Loree Sutton

 

Go Army.

That’s the tag for my work this weekend covering the Army-Stonybrook football game working with CBS Sports Network and Piero. It was my first visit to West Point and I was thoroughly struck by the pervasive atmosphere. As the country’s leading academy for Army officers, you would think that it would wreak of authority and power. Instead, the qualities of humility and respect permeated every corner. I do believe that to be a good Leader, you have to be a good Follower. If you can’t or won’t follow, it means that you don’t understand or respect the concept of Leadership in the first place. And that means you are not really into ‘leading’…just ‘bossing people around’.

The visit reminded me a fine webcast on embracing failure by Retired Army Brigadier General Loree Sutton (co-presented with her colleague Laurie Leitch) titled “Embodying Risk, Embracing Failure”. Sutton is a bit of an unexpected combination. A high ranking officer in the US Army working as a psychiatrist and leader of many mental health initiatives and programmes, she is also a Zen Buddhist. Her talk applied the spirit of her religion to her extraordinary personal experience with obviously many insights into the embrace of failure…

  • “To be enlightened is to be without anxiety about imperfection.”
  • “In face of choices and uncertainty…there is a tendency to move fast into action because it relieves, at least momentarily, the tension.” [ie. Action Bias]
  • “In order to move forward, we first have to throw ourselves off-balance.” [describing walking]
  • “A study of ‘quitters’ showed them to have better mental health and better physical health.”

I especially liked her observation that in Arab countries, rub weavers intentionally weave in a mistake into every carpet out of respect for their belief ‘that only God can be perfect.’ I have decided that is a great new convention for my own blog posts from now onn.

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