It’s not always easy being the lone financial person in a company. I talk in a foreign language and say “No” quite a bit. I think about reducing or eliminating risk that can really harm the company, and I try to coax certain behaviors out of others. Actually, the more I think about it, it’s kind of like being a parent to toddlers, although I change fewer actual dirty diapers at work.
When I graduated high school, I enrolled in the US Army Reserves and spent six active years at an engineering headquarters unit in Des Moines, Iowa. There was a lot of great leadership formation for me during those years, although I didn’t really appreciate it as much as I should have. One summer, our Sergeant Major was kind enough to sit down with me and go through Army FM 22-100, Army Leadership, Be, Know, Do. It made quite an impression on me and it’s something I still think about.
Be. This is a person’s character, your inner strength. It guides you on what is wrong or right. High character helps you to do the right thing more than the wrong thing. You have to really know yourself, to know what your short comings are so that you can be a person of high character.
Know. As a leader in an organization, you need to know many things, which means you need to be constantly learning. That doesn’t mean you need to know everything, but you do need to know enough to be able to ask good questions. You need to not only keep your technical skills sharp, you also need to work on your soft skills, your interpersonal skills and your strategic skills. Technical skills are great and can get you a long way but you have to put it all together if you really want to go far.
Do. This is the action. This can be either really easy, or very hard. This involves influencing people and motivating them to accomplish the mission. This is where actual improvement happens, at the action level. What things are you doing to increase your organization’s capabilities to accomplish the current and future missions?
So get out there, figure out who you are, figure out what you need to know and where you need the most improvement. Then get go and get it done. Be. Know. Do.