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Vol. 6, No. 6
(626) 350-1500 Ext 102  

Extraordinary achievements demand extraordinary leaders.

© 2008 William A. Cohen, PhD

The Table of Contents for this Month’s Edition of the Journal of Leadership Applications

News for Leaders: BELOW


This Month’s Thought for Leaders: After THE POWER OF LEADERSHIP

Leadership Lessons from Last Month’s Book:  How to Win Friends and Influence People

This Month’s Free Downloadable Book :  The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie

News for Leaders

Free Business Courses from the U.S. Small Business Administration The U.S. Small Business Administration now offers a number of free short courses on various aspects of business and management. See .

Free Online Courses from  offers a number of online courses, sometimes including free textbooks on all subjects. Go to .

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 or telephone (626) 794-5998. Yes we do give international seminars — The U.S. country code is 01.

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 or telephone (626) 794-5998. Like Peter Drucker, I do not employ a secretary, so if I’m not in, leave a message.

Upcoming Public Seminar in Indonesia I am frequently asked about attending one of my public seminars. Unfortunately, these opportunities are rare. Most of my seminars, etc. are private — either for corporations, trade associations, groups from government, etc. However, public seminars do occur on occasion. When I do, I’ll keep you informed. I’ll be giving seminars in Jakarta, Indonesia in late July. Contact Mr. Hans Mandalas at .

Book Reviews of A Class with Drucker.  As promised I am posting all book reviews available — good, bad, and indifferent — as received. If you see one not posted, please send it and I will include it. Just click Drucker Book Reviews.


by William A. Cohen, PhD


Leadership has an extraordinary power. It can make the difference between success and failure in anything you do for yourself or any group you belong to. I know this is a strong statement, but I will give you examples to prove what I say. Further, I will show you that becoming a first class leader is a lot easier than you may have thought.


How One Man Made The Difference

As a young Air Force lieutenant I was a member of the 11th Bomb Wing at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. It had been one of the finest B-52 bombing wings in Strategic Air Command. This unit had been the only wing to win the coveted Fairchild Trophy three times for competition in bombing accuracy. It was also one of the few wings never to have failed an organizational readiness inspection called an “ORI.” Aircrews were consistently superior in navigation, bombing, aerial refueling, and other flying techniques.


Unfortunately, over a period of months, the unit had begun to drift. We failed to do some of our training requirements successfully. We made some late take-offs due to maintenance problems. Our sense of mission disappeared. We even failed an ORI, which was an important test of our flying and combat skills and of the many units that supported us. Once we had ranked as one of the top three combat wings based on a point system maintained on a weekly basis. On the same system, we were now ranked dead last.


On alert with my crew one evening, I received a hurried call from base operations. “There’s a new commander on base. His name is Colonel Kyes. Stay out of his way.”


We couldn’t stay out of his way, because Colonel Kyes visited us that night. He cancelled all leaves of absence. All “free time” of any sort was rescinded until further notice. This included weekends and even crew rest after flight. Colonel Kyes moved commanders and staff he judged lacking to less responsible positions that first night. He encouraged others to retire. No career or individual was sacred.


Colonel Kyes met with each of the 1500 officers, non-commissioned officers, and airmen reporting to him. He told each where we were going…back to the top position in Strategic air Command . . . and how we were going to get there. He said we would brief every mission to him personally before we could fly it. Pilots had to know as much about the target as their bombardiers and navigators. And bombardiers and navigators had to be able to back up their pilots up as well.


If you wanted a transfer out of the unit, Colonel Kyes would give you one. If you stayed in the wing, you were going to work your fanny off. And this was in peacetime!

At first, we didn’t like Kyes very much. Our wives and girl friends hated him. Those whose careers he hurt were very resentful, and some left the Air Force. But then, our hard work began to show results. Our bombs hit on target almost every time. We took off exactly at take-off time. The airlines would have envied us. The ground crews and maintenance personnel maintained our aircraft so that they flew better than they had ever flown before. We worked together as a team, and we worked well.


A couple months after Colonel Kyes arrived, we had another surprise ORI. We not only passed, but scored higher than we ever had in the past. We were rank number one of all bomber wings in Strategic Air Command. Then a strange thing began to happen. We felt pride in ourselves and pride in Colonel Kyes as our commander. Our dislike turned to respect. When Colonel Kyes left the 11th Bomb Wing on his promotion to Brigadier General, there was a genuine sense of loss. Our respect had by than turned to something approaching love. Colonel Kyes eventually wore the three stars of a Lieutenant General. But for an untimely death, I believe he would have attained the fourth star of a full general.


