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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

US Leadership

Speaking at a dinner in Washington last night, US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton made some interesting remarks about the role of US leadership globally:

'We have been talking a lot in the last months that we need to be committed to using American leadership to build a new architecture of global cooperation. And fundamental to that idea is that the 21st century not only presents many shared challenges, but also demands shared responsibility. No nation can meet today’s challenges – or seize its opportunities – alone. Leadership in this era means stepping up to the plate and galvanizing others to do the same.

That is the approach we are taking in the Obama Administration. We are pursuing broader and, we hope, more effective diplomacy that reaches beyond government. And we are committed to development that is delivered, as the President has said, through partnership, not patronage, that achieves meaningful, measurable, sustainable outcomes.' 


Maintaining a Positive Attidude in Difficult Times

Maintaining a positive attitude in down times is the best thing you can do. You have a choice, maintain a positive attitude or go negative. The easy, and almost natural way for most people is to go negative. The best method for down times is to maintain a positive upbeat attitude, but it requires you to be disciplined and in control of your life.

Maintaining a positive attitude requires you to first believe in you, the most important person in the world. If you believe in you, you will also believe you are here for a reason and that there will be incidents of all sorts in your life. You also know that these incidents, many of which are not under your control, happen for a reason. That reason could be as simple as building character, or getting you back on track to where you belong.

Maintaining a positive attitude in down times, whether it be the loss of a loved one, a friend, relative, money or a job is crucial for survival and the realisation of your dreams and goals.

There are a lot of things in our life that are not under our control - weather, time, people, traffic, etc. If we cannot control them, we need to learn to accept them as they are. All we can do is take control of what is under our control - our attitude, our thoughts, our self-talk and the way we react to these situations.

What we think about, what we say to ourselves and the way we act it out is all part of the law of attraction, and is under our control. We can attract positive or negative outcomes. Which would you prefer?

Obviously you would prefer positive outcomes. Therefore you need to take control of your thoughts, self talk and reactions to maintain a positive upbeat attitude and positive outcomes. To maintain that positive attitude, you need to be very aware of what you are thinking, saying and doing. You need to catch yourself in the act of self pity, self criticism, jealousy, anger, etc. Then you need to X out that thought, saying or action and replace it with the opposite - a positive thought, saying or action. That is how you maintain a positive attitude, by taking control of the things that are under your control.

Keep in mind that maintaining positive attitude requires awareness at all times because only when you are in your conscious state can you accept or reject thoughts, self talk or actions. If you are not aware, and do not reject negative thoughts, they will end up in your subconscious mind. Once it hits your subconscious mind, you do not have the power to reject or accept. It has already been accepted and now goes to work with the laws of nature to attract those thoughts, self talk messages and results into your life.

By making awareness part of your daily discipline you will have the opportunity to take control of your life and attract the circumstances and outcomes you want, as opposed to the outcomes you do not want. So , take control and be aware!

Developing Young Leaders in the Military

The philosophy of the Norwegian Naval Academy in Bergen is that “It is people, not technology and strategy, that win wars. Further, fighting spirit and endurance is shaped not by material benefits, but by a close and determined bond between leaders and crew.”

The Naval Academy places practical and theoretical leadership training at the heart of their bachelor program in military science – preparing officers for operational leadership at sea.

A key challenge to this leadership development is a healthy balance between theory, coaching and practical training – in a realistic context out of the classrooms. HNoMS Statsraad Lehmkuhl, a 95 years old barque, with fifty sails, three masts, and a solid old fashioned rig – system meets this challenge. A three months cruise in the North sea and the Atlantic ocean in the storm – season marks a significant starting point for the cadet’s leadership training. The old lady does not carry advanced computer technology, electric engines or hydraulic systems that reduce the role of humans merely into computer operators. The sailing ship demands human cooperation at its best, to overcome and work with the rough weathers at sea. The ship and the nature immediately give feedback on poor leadership and cooperation.

Inspiring leadership is based on practical seamanship skills and tradition. At HNoMS Statsraad Lehmkuhl the cadets learn old-fashioned seamanship, knots, tackling, shanties, and maintenance in a way often ignored in modern navies. By this, they develop a sound respect for practical knowledge and traditions grown from thousands of years of accumulated experience. These skills also stimulate the cadet’s identity and pride as sailors. Military professionalism builds also on high academic standards. During the cruise professors are giving lectures in history, English, international affairs, leadership, psychology and ethics.

Leadership calls also for social skills, moral character and emotional intelligence. The cruise is a challenging kind of social training. Three months working and living together 24-7, sleeping in columns of hammocks with 20 cm “private” space on each side represents a good training ground for social interaction. The cadets are not allowed to bring computers, music, cell phones etc that can help them escape from boredom, homesickness, conflicts etc. They must develop their skills to communicate and face problems in a constructive manner. They learn to lean on their shipmates when facing hardship and difficulties. By this, comradeship, esprit de corps, and mutual trust may develop; for some, lasting the rest of their professional careers.

The cruise works. Research shows that the cruise influences the cadet’s leadership skills more than any other single activity at the academy. Emotional intelligence and transformational leadership changes significantly – in a positive way. The same goes for cohesion and ability to participate in - and build high performance groups. And last, but not least, the cruise leaves most cadets with a new confidence when it comes to both seeking leadership, and meeting the sea as sailors.