17 January 2011


In the heat of the Civil Rights struggle, which began (in my opinion) at
the outset of abolition and continues in small skirmishes and outlying
battles today, there was a heroic figure who stood out as prominently as
Heracles from Greek mythology. That man, whom we honor in the United
States today, was Dr. Martin Luther King. He was a passionate defender
of a more equal society and a practitioner of non-violence par
excellence. It is fitting to take time to humbly reflect on his
ultimate sacrifice for our nation, and the world at large. I know our
nation has benefitted greatly from that struggle and his individual
contribution to our collective morality.

Thank you, Dr. King.

10 January 2011

Some good advice...

January 10, 2011

A weekly stimulant for those who lead - From Dan

Daniel Granholm Mulhern
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You know "tautologies," right, expressions that use different words to
define or describe the same thing? My favorite one is from the great
Kouzes and Posner who write, "leaders go first." I mean, a leader
literally leads, right, like the car or horse "in the lead." But gosh
there's a lot to that simple statement.

I was reminded of it, reading Brian Dickerson's column
> in the Free Press last week. Dickerson was talking about
how the comedian-satirist Jon Stewart says he's most optimistic about
America when, during a lane closure, he sees drivers merge cars like
teeth on a zipper - left, right, left, right, they take turns, blending
efficiently and willingly. Dickerson points out, this generally happens
only after someone sets the right example with a kindly "go ahead" wave.
"Compassion," he suggests "is contagious." In his column he calls on the
bloggers, who tend to dwell in one ugly soup, to lead with civility - a
message echoed over and over on Sunday after the hideous shooting in
Arizona. Leaders - everyday leaders, he's talking about - go first.

This combined phenomenon - our individual hesitance to lead, yet the
power for good of everyday leadership - is one I've noticed often. I saw
it daily, teaching high school and college, leading meetings, and now as
a talk show host. It's always the most challenging to get the first set
of vocal chords and willing mouth to open up. The experience is so vast
that I've wondered if it's some deep ancient instinct that says: "Do NOT
step out from the crowd." Some primeval fear seems to remain in us. Yet
once someone gets in the game, the social cost of entry seems to plummet
(as if unconsciously everyone says to themselves, "huh! she didn't get
killed; maybe it's okay to play."). And of course, the "play" - the
classroom, the meeting, gets so much better as a result.

On the radio, I'll say "I'd love to hear your thoughts," and, speaking
to the collective unconscious fear, I'll add, "you can be anonymous, or
make up a name, or feel free to just say your opinion or question, then
hang up." Yet those invisible listeners are on the sidelines, arms
folded, as if I'm asking them to dance naked at the junior high sock
hop. I can go a half hour without a call. Then I get one, and as they
say "the phone lines are lighting up."

The implications of this duality of fear-and-possibility are unending,
aren't they? For authorized leaders, the point is clear: you must make
it as safe as you can for peer contributions, and make sure to thank the
first speaker. For parents, teachers, managers, pastors, there's a need
for patience, for some cleverness, and certainly for encouragement.

The biggest implication though is for each of us as everyday leaders to
see that behind our fear stands great possibility. The first one in can
be the a-hole who forces his way ahead in the traffic jam, the talk show
caller who loves to whine, the worker who says the bs they think the
boss wants to hear, or . . . You can praise when the culture is
decrying. You can point out troublesome facts when the rest of the team
is in denial. You can laugh at yourself when everyone's being a little
too self-serious. Or, you can just offer a humble opinion to get the bus
rolling (it's a lot easier to steer a moving bus.

A mentally ill man stepped out of the shadows and shot 17 people. Gave
me goosebumps when to see it on CNN. Made me feel powerless at the utter
randomness. But you, like I, will have 25 or 30 chances today to lead
with goodness - to reveal all that's best in people as

Leaders go first!




