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Thursday AM September 9th, 2010

Naval Academy and West Point graduates are providing leadership training for business and industry in a “leadership boot camp” later this month. Ed Mayberry reports.


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The military is in the business of training leaders, drawing on people from various backgrounds and with different abilities.  Military school graduates are drawing from that training in workshops on managing time, leading productive meetings, goal setting, communication and motivation, as well as conflict management.  The sessions are led by former Navy Captain David Howe.

“Both the Army and the Navy wanted to know why some of its commanders were more effective with their units than other similar units.  There are certain traits that these very effective leaders had in common.  So they distilled this into their training programs.  It’s almost impossible to dictate on a day-to-day basis ‘do this, don’t do that.’  So you create a value system.  You can’t motivate people by creating an environment that either operates with the carrot or the stick.  Those are temporary, short-term, very narrow.”

Howe says as an officer, you deal with being resource-constrained, but you still must accomplish goals.  He says the most effective leaders are not “born leaders,” but leadership can be learned through experience and education.

“You come out of the academies, you’re pretty fired up, you’re motivated, you think you know your stuff, and you do.  But over the years, I realized that I wasn’t necessarily being the most effective communicator.  And communication–obviously I don’t mean just talking and putting out rules and expectations, but also listening.  However, what’s also important to understand is that people don’t act the same way all the time.  You have a normal operating mode, which you expect to operate in.  You have one that you kind of work in when things are difficult.  And in a crisis mode, everybody changes.”  

The Leadership Boot Camp Experience is set for September 27th through the 29th at the Marriott Courtyard in The Woodlands. For more information about the experience in Houston, visit

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