Lead with the best version of yourself.

4 Tips for Selling Your Ideas

4 Tips for Selling Your Ideas

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By Joe Byerly

Have you ever had an idea you thought was solid gold, but when you presented it to your boss or coworkers it fell on deaf ears? Maybe it wasn’t that your idea was bad. Maybe it was you. Hear me out: Sometimes our ideas ARE solid gold, the problem is that we get so wrapped up in the idea itself and it’s ingenuity that we don’t pay attention to delivery.

And delivery can be as important.

But, before we explore delivery, let’s jump into the time machine and look at an idea in history that fell flat on its face when it was initially proposed: hand washing.

In the early 1800s, mothers who had just given birth died at an alarming rate in European hospitals. One in six died from what was at the time known as childbed fever. In 1846, a young 28-year-old Hungarian physician named Ignaz Semmelweis discovered a correlation between mothers catching the disease and direct contact with physicians coming from surgery. He immediately instituted hand washing in his ward and the disease significantly dropped off.

One would think that this innovative young doctor who had a solid gold idea revolutionized medicine across Europe and saved the lives of countless mothers, but he did not. It was another 21 years before British surgeon Joseph Lister published his papers on sterilization and hospitals across the world adopted his methods.

So why wasn’t Semmelweis successful? His delivery sucked. He had a tough uphill battle to fight against a conservative establishment who had its own beliefs and way of doing business. And unfortunately, he refused to play by their rules. He was argumentative and so fanatical in his beliefs that he struggled to get his leadership and peers on board with his new, innovative method.

4 Tips from Sir Winston Churchill to Write Better Emails

4 Tips from Sir Winston Churchill to Write Better Emails

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By Joe Byerly

Emails- They are the bane of our existence, but they are how we communicate in the modern world. Each day, military leaders clean out their inboxes only to have them fill back up within hours. Unfortunately, quantity doesn’t equal quality. Too often, the purpose of the email is buried, with the sender seeming to aim for length rather than substance. Unfortunately, many of these garbled messages create misalignment in organizations, waste time, money and in some extreme cases–lives.

Why does it matter? It matters because being able to effectively communicate through writing provides leaders and staff officers with understanding and the ability to act. Additionally, when we communicate efficiently, we give the person we’re communicating with time back to focus on other things besides reading emails or multi-page SITREPs.

How to Write as a Thinker-Practitioner

Tropical Storm 2019: Jungle Survival

By Vincent A. Dueñas

In his treatise, Why Don’t We Learn from History, B.H. Liddell Hart opens the first chapter with a general discussion of history and its merit. In describing the advancements of the conduct of warfare over the course of history he takes aim at the concept of direct vs indirect experience, just as Bismarck did with the aphorism: “I want to learn through others’ experiences…” Hart posits that indirect experience is the best way to advance the theory and conduct of warfare. However, direct experience results in otherwise unattainable insights that would be missed by simply relying on indirect experiences. Service as a Soldier offers the kind of direct experience that can advance theory and conduct of warfare if leveraged properly.  Practitioners, such as Soldiers, gain direct experience and are then able to facilitate understanding and dialogue about said experiences. For practitioners, however, indirect experience is fundamental and it should occur sequentially for the individual, after direct learning, vice concurrently.

General knowledge is improved when all ideas present themselves and the best can be shaken out – as Ray Dalio’s Principles emphasize – and Soldiers can capitalize on their direct experiences to enrich the learning experience. The first step is to keep handwritten notes using a (green) notebook, and that is the best way I know to do this, officer and enlisted perspectives included. It is important to have a framework for your ideas and to consider how they might grow from direct experience to something you might share about the true nature of warfare. Pursue your curiosity in other disciplines before putting all of your thoughts in order and have someone review and challenge them.

An Open Letter to Battalion Commanders: How to Use Social Media

An Open Letter to Battalion Commanders: How to Use Social Media

Social media platforms offer children exciting but frightening environmentsBy Scotty Autin

 

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I feel like most of us are missing an opportunity.  We’re missing a chance to get the command messages out to audiences and shape the narrative of our units.  More so, we’re missing a chance to talk directly to our Soldiers, their families, the larger Army, and even the American public.  

In a post late last year, Gen. Robert Abrams penned an article published on this site titled, “Social Media: Senior Leaders Need to Get on the Bus.” If you haven’t had a chance to read his article, take some time to read it before you proceed here.  It gives you a great understanding of why leaders need to be on social media. Likewise, the US Army laid out a comprehensive overview of how to use social media with most of it focused on the official accounts for brigade and above.  From here forward, for those nondigital natives like me, I hope to lay out a way that battalion commanders can leverage social media.

First and foremost, you have to think of social media as a virtual hangout as it relates to interacting and engaging with Soldiers and families.  It exists and your Soldiers are there and active in it. Whether or not you choose to be present, the thoughts, ideas, and narratives are progressing with or without you.  For me, I had the benefit of witnessing some really good leaders and public affairs experts that understand how to use social media as a force projection and multiplication platform.  With that, I’ll lay out a strategy that can help you wrap your head around how to be a leader on social media. This is based on three key points.

Feedback Matters: How Poor Communication Can Lead to Bad Job Performance

Feedback Matters: How Poor Communication Can Lead to Bad Job Performance

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By Joe Byerly

(This post originally appeared on ClearanceJobs.com)

Have you ever been caught off guard with a performance evaluation?

Have you ever found out that the great job you thought you were doing wasn’t so great after all?

I believe that most of us go to work each day with the intention of doing a great job. But, sometimes we miss the mark. And sometimes that mark is missed because of communication. Below are a few examples of how miscommunication can lead to poor job performance.

