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 [...]

By |2020-03-31T22:57:08+00:00March 29th, 2020|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 [...]

By |2020-03-25T19:24:45+00:00March 25th, 2020|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 [...]

By |2020-03-19T00:21:11+00:00March 17th, 2020|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 [...]

By |2020-02-26T20:19:44+00:00February 21st, 2020|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 [...]

By |2020-02-10T15:32:28+00:00February 10th, 2020|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 [...]

By |2020-01-24T20:32:43+00:00January 24th, 2020|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 [...]

By |2020-01-16T19:28:36+00:00January 16th, 2020|Blog|0 Comments

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 [...]

By |2019-09-11T21:28:07+00:00September 11th, 2019|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 [...]

By |2019-09-04T14:34:00+00:00September 4th, 2019|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 [...]

By |2018-12-06T16:51:58+00:00December 6th, 2018|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, [...]

By |2017-12-26T20:32:27+00:00December 26th, 2017|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 [...]

By |2017-12-11T21:13:28+00:00December 11th, 2017|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 [...]

By |2017-12-06T21:54:21+00:00December 6th, 2017|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 [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:01+00:00August 24th, 2017|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 [...]

By |2020-01-08T16:24:55+00:00July 27th, 2017|Blog, Travel|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 [...]

By |2019-09-11T12:47:02+00:00March 13th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

A Cautionary Leadership Tale

Warning Aspiring Leaders: If you set about bringing down the king, you had better be prepared to BE the king. That means fixing all the issues you were complaining about. Leading, governing is always harder than complaining. Side note: if you're unable to separate your political feelings from the intellectual argument on leadership that follows, [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:01+00:00February 14th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Look Around, Leaders. What Do You See?

Look around, leaders. Who do you see? Yes, it is meant to be a loaded question. We are told constantly through the popular culture and through many of our religious cultures that we are to see and value the dignity of the individual and not merely the skin colors or genders. And as far as [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:02+00:00January 31st, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Are You “That Guy?” Here’s Some Help…

Sorry to say, but if you are, you don't know it, and most likely nobody is going to tell you. But there's hope. You can turn it around. Really. The New York Times piece "How To Keep Your Office Holiday Party From Going Off The Rails" is a good place to start. “Getting on top [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:02+00:00December 21st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Will You Survive The Unintended Consequences Of Your Good Actions?

One of the truths of all human endeavor, especially in business, is that your actions have consequences. That is, after all, why we make decisions and think about what we need to do to achieve our desired outcomes. And when we do it properly, we are rewarded with success. But what happens when we take [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:02+00:00December 21st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Be Ready To Answer What You Are Reading

"What are the last 5 books you've read?" I was surprised how often I was asked that question as a young rising professional by my bosses and other senior leaders considering hiring me. Then as I grew older, I found myself asking the same question to my direct reports when I took over a new [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:02+00:00December 6th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Embrace Processes For Business and Governance

Here is a typical situation when a leadership and organizational consultant goes into a new business to help them out. The consultant has a discussion with the client trying to get to the bottom of several issues in the front office. There are multiple paths that needed exploring, but the consultant's process tells him where [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:02+00:00December 2nd, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Some Sociology, Thinking, and Leadership Ponderings…Post-Election

We need to talk. We need to listen. We need to love. Everyone. Our neighbors. Those who aren't our neighbors. The promise of technology, the internet and social media was that people would be able to get together in virtual communities. The reality is that people have used the information revolution to increasingly associate with [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:02+00:00November 9th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Be A Better Leader By Connecting Ideas

Ideas. The best leaders live in the realm of ideas. Facts and details are great and necessary. But connecting ideas is what advances business and humanity. You've heard me say often that the senior leader's job is to stay above the daily fray and focus on the long-term vision and strategy (see here). I also [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:03+00:00October 27th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

But Are Facts Enough To Change Minds?

It's better to be right than first. We've talked often here about narratives in the past (see here and here) and why it is so critical for senior leaders to look for evidence when making decisions and developing strategies to achieve corporate objectives. Sunday's Washington Post featured an article titled "Amanda Knox is innocent. But [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:03+00:00October 3rd, 2016|Blog|3 Comments

We Should Reconsider Who We Call Allies

Perhaps it is time to have an internal dialogue within the Government and between our treaty partners about precision in language about what an ally is and isn't. And if necessary, we ought to take the bold steps of making formal changes to whom we call allies. It matters. I would contend allies and coalition [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:03+00:00September 22nd, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Some Thoughts For Rising Professionals

Whether you are a young rising professional or are tagged to be a senior leader's executive assistant, there are some very sound steps to help you get through turbulent waters. Few people want to go through the pain of the steps required to rise through the ranks in the corporate world, but those who have [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:03+00:00August 25th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Fiddling While Rome Burns and The Right to Be Wrong

It has been a difficult week for liberalism in the world. The notion that people ought to respect the election results even if it puts in power those they oppose isn't working. The idea that cosmopolitanism - diversity and respect for other cultures - is better than everyone looking and thinking the same seems to [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:03+00:00July 19th, 2016|Blog|3 Comments

Some business and leadership lessons from Brexit and what they mean for the future

How odd that the Washington Post said that the biggest "threat" to the European Union is the will of the people. The Brussels technocrats who have steadfastly maintained a distance between themselves and the people of the member countries all for the ostensible betterment of those people through routine and predictable rules of commerce and [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:03+00:00June 27th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

The Social Contract, The Oregon Trail and New America (Yup, they go together…)

Last week I had a very serendipitous convergence. I had fresh in my memory the day two weeks ago that I spoke to the government classes at our local high school. It's not the kids' fault that they didn't know what the social contract is. The overwhelming sentiment among these seniors was that we should [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:04+00:00May 25th, 2016|Blog|1 Comment

Professional Lessons From a Great Mentor

Last week, I visited a mentor who arguably taught me the most about professionalism in my early career; lessons that have stayed with me until. John Casciano certainly didn't look like the type that would rise to the highest levels of National Security leadership. Short in stature, he certainly wasn't going to rise based on [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:04+00:00May 23rd, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Once Again, Actions Speak Louder Than Words

When Air Force General Michael Fortney told his subordinate commanders to root our and do away with Queep (http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/2016/05/03/2-star-general-puts-wasteful-queep-duties-crosshairs/83873648/), he continued a long tradition of senior leaders trying to Lean down their operations and do away with those meaningless duties that take away focus from the company's bottom line. Unfortunately, his directive is doomed to [...]

By |2016-05-10T18:40:03+00:00May 10th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Truth Isn’t Good Or Bad, It Just Is

A recent publication of the entire results of a 40 year old study on health and diet puts another nail in the coffin of what "everybody knows" regarding diet and heart disease. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/04/12/this-study-40-years-ago-could-have-reshaped-the-american-diet-but-it-was-never-fully-published/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_most-draw5) This post isn't about what we should or shouldn't be eating. It is about truth in research and completeness in our search [...]

By |2017-11-23T18:26:04+00:00April 13th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Critical Thinking For Leaders

In previous posts we discussed how leaders have a responsibility to create organizational clarity, ensure the organization's identity and direction, create an organizational structure to meet the long-term objectives, to stay above the day-to-day fray and let their subordinates do their jobs, and to learn to say "I don't know." That all still applies. But [...]