Tag Archive - General Jim Anderson

Four Leadership Lessons From 20 Years of Marriage

Leadership Lessons From Marriage

On my wedding day my dad, General Jim Anderson shared with me his secret to a successful marriage.

The General:  “Buddy, before your mom and I got married we decided that I would make all the big decisions and she would make all the small decisions.”

Me:  “I really like the sound of that!” I said through a grin.

The General: “And in 30 years of marriage there hasn’t been a big decision yet.”

I have learned a lot about life, love and leadership from being married to Elizabeth.  Not all of the lessons were easy to learn.  But, they have made me a better leader not just at home, but at work as well. Continue Reading…

Leadership Is Uncomfortable

This isn't going to be easy!

She looked me in the eyes and said, “I am not having any fun.” Sandy was obviously frustrated while trying to lead her peers. Sandy was trying to lead them through a leadership “ropes course”.

I smiled at her and said, “It’s not supposed to be fun for you.   You are the leader.”  Sandy learned a lot that day.  Perhaps the biggest thing she learned was being a leader can be uncomfortable.

In fact, I believe leadership should be uncomfortable if I am doing it right! Continue Reading…

The Difference Between Criticism & Input


“That’s enough Lieutenant Anderson!”

I sat down and stayed quiet for the rest of my battalion commander’s weekly meeting.  I saw the smirk on our operations officer’s face.  As I walked out of the room later, a friendly captain patted me on the back, shook his head and told me not to give up.

Listening to stories at my 25th West Point Reunion this weekend reminded me of this previous blog.

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Leaders: 3 Poor Excuses To Say “No”

"No" Is Too Easy

I’ve been that guy.  I wanted everything to run smoothly so I would do as Nancy Reagan did and “Just Say No.”

Years later, in my rearview mirror, I realize by saying “No” too quickly, I damaged my team and the individuals on my team.  I missed opportunities to develop better decision makers and therefore better leaders.

What was it about me as a leader that made me say “No” so quickly?  I usually had 1 of 3 excuses for saying “No” and none of them were good.

This blog is reposted from October 2012.

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Painful Tests Of A Leader’s Character

This Is Going To Hurt

Painful Tests = “Someone is going to get hurt.”

In a nutshell:  Inflicting pain on myself or someone else is a test of character and courage.

There are some decisions I make in leadership, I know are going to hurt.   They may hurt me, or they may hurt others.  In these situations, it may not be my integrity being tested. It is most likely my courage.

I am taking 30 days off to work on other projects.  This was a popular post from 2012. Continue Reading…

A Tribute: To A Fallen Friend And Hero

Donnie And Dave Graduation Day

My best friend, Donnie Tillar convinced me to go to West Point.  He was a year older than I was.  Thanks to his persuasiveness I joined my childhood friend as part of the Corps of Cadets.  This is a Memorial Day tribute to Donnie.

This is worth reposting annually.

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4 Naïve Assumptions Of New Leaders

I Was Naive

I couldn’t wait to be promoted.  I knew all the things I wanted to accomplish.  I was also looking forward to the perks of leadership.  In the Army we used to say, “Rank Has It’s Privileges (RHIP).”

But, years later, I realized that these sentiments were naive.  They seem real to someone who has not held a position of leadership.  But, once I earned that promotion, I learned that my assumptions were far from reality.

With every new class I teach, comes new leaders with the same assumptions.

This is a repost from April 2012.

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Business Myths About Military Leaders – Myth #1

Military Leadership Myths

I blame the movie Patton.  In today’s business world, people assume autocratic, top down leadership prevails in our military and that military leaders are not prepared for the less rigid world of business leadership.  This is a myth!

Just like all civilian business leaders are not like Michael Douglas in Wall Street, all military officers are not like George C. Scott in Patton.  Many business leaders without a military background have bought into the way Hollywood portrays military officers.  Continue Reading…

Buzzword Defined (Part 2): Integrity

'Integrity' highlighted in green

There is a lot of discussion of the word integrity in business books, in politics, in universities…in every walk of life.  I read about it all the time.  But, my father, General Jim Anderson, the former Master of the Sword at West Point, taught me more about integrity than any other source.  He says:

INTEGRITY requires three steps:

  1. Discerning what is right and wrong.
  2. Acting on what you have discerned, even at personal cost.
  3. Saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right and wrong.

Understanding integrity is foundational to our character development.  The more I speak on the importance of character, the more I see that integrity needs defined.

This is reposted from March 2012.
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Corporate Culture Left Adrift

Who Is At The Helm?

84% of employees do not believe their company’s culture is widely upheld according to a study by the Aberdeen Group.  The startling thing is the numbers are only slightly better for executives who answered that same survey – 81% admitted they are not doing a good job upholding the company culture.  These are the people who are responsible for reinforcing the culture!

A ship left adrift usually does not end up in port.  That ship usually ends up on the reef. Continue Reading…

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