General Kyes taught me some important lessons about leadership and the difference one individual can make in helping an organization to reach its goals. And I have seen that lesson repeated again and again. I have seen it in large organizations and small, in formal organizations and informal ones, in both military and civilian organizations. The lesson is that one individual and his or her leadership makes all the difference between success and failure.

Professor Warren Bennis at the University of Southern California has spent his entire life studying leaders. At a conference he once told me, “I first learned leadership as a young infantry lieutenant at Ft. Benning, Georgia in 1945.” Professor Bennis studied ninety of the most successful leaders around the nation. What did he conclude? “If I have learned anything from my research, it is this: The factor that empowers the workforce and ultimately determines which organizations succeed or fail is the leadership of those organizations. When strategies, processes, or cultures change, the key to improvement remains leadership.”[1]


The Amazing Secret as To Why Some of the World’s Best Known Men (And Women) Succeed as Leaders

Leadership has to do with getting things accomplished by acting through others. Regardless of your own abilities, there are many important goals that you cannot attain without the help of others.


Around the beginning of the 20th century, a young newsman by the name of Napoleon Hill interviewed steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Andrew Carnegie was than one of the wealthiest men alive. He convinced Hill to devote 20 years of his life to a study of what made men successful. Carnegie helped Hill by giving him introductions to the mightiest, wealthiest, and best-known men of his day. These included Henry Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Schwaub, George Eastman, John D. Rockefeller, Thomas Edison, Julius Rosenwald, Clarence Darrow, and many others.

Napoleon Hill discovered an amazing fact from his research. No successful individual became successful strictly by himself or by virtue of what he could do by himself. Every single one of the successful individuals that Napoleon Hill had interviewed had become successful through the help of others. These other individuals had a greater talent in some area. Who were these others? They were bosses, colleagues, and subordinates. Without them, not a single person that Hill had interviewed became successful. Carnegie himself must have recognized this, because on his tombstone he had engraved a single sentence. “Here lies one who knew how to get around him men who were cleverer than himself.”


While an MBA student at the University of Chicago, I found support for Hill’s conclusion. A study of hundreds of top executives showed that every single one, whether in business, government or the military had a sponsor. What is a sponsor?  This is someone else who had actually promoted the executive’s success at one or more points in his or her career. No one made it to the top of any organization without a sponsor. Why did a senior executive choose to sponsor a particular subordinate? Because that subordinate was one of those individuals who was “clever” and he or she had assisted the more senior executive in accomplishing his own objectives.


Naturally, if you are leading in any task, you tend to do much better if you have expertise and experience in the task for which you are responsible. Yet, I also found scores of examples of senior executives whose experience and expertise in a particular role was limited. Still these individuals became very successful because others who supported them had the necessary expertise and experience, or even style of leadership. As General Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff noted, “In every successful military organization, and I suspect in all successful enterprises, different styles of leadership have to be present. If the man at the top does not exhibit all these qualities, then those around him have to supplement.”[2]


What does this mean?  Quite clearly it means that you can reach the most difficult and important goals only with the help of others, both your bosses and those who work for you.  Like Colonel Kyes, you can be successful only through exercising good leadership and helping others to reach their goals.


Why You Don’t Need to Be a Manager to Be a Leader

Once I met a young engineer at a major aerospace company. He had become director of a major program although he was barely thirty. I was very much interested in how this came about. Here’s the story a vice-president told me.


Once a year there was a savings bond drive in this company. No one wanted the job of getting employees to sign up for additional bond deductions from their paychecks. Since no one wanted the job, they assigned these duties to the most junior engineer. Most did the minimum work possible and made no serious attempt at convincing people to make additional investments.

Somebody must have forgotten to tell this youngster, because he really took charge. He convinced every engineer and manager in his department that was on duty to buy. But he didn’t stop there. He called all over the country to talk to engineers who were at temporary duty elsewhere. He got them all charged up. “Look,” he would say, “at the end of this bond drive, they post results, and our organization is competing with others. We can be number one.”


