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Vol. 6 No. 9
www.stuffofheroes.com
(626) 350-1500 Ext 102  

 

Extraordinary achievements demand extraordinary leaders.

© 2008 William A. Cohen, PhD

Table of Contents for this Issue

News for Leaders: Immediately Following The Table of Contents

This Month’s Article: Building Morale and Sprit de Corps (Immediately Following The Table of Contents)

This Month’s Thought for Leaders: (Immediate Following Article)

Leadership Lessons from Last Month’s Free Downloadable Book:  Dollars and Sense by William C. Hunter (Immediately following This Month’s Thought for Leaders)

This Month’s Free Downloadable Book :  THE CONQUEST OF FEAR by Basil King

News for Leaders

1. You can now listen to A Class with Drucker at www. Audible.com  and www.iTunes.com. A CD of A Class with Drucker is scheduled for a release March, 2009

2. Latest Drucker Leadership articles follow and can be assessed by clicking the link.

Peter Drucker of the Value of Ignorance from Performance and Profits

Peter Drucker’s Story of Two Vice Presidents (Why What Everybody Knows Is Frequently Wrong) from Moving Ahead

Webcast: The Lost Lessons of Peter Drucker from The American Management Association

Five Things William Cohen Has Learned From Peter Drucker from CIO Magazine

How the World’s Most Celebrated Management Consultant Got His Title from Industry Week

The Night Peter Drucker Declared He Was Not My Father from eBIM.com

Drucker’s Lost Lesson from Training Magazine

Effective Leadership in Leadership Excellence

3. Full Day Peter Drucker Seminars Now Available. The following new full-day seminars based on my being Peter Drucker’s first executive PhD student, personal discussions with him, and my research of his writings are now available. These are The Lost Lessons of Peter F. Drucker, Drucker on Marketing, and Drucker on Leadership. For a complete description go to  SPEECHES, SEMINARS, AND WORKSHOPS  or contact me directly by e-mail at wcohen@stuffofheroes.com or telephone (626) 794-5998. Yes we do give international seminars — The U.S. country code is 01.

4. Seminar Discounts to U.S. Military, Police, Fire Fighters and other U.S. Government. We offer special discounts on seminars to all U.S. government organizations. In the past we have given these to the FBI, Police, Post Office Department, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marines, U.S. Navy, the Reserves and others. For full information contact me directly by e-mail at wcohen@stuffofheroes.com or telephone (626) 794-5998. Like Peter Drucker, I do not employ a secretary, so if I’m not in, leave a message.

5. Book Reviews of A Class with Drucker.  Click Drucker Book Reviews.

BUILDING HIGH MORALE

AND ESPRIT DE CORPS

by ã William A. Cohen, PhD 2008

www.stuffofheroes.com

 

Winning athletic teams have two characteristics that are important and go together. They are morale and esprit de corps, and every winning athletic team has them. Think of high morale as being a feeling of wellbeing or exaltation of an individual group member. Collectively, there is also a group feeling of wellbeing or exaltation. That is esprit de corps.You need both to build a winning team in every field of human endeavor, and if you’ll learn below.

 

How To Develop High Morale

When your workers have high morale, they will begin to look forward to the week rather than the weekend. And why not? People with high morale enjoy their work. It is more like play. They may even have fun at it no matter how difficult or challenging. Naturally they look forward to having fun and feeling good. That this will happen during the work week is good for you. That there are five days of fun and feeling good versus only two on the weekend is good for them. So its a double win. How can you achieve this? How can you get such high morale that your workers would rather be on the job working than doing other things?

Cut Others In On The Action

If you want your group to have high morale, you must let them in on the action. By this I am that your workers must share ownership with you in accomplishing any project or task. Long before “participation management” became buzz words, the Army used to recommend: “tell your men what to do, but don’t tell them how to do it.” You can see that if a worker decides how to do something himself, he has a share in ownership. And we feel more committed and excited about things that we own rather than something we do only because someone else says we have to.

