This is JoCo podcast number two fifty three with Dave Burke and me, JoCo Willink. Good evening, Dave. Good evening. So last couple of podcast, two fifty one with Leif Babin to fifty, also with Dave Burke. We are continuing to make our way through this book right here. Guidelines for the Leader and Commander by General Bruce Clark.
Leif and I made it up to page 13, Dave and I. Last time we made it up to page twenty eight.
It's 117 page book. It's just almost impossible not to find lessons and say to yourself, I'm not I don't need to worry about that section right there.
So to take these experiences from this leader and commander and try and apply them and this this book was the guidebook for my biggest mentor, Colonel David Hackworth, author of About Face. And there's so many threads.
I just noticed that thread today or on the last podcast, the thread between General Clark and making the men stand to and then them being OK with it once they almost got overrun. And Hackworth, I just sit there, the threads just connected on that last podcast. So the threads keep getting connected.
If you want to see the threads of the way Hackworth learned to lead, which in turn taught me how to lead.
They all right back. General Clark. So that's what we're doing.
We're tracking these lessons to their root cause, to the route to the source and learning as we do it.
So part three of guidelines for the leader and commander by General Bruce Clark.
First section we get into today. We're on Chapter five, the conduct of inspections.
And I'll tell you this, as I was as I was passing this book, the first time I prepped for it, I thought life and I were going to get through half of it.
And I thought life and I will do back to back podcast's will be half in one podcast. So we'd cover 60 or so pages and then we do half. We just do do a back to back. We made it through 13 pages. So now as I'm reading it, I'm looking for like the breaking points or where I can go, OK, this is a good section.
This section today, the end of this section were to cover today is it's it's it's freaking epic.
I'm I don't throw that word around very often, so we'll get there. But this Chapter five starts off with the conduct of inspections. And the first question is why inspect? And then it says there is a saying an organization does. Well, only those things. The boss checks.
This truism originated in so far as I am concerned, from a speech that I heard made by a vice president of one of our largest corporations, this is not a new thought to anyone who has military experience, because I have often heard it expressed as anything that has not been inspected, has been neglected. I change the way I said that word to neglect it, but it made it sound a lot better.
So anything that has not been inspected has been neglected.
If these things are true, and I think they are, it follows that anyone who has an important position must be able to check in on or inspect the operations which he's responsible life.
When they saw this, I think I sent a picture of this to life because this is a line that I hear Lahiff say a lot. It's a line that he heard me say a lot. And we always attribute it to Hackworth. We always attributed it to Hackworth.
And guess what? It didn't come from Hackworth. So how to inspect to determine how to inspect civilians often think of a non-commissioned officer and officer as a demon inspector, a demon inspector, a good inspector is certainly not a demon, but good inspectors are not plentiful in the army or out of it.
However, to be a successful non-commissioned officer or a successful officer, one should be a competent inspector. This quality cannot be attained without a considerable amount of study planning and practice now.
This is interesting because. I wasn't sure how much of this section to cover because inspections are not something that I utilize to any great extent as a leader when I was a leader. I didn't inspections was not one of my big tools.
And so I thought, well, you know, we'll talk about it. You know, you certainly have to inspect things. And I get that. And that's why I would say that, hey, an organization does well the things the boss. I've said that many times and I believe it, but also. I believe that if I have to inspect you, that means I'm doing something wrong somewhere else, you know, saying like if I've got to if my gig is I've got to inspect you, that means I'm making some other kind of mistake somewhere.
Because should I have to inspect that your weapon is ready? Should I have to inspect that you've prepared for an operation? Should I have to inspect that you've done the work that you're supposed to? I shouldn't have to inspect it.
If I've led correctly, then you know why you're doing what you're doing and therefore you don't really need to get inspected because you understand the why and you make things happen. So I've always had that attitude has been very successful for me. So I wasn't sure how I wasn't sure how much I was going to get into this whole inspection mode. Because what I don't want to do is create a bunch of leaders that are going out there becoming these inspection happy, you know, dig down.
How come and inspect you. You know what's funny with my kids?
With my kids, whatever, my wife's not around my kids, I they have to do everything right.
And so I'll say are, you know, what time will you be ready for inspection?
And they just get so they know what that means. I'm going to inspect.
I'm going to inspect, and they better be squared away.
So I didn't want to create I don't want to pass on this this idea that, hey, you guys got to be inspection inspection freak.
You know, I never want people to think that the military is what the military is portrayed in boot camp. Which is you're getting inspected all the time, so that being said, as I as I read through this, I thought my better cover this because.
Well, you'll see. So here we go back to the book. It is very seldom that I visit a unit, an installation or a headquarters that I do not see things which are apparently not correct and which need pointing out, which only need pointing out to get them promptly corrected. So it's very seldom that you go somewhere and you see something, you go, Hey man, why isn't that right? And all you have to do is tell him that it's not right and they fix it.
I notice a similar situation in reading the reports of the inspector general inspections. I often wonder why the responsible person on the spot has not noticed them and corrected them. Why you're there, why don't you notice that this shortfall exists? Here's one reason it may be because he has lived so close to them that his ability to notice them has become fatigued.
So what does that mean? You're not detached if you're not detached. So you don't see these mistakes. But I am inclined to think that it is because. So that's a possibility. But I am inclined to think that is because he has not conducted his inspections in a systematic and effective way.
So even when you're not detached, even when you're totally engaged, if you inspect correctly, you should still be able to pick up on things that you would otherwise miss. Too often, officers and senior non-commissioned non-commissioned officers have a general look see rather than an inspection. They go through their areas of responsibility without noticing things to correct and what is more, without noticing good things for which someone should be complimented. That's one of the reasons why I had to cover this, because an inspection isn't about finding what I can nit pick about you.
It's actually about what I can find to compliment you on.
Totally different attitude. My purpose for inspecting you is so I can find things that you're doing awesome at and compliment you form. To become a good inspector requires, as I have said before, study planning and practice, it requires study to be sure that he knows what is correct and what is not correct in the field of his responsibility.
It requires planning to prepare a schedule of inspections in such a way that over a period of time he has given the necessary attention to all aspects of his field of responsibility. And then it requires practice in order to notice promptly whether the important things are correct or incorrect. Notice, he said, important things.
Important things, and you can absolutely get bogged down in things that are not important and in fact, the military, if you if you're not careful, you will start to focus on things that are not important.
You know, on the last podcast, you were talking about the fact that.
When you were a squadron commander, your attitude was, we are inspection ready at all times. Does that mean that we scrub the ground on the backside of the whatever bathroom and the third floor? No, because does that really matter, is that an important thing? No. Is it clean? Yes, it's clean, absolutely. It's clean. It's fully functional.
It's it's totally ready, but we're not wasting time on it because it's not really that important.
What is important, the mechanics of the freakin aircraft, the cleanliness of the of the area where we're actually doing work that keeps these machines up and running.
If I had my guys scrub the grout of the bathrooms prior to someone coming to visit, I'm telling them that's what I care about and that's not what I want them to care about in the study phase.
Most people find that a checklist is necessary. Think about that, a checklist is necessary, this ensures and, you know, you can tell and I've been picking this up as I'm reading this, you know, this General Clark is kind of an anal retentive dude for sure. He's about checklists. He's about inspections. He's got that nature to him. So we need to keep that in mind. We need to keep in mind that why is he why is this guy with all this experience?
Why is he using a checklist? Why is that? Oh, because it works. This I used to take every single piece of gear that I would take on trips and I would have a little check box next to it to make sure I had what I need to have. Check this y checklist. This ensures that important things are not overlooked and assist the inspector until he has become so proficient through practice that he carries a mental checklist in his head. There are inherent evils in the use of a checklist unless is made out well.
It does focus great attention to the items listed, which may cause other important things which may have been left off the check list to be overlooked.
It must be remembered that to inspect is to emphasize, which is what you just said, to inspect is to emphasize if you are cleaning the grout on the third floor bathroom.
That's what you're emphasizing as important. And an honestly. Do I want one minute of time when I'm running an F thirty five squadron that has multi-million dollar aircraft that are life saving machines?
I want anyone scrubbing on the third floor in the third floor bathroom that never gets used and never get seen? No.
