NEWS Center

Inspiring Leaders in Austin
Monday, September 30, 2019

Austin, Texas, with its eclectic live music scene, welcoming culture, great food, and entrepreneurial spirit, has become a hotbed for growth and innovation. On September 13, 2019, Thayer Leader Development Group, along with its Capital Factory partners, brought together over one hundred business executives and military leaders in downtown Austin to discuss how long-proven military leadership principles translate into the corporate sector to the great benefit of the team and business success.  The distinguished Thayer panel shared a unique mindset shift from typical leader development concepts. There is a fundamental change happening in how leaders need to approach the nurturing and developing of talent, and the panel shared proven tools that are directly and immediately applicable in contending with daily business challenges. What has worked in the past is no longer enough for the fast pace and constantly changing environment of the future.

Over the course of its 243-year history, the U.S. Army has successfully learned how to develop leaders for dynamic situations. “The Army has had to adapt to changes in warfare, technology, demographics and international affairs,” says Brigadier General (Retired) Barney Forsythe, Ph.D. and Thayer faculty. “However, one thing has remained paramount – leaders must possess the knowledge, skills and character to successfully to accomplish the mission.” This is the type of wisdom that was shared with a packed house at Capital Factory during the profound leadership discussion with Thayer faculty members, moderated by General (Ret.) Dennis Reimer, the 33rd Chief of Staff of the Army. Panelists included Major General (Ret.) Spider Marks, Colonel (Ret.) Lee Van Arsdale, and Colonel (Ret.) Pilar McDermott.

Here are some highlights from the discussion.

  • GEN Reimer outlined the concept of VUCA – Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity—and how being “values based and mission-focused” is key to success in a such a dynamic business environment.
  • MG Marks spoke about leading at the enterprise level and the importance of developing a leader philosophy when leading at the enterprise level so everyone on the team knows what values are important to you when making decisions.
  • COL Van Arsdale discussed how building teams founded in trust is critical as a corporate leader, because teams falls apart if even a single member does not believe in the person you are. The best teams are influenced and inspired by their leaders, not just led.
  • COL McDermott focused on the importance of vertical and horizontal alignment, and how the principles and tools of mission command (i.e., having a clear leader’s intent and shared understanding) can help create that alignment.

“The event was very well received and we are excited for a continued partnership with Capital Factory,” said Rick Minicozzi, CEO of Thayer Leader Development Group. “There was an amazing energy in the room during the panel discussion. All of the business leaders who attended were invigorated by the leadership concepts from the military that were briefly introduced to help them overcome the challenges of dynamic environments.”


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To learn more about our programs contact us at 1.800.247.5047, ext. 8924

24/7: The First Person You Must Lead Is You
By Brigadier General (Retired) Becky Halstead

"Leadership is the fusion of heart and mind."
Brigadier General Rebecca Halstead,(USA, Retired, USMA 1981)
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