Vision and 9 Struggles: DeMarco Banter

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Ever read a bunch of stuff and start connecting dots…and then step back and ponder… do those dots even really belong together?

The Chief of Staff of the USAF, General Mark Welsh is a leader’s leader…and his Vision for the USAF was released about a week ago.

There is a lot of great stuff in the vision… and it generates a lot of questions from me…but the quintessential line in the vision and the one I keep going back to is:
Now, more than ever, we need bold leaders at every level who encourage innovation, embrace new thinking, and take prudent risks to achieve mission success.

1) BOLD LEADERS
2) INNOVATION/NEW THINKING
3) RISK TAKERS

What are we doing to encourage, teach, train, and incentivize that?
Don’t we all want that?

But let’s tackle bold leaders in this post

Bold leaders require a confidence…very hard to be bold if you are doubting yourself. Yesterday I found an article on Catalyst by Perry Noble: 9 THINGS THAT EVERY LEADER STRUGGLES WITH & HOW TO OVERCOME THEM!

The first step in realizing Gen Welsh’s vision is to acknowledge the issues our leaders struggle with and help them to be bold.

Perry Noble identifies the following

1. Feeling Adequate

2. Pride

3. People Pleasing

4. Delegation

5. Jealousy Of Other Leaders

6. Confronting People When Necessary

7. Insecurity

8. Failure

9. Confidence

In order to develop bold leaders we need to acknowledge the above as strengths and as weaknesses and help our young leaders become bold…minus arrogance…
Thoughts? Do these two pieces even connect?

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2 thoughts on “Vision and 9 Struggles: DeMarco Banter

  1. Bill, a couple of thoughts on this one. First, it needs to be underscored that the 9 traits are intrinsic. However, when we hear the word “bold” we tend to judge and quantify this quality based upon what is externally apparent – typically other people’s actions compared to our own. Too often we jump immediately to the act of being bold rather than working on our internal compass which will help us be consistently and convincingly bold.

    Second, everything has a context. Looking at the act of being bold, this may look very different at Apple as compared to Microsoft. The same probably can be said of how “bold” leaders act at Citibank versus Deutsche Bank. In the absence of context, a simple adjective may carry too much or too little weight and relevance. These words, too, are all individually interpreted and quantified until an organization sits together to create a normalized “operational definition”. So what does “bold” look like in the AF today? What should it look like tomorrow?

    Third, and final, for now, in another post you highlighted how looking back at the Eisenhower presidency, one can see his legacy and its significant impact on the country. However, few people call Ike a “bold” President. He is more often thought of as boring and inconsequential. But as noted in the piece you shared, he had a vision and he stuck with it through two terms, and he was never concerned with whether or not the press or his “followers” characterized him as “bold” or “charismatic”. While Dr. W. E. Deming may have been boring as well, “Constancy of Purpose” – one of his top 14 traits of successful management – continues to trump the appearance of being bold.

    There’s a reason why people complain that keeping up appearances is difficult. Façades are energy consuming and unsustainable. It’s just windowing dressing. Young leaders should work on what’s on the inside, those intrinsic characteristics, and the rest with follow.

    • Agree 100%
      We must define bold, further…young leaders must play to their strengths…as you mentioned, following your strengths…as in Ike’s case…may indeed make one bold.

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