Learn and Look Before You Tweet

Learn and Look Before You Tweet

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Some things you should understand before jumping headfirst into the information environment

By Larry Kay

Last week was “media literacy week,” which unlike national doughnut and Twinkie day, should be elevated to a more prominent occasion given how central the internet, media and social media are to our lives. Given how clouded and competitive the information environment is, it is supremely important that people become ‘media and internet literate.’ What I urge everyone to recognize is that the information environment is as open and amusing as it is caustic and dangerous in today’s strategic context. To put a necessary point on it: these are dark times and for every piece of truthful and accurate information, there is an equal if not greater amount of falsehoods masquerading as truth. Many discussions today about the information environment or information operations are concerned primarily with how to win, but often do not apply much thought or consideration toward not losing or identifying disinformation. This article aims to help people navigate the treacherous waters of the web, to prevent them first from losing to disinformation and falsehoods. However, before you search on Wikipedia for the definition of ‘media and internet literacy,’ please consider the following before you begin your journey.

Risk and Reward

Risk and Reward

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By Josh Powers

Last week, General Abrams (@DogFaceSoldier on Twitter) published a short article encouraging more senior leader engagement on social media. Titled Social Media: Senior Leaders Need to Get on the Bus, the article provides ten reasons why leaders should be more active in the digital space.  As demonstrated (blog posts, live casts, etc), I must disclose that I wholeheartedly agree with General Abrams’ perspective. Based on my own experience, I remain passionate in my view that there is something in the digital world for every military professional. I see it as a medium where we can learn, grow, and interact. Still, there is risk associated with engaging online and it is worth discussion. Many leaders in the profession have considered engagement but weigh perceived risk and reward only to ultimately abstain from engaging online. So what are they worried about? Over the past few weeks, I polled the Twitter audience on the topic and, based on their feedback, I offer a few of the main risks that keep our colleagues offline. 

Avoiding the Echo Chamber: Digital Media Leader Engagement and Education

Avoiding the Echo Chamber: Digital Media Leader Engagement and Education

 

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By: L.M. Hughes

In the wake of #AUSADigital2019, one of the most brilliant conversations I’ve seen on effective leader engagement on social media, led by From the Green Notebook’s very own Megan Jantos, I kept noticing how panelists and commentators alike remarked that it was “one of the most packed panels they’ve ever seen at an AUSA event.” A good sign to be sure, but there was something I could not shake about the environment. A few hours later, while I was driving home, it dawned on me that things may not have been as optimistic as the stage set it up to be.

As varied as the experience of each of the panelist was, the collective message was the same: leaders timid about social media engagement take their finger off the pulse of the organizations they lead, be it at the company level, the Army level, or any echelon between the two. But what happens when one of those levels between actively disengages itself from social media? What happens when a senior leader not only fails to value the immense power at their literal fingertips, but also works to undermine that engagement by not being present for the discussion? Has #milTwitter, and subsequently that entire ballroom, become an echo chamber for what we want to hear about our own leader engagement, and does not necessarily represent an accurate sample for our current leader engagement?

Social Media: Senior Leaders Need to Get on the Bus

Social Media: Senior Leaders Need to Get on the Bus

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By General Robert B. “Abe” Abrams

The emergence of social media over the last decade has impacted just about every facet of life, reshaping the ways in which we interact, socialize, and communicate. Digital natives – like my 24-year old son – navigate multiple social media platforms near simultaneously, day and night. For digital immigrants – those of us born before 1985 – not so much. Some are uncomfortable with the technology, or the content, and believe there is a high risk of engaging.  Others lack the intellectual curiosity to explore the vast potential social media has to offer.

If you are a senior leader in the military, being engaged on social media is becoming more of an imperative by the day. There are many reasons why this is essential, but here are my top 10:  

4 Irresistible Army Influencers Set to “Seduce” AUSA Audiences

4 Irresistible Army Influencers Set to “Seduce” AUSA Audiences

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By Megan Jantos

If you’ve spent any time on social media you will find that there are people who instantly attract your attention. You could be quickly scrolling through your digital platform of choice and when you see their posts you can’t help but read, like, share, or comment. If you’re really paying attention you’ll likely notice the presence of a particular emotion such as belonging, anger, joy or fear.

In Robert Greene’s book, The Art of Seduction, he teaches readers how to influence others using human psychology. The two-part book outlines nine seductive archetypes and the process by which each character may use their unique wiles to draw others close. Greene highlights numerous historical and literary examples to underscore his premise.

High-profile people are often polarizing, especially when these types of influencers are in the military. What is different for Army influencers is the scrutiny and risk that comes with a military affiliation. Not only are these folks doubling down publically on their reputation, but they must also consider the real-world risk to operations created by leading via social media.

On Writing: Look Out! There be Sea Monsters!

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By Joe Byerly

A few years ago, I wrote a post encouraging military leaders to write for professional publications and online professional outlets.

I confidently argued, though only anecdotally, that there were no sea monsters and leaders could share their ideas freely without retribution. I was wrong.

There be sea monsters, and they be us.

In the five years since I wrote my original piece, the online community of military and national security professionals has grown exponentially. And with it, so have the dangers. Segments of this community mobilize when there is blood in the water and an author writes a piece that people don’t agree with. I’ve watched writers get devoured by the kraken, and it isn’t pretty.

Is it possible to navigate the seas of professional debate without attracting a sea monster or two? I suppose so. However, some of the greatest shifts in our military’s history were met with resistance. Admiral William Sims, General George Patton, and Colonel John Boyd all battled sea monsters along the way, but they survived, and our military is better for it. So if you are writing on topics that challenge conventional wisdom, sea monsters are unavoidable.