Saturday, January 1, 2011

Leadership Perseverance Requires Two Things.

     One of my favorite quotes is from Vice Admiral James Stockdale (1923-2005), as spoken during conversation with James Collins, author of "Good to Great", on his ability to survive nearly seven and a half years of brutal captivity by the North Vietnamese from 9 September 1965 to 12 February 1973.  

     "You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

     These words effectively capture the very essence of organizational leadership responsibility in times of crisis and tough circumstances.  While most leadership situations are not as dire as those faced by those imprisoned as a POW, his words illustrate one of the most fundamental aspects of successful organizational leadership; leaders cannot afford to dwell on what is not possible, but rather must maintain their focus on success while managing the "brutal facts" of their organization's current situation.

     A quick primer on Medal of Honor Awardee, Vice Admiral James Stockdale can be found here:


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