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January 24, 2018

Ends, Means and Trust: Designing Your Leadership Strategy

In our Weekly Profile this past week, the most clicked article we shared was “Would Your Squad Leaders Come To Your Funeral?” published on the From the Green Notebook website. Written by Colonel Curt Taylor, a former commander of the Army’s 1st Striker Brigade, we shared this article because it provides what we think is a clear picture of success for leaders. Compared to other, more tangible skills that we often endeavor to develop, leadership can be something that people struggle to articulate their goals for, making it hard to measure progress along the way. Grasping the essence of positive leadership in a way that is both concise and that resonates with people is challenging, yet that’s what this article does.

But for new officers and NCOs in the military looking to make their mark on the unit they want to lead, defining the goal in this way of having your squad leaders come to your funeral is only the first step. Success will come from how those new leaders create and execute their strategy to achieve that standard.

The challenge of talking about strategy, particularly when it comes to leadership, is that there is no single right answer about how to lead a team to earn their trust and loyalty. For instance, if you were to define success in military leadership as your squad leaders coming to your funeral, some people might think this will come from

October 9, 2017

The Weekly Profile: Social Vs. Asocial Violence, Pilot Licenses, Digital Currency And More. Week Of 10/8/17

In the Weekly Profile that was sent out yesterday, we know that some of the links weren’t working, which we apologize for. In case you encountered that problem, we have updated all of the links, for all of the articles, here.

If you aren’t currently a subscriber, the Weekly Profile is an email that we send out every Sunday and is made up of five articles, podcasts, books or videos that we have either watched or read during the week and felt were worth passing along. The goal for the Weekly Profile is to help those in the military, first responder and security professionals find common ground between the obstacles they are facing each day and how other people, in other fields, have dealt with similar problems.

If you are interested, you can sign up to receive the Weekly Profile in your inbox each Sunday here:

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The Weekly Profile: with the goal of helping to find common ground and innovative solutions by learning from people and perspectives in the military, business, technology, security and more. 

Here are five articles we read this week and wanted to pass along.

1. “Secrets In the Sky.” This is a two-part series from the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Division about gaps in the FAA’s processes to protect our country from the sky.  Part 1 of the series takes a look at how easy it is for foreigners to register a plane in the United States through the use of shell companies and trusts, resulting in a town in Texas (a town that only has 2,500 people) that has over 1,000 registered planes, yet not having an airport or a suburban home in Georgia, the address for the mother of a person who runs an aircraft registration company, having over 200 planes registered to her address unknowingly.  While the price to buy a plane has undoubtedly gone up since 1969, the price to register a plane has stayed the same – only costing $5 to register a plane with a United States identification number.  Why do foreigners try to register planes in the US and not provide accurate information about the owner? Because in many countries around the world, planes landing with a US registration number aren’t screened very thoroughly because there is a perception of legitimacy and the perception of regulation, making it an attractive investment for criminals.

Part 2 of the series looks at the lack of oversight for people with a pilots license – resulting in a number of terrorists, convicted drug traffickers and people who have been caught trying to smuggle jet parts into Iran maintaining their pilots license.  Once you have earned your pilot’s license, you have earned that credential for life and people are only removed from the system for crimes and infractions that are self-reported. Because pilot’s licenses don’t have any biometric information on them, or even a photo of the pilot, the licenses lead to a high degree of identify theft because they simply aren’t checked or verified at many airports.

This is one of the longer articles we’ve read this week, but it is worth the time to learn about a portion of our government that we often don’t give too much of a though to.  To read the story about how a federal agency has refused to implement changes mandated by law and by congress for the past 13 years, you can find Part 1 of the series here.

