Why Every Leader Should Carry a (Green) Notebook


By Joe Byerly

There are several great articles (here, here, or here) about the importance of writing for publication, but what about the importance of writing for yourself? From Marcus Aurelius to George Patton and Leonardo da Vinci to Bill Gates, these leaders and inventors kept personal notebooks or notecards where they captured quotes, maxims, ideas, or anything else they found of interest. As we look back now into their private writings, we find evidence of the intellectual growth that made them successful. For instance, Patton copied down insights at West Point that would eventually become his fighting style decades later. So let’s explore why keeping a notebook is so important to our personal growth.

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Introducing Legacy Magazine

Legacy Magazine-6109-2

While the content of From the Green Notebook is focused on the professional growth of service members, I love supporting those connected to the military who venture out to launch noteworthy initiatives. In this case, a group of spouses came together two years ago after seeing a need for a high-end publication focused on the lifestyle of military families. And from there, Legacy was born. The inaugural issue will be available in November, and after seeing this preview from military spouse, Stephanie Howell, I think it’s going to be a successful magazine and a great resource for families.

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The Opposite of Fear is Love


The Opposite of Fear is Love is from Chapter 13 of Steven Pressfield’s The Warrior Ethos published by Black Irish Books. 

The greatest counterpoise to fear, the ancients believed, is love—the love of the individual warrior for his brothers in arms. At Thermopylae on the final morning, when the last surviving Spartans knew they were all going to die, they turned to one of their leaders, the platoon commander Dienekes, and asked him what thoughts they should hold in their minds in this final hour to keep their courage strong. Dienekes instructed his comrades to fight not in the name of such lofty concepts as patriotism, honor, duty or glory. Don’t even fight, he said, to protect your family or your home.

Fight for this alone: the man who stands at your shoulder. He is everything, and everything is contained within him.

The soldier’s prayer today on the eve of battle remains not “Lord, spare me,” but “Lord, let me not prove unworthy of my brothers.”

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#AUSADIGITAL: Social Media and the Future of Leader Development


Digital Learning Flyer_AUSA-2

By Joe Byerly

In 1920, as commander of 3rd Squadron, 3d Cavalry, then Colonel George S. Patton Jr. held a series of sixteen lectures in which we he imparted the lessons he had learned from a mixture of self study and his own experiences in World War I to the junior officers in his formation. When I think about these professional development sessions, I imagine Patton standing in front of a room full of officers with his notecards in hand, and the young captains and lieutenants scribbling furiously in their notebooks. Almost 100 years later, this method of imparting knowledge to the next generation of military leaders hasn’t changed much in our organizations.

While face-to-face professional development sessions are still a critical component of leader development, the social media platforms of today allow us to move beyond the Pattonesque sessions of the 1920s, and expand our leader development programs. We no longer have to get everyone in the same room at the same time to have a professional discussion.

On October 9th at AUSA’s National Meeting and Exposition, I will join a  panel of talented professionals to discuss the role that social media can and will play in developing leaders for the 21st Century. If you attended last year, our panel drew a full house and we had some great discussion! This year is no different.

I will be flanked by an all star panel of experts. Dr. Jim Greer, a retired U.S. Army Colonel brings an amazing career along with his PhD research on self development and personal learning networks to the discussion. Dr. Rebecca Johnson, of Marine Corps University, made waves in 2013 when she brought her ethics class onto Twitter, hosting what was probably the first professional military discussion on social media. And finally,  Captain Doug Meyer, who runs the popular leader development social media feed, Hay in the Barn Leader, and recently completed company command, understands the day to demands that we put on our company grade officers and where social media can fit into leader development.

If the topic interests you, but you don’t even now how to use Twitter, we are also running a workshop following the discussion on how Twitter works. You can even walk out of this year’s event with a “first tweet” under your belt!

