In the Spring of 1992, upon return from an extended tour of duty in the Middle East, I just turned 21 and was enrolled in Airman Leadership School at McGuire AFB in New Jersey. This 5-week program was designed to prepare me for my upcoming responsibilities as a Non Commissioned Officer. Due to a recent promotion, I was transitioning from doing the work to supervising the work. This school focused on military practices; but more importantly, it focused on common sense leadership. We focused on communication, trust, and instilling confidence in those you lead. I gave 100% to this course and was eventually selected as a Distinguished Graduate and earned the Military Citizenship award. The DG was for grades; however, the Military Citizenship Honor was bestowed upon me through a vote of peers who were also classmates. It recognized those who most epitomized military citizenship.

I implore today’s organizations to take a lesson from an institution that creates the finest leaders in the world. Take the time to prepare your people for leadership. This is most crucial on the front lines of the transportation and logistics industry. This industry and what we do can be propelled with strong leadership at the DC’s, Terminals, and Branches that do the hard work of logistics, or it can be bogged down – it all depends on leadership. My concern and what I see is the failure to recognize the value of the front line people enough to invest in their development. Logistics is not easy, it’s not just handling boxes, and freight. It’s logic, coupled with leadership.

The finest technology in the world falls flat without the right leadership to explain the virtues of embracing technology to their teams (communication). I am enthralled with the possibilities of the technological advances, and at the same time, aware of the challenges to execute on such technology unless we invest in front line leadership as an industry.

It’s true that I run a “for profit” business; however, I am first and foremost a “for leadership” person because of the education I was provided about the virtue it brings to others, almost 27 years ago. Columbia can be a tremendous partner in your leadership development program, just give us a call.