything, good leaders communicate well (which leads to effective collaboration and "buy-in"), good leaders understand their people, good leaders are team players (or at least can make the change if their personality is something different) and good leaders understand their own flaws and weaknesses.   It is those things combined with humility, intelligence, drive and dedication to ones peers, seniors, and subordinates that make one at least an effective leader.  Time and life experience plays a significant role as does your operational environment.  SO Why have I brought this all up, well I have just spent the last 6 years post Army dealing with a bunch of people in "leadership" positions that have no understanding what it takes to be an effective one or what it is.   The last two firms I worked for had people in power that lacked vision, didn't understand their current operating environment, claimed loyalty to their people when they had none, squandered advantage, and when it was all staring them in the face, they still didn't take advice.  Mind you not just mine, but the advice of other very smart people (I am not really all that smart or intellectually deep).  Both organizations made significant money very rapidly, and believed it was their personal intellect and  ideas that won them the business.  No it was a painful series of USG funding in a significant time of US military intervention with an underprepared military.  My thoughts out of this are, good leaders are  
 


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    I am a retired US Army Officer with a deep desire to understand our global condition. Not only do I worry about that global condition , I worry that the rhetoric is much worse in many cases than the actual condition.  I love the Pats, car racing, and have been accused of being a bit liberal.  
    BTW my dad is the good looking guy standing 3rd from the right, in all his glory as a turret gunner on a TBF in the South Pacific in 1943.

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