Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where Were You on September 10th, 2001?

Anyone alive on 9-11-2001 has a memory as though it happened yesterday of where they were the moment they heard the news of the day - "Terrorists Fly Planes into WTC and the Pentagon". But, do you remember what life was like the day before? I do, only because the future consequences of 9-11 would demand that I recall this moment in time. Below is part of what I delivered at the funeral of CPT Benjamin D. Jansky. The events of 9-11 would eventually lead to both of us serving our tour at separate times in Iraq. His tour did not end with a joyous homecoming on earth, but with a joyous homecoming in heaven. His tour ended on July 27, 2005. Incidentally, his tour ended on my third wedding anniversary. The last time I saw Ben on this earth was when he came to our wedding. The next time I see Ben will be a similar occasion, when Christ returns for His Bride, the Church.

September 10, 2001. I started the first day of my Pre-Command Course at Ft. McCoy, WI. That evening, Ben drove out to meet me, I believe it was about a 2-hour drive, but for Ben, it was worth it to be able to visit a friend – a former battle buddy. We went into the town of Sparta, ate dinner, and shared about how our lives were coming along. The next day was Ben’s birthday, so I got him a card, and an old-style hand-held Mattel football game. This was pre-Gameboy or Play Station Portable technology. It was the kind where each player is represented by a little green or red LED line and to run the length of the field, you would wrap the 2” wide screen about 10 times. Ben looked at me a little confused. I saw it as a game from my youth, and since Ben represented youth to me, a great joke about his age. I only now realized, that the trademark “Ben’s confused look” was due to the fact that he was too young to remember those types of games.

Well, of course, the next day I got up early and class began promptly at 0730. But, by the time our class had hit our first break about 0810, our enemies were mounting an unprovoked attack. Returning to the classroom, and seeing a close-up of what I thought was a small hole in a large unfamiliar building, I asked, “What’s that?” The response was a plane just hit the World Trade Center in NYC. From the look of things at that particular moment, I thought it must have been a small commuter plane. From the angle of the camera, and the close-up shot, the damage didn’t look that great. We turned off the television and continued training; only to have class interrupted a few minutes later by someone who demanded that we immediately turn the television back on. Our instructor waited to complete his thoughts, and then turned it on to discover the horrors of the second plane. It was only then that we all realized what was happening:

9/11 – our generation’s Pearl Harbor. 

Ben’s life and mine were about to change course from anything we had experienced or planned up to that point.

Following that day, Ben and I continued to call each other, sometimes we communicated through email. As most military people of similar ranks do, we would use each other’s ears to air out our complaints about our superiors, our subordinates, and the overall operational tempo. We would wonder about when it would be our turn to serve in the Global War on Terror. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How Can A Warrior Stand on His Knees?

Only Through Prayer!

This is the Warrior's Theme Song!
For True Warriors, the lyrics are Perfect!
I cannot wait to see this movie which opens 30 September 2011!

we were made to be courageous
we were made to lead the way
we could be the generation
that finally breaks the chains

we were made to be courageous
we were made to be courageous

we were warriors on the front lines
standing, unafraid
but now we're watchers on the sidelines
while our families slip away

where are you, men of courage?
you were made for so much more
let the pounding of our hearts cry
we will serve the lord

we were made to be courageous
and we're taking back the fight
we were made to be courageous
and it starts with us tonight

the only way we'll ever stand
is on our knees with lifted hands
make us courageous
lord, make us courageous

this is our resolution
our answer to the call
we will love our wives and children
we refuse to let them fall

we will reignite the passion
that we buried deep inside
may the watchers become warriors
let the men of god arise

we were made to be courageous
and we're taking back the fight
we were made to be courageous
and it starts with us tonight

the only way we'll ever stand
is on our knees, with lifted hands
make us courageous
lord, make us courageous

seek justice
love mercy
walk on
be with your god

seek justice
love mercy
walk on
be with your god

in the war of the mind i will make my stand
(seek justice. love mercy. walk on. be with your god)
in the battle of the heart and the battle of the hand
(seek justice. love mercy. walk on. be with your god)

in the war of the mind i will make my stand
(seek justice. love mercy. walk on. be with your god)
in the battle of the heart and the battle of the hand
(seek justice. love mercy. walk on. be with your god)

we were made to be courageous
and we're taking back the fight
we were made to be courageous
and it starts with us tonight

the only way we'll ever stand
is on our knees, with lifted hands
make us courageous
lord, make us courageous

we were made to be courageous
in the war of the mind i will make my stand
(seek justice. love mercy. walk on. be with your god)

lord, make us courageous
in the war of the mind i will make my stand
(seek justice. love mercy. walk on. be with your god)

we were made to be courageous
in the war of the mind i will make my stand
(seek justice. love mercy. walk on. be with your god)

lord, make us courageous
in the war of the mind i will make my stand
(seek justice. love mercy. walk on. be with your god)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Will We Remember....Again?

