Update Apr 2016

I taught my first session with Customs Border Protection Agency Leadership Institute on “Leading from the Middle” in March and they’ve asked me to come back and do that session with future cohorts, so I’m scheduled again in May and June.

I’m leading All American Leaderships Reading Group – our last two selections were Mind Set by Carol Dweck, and Bounce by Matthew Syed.  We are currently reading Originals by Adam Grant and we’ll meet (on-line) to discuss it in May.  It is very good – unlike many business leadership books which have one idea, Originals has a new idea every chapter.  Very well done and insightful. My reviews of Business Leadership books can be seen here.

Recently did a key note “A Warrior’s Story” for the Returning Warriors Workshop and I’m scheduled to speak at the California Employers Advisory Council Conference in May in Temecula Creek  on building an “elite” corporate culture.

I’m also staying busy leading the Old Frogs and SEALs organization and Professional Men’s Toastmasters in Mission Valley in San Diego.

The Fifth Factor

I finally wrote the essay that answers the question – why did you name your new company “Fifth Factor Leadership?”  You can read the essay by clicking here. The short (but incomplete) answer is “The Fifth Factor is good judgment built on experience and good character.”

I have recently had the privilege of speaking at some great events to include a Risk Management Conference in Austin, Tx, and to Routesmart International in San Diego, and I was invited to participate in a fascinating panel hosted by the Jack Kemp Foundation on ‘The American Idea’ in Washington DC. It was an invitee-only conference and I got to meet a number of luminaries from the world of political journalism – especially those who lean toward a more conservative political philosophy, such as Peggy Noonan, Bill Kristol, Garry Kasparov, Fred Barnes, and from the center left, one of my favorites, Juan Williams.

I go into the summer with a number of opportunities for Fifth Factor Leadership, as well as a commitment to write a chapter on Institutional Leadership for a book which will be entitled Riders on the Storm meant for public servants in other countries to help them manage counter-terrorism and other challenges to public order and the authority of their governments.

And I am preparing to help lead the week long National Outdoor Leadership School Executive Leadership Expedition in August. As of 1 June, we still have 3 spots available, and if you might be interested or would like to know more, please see the tab on this website.

One of the problems with living in San Diego, is that we have a summer pace-of-life all year long. When I lived on the East Coast (most of my life,) winter was a time to back down, stay indoors and rejuvenate, and then we would ramp up activity in March and April into a full sprint by June. Not so in San Diego. It seems most of us are in a sprint here, all year long!

Developing Elite Corporate Cultures

I have recently revised the approach I take to speaking and consulting on leadership.

Over the last 18 months, I have been applying my experience and lessons learned working with elite military units to the challenges of leadership in the corporate sector.  My experience leading a graduate program focused on Global Leadership in University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration has also informed my insights into the business side of that equation.  

After speaking and leading seminars on what I called ‘Commando Leadership,’ I realized that in fact I was speaking more on how great leaders develop and sustain strong teams, rather than on leadership ‘techniques’ per se.  I was also recently made aware of a point of confusion in the title ‘Commando Leadership:’  I was told that some in my audience thought of ‘commando’ in the context of ‘going commando,’ and were looking forward to hearing a retired Navy SEAL talk about leadership without underwear.  Hmmmm…. maybe I should explore the potential in that approach too! 

‘Developing an Elite Corporate Cultures’ feels right to me –  much better than Commando Leadership. Retitling the presentations I offer to Vistage International, and shifting my focus to how leaders build, influence and sustain a winning team is a much more appealing topic for me.  That, in my mind, is the art of great leadership, and it requires different approaches with different people, within different corporate cultures and in different contexts.  I am quite familiar with the formula that works for elite military ‘commando’ units – and the similarities between ‘commando’ units such as the SEALs, Green Berets, Delta Force, Marine Recon, as well as Fighter Pilots and other ‘elite’ units are much more striking than the differences.  Though the corporate world is indeed different, my experience is that aggressive, competent, and ambitious people seek many of the same things in any contexts – they want to be challenged, they want opportunities to grow, and they want to do so within a winning ‘tribe.’   They want to believe in themselves, their colleagues and what they’re doing.  They want what Daniel Pink in his book Drive referred to as  autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Great leadership taps into this primal source of energy, and feeds it.  Poor leadership at best ignores it, at worst, actively suppresses and undermines it. 

Elite military units and elite corporate teams share many common qualities. I am looking forward to continuing to build the bridge between these two cultures – and helping each to learn from the other.