2. “Liberate Your Team With Clearer Processes.”Processes, whether in business, the military or in first responder organizations often come with a negative connotation.  Many will talk about how processes bring more bureaucracy with them, but as this article shows, that doesn’t always have to be the case. Processes can free people up to do their jobs with less oversight when used properly. For organizations looking to improve the way they use processes to empower teams to take action in the absence of explicit guidance, this article has a few recommendations for ways to evaluate what your organization already has in place.  With explanations about why identifying bottlenecks is a good thing, the role of the bigger picture and how processes allow for consistency in decision making, we recommend that you take a look at the article here.

​​​​​​​3. “A Hacker Stole $31M of Ether – How It Happened and What It Means For Ethereum.” Back in July of this year, the world of digital currency experienced the second largest heist in their short history.  What makes this attack unique and interesting isn’t the fact that it was so large, but how much money the hacker could have gotten had another group of “good-hackers” not gotten involved and stole the remaining $150 million of vulnerable money themselves before the criminal could.  Once the breach was identified and the method of attack was determined, the white-hat hackers in Ethereum’s community exploited the same vulnerability in the digital wallets that the thief was using and drained those accounts of $150 million before the thief could get to them (they have since returned the money to the owners).

When hearing about how the attack was stopped some people have asked, “Why did the white-hat hackers have to first steal the money? Why couldn’t they just fix the underlying problem with new code and an update?”

The reason for this is because the blockchain is still pretty young and resembles the software world before we could update our apps and computers automatically. It resembles the time when a company shipped their product every 6 months instead of every few weeks.  As a result, once a smart contract is out there and implemented, it is out there for good and can’t be updated. Hackers (and anyone with access) are able to know how much money is in a contract and have all of the time they want to find a vulnerability that is worth exploiting.  If you are interested in learning more about digital currency and the blockchain, this article is pretty non-developer friendly (you can easily skip over the technical sections and not miss any key points), and provides a great case study worth considering.  Thanks to J.F. for sharing this article with us and you can find it yourself by clicking here.

​​​​​​​4. “Skills vs. Behavior.”  For self-driven learners, the difference between skills and behaviors is an important concept to consider as the distinction is often what can lead to determining your way forward when pursuing mastery in a field. A skill is being able to do something successfully but is limited to doing that one thing and at that one moment in time. Behaviors, on the other hand, are being able to put skills to use and are often exemplified by people who can drop what they are doing, learn something new, and be successful using that new skill.  Behaviors lead to success over the long-term and in a number of different contexts while skills are a bit more limited to short-term success. Even though this article is written in context to businesses and investing, I added it to this email for its application to learning and how it can help you think about what you need to work on to not just master a specific skill that is relevant today, but to practice the behaviors that will allow you to thrive in your career in the future as well (even though we don’t know what that will actually look like). Skills are much easier to track and measure than behaviors, but not everything that is quantifiable is an accurate predictor of success and you can read the article here.

5. “Social vs. Asocial Aggression.” While this article was written for the Art of Manliness website over a month ago, I didn’t get around to reading it until after last weekend’s attack in Las Vegas, but it is certainly one worth considering in light of recent events.  Applying concepts from his book When Violence Is The AnswerTim Larkin describes social aggression as the quasi-violent scenarios that are geared towards asserting some form of social dominance, gaining an advantage or elevating a person’s social status.  That is why so people watch the fight with the bully at school – because they want to see what happens and the new hierarchy that will result from the outcome.  Asocial aggression, on the other hand, has nothing to do with reestablishing the social order but has the goal of wrecking the order.  Because there is nothing being communicated in these situations, people don’t stand and watch, they run, hide or fight. With social aggression, pain and violence are the by-products of the situation, but with asocial violence, death and destruction are its purpose. With a discussion about how to tell the difference between the two forms of violence, how to respond when you encounter it and how you can help the country get left of bang by minimizing the ways social aggression can turn into asocial violence, you can find and read the article here.

Until next week – get left of bang and stay there.​

Patrick and Jonathan
Co-Founders
The CP Journal ​


 

September 20, 2017

Beyond Security: The Collective Mood and Customer Service

This article was originally written for the International Security Driver Association.

