tv Stanley Mc Chrystal Leaders CSPAN November 3, 2018 11:00pm-11:47pm EDT
he's also written 5 issues of the wonder woman comic book series for dc comics. what in-depth with author jodi t cole from noon to 3 pm eastern and what in-depth fiction next month when author brad meltzer will be our guest on tv on cspan2. >>. >>. >> kenny perry? >> yes. great. hello. welcome everyone. welcome. evening. you can't hear, okay. better? still better? good evening. number it's on, it's just in
the back. i will try to reject as much as possible. evening everyone, my name is a dell and i'm chief of commercial development at roy than sciences. this is the 1st event of the roy vance re-thinking leadership series. in partnership with hudson union here tonight, we're excited to begin this series of conversations with a remarkable leader, general stanley mcchrystal.before we begin, join me in thanking margo's famous, alyssa adler, kristin allman and the cornwell club for making this event happen.standup we can talk to you >> . [applause] >> general mcchrystal has been called one of america's greatest warriors. a retired four-star general,
the former commander of the joint special operations committee. and former commander of all us and international forces in afghanistan. general mcchrystal is perhaps best known for developing and implementing the counter insurgency g4 in afghanistan and for creating a comprehensive counterterrorism organization that revolutionized interagency culture. so imagine if you got military agencies to work together what that must have been like . his leadership of j stop is credited with the capture of saddam hussein andthe death of the leader of al qaeda . over his many decades of leadership in the field, general mcchrystal came to realize our model for identifying, educating and evaluating leaders are woefully incomplete.
in his latest book leaders, myth and reality he profiles 13 famous leaders from a wide range of fields including margaret thatcher, robert e lee, coco chanel, walt for, to name a few. general mcchrystal is also the author of 2 others, and the more and team of teams: new rules of engagement for a complex world. if you haven't already, i encourage you to read them. paul davis, head of communications will be conducting tonight's interview so without further ado, these join me in welcoming paul davis. [applause]
>> the title of the book is myth and reality. what are the myths about leadership? >> thank you for the wonderful introduction andlet me say my 2 co-authors are in the room today. jeff eggers , former marine, and together we have this cumulative amazing iq. if i left the group, it would have gone down slightly so when the tough questions,, the right answers are back there thank you for being here and thank you for being on the team. >> what are the most
prevalent myths about leadership? >> the 1st myth is that we understand it. we categorize ourselves as leaders and i went through a lifetime of trying to lead as my co-authors did. and yet we never really thought we got it. we went back to 1st principles with this book. we went all the way to plutarch and we said let's go back to 1st principles and figure it out and we started studying itand the conclusion we came to was asked that it , that leadership is not what we think it is and it never has been. we have messed with this mythology of about leadership . i grow up with a mother who love mythology so she read to me all the time and i got a little orange book that she got when she was 5 years old in chattanooga. one of them, the myths in it i loved is about less and you got this muscular bus standing on a mountaintop and
holding up the sky. and thething that was amazing , for a long time people accepted that. they just said well, the sky is still up there though somebody must be holding it up. and if you think about it, that sort of defines how we let mythology explain things for us and simplify things for us. so we came into 3 minutes as we studied 13 leaders. and the 3 myths, the 1st was the formulaic myth and that is if you follow a list of behaviors or you've got a list of traits for that sort of thing and you got all those, you are likely to be a good leader. yet when we studied it, we found there are people who have all of them who are absolutely unsuccessful and we got other people who have none of them who are rich, famous, whatever you want to call it.so the formulaic myth just has been disproven time and again. the 2nd is the attribution myth. and that is what happens in
an organization success or failure can usually be traced back to the leader. and we found that's not true either. in fact, what happens in an organization, the outcome is often only marginally affected by the leader. when i got out of the military i wrote my memoirs, people come to you and you say you have to write the memoirs, that's easier said than done so we go to write memoirs and i said how hard can this be, this is a play of my life. and i'm the star. and it shouldn't be hard because i was there. but we get all these interviews and prep them in the book and what we found was my memory of things was usually not completely wrong but it was always incomplete. though i would have made this great decisive decision, something would happen and i get credit for it and we would get all the interviews and find out there are hundreds of other people
