Ellen and Gen. Russel Honore

Ellen and Gen. Russel Honore

What a cool experience to speak at West Point!  I participated in the West Point Leadership Academy, three days of speaking and exercises designed to expand our skills as leaders. And, oh, the setting! Every stone of the fort and military academy oozes leadership. (My presentation was called “What I Learned About Leadership in Prison,” and that enticing title will wait for an upcoming blog.)

However its Election 2016. I wanted to share a couple of insights I gleaned from Lt. General Russel Honore. (The photo was taken at Gen. Custer’s grave at West Point.)

Gen. Honore headlined at the event. Already a highly decorated military hero, he famously took charge of the botched rescue after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.  He transformed the disaster into a functioning rescue and saved countless lives. Here’s a video that may turn you into a raving fan like me.

General Honore’s mantra is #stopdoingstupid. His message: Do the routine things well. Attempt the impossible. Continue in spite of inevitable criticism.

So good. UN-complicated.

Here’s what hit me as I listened to him share his stories of leadership, challenges, failures and successes:

As a leader, you have to keep the Mission and Vision in focus. Your Mission is the answer to the question, “Why?”

Your Vision is a clear description of the “What.”

Your team will help you figure out the “Hows” if they understand and buy into the Mission and Vision. And, if they win when you win.

Your team also needs to know that you love them. That you would take a bullet for them. That even when we disagree, the river of love that flows within all of us.

The US Presidential election is here. It’s tempting to fall into divisiveness and anger. May we use our best leadership skills to discover a Mission and Vision that inspires and connects us. Find that river of love for our shared humanity.

Remember to breathe. And, Vote!

xo$ Ellen