Leaders: Pause and Assess – Are You On Your Flight Path? Does It Need Updating?

by Tom Ruby and Scott Bethel We're now half a year into the Covid-19 Pandemic. So much has changed and so many experts have missed the performance or integrity cut that few people can be certain they have confidence in what is real and what isn't. Now is the time for business and government leaders to assess whether we are on the path to make it through the pandemic healthy or whether we're about to fly into a mountain. And its foggy. And turbulent. Murky and unstable air ahead. Let's reassess this together. The focus of what we are talking [...]

By |June 30th, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

The Wrong Predictions We Will Recover From

This Coronavirus pandemic has interrupted individual lives and communal national lives to a degree unseen by younger generations in their lives. Older generations who lived through WWII are nearing the end of their lives and their memories  of their lives during that time are fleeting. That means this pandemic is genuinely a new experience for whole populations. It was not just the flu. It was real. And it did damage to the economy that will take a long time to recover from. There have been no end to predictions about what will happen and how lives will change forever. I [...]

By |May 22nd, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Time for a New Electronic Training Program

Pretty much everyone has tired of the novelty of Zoom meetings and Zoom Happy Hours. And yet we can be assured that we will be conducting core office meetings electronically beyond the foreseeable future. Even after the Covid-19 pandemic is a memory, the effects will linger in the form of working from home and drastically reduced office space. In the mean time, companies will have to fulfill their annual employee training requirements. This is the time to change your old training routine and go from the same soul-crushing training to something that will actually move the company in a new [...]

By |May 18th, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

The Humility We Need To Get Through The Pandemic

Excellent piece in The Atlantic, "Why The Coronavirus Is So Confusing." It gets back to a previous post on the Equation which discusses how to deal with situations in which there are lots of variables. We people are not very good at considering the interaction between multiple causal variables working at the same time. Here are a few key points from The Atlantic article: 1. "It seems unlikely that a random bat virus should somehow jump into a susceptible human. But when you consider millions of people, in regular contact with millions of bats, which carry tens of thousands of [...]

By |April 30th, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Why You Need a Chief Analyst

If the Coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is the importance of evidence in decision-making. Facts abound in the world. Most are irrelevant to any particular issue. But being unaware of the facts relevant to your organizational situation blinds you as a leader. I encourage all senior leaders, especially CEOs and Board members to strongly consider establishing a Chief Analyst in your organization. A month ago I wrote about what was happening with Coronavirus and how the pandemic was not like the flu, traffic accidents or other seemingly similar causes of death, such as child drownings in backyard pools. [...]

By |April 22nd, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Covid-19 forces changes to our predictions

With time comes clarity. That is the case with much that happens in life. So it is with the Coronavirus. Not with the science of how the virus infects people. That is known. But with how it moves from person to person before they show symptoms, how long it can remain on surfaces, how far it spreads through the air, all is becoming more clear over time. That is good in and of itself. There is another area in which time offers clarity. We're learning every day how much people are willing to take in terms of isolation. We're learning [...]

By |April 17th, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Leaders Moving Forward Post-Coronavirus

It is genuinely difficult for leaders today to think ahead to how they're going to lead their businesses, departments, governmental jurisdictions, trade organizations, etc, out of the present darkness of pandemic. After all, they're practically overwhelmed by managing the disruption day-to-day to remain open and active. Here's the thing...Leaders, the preponderance of your focus has to be on the long term. Yes, it is absolutely necessary for you to devote some measure of your mental and physical energy to the present situation. But unless you are a single-entity business or office, you must lead the thinking on what will happen [...]

By |April 14th, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

The World Will Change This Year – Leaders Should Prepare Now

By Tom Ruby and Scott Bethel Back in the first week of January, Tom posted some specific predictions for what the world would see in 2030. Not yet half a year into that decade, the Coronavirus Pandemic is accelerating some of those predictions. Sure, there were people who predicted that a pandemic would wreak havoc in a globalized, interconnected world. Kudos to those who accurately predicted this would happen. But it is no surprise that there is wide variance in how countries have and are responding. Many people are surprised at how willing populations are to accept social distancing and [...]

