Unique Leadership Axiom: Leaders detest treachery and all of its symbols.
I started this series of blog posts to pursue my belief that military culture manifests itself in jargon. Our symbols, like Jargon, speak of our conscious and unconscious beliefs, revealing embedded philosophy and deep-seated values. The Army uses Symbols not only express beliefs, but also to communicate fundamental principles to all of its personnel.
On a rainy day in Washington D.C. you can see Army officers trekking from their cars in the huge Pentagon parking lot to the distant entrance to the Pentagon. But you will not see any of them sheltering themselves by carrying an umbrella.
Why? Because Army Regulation 670-1 states that carrying of umbrellas is not authorized for male officers while in uniform. Again, Why? Because of what The British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain did when he went, hat in hand, carrying a black umbrella, to meet with Adolf Hitler!
This shows the 1938 meeting of the Scornfully Arrogant Nazi Dictator and the Abjectly Submissive British Prime Minister on the brink of committing Treachery!
From that meeting Chamberlain joined the negotiation of the Munich Pact. Czechoslovakia was not present. At that meeting Chamberlain signed an agreement allowing the German army to take the Sudetenland, a region of Czechoslovakia. This gave Nazi Germany control of Czechoslovakia’s border defenses.
Neville Chamberlain’s treachery subjected the men, women, and children of the Sudetenland to the horrors of subjugation by Nazi Germany. Chamberlain’s Black Umbrella Became an Icon of Treachery! For years his cowardice and treachery has been symbolized by that umbrella.
Leadership Focus: Military symbols bond to ethical conduct. Recruits learn from Military symbols the dimensions of strength. Successful recruits find the strength of character to move into the community of warriors where symbols are proudly used to express rock solid values.
My Take is expressed by the header of this blog, which encompasses two symbols: The American flag and a soldier saluting the flag. Look once more at the header to see if you find symbols of yourself, your beliefs, and your values… I Do!