I recently posted an article titled “How Security Leaders Can Influence the Mood at Venue Entrances” discussing how security leaders can improve their ability to protect event sites by creating orderly processes that people move through while entering a stadium and venue. The core lesson was that establishing corridors at entrances and helping people to feel safer and more comfortable during their entry allows for more opportunities to proactively recognize threats and prevent violence. Beyond security applications, however, the concepts have also been used by businesses looking to reduce the number customer service problems they face on any given day and can help close protection professionals communicate with event managers and owners about why to consider changing how people enter a venue.

Even though customer service might not be a close protection professional’s primary concern as they prepare for protective operations, being able to demonstrate to a venue’s management why a change to the entry processes can help to make a business more profitable can go a long way to garnering a venue’s willing participation in making those adjustments. In addition to creating the conditions that allow security professionals to successfully recognize threats, the corridor style setup can be used influence customer satisfaction during an event because it begins to lead them towards comfortable behavior from the moment they arrive. To demonstrate the difference in customer satisfaction and the level of stress present at an entryway, consider the difference in boarding processes between two competing airlines.

Example #1: The American Airlines Model

Take a look at the picture below as an American Airlines flight boards at Denver International Airport. While it isn’t a completely unstructured situation because there are assigned boarding groups, passengers wait in a crowd just beyond the ticket scanner for their boarding group to be called because there is no further order established within each of those groups. The result of this process is a semicircle setup where you have a crowd of people all trying to get as close as they can to the gate attendant so that they can board at the front of their boarding group as soon as it’s announced. Due to a lack of any corridors that clearly separate each boarding group from one another, there is an element of an “every man for himself” mentality where goal-oriented behavior begins trumps norm-oriented behavior as people jostle and push their way towards the plane.

One of the problems with the semicircle setup is that, as the passengers in late boarding groups form a crowd near the entrance, it creates

September 6, 2017

Preparing To Lead: Repetitions in Project Planning

Millennials often get a bad rap as being a generation full of entitled, timid leaders with no critical thinking skills. While it is easy to generalize the actions of a few people you’ve met, heard about, or seen in the workplace to be representative of an entire age demographic, in my experience I find that there are a many more millennials who want to put in the work to become leaders within organizations and influence change in the world, even if they aren’t explicitly talking about it. For future leaders, whether they’re millennials or of any other generation, having a vision of where you want to take an organization is only one piece of being a leader. Learning how to put together the plan that you will lead your team through to success is what puts people in a position to actually succeed as leaders.

The Challenge of Preparing to Lead

As Jason Fried, the co-founder of Basecamp, discussed in a recent article, “On Being A Bad Manager,” learning how to manage and how to lead is a lot like learning how to play an instrument in that observation is not a substitute for doing. Just because you’ve listened to great guitarists on the radio doesn’t mean that you can play like them the first time you pick up a guitar. Being a leader is no different. You can observe people higher up than you in an organization, but that observation doesn’t prepare you to step into their shoes and perform at an elite level. Simply seeing others do it is not a substitute for actually doing it yourself.

Spending time as a leader is a critical piece to learning what works and what doesn’t work when guiding a team However, as Fried points out in his article, newly promoted managers and leaders often don’t have the benefit of learning “how to play” in the privacy of their basement; they are being viewed and evaluated as a leader starting from their first day on the job. Of the many challenges that new leaders face, answering the question, “What skill can I develop today before I am put into a formal role so that I am ready when opportunities present themselves?” is what should focus preparation.

