Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ted Tuesday: Stanley McChrystal: Listen, learn ... then lead

“One of America’s greatest warriors.” — Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Good Morning Folks,

If you want to be a better leader, today's Ted talk is going to be quite remarkable for you. This is a good speech on leadership from one of the finest Generals of our time, General Stanley McChrystal.

General Stanley McChrystal is the former commander of U.S. and International forces in Afghanistan. A four-star general, he is credited for creating a revolution in warfare that fuses intelligence and operations.

Four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military. How can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets? By listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure.

Says McChrystal, "I was raised with traditional stories of leadership: Robert E. Lee, John Buford at Gettysburg. And I also was raised with personal examples of leadership. This was my father in Vietnam. And I was raised to believe that soldiers were strong and wise and brave and faithful; they didn't lie, cheat, steal or abandon their comrades. And I still believe real leaders are like that. But in my first 25 years of career, I had a bunch of different experiences."

"And I learned personal relationships were more important than ever. We were in a difficult operation in Afghanistan in 2007, and an old friend of mine, that I had spent many years at various points of my career with -- godfather to one of their kids -- he sent me a note, just in an envelope, that had a quote from Sherman to Grant that said, "I knew if I ever got in a tight spot, that you would come, if alive." And having that kind of relationship, for me, turned out to be critical at many points in my career."

"I stood in front of a screen one night in Iraq with one of my senior officers and we watched a firefight from one of our forces. And I remembered his son was in our force. And I said, "John, where's your son? And how is he?" And he said, "Sir, he's fine. Thanks for asking." I said, "Where is he now?" And he pointed at the screen, he said, "He's in that firefight." Think about watching your brother, father, daughter, son, wife in a firefight in real time and you can't do anything about it. Think about knowing that over time. And it's a new cumulative pressure on leaders."

Have a look:

Concludes McCrystal: "That was my journey. I hope it’s not over. I came to believe that a leader isn’t good because they’re right; they’re good because they’re willing to learn and to trust.

This isn’t easy stuff. It’s not like that electronic abs machine where, 15 minutes a month, you get washboard abs.

And it isn’t always fair. You can get knocked down, and it hurts and it leaves scars.

But if you’re a leader, the people you’ve counted on will help you up. And if you’re a leader, the people who count on you need you on your feet."

Thank you General. Any day our Future Leaders need more inspiration I encourage them to watch this and then watch it again.

Good leaders are able to get others to buy into a common cause and to give others a sense of purpose, which is what this talk was about. Leadership is needed to communicate. He says that they must build trust and confidence in order to communicate with the people. I think that a true leader is trying to fit the characteristics. Thanks for listening.

Have a GREAT Day,

Mitchell D. Weiner
Chief Happiness Officer

"Leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a failure."

Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TED Tuesdays on MitchWeiner.com highlights some of today's most intriguing ideas. Look for more talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more— HERE.  

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