Checking Your Moral Azimuth

Posted Leave a commentPosted in


President Ronald Reagan once said that character doesn’t just “happen” at times of crisis, it’s constructed bit by bit by seemingly insignificant decisions.

Our character is the compass on which we guide our decisions and our lives. When we have to make decisions, particularly those that involve morals, money, or the mission, we consult our “character compass.” I call it, “checking your moral azimuth,” your compass bearing in life for making decisions.

For a compass to function properly, it must have all its parts. So it is with our internal compass. Our internal compass is both informed by our values and experiences, and bounded by our conscience. We can also learn from others about how they process moral questions. During my time as a student at various military colleges and schools, I had the benefit of hearing a number of senior military and civilian leaders attribute their success in life to balance, or “completeness” as a person. To be a “complete” person, and have a complete compass…and that means balancing the three aspects of your life: mind, body, and spirit. Try to better yourself in each area, and keep all three in balance. Read a book, improve your fitness level, and practice the spiritual expression of your choice. Keep your compass assembled and in balance.

Read the rest on

“Ask General Leadership”

Posted Leave a commentPosted in


We’re starting a new feature over at called Ask General Leadership and I’m honored to be one of the first contributors! Here’s the first question:

“I will be joining a team that is already formed and will be their Director. It is a team of 15 that is operating off site at a large client’s place of business. Where I have a question is that from everything I’m seeing, the client is difficult to please, and the staff that I’m taking over is less than professional. The VP that I interviewed with noted that they need a strong leader to shape up the current staff or to remake the staff. That would take a very strong personality. He also stated that the person they are looking for needs to be a little submissive when dealing with the client. I think I have the qualities to be that type of a chameleon, but it seems like a very difficult task. What reading and/or advice would you recommend for me so that I can make my first 90 days a resounding success, and thereby keeping the momentum into the future?”

Want to know what me and the rest of the General Leadership team answered? Check it out here.

Creating a Culture of Respect

Posted Leave a commentPosted in


maxresdefaultIn my last article at, I wrote about how integrity is the very foundation of leadership. Extending that analogy, if Integrity is the “foundation” then Respect is the “walls” of a well-led organization.

So, what does “Respect” mean for a leader and how does a leader create a culture of respect in the organization?

In my mind, the four walls of “Respect” are: (1) the inherent dignity each human person has simply by virtue of being a human being, (2) the respect each leader must earn through their actions, (3) the respect for each others’ views and values leaders must require, and (4) the respect for the organization leaders must create. We’ll take each one in turn.

Read the rest at

Integrity Is The Cornerstone of Leadership

Posted Leave a commentPosted in

cadetwilsonIntegrity must be at the core of who we are as leaders if we’re to successfully inspire confidence in our teams. Because leadership is fundamentally about human relationships, integrity must be the very cornerstone of any leader’s foundation. In every aspect of our lives we depend on the integrity of others, and others do the same for us. We count on stores to give us fair prices, on students to do their own work, and athletes to play by the rules. That’s why it’s such a big deal when there is a breach of integrity like a public lie or the discovery someone we trust isn’t playing by the rules. A leader who lacks integrity is headed for disaster; leaders who lead with integrity are the ones we truly value.

Read the rest on

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! (And Giveaway) -UPDATED Winner!

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in Giveaways, Holidays


Marc is our winner, congrats! Look for an email from me with instructions on how to claim your prize!

Happy New Year from Hawaii!

I’ll resume weekly blogging next week, but in the mean time I thought I’d ask you to comment with your 2015 goals. A few of my goals for 2015 are to ride in the Haleiwa Metric Century and Honolulu Century Ride, and to publish at least one book and one article in a mainstream business mag.

Goal setting is different from resolution making in two important ways. First, good goals are usually more concrete and achievable. Second and perhaps most importantly, people actually intend to reach goals while resolutions usually die out by March. (Just compare the gym on Jan 2nd and March 2nd for some validation of that last statement!) Leaders should take the time to set personal goals, and keep them in mind as the year progresses. Don’t forget to reach a little when goal setting! A well-balanced leader can harmonize personal and professional/organizational goals; a practice that inspires his teammates to be well-balanced people too. Healthy employees make for a productive team!

Now for the giveaway!

I’m giving away a signed copy of Leading Leaders to one lucky reader. All you have to do to enter is comment below with at least one (1) of your 2015 goals! Winner will be selected at random on Jan 3, and the names posted on Jan 4th!

With warm aloha from Hawaii and best wishes from my family to you and yours!

General 5 Leadership Lessons from Surfing

Posted Leave a commentPosted in

SurfboardMy latest on

When we returned to Hawaii after 13 years away, one of the first things I wanted to do was get back on my surfboard. After a little shopping around I found the perfect board: a basic, reasonably priced board, and then set off to re-conquer the Hawaiian surf. It would take several months of trying before my body remembered the lessons I’d learned a decade ago, but now I’m confidently riding the waves again. I learned and re-learned a few things while I was recovering my surfing legs, and those lessons are just as applicable to leadership as they are to surfing.

Read the rest over at