Admiral Ben Moreell headed up the Seabees during World War II. The Seabees were our naval construction engineers that built important navy bases in combat areas under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions. Moreell said that he had a secret formula that enabled him to get results. “We used artisans to do the work for which they had been trained in civil life. They were well led by officers who ‘spoke their language.’ We made them feel that they were playing an important part in the great adventure. And thus they achieved a high standard of morale.”[1]

One of the greatest management experts of all time was a man by the name of Chester Barnard. Barnard learned his management the hard way. He worked himself up from the bottom at AT&T. Than in the late 1930’s, he wrote a book The Functions of the Executive which is still widely read. It is a classic, and his conclusions are worth studying.

Said Barnard: “Scarcely a man, I think, who has felt the annihilation of his personality in some organized system, has not also felt that the same system belonged to him because of his own free will he chose to make it so.”[2] When you give your people ownership, they feel much differently toward the task than if you set yourself as the only one responsible. The difference is between an important team member and an organizational cog.  When you award them ownership, they are under the influence of feelings of an entirely different type.

Colonel John S. Moseby, CSA was a great guerilla leader during the War Between the States. They Union troops called him “the gray ghost” because whenever they thought they had him trapped, he disappeared. Thousands of Northern troops attempted to catch him, but they were never successful. His exploits were legendary. Once raiding far beyond Union lines, he captured a Union general in bed with his mistress along with almost a hundred horses. When told the next morning, Abraham Lincoln was said to have commented. “Too bad about the horses. I can replace the general a lot easier.”

Why was John S. Moseby so successful? He wasn’t trained at West Point, and he hadn’t been a soldier before the war. He explained it all in his book War Reminiscences published in 1887. “Men who go into a fight under the influence of such feelings are next to invincible, and are generally victors before it begins.”[3]

 

High Morale And Cheerfulness

Another way that you can influence morale is simply be being cheerful. Cheerfulness in and of itself has a very positive effect on morale. One of General MacArthur’s West Point classmates said that even in the early days, MacArthur imparted his self-confidence to others through his cheerfulness.  A classmate of General Eisenhower’s, Brigadier General Carl C. Bank said: “The one outstanding characteristic notable at all times was his cheerfulness, friendliness and good humor.[4]It’s a fact that many individuals have attributed their success simply to smiling. An official manual on Air Force leadership published after World War II discussed the leadership of five star General Hap Arnold who had been commander of the Army Air Force during the war. This manual said that General Arnold’s ready smile play a significant part in his being promoted to the command of the Army Air Force! According to this document,” Cheerfulness spells confidence, optimism, fearlessness, and ‘I like people,’ which everyone recognizes and warms to immediately.”[5]

 

Be Aware Of What’s Going On . . . Than Act

If you want high morale in your organization, you must constantly monitor what is going on. Keep your eyes and ears open, look for trends, and most importantly get around to visit and talk with people in your organization every day. That way you’ll not only know how your people feel, but you’ll also be aware of everything that is going on. If the people in your organization become depressed, you should know about it right away, and you should take action to do something about it immediately. Sometimes a simple joke can turn things around. Other times you may need to do more. The important principle is to know what’s going on in your organization, and than to take action immediately to influence it. If you do these two things you will have a major impact on events rather than the other way around.

Princeton is not only a town where a famous university is located. A major battle was fought there during the Revolutionary War. This battle was a very near thing. George Washington closely observed his men under fire. He saw that it was becoming too much, that they were in danger of panicking. Once a few men fell back, his entire line could break. He didn’t delay. He urged his horse between the American and British lines. He rode up and down between the two lines, ignoring British fire. How could his men be fearful with their commander riding up and back right before their eye? The truth was, they couldn’t, and the continental line held.

 

Lead By Personal Example Whenever You Can                                                                                                                                                               Do you remember the game “follow the leader.” Followers attempted to do everything the leader did. They rarely hesitated, because they saw the leader do it, first. Not only did they know it could be done, but they saw that the leader was willing to do it first. In 1942, Major General Ira C. Eaker of the U.S. Army Air Forces planned daylight bombing missions against the Germans. Royal Air Force pilots told him that it wasn’t possible, that losses would be too great. The RAF had a lot of credibility. They had been fighting the Germans and bombing them since 1939. Still, the Americans had been working on new techniques for daylight bombing. Eaker was undeterred from his plans for daylight bombing. However, his men knew the opinion of the veteran flyers from the RAF. And Eaker knew that this knowledge had caused some of his men to doubt their own abilities. It isn’t every day that a major general pilots a plane in combat, but Eaker went on that first daylight bombing mission himself. His force went on to employ daylight bombing with tremendous effect throughout the war.[6]Yes, frequently leading by personal example will do the trick . . . and you don’t necessarily have to put yourself in personal danger.