Invite your friends and families to subscribe to Dan Mulhern's weekly
e-newsletter called Reading For Leading, on the challenges of leadership
at home, work and in life. You can subscribe by sending your request to:
mulhern@danmulhern.com or visiting Dan's website
> .

Copyright 2010 Daniel Mulhern. I distribute RfL without charge to people
with an interest in leadership, and grant permission to these recipients
to distribute copies of these works to personal contacts for
non-commercial purposes only. All other rights are reserved, and
requests for copying and distribution of these works may be made to
dan@danmulhern.com <mailto:firstgentleman@michigan.gov> . The views in
this and other RfLs reflect my personal beliefs and may or may well not
reflect the views of my wife, Jennifer Granholm, or any other officials
of the State government. Invite your friends and families to subscribe
to Dan Mulhern's weekly e-newsletter called Reading For Leading, on the
challenges of leadership at home, work and in life. You can subscribe by
sending your request to: dan@danmulhern.com


04 January 2011


The Navy is merciless when it comes to relieving leadership of command.
This stems from the tradition that the captain always goes down with his
ship. Even in events where circumstances did not warrant immediate
action, a skipper's neck is always on the line. I have had the sad
experience of witnessing at least two skippers relieved for cause of
major combatant vessels. This is not done lightly and typically spells
the end of a career for any Naval officer. COs of aircraft carriers are
typically being groomed for flag rank (admiral) and as a consequence are
extremely well screened and evaluated.

The actions of CAPT Honors clearly violate the expectations for behavior
of a Naval officer. It is one thing to appear in crew skits - but the
ramifications of questionable materials and context must ALWAYS be
considered. A Navy O-6 is expensive to train and prepare for command -
a carrier qualified captain even more so.

However, there is a far higher standard for military officers to uphold.

Navy Relieves Enterprise Captain for 'Poor Judgment'
Tue, 04 Jan 2011 15:12:00 -0600

Navy Relieves Enterprise Captain for 'Poor Judgment'

By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2011 - A Navy captain whose shipboard videos have
made headlines since they surfaced in the media over the weekend has
been relieved of his command for demonstrating poor judgment, a senior
Navy officer announced today.

Capt. Owen Honors made the videos while serving as executive officer
aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in 2006 and 2007, and he had
served as commander of the Enterprise for about seven months when he was

"The responsibility of the commanding officer for his or her command is
absolute," U.S. Fleet Forces commander Navy Adm. John C. Harvey Jr. said
today in Norfolk, Va. "While Captain Honors' performance as commanding
officer of USS Enterprise has been without incident, his profound lack
of good judgment and professionalism while previously serving as
executive officer on Enterprise calls into question his character and
completely undermines his credibility to continue to serve effectively
in command."

Honors' video skits garnered global attention after the Virginian-Pilot
newspaper published three of them and an accompanying story on its
website Jan. 2. The videos include anti-gay slurs and depict male
sailors in drag and female sailors showering together in a single stall.

The Enterprise crew viewed some of the videos on the ship's
closed-circuit television system while the vessel was deployed in 2006
and 2007 supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the
newspaper's reports.

"It is fact that as naval officers we are held to a higher standard,"
Harvey said. "Those in command must exemplify the Navy's core values of
honor, courage and commitment, which we expect our sailors to follow.
Our leaders must be above reproach, and our sailors deserve nothing

Honors has been reassigned to administrative duties at Naval Air Force

Navy Capt. Dee Mewbourne will take command of USS Enterprise, Harvey
said. The ship is scheduled to deploy in the coming weeks. Mewbourne
commanded the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower during two combat
deployments supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Harvey said.
Mewbourne had been serving as chief of staff for Navy Cyber Forces, and
was to assume command of the Enterprise this afternoon.

Harvey said an investigation will continue on all aspects of the videos'
production, including the actions of other senior officers who knew of
the videos and the actions they took in response.

Navy Adm. John C. Harvey Jr.

Related Sites:
USS Enterprise <http://www.enterprise.navy.mil/>

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