Sunday, October 24, 2010

Boast Not . . .

Recently felt the conviction of boasting to garner favor with Seniors. Lord, help me . . .

"For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?"~ 1 Cor. 4:7

"There is no glory in my own wisdom, there is no power in my own strength. There is no might in my own riches, but I will boast in knowing You." ~ Debbye Graafsma

"I will not boast in anything: no gifts, no pow'r, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ: His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom." ~Stuart Townsend

And, from Brian Regan, some humor that was used to induce this self-awareness:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bearded-Lady Accountability

A post with some interesting thoughts over at ID on the Navy-way of holding Commanding Officers accountable. [My highlights

Navy Fires More Leaders

There has been another rash of firings in the Navy lately, and this story details the end of three careers. I believe the total count of fired Commanding Officers is in excess of a dozen or so for the year. These stories are hardy perennials, quaint oddities that don't seem to fit in well with a world of shirked responsibility, forgiveness as a matter or course, and instantaneous redemption. How--many ask--can the Navy continue to hold its Commanding Officers to such ridiculously high standards? Where is the flexibility in a system of human beings, one that accounts for moments of weakness, errors in judgment? Isn't this kind of approach simply inconsistent with our complicated, hectic, modern world, colored as it is in hues of grey?

The plain truth of the matter is that the Navy remains a beacon of accountability and responsibility. Command is not a birthright, it is a great privilege, one that can and should be removed should the an individual forget his or her place. Yes, the practice of firing CO's seems quaint and anachronistic, but only because the general society has seemingly moved beyond notions of individual accountability, responsibility and culpability. The nation's financial system nearly fails, but were Wall Street titans removed by their Boards? How many resigned out of a sense of shame? How many members of Congress resigned over their roles in the oversight and regulation--or lack thereof--of the financial industry? Dig deeply enough, and you'll find greedy "homeowners" who never should have "bought" houses in the first place, or who bought houses far beyond their means. Where is their accountability, as the government falls all over itself to "keep them in their homes" and worse yet, conspires to "save" those who are "suffering" as their house value has fallen below what they owe? The Navy--and its insistence on accountability and responsibility--looks like a carnival attraction, a bearded-lady if you will--in a world of residue-free irresponsibility.

Where the Navy is most unlike the civilian world--is at sea. There, a commanding officer remains a figure of the past--someone whose authority is maximal, even in the age of networking and reach-back. The interesting thing is that very few people in the Navy--where this Draconian system remains--seem to want to dispense with it. This is because it is well-understood--that the the privilege of command is a fleeting sensation. Those who are commanded are the beneficiaries of the system, as their lives--their very existences--are placed uniquely in the care of the Commanding Officer. They have a right to expect that their leader will be held to exacting standards of professionalism and personal accountability. Their parents, husbands, wives, children and friends should also expect this to be so, as the Commander is entrusted with the treasured life of their loved-one.

Even in the Navy though--this system of accountability is fraying. Where? It is in those elements of the Navy MOST removed from the sea, the ones closest to the general society that finds the system anachronistic. I write here of those in the Navy who preside over large--mainly civilian--organizations dedicated to the acquisition of ships, airplanes, weapons, sensors, and things. Known mainly as "Program Managers" or "Program Executive Officers", these officers preside over organizations that routinely underestimate costs, mismanage allocated funds, collude with industry, and then deliver whatever capability was sought at 150% of estimated cost (which in some cases, would be a bargain). Secretary of Defense Gates recently fired the Joint-Strike Fighter Program Manager--but such sackings have been rare, even as cost over-runs have reach epidemic proportions. The culture of accountability and responsibility does not approach that of the operational Navy, and it is to the detriment of the Navy as a whole.

The Navy should not only NOT give in to the siren calls of society to be more human and humane--it should continue to practice its magnificent anachronism of responsibility and accountability, and extend it further into the world of acquisition. It is a great strength of a great Navy, what makes it unique and what makes it worthy of the respect it has.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Desire Drives

Consider, today, how your desire drives you in everything - your decisions, your relationships, what you accomplish (or not), your priorities, what you say, and how you do all of these things.

Now then, attempt to abstain from wanting anything too much* and report the impact on your mood, emotions, actions, interactions, and words.

*The only thing in this life we should want too much is to magnify the glory of God and enjoy Him!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Leadership Manifesto

The "Leadership Manifesto" by George Ambler has many points worth noting, pondering, remembering, and applying. Here they are:

  1. Leaders shape the future. Leaders bring change and leaders challenge the status quo. If there is no need for change, there is no need for leadership.
  2. Leadership is a choice. Leadership does not just happen. Leadership is a choice we make to live our vision and purpose daily.
  3. Leaders are made and not born. Leaders know who they are, understand their unique purpose, strengths and skills. They use who they are to bring their vision into the present.
  4. Leaders live their vision. They become the change that they want to see in the world. They set the example and show the way.
  5. Leaders incite conversation. Leadership is about making a difference and driving change which stimulates conversation and debate. The ideas that get talked about are the ones worth talking about.
  6. Leaders understand that character matters. Character establishes the foundation for trust. Without trust you cannot lead.
  7. Leaders invest in themselves. Leaders take care of their spiritual, emotional, mental and physical needs.
  8. Leaders are results focused. Leaders initiate and make things happen.
  9. Leaders inspire. Leaders cannot achieve their visions alone. They inspire others to come alongside and participate in the journey.
  10. Leaders leave a legacy. Success is what we do for ourselves whilst legacy is what we do for other. A leaders legacy is what they do for other and how they have invested in and developed others.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

IRT The Bathsheba Syndrome

It has been a long, very long, time since I last posted. I only have two words to support my unauthorized absence - Sea and Duty! I would have probably went another few months without writing, but a couple postings over at "Cut of His Jib" beckoned me to respond.

