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West Point Cadets
West Point cadets and instructors

West Point Cadets

A group of 13 cadets and four instructors from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point take on the weekly 'On Leadership' questions. Who better to explore the gray areas of leadership than members of The Long Gray Line?

Archive: West Point Cadets

Separating egos from the issue

In tough and emotional negotiations, a mediator must initially work hard to find mutual...

By West Point Cadets | March 9, 2011; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (4)

Managing anger and fear

Somehow it's become accepted to publicly manifest one's anxiety, especially through anger. This is not to say that we won't face significant challenges in the years that lie ahead, but giving way to fear is the first self-indulgent step toward giving up...

By West Point Cadets | January 12, 2011; 06:43 PM ET | Comments (4)

Understanding resistance

New TSA procedures have violated what travelers have previously agreed to, and resistance is neither surprising or unmanageable. People will continue to resist change until they fully understand the need for the change and how their...

By West Point Cadets | November 24, 2010; 01:38 PM ET | Comments (4)

The danger of complacency

In the army, leadership is continuously cycled. Lieutenants tend to only be a platoon leader for 15 months and then become an executive officer or take another staff position. Captains command companies for no longer than 24 months. Further, any military family can relate to the saying, "Home is where the Army sends you." This consistent leadership change keeps unit atmosphere continuously fresh, preventing complacency issues like GM had...

By West Point Cadets | November 16, 2010; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (3)

Acceptable vs unacceptable failures

If your personal values are aligned with those of your organization, you will know how much and what type of failure is too much. If you hold true to your values and have the courage to accept responsibility for your actions, you'll know when you need to step aside. At the end of the day, we must act...

By West Point Cadets | November 9, 2010; 02:41 PM ET | Comments (1)

How to take feedback

It has been said that success has many fathers but failure is an orphan. A benefit of living in a democratic society is that the people have a voice. Whether or not this week's public feedback changes the makeup of our elected leadership, every leader should first take an honest look at their future plans and at the successes or failures of past performance. Behind every contentious issue is an opportunity to do...

By West Point Cadets | November 3, 2010; 01:51 PM ET | Comments (1)

Respect, not fear, rules the roost

People will perform the bare minimum and possess no drive for excellence under a leader they fear without respect. This ultimately limits the organization's potential, as subordinates are more concerned with avoiding punishment. I'd say Don Draper's effectiveness lies within his loyalty to...

By West Point Cadets | October 19, 2010; 11:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Zuckerberg rightly focuses on his 'inside game'

The very purpose of Facebook is to keep people informed about each other, not about Mark Zuckerberg, and he seems to be leading the organization effectively. His focus is on his "inside game" of continually making Facebook better every day, which he seems to be doing quite well. Perhaps the best "outside game" is a good "inside game".

By West Point Cadets | October 5, 2010; 11:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Finding the lesser of two evils

Leadership is the ability to navigate the poles of the liberty-equity spectrum and draw the best solution for the context - and further, to inspire and influence others to achieve the desired end state. With regard to the United States, the framers created broad limitations steeped in a liberal tradition, but...

By West Point Cadets | September 7, 2010; 03:55 PM ET | Comments (1)

Good ideas obscured by bad leadership

Our rebellious founding fathers were angry and fed up, but they provided leadership that galvanized a budding nation.

By West Point Cadets | July 1, 2010; 03:22 PM ET | Comments (68)

Federal fatwas not necessary

Elected leaders don't decide for themselves when to step down.

By West Point Cadets | June 29, 2010; 10:38 AM ET | Comments (14)

A simple three-step process

An educated public with different priorities than its own representative government starts to sound a little unconstitutional.

By West Point Cadets | June 22, 2010; 12:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Maybe Mark needs a mentor

Bringing in a different set of eyes and ears may provide Zuckerberg with the wisdom he needs to maintain 'command and control' over a company that is still growing exponentially.

By West Point Cadets | June 8, 2010; 09:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Unprecedented potential

It does not matter whether you are a man or woman, president or first lady. What matters is the role you choose to play.

By West Point Cadets | May 13, 2010; 03:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Entrepreneurship and sweat

There is no longer a set résumé for the modern military officer. The proper tonic simply seems to be a mixture of entrepreneurship and sweat. Same goes for our Supreme Court justices.

By West Point Cadets | May 11, 2010; 04:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

No finger pointing

Insurgencies are difficult to manage, and the wrong approach can easily strengthen rather than weaken the opposing power.

By West Point Cadets | May 6, 2010; 01:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Follow the Chernobyl example

The Republican Party can use this Gulf oil spill to promote stricter environmental drilling standards.

By West Point Cadets | May 4, 2010; 10:35 AM ET | Comments (2)

You better be right

In my profession, if my superiors are ineffective, action to compensate is a necessity.

By West Point Cadets | April 29, 2010; 02:21 PM ET | Comments (2)

'Customer interests first' - really?

Goldman needs to admit their mistakes and somehow convince clients they will "put customers' interests first." The surest way to accomplish this would be to actually keep their promise this time.

By West Point Cadets | April 27, 2010; 11:25 AM ET | Comments (4)

Crossing the Euphrates

Leading in the absence of specific guidance requires competence and confidence. The latter without the former is called recklessness.

By West Point Cadets | April 22, 2010; 12:55 PM ET | Comments (2)

What is humanly possible

In situations where fear can paralyze followers, leaders can make a difference when they simply take action.

By West Point Cadets | April 20, 2010; 11:23 AM ET | Comments (5)

Mom was right

After three years at West Point, as a witness to both inspiring and repulsive leadership styles, I've concluded that popularity is irrelevant.

By West Point Cadets | April 15, 2010; 12:53 PM ET | Comments (2)

Was 9/11 real enough?

If somehow, someway, Iran or al-Qaeda acquired the materials to create a nuclear bomb, the threat of a nuclear attack would not seem so 'abstract and complicated.'

By West Point Cadets | April 13, 2010; 11:14 AM ET | Comments (13)

More honest than ever

A population with the power of instant knowledge is a force to be heard and reckoned with.

By West Point Cadets | April 8, 2010; 11:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

Public displays of character

The difference between Tiger Woods and Michael Steele is that Tiger is taking a serious look at himself and reflecting on how far astray he has gone from his core values and beliefs.

By West Point Cadets | April 6, 2010; 10:36 AM ET | Comments (1)

A failure of duty

Until the leader of the Catholic Church acknowledges there is an underlying institutional problem, the abuse will continue and he will fail in his duty of service to the people and to the Church.

By West Point Cadets | March 30, 2010; 06:56 AM ET | Comments (8)

Defining your loyalties

It might just be because I'm in the military, but as I see it, any leader's duty, military or business, is to do the right thing.

By West Point Cadets | March 25, 2010; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (6)

Change speaks for itself

Rather than cry foul right away, Republicans should learn from Apple's handling of failed CEO Gil Amelio: Be patient and see the results, then let the people speak.

By West Point Cadets | March 23, 2010; 05:40 AM ET | Comments (9)

The Gray Zone: West Point on Leadership

Very little about leadership is black and white, and these thirteen West Point Cadets are discovering how to become leaders of character. Who better to explore the gray areas of leadership than members of The Long Gray Line?

By West Point Cadets | March 22, 2010; 05:30 AM ET | Comments (1)

 
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