Excellent Book Recommendation

In light of the world learning of Osama Bin Laden's demise, I thought I would provide an endorsement of an excellent work entitled The Mission, The Men, and Me: Lessons from a Former Delta Force Commander.  Pete Blaber portrays lessons learned from military gaffes while being on the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan.  I would like to have seen more insights into the reality of a delta operator; but alas, operational security possibly precludes this.

Available at Amazon.com
The intellectually curious will not be disappointed: this soldier is cut from a different ilk, as he commends true leadership by some great, pithy quotes. For instance, he extols a three-fold process for ruminating on something before making a decision: saturate, incubate, and illuminate. While the idea does not seem inherently new, his presentation resonated deeply with me. How often do people forget to spend the necessary “brain power” to let an idea gel before acting on it? Maybe your experiences have been like mine – I have seen many people employ a “knee jerk” reaction in a business situation or social gathering.  The steps in this process, to bombard oneself with ideas; let them fester; and THEN seek to make meaning, is a reminder of how things ought to be done.

Bringing the wisdom of a retired Army colonel, Pete Blaber accentuates what is typically wrong of the military and/or business: people higher in the pecking order seek to make decisions without the requisite tacit knowledge to make them effective. Blaber’s recommendation: always listen to the man on the ground. For Blaber, this meant his commando teams had better intelligence to act upon since they were in the thick of it: instead, his superiors kept hamstringing him.  It’s sadly true of most businesses – but is especially revealed in the military - position implies authority. Even when those who make empty decisions can get people killed.

This book is tremendously written and is highly commended for anyone aspiring to leadership.  Always consider:

The Mission: what are you trying to accomplish and what is the best way to go about it?
The Men: make sure your decisions help those below you – not hamstring them.
Me: put yourself last. This one idea needs to be read, and re-read, to the Me-only generation that is eking its way into positions of power.

Such a mantra is applicable across a wide variety of domains: business, education, and even ministry. Read and heed: you’ll be a better leader if you do.


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