Tag Archive - West Point

3 Words That Prove I Own My Actions

Who Owns It!

Ownership or excuses.  One is the mark of a leader.  The other is a sign that I am bound for mediocrity and failure.  In the long run, people who make excuses stall out.

Making excuses is a habit.  I wrote about how West Point deals with this habit in West Point:  How Leaders Seize Accountability.  But what are the results for me if I habitually make excuses?

Previously posted in December 2012.

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3 Reasons People Don’t Change

Will You Change?

It had been almost five years since I had seen my West Point classmate.  I always enjoyed seeing him.  We have a common bond all academy graduates have.  But, after our first hour together, he said something that rocked my world.

“Dave, you haven’t changed a bit.”

I smiled and secretly hoped he was talking about my pant size.

I am taking two weeks off with to be with my family.  I will repost previous blogs during these two weeks.  Have a blessed Christmas!

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Leadership Video: Character Tests at West Point

In May, I had the opportunity to speak to 600+ people at the Chick Fil A Leadercast that was simulcasted into our local venue. A big thrill was following John Maxwell. I also spoke right before Coach K!

Here is the video of that presentation. The character tests cadets face at West Point builds leaders. That is the premise of this talk.


What character tests have prepared you for leadership?


Should Loyalty Trump Integrity

Which Is The Trump Card?

Loyalty and integrity are two character traits I think we all desire in ourselves and in others.  I like loyal people.  They are friends and co-workers I know I can depend on.  It does not matter how bad the situation may be.  I know I can count on the loyal people in my life.

I like people of integrity as well.  I like knowing I never have to question their words, actions, or motives.  What you see is what you get.  Their integrity makes trusting them easy.

But should loyalty ever trump integrity?  Is there a time when that is appropriate? Continue Reading…

West Point’s Leadership Legacy – 25 Years Later

A Legacy of Leadership

I just returned from my 25 year West Point reunion.  It was great to be with friends who went through the same trials and tribulations I did in order to graduate from America’s premier leadership development school.

A few quick impressions:

  • Those guys looked old!
  • We aren’t losing our hair.  We are gaining forehead.
  • West Point did an incredible job developing leaders in the Class of 1988!

The purpose of West Point is to produce leaders of character who are prepared to provide selfless service to our Army and the nation.

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West Point: How Leaders Seize Responsibility

Where Excuses Go To Die

“No excuse, sir.”  Of the four approved responses a West Point plebe may use, this one was hardest for me to say.  But, everything we did at West Point had a purpose.

The purpose of teaching 18 year olds not to make excuses actually fulfills West Point’s purpose:  To provide our nation with leaders of character.

A leader of character takes responsibility no matter the circumstances.  A leader of character does not make excuses. 

As a result of recent discussions with clients, I am reposting this 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…

West Point Quotes On Leadership


West Point.  While many schools have impressive graduates.  Few colleges can claim to have a greater impact on our nation than the United States Military Academy at West Point.

The leaders of character that West Point continues to produce will continue to write the history of our nation.  For July 4th, I provide you with just a glimpse into a few of the great leaders West Point produced and the culture of leadership that produced them. Continue Reading…

Leadership In The Gates Of Fire

Leonidas, King of Sparta

He was tearing up!  I hadn’t signed up for this type of seminar.  This was not some new age self-actualization guru speaking to us. This guy was a Navy SEAL!

You could hear the words get caught in his throat and see his eyes fill as he read to the audience.  Everyone in the audience listened intently to the words he read as his emotions took over. This guy was a Navy SEAL!

This was the final speaker at the Chick Fil A Leadercast in May.  He was closing the conference for speakers like John Maxwell, Condeleezza Rice and Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski.  This guy had a tear running down his cheek.  But, I didn’t care.  This guy was a Navy SEAL!

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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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