The good Captain has been highlighting the leadership failures of recent Commanding Officers that have been relieved since the inception of the new year. Many of those firings have came as a result of some ethical shortcomings. One theory presented to explain these moral compromises is what Dr. John Rice calls "The David and Bathsheba Syndrome." Explained at CoHJ this is the theory "named after King David of Israel and his affair with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his army officers. It describes how a leader’s success can cause unethical acts that the leader knows to be wrong. When the leader becomes successful, that person is given privileged access to information and the control over organizational resources. . . a leader might come to think that these tools of top leadership are in fact rewards for past successes. The leader may relax and enjoy the privileges and control of the position. When the leader succumbs to temptations that abound at the top, strategic focus may be lost."

In essence the Bathsheba Syndrome justifies ethical failures of senior leaders because of their inability to avoid the temptations common to men once they have achieved their position of authority. This explanation continues at the initial post: "'In short, too many of the perpetrators of the violations we have recently witnessed are men and women of strong personal integrity and intelligence – men and women who have climbed the ladder through hard work and ‘keeping their noses clean.’ But just at the moment of seemingly ‘having it all,’ they have thrown it away by engaging in an activity which is wrong, which they know is wrong, which they know would lead to their downfall if discovered, and which they mistakenly believe they have the power to conceal. This, in essence, is what we have labeled the ‘Bathsheba Syndrome.'"

It is necessary to stop and consider the underlying assumption in this statement. The author believes these leaders to have once possessed strong integrity and intelligence and a record of upstanding morality that resulted in their rise to power. Hmmm . . . I would love to hear your thoughts on that one. Here's a few of mine:

First, there is considerable blame shifting existing in the entire notion of the Bathsheba Syndrome theory. Essentially, this theory claims that what is outside the man is responsible for the actions of that man. [This is a very common response from all of us, rather it is the husband that yells at his wife because "she is always nagging me" or the child that hits another because "he called me a name" - we are all saying that "_______ made me do it" - fill in the blank - it is a result of my childhood or my stressful job or my health or my wife, child, boss, or . . . or . . . or . . .] Back to these unethical COs - it was not the power they experienced that produced their immoral actions - it was their corrupt nature, their rotten heart.

Let me describe a powerful word picture that illustrates my point - once you understand it, your perspective on their actions (and your own) will be completely transformed. It is my response to the Bathsheba Syndrome theory, you can call it the Shaken Glass theory

If I held a glass half full of water before you and began to shake it, what would happen? Well, water would go all over the place and make a mess, right? Now, what if I asked you - what caused the mess? How do you suppose you would respond? Before you continue - think about it. I'm willing to bet you would tell me the mess was a result of me shaking the glass - am I right? Well, you would be wrong! The mess was created by the water that existed in the glass prior to me shaking it. Now, stop and think . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . did you make the connection?

You see, when a person (or Commanding Officer) is shaken by the power, stress, etc. of their position, a mess cannot be created if the fundamental "stuff" that makes messes were not already contained within their hearts. These Captains had junk in their hearts - their character, the essence of who they are - and when they faced these temptations they sadly made a mess of their personal and professional lives.

I know of a Navy Captain, recently screened for Major Command of a Cruiser who taught leadership. He was a successful Destroyer CO who would take all of his students into his office and show off his huge montage of pictures, with his beautiful wife and four lovely children in it. I really bought into this leader - thought he was an ethical leader and an example to follow. Well, I recently learned that he has had the notorious "unduly familiar" relationship with one of his students - guess the temptation was just too much, huh? So, what do you do with that - the guy will still go on and Command again - but, standby; we may be seeing his name added to the list of relieved COs soon enough. So, often these firings are a result of what was done in darkness finally coming to light. "He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts." (1st Cor. 4:5) Leadership sanctifies - that sanctification process can be painful to some. But, nothing reveals character quite like leading at a high level of visibility.

So, the Bathsheba Syndrome theory is wrong - character was finally revealed - they were shaken - and everyone watching saw the mess within finally come out.

By the way, if Dr. Rice read and truly understood the entire David and Bathsheba story he would have recalled King David's own analysis of what happened found in Psalm 51 (the public declaration of repentance he made after his immoral actions were made known to all). His response in the Psalm is the lesson that should be gleaned from leadership failure - repent in Godly sorrow and turn to the One who will restore and redeem.

Psalm 51
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.

5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts a]">[a] ;
you teach b]">[b] me wisdom in the inmost place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.

14 Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17 The sacrifices of God are c]">[c] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

18 In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
build up the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings to delight you;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Death In His Grave

Another one from JT that moved me. That's real. That's what it's all about right there. Here's the words by John Mark Mcmillan:

Though the Earth cried out for blood
Satisfied her hunger was
Her billows calmed on raging seas
for the souls on men she craved

Sun and moon from balcony
Turned their head in disbelief
Their precious Love would taste the sting
disfigured and disdained

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

So three days in darkness slept
The Morning Sun of righteousness
But rose to shame the throes of death
And over turn his rule

Now daughters and the sons of men
Would pay not their dues again
The debt of blood they owed was rent
When the day rolled a new

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke holding keys
To Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

He has cheated
Hell and seated
Us above the fall
In desperate places
He paid our wages
One time once and for all

Death In His Grave (Performance Video) from john mark mcmillan on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Authentic Witness of the Officer Christian

Military Professions
· The leadership imperatives have not changed: Competence and Character manifested in presence, decisions, and actions (from Iraq research)
· The practice of the military professional: repetitive exercise of discretionary judgments amid a complex and uncertain operating environment
o For the strategic leader, most such judgments are highly visible and of high moral content (i.e., they influence directly the lives of many other humans – troops, families, enemies)
o For the strategic leader most such judgments will, of necessity, be communicated publicly and thus under broad scrutiny; leadership by presence is limited
· Thus, the leader’s daily practice must consistently be one of “professional excellence,” clearly reflecting both the leader’s military competence and moral character:
o Competence - Do the discretionary judgments you announce move the organization’s ethos to match its ethic, both in what is done (effectiveness) and in how it is done (rightly, with moral excellence)?
o Character - Do your leadership actions, verbal and non-verbal, consistently reflect integrity with the profession’s ethic; have you assumed and announced the role of moral exemplar as part of your leadership within the profession?