Baron Von Steuben was an officer who volunteered from Germany to help George Washington turn an eager, but untrained mob of men into a real army during the Revolutionary War. Among his many contributions, he developed our first drill regulations. Remember in those days, drill was not just for training. It was used in combat to insure that men fought and maneuvered together on the battlefield. Without drill, only harassment operations were possible. Wrote Von Steuben, “I dictated my dispositions in the night; in the day I had them performed.”

Of course just writing down what to do isn’t leadership. What could Von Steuben do to have his drill performed? What Von Steuben did was to form a model company that he drilled himself in what he had developed the previous night. Than he drilled his company in front of the officers and soldiers of the continental army. In this way, he not only showed them exactly what to do, but he demonstrated that what he wanted done would work on the battlefield. No wonder Von Steuben became, though a relatively young man, the first Inspector General of the Continental Army.[7]

No less a military figure than Gideon quoted in the Holy Scriptures of the Bible said, “As I do, so shall you do.”

 

How Long Does It Take To Build High Morale?

You may have heard that it takes months, or even years to build high morale. Let me assure that this is simply untrue. General George S. Patton said that, “In a week’s time, I can spur any outfit into a high state of morale.”[8] Once I saw even the great Patton outdone in building a high state of morale in minimum time. It was in a squadron of attack planes during the Vietnam War. This squadron had low morale because of high losses while flying against heavily defended areas along the Ho Chi Minh trail in North Vietnam and Laos. The squadron commander hadn’t helped morale either. This officer, after having not flown in years, had been plucked from his non-flying role and sent to the war. He was the senior ranking Lieutenant Colonel, so they made him the commander. This was a mistake. During his years away from flying and operations, he had lost many of his fighting skills. Worse, in combat he became hesitant. Than, he began to avoid flying the tougher combat missions. Finally, he was relieved of command. The new squadron commander turned the situation around with only two sentences. He said, “I am your new squadron commander. I am going to flying more missions, and more of the tougher missions than anyone else in the squadron.”

 

Esprit de Corps

Have you ever wished that you could be a military leader, rather than the leader of some other kind of organization? After all, all a military leader has to do is give a command and it is carried out, right? Wrong. When I first entered civilian life, I was hired to head up a research and development organization. The president of the company called me in and said, “Now, Bill, I know that you have led military organizations, but it’s not the same think leading civilians. You can’t just give an order, and see it carried out.” I assured my new boss, that in most instances, military command wasn’t that simple. I did, however, promise to go easy at first.

Now it wouldn’t be fair to compare an infantry company, or fighter squadron in combat with an organization that does research and development for a living. In those organizations where the wrong decision can spell the difference between life and death, any leader not performing can be relieved instantly. If you watch the TV series, Band of Brothers, you saw an accurate portrayal of an officer relieved of duty in the midst of combat by his battalion commander.  However, some kind of comparison can be made between research and development organizations in military and civilian life. Do you know what I discovered? I had a lot more power of command in my civilian organization. Here’s why. In the military, if an officer performed poorly as a research and development project engineer, short, of major negligence or violation of the law, about  the worst usually done was to give other duties and a poor performance report. In civilian life, if someone performed poorly, I had the power to fire him from the firm on the spot.

Therefore, regardless of what kind of organization you lead, you must reserve your command authority for those instances when it is appropriate to use it. Instead your aim should be to build a desire in the individuals in your organization so that they want to be led by you. This organizational consensus for your leadership and the high feeling of spirit associated with it is called esprit de corps.

After World war I. General Harbord a senior Army leader commented on his experiences in France. “Discipline and morale influence the inarticulate vote that is constantly taken by masses of men when the order comes to move forward – a variant of the crowd psychology that inclines it to follow a leader,” he said.  “But the Army does not move forward until the motion has carried. ‘Unanimous consent’ only follows cooperation between the individual men in ranks.”[9] Another words, there is a group spirit which you must reach in order to motivate groups of people to do things…even in the military, and despite the effect of orders. So General Harbord referred to esprit de corps. How do you develop esprit de corps? For my money, esprit de corps is built on three things: your personal integrity, mutual confidence, and a focus on contribution rather personal gain.