One of what I view as the most important parts of developing as a leader is also developing the ability to effectively plan. Planning is just one of many areas that impact how capable a leader is, but it’s one that is often overlooked. To be clear, the type of planning that I’m talking about

July 27, 2017

Knowing What You Want in a Network: Lessons Learned for Transitioning Veterans

There is no shortage of advice for military veterans who are transitioning from the armed forces into the civilian world about the need to develop a network in the cities and professions they’re moving into. From helping to get their first job to meeting people with specialized skills or who have information about opportunities, the benefits of having a well-developed network are easy to grasp, yet many of the transitioning veterans I talk with struggle to get this process started. The problem, I’ve learned, is that questions about what you should be looking for in your network are often ill-defined, and the need to “have a network” gets replaced by the “act of networking and network building.” These are two very different things. As a result, veterans (and many civilians for that matter) attempt to build their network inside organizations that aren’t likely to result in long-term relationships, making the transition from the military to business much harder than it needs to be. However, by knowing what type of experiences you are looking for an organization to provide, you can develop relationships with people who can do more than open doors or help you solve a problem, but can be people who you learn to trust.

You Don’t Really Network in the Military

Building a network during my time as a Marine Corps officer was never really a priority for me. Military units are designed to be self-sustaining, so there was never a need to go find the person who is the best at “x” because you likely already have someone filling that role in your unit. Even if you do need to reach outside of your unit for something, perhaps the assistance of an artillery unit for an operation, you don’t get to choose which artillery unit you want. It doesn’t matter if you know the commander, know how well their unit is trained, have worked with them before and prefer to work with them again. Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen don’t prioritize networking because, even if you did request a specific unit to support you, the one that you are going to get is the one who is closest to you and who is able to provide a good-enough level of support. Talking about the reasons why networking isn’t something you often see in the military isn’t a critique of the system. It is what it takes to provide decisive military power in combat. Yet this is the reality that forms the experiences that veterans often take with them from their days in uniform to the business world.

Even though many people in the military have friends and buddies in other units, these relationships aren’t the same as intentionally building a network in the civilian world. At least that’s what I thought as I left active duty. What I’ve learned in the five years since I got out of the military is that what I was actually searching for as I built my network were a group of close friends who I could trust and who had connections of their own that could be tapped into for help when needed

My Initial Misguided Approach to Networking

When I left the military, I also left San Diego to move just outside of New York City to start my company. I didn’t have many connections in the area, and I also didn’t really know what I wanted or needed in a network, so I simply started with what I figured to be a “ready – fire – aim” approach to making connections. In more formal terms, what I was doing was

November 21, 2016

Building a Culture of Trust

Wells Fargo has been in the news recently regarding their internal cross-selling culture and the opening of accounts without their customer’s knowledge. Wells Fargo is not the only business that has a culture built around cross selling products, and they will probably not be the last to be found to violate customer trust in some way. These recent news articles have caused us to reflect on the role ethics and trust play in building and managing a business and we thought we would share a recent article that was shared with us.

In alignment with the recent news of trust at Wells Fargo, we were also recently sent a link from September 26, 2014, where Ignazio Angeloni, a member of the Supervisory Board of the European Central Bank, spoke on ethics in finance.

In the above link, Angeloni poses a series of questions that financial institutions can ask themselves when building their internal procedures and policies for helping customers. We found these questions to be helpful for us at The CP Journal and thought they might also be

July 15, 2016

Interview On The Capable Civilian Podcast


A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to talk with Alex Fox who runs The Capable Civilian Podcast to talk about our book, Left of Bang: How the Marine Corps Combat Hunter Program Can Save Your Life, to show how civilians can ensure their own safety in this increasingly dangerous world. I really enjoyed this conversation and we talked about a broad range of issues to include the creation of the Combat Hunter program, what situation awareness is, how to read behavior, why you should stop looking for “threats,” why you can trust your instincts and how you can develop them.

If you are looking to dig a little deeper into any of the topics we discussed, here are a few articles that expand on what we talked about.

I really enjoyed this conversation and encourage you to take a look at the Capable Civilian Podcast and follow Alex on Twitter.