Under Your Christian Calling - The Imperative to Be a Witness
· “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
· “But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:22-25 (ESV)
o Notice that these passages do not allow closet Christians, those who hide their faith; nor do they indicate a preferred form of witness…

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Authentic Witness of the Officer Christian (Pt 1)

This will begin a series in which I share one of the best short articles on military Christian wsitnessing I have read. There is great wisdom contained in it by a godly man, named Dr. Don Snider. Let me know your thoughts.

The Authentic Witness of the Officer Christian
By Don M. Snider, PhD

It is simply not the case that, in an environment of persistent cultural wars as exists in America, every well-intentioned attempt to witness to your faith as an Officer Christian will be successful or even well received. There are real, substantive challenges to be overcome if you are to be so well integrated in your personal approach to witness that the Kingdom is advanced while your professional standing is undiminished.

Thus, the Challenge:

Your challenge is to create an understanding and practice by which, as an Officer-Christian, you can meet the challenge of integrating authentically your witness as a Christian with your responsibilities under Oath as a strategic leader within one of America’s military professions.

Mastering the Context (Bennis, On Becoming a Leader)
· Dual callings, God and Country
· Compartmentalization of roles prohibited Biblically; your faith is to be, and will be, known by all
· Officer-Christians within military professions are free to witness appropriately to their faith
· Ethics of the dual callings are mostly compatible, even reinforcing
· Increased secularization in America, including within the military; even some overt hostility toward Officer Christians from secularists, legalists, and atheists as part of the ongoing cultural wars

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Peace of Wild Things

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. ~Ps. 73: 28

The Peace of Wild Things

by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mirror At The Grand Canyon

Piper got me thinking the other day when I heard him say:

Nobody takes a mirror to the Grand Canyon. I mean a person wouldn't stand before the Grand Canyon and admire themselves as they view the magnitude of the Creation before them.

Stand on the edge of Magnificance and forget yourself!

Do you think there will be mirrors in Heaven?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

'Til They Come Home. . .

Pray protection and thanks.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Your Only Authority

Andy Stanley argues in this clip that moral leadership is THE foundation of our influence in people's lives. Continuing, he says, "When people see a gap between what we say and what we do, it erodes our moral authority and our influence in their lives." I agree with him. Watch the short vignette at Catalyst and let me know what you think. Have you ever served under a leader that continuously created such a "gap" that you had to jump often. How do we prevent asking our followers to "jump the gap" that we create in the ways that we practically lead? How do you ensure the "gap" is minimized?

Go to the above link and click on the article entitled, "Video: Your Only Authority" to learn a powerful truth that may translate to functional wisdom.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Little Leaders

Little Leader
by Louie Giglio

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.
Psalm 8:1

Little leaders are what we need.

As a result of the Fall, we all have a deadly preoccupation with ourselves. We are self-aware, self-focused, self-conscious, self-made, self-protecting, self-promoting, self-centered and selfish. Conversion to Christ is nothing less than getting over ourselves. That's why there is more than a subtle change that happens at the foot of the Cross. A death takes place there. Christianity is not about self-help but rather self-death. New life begins when we each abandon "me" and fall on the mercy of a God who loves us in spite of ourselves and a Christ who gave Himself in our place. In that moment, we embrace freedom from the perpetual doom of the flesh and take up the cause of living solely for the One who freed us. Such is the way of the Savior, who calls any who would be a recipient of new life to "deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me" (see Matt. 16:24).

Yet from my experience, self does not go quietly. Instead, it stubbornly rears its head and demands its way, looking for any opportunity to stand in the limelight and receive the glory. If left unchecked, self will stand in the light of God and somehow try to take credit for it.

Recently, I was stunned by a photograph in USA Today of what astronomers say is the perfect spiral galaxy. Taken with the help of a new telescope on the Big Island of Hawaii, the photo shows a breathtaking shot of a galaxy named NGC 628—slightly smaller than our Milky Way (it contains only a paltry 100 billion stars) and, get this, 30 million light-years away. Funny, the whole point of the accompanying article was our great achievement of taking such a great photograph with our two-week-old telescope. Aren't we great? Hmmm. Seems like all the wrong pronouns! Granted, we have done well to photograph anything 30 million light-years away, but let's get the point straight: God's hand put every one of those stars in place. An appropriate caption for this photo would have been, "Can you believe God made this stuff with His own hands?"

The psalmist writes:

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (Ps. 8:3-4).

Notice all the pronouns. Your heavens. Your fingers. You set in place. Get it? God is far from small. In fact, it's safe to say our self-limitation has never fully allowed us to think of Him as He is. Given His incomprehensible immensity, the fact that He is mindful of us at all is amazing!

So if you want a quick glimpse into how small you are as a leader, take note of which pronouns consume you: "His," "He" and "Yours"; or "I," "me" and "mine." Little leaders use "He" a lot. The big ones use "me."

A stage is a dangerous place to be, because a stage, by definition, is a raised platform. Stages are built so that little people can be seen more easily by larger audiences. The lights are bright. The sound is big. Yet if we are not careful, those of us who lead can allow the stage to succeed, making more of us than we really are.

It's not that we are nobodies. We're created a little lower than angels and are crowned with glory and honor—made in His image (see Ps. 8:5). We get to rule over all He has made. But we've only to look up to be resized in an instant. [don't Sailors intuitively know this while at sea?]

Rather than absorb the light that shines on leaders, we must continually reflect it back to God. One night my wife, Shelley, and I were flying home to Waco from Houston in a small twin-engine plane. Every time I looked out the window, I saw a massive searchlight moving rapidly across the ground below. At first I thought a police helicopter was tracking some criminals, but after an hour the light was still there. Finally I spoke up, wondering aloud what could be going on. The pilot, ever so confident, informed me that the moon (which was full at the time and pretty much right there, if I’d only looked up) was shining on the plane, reflecting a huge circle of light onto the ground.