By |March 29th, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Progress Report on Covid-19/Coronavirus

We're now a couple of weeks into the Pandemic that is the Coronavirus or Covid-19. It is time for a progress report on where we are and what are our prospects for recovery. First and foremost, we need to remember, reiterate and remind one another that this pandemic is real and not a hoax. It is a real and rapidly spreading disease that is markedly different from the seasonal flu. It cannot be compared to traffic fatalities and waved away because infections and deaths from this virus are not spread out across a country over the period of a year. [...]

By |March 25th, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Leaders, Your Career Could Be Defined This Week and Next

With the Covid-19 Coronavirus now in full Pandemic mode, leaders at every level, from political leaders to titans of industry, to small business leaders, to town councils and emergency management planners, all eyes are on you. In times of crisis, people look for someone to follow. In times of crisis, people look around for the person who keeps his head when all the rest are losing theirs. That is the woman or man they will naturally gravitate towards. By now, even the most ardent skeptic has realized that this pandemic is real. Some are still shaking their heads and saying [...]

By |March 17th, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Scaling up is good. Its also really hard. Help for thinking it through.

How many of you are in a business whose investors or owners have set an aggressive growth goal for the company? Or perhaps you have been told you're really great at something that you should scale up?  Growth and scaling are natural and good goals for companies. It can be incremental, slowly building more capacity of what you do very well in a narrow lane, or it can be branching out to other related competencies. But growth and upscaling are often very difficult to manage. In this article, I'll explain some of the issues that companies have as they scale [...]

By |February 21st, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Be Deliberate In All You Do

There's a mythical person it seems that most everyone wants to be like, the spontaneous, carpe diem, grab-my-overnight-bag-and-go-at-the-drop-of-a-hat person. The person who doesn't overly think things through. The person that feels the best way to start a project is to just start it and go from there. Real life, however, is not so romantic. Real life is more like having to suffer through the consequences of just starting and not worrying about thinking things through. The spontaneous person figures out what they want to eat every night and goes with that idea. Real life is more like having to run [...]

By |February 10th, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Lessons for a Young Professional

I've been corresponding recently with a young friend friend I used to work with. We were discussing weekly reflecting. Taking time out to think about where you are personally and professionally. He has really good insight for someone at his stage in his career, far better than I had at the same point many years ago. He told me the following: "I was looking at how I can incorporate a more professional weekly review to take into consideration how the previous went, areas of weakness, and what I can do to help prepare for the following week. That way [...]

By |January 24th, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Lessons from Afghanistan to all business leaders

The Washington Post has done a service to its readers and indirectly all businesses in its years-long effort to expose the waste of lives, resources and time the US government alone has spent in Afghanistan over the last 18 years. There ought to be hand-wringing in the halls of the Pentagon and Foggy Bottom and think tanks paying former national security staffers. There ought to be serious questions in foreign capitols about following the US in future conflicts. There ought to be outcries in congressional districts across the country where bridges and roads are in disrepair when good money was [...]

By |January 16th, 2020|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

What to Expect in 2030

Its always easy to look back and say, "Yeah, we should have seen that one coming..." Stunning how few people who were professionally studying the Soviet Union for a living saw its collapse. Yet all the signs were there. And the few who did see it coming were scoffed at. Funny how nobody found them and said, "Hey, sorry for scoffing you." Not everyone working on elements of the technology knew about the development of the smart phone, even if they knew the pieces and requisite capabilities existed. Those that were working on it likely knew only what their little [...]

By |January 4th, 2020|Categories: Blog|1 Comment

We Don’t Know What We’re Doing

George Packer, writing on the passing of Leslie Gelb in The Atlantic, quoted Gelb in saying "Foreign policy makes no sense." Packer added: "He meant that our leaders, even ones he respected, often don’t know what they’re doing. They have to make decisions with large but unknowable consequences in ignorance, thinking wishfully, perhaps under the sway of some irrelevant ideology, or the American politics of the moment, or the onrush of events in distant places. Then they spend their careers justifying decisions that they never understood in the first place." We really don't know what we're doing. That is the [...]

By |September 11th, 2019|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

John Casciano – Requiescet in Pace

With the passing of Air Force Maj Gen (Ret) John Casciano, the country has lost a leader, a gentleman and mentor for countless men and women over the last 5 decades. A career intelligence officer who rose on a non-traditional path that included both Strategic Air Command and Tactical Air Command, a long deployment to Thailand during the Vietnam war, teaching political science at the Air Force Academy, and leading the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Enterprise, he did everything and did it well. He exuded calm in the office and deliberate decision-making so that everything was transparent, thorough [...]