It has been almost a hundred years since George Patton delivered his lectures from hand written notecards. Can we leverage social media to achieve the same end state? Can social media help to fill the gap that exists between leader attendance in professional military education? Whether you are a senior leader, company grade officer, a DA civilian, or in academia, we think this panel and our workshop will help you think differently about how you develop yourself, your team, and your organization.  And if you can’t make it out to the event, follow us on Twitter using the hashtag #AUSADIGITAL







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The Power of Informal Leader Development


By Scott Nusom 


Leader professional development (LPD) is a critical component for growing and progressing the Profession of Arms. Army Doctrinal Reference Publication 6-22, Army Leadership binds leader development into the Army leadership requirements model and Field Manual (FM) 6-22, Leader Development specifies the Army’s comprehensive framework for holistic development. Outside doctrine, professional articles addressing the benefits of professional development abound (here, here, and here). While structured LPD is critical to leader evolution, the less structured characteristics of informal leader development offers a viable second avenue for professional growth and can have a lasting impact on junior leaders as they progress through the military.

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Idea to Action: The West Point Negotiation Project

By: Luke Hutchison

When it comes to creating change in the largest bureaucracy on earth – the Department of Defense – it can often seem like a challenging, if not impossible, task.  However, there are some Intrapreneurs who have seen a problem, developed a solution, mobilized support around it and gone on to have a significant impact on the DoD.  The story of the West Point Negotiation Project (WPNP) provides a great example of leaders who have done just that, and in this case significantly impacted the way that our military negotiates today.  At the upcoming DEFxColorado at the Air Force Academy on August 12th we’ll be highlighting the story of WPNP and many others organizations that have created a positive change and drove innovation in the defense community.

Identifying a Problem

In 2003 then Captain Aram Donigian deployed with an Infantry Battalion to Eastern Afghanistan where part of his job required resolving disputes with local Afghans.  One dispute in particular, with an influential gas station owner in the area, had frustrated the previous unit and had spilled into Aram’s deployment.  The gas station owner had seen his business close as a result of American activity in the area and had filed a claim to recoup his lost business as well as save face for what had happened to him.  Like most Army leaders who deployed at the time, Aram had no formal negotiation training and simply used some ‘common sense’ to resolve the dispute.  Aram made a low-ball ‘take it or leave it’ offer and resolved the dispute, turned the tracker from red to green and earned praise from his chain of command.

Following his Command time, Aram went on to the MBA program at the Tuck School of Business where he met Professor Jeff Weiss, an experienced negotiator with nearly 30 years of negotiation experience and recent author of Harvard Business Review’s Guide to Negotiating.  It was there in Jeff’s course that Aram realized the Principled Negotiation approach taught in the course would have helped him achieve a much better outcome in Afghanistan.  The approach was first described in the book Getting To Yes and advocates four fundamental principles of negotiation: 1) separate the people from the problem; 2) focus on interests, not positions; 3) invent options for mutual gain; and 4) insist on objective criteria.  The positional approach that he used damaged any possibility of having an effective relationship with an influential Afghan leader who could have been a valuable source for intelligence and ally to influence other leaders in the area.  With this in mind, Aram went on to teach the negotiation course at West Point which had just started a couple years earlier in 2006.

Soon after Aram started teaching at West Point though, he began receiving calls from some of the course’s early graduates who had started arriving at their units.  The newly commissioned officers found themselves using the Principled Negotiation approach they’d been taught on a regular basis and especially deployed.  At the time there was some negotiation and key leader engagement training occurring in the Army, but most approaches lacked the systematic approach and results, that the Principled Negotiation approach offered.  Graduates of the course increasingly found themselves being asked by their Commanders to reach back to West Point for more resources and training so they could then teach their units Principled Negotiation.

Developing a Solution

Seeing the need for more Principled Negotiation training beyond just the 60 cadets being taught in the course each year, Aram and Jeff co-founded the West Point Negotiation Project in 2009 to enhance the ability of military leaders to engage in the complex and challenging negotiations they face in both peace and combat situations.  One of the biggest impacts the project has had was in 2010 after Aram, Jeff and their colleague Jonathan Hughes published Extreme Negotiations in the Harvard Business Review which highlighted a number of extreme negotiations military leaders had deployed.  An instructor at the Navy SEAL’s Platoon Leaders Course read the article and contacted Aram to see if they could provide a Mobile Training Team for SEALs going through the course.  Aram obliged and cadets and faculty from WPNP began flying to train Navy SEALs going through the course year after year.  The project also provided consulting work for then Brigadier General H.R. McMaster’s anti-corruption task force, Shafafiyat (Transparency).  Aram served as the task force’s Chief of Engagements while cadets from the project worked on specific issues for the task force back at West Point.

