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Archive for December, 2011

This Holiday Season: To All Of You

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Thank you to all of you who have shared your thinking,

beliefs, knowledge, perspectives, and insight,

your concerns, questions and quandaries,

your time and willingness to exchange ideas,

your experiences and stories,

your plans and hopes,

your dedications and determinations,

your friendship and trust,

your efforts on behalf of our nation’s security.

Thank you, very much.

John

More Extreme Views: The Road Going Down

Monday, December 12th, 2011

This week I want to relate to all of you two views that have been recommended to me as signs of the vacating of the “middle” and the disappearance of the “middle class.”  They are trends that we ought to be looking at and discussing as they appear to represent one more transition or transformation for our nation that seems to align with what we have witnessed elsewhere in the world.  This week, especially, your views and comments are important to the conversation represented by these two short pieces.

A Navy SEAL perspective on Congress

By , Published: December 7, 2011 in the Washington Post

A SEAL’s perspective

Don Mann knows how to get things done. As a former trainer of the SEAL Team Six members who got Osama bin Laden, Mann has the lowdown on how to get past almost any obstacle. In his new book, “Inside SEAL Team Six: My Life and Missions with America’s Elite Warriors,” he shows what it takes to focus on a job no matter how steep the odds and see it through — out of a sense of duty and justice. So who better to give a little advice to our uncallused Congress members who lately have had some trouble following through on their duty to govern? A guest blog post from Mann:

These days, many of our politicians don’t seem able to confront the great challenges facing them — cutting the deficit under deadline, taking action on rescuing the economy, etc. Congress could learn a great deal about leadership and tackling difficult problems from the philosophy used in the SEAL Teams.

We elect our politicians and the U.S. taxpayers pay for our politicians to get a job done. It is unbelievable, unsatisfactory and almost criminal to hear over and over again that the job is not getting done. Our country is paying a heavy toll for the work that is not being done by Congress.

Like our elected representatives, SEALs live day to day confronting “insurmountable challenges.” For the SEALS, however, the outcome is often a matter of life or death, not a blip up or down in approval ratings. The SEAL philosophy and work ethic were established by men who, on a daily basis, have risked their lives for their country.

SEAL team members never come home saying, “Sorry but we were unable to complete the job that you paid us to do, the task was too difficult.” The challenges that Congress faces today are not unique. Our country has had to deal with deficit deadlines and economic issues for well over 200 years.

It takes over a year of arduous training, the toughest military training in the world, to become a Navy SEAL and to be able to wear the coveted SEAL trident on your uniform. And that’s just the beginning. The SEAL trident has to be earned every day.

In the teams, we do not sit back on our laurels — you go out every day and earn your right to wear that trident. We elect our politicians for what they promise us they are going to accomplish. They need to go out and fulfill these promises. They need to earn their right to be our representatives on a daily basis by fulfilling their promises.

SEALs typically under-promise and over-deliver, in contrast to over-promise and under-deliver. We understand that effective leadership requires making tough decisions and that strategy requires execution. . . .

As SEALs, we focus on developing unique traits and characteristic skill sets that enable us to achieve mission success. We take great pride in being part of an organization where the entire team is mission- and success-oriented.

Failing is never an option!

We are surrounded by teammates fueled by honor, integrity, courage, discipline, accountability, ambition, creativity, flexibility and responsibility.

If the congressional team had this same mind-set, our country would be in a much better situation than it is now.

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A friend involved me in a conversation that has similar characteristics.  Here’s the way it goes:

“Name a civilization that has succeeded through a period of increasing concentration of wealth, power and influence in an ever-smaller segment of the society?  Name a society that has survived through a period where the views of the leading components of the society moved farther and farther apart?  Name a civilization that has survived through a period where the middle class was increasingly farther removed from power, influence and financial means, and increasingly took on the characteristics of the poor…..lack of living wage, high unemployment, ineffective representation of labor, higher and higher frustration with what they see as their future?

According to this person, “What we really need to ‘see’ is not that we here in the US’ society are different from the Iraqs, Afghanistans, Egypts, Pakistans, Syrias, Mexicos, Greeces, UKs, Russias, Occupy Wall Streets, Libyas and the others.  Rather, we may be at a different point on the road civilizations often go down.

This person’s theory continues with “Uprisings, riots, and terrorism are ways available to peoples around he world to respond to and to try to ‘right the wrongs’ they perceive have gotten to the point where they are ‘fed up, and are not going to take it any more’.  And the spread of uprising, riots and terrorism is a sign of the increasing disparity between the ‘haves’ and those who feel they are in the ‘have not’ category and have fewer and less effective options for working in the system to improve their lot.”

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These are important ideas for all of us to be thinking about and discussing.  I hope you will share your perspectives and thinking with our 5,000 readers.  You can comment on the Roundtable, at www.lsi-llc.com, or send me a note at john@lsi-llc.com, and I’ll share your views with the group.

Thanks.

John