Authenticity in Leadership

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” – Norman Schwarzkopf

Last night I found myself in front of the TV watching NFL football games I cared nothing about, when one of my friends sent me a text and suggested I watch the movie “We Were Soldiers” (it was airing on TNT).  I’d seen the movie before, but since my Texans had already lost their game and my Saints had pulled out a win in theirs, I figured it was worth watching again.  I’m glad I did.

“We Were Soldiers” is a 2002 film that dramatizes the Battle of Ia Drang on November 14, 1965 (during the Vietnam War).  In this battle, 400 American soldiers were dropped in to a battlefield to secure a position, only to find out the location was the base camp for a veteran North Vietnamese Army division of more than 4,000 men.  After several days of fierce battle, the US soldiers had defeated an enemy ten times their size – but at a significant loss.  A hollow victory for sure, but one which reflects the nature of that horrible conflict. Continue reading

The Most Important Member of the Team is the Team

“No one person, no one alliance, no one nation, no one of us is as smart as all of us thinking together.” – Admiral James Stavridis (Ret), US Navy, and former Supreme Allied Commander Europe

“[In medicine,] we have trained, hired and rewarded people to be cowboys, but it’s pit crews that we need.” – Atul Gawande, author of ‘How Do We Heal Medicine?’

“A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skills of the others.” – Norman Shidle

You may recall from my last message two weeks ago that my father was involved in a motorcycle accident and suffered a serious brain injury.  Fortunately the EMT’s identified the signs of injury quickly enough and had him airlifted from the scene of the accident to the nearest trauma center – San Antonio Military Medical Hospital (SAMMC).   It is there I spent a week in the ICU unit watching over my father’s recovery.  It is there I watched his strength, courage, and dogged determinism turn the situation from a tragedy into a miracle in the making.