In the planning phase, one should make a list of all items or phases of his responsibility on which he wants to check in most jobs, this list will probably have 30 or 40 items on it. It is manifestly impossible in one trip through a platoon, company, battalion, battle group or similar area to check adequately all 40 items. Therefore, he should keep this list and select from it three or four items each week or other interval. When he inspects, he should do a very thorough job on the selected items.
Of course, to do a thorough job. He must have studied up on each item selected beforehand so that he knows what is right and what is wrong and what to look for. By selecting a new group of three or four items each week.
He will, over a period of time, have covered all of them. And by the time he comes to the end of the list will he will have really checked all the aspects of his responsibility and will become a master of his job. What is more, at the that time, if he has been effective as an inspector, his responsibility ability will be carried out in a superior manner. Great. You know what else is awesome about that? What's cooler?
What's better, what to your laugh to the last podcast about being about humanizing yourself to your troops. What does a better job of humanizing telling you, hey, once every three months I'm going to come and inspect 40 items and it's going to take eight hours and you're going to be standing at parade rest all time or may come down once a week, come to check two or three things. Get to know you, talk to you. Game, it's it's obvious and maybe even tell you, hey, you're doing an awesome job down here, this is good to go, man.
The difference. OK, let me ask you this. Let's say I'm a nitpicker.
Let's say I roll down to your flightline and I see that there's whatever some some dust on one of these pieces of tools.
And I walk over with my white glove and I inspect it and I hold it up to you and I go, this is junk.
You're a slob, everything else, but you're a slob.
OK, first of all, what do I care about? I'm sorry that I care about souls. Second of all, are you inspired to do a good job for me?
No. What if I come down and I look at your toolbox and I go, man?
I can see that the way you got your tools labeled that you are a professional that is legit, you know what? Every time I start up one of these aircraft, I'm going to feel good in my heart that you're down here maintaining these aircraft.
Thank you. What does that guy do, guys?
Policy tools, man. He's polishing his tools.
So do you want to rule out of fear? Do you want to rule out of admiration?
How is that hard if you take us one step back and think of the outcome, you're trying to create the real outcome that you're trying to create.
And as a squadron commander, you just described it, I want one hundred and fifty maintainers.
Who are who their entire commitment to life is to make sure these airplanes are safe to operate. That's what I want a commitment to, to making sure that we have these machines that are safe. If I just think about that, it's actually not hard to tell which of these two ways is going to get my guy, my Marine, to think the way that I want them to think. It's really not that hard. You just have to reverse positions ago.
Go. How would I feel about the guy coming down and doing this to me? Oh, well, this makes sense. That doesn't make sense. Just do the one that makes sense and you actually will get the outcome that you want. You know, when you're saying that I was thinking, if you can get a little connection of hate hate, I notice these tools over here like kind of dusty. Are these kind of a wait? Do you not use these?
Are these not necessary? Is this a bunch of stuff that you've got to manage? It's not important because these things are getting used like crazy. Hey, is there a way to kind of relieve you of just some connection has to go? Actually, sir, those things are terrible. We don't use them because they don't work and they just sit there and collect dust. It's just an example. But if you can make the connection between what they're doing to get the outcome that you want, it's actually not that hard to do.
Man, man, all right, back to the book, whether he announces beforehand the items that he is going to check each, you know, that whole that whole conversation we just had, that's like something that we need to continue to talk about in that's I see this all the time is like. It is really obvious with ego, right, when you're in it, you don't notice how stupid you look and when you step outside, you see someone else behaving that way, you go, oh, this person is an idiot.
Their egos involved. But what it's you know, it's me. It's different. It's different, it's different. No one will notice, I want that attention, I want that, hey, you didn't recognize me.
I want you know what? I want my black belt. How's that work? Yeah, not good.
Back to the book. Sorry whether he announces beforehand the items that he is going to check each time as a matter of individual choice, some officers publishers publish the checklist to assist in training their subordinates. Good results have been obtained that way. One basic rule, however, is that having once announced an inspection, he owes it to the people underneath him to make it fair and thorough. He also owes it to the people inspected the privilege of being commended for the good things found, as well as criticism for the things which are not up to standard.
That whole idea. If you just flip the I'm inspecting you so I can see what you're doing. Awesome. Inspect all the time. Totally.
I have never known a good inspector who did not acquire a highly developed curiosity and the ability to notice details, this can come to anyone with practice. On one occasion, I visit a country where units of the army are stationed. I was met at the airfield by a field grade officer of the local headquarters during the ride. During the ride from the air field unit, I noticed that the civilian passenger cars we met had the drivers on the left side, but the large trucks had the drivers on the right side.
That seemed odd to me. So I inquired of my escort why this should be so. He remarked that although having been in the country for over a year, he had not noticed that I would surmise that he would not developed into a good inspector.
If you as either commander or a staff member, follow these hints and rules, you will not not be known as a demon inspector, but as a competent and effective manager.
And then he says it one more time in big, bold print and organization does well, only those things the boss checks. If you're in a leadership role and you're inspecting your people or if you want to take it a step further, if someone else is coming in like the IG, is this in the military, the exact other group, this inspector general group, is another team that actually comes in to inspect you.
So whether it's you or somebody else, if I'm a leader and I'm inspecting my people, I'm actually just inspecting myself. It is everything I see is a pure reflection of me. So the idea that I'd be down there designed to criticize them for not doing the things I need them to do, if you just had the mindset in your brain, my inspection of my people is actually an evaluation of my own performance. It can completely change the way you see what it is that you're looking at.
The inspection is you and that was part of the reason as a commander in a squadron when I said, listen, Marines, if we have we have visitors, you will not allocate additional time to cleaning.
I said that that was like a standing room in my squadron. If people are coming in to inspect it, inspect our facility, you will not allocate additional time to clean. I want it to be as clean as it needs to be. Do what you would normally do.
And if they come in and this place is a dump, then I clearly have not allocated the time, have not done the things I need to do.
But if they come and go, hey, this place is good to go, that's a reflection of me as a leader, not of my men or my Marines.
It's me who is being inspected and just that view of what it is you're actually evaluating. Yeah, well, check this out, if I come down to inspect Dave and instead of me blaming you for whatever shortfalls you have, I say, Hey, Dave, I noticed that your tools are not in the proper place. And when they're not the proper place, they could get called to the flightline, they could root an engine. Someone get hurt or killed.
I don't think I've done a good job of explaining to you why this is important, why this is so important.
So I've failed as a leader. The fact that you're not one hundred percent squared away is my fault. That's why. That's right. And that's why that's why this whole that's why I'm scared of this whole idea a little bit. Right. That's why it scares me. Even when I say this, an organization does well, only those things the boss checks.
I can tell you that my SEAL platoon, my SEAL task unit, my echelon front does all kinds of things exceptionally well that I don't check.
Yeah, I know that.
So that's why I'm a little nervous about trying to make people into, you know, hyper inspectors.
I look at inspection kind of the same way as I look at accountability because they are very similar. Right. And I've always said, OK, to me, accountability is a crutch. Look, it's a tool like I'm not saying crutches are bad. When you have a broken leg, you've got to get a crutch so you can get around. Inspections to me are very similar to in fact, they are a form of accountability. But if I if that's my primary tool for leadership is just to hold everyone accountable and go inspect them all the time, that's this is not a good functioning tool.
It's not the right way to use that tool. If I've got three hundred weapons inside to ask you to Bruiser. And the only way I can make sure that they're cleaned is by inspecting them twice a week. That's an embarrassment to me, actually. That's an embarrassment to me. It's embarrassment to the platoon commanders. It's embarrassment to the platoon chiefs. It's a burden to everyone in the freakin task unit because we all know why it's important to keep our weapons squared away.
And if we're not, and the only way I can get them to do that is to inspect them. It's it's wrong. They should know the culture that we have. They should understand why it's important. And therefore, I shouldn't have to inspect that damn thing. Now, all that being said. You you certainly do. I certainly did inspect the weapons and tasking Bruce, I didn't do it a lot. I did a couple of times in the beginning just to make sure, hey, everyone gets it, everyone knows.
But after three inspections in the first three months, you think I went down there to make sure he was going to make sure.
