• Dunwoody shares leadership ideas at CGSC

  • Dunwoody addresses CGSOC students.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Retired Gen. Ann Dunwoody shared her thoughts on what makes a good leader with Command and General Staff Officer Course students during her talk “Stewarding the Profession of Arms” Aug. 28 in the Lewis and Clark Center’s Eisenhower Auditorium.
    Dunwoody commissioned into the Army in 1975 and served 37 years before retiring in 2012 as a four-star general, the first woman in Army history to achieve that rank. In her final assignment, Dunwoody led the largest global logistics command in the Army, U.S. Army Materiel Command, comprising 69,000 soldiers and civilians in all 50 states and more than 140 countries. She managed and operationalized the Army’s global supply chain in support of Iraq and Afghanistan and contingency operations in Haiti, Pakistan and Japan all while simultaneously moving the command headquarters from Fort Belvoir, Va., to Huntsville, Ala.
    Currently, Dunwoody is president of First 2 Four LLC, a leadership mentoring and strategic advisory service company.
    “While this year is an opportunity to recover and recharge from the demands of your first 10 to 12 years of service, it can also be an opportunity to learn, reflect and refine the concepts and knowledge that will help you be successful in the future,” said Dunwoody, a 1987 graduate of CGSOC. “You will leave here with a set of skillsets for more heavy assignments where you will lead, decide and motivate as you take your rightful place in the profession of arms.
    “When I was here, I knew it was going to be personally and professionally rewarding,” she said, “but I never really thought of my responsibilities as a future leader to safeguard the profession.”
    Dunwoody said safeguarding the profession means constantly setting a higher standard.
    “You take an oath to defend and support the Constitution of the United States,” she said. “We’re subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which governs our behavior in and out of uniform 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we have standards for just about everything we do.”
    Setting a higher standard means never walking by a mistake, Dunwoody said.
    “If you see a mistake, if you see someone doing something wrong and you turn and look the other way, then you just set a new lower standard, and a new lower standard becomes the new standard in the eyes of the offender,” she said.
    “In the military, failing to enforce high standards leads to a slippery slope, which leads to poor performance, people getting hurt or, even worse, unnecessary loss of life,” she said.
    Dunwoody said setting a standard leads to value-based, ethical leadership, which is critical for establishing a high performing organization with high performing individuals.
    Page 2 of 3 - “All the really good leaders I served with, all the really good leaders I looked up to, held themselves to a higher standard and encouraged their subordinates to do the same,” she said.
    “The difference between leaders and soldiers who tried to meet the standards and those who tried to strive to exceed the standards is like the difference between a C-student and an A-student.
    “It doesn’t really matter how large or small the outfit is or what it does,” Dunwoody said. “High performing organizations are filled with people who want to do their best, be their best in everything they do, and they are proud to be a part of a high performing organization.”
    The way to further strive to become a high performing organization, Dunwoody said, is for leaders to reward good performance and correct poor performance.
    “If you don’t reward your star performers, the top 10 percent, then you’re not providing any incentive for the rest of the herd to become high performers,” she said. “Similarly, if you don’t correct or promptly deal with the 10 percent who are dragging your organization down, that 80 percent in the middle will take notice of that as well.
    “There must be rewards and incentives for excellence and there must be corrective action for substandard performance,” Dunwoody said. “If not, you risk your organization moving in the wrong direction. Organizations are either improving, maintaining or declining. You will set the tone.”
    Creating a vision for all helps in creating a high performing organization, too, she said.
    “A good vision becomes the heartbeat of the organization and it drives the prioritization of people, resources, training and money,” she said. “Leadership makes all the difference. Find your style, communicate your vision and lead your team.”
    Good leaders are responsible for building the bench and being a coach and mentor to their subordinates, Dunwoody said.
    “At the end of the day, your success won’t be measured by the rank you achieve or how many deployments you’ve had. Your lasting legacy will be the leadership you displayed in helping others be successful as a direct result of your taking the time to coach and mentor the bench of future leaders,” she said. “There is nothing more important or rewarding than that.”
    This also means being willing to be coached and mentored because nobody is invincible, Dunwoody said.
    “When you have complex issues, you need to have someone that you can talk to, and you have to be willing to listen,” she said. “For a great leader to be at their best, he or she has to acknowledge his or her worst.
    Page 3 of 3 - “Believe in yourself, never give up,” Dunwoody said. “Try to be the best you can be and never let others dissuade you from something you believe in or are passionate about.”
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