Posts Tagged ‘leader development’


HSTV Presents: Leadership 101

[1] Leadership 101 For Homeland Security Professionals. HSTV talks to Donald E. Vandergriff, a leader development expert, and Terry Shear, the Vice Consul for Homeland Security at the British Embassy about the issues surrounding leadership development in homeland security.

Starts March 1

The type of leadership methodology that military, first responders, law enforcement and security should be practicing is adaptive leadership. Adaptive leadership is a method of leadership that is constant and all encompassing. All encompassing not in the sense of let’s all sit around, hold hands and hope things work out, instead in the real sense of lets create and nurture the proper climate and culture that breeds mutual trust and cohesion. Allowing an organization to adapt and deal with any problem as it unfolds. This includes prevention efforts and response abilities. Developing superior individual and collective situational awareness through constant analysis, synthesis and experimentation in a given set of circumstances overrides any plan due to an ability to adapt on the fly, individually and collectively.

“…Experimentation is not a destination to be reached, but an unending process of trial, feedback, learning, renewal and experimentation again. The organization as a whole is agile, ready to learn, continually changing and improving. It is fast, flexible and never prepared to say: “We have not finished getting better.” Innovative organizations depend less on forecasting, planning and control and more on scanning, agility and feedback. Innovative organizations embrace uncertainty, recognizing that an uncertain future potentially holds as many opportunities as it does threats.” ~Brig.Gen. David Fastabend and Robert Simpson

Leadership is a daily activity, not just an event activity. Adaptive Leaders, lead daily by interacting with, training and developing their people and themselves for the conventional and unconventional threats and problems foreseen and unforeseen.

Leadership 101 video series will be well worth viewing.


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Once a month, I will post something about a great leader, someone who by their selfless service, hard work, intellegence, and foresight, are contributing to our society.

The month of August’s leader is the new FEMA leader Craig Fugate. This was one of the President’s good appointments. Unlike, and in contrast the one he made for the number 2 job at the Pentagon, William Lynn. Mr. Fugate is a leader in the truest since. He has risen though hard work and innovation. But, he holds himself and his people to standard. I am proud that the President put him in this critical job. FEMA, like most agencies in the government, goes to people who are great politicians, rich or both, but have little or no skills in the organization they are leading. And because they are good ass kissers, make poor leaders. Mr. Fugate is just the opposite. He understands his role of a big government organization, that is to push responsibility for action down to the local levels. This is where the decision cycle will be fastest. It is guys like Mr. Fugate that give me hope for our nation.

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Craig Fugate, the new head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Barack Obama, is an unusual choice for the job, historically speaking. Unlike many of his predecessors, most famously Michael “Heckuva Job” Brown under President George W. Bush, Fugate (pronounced few-gate) has experience in the relevant subject matter. A former firefighter, Fugate managed disasters for 20 years in Florida, the fiasco capital of America. Even more bizarrely for FEMA, often a dumping ground for friends of the powerful, Fugate has no political connections to Obama. Instead, he got his job the old-fashioned way—when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was looking for candidates, people kept mentioning his name. He has a reputation for telling it like it is—in a field where “it” is usually bad. And what Fugate has to say may come as strong medicine for his fellow citizens, nine out of 10 of whom now live in a place at significant risk for some kind of disaster.


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I am honored to have leadership expert John Baldoni review Manning the Legions. Sorry I have been absent from the blog for a while. I have been travelling doing the workshop.

“Here’s a “review” of your latest fine book… focusing on applications to the corporate world.


Best wishes…


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I am proud to now be associated with two organizations. One is Law Enforcement and Security Consulting (LESC) run by Lieutenant Fred Leland, who has been a Marine and a policeman for 28 years. Fred has taken the work of Col John Boyd and translated it to police and security work.  He has also used my book Raising the Bar and applied it to the cognitive development of police officers in the Walpole, MA, police department.  It is people like Fred that give me confidence that there are behind the scenes leaders out there doing what is right despite the adversity of the bureaucratic hierarchy.  Fred and I have moved our Deciding Under Pressure and Fast workshop to 24 March 2009.  Fred and I also just attended the Science of Strategy Institute (SOSI) workshop held in Las Vegas NV.  The LESC focus is to  adapt and translate the theories of Sun Tzu, who by the way had a great influence on Col Boyd, to the Law Enforcement and Security Fields, and Fred has done an excellent job of translating theory into reality.


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My continuing strand from my post in May on where are our leaders of character?

I have spent my professional life studying adaptive behavior–how changes in ones environment lead to changes in the way leaders and subordinates/followers act, particularly in War. Recently, my studies reach out into the impacts of cultures on adaptability. Our society grows every more controlling as we evolve. These controls in the forms of laws, regulations, cultural norms, and even physical examples such as traffic signs/signals have proliferated in our country.

In another area, competition for fewer positions or scholarships or whatever has grown fiercely causing a gloat of great resumes, undermining team work and causing more unethical behavior on the part of individuals toward others as they seek these false awards.


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Continuing to answer the questions regarding Strength of character from my previous post.

First, another aspect which defines strength of character: It is when a person does the right thing when not being seen by others.

But one of my favorite quotes regarding character is by Theodore Roosevelt in Paris in 1910:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because their is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”


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I was very fortunate to visit the United States Military Academy at West Point NY April 15-18. I was invited by COL Sean Hannah, who is the Director of the new Army Center of Excellence for Professional Military Ethics. The visit went very well. (more…)

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