By the way, what kind of trust is that? What kind of trouble am I telling my platoon that I trust them when I one of the platoons that I am, I tell left that I trust them and say, hey, life, I want to go inspect the weapons today. He should will look me. Don't waste your time, boss. We're good. And you don't. I'd say cool. Is there a chance in life? We'll talk about this.
He was he he gave a little too much slack one time and didn't have one of his guys and do a serialized inventory. Piece of gear went missing. It's like he was like, yep, that's all me. They've said, that's all me, I obviously little too hands off, a little too decentralized. So what does that mean? I think that's why I left, loves that term, loves that phrase so much because he knows he had that bite him in the ass and he had to start to up the level of inspections, so.
It is a tool, it is a tool, don't overuse it, use it, yes. Don't overuse it, don't overuse it. It's a lack of trust. Be careful. Yeah, I'm actually over here kind of racking my brain, I'm thinking about my time in command and I was trying to come up with a memory of inspecting something. And I couldn't think I certainly couldn't think of like a formal inspection that I did.
And at the same time, I had a very strong sense in real time of whether my guys were working on the things I wanted them to work on. Now, I did have a luxury and the answer I came to my head is when I went flying.
You're talking about this idea of inspection. When you go fly before you get into an airplane, you do what's called a pre flight, which is an inspection because I started the nose of the airplane. I go all the way around. I check a bunch of things before I get into the airplane. Now, if I overshot the mark, I could walk up to the the the plane captain, we call it the Marine in charge of that plane. And I can say, is everything good to go?
And you could say yes. And, you know, the truth is, is that I actually trusted him. I could climb up that ladder and go fly and come back. But if every single time I came out to the jet, I just climbed up and flew that airplane. Over time, he'd realize, hey, this guy is not really paying attention. And it's not that he that this guy, Colonel Burke, doesn't care. It's that or doesn't trust me.
He said he doesn't care as much. It's not that important him and I don't want him to think that.
And at the same time, am I going to spend an hour walking around this airplane going, hey, devil, dog, come down here.
I see this thing. I'm looking for things that are important. General integrity, a couple and once in a blue moon, I'll go, hey, can you come down?
Hey, this thing down here on this panel isn't this I think it's supposed to be down in this switch because up in the cockpit, I get this. And if I would just show him, hey, these things are important, me, what you're doing is important and I'm not looking to find ways to criticize you.
So I actually did inspections all the time, but I did it in it.
I really couldn't think of a time that in my years in command where I did and then this is an inspection, be prepared for that inspection. And at the same time, everything I did as a leader was an inspection because everything I paid attention to was my signal to them of these things that matter.
I had a safety incident when I was running training there, a safety incident and.
My my boss. I could see you wanted to.
He wanted to bring a little bit of the thunder, right, and so unannounced inspection of my my range safety officer qualification letters, so I'm working at a training command where I've got whatever I got one hundred instructors, SEAL instructors, they're all range safety officers, all of them 100 percent.
And so I've already you know, paperwork is not my best quality.
And the inspector shows up and, you know, it was like a I remember this. It was a fleet. Like a fleet. I want to say it was a fleet lieutenant and chief, so they didn't send SEALs over because SEALs would have been like, hey, Jakov, we're going to be over there in an hour.
You might work, you know, little heads up. They would have brought me out, right? No, bro, these guys show up. And oh, you know, I get to admit, hey, hey, sir, we have an inspection, I'm like an inspection. OK, what are we getting inspected? So incomes this chief and this lieutenant, you know, we need to check your areso your range safety officer qualifications for all your instructors.
And I'm thinking, OK, in my mind, I'm like, whatever. I don't even know where these are. Right. I'm completely I'm just if I was, I would have just held out my, you know, put my hands out to get cuffed, you know, like arrest me now.
And sure enough, my admin department says, oh, you want to see the you want to see the all the qualifications and make sure that every single person, every single hundred people here that all have that all, by the way, rotate in at different times are all rotating out. There's not like any it's not like a one unified group of people that's all getting qualified at the same time. No, these are random guys that are coming and going at different times.
Oh, you want to see if all those hundred people are completely up to date and qualified for their range safety officer paperwork? Yeah, that's what we got to say. OK, come over here. My admin team pulls them out. Just starts. Yeah. Oh yeah. What you oh you want to look at you want a look at all. Everything was one hundred percent squared away. One hundred percent squared away. I had nothing to do with it.
Yeah. I had nothing to do with it. Obviously the guy that was ahead of me before me had implemented a system or someone at some point and implemented a system and there it was, one hundred percent squared away.
So that kind of thing, I can take no credit for that, but guess what, as I said, that's a situation where guess what I should have done when I showed up at that command, I should have had a good list. And, you know, it's in this book, there's a there's a thing in this book that talks about how you turn over with someone, think, what do you get ready? That's something. When I showed up at the command, I should have said, OK, let's think about what this commandos.
Oh, we are range safety officers. That's one of our primary duties. I should probably make sure that we are up to speed from an administrative perspective, which is, again, what we already talked about on the last podcast from an administrative perspective, because guess what? If my boss finds out that none of my guys are called and the calls are all over the place, I should not I'm not qualified to be in that job. That's bad.
My guys, there's a reason for those range safety qualifications. I should have had the I should have inspected it. So there's an example of, look, I'm glad I got away with it. You know, I'm glad that somebody was more square. I'm glad that my own administrative department was more squared away than I was. But I don't like that feeling. So something like that. Absolutely. I should have I should have at some point said, hey, I'm going to take a look at our administrative records.
That way I feel comfortable and confident. And also people realize that it is important because I didn't place by not by never inspecting it. Two things happened. No one, no one thought it was important. And I'm just by the grace of God and good squared away discipline that they they did it. And number two, they never got any credit for doing that. I never got to go to my admin department and said, hey, I want to look at the records and then say, oh, here you go, boss.
And me say, great job. Awesome. So even though I'm kind of downplaying the use of inspections, when you look at it as a positive tool, it's something that I should have used more. I had such a negative attitude towards inspections, I should have had a more positive attitude towards it and done them more often.
So I think that is that is when I'm walking away, my lesson learned is inspections.
I think of them as a tool for accountability. I should think of them as inspections are a tool for complementary activity with your troops for confirming that the right things are being focused on. Because guess what? You know of the admin department, you know how many Aso's Yomi Range safety officers that were in the admin department? Take a guess. Eleven guys are Aso's, yes, none, zero. Yes, exactly. They had no reason to be concerned about that.
No, no reason. Yeah, I never made it important. Thankfully, there were great squared away, you know, sailors that got it done. Yeah. Chapter six, a successful manager, advice from a civilian manager when I was and you know, this is something I've talked about before, which is. In the 90s, and I don't know if you remember this, maybe you saw it, maybe you didn't in the 90s, there would be a lot of, hey, what can the military learn from from civilian companies?
It was a lot like, hey, we want to send you out to IBM or whoever to see how they operate.
And yet a lot of those lessons that the that the. Civilian businesses are one of the things that they did to operate was based on military aid, but these of guys that got out of World War Two and said, hey, this is what we should do, right, that the greatest generation came back and said, I know how to run shit. Watch this.
So it goes both ways and edits, but then sometimes it's like, oh, the military, so the civilians after World War Two said, oh, we'll take all these practices from the military. And then here we were. This book came out in nineteen sixty three. Hey, let's make sure that we're learning from the corporate as well. So advice from a civilian manager. When I was taking my graduate work in civil engineering at Cornell University, the head of a very prominent and successful general contracting firm spoke to us on what made a contractor successful or really what kept him from going broke.
He said that if you went into a new area and wanted to talk about probably the most astute individual there, you should seek out a general contractor who has been in business successfully for at least 10 years. If you analyze his methods of operations. This is what you would find. Undoubtedly. OK, so here's how this here's our civilian contractor runs a business he collected and kept up to date on detailed costs.
He had his staff available to him as needed.
Expert advice in the fields of engineering, finance, purchasing, taxation law, etc., and he use them so on his staff, he had experts and we needed to talk to him. He had competent foreman. Front line leaders, he took the time to orient and train them, his relations with his workforce were good so that his turnover was small and provided key personnel with steady work. He had good labor relations. He obtain good equipment and kept it operating through a positive program of inspection, maintenance and operator training.