I felt like an idiot! Embarrassed and a little humiliated, I went back to minding my own business. Then it hit me! Eager to get even, I remarked that actually the moon was not shining on the plane. Rather, the sun was shining on the moon (hah!), and the light of the sun was reflecting off the moon onto the plane. Thus the sunlight was making the huge searchlight on the ground. Brilliant!

Well, as far as leaders go, we need more little moons. Shine a light on them if you will, but you'll only see a greater reflection of His glory in all those around them.

"O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (Ps. 8:1).

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Mark of a Great Leader

The Mark of a Great Leader
by Marshall Goldsmith

Years ago, when most organizations were based on the hierarchical business model of the Industrial Age, great leaders were those who were unemotional, rational, even mechanistic. Those days are gone. Today's leader, especially one who is in charge of a dynamic, global organization, finds himself or herself in desperate need of one key trait — self-awareness.

An organization's success today depends on such a variety of talents and skills that no one leader could possibly be gifted in simultaneously. There are technological issues, global issues, financial issues, human resource issues, leadership issues, employee issues, legal issues, and more. A leader who is self-aware enough to know that he or she is not adept at everything is one who has taken the first step toward being a great leader.

This sort of personal mastery entails having a heightened understanding of one's own behavior, motivators, and competencies — and having "emotional intelligence" — to monitor and manage one's emotional responses in a variety of situations. This variety of situations is not limited to the home office, or the boardroom. It is of a global nature, across cultures which are very different and can be difficult to navigate, especially for those who are not comfortable, knowledgeable, or willing to admit their individual strengths and weaknesses. Everyone has a shortcoming or two — leaders who are willing to admit these, who strive to improve, and who seek out a consulting team to fill in the gaps will 1) encourage followers to do the same and 2) make room for others whose talents lie where theirs don't.

Have you ever worked with a micro-manager? This is someone who thinks he or she needs to be involved in everything that happens within the company. These leaders are closing out the talents of others by not divesting themselves from the day-to-day problem-solving activities of the company. Great leaders let go of the day-to-day, problem-solving activities of the company. Rather, they choose to maximize strategic and relationship-building efforts. These contribute to the forward momentum of the company rather than causing a "bottleneck" at the leader's desk. No one person should do it all — and if they are self-aware, most people will realize that they really aren't capable nor knowledgeable enough to do it all.

Do you recognize the difference between what you need to do versus what you should pass along to your team? Does your boss?

Following is a short list of things you can do to achieve self-awareness and personal mastery in leadership.

  • Monitor your performance. Note areas in which you excel and need improvement. Communicate these to your team.
  • Realize that failures and mistakes are just one step on the road to success.
  • Recognize that being aware of the impact that your behavior has on other people is a critical leadership skill.
  • Remember that when criticism is difficult to accept, there is probably some truth to it.
  • And, finally, learn to give yourself and others credit for improving.

Readers: Have you worked for or known a great leader? What made him or her great?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

War & The Human Condition

Thought-provoking post at a newly found blog. Lots of good stuff to peruse at Remnant Culture - check it out for yourself. Consider the question then post your comments - I'm interested to hear from a few of my readers (it's been awhile).

Is War Inseparable from the Human Condition?

Last week military historian Victor Davis Hanson appeared on Uncommon Knowledge on National Review Online. Hanson discussed his new book The Father of Us All, and in the segment below claims that war is inseparable from the human condition.

Peter Robinson starts off by quoting Hanson next to his ideological opposite John Mueller. The quotes are as follows:

Hanson: “War seems to be inseparable from the human condition.” (from The Father of Us All)

Mueller: “War is merely an idea — an institution like dueling or slavery that has been grafted onto human existence…Unlike breathing, eating, or sex, war is not something that is somehow required by the human condition.” (from The Remnants of War)

Hanson’s argument rests, as he says, on empirical evidence. Even in mankind’s most peaceful and just societies we have always had war; therefore, we always will.

Do you agree or disagree?

Either way, what does this mean for the Remnant Culture? If war intrudes on individual liberty but is also inseparable from the human condition, how do we maximize the individual liberty of that human condition without promoting war?

What are your thoughts?

This video is part of a five-part series. See the remaining segments here.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Strategic SWO

This is an interesting look at the military's top leader. Worth the time to examine what life at his level is like. Consider some of the attributes of a strategic leader that are eluded to throughout the piece.

How America's Top Military Officer Uses Business to Boost National Security

Admiral Mike Mullen says the sea was his business. Now, as America's top military officer, he's reshaping strategy for a world in which economics and security are intertwined.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Servant King

by graham kendrick

From heaven, You came, helpless babe, entered our world, Your glory veiled; not to be served but to serve, and give Your life that we might live.

This is our God, the Servant King, He calls us now to follow Him,
to bring our lives as a daily offering of worship to the Servant King.

There in the garden of tears, my heavy load He chose to bear;
His heart with sorrow was torn, "Yet not my will but Yours," He said.

This is our God, the Servant King, He calls us now to follow Him,
to bring our lives as a daily offering of worship to the Servant King.

Come see His hands and His feet, the scars that speak of sacrifice.
Hands that flung stars into space, to cruel nails surrendered.

This is our God, the Servant King, He calls us now to follow Him,
to bring our lives as a daily offering of worship to the Servant King.

So let us learn how to serve, and in our lives enthrone Him;
Each other's needs to prefer, For it is Christ we're serving.

This is our God, the Servant King, He calls us now to follow Him,
to bring our lives as a daily offering of worship to the Servant King.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lessons From A Volcano

Read Psalm 97 below then click the link to the article following it about the Icelandic Volcano and its effects on the economy and the modern expectation of living. Do you see the connection? I love how the author of the article says it is just "Nature" at work - we know it is our God letting His power be made known. When God moves everyone must stop and take note. He often disrupts the way in which we desire to live. We often easily become uncomfortable and inconvenienced at even the smallest of His actions in Creation. Economies, continents, international industries, and entire multicultural societies are very fragile. God is great, we are not.

Psalm 97

1 The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.

2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.

3 Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.

4 His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles

5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.

6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.