 

You Can’t Dodge The Integrity Issue

Integrity is always a major issue. Actually, integrity is involved with all of your actions as a leader. I do not believe you can develop esprit de corps without it. Thomas E. Cronin, a political science and writer who was also a White House Fellow confirmed that integrity, “is perhaps the most central of leadership qualities.”[10] Major General Perry M. Smith tells a story about Babe Zaharias in his book Taking Charge. Babe Zaharias was a champion sportswoman in the 1932 Olympics. Later as a professional golfer, she penalized herself two strokes after the round she was playing was over. The penalty strokes cost her first place in a major tournament. Why did she do it? It turns out that she accidentally played the wrong ball. Later a friend asked her why she penalized herself. “After all, Babe,” said the friend,” no one saw you. No one would have known the difference.” “I would have known,” replied the great Babe.[11]

 

West Point probably has the strictest honor code in the world. It says simply, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate anyone else that does.” The code is simple, but it is strictly enforced.. . . by the cadets themselves. An honor violation means that the cadet is expected to resign. Let’s say that a cadet copies an answer from another cadet’s paper during a test. Later, although he wasn’t observed, he turns himself in to the cadet honor committee for an honor violation. He is now expected to resign from the Corps of Cadets. If someone had observed him copying an answer, he would have reported it to the honor committee. I have seen both happen when I was a cadet. Here’s a true story that may help you to understand how important this code was and is. Once when I was a cadet and home on leave after my first year at West Point, I went out drinking with some friends from high school. I forgot that the minimum age to drink beer was 18, rather than 21 as it was in some states on the east coast at the time. My friends all had fake identification cards which indicated that they were 21. Being accustomed to ordering beer at 18, I didn’t even think about it. When asked for identification, I presented my cadet identification card.

The barmaid looked at it closely. It didn’t have my age, but did identify me as a Cadet at the United States Military Academy. The barmaid looked at the card with my picture and than looked at me. “You can’t get a beer here unless you’re 21. This says that you are a West Point Cadet. I know that if you tell me you are 21 it will be the truth. Are you 21?” I had to admit I was not. My friends couldn’t believe it. Like Babe Zaharias, they told me that no one would have known that I had lied. I am proud to tell you that almost more than forty years later that like Babe Zaharias, I answered, “I would have known.”

I have seen men live by this code while cadets, and die by the same code later as officers. The code has saved lives in combat, because what a graduate said could be absolutely depended on as the truth. The officials at West Point didn’t start this code. It came from the cadets themselves, back in the 19th century. At first, the honor committee’s activities were secret, because the authorities resented this assumption of power by cadets. However, as time went on the importance of absolute integrity was recognized for its value on the battlefield and in all human relationships. So the honor activities were legalized. There have been cheating scandals at West Point, where numbers of cadets have intentionally violated the code. You can count the number of times this has happened on one hand. I wish I could tell you that all graduates continue to live by the honor code after they graduate. Unfortunately, since we are dealing with human beings, this would be inaccurate. But I can tell you that the ideal is alive and real, and its observance by the vast majority of West Point graduates continues until the day they die. I cannot help but think that much of West Point reputation for producing leaders of unusual quality has to do with this early development of integrity such that they unfailingly follow it because they would themselves know if they did not.

If you want to build esprit de corps, you must demonstrate integrity like Babe Zaharias and as contained in the West Point honor code. If you do, it won’t be long before everyone in your organization knows that you can be trusted, that you say what you mean and mean what you say. The members of your organization will return the favor. They will demonstrate integrity in dealing with you, and each other, and the esprit de corps in your organization will soar.