He understood the problems created by special conditions such as storms, weather, temperature, seasons, flood, climate and estimated and planned around them. He had a good supervision and inspection set up to ensure quality, prevent delays and to overcome quickly unforeseen obstacles and ensure acceptance without costly adjustment or doing over. His plans always reflected much of thought in economical methods of construction.
And then this last section says, but most of all, he was an expert on timing. In that he programs in that program, the method, the flow of the following to the job at proper times and proper amounts with proper specifications and proper quality in order that none was overlooked. Work was not delayed and none arrived too early and too much or too little. And then he goes through a big less cost data, plans, decisions, layout of the area, flowcharts, supervision, set up inspection.
He goes on financing, work force, field offices, field storage, power, light requirements. He goes through all this stuff. And what he's basically saying is he make a list. Make a list of what's important. And then he takes all that and says app applicability to military situation, I'm sure you noticed the great similarity between the management qualities required in a general contractor and those required in combat in the commander of a military operation. Steps in command or in managing a job, one based on the mission or orders, the commander determines, isolates and defines the limits of the problem.
And every once in a while, I get something where I go, oh, and this is one of those moments. Number two, the commander turns the problem into an operation by issuing a clear and adequate directive for the conducting of it.
And what I really like about that is and, you know, we hear it define what the problem is.
Define what the problem is if you don't know what the problem is, how are you doing anything else? And if you think about any mission that we ever did in the military, there's a problem that we're trying to solve, any mission that we ever did. There's a problem, though. Hey, there's a bad guy.
He's he's killing Americans. That's the problem. We want to get rid of them. OK, how are we going to solve that problem? Here's your operation. With the help of the executive, the commander monitors and guides the staff while it prepares. While it prepares underlined by me not he prepares it, prepares for you by him or the staff, coordinate instructions, plans and orders for implementing the directive, the commander follows up to see the plans.
Instructions and orders are fully understood and carried out, making the necessary modifications and additions as the operation progresses to accomplishment.
There you go. So I'm I'm over here kind of hearing all this for the first time and and I've actually been struggling with these last two sections in my brain, I'm struggling because I'm I'm thinking about how I lead in the Marine Corps. And I'm like, I didn't do a lot of these things until you kind of explain that last part. I was even thinking about your explanation of the previous chapter of the inspection of your range safety program. And you like, hey, I kind of should have made this a priority.
And I'm like, man, I and I, I'm not here to say I want to be really careful.
Like I said, like, what he's saying is right. But I honestly don't think I ever inspected anything. I really don't think I did that.
And what I keep coming back to is what he just described in my brain. I just keep going to this this connection of decentralized command and culture.
I, I know I created a culture by which everybody on my team understood that what they did was critical. And I also knew my people well enough to know what they did. And so I did that. Benschop to the same group of Admon Marines with their job was at Admon Marines.
I actually didn't know the thirty nine things on the admin checklist sets of requirements. Know who did. My admin chief did and I spent enough time with him to make him know that those things were critical, even though I didn't know any of them individually the way he did. And I'm thinking like, how many times did somebody come in and check out my admin shop? And I was like, How do we do? Is like, what do you mean?
Mean we crushed it. We're totally good to go. We had no hits, no, no, no deviations or whatever. And it wasn't because I ever inspected his shop and I'm running through this thing like I didn't have a checklist for inspection of my squadron, but my squadron was kind of awesome because the people all knew, hey, hey, Marines, we own these things.
Nobody else in the squadron does these things but us. And these things have to be squared away because at some point somebody is going to come in, somebody's going to say someone's going to measure or evaluate. And we owe this to the squadron because if we can't do this, it's going to affect this and we're not going to fly airplanes. And the skipper needs us to fly airplanes.
And I'm I'm trying to think of a way to say it without disagreeing with what he's saying until he got to the end, which was, hey, here's my job as a leader.
We have a problem. We need to solve this problem and know going to solve this problem. You I don't know how to I have no idea how to fix that. And then when you're done, you're to come to me and I'm going to go, OK, that makes sense. Here's what we're gonna do to make sure this happens. And so that thing is actually pulled the threat of the previous two chapters together. I'm over doing. I think I might have sucked as a leader because I didn't do any of those things you describing until he pulled it together, which was they are the ones that are solving all those problems.
So it's kind of a relief. And I'm not here to say I'm not here to say do what I did. I'm just kind of almost embarrassed, like, yeah, I didn't do any inspections. A squadron commander at a time where there was more scrutiny on my command than probably any squadron in the in possibly the military because of how high profile it was.
And I think it should have been running around inspecting all my people.
Well, I'll answer for that for you, in my opinion, because it sounds like you and I did the exact same freaking thing. Right? You and I did the exact same freaking thing. Now, the reason that I regret that I never inspected my admin department's tracking of RSA, the reason I regret that, there's two reasons.
Number one, when it came when that inspection came unannounced inspection, I was like, fingers are crossed.
I have no idea.
And if I was a betting man. I wouldn't bet on the win, I wouldn't bet on that, I wouldn't have bet on zero. Yeah, no deviation zero deviations, which is what we got.
So I'm, I'm, I don't like that.
But even more important than that is I had people that worked for me that did an exceptional job, an exceptional job, and I never gave them I mean, look, after the after we got randomly, if they if that inspection never would have happened, I never would have given them any credit. Right. I never so I'm I I'm I would have going back in time if I could do it again, you know what I do as I go, Hey guys, I'm going to come and check out some of the stuff in admin today.
Yeah. And I would have said, show me. These are some of these. Give me hey, Smith, Jones in White. Give me their RSL records right now. They pull them out and I go, man, you guys are on top of things. Thank you. Thank you. And now I'm just that much better. So that's why I feel like Inspection's is a tool, not so much a tool to make sure that people are, but it's it's a connection.
Yes. It's an opportunity to compliment people. It's not it's an opportunity for hey, man, if I never inspect those things, how important is it to me? Not not it's not very important, obviously. Yeah, guess what, when when my commanding officer comes over to inspect gas, our imports number one thing on my freaking list and I had let it.
I had I only. Here's the next part, what trumps above inspections in the hierarchy of leadership is obviously culture. So you at your squadron and I'll give you some credit, but I will give freaking credit to the good old United States Marine Corps, which is you never said a word, but those Marines knew this is my job, I will be freakin ready. This is what I do. So there's a culture inside of the Marine Corps which you enhanced inside your your squadron that everybody knew.
This is what we do. That's what we're looking for. That's what we're trying to do. And and hopefully we don't have to inspect as a negative. Hopefully we inspect it in a positive way. That's and I think that's the genius of what he's saying, as I'm thinking about it, is that if you hear the word inspection, 99 people out of 100, that's a negative word. That's a bad word. The inspection is not something you want.
We don't want to be inspected. There's a negative connotation and the negative connotation is true. If the things your people are doing wrong is a reflection of them and the things that people are doing right is a reflection of you. And he's saying the exact opposite, that things are people are doing right is a reflection of them. And you should tell them they're doing awesome. And the things they're doing wrong is a reflection of, you know, and that alone just reversing what it actually means to inspect and the conclusion of that.
And that, I think, has been the part I've been wrestling with this whole time, listening to it, and when what he's saying is exactly opposite of the standard connotation of inspection.
So anyway, that's pretty cool. Inspections should be positive, not negative. Chapter seven, leadership commandership generalship and then in quotes, followership, I can assure you that it's and so this is addressed to students of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, nineteen sixty two to nineteen sixty three course reprinted with permission from Armor magazine.
Why don't I subscribe. I don't know. I have a subscription to AMA magazine.
Here we go. I can assure you that it's a great privilege for me to return to the Command and General Staff College, even though this is the first time I have been permitted to be on this platform in civilian clothes. I've been here over a long period of time, from time to time. I entered here as a student twenty four years ago. I've taken great interest in the Command and General Staff College because I was able to work in the field of army education on several occasions.
I don't know that there's any institution in America that is so favorably known worldwide in military circles as your college.
And while I can't think of many things that I contributed to the college, I did contribute one thing that I think was important. You can see he's got a little little humility.