By |September 4th, 2019|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

On President George H.W. Bush

On Wednesday the 28th of May, 1986, then Vice President George H.W. Bush gave the commencement address at the US Air Force Academy. The speech itself was unremarkable. It was the man himself that stood out to me. He was very gracious. While most of my fellow newly minted lieutenants stiffly saluted and shook his hand (he shook every one of the 954 hands that morning) I couldn't help but notice his tie. I thanked him for making the trip to speak with us and told him I liked his tie. He perked up and said, "Do you really like [...]

By |December 6th, 2018|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Audits Are Really About Trust

In a Christmas Day release from The National Interest, (retired Army General) Tom Spoehr makes a passionate case that the upcoming audit of the Defense Department is unnecessary and potentially wasteful. Sadly, this Op-Ed column is riddled with straw man arguments, false trails and magic pixie dust to deflect the targeted reader, in this case, Congress, from the genuine purpose of any audit of the Department of Defense: instilling public trust in the processes of those charged with spending the money and ensuring a proper return on that money. Spoehr begins by commending the DoD "for the hard work to [...]

By |December 26th, 2017|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Future Dystopias Are Our Past and Present Human Nature

A family member once asked me during a home viewing of The Hunger Games what the point was of watching something that was so fantastical and obviously could never happen. I responded that this was not fantastical at all, but a fictionalization of human history. "When? When did this happen?" Well, I said, how about the Roman Empire when wealthy Romans dressed themselves to stand out from one another while watching defeated captives fight each other for others' amusement. Slaves, gladiators, wild beasts. Yes the Hunger Games was a dystopian future based on a historical past. This begs the question [...]

By |December 11th, 2017|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Transparency is *Really* Important

Transparency. How much light gets through. Can you see what is on the other side of the divide? Perhaps no concept brings on headaches for senior leaders. Perhaps no concept brings on hesitation from investors. Perhaps no concept makes workers wonder whether their jobs will be secure in the future. Why? Why should I as a senior leader give my competitors an insight into what I am doing and thus give up some of my competitive advantage? Why should I as a CEO allow my subordinates to know how I make decisions on promotions and assignments? Why should I ever [...]

By |December 6th, 2017|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Professional and Business Leaders Must Now Declare Where You Stand

Well, this is an interesting time in the U.S., isn't it? For all those who say we should avoid discussing politics and religion at work and family gatherings, you have larger issues to worry about than having to figure out what is interesting about the weather, the early turning of leaves this summer, and the eclipse in order to avoid discussing the deep divisions this country faces today. It is impossible to avoid the sociological elephant in the room. No matter how busy we can make ourselves at work, there is always down time, always a coffee break, always the [...]

By |August 24th, 2017|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

On Travel and Its Importance To You

"Someone hauled that wood up here." That was one key point of discussion when our family stood atop the Kofel, a small, but steep granite mountain on the west side of Oberammergau in the Ammergauer Alps of Germany. You don't need to be an experienced mountaineer to get to the top. The thick cables and chains anchored into the granite help you manage the steepest part of the climb. But going up with a backpack is hard enough. I can't imagine climbing up, then hauling a 20 foot beam, a 10 foot beam, and a larger than [...]

By |July 27th, 2017|Categories: Blog, Travel|0 Comments

Busy Is The New Status Symbol

I was listening to NPR this morning when a story came up about the new status symbol in the US these days: Busyness, or at least the appearance of being too busy for leisure and other people. Boy have we flipped things upside down or what in the last 20 years? It used to be that people showed their status by how much time they took off for vacations or how many people they had to do certain things for them. Today it is the opposite. NPR reported on a study that shows people perceive others to be more important [...]

By |April 27th, 2017|Categories: Blog|0 Comments

Can You Change Your Mind? It’s Important.

If you've read this column over the last few years, you would likely have noticed several themes, one of which is peoples' remarkable consistency in getting in their own way on the road to success. I've written many times that the three most important words a senior leader can say is "I don't know." Once you admit that and are open to finding out, your organization can really move forward and people will rally around you as a leader. But saying I don't know should necessarily mean that you are willing to accept the truth when evidence is presented. With [...]

By |March 13th, 2017|Categories: Blog|0 Comments