doing things hugely important or other factors affecting it and it meant that i still mattered, but i didn't matter like i thought i did. and the last one is results. you say we hire or elect or select or promote leaders because they get results, they make us money, they win battlefield victories, the reality is when you do a blind test, we don't. >> we support serial failures, we follow people who take us places we know we don't want to go. we promote people who've never really been very successful and that's because as we found , leaders, it's not an objective transactional relationship between follower and a leader. it's organic. it's visceral, it's an emotional connection that we may and may fill some requirements in us as people
so as a consequence, we can be more loyal to people who in many cases the results wouldn't support the lease 3 myths put together mean that when we look at leadership, we're doing it through blurred glasses. we've got this fog and even though we know it, it persists and i would argue that it's pretty costly in many ways. >> you set up this great man myth of history as toxic and intoxicating. why are people drawn to that notion that individuals are responsible for major events in history? >> it's simple. 1st and foremost you say things are bad, we will break for the great woman or man to show up and make it better. if you think about it, almost any of the leaders that we held on exalted status, we put the spotlight on them and we say that they bend the arc of history. and in many cases they had a big effect but it really
makes it simpler. george washington found in the united states of america. that's not in fact true. it was they are, he was part of it. but if you go back to just any number of leaders, we tend to want to simplify. the danger of that is we've simplified it dramatically. with a couple of things, a couple of problems, one, we've ignored all the other factors and other personalities and the complexity of it and 2, we have a tendency to be waiting around for the next great person. we say we're not happy, we will wait for somebody to come along. they never will. someone may come along and purport to be that, they may show themselves and that, advertise that but they are not that area we've got to understand that they never will be. >> what exactly do you mean by crisis of leadership.
>> i think that if you look at our nation, it's divided politically, divided socially, divided economically and we could go on down. so that's sort of obvious, that's what we see every day. we've gotten to the point where we don't believe many of the leaders that us. somebody says something and we immediately discounted. if you have someone who works for you and they lied to you, you probably wouldn't work with them anymore. if you have clients and you lied to them, they probably wouldn't work with you anymore. but it's not just our political leadership. think of our corporations and whatnot. the length of 2 or for a ceo now has shrunk dramatically. what has happened is we get very unhappy with senior leaders very quickly, partly because we put them in a pedestal and nobody can meet expectations and partly because we created this atmosphere in which it is
very difficult to lead right now. so we have a case where i think our leaders in many cases don't live up to requirements the best they can be, but clearly we also have created an environment where leading is extraordinarily difficult. >> in terms of your book, why do you choose these individuals? >> we've got this dartboard, no. what we did was plutarch had written plutarch's lives where needed a series of pairings of greek and roman, romulus and theseus, founders. we wanted to look across the spectrum of leaders in different fields, backgrounds, diverse city. we wanted diversity of sex, diverse city of the nation, diversity of the field and whatnot so we came up with 6 genres.
we came up with the geniuses, albert einstein and leonard bernstein. we came up with founders. walt disney, coco chanel. i didn't even know who coco chanel was when we started but i do now.we came up with powerbrokers, boss to, margaret thatcher. reformers, martin luther and the reformation and then his namesake, martin luther king jr. we came up with euros and the chinese admiral and we had a standalone. and the standalone was general robert e lee. we put robert e lee because of all the figures in my life and myyouth , he was the iconic leader. i went to washington high school, west point like robert e lee had. i live somebody from his boyhood home though for me, he was the exemplar of military and battlefield quality and leadership.
