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West Point Leadership Lessons

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West Point Leadership Lessons

Duty, Honor and Other Management Principles


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

West Point grads bring some very important assets to business, such as duty, honor, insight, proficiency and loyalty.

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Author Scott Snair got admitted to West Point Military Academy, the U.S. Army’s elite university, the hard way: rising through the enlisted ranks until he was almost too old to qualify for admission. He rose to become the president of his graduating class. Because he is a Desert Storm veteran, Snair’s sincerity is beyond question. His book, if not distinctive, is as solid as the paint job on an M1-A1 Abrams tank and rolls sturdily through a market filled with books that extend the military leadership model into the realm of business. Although Snair’s efforts to apply military lessons to business situations seem strained, his anecdotes are interesting and his principles are rock-solid and time-tested. He believes in establishing your leadership chops by seeking additional responsibility, and in fulfilling your commitments with honor and integrity. salutes that and agrees that his book will help you be a better leader. Professionals with an interest in the military will find it particularly engaging.



Each year 14,000 fresh-faced high school seniors apply to West Point Military Academy, and only 1,000 gain admission. This statistic led the Princeton Review to cite the Academy as the toughest college to get into in the U.S. Its graduates include generals from Ulysses S. Grant to Dwight D. Eisenhower; astronauts Frank Borman, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins; AOL founder Jim Kimsey, as well as Alexander Haig, Brent Scowcroft and many others.

More surprisingly, a few years ago The Wall Street Journal said the U.S. military academies were the country’s best business schools. Like most people, you probably don’t think of West Point as a business school, yet its principles form a sound leadership ethos for any organization. They are duty, honor, country, mission, insight, execution, strategy, proficiency, loyalty and change.

Duty West Pointers make a positive commitment to "seek responsibility and take responsibility" for their actions. This is one of the Academy’s "Principles of Leadership." Cadets learn to look for more work and more responsibility, rather than less. They seek additional accountability to demonstrate their dependability. To the West Pointer...

About the Author

Scott Snair, a cannon platoon leader during Operation Desert Storm, was president of the West Point class of 1988. Currently he is a business consultant and writer in New Jersey.

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