About the Book
"Good leaders are intense; real good leaders are passionate; but great leaders are predators when it comes to winning on the battlefield, the gridiron, or in the workplace." Jim Benson
"Winners create their own destiny by their proactivity while losers suffer a fate by their reactivity." Jim Benson
"Give me all the 'wanna be's' you can find. I'll take them all for they are the 'gonna be's' of tomorrow." Jim Benson
"Part of being good is looking good." Jim Benson
"Intricate and complex are recipes for failure in organizational planning." Jim Benson
"You can, you will, you must succeed." Coach Ray Bussard
Through the years, I have been intrigued by the consistent success of some leaders. Why are some people successful leaders within the organization while others, with superior intellect and academic credentials, are less successful or blatantly unsuccessful? Why are others quite successful in one position or assignment, but, when promoted, fail miserably? Why are there great assistant coaches in the college and professional athletic ranks who simply cannot win once they assume the role of head coach?
As a U.S. Marine Corps officer, I was in the unique position of observing the leadership products of our nation's colleges and universities for 26 years. I have led and observed second and first lieutenants from Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Ball State, Texas A & M, and the U.S. Naval Academy, to name a few. All I can conclude from this experience is that where a lieutenant went to college and what he majored in had no bearing whatsoever on his ability to lead men and women to greater levels of achievement. I can make judgments as to intellect and academic prowessbased on university of record and major subject area; but there is no observable correlation with success in a leadership capacity. One correlation that I can make is, when an officer genuinely desires to lead a unit and takes full responsibility for its success or failure, he is generally successful.
Another characteristic, which is readily observable in successful lieutenants, was the ability to craft a solution to a problem and implement the solution. It appears that our colleges and universities do a fair job in the crafting solutions piece through problem-solving classes and case studies. But no where do we teach them how to discern problems before they become major issues. In my judgment, problem-finding may be as important as problem-solving, and it apparently involves a combination of insight, critical observation, common sense, and maybe an innate feeling in the gut of the leader.
Although not just about leadership per se, this book deals with the leader's number one resource -- people. Some years ago when reading Mark McCormick's book entitled What They Don't Teach at the Harvard Business School, I was taken with Mark's ability to get right down to the essence of success in the business world. He titled Section I, PEOPLE. And, quite frankly, that is what this book is about. It's about the science of motivation. How do some leaders get people to do the things that are essential to success?
I have come to the realization that leaders succeed with people - not with elaborate goals, objectives or strategies, but by finding good people, getting them in the right job, and then motivating them to perform close to their God-given abilities. General U. S. Grant recordedin his memoirs, "few of my officers knew that I had never bothered to study tactics." It is true, a great tactician, Grant was not. But a man of vision and organization, he was, and undoubtedly, a leader who got the most out of his people.
I have found that successful leaders and managers tend to be generalists who possess the skills necessary to motivate and influence others towards superior levels of performance consistent with their abilities and on occasion, well beyond their perceived abilities. Yes, I say skills because these attributes can be learned. Otherwise, there would be no need for this book nor any of the hundreds on the subjects of leadership, managership, and motivation that fill the shelves of America's libraries and shopping center bookstores today.
Much of the narrative herein deals with personal experience and observations in over 26 years as an officer of the U.S. Marines, but I also call on experience, observations, and readings in the fields of business, academics, higher education, and athletics. The ideas and principles here are just as applicable to the small business entrepreneur, corporate CEO, or Baptist minister as to the young U.S. Army lieutenant or high school basketball coach.
Much of today's literature on leadership and success is written by and in many cases for the academician. This book is anything but a magnum opus, but it contains practical information, which leaders can employ immediately in their quest for success on the gridiron of life. It is purposely less intellectual in approach, hopefully inspirational, and should be easily read, understood, and enjoyed by prospective leaders and managers at all levels who simply want tobetter their ability to lead their soldiers, workers, or players to higher levels of performance. Hence, it is especially for winners. For those who are already winners, they will be affirmed and hopefully their skills further honed. For those who are only part-time or sometime winners, they may see the error of their ways. For those satisfied with the status quo, they aren't going to read this book anyway.