 

This Submarine Admiral Says It Must Be “Integrity First”

Rear Admiral Dave Oliver, Jr. was an admiral who practiced and studied leadership at great length, and then wrote a book about it. About integrity, Admiral Oliver has this to say: “In many large organizations there is a contingent of thought that the contest usually goes to the man willing to sail closest to the fine line drawn between truth and less-than-that. Some self-styled pragmatists regale audiences with stories that might lead a novice to believe that success is the province of only the most gnarled and least scrupulous bureaucratic battlers.  That has not been my experience.”[12]

Demonstrate Real Concern For Your People

The Armed Forces Officer says that esprit is “…the product of a thriving mutual confidence between the leader and the led, founded on the faith that together they possess a superior quality and capability.” If you want to build mutual confidence, I have found that you must demonstrate your real concern for the welfare of those for who you are responsible. Demonstrating your real concern gets back to the right priorities that you must have as a leader. First, comes your mission or organizational goals. Than comes the welfare of your people. If you are a real leader, your own personal interests come dead last. Those who follow you will accept hardships, put up with your personal mistakes and idiosyncrasies, and even willingly risk their lives. There are however, certain conditions. First and foremost, the cause must be worthwhile. Than you must demonstrate the priority of interests that I outlined for you above.

When I first started university teaching, I asked my friend, and than Department Chairman, Dr. Marshall E. Reddick how he got such high ratings from his students on his teaching evaluations. “It’s easy,” he said. “Students will do whatever you ask, even the most difficult assignments, so long as they realize it is to their benefit, and not mine.” Here was a perfect example of applying the priorities of a leader to the classroom. First came the teacher’s responsibility to impart knowledge. And, than combined with this, Marshall taught in such a way that it was to the student’s benefit. Marshall’s own interests came last.

Did you think that General Patton was an easy or tough general to work for? He drove his men unmercifully. He was very tough. To improve discipline he required his men to wear not only a helmet, but a tie. And that was in combat! Patton also made lots of mistakes. You probably heard about the incident where Patton slapped and berated a soldier suffering from a combat psychosis. Patton also gave a speech in which he used profanity to a group of mothers whose sons had been killed in the war. In a post-war comment, he seemed to equate Nazis with Republicans and Democrats. These mistakes caused Eisenhower to twice fire this four-star warrior despite his tremendous abilities and the fact that they had been friends for almost twenty years. You may have heard about these mistakes, or seen them depicted by George C. Scott when he played Patton in the award winning movie about this famous general. But did you also know that Patton had one of the lowest combat casualty rates of any commander during World War II? I recently watched a professor on a well-known history television show state that Patton told his men they expected him to die. Nothing could be further from the truth. Patton actually told his men: “I don’t want to hear anything about ‘dying for your country.’ Your job is to get the other fellow to die for his country.” Even as a 29-year-old colonel during World War I, Patton demonstrated real concern for the lives of his men. On being given command of the first American tank unit by General Pershing he said, “Sir, I accept my new command with particular enthusiasm because with the eight tanks, I believe I can inflict the greatest number of casualties on the enemy with the smallest expenditure of American life.”[13]

You see, Patton repeatedly demonstrated a very real concern for his men despite his toughness. Because Patton demonstrated this concern, and had his priorities right, he developed a very high mutual confidence that led to an unbeatable esprit de corps. As a result, he was victorious and his men loved him despite his foibles and weaknesses.

 

General Fred Franks Takes His Corps From Europe To Combat In Iraq

When General Schwarzkopf commanded Operation Desert Shield prior to Desert Storm, it soon became clear that he had a major problem. He had amassed sufficient ground troops and an Army that could defend Saudi Arabia. However, he lacked the numbers required to go on the offensive to force the Iraqis out of Kuwait. The decision was made to send the VII Corps, commanded by my West Point classmate, Fred Franks. As you might imagine, Fred had major challenges in moving thousands troops and tons of equipment where they had been on duty to guard against a Soviet attack in Europe to the deserts of the Middle East to fight a major war. This required a Herculean effort and major restructuring of his command. But even with the immediate challenges of the redeployment and the coming battle, he did not fail to feel and demonstrate real concern for those he led and their families. “Family support was a big issue since we were already a forward-deployed force with family members, and we would now deploy again, this time without family members. Our army had not done this on such a scale before, so we wanted to ensure we had well-thought –out military community family-support plans, that the Army would help our families take care of themselves.”[14]

 

Get Your Organization To Focus On Contribution

When John F. Kennedy was sworn in as President of the United States he exhorted his countrymen to “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask instead, what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy knew how to get people to focus on the right objective. He pointed out that we could do great things together, if people focused on what they could do rather than what they could get. Unfortunately, President Kennedy was assassinated before most of his goals could be reached. But the esprit de corps in the country which he started continued on long after him. Through it, we inaugurated civil rights legislation which revolutionized the country, we made the first lunar landing, and while he was still president we successfully kept Russian missiles out of Cuba.