and it's complex to write about robert e lee and i have a complex relationship with his memory. but i didn't think i could honestly write a book about leaders without addressing the one that i had spent the most time in my life thinking about. >> you said you reevaluated robert e lee and there's a portrait of your life gave that you've thrown out, why is that? why have you changed your mind about that?>> my wife is in the back and when i was the 2nd lieutenant, he spent $25 and bought me the same thing. you get a painting for $25, frame and it was just a prince. a more famous painting and they painted clear acrylic to make it look but we had in our quarters everywhere we lived and i loved it because this was the symbol of what i thought about leadership, when people came in, they say this is what stan admires and that was true. thenafter charlottesville ,
to be honest he asked me what about that picture? i said you gave it to me and i could never get rid of something you gave me. and she said i don't think it means for everybody what it does to you. i think it sending an unintended signal . that some people may leave our home with you and we talked about it and at 1st i said no, he's just a soldier, he just madethe decision to go with himself. maybe in your eyes, his eyes , but not in a lot of people's eyes. >> so after about a month of us talking about it, i threw it away because she was absolutely right. however we think about robert e lee in many ways, is legacy became used by people to include some of the iconic statues to send the message that i don't seek association with and so i took it down. now, is a complicated
character, as much about robert e lee is extraordinarily something we should admire, if he was here today, he be the most impressive person in the room. but the reality is that at a key moment in his life after 32 years in the unitedstates army , he made the decision to violate the oath that i also made on west point, to turn himself against the united states and not only turned himself against it but try to destroy it . the very nation that his role model, george washington had created. and he did it in defense of slavery. >> hears a conflict there. and i'm not here to tell you robert e lee's legal guy but i'm here to tell you in the one moment the biggest decision of his life, you've got to complete your own.
and i can't ignore that. and i have to learn from that. >> certainly in lee's army it was not a particularly, most of the soldiers die, two thirds of the intercountry men. why were people still drawn to them? why were people sort of populated by his leadership? >> generally took over after the 7 days battle in 1862 and from then on, till the end of the war he commanded the army of northern virginia. he had a higher casualty rate among his army than any other commander in us history. we talk about patent, any of the other commanders or ulysses grant that incurred a lot of casualties, nobody got close to robert e lee. if you are an interim treatment you had a 71 percent chance of being a casualty. the 1 percent. grant is not even in the same neighborhood.
and yes, robert e lee's army stayed entirely loyal to him through the war. then after the war till his death in 1870 and then his memory just kept getting burnished even more so here's a guy if you look at results, he had a huge casualty rate, and he lost . not a small thing. and yet his loyalty to him and part of it was how he was. he was a charismatic devoted person, he was loyal to his people, he was personally courageous, all the things that make us good about working for someone or around someone, robert e lee optimized. over the hundred 50 years immediately after his death, there was just this series of extraordinary platitudes that described him as the greatest american general by franklin roosevelt to winston churchill, just really iconic
members of our history putting lee in a category by himself. >> in terms of other people, you mentioned disney in the book and from your account you didn't seem to be giving praise, he's demanding and a perfectionist, emulators just work for walt disney, why is that? >>. >> he was a talented animator but in 1934 after some success, they created mickey mouse with them but willie and they done some technological things and in 1934 gave every employee in the company $.50 and he told them to go get dinner, then come back to work to an auditorium and an auditorium for the next 3 hours he acted out every part in a story that you wanted to create, a
fully animated feature. it turned out to be snow white. he played the doors, he played snow white, uk played bob huntsman, and what he was asking them seems normal now. it was absolutely not normal. there had never been a full-length animated feature before. arguments had preceded movies and they been funny little things. he created the 1st sound and him trying to make a movie in which apple are not just entertained for a few minutes or maybe to laugh, he wanted to make an animated picture in which he could also make you cry. so he was entering completely new territory. for the next 3 years, he pushed his team, he led his team to make this extraordinary picture. he mortgaged his home, he mortgaged the business, he mortgaged the intellectual property to mickey mouse.
