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6 Leadership Lessons From A 3-Star General
Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Leadership is deliberate: You don't accidentally have successful teams," retired Lt. Gen. Frank Kearney recently told a group of small-business owners.

He was speaking to more than 130 dealers from a Fortune 50 automobile company at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. They had gathered for the Thayer Leader Development Group's leadership program.

The three-day executive-development program is designed to immerse business leaders in the habits and beliefs of the U.S. military. The day begins with a 7 a.m. boot camp of situps, pushups, and relays or a three-mile run on the West Point campus. Next comes a series of leadership exercises, workshops, and lectures like this one.

Kearney, who was formerly the deputy commander for the U.S. Special Operations Command, a 62,000-person global enterprise with a $10 billion budget, says businesspeople tend to underestimate the similarities of leading an infantry unit and leading a company. The Army may not seek profits, but it certainly aims for results, he says, all while recruiting, training, and organizing thousands of people. "Disciplined processes create agile organizations," he likes to say.

Here are lessons business leaders could learn from the U.S. military, according to the three-star general.

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