Unique Leadership Axiom: Only Your Best Is Worth Having. Whatever your society may be, its strength is no more than that of its weakest link. Therefore, for the good of all and especially for your good “Be All That You Can Be”.
When working in the U.S. Army Systems Analysis Activity I met a young Captain. He was well educated and charming. Amongst other things he was a great computer programmer and an accomplished magician. Over the course of several lunchtime discussions I learned that he had been part of the special Army team which developed the recruiting slogan “Be All You Can Be”.
I was really charmed and we had a lot of fun playing practical jokes on some of our colleagues. These practical jokes were all harmless and in fact built a kind of comradeship in our team. Of course the jokes cut both ways. The young captain and I were as often butts of the jokes as jokers.
If you are reading this blog to learn about winning, you may wonder why are we talking about this topic. There are at least three good reasons. When the Army offers a recruit a chance to be all he can be, the Army is offering:
• a program for avoiding self recrimination
• a program for peace of mind, and
• a program for replacing hate with love.
Self-recrimination is the ghost that visits you every day of your life when you look back at missed opportunities. I know a young man who left the Navy after 15 years as an enlisted man, Nothing is wrong with being an enlisted man unless it kept you from being “All You Could Be”. The question that he has to deal with now is Could he have been more if he had been an officer? It was after all a choice that he made.
You and I know people who are in emotional turmoil every day because they feel that they are not receiving all that they deserve. But if they had been in a program which had taken them to maximum personal success they would not have turmoil, they would have peace of mind.
Charlie, one of the engineers I worked with, often said “it’s a joy to be simple”. When I challenged him about making fun of retarded people he was shocked. Charlie told me that the way to be simple was to know where you’re going, to have a plan for getting there and to be working the plan: A plan to create peace of mind, A plan to “Be All You Can Be”.
All living things seek safety. Seeking safety is the first part of seeking survival. For me to be safe I need food, and shelter and income. Right now there are many Americans who do not have all of these things.
Politicians on both sides of the intellectual divide also need those things. To get them they need to get elected. Right now the most common way for them to get votes is to stir up class hatred. One side wants voters to hate those who are successful. The other side wants those who are successful to believe that their safety is threatened by large numbers of people who are less successful.
At any level of success “being all you can be” gives us peace of mind. It’s really hard to hate when you have peace of mind.
Leadership Focus: We, the tax payers, have funded the Army to train, no to demand that all who wear the uniform must “Be All That They Can Be”. In combat that is the difference between life and death for the soldier, for the squad, for the division, for the generals and for the nation.
Now it is time for each of us citizens to take back that training into our civilian lives. Demand of yourself that you “become all you can be”! Your taxes paid for this leadership concept that has helped to create a great military power. Now benefit yourself, your family and your country by using what you paid for.
My Take: So there you have it. The Army’s recruiting slogan could change hate into love. Not into love of combat, but into self-love, peace of mind and respect for those who are “all they can be.”