Thursday, March 8, 2012

Humility and Perspective

I come to this subject with a great deal of humility.  I come from what I believe to be the world's finest leader development institution,  West Point, and am the product of both the US Army's continuous and progressive approach to leader development and my experiences in one of the world's largest commercial enterprises, Royal Dutch Shell.  I've been influenced by a number of great leaders and there are many people who have led larger organizations than I or had greater scope of responsibilities.  The shelves of bookstores sag from the weight of all the books on leadership. The punch line of one of my favorite Dilbert cartoons goes something like "Doesn't the sheer volume of leadership books just prove that no no one really knows how to do it?"  All that to say, I realize much has been written on this subject and there are many skilled practitioners.  I intend to focus on those areas where I believe I can make a unique contribution.
I also need to make it clear I'm not an academic, but a practitioner.  I should say I've been a student AND a practitioner.  I've studied it, watched others practice it, practiced it myself and reflected on those experiences my entire adult life.  I don't hold a PhD in Organizational Psychology or a related discipline.  I haven't done the research of a John Kotter or Kouzes and Posner or had the consulting experience of a Noel Tichy or Ram Charan although I respect all their work greatly.  I'm also not a celebrity leadership name like a Jack Welch, Colin Powell or Larry Bossidy.  What I do have to offer is lessons learned, insights, rules of thumb and observations and a few "how-tos".  

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