"AWOL Soldier Arrested in What Police Say Was New Fort Hood Terror Plot"

When MAJ Nidal Hasan carried out his attack at Ft. Hood in 2009, I said it would happen again simply because it was all couched in denial and political correctness. As much as we want to deny it, our country has enemies. A few of them are amongst us. Thankfully this time the vigilant did something to stop it.

Here is some of what I wrote back then:

"Failure to recognize it is denial, and denial will only serve to invite more “new violence” from our enemies."

"You see, the more we deny, the more “new violence” we will experience. The more “new violence” experienced, the more “unsettling” will be the next “tragedy”. If we do not break the cycle, that “tragedy” will suffer the same denial of not being labeled as terrorism or an act of war. It becomes a vicious spiral, increasing exponentially, continuing to lead our country to a politically correct abyss in the heart of darkness. If you look back in history, this same spiral of events led to 9/11."

This Time, Will We Remember?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Why "under God" Must Remain!

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor. - Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776

This is the final line of our country's Declaration of Independence. The 56 men, who signed it, pledged everything they had in support of that Declaration. But, they did not do so alone. As it clearly states, they put their full faith and firm reliance on having the protection of divine Providence. Firm reliance indicates a level of trust that cannot be broken. Use of the term "divine Providence" can only refer to God. So, while stating their Independence from Great Britain, they were simultaneously stating their Dependence on God!

They pledged so much including their sacred Honor to start our country. Our Pledge of Allegiance is symbolic of this original pledge. Given the reliance on God to make the original pledge prevail, it only stands to reason that we would include "under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance. That phrase, placing our nation under the authority of God, may not have been there originally, but it was a logical addition.

It should never be removed!

It is a constant reminder of our nation's reliance on His protection and our submission to His authority. May neither ever leave us...God help us if they do!

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Couldn’t You Have Picked a More Exciting Hobby? (6

"Have you prayed about it?"

What is a devastated and defeated husband to do when his wife strikes a blow against the enemy of his mind with such powerful words?

With that simple phrase, Mindy got me refocused on what was really important and not on the seemingly impossible eight years. Mindy reminded me that I was concentrating on what was impossible for man when I needed to focus on what was possible for God. God understands time. He set the boundaries of time, but He has no limits.

Right there in that moment, we prayed together. We laid out our heart's desires before our Lord. We handed him control of our budget and all that He would want for us. We asked for forgiveness for the debt we had incurred. We asked that He would make us good stewards of all He would provide. We asked that He would give us the stamina, focus, and encouragement to keep climbing and to not give up despite our current circumstances.

When we were done praying, I was no longer focused on the eight years. 96 months was still right there on the debt snowball forecast but instead, I was at peace. I knew God was already answering our prayer and He had a plan. There was no way to know what He would do, but I had faith that He was already doing it.

Now, I am about to share some things which most people would find very personal. We have been very open with many close friends with our story as it has been happening. We do this for two reasons - accountability and to build trust while discussing a tough subject. Even so, three or four months ago, I was hesitating about doing this. But, last weekend something happened to give me reassurance it is all for His Glory. The numbers only matter to show what He has done.

DEBT at the start (February 2007): $95,283.48
That was 51 months ago. As mentioned previously, we struggled through the first year.
DEBT Paid in 2007: $4,094.37
DEBT (February 2008): $91,189.11

This was the amount staring me down when the debt snowball forecast said 96 months to Freedom! That was the point I found myself ready to give in and accept a lifetime of mediocrity. This did not appear to be going away anytime soon.

Then we prayed.

That was 39 months ago. Today we can say:

"Praise God, because by His Grace, We Are DEBT FREE and can walk in Financial Peace and Freedom."

