Leadership

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by usna1985, Mar 19, 2010.

  1. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Many posters ask about leadership and what to do to demonstrate your leadership to USNA. I recently came across an excellent example that I thought would be useful to post. The post is long but, stick with it and you'll understand what leadership is all about.

    Each year, our office hosts a food drive to support a local charity. They set it up as a "contest" among floors of the building to encourage participation and offer a prize (maybe "jeans day") for the winners. Over the past 5+ yrs of the event, our floor has always finished dead last. And I do mean dead last. As in, when everyone else has 15,000+ points, we've had <1,000. Apathy is the main reason.

    We have "floor captains," who are supposed to organize support for the event. This year, a new legal assistant wanted to "apply" for the position of floor captain for our floor until she found out she was the only one who wanted to do it. That didn't deter her . . . she took on the job and here's what she did.

    The week before the event started, she went around to all of the senior attorneys asking us to contribute and to sponsor events, such as a pizza party at the end of the week for all who donated. She personally asked me to talk to my colleagues and encourage them to show leadership by donating.

    Knowing that we lead busy lives, she said that, if we gave her money, she'd do the shopping for us - and did it. She went to local businesses and got "prizes" (e.g., gift certificates, bottles of wine, etc.) for those who donated the highest volume each day. She sent out daily enthusiastic emails encouraging people to participate. She created "I donated" stickers for donors to wear each day.

    After the first day, we were in the middle of the pack. Not bad for a floor that had never done anything. She then came up with the idea of noon shopping. She sent around reminder emails telling folks that, if we provided the cash, two secretaries had volunteered to take their lunch hour to go to a local store to buy food (there were specific items for each day).

    By day two, we were in second place (of 8 floors). The emails and personal visits kept coming. She got one of my colleagues, who has an aversion to this type of program (for reasons that aren't relevant here) and thus who had never donated anything ever to pay for the pizza party and donate to the cause. Why? He cited her infectious enthusiam as the primary reason.

    Our floor won days 3 and 4. She sent another personal appeal to the senior attorneys requesting cash/check donations for the final day. At the end of day 4, were in 2nd place overall. Not sure how it will turn out and supporting the food bank is obviously more important than "winning."

    However, for those of you out there trying to figure out whether to be team captain or club president, here's something to reflect on in the above scenario:

    -- This individual has no position of importance in the company. She's "just" an employee who decided to get involved and make a difference.

    -- She gets nothing -- absolutely nothing, other than personal satisfaction and the satifaction of helping the charity -- for doing this or if we win.

    -- No one else even wanted this position, let alone was fighting for it. Yet, she took it on and ran with it.

    -- It was a "loser" project with a bunch of apathetic people who hadn't been motivated to do squat in over 5 years.

    -- She had no resources (cash, etc.) other than email and her own imagination and enthusiasm.

    And yet she alone is responsible not only for our floor possibly "winning" the competition but for our floor donating a whole bunch more food and money to the cause.

    The point of this is not to debate the merits or style of our office's competition. The point is that this young woman -- not much older than those of you looking to apply to USNA -- has showed what leadership is all about. It's more than having an elected position; it's about what you do with what you have. And I guarantee you that everyone on our floor -- and throughout the office -- is well aware of what she's done. It's truly amazing the difference one person can make.

    So, those of you out there who are "just" students in your school or members of your community, there are plenty of opportunities for you to lead. Find the job that no one else wants and make something of it. Turn the token fundraiser into a huge project. The possibilities are limitless.
     
  2. 2014-scada

    2014-scada Parent

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    Well Said!

    GO NAVY! :tomcat:
     
  3. parentofmen

    parentofmen Member

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    Another story to give an idea of leadership options: I know of a young man who found a non-profit organization he could really focus on, and gave it his all. To impress the Academy and/or colleges, you don't necessarily have to volunteer here, and volunteer there, but find something you feel strongly about and go above and beyond for them. This young man found that there was a need for soccer uniforms for kids overseas, and sought out uniforms from local soccer leagues, and then came up with the idea of collecting PE uniforms (with reversible tops) from local 8th graders. As they no longer needed them after graduation, it was a matter of asking, and organizing the drives. He managed to collect over 1,000 pounds of uniforms, arranged for free professional cleaning, and they were shipping overseas to outfit an entire league. Additionally, the soccer leagues he'd contacted provided all their old uniforms, balls, cleats, and shin guards when they decided to go with all new uniforms. Grab the bull by the horns, and be creative. Come up with ideas and a plan. Implement your ideas, get others to work with/for you, and lead the way to your goal.
     
  4. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I'm sure it was a good story - but I was too apathetic to read the whole thing. :smile:

    Just kidding. Good story and good advice to prospective candidates looking for leadership opportunities. You DON'T have to be the captain of the football team.
     
  5. tothetop14

    tothetop14 Member

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    you work?

    USNA1985-you work? How do you carefully and thoughtfully answer all the posts and questions that you do and work TOO? If you are as good at your "job" as you seem to be as a BGO and Moderator on this forum, damn, you're good! If YOU are what the USNA is putting out there in the world, I'm thrilled that my daughter will be joining your ranks, if she can be "you", good for her! Are you a parent, too? Are your children on the varsity teams and in AP classes as 8th graders?
     
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Yes, I work. I leave for work around 0700 and, on a good day, I get home by 2000. Travel about two weeks per month and often work WEs. Luckily, I do have opportunities to check this site while at the office.

    I do my best not only to respond to posts but to keep up with my mod duties. My goal is to provide accurate and complete info to candidates, parents and others who want info. If I accomplish that goal, then I'm pleased.

    No kids other than the 4-legged variety.:smile:

    Thanks for your kind words.

    And, to finish my story above . . . our floor won the competition today . . . going away! The entire office (over 500 people) was impressed with what the individual in my story had accomplished.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2010
  7. tothetop14

    tothetop14 Member

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    Well, I can't help myself....I have to post another one!

    Four legged children are great, unconditionally loving, etc., although I have found that with honesty, openness and respect, our children seem to unconditionally love us as well. We have 15, 16 and 17 (oldest to USNA). They tolerate us well as parents. Respect seems to be the key.

    As soon as 17 year old got her license (at 17 in NJ!), 0700 changed for me to a bit later as my beauty sleep got extended to give the trust and freedom to the kids to go off to school on time by themselves. I feel healthier this year. LOL!! Off to work myself, just without the drive to school and a little later.

    Leadership is a mystery to me - I sometimes hope my daughter is making the right decision, but then she goes to her coach and offers to give up her spot on a swim relay in a major State Championship meet in order to help one of her teammates get another opportunity to qualify for the National meet, and I see why she might be a good leader. Your story is great, very valuable to put it in everyday terms so that our kids and other parents may relate easier.

    I posted this last week: we never checked DODMERB, never, until the big envelope arrived. It was easier to just live than worry. I have learned so much while watching the forum, thanks to you.

    You are welcome for the kind words, you are helping so many feel better about this entire process.

    Oh, Congrats to your floor! I hope you had a nice Team Building Pizza Party to celebrate!

    Best...

    Mom
     
  8. parentofmen

    parentofmen Member

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    Congrats on your floor winning. Amazing what can happen with a never say die attitude.
     

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