Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Building a Leader: The Importance of Courage, Discipline, Decisiveness and Attention to Detail

This month, Colonel Trey (Lou) Rawls, Air Force Fighter pilot and current program manager in the F-35 joint strike fighter, visited the MSBA class as part of our continuing series on leadership. Colonel Rawls has logged over 2500 hours in more than 40 aircrafts, including a rotation as a test pilot. He saw service in both the A-10 Warthog and the F-15 in Iraq and served in operation Noble Eagle following 9/11.

During his time with the class, Trey emphasized the importance of forming personal relationships in all aspects of your life;both business and personal. He cited examples from his own life in the military of working with both civilians and fellow service people and how important it was to interact with people on a personal level. He noted that because he formed these personal relationships, he often gained more needed and valuable knowledge from informal conversations than structured meetings.

In speaking of the various virtues, Col. Rawls relayed that courage is not the absence of fear but rather what you do when you are faced with it. He explained that physical courage can be much easier than moral courage. He also spoke about the importance of discipline in terms of being a leader, saying if you can't master the art of discipline yourself, you cannot expect to master or lead others. Leaders, he said, always have time for others, time for the gym (to stay healthy), and are the most organized and productive employees.

Col. Rawls went on to cite a Fortune 500 study of CEO's that found the number one trait of a successful CEO is decisiveness. One or two times a year a CEO gets a chance to make a decision that really has a far ranging impact.

Trey's last bit of advice was that details matter. He challenged the MSBA team to be observant and pay attention to the little things that impact decisions.
It was an honor and a pleasure to have one of our country's top warriors share his personal experiences and philosophies with us.

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