A switch from gain to contribution is easier than you might think. You see, all of us play one of two games whenever we do anything. One game is “Get All You Can.” The other is “Give All You Can.” Regardless of which game is played, all players play to win. You can bet that a group whose members are playing “Get All You Can” has little or no esprit de corps. On the other hand, you can actually feel the positive spirit in a group whose members are playing “Give All You Can.”

Which game is your organization playing? If it is playing “Get All You Can,” you’ve got to turn them around, fast. If you don’t your organization will have little esprit de corps and perform marginally at best. To get your group to play “Give All You Can,” you must take positive actions. You must tell them the game, show them the game, and keep score in the game. Here is how you can do this:

  •  Decide where you want your organization to go.
  • Built a consensus for your goals through discussion and input from your group’s members.
  • Decide on a plan of action and make assignments along with milestone dates for accomplishment.

Every thing that can go wrong, will go wrong. You will encounter what Clausewitz called “battle friction.” There will be setbacks, discouragement, and defeats. You must positively carry on. You must encourage and demand continued contribution and further sacrifice even in the face of adversity. Simultaneously, you must keep score in “Give All You Can.” That means rewarding the major contributors and sometimes punishing those who are still playing the old game. This is not always easy. Some who contributed something when others contributed nothing during “Get All You Can” continue to play the old game. Frequently They have to be brought to understand the new game. All the time, you must set the example of being the number one contributor. You need to do without compromise because you won’t fool your organization. Not for a minute. The first time that you begin playing “Get All You Can,” you can expect your organization to follow your lead the same day. Once you know that the members of your organization are focused on contributing to its benefit over their own, you won’t need to ask if your organization has a high esprit de corps. You will see that esprit de corps with your own eyes, and people will be telling you how happy they are to be in your organization.

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Sr. is Chairman Emeritus of The New York Times Company. He is also a former Marine Corps captain. About his experiences in running the New York Times he said, “I quickly learned that team work – all pulling together toward an identifiable common goal – worked far better than rushing headlong ‘over the top’ only to discover that no one was behind you.”[15]

 

To Build And Maintain High Morale And Esprit De Corps, Follow These Action Steps:

1.   Let others participate in the ownership of your ideas, goals, and objectives

2.   Be cheerful in everything you do

3.   Know what’s going on and take action to fix or capitalize on it

4.   Lead by personal example whenever possible

5.   Maintain high personal integrity

6.   Build mutual confidence by demonstrating real concern for those you are responsible for

7.   Focus on contribution, not personal gain, yourself, and encourage everyone in your organization to do the same

 

ENDNOTES


 [1]The Armed Forces Officer (Armed Forces Information Service: Washington, D.C., 1975)  p. 132.

 [2] Ibid. p.138.

 [3] Robert Debs Heinl, Jr., Dictionary of Military and Naval Quotations (United States Naval Institute: Annapolis, Maryland, 1966) p. 196.

 [4] Edgar F. Puryear, Nineteen Stars (Presidio Press: Presidio, California, 1971) p. 19.

 [5] Air Force Leadership (Department of the Air Force: Washington, D.C., 1948) p. 44.

 [6] Air Force Leadership Op. cit. p.46.

 [7] The Armed Forces Officer Op. Cit. p. 74.

 [8] Edgar F. Puryear, Jr. op. cit. p. 233.

 [9] The Armed Forces Officer Op. Cit., p. 159.

[10] Thomas E. Cronin, “Thinking About Leadership,” in Robert L. Taylor and William E. Rosenbach, eds. Military Leadership (Westview Press: Boulder, Colorado, 1984) p. 206.

[11] Perry M. Smith, Taking Charge (National Defense University: Washington, D.C., 1986) p. 28-29.

12] Dave Oliver, Jr. Lead On! (Novato, California: Presidio Press, 1992) p.147.

[13]  Puryear, op. cit. p. 326.

[14] Tom Clancy with Fred Franks, jr., Into the Storm (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1997) p. 187.

 

THIS MONTH’S THOUGHT FOR LEADERS

. . . the moral is to the physical is as three is to one.

