You had to have been hiding under a rock or not care to notice but this past week a big election occurred here in the United Staes. However you feel about the outcome there is no doubt that there were clear priorities set forth by politicians. You heard about the economy and tea, health care and death panels, as well as immigration and Mexican drug lords.
What you didn’t hear much about is that there are still troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan not to mention a presence in areas like Germany, South Korea, Okinawa, or Guantanamo Bay.
Why do we forget so quickly? Let us honor the military by studying what works so well for them so we can find ways to solve problems in our own unique situations.
I recently picked up a copy of the Harvard Business Review primarily because of the cover story about “Leadership Lessons from The Military”. Here are the key learnings:
According to a 2009 Gallup poll, 82% of respondents expressed “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the military, whereas only 16% expressed confidence in big business. There have been some tremendous leaders in our history that came from a military background. Let us not forget Presidents George Washington, Harry Truman, or Dwight Eisenhower and the leadership lessons they gave us based on their military experiences. Of course there have been poor military leaders so we can learn from their mistakes as well. General Petraeus, we are learning from you.
In the article, there were some helpful elements that those church, community and business leaders can utilize to be effective with your teams.
1. Meet the troops: Create a personal link that will be crucial to lead people through challenging times.
2. Make Decisions: Make good and timely calls which will be the crux of responsibility in a leadership position.
3. Focus on Mission: Establish a common purpose, lift up those who will help you achieve it, and eschew personal gain.
4. Convey Strategic Intent: Make the objectives clear, but avoid micromanaging those who will execute on them.
November 11th is Veteran’s Day. What is different about this day? Well the idea is to celebrate and thank those who are still alive but have served. It was originally known as Armistice Day to mark the end of World War I. It is different than Memorial Day because we have the chance to honor these people in person. There are over 23 million veterans of the US Military so plenty to honor.
What will you do to honor veterans this week?
*I am giving out 2 signed copies of The American Patriot’s Almanac. I am looking for unique ways that you all are honoring veterans so it is a bit subjective. For full disclosure, I have worked on the promotions in the past for this book and with Bill Bennett and John Cribb who compiled it. I would also like to share your stories with them. The authors have graciously signed copies for veterans within Thomas Nelson.
To learn more about Veteran’s Day, here is an excerpt from The American Patriot’s Almanac (2010) by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb.
In the early morning hours Of November 11, 1918, representatives of France, Britain, and Germany met in a railroad car near Compiègne, France, to sign an armistice ending World War I, or the Great War, as it was known at that time. The cease-fire took effect at 11:00 a.m. that day—the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Up and down the trenches, after four long years of the most horrific fighting the world had yet known, the guns fell silent. “The roar stopped like a motor car hitting a wall,” one U.S. soldier wrote to his family. Soldiers on both sides slowly climbed out of the earthworks. Some danced; some cheered; some cried for joy; some stood numbed. The Great War had left some 9 million soldiers dead and another 21 million wounded. No one knows how many millions of civilians died. Much of Europe lay in ruins. But finally, with the armistice, it was “all quiet on the Western Front.”
For many years November 11 was known as Armistice Day to honor those who fought in World War I. In 1954 Congress changed the name to Veterans Day to recognize all American veterans.
Every November 11 at 11:00 a.m., the nation pays tribute to its war dead with the laying of a presidential wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C.
But Veterans Day honors more than the dead. Memorial Day, observed in May, is for remembering soldiers who lost their lives in the service of their country. Veterans Day is set aside to honor and thank all who have served in the U.S. armed forces—particularly our 23 million living veterans.