There is so much more to the story than I can share right now. So much happened during those 39 months which always pointed to the Hand of God. Here are two quick examples:
  • During four of those months, as the sole income provider in our home, I was without a fulltime job. During that time, we never lacked and we had peace like we never had during three previous jobless periods in my career.
  • Since February 2008, I have been working on 6 or 12 month orders at a time for the Army. The additional cool thing about that is I do not have to worry about throwing numbers out and someone extrapolating them to figure out how much I earn. My salary is public knowledge and easily found through an internet search.
When God takes 96 months and changes it to 39, Brace yourself for what He will accomplish next!

The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender. - Proverbs 22:7

At least in terms of consumer debt, we are servants no more. We are now moving on to Baby Step #3: 3-6 months expenses in savings. We still owe on a reasonable home mortgage, which we will pay off early in Baby Step #6.

I'll focus on that when we get there!

"The rewards for those who persevere far exceed the pain that must precede the victory." - Ted Engstrom

Couldn’t You Have Picked a More Exciting Hobby? (5)

It's been just over a year since I started this series and now I can finally get back to it. If you missed any of the first four parts or would like a review, you can start here. Each of those posts has a "to be continued" statement at the end, which links to the next post in the series.

To summarize, where I left off in part four, I was discussing using Dave Ramsey's (DR) The Total Money Makeover (TMMO) plan for our finances in 2007. I mentioned that we were struggling through the year and would talk next about the focus we found in 2008.

When we looked back at 2007, we had paid off about $4000 during that year. Four thousand dollars is a good amount of money, but considering how much total debt we had, we were not making the kind of progress required. I knew we were doing something wrong because of the real life stories in the book. I thought, "if it worked for these families, then it has to work. I need to go back and figure out how to do this right." Part of me was still looking at the debt we had, and wishing it would just go away.

At the beginning of 2008, I reread TMMO and discovered my mistakes. Previously I mentioned, "through my impatience I was trying to apply at least four of the seven baby steps all at once, instead of concentrating on the step I was on." I was not focused on the one particular step we were on. This time when I read the book, I stopped after reading the step we were on and closed the book. I was going to focus on Baby Step #2, "Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball."  I was not interested in what came after that. Until we finished Baby Step #2, it did not matter. This time I was focused and we were going to be Gazelle Intense. 

With my renewed determination, I got up early on a Saturday morning in February 2008. I started a brand new budget using DR's budgeting tool that morning. Up to that point, I was still using my budget spreadsheet, which did not cover all the expense categories we had. After setting up the whole budget, I put together our debt snowball by listing all of our debts, smallest to largest. The debt snowball automatically forecast how long it would take to pay off the remaining debt.

The answer it returned was not good. Instead, it was devastating. It immediately caused me to lose hope that we could ever get out of debt. At my current income, from a full-time job and a part-time job in the Army Reserve, the debt snowball would take EIGHT YEARS TO COMPLETE! At this point, after struggling to find a way out of debt since 1995 when I graduated from college, I was mentally done. Sitting in front of the computer, by myself, I knew I could not continue to live that life of sacrifice for EIGHT MORE YEARS. I felt completely defeated.

It was not too much longer and Mindy came downstairs. She could see I was upset and asked what I was doing. I showed her the numbers, the debt snowball and the eight year forecast. I explained to her, with tears in my eyes, that I could not do it any longer. I could not make the kind of sacrifices we had been making for another eight years. Lovingly, she took my hands, looked me in the eyes and said,

"Have you prayed about it?"

To be continued...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What is Your Leadership Philosophy?

As stated previously, I am currently attending Intermediate Level Education (ILE) Phase II. One of the assignments was to write your leadership philosophy and explain how your leadership philosophy will change as an organizational-level leader. If you believe it does not change, explain why and justify your argument. Prior to the assignment, one of the requirements was to read Leadership, Leader, and Command Philosophies -What’s the Difference and Why Does It Matter? by Dr. Ted Thomas. Here's an excerpt from his article:

A leadership philosophy contains your personal views of leadership.  It should contain your thoughts on how you want to lead and how you want others to perceive your leadership.  Your leadership philosophy is yours alone.  It can be elaborate or very simple.  It should be the basis of who you are as a leader, what your values and priorities are, how you want to lead and how you want others to see you as a leader.  You should understand why you have that philosophy and conduct the self-reflection and self-awareness of the logic and reasoning behind what you believe and why you act the way you do.  You can write about who you would like to be as a leader, but if you do not live what you write, you will be seen as a hypocrite as you say one thing and do another.