Amused, at first the old timers bought bonds for this reason. Then, almost in spite of themselves they became excited.  They became excited solely due to this new engineer. No one had ever appealed to them in this way before.  Of course this organization finished in first place by a country mile. That wasn’t the end of it. The department head noticed that although savings bonds had very little to do with engineering, the bond drive had helped to increase productivity. People just seemed to feel better about themselves as members of the organization and wanted to perform better. When they actually won, they really felt good!


The president of the company noticed the unusual bond drive results and asked about them. He remembered this young engineer’s name. He knew that if this engineer could accomplish so much with a bond drive that he would accomplish even more as a manager.


Only four months later, an opening occurred. My informant told me that this young man was promoted over twenty other engineers who had more seniority in the company. It shouldn’t surprise you that it wasn’t too long after I met him that they promoted this young man again. You guessed it. This time they made him a vice-president. And you just know that he will be president some day. Note that this engineer was a strong leader before he held an official position in the organization as a manager. This is important. Some say, I’ll learn to be a leader after I am promoted into a manager’s position. This is exactly backward. You get promoted because you are a leader first.


How You Can Lead Before You Are Promoted

You may have heard someone say, “I’ll wait untill I’m promoted.  Then I’ll have an opportunity to demonstrate my leadership.”  That’s like the old story about the freezing man and the wood-burning stove. The man looked at the wood-burning stove and spoke these words. “Give me heat and then I will give you wood.” You may laugh because everyone knows that you have to put wood on a fire before a fire will give you heat. The same is true about promotion. If you want to get promoted, you have to be a leader first. Then, someone will promote you.


Tom Peters, the co-author of In Search for Excellence and A Passion for Excellence and other books, found similar situations in organizations he studied. All excellent companies had strong leaders at every level. Some were managers, and some were not. I want to repeat this. Some were managers, and some were not, but all were strong leaders. So you don’t need to wait to be promoted to be a leader.


You don’t even have to be in an organization to be a strong leader. You can start your own organization. Jimmy Calano and Jeff Salzman, started a company called Career Tracks Seminars almost right out of college.  Within a few years, these two young men found themselves at the head of one of the largest seminar companies in the country. They accomplished this by offering a quality product at a lower price than their competition.


Do Calano and Salzman give these seminars themselves?  Absolutely not! Those who give the seminars are individuals who have had years and years of experience, many with advanced degrees in their particular fields. Jimmy Calano and Jeff Salzman don’t have to be the experts. They are the leaders. Through their leadership, their employees have made them successful.


Good leaders attract others who are happy to help them achieve success. It is easier than you think to become a good leader. You can become a good or superior leader with others wanting to follow and to help you. They will help you achieve your goals because you will help them to achieve theirs.


Even Repeated Leadership Failures Do Not Mean You Cannot Become an Exceptional Leader

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins has said: “The past does not equal the future.” How true these words are. You must never give up, even if you have done poorly as a leader in the past. An exceptional leader I know failed repeated as a leader over four long years. One day he stopped to consider and analyzed what he was doing wrong — and what he was doing right as well. He learned how to make maximum use of his strengths and to eliminate or make his weaknesses irrelevant. He rose to a senior position in his company and in a short time he became a multimillionaire. As he looked back he saw that he had not only developed his own leadership abilities, but he had learned how to develop leadership talent in others as well. He started his own company and became even wealthier. Maybe even more importantly, he began to pass on what he had learned and helped many others to develop their leadership ability while they gave their customers outstanding service and advanced the objectives of the company. You can do the same!

The Leadership Model That Will Help You To Lead in Any Situation

I would like to propose a model of leadership. A model is only a theoretical representation of something real. It can have considerable value if the representation is accurate. Why? Because we can apply the model to a wide variety of situations without having to develop a new representation each time we are confronted with the same situation. Having found what works once, we can apply the theory effectively again and again.


Now let’s talk first about the model of leadership that I would like to propose.  I want to propose to you what I call the “combat model of leadership.”  Why do I recommend combat as a model? The most difficult circumstances in which a leader must lead are in combat. There is a great risk. There is considerable uncertainty due to confusion, changing circumstances, and lack of information. There may be considerable hardship due to the environment or to actions of the enemy.  And there is a significant penalty for failure or reward for success. Despite this and great risk, successful combat leaders enable others to accomplish significant goals and objectives while maintaining high morale and esprit de corps. Yet, these leaders don’t have the old standby motivators like salary, vacation, and security to fall back on.