 

July 11, 2016

How We View Competition: Part 2

winning-is-important-the-killers-are-keeping-score

In an article I posted last week about why we don’t spend much of our time or energy here at The CP Journal thinking the competitors to our business, I explained how we use the “3 Buckets of Control” to focus only on those things that we can do to support our students. The reason why I discussed this view is not because we aren’t competitive. By defining the people and organizations who are not our enemies, we can focus on those who truly are. The adversaries that we compete with are not other businesses in our field. They are the predators who are attempting to hide within our communities and interrupt our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our clients might call this adversary a terrorist, an active shooter, a deranged fan, a bully or a gang member, and as we seek to support our clients in their fight against these predators, there are a few key considerations that make up our perspective on our true competitors.

1. This is a competition with clear winners and losers.

As we move through 2016 and consider the violence we have experienced in the past few years, the world certainly feels like a more dangerous place than it did even just five or six years ago. We have seen high profile terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels and Orlando. We have seen race-related violence that led to the recent murder of five police officers in Dallas, Texas, and the murder of nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. We have seen and experienced how often we turn on breaking news to listen to the reporting of an active shooter in our schools, workplaces and city sidewalks. While the “experts” appearing on 24-hour news channels debate whether this is an actual rise in violence or just a rise in the reporting of violence, the distinction is irrelevant. It simply feels more violent out there and, because of the fact that success stories where the good guys stop an attack by being left of bang aren’t reported as frequently as when attackers succeed, it feels like the predators are winning this fight.

Fighting a perception of pervasive violence is a big enough challenge in its own right and there is no room for people who think that we are doing things “good enough,” because clearly we aren’t. In their

June 30, 2016

How We Consider Competition In Our Business

cp-journal-logo-black-spatterA few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast interview in which Jason Fried, the founder of Basecamp (formerly 37 Signals), was talking about how he has built his company and influenced his company’s culture. I first became a fan of Jason’s work and his ideas after he sent a box of his book, Rework, to my unit when I was still an instructor in the Marine Corps’ Combat Hunter Program. What immediately impressed me was how deliberate and intentional he seemingly was about every decision he made for his business. Many of his ideas have gone against the grain of “business as usual” as he provides all of his employees with a paid vacation anywhere they want to go in the world for themselves and their families, letting his employees work from anywhere in the world, and paying for personal education like guitar lessons or culinary school for his employees as a few examples. It was clear in his writing that the common sense (yet unconventional) decisions he was making were not something to do just because other businesses were doing it, but because it was the right thing to do for his company. That level of thoughtfulness has stuck with me over the last five years as Jonathan and I have built The CP Journal and we have tried to apply the high degree of intentionality to the decisions we have made. As there have been a growing number of people offering “Combat Hunter training” for civilians, we have had a number of conversations with people in the past few weeks about how we view competition in our business. As we have always strived to build a company that we would want to do business with, how we view these competitors has helped us to become even more customer-focused than before.

When people ask us how we view competition to our business, the short answer is that we don’t. We have made the choice to

June 25, 2016

How To Tell Better Stories and Improve Case Study Presentations

nobody-wants-to-read-your-sh*tThis past week I had the privilege of presenting around the Los Angeles area with the Joint Regional Intelligence Center. Over the course of the three days of events, I got to hear an impactful, engaging and moving presentation about the ambush of two Las Vegas Metro Police officers from a detective in that department. As case studies and “lessons learned” presentations are so important to furthering the profession of warriors, protectors and guardians, I found myself thinking about what made this particular presentation so strong. Alternatively, as I’ve seen many of these presentations, what has made others so boring and hard to sit through? While it is easy to focus on obvious things that might detract from a presentation, like a speaker who visibly isn’t passionate about their topic or a presenter who reads their text and bullet point filled PowerPoint slides to their sleeping audience, I’ve found that the most engaging case studies and lessons learned presentations are the ones that tell the best story.