My Leadership Philosophy:

For me, I am not sure if my leadership philosophy is about “how to lead” as much as it is about “how to be led”. If man is fallible and prone to error, then how can he lead? And not just lead, but lead effectively? I would state emphatically that he cannot, unless he is first led effectively. It also helps if he can be led by someone who is not fallible. Psalm 37:23 states, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD.” As a leader, I want to be a good man. I also want to lead knowing my steps will be ordered by the Lord. This is why I turn to God and His Word as the standard from which to lead and form a leadership foundation.

As a leader, I see my primary role as providing Vision to any organization or people over which I am given responsibility. Proverbs 29:18a states, “Where there is no Vision, the people perish.” I interpret this to mean, if you do not start with a Vision, then your organization will not fulfill its mission. In the military, a unit with an unfulfilled mission might as well be nonexistent or dead. Without a Vision, an organization has no purpose and it cannot prosper. Vision and Purpose are closely related, but I want to make a simple distinction between the two. As I define it, Vision is the “what”, and Purpose is the “why” for any goal to be accomplished. If an individual would like to be a leader and motivate followers, then he must provide a Vision followed by a Purpose.

When casting a Vision, I believe in setting a goal based within the organization’s mission, but which is larger than a typical goal. Due to the quick rotation of leadership positions in the military, the Vision will likely not be completed before the leader moves on. Vision casting is about getting people to move in the same direction and achieving more than they would have otherwise. As architect Daniel Burnham said:

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think BIG.”

In the military, if my Vision is realized before I have left that position then either I did not cast my Vision out far enough or I was in the position too long.

Just casting the Vision means nothing at all, unless you are able to convince followers to catch it and find themselves in the Vision. This is accomplished through providing Purpose or the “why”. The “why” must have an aspect of personal ownership. “Why” can and should be related to a higher Purpose, such as the cause of a nation. But on a personal-level the Purpose must answer the question of “what is in it for me?" In today’s society, a leader must answer the “why” question in order to convince people to accomplish the goal. This was not always the norm. Leadership was based on a more authoritarian style in days past. At some point, questioning authority became not just the right thing to do, but a right. Perhaps the acceptance of questioning authority grew in direct correlation to an increase in failure to lead morally. This is another reason why I want to tie my leadership back to being morally led by the Bible. The Bible provides consequences for right and wrong behavior. In the same manner, a leader must state the Purpose to show why their Vision is the correct one and a Counter-Vision would have undesirable consequences.

Beyond providing Vision and Purpose, I believe a leader must perform within a framework of strongly-held beliefs or guiding principles. A principle is an accepted or professed rule of action or conduct. There are many different acceptable actions a leader can take, but I will quickly discuss a few of them. For me, these four rules of action are the most important: Communication, Authenticity, Humbleness, and Continuous Learning.

Communication between the leader and those he leads must be an honest and open exchange. The leader must ensure his message is comprehended and carried down to the lowest level. All formal communication must fit within the overall Vision with a clear, consistent message and understandable goals. The leader’s message must convey the spirit and letter of his intent. Additionally, a leader must be willing to listen and respond to those he leads, as they are his subject matter experts on how to accomplish the mission successfully.

A leader’s Authenticity will lead to respect and trust within the organization. An authentic leader will create faithfulness and dependability in those he leads. Leading with legitimacy will establish an organization which consistently displays a positive attitude. All organizations will inevitably be storm tested. Authenticity builds the type of strong bonds required for a genuine leader and his people to persevere through the storm. A leader who lacks authenticity will have the same effect as poison in the water – bitterness and a lack of pleasure within the organization. Soldiers need to know those assigned above them have their best interests at heart. An authentic leader conveys this knowledge.

Humbleness in a leader is an essential quality. Proverbs 16:18 states, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” A leader must be selfless and recognize their position of leadership is incumbent on those around them. Our selfish pride will always attempt to get in the way of being humble, and as the verse states an attitude of pride brings destruction and failure. A humble leader is committed to recognizing the hard work and efforts of those who are supporting him. A humble leader understands that he is to act as a servant to those who follow him.

John C. Maxwell reminds leaders “if they stop learning, they stop leading”. For every leader, today more than ever before, Continuous Learning is a requirement. Proverbs 1:5 states, “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.” A leader must stay informed on the latest technologies. He should seek counsel on how to apply technological advancements to the organization’s advantage. A leader should be well read on past history and current events. With knowledge of both, he can identify current trends that resemble past occurrences and possibly determine a better way to navigate through the present circumstances.

