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The Mission: That Others May Live

The air around us was orange. That was pretty common after a dust storm as a fine powder of sand hung in the air. Through the orange haze, I could see the mechanics going through their morning inspections of the rescue helicopters that sat on alert, ready to rapidly respond to whatever emergency might occur. As I walked toward one of the helicopters my radio broke the silence with the…

That awful moment as leader when you realize you've screwed up big time.

What do you do when you fall short as a leader? (Pictograph)

I had been a commander of a flying training squadron for a few months. One Monday morning I was getting ready to go into work when the phone rang. I put the phone to my ear and heard, “Where are you?” Have you ever had one of those moments when you come to the dreadful realization that you have screwed up big time? This was one of those moments. We’ve…

Powered Paraglider

Do They See What You See? Great Leaders Share the Vision

In my free time I enjoy powered paragliding.  I have a unique perspective while moving slowly across the landscape from a couple hundred feet up that is quite illuminating.  I’ve seen coyotes lying in long grasses waiting for prey, jackrabbits actually forming small “herds” for mutual protection, how antelope seem to flock, and the order behind what had always appeared to be random meanderings of cows. Leaders have access to…

influence_dominos

The Unintentional Leader

Early in my military career I was taught that a unit will take on the characteristics of its leader. A sloppy unit will likely have an unkempt leader at its helm. A unit known for “bending the rules” will most likely be led by a person of questionable ethics. Why is this? Bob and I came across a working definition of leadership the other day, “positively influencing others to accomplish…

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Heat, Wind, Sand, and A Critical Mission

The sand suspended in the air was worse than usual. A recent sandstorm had made the air almost opaque and I could only see for a few feet. I could barely see the 26 airplanes parked in front of me, or the approximately 200 mechanics who were working to get them ready to fly. (The picture was taken in the daytime) As I walked towards where I knew the planes…