Some are uncomfortable with the combat model of leadership. They think that combat leadership is simply running around shouting orders, and others mindlessly obeying. Let me assure you, that shouting orders is a small part combat leadership, and in some cases isn’t used and isn’t sufficient if it is. If you saw Saving Private Ryan, with Tom Hanks playing the part of Captain John Miller, you saw a caring combat leader who was highly respected by his followers. Captain Miller led a company, and later a special task force of Rangers, one of our most elite and disciplined of our fighting units. Yet, even Captain Miller could not always lead by simply giving orders and assuming they would be obeyed. Human beings just don’t work like that. Tom Hanks accurately portrayed a good combat leader.


I want you to recognize that combat is probably the most severe environment in which you will ever lead other human beings in accomplishing any goal.  If you can apply the combat model of leadership successfully, you can be successful in leading in many other difficult, but less demanding environments.


General John T. Chain, Jr., then Commander-in-Chief of the Strategic Air Command once said, “Military decisions are made in the fog of war, resulting in a significant degree of uncertainty about the validity of the very information on which the most critical decisions are made. Decisions must be made quickly and with life-and-death results. Coupled simultaneously with the need to deal with this uncertainty is the military leader’s task of inspiring confidence in subordinate commanders and cohesiveness in the troops.”[3] That’s every leader’s task in challenging situations outside of the military, as well.


What is the combat model?  Well, another man who might know something about the combat model of leadership was General George S. Patton.  Again and again, General Patton proved his abilities to lead men in combat. He led small groups during in his career. And he also led large numbers of men, hundreds of thousands. And he frequently did this while overcoming incredible obstacles under severe hardship and risk of death.


During World War I, Patton was a 29 year old Colonel commanding the first American tanks in combat. The first use of the tank was to protect against the machinegun and artillery while crossing difficult terrain. The tank had one big problem. It was difficult to see out of. So Patton led is tanks by accompanying them on foot! He was once wounded while doing this. Nothing is without a price, and that was a price he was willing to pay. Patton’s leadership brought victory on the battlefield as well as personal fame and fortune. Patton defined leadership as the art of getting your subordinates to do the impossible. Is such a definition also applicable to civilian pursuits? Let’s see.


Some years ago there was a company called Sierra Engineering Company, located in Sierra Madre, California. This small company of 350 employees made oxygen masks and other life-support equipment for military and civilian flyers.  Sierra’s main competitor was Gentex, a company located on the east coast. Both companies competed heavily for government contracts in a number of areas.


During a particularly bitter competition involving pilot crash helmets, Sierra Engineering Company ran into extreme difficulty. Part of the reason was the higher salaries on the West Coast. Also all hourly employees received “time and half” for overtime. But the biggest problem was that everyone had a “business as usual” attitude. From worker to manager, they did their jobs. If the company was in trouble that was someone else’s problem. They were doing the best that they possibly could. Or so they thought.


Then the company suddenly ran out of cash.  With no cash reserves, it couldn’t produce its products. It could not meet payrolls. It had other problems.  Seeing no way out, the president of the company committed suicide.  The company went into “Chapter 11.” Under this chapter of the bankruptcy law, the bank tries to save the company through its own control.


In desperation, the bank sought someone experienced who could lead the company out of its troubles. Where was the unusual person who was willing to work at minimum salary? Where was someone who had the supreme self-confidence that he would be successful under these conditions?  After a difficult search they found a young man by the name of Aaron Bloom. Aaron Bloom had been a vice-president of engineering who had left the same firm several years earlier.


Bloom took charge of the company. Gathering the less than 50 employees that remained together, he made an announcement. “From eight in the morning until five in the afternoon, we will all perform our regular duties.  If you are a secretary, you’ll do secretarial work. If you’re a manager, you’ll manage. If you are a design engineer, you’ll design. After five o’clock, everyone, from secretaries to myself will help the production line put the product together. You and I will take our orders from the production supervisors. They’ll be no pay for this, but there will we sandwiches for supper.”


Bloom answered questions and than concluded: “We are going to return Sierra Engineering to its rightful place of saving lives by supplying a good product at a quality price. We are also going to save our jobs. I know we can do this. If I thought we couldn’t, I wouldn’t be here.”


Within two years, Sierra Engineering Company had returned to its former position and even more so.  Once again, it was vibrant with a full complement of employees necessary to fulfill its mission.  Once again, the company was profitable. Clearly Sierra Engineering Company was on top due solely to the leadership of one man, Aaron Bloom.