Being authentic, this is how I like to work: I do my best work when there is an identified goal. Then I can organize the goal by breaking it down into smaller tasks, delegating, and working diligently to complete each task. This means that I can become very focused and less relational. My work ethic can be uncomfortable to those who work better with undefined responsibilities. I can tend to be demanding, not in a mean or belligerent manner. I do set high expectations and desire timely results. If there are questions about a task, then this goes back to my expectation of communication. I expect people to ask for clarification if something is not clear. I prefer having a discussion early to ensure comprehension rather than later when the task is due. This succinctly describes the hardest thing for most people to adjust to when working with me.

The leadership philosophy I have written above did change significantly from those I have written in the past as a tactical leader. As the reading by Dr. Ted Thomas described, there is a difference between a leadership philosophy, leader philosophy, and command philosophy. The philosophies I have written in the past were more of a leader’s command philosophy as they applied specifically to my job as a company commander. This current leadership philosophy is more of my personal views of leadership. It explains how I believe I am being led, how I want to be led, and how I want to lead. As I review it, I do not believe it will change much as I move between positions as an organizational leader. I believe this to be true, as it is based on having a mental picture of where I should be headed (Vision) and why I need to head there (Purpose). To help me in achieving the Vision and Purpose, I have outlined the four well-rooted actions that will assist me: Communication, Authenticity, Humbleness, and Continuous Learning.

"Lord, lead me. Help me to live this philosophy with Your Vision and Purpose."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Applying Creative Thinking to My Career Future

Last summer, I had to write an argumentative paper following the Command and General Staff School's Writing Standard for Army Leaders. I have been enrolled in my Intermediate Level Education (ILE) course since last summer, which is one reason why I have not written much on here since then. Last summer was Phase I, and through May of this year I am in Phase II. I will attend Phase III this summer, which will complete the ILE course for me. I thought I would post a paper which I wrote in Phase I. As an introduction, here are the comments I wrote in my self-assessment:

As I began this assignment, I was really struggling with development of my arguments. Once I created a stronger assertion with my thesis statement and developed an outline of my major points, the flow of writing was easier. I believe the fact I was able to make it more personal increased my ability to write with passion for the subject. There is a logical progression, as I lay out a model of working on staff, transitioning to field command, but also applying what I will learn to my future civilian career. Overall I think it holds up well as an argumentative paper, and meets the intellectual standards for clarity, logic, relevance, and significance.

Now for the essay, complete with endnotes:

Generally, most people want to be viewed as being creative, due to the positive connotations of being unique and original when solving problems. I like to believe I am creative, but if I am being honest, I am more of a critical thinker. In my desire to be a better leader, I must improve my creative thinking and re-balance it with my critical thinking. Historically, when problems are identified, society has always looked for innovative leaders, who can apply logic to their creativity and make an appropriate decision. Over the next 10 years of my Field Grade officer career, I will be identified as an innovative leader by more readily applying the process of creative thinking to my duties. Operational level commanders seek officers with whom they have worked before, who think outside of the box, and develop alternative solutions to fill positions on their staff. Additionally, peers and subordinates tend to trust and follow these types of leaders, which will be of utmost importance when I am a commander. When I complete my current active duty tour, I will be an appealing candidate to business professionals, who tend to seek proven, creative leaders for employment.

Every military commander wants to be successful. I have not seen a commander yet, who takes command with a primary intention of failing. When given the latitude, a commander will build their staff with personnel whom they know will make them successful. They would seek Soldiers who fit the Army’s definition for a leader as set forth in FM 6-22, Army Leadership. FM 6-22 provides the Leadership Requirements Model, which defines the expectations of a leader’s attributes and competencies.(1) One part of that model, a “Leader with Intellectual Capacity” (2), relates directly to creative thinking through its attributes of mental agility, sound judgment, and innovation (3).

An Army commander could pick blindly and find plenty of critical thinkers to populate their staff. It is the search for the creative thinkers that will help them win the day when the nation calls. I must work to ensure my current superiors recognize those three intellectual capacity traits in me. As my superiors are selected for command, desiring to do well, I would expect them to invite me to join their staff. Based on past experience, the commander should know I would strive to make him successful and work as a creative leader on his staff.