I can't think of anything I've done. But it's one thing that I think was important. I was responsible for changing the name of it from the command and general staff school to the command and general staff college. Now, you might think that to be a play in semantics, but it isn't. It's important because after all, you gentlemen here are getting the equivalent of your master's degree in your profession. I wanted to just talk to you with you this morning.
I didn't come here to deliver a lecture. I came to talk to you about certain aspects of the job that you're learning to do. After all, this is the command and general staff college. And that name was not arrived at without some thought. And of course, it sets forth your mission for being here. I was a troop commander for thirteen straight years before I retired, and that encompasses the career of a great many people, a great many of you people.
So that I didn't come here today to play over again, the record that I think a lot of you have heard me play many times, you have heard a very good course at the college in leadership. And I assure you that you'll that I'll not repeat repeat that or go into the attributes that are required in the field of leadership. I think they are very well known. They're really not very complicated.
The art of leadership is only complicated to theorists. It's not complicated to practical men. There are only a few really of very few simple rules and precepts that build the makeup of character that are necessary to be better than a satisfactory leader. And I'm sure that each one of you is past that qualification or else you wouldn't be here. I would like to go further into this particular field and point out to you that I believe we have become an exact and in exact in the use of terminology, because I was reading last night a memorandum which said that we teach leadership at the command and general staff college from the level of the division commander up.
I take issue with that statement for the reason that leadership is a peculiar art or a technique in itself and a division commander is not basically a leader. He is a commander, and I'm going to point out to you that you should be adjusting your thinking to a different point of view. I will talk to you briefly about what I call commandership and generalship, which are quite different from being a leader. Pretty interesting, right? Yeah, I just one got my attention when I'm reading this, I'm like, oh, wait a second, where are we going?
Where where does he go for this? If you will go to the title of the people who you are in charge of in military echelon, starting at the bottom, you'll first come to a squad leader, then a platoon leader.
And every other title after that has the word commander.
So for those of you who don't know, you got you got a fire team leader, you got a squad leader, you got a platoon leader, and then you get to a company commander or even a task unit commander. Why was that done? There are no company leaders, there are no battalion leaders, there are only company, battalion and brigade commanders, and then you get to division commanding generals, which is a further progression. I'd like to point out to you that I hope you all will graduate with an appreciation of the transition that is necessary to go from leadership to commandership.
I hope you don't think this old man now is involved in semantics, because I hope I'm not. It's really an important thing and a lot of people have never bridged it. They're still exercising leadership as company commanders or even as they get higher, and by doing so, they're bypassing or poorly using their subordinate commanders and staffs.
Just to take a break, so. I've talked about this many times, there are people that do a they were a great platoon commander. Task unit commander is not quite there. SEAL team commander. They're not good. We've worked with businesses where you had this CEO founder like this one. We see a lot. Founder, slash CEO. Hey, does an amazing job forming that business, building that business. All of a sudden, it's time to really grow.
They don't they can't make the transition. They don't make the transition and they have to bring in a new person to be the CEO, a person with these other attributes. So this is something that's all I was thinking about, oh, OK, I remember the CEO that brought the company, brought this particular company through this particular situation and then got to that level and they they had to move them into some different role and they had to bring in somebody that had this next this next level of leadership characteristics.
Continuing on, you came here to learn commandership or generalship, and that involves the proper organization and utilization of subordinate commanders and staffs to establish what you want done with your command. And the technique is much different than the technique of getting in front of a platoon and saying follow me, which is leadership.
But when you're in a different position with reference to your soldiers, then you become more or less a director and the technique of Dick, our directorship is far different than the technique of saying follow me. I'm so glad he he gave up. He broke this down.
I will give you an illustration. Suppose you have a horse. At a point that you want to move to point B, you take hold of the halter shank and he follows you down the road, you're the leader. So there you go. Hey, that's what you are. You you take that bridle and you lead this thing down the road. You're the leader. But if you get on and ride him, you use different techniques, you use different AIDS, you use your legs and other things that I learned in the ancient days when we had riding at West Point to accomplish your purpose.
And I would say that might be termed commandership. You're then the commander of the horse, you're not as leader, but the purpose is the same to move him from A to B..
Now, if you're affluent enough to own a sulky and I had to look up sulky, I had no idea a sulky is a carriage. It can be a one person carriage, but two wheels.
If you're a fluid enough to own a sulky and drive him with the reins and with a whip in your hand, then that's generalship. And I bring that up because it isn't too far fetched. The problem that I would like to bring with you. I will give you a historical example of a fellow who was a tremendous leader during the Civil War, perhaps one of the greatest leaders of the civil war, and I use that term in the sense that I have used it up to now.
So he's talking about a leader, one of the greatest leaders, but he's saying in the term that I'm using a great leader in the civil war was hould who commanded the Texas brigade. He was a most fantastic troop leader. And sometimes, if you'd like to look into it further, there's a very good book entitled The Gallant Hood. Hood was a leader.
Of the old school in front of his men with a saber in his hand. That's how he handled his brigade and it was an effective organization. It was inevitable that a man with such capabilities would be promoted.
He went up rapidly throughout the war. He ranked next to Lee at the end of the war. But when the war was over, he had lost command. It was a sorry ending to a man who had never mastered the transition from leadership to commandership to generalship. When you move into the field of commandership as against the field of leadership, you go to the techniques or the art of how you use your subordinate commanders to get the most out of them.
The art and the technique of how you organize and use your staff in order to enable you to carry out the job of directing, organizing and handling operations.
So. We are going to wrap this whole thing because there's so much to talk about. Let me pause.
This is what I find interesting. And he's going to come back to it, but I'll give you a foreshadowing, he's going to come back to it. I think that as he looks back at his career, you've got to remember this guy joined the when he was when he was a kid. And he was in World War One and think about how things changed by his own admission in between World War One and world. So when he was World War One and post-World War One, he was, in his mind, this leader.
Right. That was going to lead from the front, that was going to make things happen as the nature of war became more dispersed. All of a sudden, you had to have a little something that we call decentralized command. You can't be in front of his unit the whole time, and that would be the same.
And I think as he became more mature and as he got older.
Hey, look, when you took a wheel, it's kind of hard. Well, I talk about this with Wave will say like, hey, you know, I wish I would have done X, Y and Z when I was a when I was the assistant platoon commander.
Lafley could write a book about the things he wished would have changed when he was assistant platoon commander.
For sure, he was fresh out of the fleet, you know, Naval Academy fleet and now it's on. He's he's got a seal to. Right. Do you think that. Do you think that if he went back and did that right now, do you think he would do things a little bit differently? Sure, absolutely.
We all would. Yeah, we all would do that. And so here we have a guy that went through the entire rank structure of the army, the entire thing.
And as he got older and got better and got more experienced.
I would think he'd say this is what I should have done when I was a platoon commander, but I didn't. And here's what I would do differently. But maybe because the wars were different and it was more centralized and it wasn't dispersed, everyone was together. So there's a there's a I think what I see is him is him saying, listen, it was it's a different thing. Whereas I look at it now and say, wait a second, it might have been a different thing for you, but if you could go back knowing what you learned, eventually you might say, hey, I actually would have led differently.
And I'll tell you right now, even in a platoon, even in a freakin squad, even in a fire team.
The techniques that he's going to talk about. What's better, if you're in charge of a platoon, what's better, grabbing the grabbing the reins and pulling them down, or is it better to guide them and let them run?
Yeah, the answer is so obvious. When he digs in a little bit, chain responsibility and also you must realize as you go up in various echelons of organization of the army, from the squad on up, you become increasingly removed from the individual soldiers. And your influence on the individual soldier is no longer carried by an eyeball to eyeball approach, is carried on through the echelons of your command down to him and you become increasingly just an image to him, which you develop in several ways.
But you get to the field of proper staff, organization and staff relationship because that is very important part of commandership and generalship.
What does that saying? What it's saying is when you're in a leadership position, as you go up and ranks, you're right, you don't have eyeball to eyeball all the time. Guess who you do have eyeball to eyeball to eyeball with your subordinate leaders and your subordinate leaders have to nurture those close personal relationships with their troops so that that influence that you have as the commander is felt all the way down through the front lines.
Back to the book in your recent military review, there's an article on faulty staff relationships, I hope it will cause you to give a little thought to that problem because it is important. One, you come to one of the most important parts of commandership and leadership, and that is establishing a chain of responsibility so that every man in your organization knows who he works for and who works for him. That's cool.