One interesting thing to me was that everyone worked this hard to turn the company around. And remember, they did so without extra compensation. An even more interesting question is why they didn’t do this before they went into Chapter 11?  Had they done so, they would not have run out of money.  No one would have been fired. No one would have had to work this hard. Why didn’t they do this?  Why was it necessary that 300 members of the company had to leave its employ before this happened?  And how could it be that 50 people could do more than 350 had done?


I have thought a great deal about this question and I’ll tell you my answer. I don’t believe that the 350 employees knew they could make a difference. Further, I don’t believe they cared.  Aaron Bloom made them see that they could do it and made them care.  He had them do the impossible.


So, the combat model isn’t the average model of leadership. It means that the leader must not only take full responsibility for the mission and getting it accomplished. Somehow, someway, with the help of those he or she leads, things have to happen regardless of the situation faced. As General Ron Fogleman, former Chief of Staff of the Air Force says, “The leader is the one who gets things done.”

Leadership Is Getting People To Perform To Their Maximum Potential

Let me propose a definition of leadership to you. With this definition, it doesn’t make any difference whether you are leading a company, an organization, a military unit, or just some friends in a club.


Leadership is the art of influencing others to their maximum performance to accomplish any task, objective or project.


Note that my definition of leadership says nothing about management. We saw earlier that leadership and management are not the same. Can you always get people to perform to their maximum potential?  I believe that through leadership you can, but to do it, you must first win over the minds of others.

To Lead, You Must First Win Minds

A good deal of leadership in the winning of successes in everything you do has to do with your ability to win the minds of the people around you. If you can do this, you’ll not only lead successfully, but you’ll be successful in achieving your goals and objectives.


I’d like to go over this again. What we’ve seen is that the power of leadership is considerable. The resources of your organization, top management actions, actions of adversaries, the abilities of people who you’re responsible for or who are in your organization, or anything else are all secondary. They are secondary to your ability to help people do things that they didn’t know they could do or didn’t know needed to be done. To do this, you must first win their minds to your way of thinking.


Proof That Leaders Are Made, Not Born

You may have heard that leaders are born with certain characteristics that make them leaders. You are either born with them or you are not. If you don’t have these things at birth, too bad for you. There is nothing you can do about it.


This is absolute nonsense. Sure people are born with certain characteristics that give them the potential for being good at certain things. Some are born with advantages for playing basketball, being a great concert pianist, or being a leader. But learning and developing whatever abilities you have is far more important than what abilities you are born with.


Want proof? Researchers have found that you have a better chance of becoming a company president or CEO if you are more than six feet tall than if you are less than six feet. This would seem to support the “born with” theory. Doesn’t being tall say something of your chances of becoming a top leader? The only problem is, there are just too many exceptions. Napoleon Bonaparte was short, so was Gandhi, Truman, and Ulysses S. Grant. Colonel Kyes who led his wing so successfully that he became a three star general was 5 feet 7 inches tall. David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the modern State of Israel was only 5 foot 3 inches. His famous general, Moshe Dayan was 5 foot 8 inches.


The Famous Air Force General Who Was Considered A Poor Leader

Let me tell you about someone who was taller than six feet, but who definitely learned to be a great leader. And I know that he learned leadership because one of those who taught him told me about it.


Hoyt S. Vandenberg became a four-star general and chief-of-staff of the United States Air Force.  He was a unique leader.  During World War II when he commanded the 9th Air Force, he frequently visited his squadrons at their bases. On one occasion a gunner from one of the crews had a complete breakdown.  “I can’t go today,” the gunner screamed.  “I won’t fly today, sir.  I can’t go today!” he protested to his aircraft commander.


General Vandenberg saw the disturbance. Running up to the gunner he placed his hand on his shoulder. “Sergeant, you don’t have to go today.  This is not your day.  This one is mine.” With that, General Vandenberg, climbed into the airplane and flew the mission as a gunner.  You can imagine its effects on the 9th Air Force.  It also must have had a positive effect on the gunner, as he stayed and flew the additional missions necessary to complete his tour of duty.

General Vandenberg was not a born leader. How do I know?  When I was a Cadet at West Point, one of my best friends was my classmate Ted Wells.  Ted’s father and his grandfather had also graduated from the academy.  Shortly before our graduation, I was sitting with Ted and talking to his grandfather, Major General Robert M. Danford.  General Danford had graduated in the class of 1904, and had long since retired from the army.