7 All who worship images are put to shame,
those who boast in idols—
worship him, all you gods!

Volcano "Disaster" Is Just Nature In Action

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Catalyst Leader

From the Catalyst Leadership website some very powerful and pertinent characteristics of an effective [Christian] military leader as well. I absolutely agree with the helpfully condensed way that great godly leadership has been communicated here. I will highlight a few of the nuggets I took away as you read.

Elements of a Catalyst Leader

AUTHENTIC in their Influence
Influence is gained naturally, not through coercion or manipulation. This is a natural outcome when the leader is “being” (integrity, passion) and “doing” (calling, community, culture). Leading is an easy next step once the other core elements are being consistently practiced and modeled.

UNCOMPROMISING in their Integrity
Character, integrity, conviction, discipline and private, personal decisions – these all comprise the inner character and integrity of a Catalyst leader. I understand that my character and integrity is the guard to my soul and ultimately their life. This can’t be let go, can’t be delegated, it’s the foundation of who I am as a person and as a leader. It’s the basis from which my moral authority is grounded. It must be nurtured, guarded and found true under testing.

INTENTIONAL about Community
People are in my life at all levels. Close personal friends that keep me accountable, question my deepest motives and help me stay true to the vision God has imprinted on my heart. I value the people that work for and alongside me, recognizing that I am fulfilling a leadership role with people God has entrusted to my care. Catalyst leaders value the wisdom of those more experienced than them and seek out council in all things of importance.

I must have awareness of my small role in God’s big, developing story. This is critical to my humility, faith and trust in Him as the definer of how He will use me and my calling. To have this constant awareness, I must connect with God without ceasing through my life, study, music, art, film, vocation and relationships. My passion for God to receive Glory must be bigger than my desire for Glory.

COURAGEOUS about their Calling
God has a unique purpose that he desires to carry out in me. To know this purpose I must first know Him. To fulfill this purpose, I must trust Him and have the courage to act on it, which may feel like a risk. My talents and heart converge to create my calling and purpose. I am competent in my calling because I am committed to further developing and honing my talents and skills. My foundational understanding of how God is working during our times, determines the specific way I apply this calling vocationally.
ENGAGED in Culture
As a leader, I must understand the context God has placed me in. I must know the audience I am connecting with to have any opportunity of connection and relevance. Because God desires that Christ-followers engage and influence their surroundings, I will be a source of hope, redemption, justice and peace in my community, demonstrating a piece of the Kingdom of God in a fallen world.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Goodbye to C2

Charlene Li tells us, in her article, that "Command & Control" type leadership is a thing of the past - even for us military folks. Do you agree? Are we required to be "old school" to lead well in the military environment? Are there not some situations/some people that require a more military kind of leadership? She is a social media consultant, so the essay is bent toward its uses in diminishing dictatorial leadership. As the military has endorsed/began using Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. she begs the question of how influence is really established, organized, and maintained.

Say Goodbye to Command-and-Control
By Charlene Li | Altimeter Group

At one time, country rulers, army generals, and company executives thought the only effective way to organize and manage was through a system of command-and-control. The king/general/boss gave the orders; everyone lower did what they were told.

The system contained some hidden assumptions: (1) The boss knew more than anyone else. (2) Workers could be trained—or threatened—to follow orders unquestioningly. (3) Any other system was inefficient and slow to react to threats and change.

In fact, bosses never had as much control as they might have thought, or wished. Employees talked around the water cooler. Customers gossiped over the back fence. Because enlightened bosses realized not all the good ideas originated in the executive suite, they installed suggestion boxes and took other measures to be more open in the way they led the organization.

Today, while there are probably thousands—even millions—of rulers, generals, and executives who still believe that command-and-control is the only way to administer, social networks are rapidly undermining that approach to management in government, in the military, and in business. Leaders are seeing the ordered world they understand crumbling as citizens, customers, employees, and partners are empowered by new tools that were almost unimaginable fifteen years ago.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Yammer, Jive, Glassdoor, and hundreds of other websites give people the power to opine about products and services, to learn about organizations and their policies, and to share insights and experiences. The old assumptions no longer hold true (if they ever did). The boss may know more than any one individual in the organization, but it is an arrogant and reckless boss who believes he or she knows more than everyone. Workers—especially younger workers—want to do what is best for themselves and the organization; they become sullen and unmotivated when they do not understand why they should be doing what they’re ordered to do (this is very true!). And although a less dictatorial system may not react as rapidly to threats and change, it is more flexible and innovative and thereby more likely to survive. Ordinary people want government, the military, and business to be more open.

Being open should be considered a rigorous approach to strategy and leadership that yields real results. I am not suggesting total transparency and complete openness, whereby everyone from customers to competitors has access to all information and everyone is involved in all decisions. Such an unrealistic extreme of complete openness is untenable if a business is to sustain its competitive advantage and ability to execute.

At the other, equally unrealistic end of the spectrum is the completely closed organization, in which information and decision-making is centrally controlled and everyone follows every instruction not only perfectly, but happily. Such an organization cannot survive in today’s world. The question isn’t whether you will be transparent, authentic, and real, but rather, how much you will let go and be open in reaction to the new technologies.

As people become more adept at using social and other emerging technologies, they will push organizations to be more open, urging leaders to let go in ways in which they may not be comfortable. The natural inclination may be to fight this trend, to see it as a fad they hope will fade and simply go away. It won’t. Not only is this trend inevitable, but it will also force leaders and their organizations to be more open than they are today.

In the past, leaders had the luxury of remaining ensconced in their executive suites, opening up only when they felt the need to. Today, information leaks out everywhere, with company miscues and missteps spreading all over the Internet in seconds. And all involved—from employees and customers to business partners—feel entitled to give their opinions and get upset when their ideas are not implemented. The fundamental rules that have governed how relationships work are being rewritten because of easy, no-cost information sharing.

