by Robert J. Stevens
I did not learn about leadership in business school. I learned about leadership when I was 18 years-old and first introduced to the United States Marine Corps, where leadership is not taught by a favored professor in a three-credit hour course. It is taught by every officer and every NCO in every minute and every hour of every day, in every action, every word, every deed, and every circumstance. And, in that experience, you are immersed in a culture of excellence that is built on a foundation of virtue and value.
When people are exposed to concepts regarding leadership from a military context they associate the applicability to predominantly combat situations, which is unfortunate as these lessons have enduring value in civilian life. The very foundation of our contemporary sense of “integrity” has an ancient Roman military antecedent, and the timeless values of “honor, courage, and commitment” form the bedrock of the honesty, trust, moral strength, and dedication we need and expect from leaders today.
Mr. Stevens is the 2017 recipient of the Naval Order’s Admiral of the Navy George Dewey Award. He was Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Mr. Stevens enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at age 18 and graduated from Slippery Rock University, Polytechnic University of New York, and Columbia University.