A Monthly Publication from Citrin Consulting
Leadership Beyond Expectations
May | 2012


IN THIS ISSUE

Courageous Leadership

TED Talks

The Resilience Advantage

 
Visit our Web Site
 

Visit Richard's Blog

Courageous Leadership

Leadership Beyond Expectations

No one knows for sure whether Henry Knox was actually throwing tea off the British ship Dartmouth on December 16, 1773. At the age of 23, he already knew that war with Britain was inevitable and that the events of that evening and his support of the actions of the Sons of Liberty would be setting the stage for American Independence. For the previous 10 years Henry Knox worked in, and then owned, a bookstore in downtown Boston. His self-studies in military science, especially artillery, would make him a trusted leader to George Washington.

After the Battles of Concord and Lexington in 1775, Knox left Boston and joined the militia company of artillery, in part because he was fascinated with the challenging logistical and engineering aspects of shooting cannons accurately. He directed the cannons during the Battle of Bunker Hill and when General George Washington came to command the army in the Battle of Boston, he was immediately impressed with Knox's knowledge, action and enthusiasm. Although Knox had demonstrated skills with cannons, there was a major problem for Washington during this first major battle. The army didn't really have much artillery. The entire store of canons consisted of just a dozen heavy guns. But Henry Knox, taking his first great leadership step, made a bold proposal to Washington.

In May of 1775, British forts in Ticonderoga and Crown Point in upstate New York had been captured by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold and were known to have over 60 tons of heavy guns, along with muskets and gunpowder. Knox told Washington that he could mount a campaign to head north, acquire the gunnery and return it to Boston. However, it was November and Washington pointed out to Henry Knox that the challenge would be great, but the reward to the revolution would be immeasurable.

Knox and his men arrived in Ticonderoga on December 5th and selected 59 pieces of artillery including the 11foot long "Big Bertha's" that weighed over 5000 pounds each. Knox's second great leadership challenge was how to get his great arsenal back to Boston, over 300 miles in the dead of winter. Knox's thinking about the problem led him to an obvious solution. Don't see winter as a foe but as a friend.

After having made initial progress transporting the weaponry by boat on Lake George, Knox waited for the first winter storm. He instructed his men to build 40 strong sleds and secure 80 yoke of oxen to transport the supplies. As they began their journey they came across rivers that had not completely frozen over. Knox instructed his men to "help out mother nature" by throwing water on top of the ice to facilitate the thickening. On land, they used their sleds and oxen to move the cannons smoothly through paths that had been trampled down by troops.

Crossing the Berkshire Mountains presented a difficult task for Know because his hired hands refused to proceed from the western slopes due to their concerns about the dangerous descents they would face on the eastern side of the Mountains. Knox mounted his horse and proceeded to spend the next 3 hours cajoling and convincing his teamsters of the importance and merit of the work they were doing. His cadre persevered and Henry Knox arrived in Boston on January 27th 1776, delivering to General Washington the armaments he would need to chase the British from Boston.

Henry Knox went on to play significant roles in early American history. He became a Brigadier General and participated in most of the major campaigns of the war. Not surprisingly, Knox was in charge of logistics for the important crossing of the Delaware where the tide of the war turned and General Washington's troops crushed Hessian soldiers in Trenton on Christmas eve, just 11 months after Knox had delivered the military hardware to Boston. Later on, Knox served as President Washington's Secretary of War and as the fledgling country looked to its leaders for inspiration, Henry Knox provided one by being one of the first American's to refer to George Washington as "The Father of Our Country."

Henry Knox displayed five remarkable qualities of leadership — initiative, innovative thinking, influence, persistence, and hard work. As a leader having only one of these qualities, it could be sufficient to make a mark in your organization. But to possess multiple qualities means that a leader's contribution can have an even greater impact. Consider your leadership qualities, which ones you possess and which ones make a difference for the people you work with, and for your organization. Try combining leadership qualities like Henry Knox did and see if this moves you and your organization towards greatness.

 

Back to top

TED Talks

The last few times I was in public restrooms I've noticed that the paper towel dispensers are distributing smaller paper towels. No doubt a concession to cost management, I tell myself. Then I typically proceed to draw down a few extra towels to make sure I have enough to thoroughly dry my hands.

But my approach (and possibly yours) contributes to the over 13,000,000,000 (that's 13 billion) pounds of paper towels used by Americans every year. In this clever TED talk, Portland paper towel advocate Joe Smith proposes a simple technique to reduce paper towel consumption by 571, 230,000 pounds a year. Find out how, and your visits to the restroom will never be the same. By the way, he promises to address techniques to save on toilet paper next year so stay tuned!

 

Back to top

The Resilience Advantage

The Resilience Advantage will help you develop a mindset and provide you with a set of tools that you can use to more skillfully address the challenges in your work and home life.

Being resilient is more than just being able to bounce back from adversity, its also about being prepared and "hardy" in the face of stressful events, and being able to navigate successfully through those challenges.

Using tools such as Building Body Wisdom, Managing your Personal Energy and Developing an Optimistic Approach to Life will help develop your personal resilience. Right now I am finishing up a cool series of videos about The Resilience Advantage. I'll be to rolling them out for your viewing soon, along with some webinars and workshops to help you build your own Resilience Advantage.

 

Back to top

130 Chapel Harbor Dr | Pittsburgh, PA 15238 | 412.327.8744 | All Rights Reserved © 2012 Citrin Consulting