he put it all on the line. at one point as they're working through because he's such a perfectionist, one of his animators, remember the 7 dwarves, there are 48 they went through before they came up with the 7 he said don't be at the end and an adobe walking is the 7th one and adobe sort of a hitch. walt disney saw it and said i want every time adobe comes into a scene to do the hitch step. it cost him 6 months of going back and working reanimation but it was that level of perfectionism to try to create something that not only was moving, but it was a standard nobody else could get close to. that kind of leadership is intoxicating for people who get to be a part of it. you want to be on that team. he paid them well, he pushed them hard, he treated them
well but the thing we most want in life is to be part of a special team and do something of real value so in 1937 when the movie came out and it was this extraordinary hit, it just reinforced for him and of course the power. now is the company got bigger, he had trouble scaling his own leadership style but you could see why he could pull people to him. >> lots of people who pull people to him, you sort of begin this description by talkingabout him removing his tattoo in a jordanian present . >> who led al qaeda in iraq. he is the godfather of crisis . if the person they talkabout, they don't talk about osama bin laden . zarqawi started, not a good upbringing but he was a bully, got involved in fights, got a bunch of tattoos but then as he got a little older, he became ideologically very interested
in islam. he went to afghanistan and became very interested in the mujahedin or holy warriors, the idea of jihad so he comes back after that experience, or the plot against the jordanian government, gets caught quickly and thrown into prison. here's a guy with a real education or religious education but in prison he finds the environment in which he can do very well. he studies religion, studies islam, he is a personal discipline to show himself to be ideologically committed. he tries to use bleach to remove the tattoos, when that doesn't work the razor blade, smuggled into the prison and he cuts off the tattoo that was wrong or offensive to islam. and he did it in a way that other convicts, inmates saw.
so what he was doing, he was showing people look, i am completely committed. i'm a zealot for this and he also was very strict with them. he says you must live up to the standards as well when there were offenders in the prison, he would be the guy who was basically intimidating them but there were others who needed help, he was extraordinarily loyal to them as well what we did was he showed himself a natural leader. he was intellectually superior to them, in fact he was intellectually inferior to most, but he was so committed, so connected , we could say that he became very, very magnetic to the people around him and when he left after 5 years in prison, he realized what he had was the ability to lead and the way he would do that is leading by example, the same
thing i learned as a young military officer. lead by example, do more than the others, when it's hard, show that you can do it and he did that in spades and in our fight in iraq , horrific as he was, he personally beheaded people . he was willing to walk the walk. he was willing to be completely committed, willing to put himself at risk and ultimately he died for the cause and that made him extraordinarily powerful. >> you think he succeeded in achieving what he set out to do? >> he did, his stated goal was to help create an islamic caliphate, but his near-term goal was to phone in civil war inside iraq between sunni and shia. at 1st we thought it was a terrorist group against the west and we were a problem but we weren't his target. he wanted to insight that she got into a civil war with the sunni, terrify the sunni they would band together and largely at the end of 2006,
he had done that. and what we saw after that was that playing out and so in reality, mostly he was there. another topic, you've written about the role of military and the former soldiers in politics and during the 40 years from eisenhower to bush, we had, they all served in world war ii, the last 4 presidentshad not . do you think that's a good thing or bad thing? what are your views on military experience serving in the presidency? >> we have to do contact. there were period where we had huge percentages of people serve where you are likely to have people in politics because so many people did so i think that just reflects the time. i think now we got the opposite, a small percentage of the population serving in the military, so a lot of
people don't have that experience. so i got a few views, purses there should be people who serve in the military and going to politics. but just because you served in the military is not a qualification for office . if it hadn't been for the military, there are a lot of people i wouldn't vote for if you put a gun to my head. nor should you. >> joe mccarthy was in uniform. so the reality is, you don't judge by the breed, you joined by the individual. military service can be great because you can see things in a less simplified way and you start to understand what life can be so it's a good thing. but it's just to that point. the other thing i would say is i think all former professional military people who make it a career, there should be a time when people like david eisenhower or ulysses s grantgoes to the presidency or the senators, that's a good thing .
but it shouldn't be viewed as a normal route into politics. because if that happened, it being a politician, senior politician was best facilitated by going through the military and being a general and doing that, would change the officer corps. it would take a generation of so but you change it would be a lot like the countries governments we are not as comfortable with so i think it ought to be an admiration and occasional thing. , you don't want people entering the military because they think that's the way to get to be a senior politician. because we have separation and today we don't have separation, will wish we had separation again. >> 34 years after service in the military, you've been in the private sector, are there things in the military can learn from the private sector?