                                                      – Napoleon Bonaparte

LEADERSHIP LESSONS FROM

DOLLARS AND SENSE By William C. Hunter

William Hunter calls his little book “Memoranda made in the School of Practical Experience.” And his claims for the book are not insignificant. He offers help for leaders and followers, employers and employees, courage, guides and experience which will bring success in not only business, but in everything. His Table of Contents covers everything from aches and pains to waiting for success. The book is over a hundred years old and its day was a incredible best seller. But guess what? The book is still available in one form or another from amazon.com. One edition published in February 2008 in paperback actually sells for about $90! But you don’t need to pay for a copy. You can download a free copy at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/22418/22418-h/22418-h.htm. But who was William Hunter and why was his book so popular a hundred years ago and is still in demand today? About his book, Hunter said: “Keep this book, carry it with you, and you will be benefitted. Worry and fear will fade and peace and courage will grow within you the more you study these pages. The writer has “been at it” for 32 years. He has had successes, failures, joys, sorrows, and experienced the passions, the problems, the difficulties you have experienced. Since the age of ten years he has been upon his own resources and the 32 years since then have been years of study, working and playing, all blended into a happy life. The jolts, set backs, sorrows, worries, fears and discouragements are the things which made him strong. They were experiences. Smooth sailing doesn’t bring out the stuff one is made of. It takes shadows to make sunlight appreciated. It takes reverses to make success. It takes hard knocks to polish you. This is a book of experiences, not one of theories…”

THE LEADERSHIP LESSONS

from DOLLARS AND SENSE By William C. Hunter

1. It is the individual who is important in achieving success, not environmental conditions, or even the plan he or she implements, although these are also of importance. However it is “the man, not the plan” that make the difference. There are numerous examples throughout history of situations where many have tried and failed, and then the right individual comes along and succeeds where all others have failed. Many had tried to build an aircraft which could fly carrying a human pilot by using an engine for power before the Wright Brothers came along. Some were wealthy and supported by others in their endeavors. Perhaps the most prominent was Professor Samuel Langley. Professor Langley had spent years working on powered flight. He was well educated, a man of position and influence. As Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and a scientist of some import, he was given $50,000 for his experiments. However, although he had some promising successes, he had a number of disasters, the greatest occurring in early December of 1903. The media denounced his efforts as “Langley’s Folly.” Depressed, Langley gave up all further work of powered flight after 16 years of work. Meanwhile, the Wright Brothers knew that Langley, the scientist had all this funding and clearly knew what he was doing. They were not scientists and not particularly well-educated, being just high school graduates. Although they had some successful experiments with gliders, if anyone was going to be the first to fly, it was clearly the more prominent, better-educated, and well-funded Professor Langley. Nevertheless, only nine days after Langley suffered the crash which cause him to give up all thought of powered flight development forever, the Wright Brothers made the first successful powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. As Hunter wrote,” We have often seen a man make a marked success in a field that others have considered barren.”

2. Learn to take time to play. Hunter pointed out that the individual who works all the time with no play will rarely be successful. Play helps us to handle stress and to rest the brain. Peter Drucker pointed out that the idea of sacrificing oneself for a job was a poor one. Rather, an individual should do the best that he or she can in a job. This helps one to handle stress, provides a break from the most arduous work and difficult decisions, and allows a fresh approach to getting the job done. According to Hunter, hard work never killed anyone. Rather it is improper care of oneself when not working that  can cause damage. If you consider the benefits, its no wonder that play, incorporated into a career of hard work leads to success as a leader.

3. Pay attention and keep your promises. This has to do with integrity, trust, and a lot more. Don’t make promises if you can’t keep them. Many politicians make this mistake. They make promises freely in order to get elected even though they may know that they may be impossible to keep. This makes their tenure in office all the more difficult even if elected when it becomes obvious that they cannot do what was promised. They lose the trust of those they must lead which makes it doubly difficult to accomplish anything.

4. Show initiative. Don’t simply do things that are routine and expected, go the extra mile to do more. Mary Kay Ash who built the billion dollar Mary Kay Cosmetics Company starting with $5000 said that the difference in good people who attempted success and failed and those who succeeded was very simple. Those who failed did everything expected of them. But those who succeeded did everything expected of them “and then some.”

5. Expect hard times. Hard times follow good times with unerring regularity and certainty. So when times are good, don’t just live “the good life.” Prepare for the difficult times ahead which are certain to arrive.

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