I get that. That's called the chain of command, that is basic, how many organizations have you been in where that wasn't known?
I've been in several I had no idea who I worked for or who out who are or who made out my efficiency report after all, and this is one of those things where I get a little cranky as my kids, as my daughters would say.
After all, there's one basic rule in the Army that you can't violate. And I, over a period of forty four years, have tried to violate many of them. I have been successful in a few, but this one I have never been successful in, and that is you work and devote your loyalty. To the man who makes out your efficiency report and the man who endorses it, if you don't do that, you're never going to be a general.
So. To me, this is wrong to me. Relationships are stronger than the chain of command. Yeah, and luckily he's going to counter this. He's going to calendar. Don't think later, of course.
Establishing a chain of responsibility is just as important in years. Look, this is proven out by Hackworth, who built these incredible relationships, and that's how he ran things, establishing a chain of responsibilities just as important in your staff as it is in your command. If you don't have that, your headquarter, your headquarters mills around and creates what I call command and staff inertia. That is a state of frustration and lack of purpose that exists in many military staffs, OK?
People got to know what's people got to know what the chain of command for sure.
Then, of course, it comes down to the art of commandership or generalship as to how you issue your directives or how you project your desires and will down through the chain of command. Oh, does I read that wrong? As to how you issue your directives or how you project your desires and will down through the chain of command, it comes out in directives and so forth, which is an art within itself and which I am sorry to say, we sometimes don't do very well.
We could do a lot better when we're when we're doing that in the field. I've worked at times for a commander for whom I felt I wasn't doing a good job, because the truth of the matter was I didn't know what he wanted me to accomplish. OK. Second life combat, simple, simple, clear and concise, if I don't know what you want me to do, there's no way I can accomplish it. And by the way, whose fault is that?
It's my fault if I don't know what my boss wants me to accomplish. What do I do? I raised my hand and asked my boss, what do you want me to accomplish? What's the mission here? What are we going to get done? What's the what's your intent? Next section, improving your unit. Now we get to the point of making progress as a commander, I can't conceive of anybody who takes over a company, a battalion, a brigade or division, a corps, a field army who doesn't sit down and say to himself, how I impress upon my superiors, the men who make out my efficiency report that I am a good commander.
Once again, you know, you get a little bit of that, I'm lucky to get promoted, which I don't like. How do I do that? I've seen it done every way that you can think of in my career, but I would suggest to you that the best way to do it in the military organization is through the little exercise of what I call is through the exercise of what I call little pluses, of making a little progress in every field, every day over a period of time.
If you do that, your organization will tighten up, your organization will become good, and you'll gradually come up with the understanding and the reputation of really being a good commander. You will also not create turbulence, which detracts from the effectiveness of your unit. So I like this idea, the little things get a little bit better every day, but then he goes into this with that like that thing. When he talks about turbulence, he goes into it.
I've seen people walk into an organization and immediately start to make headlines.
I would like to point out to you a great truth in the military, that he who lives by headlines is destroyed by headlines. Remember that if you start seeking headlines and creating images of yourself as a superman, pretty soon somebody will find a hole in your armor. And when he does, he will certainly give it to you. That follows from the rule about the monkey who climbs up a pole, the higher he gets, the more of his rear.
He shows the people who are below him and that often goes for a person who up the chain of command in the echelons of the army.
So good. I totally agree with that. Now he gets into this section, it's called Channels of Suggestion. I hope that I have impressed upon you that there is a technique in commandership and generalship techniques that are different from leadership, although the characteristics of the individual as to honesty and sincere sincerity and all those other things are just as applicable. So honesty's important sincerity, all these other things are important to the same leadership. Commandership in general, all the same.
But he says you have to master the transition as you go up. There's a little different technique being a company commander than that of being a battalion commander. You have a bigger staff, you have more senior subordinate commanders as you go up. And that, of course, increases. We talk about chain of command.
I have conscientiously tried throughout my career to live and conduct my job in such a way that I didn't exercise control of my organization through channels of command. I exercised it through channels of suggestion.
So instead of using the chain of command, he's he's saying exactly what we say, instead of saying, look, I'm in charge, I'm the highest ranking guy, you're going to do what I say. He's saying, don't do that. As much as I can throughout my career, I've exercised command through channels of suggestion. And I have a note here that says, hot relationships, I think it is very important that I only use the channels of command when I wanted to discipline somebody and I didn't have to do that very often.
I figured that if I could he's just putting himself on report, I figured that if I couldn't run an organization by getting things done, by suggesting that I'd failed as a commander. I commanded the troops of 12 nations as a corps commander in Korea. I didn't have any strong chain of command between me and the allied troops if I put out something that I wanted done that violated their national ideas. They didn't pay very much attention to it in that case.
What are you going to do next? Well, guess what? You don't have to be a foreign army for that to make sense. That happens in a freaking platoon. That happens in a fire team. If I come up with dumb ideas that don't make any sense, that are. What does he say that violates their ideas and they don't want to do it? Oh, you can force them to do it. But what does that get you?
I was down at the infantry school and commented on this not very long ago, and one captain got up and said, General, I have listened to very I've listened very carefully to your channel of suggestion approach, and I'm familiar with it.
I served in your command in Europe. And I think you have to be a very powerful suggestion to make it work. Maybe that's true, he says, and. The note I have here is here's a good way to suggest here's the most powerful way to suggest listen, listen to what this whole time I'm thinking.
Is it is it his suggestions or other people's suggestions? I was thinking he was talking the power of suggestion. Is he Jocke? What do you think we should do here?
Here's the problem. Here's the power of suggestion. Hey, Dave, what do you suggest? Yes, because I'm going to listen to it.
Yeah. And we're probably going to do it.
I mean, unless it's just a travesty of a plan, we're going to do it.
So definitely some things to think about in there. And it's and, you know, as I look at this, look, guess what? What's that saying? We stand on the shoulders of giants, right? This guy had to do his whole military. We get to lead. We get to take what he puts out this power of suggestion, which Hackworth then took even further. And now we got to take that and go even deeper. Not even deeper, but further, we got to expand that idea of decentralized command.
And of listening to what people have to say. And the fact that Hackworth freaking loved his draftees because his draftees would call bullshit on it, he says that in the book, my draftees, they would call bullshit if they didn't agree with something. So I love them for it. Not I hated them for not shut up and do what I told you to do.
Thank you. Thank you for your suggestion that my idea is stupid. What do you suggest?
And he continues to kind of dismantle some of these earlier statements. This section is called Followership. I want to get from there now to another subject and I'll end up and then I'll end up my presentation. That is the topic that fits right along with leadership, what I call followership.
Everybody is a leader or a commander of any echelon is also a follower. You're never you never get in the hierarchy of the Army to a point where you're not a follower. The chief of staff of Army is a follower. He follows the desires of the directors of the president, secretary of the Army, secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and so forth. Even the president of the United States is a follower in that he follows public opinion.
What you are today, each one of you, is the result of thirty five to forty years of following, whereby you have taken into your make up ideas, instruction and concepts, and through a process of discernment, acceptance and elimination, you have stored away in your make up certain characteristics, ideas and procedures that and you have discarded others in that process of sifting through the good from the poor or what you consider the good from the poor. You have created as of today your present makeup and character, which is you as an individual.
If you have attained good characteristics and a storeroom of good ideas, learning and concepts that you can use effectively in the future, you have been a good follower. If you haven't, you'll not be a good leader nor good commander. It follows from that that you must go through this process of discernment and storing away, create in yourself a balanced man.
Whereby you can handle concurrently all the different parts of the job. You don't concentrate on one, forget the other, such as maintenance, you don't concentrate on marksmanship and forget something else, the best organizations in the American army are the organizations that are good or better in everything. They may not make any headlines, they may not be superior in any one thing, but they are our best organizations. These are the type of organizations that we want to develop in the army.
I have tried to so that that idea of making headlines is a great point. This idea here reminds me of the great man. They used to say going through buds. They would they would say, if you were the great man, like, you don't want to be the number one swimmer because then people will be watching you. You want to kind of like fit in. I have tried to lead your thinking through the transition from leadership to commandership and generalship and to point out to you where in followership is very important in this process of your development.
