Summary of Leadership Lessons from West Point

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"In business, if you make bad decisions, people lose money and perhaps jobs," according to an Army captain who graduated from West Point. "In the military, if you make bad decisions...people can die." In that light, these leadership lessons from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point seem highly credible. After all, most fields of endeavor do not involve life-and-death consequences, but being in the military is not an ordinary profession. This grim truth not only requires but demands "competent" military leaders, as author Jim Collins discusses in his foreword to this compilation edited by Major Doug Crandall. getAbstract appreciates these valuable leadership lessons and their source. The Leader to Leader Institute, formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, publishes a comprehensive series of leadership books, 21 of which have been printed in 28 languages. So, when the Institute describes this book as "one of the most important...published in our 16 years," it merits a respectful look.

About the Author

Book editor Major Doug Crandall serves at the U.S. Military Academy as executive officer to the dean of the Academic Board. Twenty past or present West Point teachers, graduates or serving officers contributed to this book. Crandall, who taught a variety of leadership courses, received an Excellence in Teaching Award at West Point.

 

Summary

"Be, Know, Do"

West Point has been recognized as America’s premier leadership training institution for more than 200 years. From its earliest days, West Point has turned inexperienced young men – and, more recently, young women – into outstanding leaders with exemplary character, courage, skills and knowledge. The U.S. Army’s pivotal leadership principle, "Be, Know, Do," reflects this:

  • "Be" – Incorporate the honorable values and attributes that characterize an officer.
  • "Know" – Master the needed technical and leadership skills.
  • "Do" – Apply knowledge, skills and leadership, to achieve a mission.

As it trains the Army’s future leaders, West Point employs a guiding philosophy based on two vital precepts: 1) The future – and thus war in the future – is unknowable; and 2) In battle, it is best to have imaginative and resourceful leaders who can successfully deal with unforeseen circumstances. Such leaders will be able to "adapt" to all kinds of situations and crises. West Point is to leadership what Wal-Mart is to low prices. Indeed, if you want to learn about leadership, this is the right place. The leadership concepts it uses to "educate...


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