The project has also helped drive the conversation on how the US military negotiates through other articles such as Failure to Engage:  Current Negotiation Strategies and Approaches” in Military Review and Beyond Formality:  A Better Way to Negotiate in Afghanistan” in the Armed Forces Journal.  WPNP has also directly shaped doctrine such as the writing of the Army Training Network Task’s “Prepare for a Cross Cultural Negotiation” and “Conduct a Cross Cultural Negotiation” and also contributed to the revision of the leader competency ‘Extend Influence Beyond the Chain of Command’ in ADRP 6-22: Army Leadership and ensured the language in the manual built on what had been taught by WPNP over the preceding years.

Going on almost a decade now, WPNP continues to have an outsized impact on the way the military negotiates.  It continues to send Mobile Training Teams to various units, hosts an annual conference for 100 cadets from across the country and has written cases and other material specific to the negotiations military leaders face.  Thousands of cadets and military leaders from every branch of service in the DoD, and even a few Canadians, have now been exposed to Principled Negotiation as a result of the West Point Negotiation Project.

Learn More at DEFxColorado

To hear Aram’s story and other Intrapreneurs in our military who have not just seen problems in the military – but actually done something about them – join us on August 12th at the Air Force Academy for the inaugural DEFxColorado.  Our keynote speaker will be Brigadier General Andrew Armacost the Dean of the Faculty at the Air Force Academy who has been a champion of innovative initiatives such as the creation of the technological innovation program at USAFA where cadets develop new technologies for military and civilian use and the launch of Air Force Cyberworx.  We then have an all-star speaker lineup of current and former military leaders who have founded new organizations, led innovation in counter-terrorism units, written articles for the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Military Review and elsewhere and spearheaded the fastest weapon system delivered from concept to combat since the P-51 Mustang in World War II.

In addition to hearing some awesome stories about innovation, we’ll also learn and apply tools to drive innovation.  We’re combining two pre-existing tools to create the “Intrapreneur’s Toolbox” which combines Influence Strategies based off of the Principled Negotiation approach described earlier and Lean Startup principles based of off the Hacking 4 Defense course started at Stanford University.   We will form groups around current challenges, apply these concepts, and then pitch them to a Shark Tank style panel.

Most importantly though, there will be plenty of time to connect with other innovators and Intrapreneurs throughout the day and during our two happy hours.  In the book How Google Works, the authors discuss how a Google hiring philosophy is to “Hire enough great people, and the resulting intellectual mixture will inevitably combust into creativity and success.”[1] Although no one is being hired, we intend for that combustion of creativity to happen at DEFxColorado and spread across Colorado’s Front Range.  Along with the new relationships built, we hope to see tangible results as well, such as universities establishing Hacking 4 Defense programs and partnering with the numerous military bases within the state to solve national security challenges from the ground up and providing civilian students a way to contribute to our national security in a meaningful way.  We look forward to seeing you at the inaugural DEFxColorado and joining the combustion.

Luke Hutchison and Joe Byerly are both Army officers stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado and are also facilitators for DEFxColorado. For additional information or to register for DEFxColorado visit our website or email Luke at luke@defenseentrepreneurs.org.

[1] How Google Works (p. 23).

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Your Landing Attitude and How to ‘Be’ in Transition


Under Canopy over Grim Reaper Drop Zone, Sheik Isa Air Base, Bahrain – Daniel C. Hodne, Colonel (USA, Retired)

By Daniel Hodne

Exiting an aircraft flying at 130 knots makes for an unnatural, turbulent, and adrenaline-charged experience.

Career change, in many respects, shares similar qualities.

In other words, the moment you’ve fully committed yourself to such a transition, you’ve exited the aircraft.

Military static-line parachuting necessitates actions, some of them reflexive, from properly stepping out the door (or off the ramp) to descending and landing safely. These actions may serve as metaphors for the checklist of a job transition process, with steps to be taken, and choices to be made when seeking a new position or industry.

They represent what you should do.

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The 2017 Ultimate Summer Reading List


By Joe Byerly

Last summer I reached out to friends from around the national security community and asked what they were reading. The collective list became a hit, and for me personally, became the bulk of my reading material for the remainder of 2016. This year I decided to continue the tradition with the hopes of introducing works to readers that they might not have been familiar with before coming across this post. I hope you enjoy the list and find something that you will read while sitting on the beach this summer!