Being open is hard. But if you can understand both the benefits and the process, it can get easier. You may be in a leadership position—a manager or CEO—of a business that is trying to use social technologies to introduce a new product or to counter a customer backlash. You may be an HR manager or company strategist eager to tap into the ideas of your workforce. Or you may be a church committee leader who is trying to energize listless volunteers, or a school administrator working with vocal parents agitating for change.

The struggle to balance openness and control is a universal, human problem. As a parent of growing children, I sometimes long for the days when I could simply strap a discontented toddler into a car seat and drive off to my destination. Just as children grow and develop their own voices that need to be heard, so do customers, employees, and partners want to be brought into the inner sanctum of the organization as well. Successful leaders will find ways to bring them in while strengthening the organization by their presence.

Charlene Li is the founder of Altimeter Group and the author of Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead. She is one of the leading independent voices in business today, with a special focus on the strategic use of emerging technologies. She is coauthor of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies, named by both Amazon and strategy+business magazine as one of the best business books of 2008. Follow her on Twitter @CharleneLi.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Preventing Plateau

Change is good and necessary for the health of the organization. It is not healthy to have one person oversight of people, programs, or places for too long or stagnation will occur. Here’s the theory that I stumbled upon today:

Any one individual can only do so much. Even the most motivated and creative will work to a certain point (80% solution) before moving on to the next thing that vies for their attention. Once they have poured themselves into something, made it what they think it should be (often times “good enough”) they will let it lie and move onto the next challenge. Therefore, the object of their previous attention will be shelved, no longer evolving or improving, until reason is given for re-engagement.

I learned this during review of my departmental programs. All had been established and that’s all. The responsible Sailor brought them online administratively, thought they were fine, and then went on to other things. Not that they did anything wrong; they just did what they could/would do before other things popped up (life on a ship can be a lot like playing “wack-a-mole” at Chuck E. Cheese).

So, the solution to stagnation is change. Swap out program managers, give someone else an opportunity to show their capability. I assigned all new Petty Officers to my programs and told them to give me two ways they intend to make the program better. In 6 or so months I’ll do it again and induce programmatic evolution. Timing is important; you do not want to change while approaching assessment, but soon thereafter. Rotate leaders amongst work centers and divisions. Circulate new blood, cross-pollinate knowledge, develop people, places, and programs. The leader has to be the prime-mover of change for transformation to take place.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Unbeatable Re-enlistment

I love re-enlistments. This one can't be beat.

U.S. Marine Becomes First Blind Double Amputee to Re-Enlist

He has no legs and no eyesight, but Marine Cpl. Matthew Bradford has four more years of military service ahead of him after becoming the first blind double-amputee to re-enlist.

He has no legs and no eyesight, but Marine Cpl. Matthew Bradford has four more years of military service ahead of him after becoming the first blind double-amputee to re-enlist.

The rifleman was injured in January 2007 in Iraq when a roadside bomb exploded right under him, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

But after years at the Center for the Intrepid, a privately funded, cutting-edge rehabilitation center, Bradford, 23, has learned to walk with prosthetic limbs and navigate without his vision, and he only regrets that he can’t return to combat duty in Iraq, the paper reported.

Instead the Kentucky native will head to Camp Lejeune, N.C., where he will work with other wounded Marines in hopes of helping them cope with anger, depression and other issues.

"I'm paving the road for the rest of them who want to stay in but think they can't," he told the Express-News. "I'm ready to get back to work."

Click here to read more on this story from the San Antonio Express-News.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How To Create A Movement

Great quote, "The first follower is what transforms the lone nut into a leader."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I Am Second

Awesome site! Powwweeerrrfuuul! Click the link, watch the video. This is intense, what he describes is real, and it is what we do. After you watch Chris watch a few other videos. Then share them - I'll post a few more.

I Am Second: Iraq War Vet

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Missing Ship's Movement

The "Too Late" Lie

by Andree Seu

A man sits on the dock with head in hands, wailing for the ships that have sailed—as he is missing the ship that is sailing. This is a story of my life, of living in regret over past losses, even as I am losing the present moment’s possibilities.

In my 20s I thought all was lost. I chose despair and plunged headlong into a funk—and more disaster. In my 30s, when I saw what I had done, I plunged into yet more despair rather than learn my lesson. I lamented that I had been wrong in my 20s to think it was too late then—but that surely it was really too late now! So I dug into a costly depression. Despair over former fatal choices was itself the fatal choice that I continued to make. It is shameful to tell you all this. But at my age, I am grateful to serve as even a bad example if it will help someone.

Satan, with sweet rationalizations, tempts us to sin. And then, when we have followed his counsel, he switches sides to be the Accuser. It is hard to see this for what it is—the last lie in his quiver—because it comes with a semblance of righteousness: “I have sinned so badly that I have no right to joy again.” This is counterfeit repentance. Scripture tells us how to know a false repentance from a true one. The former kills, but the latter brings good things into your life:

“I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).

I am a watchman calling out from the milestone of 58 years, to you coming up behind me at 28 and 38 and 48. And this is what I cry: Never say it’s “too late,” and it’s “no use,” no matter what you have done—and I do not doubt you have done plenty. The command to repent and believe is not issued to pretty good people but to the ungodly. If the gospel is not good for your present estate it’s not good for anything. Christ still stands at the door and knocks. The words “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37) are still true. “Do not fear; only believe” (Mark 5:36) is still addressed to you. You are not the one person in history that God’s grace is not going to work for. To refuse to believe in His love and to put your hope in Him—“Today, while it is still today” (Hebrews 3:13)—is to miss the boat that’s docked and waiting.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tri-perspectival Leadership

Interesting leadership model. Examine it, Google it, then consider posting which one (or combination) you are. Do you have a dominant trait?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Atitila The Hun On Navy Leadership

I have to post this one from Naval Leadership:

Repost - Attila the Hun on Navy Leadership

One of my favorites.

Advice and Counsel

  • Written reports are only useful if read by your audience.
  • An officer with Sailors who always agree with him reaps the counsel of mediocrity.
  • An officer never kills the Sailor bearing bad news, he kills the Sailors that fail to deliver bad news.
  • An officer who asks the wrong questions always hears the wrong answers.
  • An officer never asks a question for which he doesn't want to hear the answer.


