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Archive for September, 2008

Keys to Leadership ?

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

I’ve come across this information lately from several sources but this one was blogospheric. Some interesting implications for anyone involved in a complex organization in a position of even mid-level leadership:

Kouzes and Posner write in their classic leadership book,The Leadership Challenge: How to Get Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations (Jossey-Bass Management Series), that through their research of over 60,000 leaders across continents, they’ve uncovered 5 practices and 10 commitments of excellent leaders:

Practice Number One: Leaders Challenge the Process

  • Commitment #1: Leaders search out challenging opportunities to change, grow, and improve.
  • Commitment #2: Leaders experiment, take risks, and learn from the accompanying mistakes.

Practice Number Two: Leaders Inspire a Shared Vision

  • Commitment #3: Leaders envision an uplifting and ennobling future.
  • Commitment #4: Leaders enlist others in a common vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes, and dreams.

Practice Number Three: Leaders Enable Others to Act.

  • Commitment #5: Leaders foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
  • Commitment #6: Leaders strengthen people by giving power away, providing choice, developing competence, assigning critical tasks, and offering visible support.

Practice Number Four: Leaders Model the Way.

  • Commitment #7: Leaders set the example by behaving in ways that are consistent with shared values.
  • Commitment #8: Leaders achieve small wins that promote consistent progress and build commitment.

Practice Number Five: Leaders Encourage the Heart.

  • Commitment #9: Leaders recognize individual contributions to the success of every project.
  • Commitment #10: Leaders celebrate team accomplishments regularly.

Recommended Reading

Monday, September 29th, 2008

A good line up.

Top Billing! Information DisseminationThe Challenges of the 21st Century Conversation

A blogging tour de force. If Galrahn isn’t on your blogroll, he should be.

Hidden UnitiesLeague Of Democracies? I , League Of Democracies? II , League Of Democracies II (A)

Eddie, despite domestic bliss, finds time for a series!

Kotare-The StrategistA letter to the leaders of small states (2)On war behind the frontiers

The Strategist continues his series.

DNIPredicting Future Military Threats: Implications of the Black Swan and William Lind On War #275: Van Creveld Writes Another Big Book ( Hat tip Shloky)

Armchair Generalist –  Casual Fridays

Jason on The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Kings of WarWhat we do or what we are?

Why does al Qaida fight ?

SWJ Blog (Frank Hoffman) Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander’s War in Iraq  and Westhawk Review: The Strongest Tribe

Reviews of two great books ( I’ve skimmed Bing West’s The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq but not sat down to read it properly yet).

Foreign Policy Research InstituteTerrorism Assumptions and Reality

A critical review of Marc Sageman’s new book,  Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century

CTLAB Symposium

  • That’s it!

    Debating John Boyd

    Sunday, September 28th, 2008

    At the Small Wars Council. A thread of great intellectual vigor sparked by CavGuy reacting to the review by Sam Liles of The John Boyd Roundtable:

    Here’s a snippet of my post there:

    There’s been a discussion if Boyd merits being called “the greatest” or a “great” strategist or theorist. I think it’s fair to say that Boyd himself would never have put forth such a claim of that kind or wasted time worrying about what people thought of him or whether he made a more significant contribution to the study of war than Colin Gray or Carl boyd31.jpgvon Clausewitz. Boyd was more interested in learning, teaching and discussing conflict (moreso than just “war”) and were he alive, I’m certain Boyd would be delighted with the Small Wars Council and the endless opportunities here for discussion and reflection.

    Was he “great”, much less “greatest” ? In his briefs, Boyd was trying to shift the paradigm of American military culture away from linear, analytical-reductionist, mechanistic, deterministic, Newtonian-Taylorist, conceptions that resulted in rote application of attrition-based tactics toward more fluid, alinear, creative -synthesist thinking and holistic consideration of strategy. Give the man his due, in his time these were radical arguments for a Pentagon where the senior brass of the U.S. Army had reacted to the defeat in Vietnam by purging the lessons learned of COIN from the institutional memory of the Defense Department.


    Friday, September 26th, 2008

    Tom Barnett posted up on his foreword to  The John Boyd Roundtable: Debating Science, Strategy, and War:

    …To truly think in grand strategic terms is hard because, in order to communicate concepts to the universe of relevant players, one needs a sort of “middleware” language able to traverse domains far and beyond the most obvious one of warfare. As America heads deeper into this age of globalization-a global order fundamentally of our creating-our need for such bridging lexicons skyrockets. In a networked age, everything connects to everything else, so most of what constitutes strategic thinking nowadays is really just the arbitraging of solid thinking regarding the dynamics of competition, leveraging the surplus of conceptual understanding in one realm to raise such understanding in others….

    Read the rest here.

    Barnett and Boyd shared a teaching modality, “the brief”. Here’s a head to head comparison:

    Colonel John Boyd:

    Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett:

    The Mark of ZOTERO

    Friday, September 26th, 2008

    Jeremy Young at Progressive Historians had a must read post on ZOTERO an emerging Web 2.0 tool for anyone out there doing academic research or analysis with even semi-serious intent:

    Dan Cohen Lecture at IU

    This afternoon, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a lecture by Dan Cohen, director of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Since the untimely death of Roy Rosenzweig, Cohen has been the most recognizable face of the digital history revolution. He’s a real hero to history bloggers and digital historians alike.Cohen was an engaging speaker who mixed the infectious enthusiasm of a tech geek with the persuasive rhetoric of an entrepreneur — which is essentially what he is, only for the nonprofit tool Zotero, which he developed under Rosenzweig’s oversight. Much of the lecture was focused on Zotero and its emerging possibilities. Cohen informed us that Zotero was busily at work solving the historical problem of our time: the overabundance of data. Zotero is designed to sift through mountains of data and find things relevant to historians’ research interests. It’s now been translated into thirty-six languages, including Icelandic and Mongolian. Cohen said the latest developments include recommendation-sharing among historians and various forms of Web 2.0 social networking, including various plugins to Zotero that have been developed by programmers not affiliated with CHNM. Listening to Cohen go on about the endless possibilities felt like listening to Steve Wozniak in the days of the Apple ][ — incredibly cool, but not a little daunting.

    Read the rest here.

    Here is an intro video to Zotero. Comments from the techies in the readership are solicited:

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