General Ann Dunwoody is the former commanding general of one of the Army's largest commands, the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which had a $47 billion budget when she took charge. Now retired, she is the first woman in U.S. military history to achieve a four-star officer rank, and she led many divisions at home and abroad--commanding at every level and supporting the largest deployment and redeployment of U.S. forces since WWII.
In her book, A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General, Dunwoody presents a list of leadership strategies that she learned during the course of her 37-year military career. These strategies work just as well in business and in life as they do in the U.S. Army.
1. Meeting the standard will always suffice if you want to be average or just get by. Exceeding the standard and living to a higher standard can lead to success and the achievement of your dreams.
2. Believe in something! Believe in yourself, believe in a creed, believe in your passion.
3. A hero is an everyday, ordinary person who has done something extraordinary. Honor them, praise them, and hope you will stand for what you believe in during a time of need.
4. Be disciplined. Know what right looks like.
5. Never walk by a mistake, or you just set a new lower standard!
6. Invincibility is a myth. Recognize your strengths and your weaknesses. Optimize your strengths, and deal with and minimize your weaknesses.
7. Don't stop trying or fighting for what you believe in the first time someone tells you no.
8. Don't compromise your principles.
9. People are always watching you. What you do sets the tone for others.
10. Have the guts--courage--to do the right thing for the right reason.
11. The best way to have healthy debates and find the ultimate solutions to very complex problems is to have the best and brightest group of people who can offer diverse perspectives on the issues. Be inclusive, not exclusive; embrace diversity, of thought in management and in key leadership teams.
12. Build high-performing teams or organizations. Build a team that routinely does routine things in an outstanding manner.
13. Provide a strategic vision. Visualize where you want your team to be in the future and then design a roadmap to get there. It is key that every individual in your organization understands how important he or she is to accomplishing the vision.
14. Enjoy your job and make a difference. Some of the most difficult decisions we make in our lives center around deciding how long to stay, when to change, or when to leave. Don't leave these decisions to someone else or to chance--make them your decisions.
15. No one is indispensable. Succession planning is one of the most important actions senior leaders do. Set your team or organization up for success with a methodical transition plan for key leaders.