Monday, September 30, 2013

A Walk Down To The River

From Syracuse University Army ROTC Program
As my unit moved through the woods of northern New York state, we received new orders to scout the bank of a river for a possible crossing point. With 20 soldiers under my command, and the knowledge that there was enemy in the area, we moved forward. When we got to the identified rally point about 1/4 mile from the river, I ordered the dropping of rucks and establishment of a base of operations. With solid woodcraft knowledge, I grabbed 3 other soldiers that knew how to move quietly to round out the scouting mission to the river bank. I left a senior soldier in charge of the remaining 16 personnel, with orders to secure the rally point. If gunfire or explosions were heard, form up the platoon and move down toward the river to engage the hostiles; leave behind a 4 man team to watch the rucks when that happened.

I took a small unit because as a scouting mission, stealth was the name of the game. It would be better to slip in and out unobserved rather than move en mass and get caught in a fire fight. We moved down the hillsides toward the river, taking our time moving from brush to brush, testing our footing. We didn't crawl because there was a time constraint on the mission and we weren't sure if there was enemy in the area.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Thanks to my wife at Erin's Creative Energy

That's right folks. We've hit the 200 Mark! With the 200 Mark I would like to announce the creation of the C4 - Explosive Leadership Tactics Community Facebook Page! The intent of this page is to share not just my posts, but articles and other source material that I think would be helpful to you. I invite you to subscribe as new material will be posted on a regular basis.

In addition to the Facebook Page, I invite you to check out the C4ELT YouTube Channel. I will be uploading bits and pieces of my presentations, as well as full speeches. In the future, I may even start creating leadership lesson videos to share.

Overall, it is an exciting time at C4,  and I thought that this expansion would be a great way to celebrate 200 Posts. Thank you for joining me on this, and I hope you will join me for many more!

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Leader Takes the Blame

As a Project Manager in the Oil and Gas industry, I deal mostly with physical objects. LARGE, physical objects. These objects typically need to be tested prior to acceptance by the customer. In one case the test is called a lift test.

Picture from NOT the supplier for this story
The object in this case was long (50+ feet) and cylindrical, weighing over 30 tons. The cylinder was fabricated at one location, but that location didn't have the capacity to perform the lift test. The cylinder was rigged with the customer provided Kevlar slings, shackles, and other equipment; then loaded onto a barge and transported to a location with the crane capacity to perform the lift.

At the lift facility, the customer sent representatives to witness the lift. In fact, the customer's customer sent representatives to watch the lift. In addition there was a lift supervisor, two (2) quality personnel, two (2) safety personnel (including the safety manager), two (2) facility managers (one from the location of construction, one from the lift facility), four (4) third party inspectors, one (1) lift supervisor, and one (1) project manager (myself). We all had a chance to walk around the cylinder and inspect the rigging. We all participated in the Critical Lift Plan Briefing, and the Job Safety Analysis Briefing. Everything seemed to be in place, and the lift appeared to go well. The cylinder was removed from the barge, raised to a vertical position and then lifted off the ground to show that it hung perpendicular to the ground using the installation rigging. The cylinder was then lowered to the horizontal position and then back onto the barge. The lift rigging was removed for inspection... and this is where we hit our first problem.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wacky Wednesday - Grass is Greener

Last week I talked about what happens when you get stuck in a rut. My wife read the posts and shared this e-card:

 I wish I could say it was wrong, but experience is a great teacher

Monday, September 9, 2013

West Point... A Great Big Muddy (FUN) Mess

The United States Military Academy (West Point) hosts an annual invitational Camporee for Scouting Troops (Boy, Girl, Explorer, Venture Crew, etc.)  located within the United States. The Camporee is a grueling three day event run by the Cadets, starting with a hike over Bull Hill (3+ miles, mostly uphill) with all your gear, then the scouts establish campsites and spend the next two days competing in various skill based competitions, including first aid, fire building, rope tying, proper use of campsite tools, orienteering, etc.. Each event (including campsite set-up) is evaluated and scored, with additional points available for speed of completion and enthusiasm. During the last day, everyone breaks down their campsites, packs up, dresses in their best uniforms and attends a formation and parade. During the formation the highest scoring troops are announced. The troop with the highest score receives a military saber, an automatic invitation back to the event next year, and is in the review stands as the other troops pass by and pay tribute to the winner. It is a HUGE event.

In 1996, Troop One, Hope Valley Rhode Island received one of the invitations. At the time I was one of the senior leaders at 16. Overall, we were a young troop with an influx of new boys (ages 11-13), and most of our senior boys were involved in other activities (i.e. sports, sports, and oh yeah, girls). We had participated in the Camporee before (1994) and didn't even place, even with a much older, stronger crew; so we decided it was more important to have fun than to win.

Friday, September 6, 2013 yes

On Monday I posted a lesson about being stuck in your career. In that post I shared a picture from which came from an Article entitled: Going Nowhere Fast? How to Get Ahead at Work.

I found this article to be very interesting, the reason being that it indicated several other ways a person could get stuck at work, and not just because you're "too good at your job." Some of these reasons are:

1. The job is no longer challenging, you get bored, so you stop working as hard, thus underperforming.
2. You are associated with a failed project.
3. A previous action has created a perception of you. This can be:
    a.  emotional outbursts (the example used is a person being too fragile because of emotional distress during a divorce).
    b. you are seen as a gossip
    c. you were caught trying to advance yourself while hurting someone else.
4. You become fed-up with the game, the bureaucracy, whatever, and stop trying.
5. Change in manager changes your job description into something away from your strengths

I am sure there are more. The difficult thing in all these cases is realizing that your current situation is simply spinning your wheels. Bosses will not spend political or physical capital for people in these situations, and fighting the perception(s) can become an uphill if not losing battle. In the long run, you will be better off following lesson 2 from the post on Monday. Move on! You will escape the perceptions (even if you have to take a step down from your current position), reinvigorate your personality because you will be doing something different, and improve your career trajectory in the process. Don't let the fear of change stop you. Embrace it!

Monday, September 2, 2013

"In Six Months..."

"In six months you'll either be an XO or an S-6, if you work hard for me. Does that sound good to you?"

"Yes sir" I replied to my new commanding officer, a Signal Corps Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) in the Army.

I had just transitioned from an Armor (Tanks) unit to a Signal Corp (IT Department) unit, as my 2 year assignment in Armor was complete.

Collected from and