Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Command is the lodestone

In the military, (Admiral Mike) Mullen told the (Wharton Business School) students, command is the lodestone for leaders. “It’s the pinnacle,” he said, adding that accountability is fundamental to the joy and challenge of command because commanders find themselves having to put together teams to accomplish the missions they are assigned.

Command is built around trust – both up and down – and hinges on choosing the right people, Mullen said. The hardest job he has had in his 40 years in the military has been selecting personnel for the various missions, he told the audience.

Few people succeed by just “winging it,” the chairman said. He urged the young men and women to have a strategic plan and follow it. Leaders without a strategy or a plan are the ones who fail, he said.

Information is crucial to military and business success, Mullen said, but he noted that
the more senior a leader becomes, the more removed he or she is from what’s really going on.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Admiral Mike Mullen in a 3 October 2008 address to Wharton Business School

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