A Re-post in Honor of this Special Day to be remembered in History
June 6, 1944 – The Longest Day and a Day to be remembered (Be sure to watch the video clip included at the end)
Everything and I mean everything rises and falls on Leadership. As John Maxwell has said often, that when you are in over your head, it really doesn’t matter how deep the water is. In my last posting I wrote an article that was entitled “Everyday is an Anniversary of Something of Importance to Someone”. Well clearly, “D” Day, June 6th 1944 is and should be an anniversary not only to those who lived it but to all of us in the generations that follow.
It would be so very easy for me to write this article with an American bias but this is a Leadership article and as I stated above, Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership. So here we are over a paragraph into this article and I have not yet mentioned the significance of this Day. The significance of what has gone down in the history books as being the “Longest Day”. On this day in 1944, the Allies executed Operation Overlord and attacked and stormed the beaches of Normandy in their efforts to get a foothold from which would begin the destruction of Fortress Europe under the Nazi regime. Over 150,000 Allied Troops made up of Paratroopers, Glider Forces and the largest Amphibious Landing ever attempted were involved and if all went well would be followed by 2 million more troops.
The Allies had planned and planned this invasion for quite some time. I can go into great depth and detail on this but suffice to note that this information is easily gained from a good history book or a google search. What is to be noted are the Leadership points that came about. What the Allies did not plan and account for was Mother Nature throwing a curve ball into the works. And this is where Leadership shines. The Supreme Allied Commander was Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was his responsibility to determine the Go-No Go status of the invasion. The Invasion had already been postponed but if it were to be postponed again, the Allies would clearly lose a major advantage that included surprise. How many more men would have died? You see under the Law of Navigation, it is noted that anyone can steer a ship but it takes a Leader to chart a course. Eisenhower or “Ike” as he was affectionately called consulted with his inner circle of Staff Officers but he and he alone would have to make the fateful decision. You might say that he was clearly in over his head. But he chose to stand up and rise out of the depths and be the Leader that he was chosen to be. His response to his Staff Officers was “I am quite positive we must give the order. I don’t like it, but there it is”. The Invasion was on!
There is so, so much more detail on this Invasion that I can go into as previously stated but I must note that many of the 21 Laws of Irrefutable Leadership would come into play in the next 24 hours. Leadership would rise on so many levels on the Allied side and fortunately for all, the German Army did not bode well when their Officers and NCO’s were eliminated. The Allies had been taught to think outside the box.
In closing, just envision what today would be generations later if that invasion had failed.Just ponder as to whether you would even be had that invasion failed or the War lost. And it for this reason and many others that we must teach our younger generations the significance of the dates that are of importance.
This is the kind of article that allows for a great deal of comment. My call to action to each of you is to add a bit of yourself and describe what you know and most assuredly the impact that this had on your life. Ponder for a few moments, especially if you are from the Baby Boomer Generation. But let me leave you with this rare piece of information that clearly showed that Ike was a Leader’s Leader. On the eve of the Invasion he had a hand written note that he would use if all went wrong which said…”Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air, and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.” Well the Invasion on that Longest Day did not fail because of the Leadership and Initiative right down to the basic foot soldier who realized that being in over your head just didn’t cut it!
In remembrance of all who fought in this Great Battle and especially to those who made the Ultimate Sacrifice for the rest of us. Yes, the rest of us, yesterday, today and tomorrow!
There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.
So you may be asking, Twilight Zone? Outer Limits? Reality? Well yes, exactly. You see we all and I will include ALL of us tend to visit these dimensions in our quest to discover “What is Real”. Too often, we get stuck in our “settle for” mode and fail to take adequate advantage of what we have and use those tools to bring us greater success. And that is where leadership comes in. A return from the Twilight Zone of our lives to the Reality Zone that we need to pursue. Let me go back to my opening statement and bring this writing home. A Leader’s first responsibility is to define reality and then work with that reality. Oh, did I mention that each of our realities may differ? And while the statement is pretty clear and makes sense it clearly also does not imply that you will be good at it.
Leadership is being dissatisfied with the current reality. Your current reality or the team’s current reality. Take your pick. So let me ask you, are you where you want to be? Do you even know when you get there that you are there? And are you or will you be satisfied? As we go through life, we go through different phases. It matters not what generation you are in be you a Boomer, X, Y, Millennial, Centennial or even this new one called “igen”. There is more to life then being in a rut. Did you know that a rut is just a grave with the ends lopped off? What should your actions be? Today is the day! As my mentor Dr. John C. Maxwell, the World’s #1 Leadership and Management Authority always says…YELN! Yesterday ended last night. And to take it a step further “Tomorrow Starts Now” . Today is the day that you need to start learning to be dissatisfied with the reality around you. There are many positive things that await you out there. You have been put on this earth with talents and treasures that only YOU will be able to bring forth to mankind. What a waste if mankind never gets to benefit from what YOU have to offer.
People generally change only when they hurt enough that they have to or that they have learned enough that they want to. There are enough cases in your life where things are staring you right in the face and yet you still refuse to accept or face the reality that awaits.
There are 6 rules for successful leadership according to Jack Welch (there are probably more but these 6 will suffice for this writing):
1. Control your destiny or someone else will
2. Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it were.
3. Be candid with everyone
4. Don’t manage, lead
5. Change before you have to
6. If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete
So just short of having someone throw a bucket of ice cold water in your face, know that “Realistic” Leaders are objective enough to minimize illusions and that self-deception cant cost them their vision. Ask yourself the following 6 questions on your way to your “reality check”:
1. What is reality in this situation (the one that you are currently in)?
2. Can I identify each issue? Can I break down reality to better understand it?
3. Cann the issues be fixed? Separate the solvable from the unsolvable.
4. What are the options? Establish a game plan.
5. Am I willing to follow the game plan? My commitment as a leader is essential.
6. Will my leadership team follow the game plan? Their commitment as leaders is also essential.
You may want to keep a copy of these 6 question on hand for ready reference. These questions will compel you to look realistically at the issues rather than glossing over and putting a positive spin on them. Hey, why not pick up a Leadership book, get a Leadership DVD or CD and most of all, go to your quiet space and meditate and then write down the goals…YOUR Goals that come to your mind. I can guarantee you won’t be alone in your quiet space.
So now that we have traversed the twilight zone of reality and to use the closing remarks from that classic Outer Limits TV Show…We now return control of your television set (Reality) to you. Until next week at the same time, when the control voice will take you to – The Outer Limits.
Oh by the way, if you want to pursue some REAL reality, contact me today at BermudaBob@me.com or on Facebook at Bermuda Bob Your Transformational Leadership Expert and let’s get you in a mastermind group. Now that’s real!