Last month, I conducted a 90-minute workshop on executive leadership to an audience of 61 Army officers, mostly majors, attending the Army’s Command and General Staff Officer Course, at the Fort Gordon satellite campus. This four-month academically challenging course “re-greens” mid-level Army officers. It is conducted three times a year. The curriculum educates and trains field grade officers in U.S. Army and Joint Force doctrine.
Fort Gordon’s satellite campus, established in October 2006, is one of five CGSOC satellite campuses – the others located at Fort Belvoir and Fort Lee, both in Virginia, and at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. In December, I return to the Fort Gordon campus (my 27th visit) to address a new class.
Last week I conducted a similar workshop for the 38 participants in the 2018 class of Leadership Augusta. Most of these professionals will be moving on to ever-more important leadership positions. Both groups are filled with extremely talented and highly motivated folks.
Since most of you who are reading this column were unable to attend these two workshops, I thought you might enjoy reading about the highlights of these sessions.
The importance of leverage was stressed. The best leaders I have encountered in the military; in corporations; in the federal, state and local governments and in the nonprofit world use leverage well. Examples follow.
The best leaders leverage friends (building and maintaining a large brain trust) and skills (speed-reading, listening, writing, public speaking). Also, they leverage technology, creativity, compassion, trust, intellect, time and, most importantly, wisdom.
The essential nature of a disciplined reading program (one good book per month) was stressed in both of these workshops. A short book list was provided (two favorites – Give and Take by Adam Grant and Thank You for Being Late by Thomas L. Friedman).
It was emphasized that reading books was important for two reasons. Reading books helps bring intellectual depth to the workplace. Second, suppose when you are being interviewed for a job you really want and are asked, “What good books have impressed you recently?” If your answer is, “I haven’t read any books lately,” guess what job you will not get.
As in the past, each participant in the 2018 Leadership Augusta class received a copy of Rules and Tools for Leaders. Portions of this book will be used at various times in the coming year.
Incidentally, thanks to the generosity of the co-author of this book, Jeff Foley, Rules and Tools for Leaders soon will be distributed to the 32 participants in the 2018 class of Leadership Columbia County.
The CSRA was fortunate when Gen. Foley decided to stay in our area after leaving his post as the top commander at Fort Gordon. A brilliant speaker and teacher, Jeff now spends his life teaching leadership, as well as coaching corporate executives. He also contributes much of his time in support of worthy causes in our area. Jeff is easy to contact: his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In charge of the 2018 class of Leadership Augusta is Kim Elle, the president and CEO of the Augusta Warrior Project. Having lived in the CSRA for only five years, Kim has established warm relations with a broad spectrum of the citizens of the communities on both sides of the Savannah River. She and the co-leader of Leadership Augusta, James Heffner, are making incremental improvements to what already was a first-rate program. The participants are not only learning a lot; they are having great fun along the way.
The leaders of both the Fort Gordon program and Leadership Augusta richly deserve our praise. Jim Sharpe is the Fort Gordon satellite campus director. Since assuming responsibilities in 2015, Sharpe and his 12 talented faculty members have taken the CGSOC experience to an even higher level of academic excellence.
This faculty team offers students extensive military and academic experience in their roles as teachers, counselors and mentors. Since the “Adult Learning Model” is used, much of the learning is student-generated. As such, the current CGSOC Class 17-003 student leaders should be recognized: Majs. Jason McCambridge, Drew Ponivas, Kelly Seiber and Camilla Swain.
Finally, I would like to recommend an important fundraising campaign that has just kicked off. The Augusta Warrior Project’s “Eleven to Eleven” campaign is bracketed by 9/11 on the front end and Veterans Day (Nov. 11), on the back end. I urge each of you to make a contribution.
One caution: There are many organizations that support veterans throughout America. Only one, the Augusta Warrior Project, devotes all of its efforts in support of our local veterans. Make out your check to The Augusta Warrior Project and send it to 701 Greene St., Augusta, GA 30901. Another way to contribute is through Paypal. Each month, I make an automatic contribution using Paypal – very easy and painless.
The writer – a retired U.S. Air Force major general and a Ph.D. – conducts workshops on leadership, ethics and strategic planning at Augusta University and Emory University. His website is genpsmith.com.