“Bill,” he said, “I understand that you’re going into the Air Force.”

“Yes, sir,” I said, “I am.  I want to fly.”

“Well,” he said, “you know I was Commandant of Cadets under General MacArthur when he was a Superintendent of the Military Academy after World War I. Have you heard of General Hoyt Vandenberg?”

“Oh, yes sir,” I said. “He was Chief of Staff of the Air Force ten years ago.”

“I’ll tell you something I bet you didn’t know about General Vandenberg. When I was Commandant, General Vandenberg was a plebe going through his first year at the Academy. General Vandenberg was at one point almost discharged from the Academy.”

“Why?” I asked.


General Danford smiled. “Because of a lack of leadership ability,” he answered.


General Vandenberg developed himself from the time he was a plebe at West Point to the time that he graduated.  He became a great leader not because he was born a leader, but because he learned how and developed into one.


Why Good Leadership Doesn’t Depend on Good Deals

I’ve mentioned this before, but I want to mention it again: Good leadership doesn’t seem to have much to do with participation in management or Japanese management or good working conditions or superior pay.  You don’t have to be a “nice guy.”


In western Pennsylvania, there’s a tool and die company called Oberg Industries.  The president is Don Oberg. A magazine article in INC magazine called him “The Lord of Discipline.” Western Pennsylvania is right in the middle of union country, but Oberg Industries is non-unionized. It’s not due to pleasant working conditions. Oberg Industries has a 50-hour workweek with a 15-minute lunch break for both management and labor.


Here are some other interesting facts. In a recent year, annual sales for most tool-and-die companies were on the average $2 million a year. At Oberg they were $27 million.  And the average sales per employee was 30% higher.  There was no recession the year that we’re talking about. It may be hard to believe, but 1,600 people applied for only 30 job openings that year.


Now, why is this?  Are Oberg employees well paid? Of course they are. However, far more important than compensation, Don Oberg, while he is a hard task master, has managed to instill in all his employees the idea that if you work at Oberg, you’re the best. Furthermore, everyone knows that the leader at the top is giving 100% himself to be the best. And so Oberg continues to outperform similar firms and people fight to work there.[5]        Good leadership doesn’t depend on good deals.


Let’s look again at our combat model of leadership.  You’ve probably heard that many of our outstanding combat organizations are elite units: Green Berets, Rangers, Marines, the Navy’s SEALS, airborne units, fighter squadrons, and others. Members of these units often receive additional compensation. The official name is hazardous duty pay.  If you think that hazardous duty pay amounts to quite a bundle, you’re dead wrong. Not only is it not a lot, but it certainly doesn’t make up for the additional risks that individuals in these organizations face. Furthermore in some of these organizations, promotions are slower than in comparable regular military units. And they frequently train much longer hours. Why, then, do people volunteer for elite units?


Eight  Facts You Must Know Before You Begin To Lead

1.   One person can make the difference between success or failure in any organization. You can be that person through becoming a leader.


2.   One of the most amazing facts is that most people become successful only through the help of others. You can obtain this help through the practice of leadership.


3.   You don’t need to be a manager to be a leader. You don’t need to wait to be promoted. You can become a leader immediately.


4.   Even if you have failed many times as a leader in the past, you can still become a compedent, even an exceptional leader


5.   If you learn the basic elements of the combat model of leadership, you will be able to lead in just about any other situation.


6.   The essence of leadership is very simple. It is to motivate people to perform to their maximum potential to achieve goals or objectives that you set.


7.   Leaders are made not born. If you want to be a leader, you can learn how in the same way that you learned other skills.


8.   Good leadership doesn’t depend on good deals or pleasant working conditions. You ability to motivate people to perform to their maximum is independent of these factors.


Leadership has tremendous power to help you to accomplish anything that you want the group or organization that you lead to achieve. That’s why every organization needs good leaders and everyone can and should decide to develop their leadership abilities.



1 Warren Bennis, Managing People is Like Herding Cats (Provo, Utah: Executive Excellence Publishing, 1999) p. 81.

2 Colin Powell,  My American Journey, (New York: Random House, 1995) p.185.

3 CINCSAC’s Views on Professional Military Education,” Air Force Policy Letter for Commanders (October 1988), p.2.

4 This comment was made at a presentation to a group of students of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C. on October 4, 1988.