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The Top Ten Things I Learned in Squadron Command


LTC Foster uncases the 4-10 Cavalry Colors during a ceremony in Europe


By: LTC Chad Foster

I learned a lot over two years in command of a Cavalry Squadron. I also re-learned many things that I had discovered during earlier assignments, but these lessons gained a new and broader context when experienced from a Commander’s perspective. The list that follows is not definitive. However, I hope that this “top 10,” as imperfect and incomplete as it is, might be helpful to some of those lucky enough to be taking command at any level in the future.

1. To truly command, you must have the courage to give up some control.

You MUST allow your subordinate leaders to do their jobs – That sounds obvious, right? But there can be a strong temptation to control everything. After all, YOU are the Commander, the most experienced and (to that point, at least) the most professionally successful officer in the battalion. Those who are focused on their own advancement, tend to obsess about “looking bad” in front of the boss. Everything MUST be perfect, so they feel like they must control it.

No matter how strong this urge might become, fight it. Fight it with all you’ve got. Your subordinate leaders and soldiers will never develop effectively and your unit will never fully harness the power and talent of its members unless you give up some control. If you are controlling, it likely that you aren’t commanding anything. While there are times when you have to closely monitor and control actions, these are the exceptions, not the norm. Give intent rather than directives whenever possible and trust your subordinates with the freedom to maneuver while pursuing that intent. Any short term setbacks that might occur are well worth the long term developmental benefits to the unit and to those young soldiers, NCOs, and officers.

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Let’s Talk #DRAFTFM30


Have you ever read an Army Field Manual and wished you could have added your two cents prior to it accumulating dust on your office shelf? Now’s your chance.

The Strategy Bridge, The Military Leader, and From the Green Notebook are excited to announce that beginning on May 14th we are hosting a three week series focused on the current Draft of Field Manual (FM) 3-0: Army Operations. Each week one of our sites will post a question or series of questions on our Facebook pages for discussion. Answers and feedback will be sent directly to the authors of FM 3-0 for consideration.

The Army Chief of Staff (CSA) asked Training and Doctrine Command and the Combined Arms Center to write a new FM 3-0 to address, in a comprehensive fashion, how the Army conducts operations in an operational environment where the prospect of large scale combat against a capable regional peer adversary is no longer unthinkable. The CSA determined that the Army lacked adequate doctrine to account for large scale combat operations in a multi-domain environment, what happens during operations short of large scale combat, and how to exploit tactical success by consolidating gains to achieve enduring results.

As a result, the Army has developed a Field Manual that is organized according to the Army’s strategic roles as part of the joint force: Operations to Shape, Operations to Prevent, Operations to Win (offense and defense), and Operations to Consolidate Gains. All operations are conducted for a purpose that should inform what the Army does – and how. Field Manual 3-0 makes adjustments to the operational framework and how the Army thinks about it, and that the most likely paths to victory during operations are in the context of current force structure, capabilities, and threats. The authors argue that all combat is multi-domain, and has been for a long time. What is new is how we account for cyberspace and the dynamic information environment, and the idea of orchestrating and synchronizing capabilities across multiple domains to converge effects against an opponent. The Army has significant capability gaps against some potential opponents in some parts of the world, which is why we specify that current adversaries are regional peers. How the Army solves tactical problems will vary from theater to theater, but the one constant is that regional peers can contest U.S. land, air, space, maritime, and cyberspace capabilities in ways we’ve not dealt with in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Army can no longer depend upon the Joint Force to solve its tactical problems. A company or battalion that goes to ground for more than a few minutes after making contact with the enemy, waiting on airstrikes against an enemy with viable IADS and fires complexes, is likely to be destroyed. This is an old problem for Cold Warriors, but it is a new problem for those without those formative training experiences. There are few with that experience in our divisions and brigades now; almost none in our battalions.

Download the Draft FM 3-0 chapters here and come join the conversation at our Facebook pages over the coming weeks.

Posting Schedule:

May 14: Strategy Bridge Posts questions for Chapters 1-2

May 21: Military Leader Posts questions for Chapter 3-5

May 28: From the Green Notebook Posts Questions for Chapters 6-8



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