This next section is progressing up the pyramid of life, so all of a sudden this just turns into like a life gig.
And when I was saying that the end of this section that we're going to cover gets gets gets really important.
This is sort of where I'm starting. It has been truthfully said that at the end when one looks back on his life, he should measure his success by the number of rungs up the ladder of life he has climbed since he started and not by the particular rung on which he has finished. The basic concept of our government under the Constitution is that all men are created equal. All men are created equal, this means not that all men are created equal for they are far from it.
It only means that all men should have equal opportunities and rights under our laws.
This concept is a great step in the progress of man. When any group of men, such as army officers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, scientists, clerks or accountants start out in any corporation or any other organization, they fit into a pyramid which is broad at the base but become smaller and smaller as they approach its peak, assuming that those people in each category start with approximately equal backgrounds. There is a selection process which starts as soon as they rise in the pyramid of life, as soon as they tend to rise in the pyramid of life.
So we're talking about this hierarchy, which I know obviously this this might bring some thoughts of Jordan Peterson and hierarchy of competence. And that's kind of what we're talking about here.
Also, assuming that and by the way, he's making he says, assuming that people start in the same approximate backgrounds, right. That's a big freaking assumption. But don't worry, he's going to get back on that. But that's a huge assumption and it's probably an assumption that they didn't recognize as much back in nineteen fifty. Also, assuming that the selection of those who rise in the pyramid of life is based upon ability, experience and the need for special capabilities and leadership, how does one prepare himself for being chosen to advance in competition with his associates and colleagues?
So he's talking about how do you go up that pyramid?
How do you how do you ascend the the dominance hierarchy?
Everybody who is a leader, director or commander at any echelon of an organization is also a follower. He never gets to a point where he is not and he goes he repeats himself here the the chief of staff, the army is a follower. He follows the desires of the director of the president, the secretary, the army, even the president is the United States of the United States to follow in that he follows public opinion.
What each one of us is today is the result of years of following, whereby we have taken into our make up knowledge, ideas, instruction and concepts through a process of discernment, acceptance and elimination. We have stored away in our personal ability, certain characteristics, ideas and procedures. And we have discarded others as not being worthy. So he repeats that section right there. He's making it. He's trying to reemphasize that point and the process of sifting the good from the poor or what we consider the good from the poor.
We have created as of today our present makeup and a character which is ours as individuals. If we have attained good core characteristics and a storeroom of good ideas, learning techniques and concepts that we can use effectively in the future, we have been good followers. And it's nice to compare this to, you know, you and I covered the the Marine Corps document learning. And really, when he's talking about following what he's really talking about is learning, he just said you got to if you can take that and apply it, then you've been a good follower.
We have a good basis for being successful leaders.
And in all probability, we will advance. A good follower is able to react quickly and effectively to an emergency or a crisis. Hence, he has the potential to become a fine military commander. This process must be continuous during our active careers if we are to continue to grow in judgment and balance. Again, this is reminds me that Marine Corps like you are learning. That's what we're doing. And I have a note here that says that this section that I'm about to read is the own, this whole this whole thing starts to come together for me.
Some call this experience, but it is more than that. It is the constant and critically sound evaluation of experience that causes us to progress in stature and move up the pyramid of life. So it's not just about experience, experience by itself. Barely even helps you, what you have to do is you have to take that experience and you have to constant and critically evaluate it. And that's what that's what will make you progress, so you hey, man, you can just go through, you can just go through life, you can experience all kinds of crazy things and leadership challenges.
But if you never critically assess what you did, what you learned, how you performed, you know, you and I were talking during the break and you said something like, I can't believe that.
I just didn't get issued this book, you know, as a as a second lieutenant when I graduated from the basic school or whatever.
And we had a quick conversation about the fact that. It's one thing to pick up a book and read it, it's another thing to have an actual conversation and have context and have thoughts around a book. And I think that's probably one of the reasons why people listen to podcasts is because not because I'm sitting here doing an audio book. Right. I mean, this isn't an audio book of this book. This is my thoughts, your thoughts and and General Clark's thoughts.
And sometimes right. Sometimes wrong. Sometimes we agree. Sometimes we disagree.
But what we are doing when we do that is we're constantly critically evaluating the experience that he had. And then we're constantly we just you and I just did a freakin 30 minute evaluation of the fact that we inspected our admins are not. And lessons were learned. Yeah. So that's what we're doing. This idea of learning all the time and the more important man, the the idea of what look we talk about all the time at National Front, you've got to do a debrief.
You got to do a debrief. You have to do a debriefing to get done with Operation Winterlude. You got to do a debrief. That's what you have to do. Continuing on in early in life with some members of society fall, and this is where we just start getting into this broad conversation and this is this is sort of the last section here.
Early in life, some members of society fall into limited categories due to handicaps of opportunities, health and physical and mental ability.
These people start life with ceilings over them. That few are able to pierce. OK, so so there's certain situations that you can be born into that are going to be challenging and you and they're really hard to get through. And he gets that. And then he goes on to say, But how about those whose opportunities, education and apparent ability seem to start off on common equal footing as they begin to move up the pyramid of life? Each one eventually reaches his own peak and levels off at various distances from the top.
Very few have an apparent ceiling over them at the start. But they develop ceilings at various levels as they go along. So what's so? So now we're talking about this pyramid. We've got this pyramid that we're trying to climb up and some people are they have a legitimate ceiling in life. Whatever they were born, they've got some situation that is a is a is a is a ceiling that they're going to reach. And it can be very hard to break through that, but now he's talking about, hey, look, now you've got people that there's no real ceiling, everyone's on equal footing.
And then he says each one eventually reaches his own peak and levels off at various distances from the top. Very few have an apparent ceiling over them at the start, but they develop ceilings at various levels as they go along. What causes this leveling off process on the part of an individual? What factors tend to cause this ceiling to form over him and then he's got this list, he's got this list of of factors. That caused you to reach your limitation, that caused people to reach their limitations.
Here they are. Wrong decisions. Wasted opportunities. Deterioration of attitude and enthusiasm. Excesses, lack of self-control, self-control. Lack of honesty, of purpose. Tendency toward lowered standards, poor ethics, loss of self self-respect. Loss of motivation and ambition. Lack of ability to express himself orally or in writing. Poor Association's. Wrong scale of values, failure in carrying out responsibility. Lack of loyalty up or down, unfortunate family situations, deterioration of physical condition.
Bad habits, poor financial management, disregard of rules, procrastination, failure to keep up with progress in his field. So what's amazing about that list?
Let's see, I don't know how many there are, there's maybe one lack of ability to express himself orally in writing. So that is can you get better at that? Yes, you can. But there are some people that don't have the same capability. Look, wrong decisions. Who's that on you? Wasted opportunities, you deterioration of attitude, enthusiasm, you excesses and lack of self-control. You lack of honesty and lack of purpose. You tendency toward lower standards, you poor ethics, you loss of self-respect, you loss of motivation and ambition, you lack of ability to express himself earlier in writing.
OK, we can improve it, but you may have a limited their poor associations you wrong scale of values, you failure in carrying out responsibility, you lack of loyalty up or down you unfortunate family situations. That's something we don't always have control over deterioration of physical condition. That's something that we don't always have control over. It's something that we also do have control over, depending on what that deterioration is being caused by. If you have some kind of a disease that you can't control, look, that's one of those things.
But oftentimes there's things that we can do to make sure we maintain our physical condition. Bad habits, that's you poor financial management, that's you disregarded the rules, that's you procrastination, that's you failure to keep up with progress in this field. That is you. So that is as a lot of stuff to. That we can take ownership of. Now, this this whole section closes out with this this following statements here, poor fault, poor fellowship, and I think that's supposed to say followership.
Poor Followership is a great contributor to cieling formation.
And again, the way he's using followership to me is he's talking about, you know, the ability to learn, the ability to take ownership of what's happening once the ceiling is form or start to firm form is difficult to break through.
A few do break through despite handicaps.
However, there are those who would try to dispel these ceilings by social laws and values, meaning they want to blame other people to be sure they are partially successful on the lower reaches of the pyramid of life, but not as they reach the apex of the pyramid.