The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling.

                                                                – Lucretius


by Dale Carnegie

Leadership is all about influencing others. I discovered this about twenty years ago and so asked to teach a course at the university which previously didn’t interest me at all. That course was salesmanship. I had discovered that both leadership and salesmanship shared this important quality. I completed an article recently, “Drucker on Leadership.” In doing the research Ire-read one of the last books that he wrote before his death in 2005. That book is Management Challenges for the 21st CenturyHarperBusiness, 1999). I was surprised and delighted to note that my former professor had come to the same conclusion. Your time invested in reading How to Win Friends and Influence People will be well spent. I located the following website where this book can be downloaded: . Of course you can still get a printed version at through at for as little as $2.95 used. There is much that this book can teach all leaders, yet it is easy to read and understand> Paradoxically it is a book I think that one can get more and more out of reading as one becomes more senior in an organization.



  1. In the chapter on “The Big Secret of Dealing with People” Carnegie tells us that there is only one way to get people to do anything, and that is by getting them to want to do it. True, if you have the power, you can give someone a direct order, “Do it or else.” However, this isn’t the only way. it was noted in one of the best leadership books ever written. This book was written by Xenophon 2000 years ago and we had it as our “book of the month” a couple months ago. Xenophon said that Cyrus the Great of Persia was being instructed on the best way to lead. Xenophon reported that Cyrus’ father told him that the best way was not to reward obedience or to punish those that disobey, but rather to get his followers to want to follow and obey. He suggested that he look out for his followers better than he did for himself or that his followers would for themselves.

  2. Carnegie goes on to tell us that the most important human drive is to feel important. Therefore, he suggests that we do everything possible to make those who follow us feel important. Mary Kay Ash, who built the billion dollar Mary Kay Cosmetics Company from scratch wrote that she imagined that everyone she met had a huge sign over their reading “Make Me Feel Important” and she did everything she could to do exactly that. However, he was not talking about flattery which he said was dishonest and not have the effect intended, but rather “honest appreciation ” of a person when they did well.

  3. It’s not what we want that is important to others. It’s what they want. So whenever possible, its better to let others tell us whenever possible. Carnegie tells us one story about a sales manager faced with the challenge of revitalizing a failing sales force. He approached this challenge by first asking his salespeople what they wanted from him. After carefully noting down each item, he asked them what they now felt that he had a right to expect from them. Famous military strategist Basil Liddell Hart recommended what he called “the indirect approach” in strategy. That is, not to go after objectives directly, but to find indirect means of getting what is wanted. The indirect approach works in leadership too.

  4. Getting the person or persons you would lead involved in the issue is an important leadership technique. Carnegie tells us that this even works when leading our bosses. He quotes a senior White House aide to the president who got the president involved in what he thought should be done to the extent of even giving the president credit for the aide’s own idea. Getting others involved in the issue is always a good idea, which is easy to do if by no other way than just asking for suggestions. When you are trying to lead others at your level, or your boss, involvement becomes extremely important. And less you think you need only worry about subordinates, I believe the biggest factor between those that reach the upper levels and the top of their organizations, and those excellent leaders who do not is the ability of the first group to lead those over whom they have no official authority.

  5. Carnegie tells us that we need to dramatize our ideas. I say you need to declare your expectations, your goals, your objectives, your mission and you must do so in an exciting and motivating way. That’s the kind of thing Dale Carnegie is talking about. There is a time for understatement and downplaying how you do this. However, for the most part “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” Admiral David Farragut’s famous order at The Battle of Mobile Bay during the American Civil War.


This month’s free downloadable book. is The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie. I’m not biased toward the the name Carnegie, but this month’s book’s author is by someone of the same last name as last month’s author. However, this time the book is an autobiography. Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest American of the 19th century. Yet he came to this country with absolutely nothing. He made his money, millions of dollars, billions in today’s dollars,  manufacturing steel. Then after retirement, whereas other wealthy men created statues or libraries with their names and likenesses prominently displayed, Carnegie gave a good deal of his money away. Carnegie was one of our first great philanthropists. He was not a giant physically. He was less than 5′ 6″ tall. However, he was a giant leader. He did not claim to know much about steel. But he knew a great deal about people. His tombstone bears the words:  “Here lies a man who was able to surround himself with men far cleverer than himself.” Leaders of the 21st century can learn much from this leader of the 19th. His book is at


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