  • The greatness of an officer is measured by the sacrifices he is willing to make for the good of the squadron.
  • Seldom are self-centered, conceited and self-admiring officers great leaders, but they are great idolizers of themselves.
  • Great officers never take themselves too seriously.
  • An officer adapts-he doesn't compromise.
  • Weak officers surround themselves with weak Sailors.
  • Strong officers surround themselves with strong Sailors.


  • Officers must learn early that working through a hardship is an experience that influences them all the
    days of their lives.
  • Successful officers learn to deal with adversity and to overcome mistakes.

Decision Making

  • Every decision involves some risk.
  • Time does not always improve a situation for an officer or his Sailors.
  • Errors are inescapable when the unqualified are allowed to exercise judgment and make decisions.
  • Quick decisions are not always the best decisions. On the other hand, unhurried decisions are not always
    the best decisions.
  • Officers should never rush into confrontations.
  • The ability to make difficult decisions separates leaders from followers.


  • Officers never place their Sailors in situations where their weaknesses will prevail over their
  • Good Sailors will almost always achieve what their leaders expect from them.
  • An officer never expects his Sailors to act beyond their wisdom or understanding.
  • An officer always gives tough assignments to Sailors who can rise to the occasion.
  • Abdication is not delegation. Abdication is a sign of weakness. Delegation is a sign of strength.

Developing Subordinates

  • Strong Sailors have strong weaknesses. An officer's duty is to make Sailors strengths prevail.
  • Sailors learn less from success than they do from failure.
  • Sailors learn much faster when faced with adversity.
  • A good officer takes risks by delegating to an inexperienced Sailor in order to strengthen his leadership
  • Sailors are best prepared to become Chiefs when given appropriate challenges at successively higher levels of responsibility.
    If it were easy to be a Chief, every Sailor would be one.
  • Without challenge, a Sailor's potential and a squadron's potential is never realized.


  • Superficial goals lead to superficial results.
  • As a squadron, we would accomplish more if officers, Chiefs and Sailors behaved as though squadron goals were as important to them as personal goals.
  • Critical to a Sailor's success is a clear understanding of what the CO wants.
  • A Sailor's goal should always be worthy of his efforts.
  • A Sailor without purpose will never know when he has achieved it.
  • Officers should always aim high, going after things that will make a difference rather than seeking the safe
    path of mediocrity.

Leaders and Leadership

  • Officers should always appoint there best Sailors to the best positions, no matter how much they are needed in their current job.
  • An officer knows he is responsible for the welfare of his Sailors and acts accordingly.
  • Being a leader is often a lonely job.
  • Shared risk-taking will weld the relationship of an officer and his Sailors.
  • Strong officers stimulate and inspire the performance of their Sailors.
  • The best officers develop the ability to ask the right questions at the right time.
  • An officer can never be in charge if he bring up the rear.


  • An officer who takes himself too seriously has lost his perspective.
  • A Sailor's perception is reality for him.
  • Sailors who appear to be busy are not always working.

Problems and Solutions

  • We all need to focus on opportunities rather than on problems.
  • Some of us spend too much time coming up with solutions for which there are no problems.

Reward and Punishment

  • If leader has failed, so likewise have his subordinate leaders.
  • If you tell a Sailor he is doing a good job when he isn't, he will not listen long and, worse, will not believe
    praise when it is justified.


  • Every Sailor has value-even if only to serve as a bad example.
  • To experience the strength of Sailors we must tolerate some of their weaknesses.
  • Suffer long for mediocre but loyal Sailors. Suffer not for competent but disloyal Sailors.


  • Adequate training of Sailors is essential to war and cannot be disregarded by officers in more peaceful
  • The consequence for not adequately training your Sailors is their failure to accomplish that which is expected of them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Leader As Symbol

I wanted to share the below article from The Center For Creative Leadership. It got me thinking about the value of organizational symbolism I have in my current position.

Leader As Symbol

I was born in Colorado and grew up in Southern California where the only remnant of formal address is reserved for public school teachers. My children's teacher was "Ms. Crawford" in school, but our minister was "Pastor Bob." I could have insisted that the kids’ friends call me Mr. Riddle but I would have been the only such parent and subject to even more ridicule from teenagers who knew I was irrelevant. These days everybody is known by their personal name and we see this leveling as something good…democratic, egalitarian, freeing.

So, it came as something of a surprise when in the 70s I took an internship in a California Episcopal church and noticed that everyone called the minister “Father.” I’d known plenty of clergy, including Episcopalians, and none were so formal, so I asked him why that was. “Sometimes people don’t need another ‘Chuck.’ They need a Father Jones.” That was my introduction to the symbolic value of the leader.

Among leaders I’ve coached, one of the most difficult transitions is the one from person to symbol. It’s not that one stops being a person. Rather, the body politic needs symbols that can provide a rallying point. People may not read the Constitution of the United States, but they need it to be there. Flags are more obvious symbols of our collective identity, but people are, too. This explains the demand to see our leaders. Consultants advise presidents and CEOs to “make themselves more visible.” Visibility in leaders is important because they play a magical or symbolic role.

Oddly, this is one of the constraints upon senior leadership because this role has little obvious content. It is nearly all emotional force and it is strangely important for the shaping of organizational culture. The personality expressed on the stage stands for the culture of the organization and we see it most clearly in those who have shaped their companies through their personalities. Steve Jobs is Apple and Apple is Steve Jobs. This is not true only for the employees, but the stockholders whose hopefulness rises and falls on rumors of his health.

Leaders are real people, certainly, but part of their duty to the organization is fulfilled in their flag value. Unless you created the organization and still head it, you will need to decide what elements of the existing culture you will work to change and what you will inhabit. Either way, the higher you rise in your organization the more seriously you need to take your signal value. For a few close friends you may still be Dorothy or Ahmed or Seymour, but for many more you are the company.