They only warp the shape of the pyramid at certain levels.
The Bible says that many are called, but few are chosen. It is ever thus, as we tried to progress up the pyramid or ladder of life. Yeah, so with that, probably a good place to stop this one, that that's just such a such a. Such an important way to look at things, you know, and and, you know, we always talk about extreme ownership from a leadership perspective and leading organization and leading teams.
But, you know, extreme ownership is about you, about your life. It's about what you're doing.
And we have a lot more ownership over what we do and where we end up and where we end up in this ladder, in this pyramid than some people would have you believe.
That list is almost sort of seems like a haphazard list like almost that are that are not related, those things he was running through.
And then the common thread is he basically just he captured almost all those things are things that we impose upon ourselves, which is which in in some sense is like it's kind of crazy because as I dissect what he's saying, I'm like, well, how much control do I have over that?
And for almost all of them, it's 100 hundred percent not like, hey, this there are components. And I think you actually did a good job because. Yeah, you know what? Life happens and you say this on the podcast all the time, life happens. And sometimes those things in life that happen most certainly limit what we can do. It's a fact that those things do happen. And even inside of that, the threat of all those is when he said wasted opportunities.
I mean, you want to talk about someone who's taken stock of his life. That's actually kind of achieved inside this pyramid that he's talking about. He's at the top of this pyramid. Man, that is a humbling series of things that he's calculated up really about himself, number one, wrong decision.
Number two, wasted opportunities. Yeah, I mean, there's some startling things inside there and probably probably for me what he did kiss again, I struggled this section a lot more than the last one because there's part of like where is he going with this stuff?
Why is even saying that? And when he kind of brings a full back, the thing that he did is this is a guy that had contemplated the things that he has done and why he did them and dissected the mistakes that he's made. I mean, if there's a mistake that I made throughout my career was not spending enough time dissecting why I did the things that I did. And that that is a that is a self-imposed limitation. That if you don't think about why the meaning, if you don't learn from the things that you did and why you did them, that is a self-imposed limitation and got that that list is that is a humbling list of things to think about.
Yeah, it's a it's a heavy hitter, dude. It's a heavy hitter. Wrong decisions.
No one. But but even then, there's there's an ego thing of like. Well, yeah. I mean, you know, people make people make wrong. I mean, you know, not every decision is right.
We'll pull that back a little bit. Who who's that on the mistakes that you made? Who whose fault is that?
It's not yours that I made a bad call over here.
So, yeah, I mean, I was struggling at the beginning of each of those parts of like where how is he going to pull this back? And it reminds me of something that you and Leif reminded each other about was when we're talking to Tom Fife and I'm sitting here listening and he says something and I'm like, man, that didn't seem like you. Why did you say that, man? That's not what you're going to say.
And then he pulls that back full circle of, like, how clean he made that at the end, when in the beginning I'm thinking, where are we going here?
Yeah, that was like a four minute evolution where I was we were we were, I don't know, probably a third of the way into a really what was going to be a long podcast. And I'm thinking, oh, well, I guess his leadership principles don't really match up with mine. And that's a real bummer because he's saying, hey, you tell people what to do and they just do it because they've been trained that way. And that's OK.
You know, they just there's nobody because they're in the army. And for three minutes I sat there and thought, dang, I guess this isn't. And then after three minutes he goes, but these guys would never do what you told them to do just because you told them to do it. Yeah. They need to understand why they would say yes. Yes, totally. Thankfully, thankfully. And I think that's kind of the transition that you see.
You know, someone like General Clark making towards the end of his career is looking, hey, this is generalship, you want to lead by suggesting you don't have to bark orders of people if they're not taking initiative, making things happen, you're doing something wrong. That applies. I'm telling you, that applies to a platoon. It applies to a squad. It applies to a business. It applies to a big business. And it applies to a a nine person business.
It's all the same.
And how how comforting is it? How how good is it to think, oh, I have control over all these things? That is actually completely awesome. All these problems in my life, all these see all these things, they're all self-imposed, which means I actually have control over all of them.
Yeah, well, know once again, that's the cool premise of extreme ownership. And it's cool when you apply it to your organization because you say, hey, this is this is on me. I'm going to make these changes for our company, for our team, so we do better.
But, man, the way it hits you as a human, when you look at all these problems that you have and you go, oh, this problem is assailing me, this problem is attacking me, this problems is going to destroy me and say, oh, you know what?
I'm going to take ownership of those problems and to get those things sorted out. And look, are there some outliers? Sure there are. There are. Can you can you get a horrible disease? Can the can things that are completely beyond your control hit you? Yes, they can. Of course.
Of course. And and, you know, those are then that then it turns into, OK, how are you going to respond to those things that are beyond your control?
But so many things that we face are just straight on us.
Wrong decisions, wasted opportunities, lack of self respect.
Very seldom does the ceiling come from others. Very seldom does the ceiling come from the most of the time, the vast majority of time, the limitations in our life are exactly that. They are limitations that we imposed on ourselves.
So I think that's a good connection that he makes, that even though this book is about Lee leading others, we cannot lead others if we can't lead ourselves. And if we can't do the right things ourselves, then we have no one else to blame but us.
All right, good place, good place to stop for now, and I think, speaking of.
Bad habits, right, we can have some bad habits. Well, we also want to have some good habits. We want to speaking of lack of self-control, we want to have self-control. Speaking of bad decisions, we want to make good decisions. Let's think of some ways to get us on the right path for all these things.
We had Jacquot fuel, which is a bunch of suppliments, joint warfare, krill oil, discipline, discipline, go vitamin D, Cold War. Molk. Which is protein disguised as dessert, a bunch of awesome things for you to put in your body so your performance will improve, you become a better human being. Those are good decisions to make. Jack White, all the stuff that we make is available at Origin Main Dotcom. It's available at the vitamin shop.
It's available at Walwa.
We also make a bunch of jujitsu gear, jujitsu gear made in America. These Rasche guards go to go to Orange and Main Dotcom if you want to get a guy or a rash guard and by the way, you can't go out to the store in your guey, even though you might want to. You can't. You've got to wear jeans. Go and check out the clothes.
We have the jeans, the boots. Are there shorts coming online? There are shorts coming online. There are shorts coming online. We're getting there. We. Well, OK, all that stuff's available. Origin man dotcom made in America. Made in America by American hands. Go check out go check out the Origin YouTube Channel or Facebook Channel and see the people that are building this stuff. See the community that's making the stuff. See America being reborn in Farmington, Maine.
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You need leaders in your company that understand these principles. Go to f overwatched dot com. If you want to help our service members, both active and retired, you want to help out their families. You want to help our Gold Star families around the world. Then check out Mark Lee's mom, Mark Lee's mom. She has a charity organization. And if you want to donate or you want to get involved to help America's Mighty Warriors, they go to America's Mighty Warriors dog.
And you could donate or you can get involved there. And if you're just a just a glutton for punishment and you want you just are begging for more of my hubristic harangues, or maybe you just want some more of Dave's vehement vocals than you can find us on the interweb on Twitter.
On Instagram, which Echo likes to call the ground, and on Facebook, Dave is at David R. Burke and I am at Jocke Willink. And thanks once again to General Bruce Clark and Colonel David Hackworth for your service to America and for continuing to take care of the troops through the lessons you passed on. And thanks to the military personnel out there right now holding the line.
Thank you for doing what you do every day to keep us safe and to the police and law enforcement, firefighters and paramedics and EMTs, dispatchers, correctional officers, Border Patrol, Secret Service and all the other first responders. Thank you for holding the line here at home and everyone else out there. Remember, these lessons from General Clark remembered that the ceiling you can't break through.
Remember that there's a pretty good chance that you built it. You made the wrong decisions, wasted opportunities, deterioration of attitude, lowering standards, poor ethics, poor association's procrastination and bad habits, the list goes on and on and on. And the list is on you. The list is on me. We control so much of our fate, we control so much of our destiny. It may be it's those little fractions of things that we don't truly control.
Maybe that's what causes us to just give up on the rest. But I'm telling you, don't do that. Don't give up on it.
Own it. Own it all. And break through that ceiling. And become what you want to become and become who you are supposed to become, and you do that. By going out there every day. And getting after it. So until next time, this is Dave and JoCo out.