Monthly Archives: May 2014

The New Art of the Leader

 

By Kevin Black

I read The New Art of the Leader by William A. Cohen several years ago. Here are some notes I took down that I thought I would share. All are self-explanatory except No. 4.

Seven Facts to Know Before you Lead:
1. One person can make a difference between success and failure
2. Success comes from the help of others
3. You don’t need to be a manager to be a leader
4. The Combat Model is the most basic model
5. Essence of leadership: motivate people to perform their maximum potential to achieve goals as objectives
6. Leaders are not born
7. Good leadership doesn’t depend on good deals or pleasant working conditions

Reason & RTS Games

By Kevin Black

Executive Command has been using real-time strategy games as a learning delivery system for nearly ten years now. It is a very effective model to introduce not only complex strategic leader competencies (such as strategic thinking and communication) but also the most appropriate means of balancing them. You can probably guess our pleasant reaction to reading the following in Reason magazine.

“What researchers found is that participants engaged in ‘real-time strategy’ gaming…improved their cognitive flexibility. That is to say, they got better at switching between thinking about different concepts, and at thinking about multiple concepts simultaneously”

Here’s the link.

Supreme Command: Ben-Gurion & Common Sense

David Ben-Gurion, Prime Minister of Israel, ’48-’54

By Kevin Black

Our age of specialization has in some respects overshadowed the value of the generalist. This shouldn’t be a surprise considering the sophisticated,  technological age we live in. For instance, to be a “business strategist” today requires a qualifier, signifying an expertise in a particular field, such as marketing, sales, or IT. What about the general business strategist? Isn’t this the professional who integrates all of the input of the experts? And by what technical right can this person legitimately tell an expert what to do or what not to do? David Ben-Gurion, the prime minister of Israel, who is the fourth statesmen presented in Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesman, and Leadership in Wartime, provides an interesting and helpful perspective.

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Supreme Commander: Churchill & Interrogation

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, ’40-’45

By Kevin Black

Even to this day Winston Churchill is a controversial figure in politics. Despite their debates, many of his critics admit that his wartime leadership was a crucial factor in ensuring Allied Victory in 1945. Eliot considers Churchill as the “greatest war statesman of the century.” What stands out about Churchill’s performance as key player of the Allies is Churchill’s inquisitive nature. The chapter title, “Churchill asks a Question” says it best: he questioned everything and everyone, no matter there position. When the Prime Minister wanted answers to questions, he found them one way or another.

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Supreme Command: Clemenceau & Supervision

Georges Clemenceau, Prime Minister of France, ’17-’20

 

By Kevin Black

Probably one of the greatest traps for strategic leaders is to enter the world of tactics and get stuck in there, “buried in the weeds” of everyday operations. No doubt tactics are important, but when the daily crisis dominates your everyday thinking and agenda you are not driving strategy and actualizing your ROI. A great example of a strategic leader who learned to fluctate between tactics and strategy was Georges Clemenceau, Prime Minister of France during the latter years of World War I. It was his supervision of his army that is a great lesson for any business leaders today.

Clemenceau is the second statesman in Supreme Command. The French wartime Prime Minister earned the nickname, “The Tiger”, for his force of character, unwavering focus and optimism, and for his willingness to fight for what he wanted. The Tiger had an enormous challenge as he came to power during a dire time during World War I, when victory was distant and world powers were almost bled white.

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Supreme Command: Lincoln & Delegation

By Kevin Black

I think it is fair to say that delegation as an effective business tool is a sacrosanct notion. And why should it not be? As a strategic leader you must delegate responsibilities, at least for the very fact that the amount of goals and objectives to be achieved, to include the multitude of derivative tasks and sub-tasks, is too much for one person to handle by themselves. In this respect alone delegation makes practical sense.

Abraham Lincoln, one of the four statesmen covered in Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesman, and Leadership in Wartime is a great case study in the important role of delegation. But in Lincoln’s case, delegation of authority and responsibility had to be EARNED.

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