The Rock in My Shoe_small_shoe1Leadership is a heavy burden.  The leader finds his strength in his convictions.  If when he reaches down for the strength of conviction he finds instead, his ego, then it is time to pull his head out of his ass!

Daily if not hourly, doctors bear the responsibility of human lives.  Medical practice is built on the Hippocratic code buttressed by practitioner ego.  To ensure that this heavy burden does not snuff out the spirit of the healer, the whole course of their training builds their ego.  Their ego is empowered to assure them that no one could have done better.

Daily if not hourly, military leaders bear the responsibility of human lives.  Military leadership is built on the knowledge that teams win skirmishes, teams win battles, teams win wars.  With experience this knowledge becomes conviction.  The knowledge is based on fact, not theory.  When conviction is based on theory, we are at least one level removed from fact. That is the basis for the truism: If we do not learn from history, then we are doomed to repeat it.

Military leadership is empowered by history-based conviction.  Without conviction the fallback position is ego.

For the last six months or so, I have been observing the behavior of politicians in Washington DC.  By being elected they prove that they are pretty smart.  Then why are they failing to deliver products which meet specifications, are within budget, and are timely?  Perhaps even though they are not doctors, their egos tell them that no one could have done better.  But doctors start with “first, do no harm.”

Watching these politicians leads me to believe that in addition to being very smart, they have huge egos.  During the last six months they have repeatedly told us that there is a problem, and that they know the solution.  Based on their performance I have come up with a hypothesis: the intelligence of politicians is diminished in proportion to their egos. (I know, a hypothesis remains a theory until proven empirically.)

Independent of my theory, I believe it is obvious that there has been a gigantic leadership failure in Washington. A looming deficit and costs of $13 trillion* is bad leadership!

In the military there are two cures for this kind of leadership failure

  • Both you and your organization die in battle or,
  • You pull your head out of your ass and follow your convictions.

Sadly, it appears that only the first of these cures is on the horizon for you and me.

*$13,000,000,000,000 or one dollar for every heart beat of every person
living in Miami city, FL for the entire next year!

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2 Responses to SUICIDE BY EGO

  1. george v.s. white says:

    Our basic training company was composed of coonasses from central Louisiana and Brooklynites. The third platoon leader was as chicken as a 2nd lieutenant can get. One day one of my friends told him “Lt. Pace, pretty soon we are both going overseas and one of us is not coming back”. Two weeks after we landed in Italy, news filtered back the Lt. Pace had been killed. Coincidence? Always protect your backside. You may need a friend someday.

  2. Monty says:


    I call this arrogance + ignorance, the most lethal management, leadership combination. I believe they are ignorant and do not understand the real cost/impact of their decisions and laws. This situation has to be about pandering, and if you oppose you are doing it out of spite not due to reasonable understanding of future pain that will be dumped upon the American Taxpayers. either way we have been Sc&@*@&$)(&D

    Keep writing

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