Your symbolic friend,


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Altitude Determines Attitude

From the OCF website - lots of good military leadership reading on there - check it out:

What's Your Altitude?

by Chaplain Marc Gauthier

Did you know that your altitude determines your attitude? Jesus, the highest being there ever was and ever will be, voluntarily lowered Himself. He put Himself in such a low position that He was called a servant.

What does a servant deserve? Nothing. Whom does a servant depend upon? His master. Whose attitude are we called to display? The attitude of Jesus Christ.

Have you ever been short with others, demanding or demeaning in your encounters with people? Are you quick to judge others and place yourself above them in the pecking order? If the answer is "yes" to any of these, your altitude is too high resulting in an attitude that is too high. Pride, placing ourselves first, is an indicator that we are too high on ourselves.

Recently, we've been extremely challenged by several assignment gyrations. Things we thought we were going to do have opened and then closed. I've struggled with anger, disappointment, and frustration.

These feelings identify that my altitude is way too high. It forces me to remind myself that I'm God's property to do with as God sees fit for His good pleasure. I need to put the nose down and get back to earth just like Jesus did.

Hearing Christ's Call

Jesus calls us to a lower altitude. With that lowered altitude we will start to have the right attitude. When we lower ourselves, when we live life "nap of the earth," we will model the attitude of Jesus. Ultimately the altitude and attitude of Jesus is one of our greatest quality of life steps. When we see ourselves as servants with no rights or privileges, dependent completely on our Heavenly Father we are postured to deal with the headaches, heartaches and unfairness of life in the best way possible.

When you feel tempted to demand your rights or exert your will, lower yourself to Jesus' level. Say to yourself, "I don't deserve anything. Any good thing I receive I get by grace." We belong to God and depend upon Him. If life seems unfair say, "What more can a bond-servant expect?"

Last month I had the unique opportunity to sit in the cockpit of a C130 as it took off and flew out of Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. When the plane was making its climb over the mountains, I heard a female voice say, "Altitude. Altitude." Pilots know that this is a warning they are starting to get too close to the ground. When the voice warns them, they respond accordingly.

Followers of Jesus Christ need to listen to the Holy Spirit's voice when it warns us, "Altitude. Altitude."

But as Christ's followers, this is not a warning we are getting too low. It is a warning we are getting too high! When you hear that prompting through life's challenges, consider it a warning that you are getting too high on yourself. Your attitude right now is not like Jesus' attitude. Lower yourself, push forward on the stick, and get yourself back to "nap of the earth" flying where Jesus Himself flew as the chief servant.

Remember why we just celebrated Christmas. It is all about a great God who willfully humbled Himself by coming into our world through a manger--and eventually to a cross to be our ultimate example, and most importantly our Savior. As we start this new year, let's strive to model His life in our lives with the right altitude.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Re: How Smart Are You

Below is the latest from Resurgence. Good stuff and pertinent to leading in the Navy. I can tell you that it is difficult to apply though. The tendency can be to lead from "on high" rather than as one with your people - empowering, encouraging, enabling in a collaborative team that leverages the strengths/talents of each member toward the team's goal. Here it is:

How Smart Are you

For as long as I can remember, smart was equated with intellect and brain power. Smart had to do with grades in school, SAT scores, and one's GPA. This was the case until author Daniel Goleman kicked the old paradigm in the head in 1997 by writing Emotional Intelligence, which redefined how we understand intelligence. Goleman makes a case for relational intelligence that knows how to get along with others; being smart at building collaborative relationships. The good news is that emotional intelligence (EI) is not fixed, as IQ is generally thought to be. EI can be nurtured and strengthened in everyone.

Real Wisdom = Healthy Relationships

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere" (James 3:17).

It seems to me that James is equating real wisdom with healthy relationships. Is he leaning toward EI rather than IQ in describing wisdom that comes from the Lord Jesus? I find it helpful that Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of James 3:17 in The Message starts the verse off with, "Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others..."

This is the era of the team, not the solo leader. Leadership today is more about enabling and empowering than bossing direct reports around out of personal intellectual brilliance. Leaders who are good at developing and maintaining healthy relationships and tapping the power of those relationships will be the most valuable leaders to an organization or church. Long gone are the days in leadership where the know-it-all does it all as he sits at the top and dictates while both under-valuing and under-appreciating what others bring to the table.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Our Piracy Doctrine ;-)

Maybe the answer to the piracy problem is found in this book ;-)

Here's some food for thought on the topic:

By Cdr. Herb Carmen

Best Defense piracy columnist

History shows that stopping piracy almost always requires actions ashore. In the case of piracy near Somalia, very little has yet been done to put pressure on the shore establishment that supports the booming business and burgeoning industry of piracy in the region. By steering clear of the Somali coast and focusing on sea lane protection and escort, navies may make hijacking merchant vessels more difficult for pirates but can only address the symptoms of piracy without confronting the source and the motivations behind it.

Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Texting God

The quote below is from Josh Harris' blog which is taken from Paul Miller's book (on my required reading list). It struck me because life on the ship has become increasingly busy and I have attempted to maintain a relationship with God on the fly. I'll just think in my head a few thoughts to God and call it prayer, but this is no more a relationship than text messaging my wife a couple times a day and saying that we have a great relationship. Testing God is insufficient. Time alone with the Lord, with complete quietness, and no agenda is near impossible on a ship with a roommate and all of the demands that people have of you. Any suggestions on how to do it? I'm going to ponder this a bit and try to write on it, but would love to hear from you in the meantime . . .

"Jesus' example teaches us that prayer is about relationship. When he prays, he is not performing a duty; he is getting close to his Father.

Any relationship, if it is going to grow, needs private space, time together without an agenda, where you can get to know each other. This creates an environment where closeness happen, where we can begin to understand each other's hearts.

You don't create intimacy; you make room for it. This is true whether you are talking about your spouse, your friend, or God. You need space to be together. Efficiency, multitasking, and busyness all kill intimacy. In short, you can't get to know God on the fly.

If Jesus has to pull away from people and noise in order to pray, then it makes sense that we need to as well."

- Paul Miller, A Praying Life, page 47