Depending on the level of command, there would be an increasing expectation to solve a sundry of arduous problems. As I accept his offer for an organizational-level position, there will be an inordinate presumption, in fact a demand, to use the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP). The MDMP planning tool requires both critical and creative thinking to be successful and effective. But it is through the creativity-driven Course of Action (COA) Development, where a staff earns its pay. As part of that staff, I will be required to lay all my associative thoughts on the table during this step. In the end, the commander will test my creativity and decision making skill when I present the recommended Course of Action. Given our past working relationship, the commander will have assurance that he can depend on me to complete the MDMP process successfully.

When I am given the opportunity to command, I must never assume that peers or subordinates from previous assignments would automatically want to work for me. With regard to peers, of course the dynamics of the relationship would change instantaneously when I become the commander. I would never want soldiers who are subordinates, company grade and senior non-commissioned officers, to feel pressured to work for me again. In both cases, I would want them to work for me based on an established bond of mutual respect and trust. As the level of command increases, the potential for increased stress and tension can be considerable. At all levels in today’s operational environment, Soldiers need to know those assigned above, below and beside them have their best interests at heart.

Over time, I believe these types of relationships can be built with creativity through positive and “miscellaneous good” (4) attitudes. Whether you are working with peers or subordinates to solve a problem, the “ability to suspend judgment and criticism” (5), goes a long way toward building trust. To do this, I must work to remove the fear of criticism from those involved in the creative process. During times of immense pressure, when suspension of criticism is repeated, relationships can be forged in the same way as steel, and not easily broken.

Creativity also builds a positive attitude of perseverance. (6) Creative thinking brings with it a determination to keep working to make improvements and solve problems. Under the Warrior Ethos of the Soldier’s Creed, commanders are charged to lead with an attitude of perseverance. Soldiers will not follow unless they know the leader will always place the mission first, never accept defeat, never quit, and never leave a fallen comrade. (7) As Soldiers, we may lean toward using this only in the battlefield environment. Being creative allows a leader to see the Warrior Ethos’ application in regard to the issues Soldiers face in garrison as well.

One last attitude that builds and reinforces trust among Soldiers is “a belief that mistakes are welcome.” (8) Leaders must allow their Soldiers to make mistakes, especially in reference to subordinates. In much the same way that I must be creative in the absence of guidance, I want my Soldiers to exercise initiative in the absence of orders. If I squelch their creativity and they neglect to seize the initiative, opportunities will be lost. For both commanders and their Soldiers, mistakes are an important part of the creative learning and growth process. With an all-around positive attitude, I can work to create strong bonds with my Soldiers.

Continued improvement of my creative thinking process, while pursuing more challenging military positions, will also contribute to my future success in finding civilian employment. It is often mentioned that businesses seek candidates for employment who have a military background. For blue collar positions, veterans are most likely sought due to their learned discipline and strong work ethic. I believe employers have a different reason when hiring military officers to fill white collar vacancies. Creative thinking professionals, who can see the larger strategic plan, brainstorm with organizational level teams, and implement decisions are what drive American corporations to success. Two years ago when the economic slump affected my position with an architecture firm, I had to be creative in finding a new job. In 2009, United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) brought me on active duty to assist with their Base Realignment Team. I have been able to use my architecture knowledge as a Project Officer during construction of their new building. When I have completed my tour, I expect to use this experience and my increased skill in creativity to gain an organizational level position with a new architecture firm.

When I look to the future of my career in the Army, I have every reason to believe I will be successful. With a steady determination to increase my use of creative thinking in positions of increasing responsibility as a Major and higher, I know I will be recognized as an imaginative leader in my field. In working with superiors, peers, and subordinates alike, they will expect me to meet this high standard. I intend to meet and exceed their expectations while gaining their confidence and appreciation. As I am successful in meeting that objective, it will prepare the foundation for my transition into a future position with a St. Louis architecture firm. At that point, if I do not find a position available in architecture, then I will just continue to be creative.

Endnotes:

(1) FM 6-22, Army Leadership, (Washington, D.C., Department of the Army, 2006), 2-4

(2) Ibid.

(3) Ibid.

(4) Robert Harris, “Introduction to Creative Thinking”, VirtualSalt, Version Date: July 1, 1998

(5) Ibid.

(6) Ibid.

(7) FM 6-22, Army Leadership, (Washington, D.C., Department of the Army, 2006), 4-10

(8) Robert Harris, “Introduction to Creative Thinking”, VirtualSalt, Version Date: July 1, 1998