>> absolutely. we are sort of walled off from the private sector. i spent a year on the council of foreign relations and that was the biggest look i got the private sector. i was just sort of shocked of the things that i did. i had spent one year as a fellow at harvard and had a young person company and they said so you're in the military. and i said i am. he had his quizzical look and he saidwow, you seem kind of smart .and i realized the new as little about me as i knew about him. and i think it's very unfortunate we have so little interaction. after i got out of the service and i got to know civilian people in business, there was so much i wish i'd known. i would have been desperate to spend 2 or 3 years in a civilian corporation and come back, because many businesses do things so much smarter than the army. the army does think so much smarter than businesses but
and metals that doesn't help the conversation that stops it. that's like a wall because that is what they see president kennedy after bay of pigs was advised by someone the next time you with the military to brief you make them come in civilian plan one - - close if it still impressive it might be good. think about that. that's a fair point. instead of judging each leader we put up a whiteboard to say what do we want from our president? forget about republican or democrat but what values are qualities do we want or experience? white - - write that down. i don't think we would be that far apart.
instead we have different candidates to say this and this and this and then are we willing to demand that of our leaders or of ourselves? and we might start to reach different conclusions. at the end of the day so that interaction between leaders and followers to have big responsibility we supported them. and the reality is if you like some things but don't like others yes there are compromises to be made but but
at a time in america to look in the mirror to make evaluations with ourselves. . >> so a lack of self-discipline. >> but what is the value from the past? . >> if you buy and read this book you will lose weight. [laughter] trust me. we need to look back at history to understand that because if we look at those leaders and think coco chanel
is perfect but she was a pain to work fo for, extraordinarily talented of how we should select leaders. we start to look around for this two-dimensional character. because it's easier. so we have to tear apart these leaders. i cannot find a leader who is not flawed but in many cases and of the civil rights movement isn't mlk had a worthy cause or a brilliant speaker but to pull together these disparate groups against
great resistance and he kept it going the day he was killed and kept it going. the story about mlk is the every one of the movement. to see if that was the genius and that was the miracle. . >> if we are not focusing on aircraft carriers? and that emotional and psychological but also dealing with people on the chopping block? . >> how do we get leader on
tactical issues? first off you are looking for a leader but in fact, the next presidential election should be about a person better team. both candidates came forward to say i have 100 people across the us authority sworn to spend at least two years in this administration to bring forward the right answers nobody has all the answers. but if somebody is good enough to pull together those talents but there are certain things they have to provide. that representation the inspirational part the role
that only the most senior leader can be ahead of there are things we want them to be better than we are. not wanting anyone to stand out. our more tired than i am but they make me want to do that. that's what the leader does even if you never knows the answers you just have to get the right kind of advisors and that's the way we ought to think about that. think you. >> great question. >> you sound like you should be running for office.
two don't come out as the pantheon so to show if they can be effective with some things that our effective the low-level tammany hall. so we were trying to get balance we almost got in fistfights. i'm still disturbed about dv crockett i want that so bad. [laughter] maybe in the next book. >> talking about leadership we don't have leadership what is
the problem? . >> it's never simple our - - afghanistan was already at war was already a tribal place it was not the same place as it was online 11 for almost a generation 17 years to change the complexion of the country so my generation will have to get on stage four.4 million afghans voted this week which is impressive considering the
challenges but i believe thousands of american troops so a partnership with the afghan people we look at japan and europe but by making a commitment over time that pays off long-term but i am not a proponent to walk away not only the afghans but that is one of the negatives of the united states of america. >> hopefully we will go on forever. the world is connected now so this idea of america first is
you moderns have a tendency to worship at the altar of the forefathers that it is thinker synced so dramatic. why do we call them amendments? because they amend they fix mistakes or correct omissions that they can be changed if the constitution was to be written in stone it would be written in stone. [laughter] actually most things were back then i'm not trying to be difficult but when you blame your own extremism on us not that we weren't awesome in the time it takes you nimrod's to figure out the button but we were not god we were men.
we had flaws. . >> have you ever thought that growing up? and with a normal life? with one of those earlier chapters i wouldn't have minded going up in one house but that was what my parents thought they would do. my mom planted three dogwood trees in the backyard when we were born, hand prints in the
cement to think that is where we would live together in indianapolis. but then obviously god had different plans. and to be grateful for those amazing opportunities and to serve in public life and that my parents have shown me how to take it all in stride when it stressful for all of those challenges . >> the end of work john are we all d