For presenters looking to improve their speaking performances, I recommend you pick up Steven Pressfield’s most recent book, Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t: Why That is and What You Can Do About It. The aptly titled book isn’t only for writers but also provides a number of takeaways for speakers looking to improve their presentation delivery. When it comes to improving the case study presentations, we can start with his chapter on “How To Write A Boring Memoir.” Pressfield writes:

May 29, 2016

The Difference Between Memorial Day and Veterans Day and Five Ways to Honor Those Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice

In the last week there have been a number of people who have thanked me for my service in the Marines as we’ve gotten closer and closer to Memorial Day. While I’m always appreciative when people acknowledge service members, Memorial Day truthfully isn’t meant for me or any other living veteran. Memorial Day is the day we set aside every year to honor those who have died while serving in the military, while Veterans Day is the day when our country honors all of those who have served. While those men and women who are currently on active duty, in the reserves, or are veterans absolutely made sacrifices while serving, Memorial Day is meant to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and were killed while fighting for our country.

Memorial Day is meant to remember heroes like Marine Corporal Jacob Leicht, who was killed by an IED on May 27, 2010.  He died in Afghanistan two years and nearly 20 surgeries after his leg was shattered by an IED during his first deployment to Iraq. He is a hero because he had to fight the Marine Corps leadership to send him to a deploying battalion because he didn’t feel he was done serving our country.

Memorial Day is a day to remember warriors like Marine Sergeant John Rankel, who was killed in action on June 7, 2010.  He was a warrior because he was killed on his third deployment, a deployment he volunteered for because a unit that was heading to Afghanistan was short on non-commissioned officers.

Memorial Day is a day to remember leaders like Marine Captain Matt Manoukian, who was killed on his third deployment in a green-on-blue (insider) attack by a member of the Afghan security forces his MARSOC Team was partnered with.

So, while thanking a veteran is certainly always appreciated, here are a few other ways you can honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice this Memorial Day:

1. Take your son, daughter, niece or nephew outside and talk to them about the flags you see flying around you. Teach them that America has had to fight for the freedoms we have and that nothing was given to us. Teach them that people had to die to earn what the flags represent and what we take for granted every day.

2. Have a non-emotional and practical conversation with someone who has a different political view than you do. As we get closer to our presidential election this year, where you will continue to hear politicians talk about their opponents as enemies, remember that America has actual enemies and, while those holding office will make the decision to go to war, there are a lot of young men and women who will leave home to fight it, and not all of them will come back from it.

3. If you do want to thank a veteran, go to a parade or a Memorial Day event, remember that the veterans and the active duty service-members present are a proxy for those who can’t be at the event.

4. Think about how you can tangibly support our military. After WWII, we built an entire defense industry so that American citizens wouldn’t have to bear the burden of supporting a war effort and, while there are pros and cons to that, it doesn’t mean that Americans can be ignorant of our wars either.

5. Remember that Memorial Day is a holiday to honor those who died while serving in our military during any period in our history. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq might be the most recent, which is why those three Marines I talked about earlier are the ones on my mind this weekend, but I write this after also recently talking to a WWII veteran who saw many more die during his two beach landings in the Pacific. As Memorial Day is for all of those who died, don’t let recent experiences dominate your thinking at the detriment of those who came before us.

This Monday, remember why we celebrate the freedoms that those who have died have provided for us.

Never forget and never quit.


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

May 18, 2016

A Recap From March and April

cp-journal-conference-tableThank you to everyone for the support at the start of 2016.  We often get asked to share some of our experiences from time to time and thought it would be helpful if we compiled some results from March and April as a way of saying thank you to those that have made behavioral analysis and enhanced situational awareness a larger part of their process.

Left of Bang Update:

In the months of March and April, Amazon received 29 reviews of the book.  Thank you to everyone who has let us know they have read the book and for those that have taken the time to review it for others.  We greatly appreciate your support.  While the majority of the reviews that came in through Amazon this month were five-star, we wanted to share the comments from this four-star review because we think it sets a great expectation for the book and how it can be applied to the civilian world.  Here are the comments from a verified purchaser: