tv Stanley Mc Chrystal Leaders CSPAN November 11, 2018 8:21am-9:11am EST
society. -- postracial society. i will never give up my culture to make someone else comfortable. thank you.u. [applause] >> thank you all for joining us. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and today we continue to bring you up filtered -- unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. [inaudible conversations]
>> hello, can you hear me? >> yes. >> yes. great. hello? welcome, everyone. welcome. good evening. you can't hear, okay. better? no better? good evening. no, it's not -- [inaudible conversations] it's on. it's just in the back. the back is saying they can't hear. i will try to project as much as possible. okay. good evening, everyone. my name is adele, and i'm chief of commercial development at royvan sciences. this is the first event of the royvan rethinking leadership
series in partnership with hudson union, somewhere here tonight, and we're excited to bin this series of conversations -- begin this series of conversations with a remarkable leader, general stanley mcchrystal. before we begin, please join me in thank margo stamos, melissa, kristin and the cornell club for making this event happen. stand up, please, so we can clap for you. thank you. [applause] general mcchrystal has been called one of america's greatest warriors. a retired four-star general, he's the former commander of the joint special operations committee, ojsoc -- or jsoc, and former commander of all u.s. and international forces in afghanistan. general mcchrystal is perhaps best known for developing and implementing the counterinsurgency strategy for, in afghanistan and for creating
a comprehensive counterterrorism organization that revolutionized interagency culture. so imagine if he got military agencies to work together, what that must have been like. his leadership of jsoc is credited with the capture of saddam hussein and the depth of the leader of al-qaeda in iraq. over his many decades of leadership in the field, general mcchrystal came to realize that our models 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 disney just to name a few. general mcchrystal is also the author of two other bestsellers,
"my share of the task: a memoir" 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 at royvan, will be conducting tonight's interview. so without further ado, please join me in welcoming general mcchris call and -- general mcchrystal and paul davis to the stage. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> well, great. sol as adele very kindly said, the title of the book is "leaders: myth and reality." so, general mcchrystal, what are the most prevalent myths about leadership?
>> let me first thank you for having me here today and thank adele for the wonderful introduction. and let me say that my two co-authors are in the room today. jeff eggers, a former navy seal, and jay man gone, a former marine. together we had this cumulative, amaze being iq. [laughter] had i left the group, it would have gone down slightly. [laughter] and so when the tough the questions come, the right ans are back there. thank you guys for being here, thanks for being on the team. [applause] what was that first question? >> what are the most prevalent myths about leadership? >> yeah, i want to start. the first myth is that we understand it. you know, we study it, we have books on it, we categorize ourselves as reedersment but i went -- as leaders. but i went through a lifetime of trying to lead, trying to learn to lead as my co-authors did, and yet we never really thought we going to. so we went back to first fellows with this book, "lead ors," we went all the way to i blew dark,
and we thought, all right, let's go back to first principles, figure it out. and the conclusion we came to was a little upsetting. that leadership is not what we think it is, and it never has been. we have lived with this mythology about leadership. i grew up with a mother who loved mythology, and so she read to me all the time, and i've got a little orange book that she got when she was 5 years old in chattanooga, tennessee. and one of the myths in fit i loved, it's about atlas. and you've got this muscular atlas standing on a mountaintop and holding up the sky. and the thing that was amazing for a long time, people accepted that. they just said, well, the sky's still up there, so 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 three myths as we studied 13 leaders.
and the three myths, the first was the formulaic myth, and that is if you follow a list of behaviors or you've got a list of traits or that sort of thing and you've got all those, you're likely to be a good leader. and yet when we studied it, we found that there are people who have all of them who are absolutely unsuccessful. and we've got other people who have none of them who are rich, famous, successful, whatever you want to call it. and so the formulaic myth is just disproven time and again. the second 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 the, i wrote my memoirs. you know, people come to me and
they say you have a tet to history, you have to -- a debt to history, you have to write your memoirs. that's eyesier said than -- easier said than done. i said, how hard can this be? this is the play, the story of my life, and i'm the star. it shouldn't be hard because i was there. but we did all these interviews in prep for the book, and what we found was my memory of things was usually not completely wrong, but it was always incomplete. so i would have made this great, deice e decision -- decisive decision, something would happen, i'd get credit for it. but when we did all the interviews and the back story, we find out there's hundreds of other people doing things huge, hugely important were other factors affecting it. and it meant that i still mattered, but i didn't matter like i thought i did. and then the last one is results. and you say we hire or elect or select or promote leaders because they get results. they make us money, they win battlefield victories, they win
elections. the reality is when you sort of 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 to mote people who have -- we promote people who have never really been very successful. and that's because, as we found, leaders -- it's not an objective transactional relationship between follower and leader. .. these events put together, we look at leadership, doing it through blurred classes. we got this fog and even though we know it, persists. i would argue that it's pretty
costly in many ways for us. >> both toxic and intoxicating. why is it so attractive? are people drawn to that? >> it's simple. first and foremost, you say if things are bad, we will wait for the great woman or man to show up and make it better. you think about it, almost any of the leaders that we held very on exalted status, we put this spotlight on them. we say they bent the arc of history. in many cases, they had a big affect but it really makes it similar. george washington found that the washing the united states america. that's not true. he was there and part of it but if you go back to just any number of leaders, we tend to
want to supply. the danger of that is we've simplified it radically. we've ignored all the other factors and personalities, the complexity of it. we have a tendency to be waiting around for the next great person. we say we are not happy with the way things are. think somebody will come along. they never will. someone may come along report to be that, they may show themselves to be there. advertise that. they are not really about. we got to understand they never will be. >> is a crisis of leadership right now, what you mean by that? >> i think that if you look at our nation, it's divided politically, socially, economically and we can go on down. that's obvious. that's what we see everyday.
got the point where we don't believe many of the leaders that speak to us. watching television somebody says something, we immediately discounted. i would say, if you had somebody to work for you in the light y you, you probably wouldn't work with them anymore. if you had a client and divide 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 links of tour, see not ono has shrunk genetically. what is happened is, we get very unhappy with senior leaders very quickly. we put them on a pedestal and can't meet their expectations. partly because we created this atmosphere which is very, very difficult to be by them. we have a case where i think our leaders in many cases, don't live up the requirements, the best they can be. clearly, we also pray the environment is difficult. >> why didn't you these 13
individuals? >> what we did was, he did a series of pairings, greek and roman. founders, we wanted to look across the spectrum of leaders in different fields, backgrounds, diversity. wanted diversity of, nation, diversity of the field they were in and whatnot. the cannot with six genre. we came out with geniuses, albert einstein. we cannot with founders, walt disney, coco chanel. you're going to be surprised, i didn't even know who coco was. [laughter] i do not. we came up with power progress. reformers, we came out with martin luther, progress of --
monitor king junior. we came out with heroes. harriet tubman and the chinese. we had a stand-alone. dear robert ely. we put him because of all the figures in my life and youth, he was the iconic leader. i went to washington high school, west point, for me, he was the exemplar of military and battlefield and quality leadership. it's complex to write about him not. i have a complex relationship with his memory. i didn't think i could honestly write a book about leaders without addressing the one i had probably spent the most time my life thinking about. >> you said you evaluated him and actually something you've
thrown out. why is that? why did you change of mind? >> my wife of 41 years is in the back, when i was lieutenant, she spent $25 in brought me this painting of robert. you get quite a painting for $25. it was just a print of a more famous painting and they painted clear critic on it. we have it in our corners everywhere he lived. this is what i thought of leadership, a symbol. then after charlottesville, he asked me, what about the picture. what you mean, you give it to me. i could never get rid of something you gave me. she said, i don't think it means for everybody what it does for you. i think it's sending and unintended signal. some people may leave our home
with. we talked about it. at first, i said he is just a shoulder, made a decision to go with us all. maybe in your eyes, maybe in his eyes. but not in a lot of people eyes. after about a month of, talking about it and thinking about it, i to they're down it through away. she was right. however we think about robert in many ways, his legacy became used by people. to send a message that i don't think associated with. i they're down. is a complicated character. it's extraordinarily something that we should admire. here's here today, he would be the most impressive person in the room. reality is, a key moment in his life, after 32 years in the army
he made the decision to violate the oath that i also made. turn himself against the united states not only turns up against it but try to destroy. the very nation that his role model, george washington created. he did it in defense of slavery. there is a conflict there. i'm not here to tell you he is an evil guy but here i'm telling you, in the one moment, the biggest decision of his life, he got it completely wrong. i can't ignore that. i have to learn from that. >> he was not a particularly the most, why are people still john sam?
>> he took over after the seven-day battle in 1862. from then on, to the end of the work, he commanded the war from the virginia to the south. get a higher casualty rate among his army than any other commander in u.s. history. we talk about any of the other commanders that incurred a lot of these. nobody got close to robert. he was 71% of being a casualty. yet, robert army stayed loyal to the war. then his every just kept getting furnished even more. here's a guy, if you look at results, he at a huge casualty
rate and he lost. not a small thing. yet, the loyalty to it and part of it was how he was. he was a charismatic, devout person. loyal to his people, personally courageous with them. all the things that make us good, feel good about working for someone. robert was that. for the 150 years, after his death, there was this series of extraordinary platitudes. they described him as the greatest american general. just really iconic members of our history. putting we in a category by himself. >> in terms of other people inspiring, he mentioned walt disney, from your country, giving praise, demanding and a
perfectionist, why do people find him gone? >> is a talented animator but in 1934 after they created mickey mouse and some technological things, in the evening, he gave every employee 50 cents and he told them to go get dinner. they came back to work. the auditorium that night for the next three hours, he acted out every part any story he wanted to create. internet to be snow white. he played the doors, so it, the huntsman, all on the stage, magnetic in front of people. he was asking them seems normal now. it was not normal. there had never been a fully animated feature before. they've been funny little things.
he created the first sound. he is trying to make a movie in which people are not just and attained for a few minutes or made to laugh, he wanted to make an animated picture in which he could also take you cry. he was entering completely new territory. the next three years, they pushed him team and worked with his team to make this picture. he mortgaged his home, the business, intellectual property to mickey mouse. he put all on the line. i would point, as they were working through, he's such a perfectionist, one of his animators, the seminars, 40 names before they came with a seven. dopey at the end, the seventh one, does hitch them. walt disney saw it and said, i
want every to come in. it cost them six months of going back and working reanimation. it was that level of perfectionism to try to create something that not only was new but it was standard nobody 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 the team. he paid them all, pushed them hard, treating them well. but the thing wilma want most to be as part of that special team and real value. thirty-seven, when the movie came out, it was extraordinary hit. it just reinforced for him, the power. as a company got bigger, he had troubles stealing his own leadership style. you can see why he can pull people to him. >> you know very well, how to --
he began to talk about removing a tattoo in a prison. can you talk about that? >> we ultimately led iconic interact. he is a godfather of isis. he's a person they talk about. they don't talk about some of bin laden. how we started in circa. not a good upbringing, a boy, got involved in fights, 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 holy warriors. the idea of jihad. he comes back after that experience, starts to plot against the government, gets
caught pretty quickly into a prison. here's a guy without real education or religious education. in prison, he finds the environment in which he can do very well. he studies religion, islam. he is a personal discipline to show himself to be ideologically committed. he tries to use bleach to remove the tattoos. when it doesn't work, he is a razor blade, smuggled into the prison and he cuts off the tattoo. if it was offensive to islam. he did it in a way that other convicts saw. what he was doing, showing people look, i am completely committed. i may sell it for this. he also was very strict with them. he said you must live up to these standards as well. the prisoners, he would be the
guy that would intimidate them. when there are others who need help, he was extraordinarily loyal to them as well. he shot himself in natural leader. he wasn't intellectually superior to them. he was actually inferior to most. he was so committed, so convicted, we could say, that he became very, very magnetic to the people around him. he likes what he had was the ability to lead. the way you do that was leading by example the same thing i learned as a young military officer. lead by example, do more than the others. c can do it. he did that. later, in iraq, prolific as he was, he personally beheaded people. he was willing to walk the walk. he was willing to be completely committed.
ultimately, he died for it. that made him extraordinary parable. >> do you think -- >> his goal was to help create an islamic, emanating from iraq. his new term goal was to civil war inside of iraq between sumit and shia. at first, without he was a terrorist group against the west. we were a problem but we want his target. he wanted to incite the shia into a civil war with the sunni, terrified so they would ban together. i've largely by the end of 2006, he had done that. what we saw after that was that playing out. so reality, mostly he was successful. >> you've written about the military, soldiers and products. during the 40 years from
eisenhower to george w. bush, we had this president, not served in the military, do think that is a good thing? i think? what are your views on that? >> i think we have to do concept. there were certain some periods we had huge percentage of people surf. you are likely out of people in politics who have served because so many people had. i think that is reflects the times. i think now we have copy option, a small percentage of the population serving in the military. a lot of people just don't have the experience. i've got a few views on it. first, the should be people who serve in the military going into politics. just because you served in the military, it's not a qualification. having been in the military, there are a lot of people i wouldn't vote for. nor should you. [laughter] john mccarthy, in uniform.
the reality is, you don't judge by the breed, you judge by the individual. military service can be great because you can become more, you can see things in a less certified way. you start to undersigned what life can be. i think it's a good thing but it's just a data.in. everything i say, i think all former professional military people maker creek, there should be a time when selective people like david eisenhower, goes to the presidency or senators or something, but the good thing. it shouldn't be viewed as a normal route in the politics. if that happened, if being a politician, and he was, best facilitated by going to military internet, we would change the
core. a generation or so but you change it. we're not as comfortable with. i think it ought to be an aberration. an occasional thing. you don't want people entering the military because they think that's the way to get to be a senior politician. we have separation. the day we don't have separation, we will which we had it again. >> other things the military could learn from the private sector? >> absolutely. we are off from the private sector. spent a year in relations as a kernel. that was the biggest look ever got the private sector. i was sort of shocked of the things i did. i spent one year in harvard, a young person came to me one day, they said, you're in the military.
i said i am. had this look and he said, he said wow. you seem kind of smart. [laughter] i realized, he knew as little about me as i knew about him. i think it's very we have so little interaction. i got people to know business. there was so much i wished i knew. i would have been desperate to spend two or three years in a corporation. the middle of my career, back to the army, many businesses, so much smarter than the army. the army does something so much smarter than businesses but we don't find that out until too late. we both sort of look over the fence and think the other people if got all going on. cell a story of the military you think everybody in the civilian world as a got this greedy mast master. [laughter] extraordinarily efficient.
i can believe that because every time in the military you had a meeting, army officers or military officers, so many words stop and say if we work civilian company, we go bankrupt. they never be this stupid. now i get the civilian boardrooms and not, somebody will say, the army would never be this stupid. you can't believe in that. i would say no. [laughter] it's exactly the same. it's people. same mistakes, same strengths and the problem is we don't allow ourselves to learn well enough. >> in terms of our current leadership, what you think of our current commander-in-chief, i know he talked about obama, have you rethought anything about your own evaluation albeit the course of the time? >> i think we all do. i got to know george w. bush
pretty well. first president, i went with both of them. you want with obama very well and still live. the relationship between presidents and senior military isn't what it should be. it's not negative, is to separate it. they don't understand each other well enough. it's a consequence, there is not a real familiar, is almost a tentativeness, a fear of the other. i used to tell people military, remember that when you wear your uniform, you look kind of good, badges in metals and all that stuff, that doesn't help the conversation. that stopped it. it's like a wall because sometimes senior, present company, advised by somebody ask your the military, have a plan,
it's a plan is still impressive, it might be good. that's a fair point. you think about that, here's what i think about it now. leaders. instead of judging each leader, i wish we put a whiteboard appearance say, what do we want? for our president. forget about democrat or republican, or valleys do we want? that's right that on. let's talk about that. i don't think we'd be that far apart. instead, all we do is we have a bunch of candidates, and we try to trace to that. we started with that, and we said, we want this, this, this and this. we look at the mayor and say, a ready to demand that our leaders? are we willing to demand that of our self? and i think we might start to
reach different conclusions. at the end of the day, what we demand is what matters. the study we found is the interaction between leaders and followers is extraordinary. that means followers have responsibility. big response ability. we can stop by and say the president is bad, congress is bad, whatever. we elected them. we supported or don't support them. reality is, if we like something but don't like other things, compromises to be made, if we like one thing because it benefits us and we think something else is terrible and we don't do something about it, is likely to treat as well. the followers. the leaders are going to treat how they are going to be treated. i think it's time in america when we need to look to mayor, stop looking at the deeper, look in the mirror. evaluate our self. >> new book, reading this book
will not make you a good leader. you will overcome self-discipline. [laughter] what is the value in reading about the lies and figures. >> is a misprint. if you buy and read this book, you will lose weight, work harder. [laughter] trust me. no. we need to look back in history to understand. if we look back at leaders and we have to provide view of them, if we think coco chanel is perfect thing and she was not a pain to work for extraordinarily talented as a marketer, then we start to think how we should lead or how we should select leaders. we start to look around for this two-dimensional character.
it's easier. so we've got to go back and really tear apart the leaders. everyone of the leaders in this book was flawed. i can't find a leader who isn't flawed. at the same time, some of them did amazing things. in many cases, they did amazing things because they were part of teams. the miracle of the civil rights movement is not are luther king had a worthy cause, not that he was a brilliant speaker and the charismatic guy, was that he pulled together these disparate groups. all pulling introductions against great resistance and against the political help kept going. it wasn't about margaret -- is about everyone in the movement. not sure many leaders, long back
and do that. we need to understand it was the genius, that was the miracle. not the i have a dream speech. >> how to get leaders who can get the technical things right so that we are not focusing on aircraft carriers and missiles and how do we find leaders who get the emotional psychological things right so that we don't lose our allies but we don't also feel the people who chop people up into little bits can handle that? >> how to get a leader who is both tactical leadership and also the emotional issues. >> i think first off, or not looking for a leader, the next presidential election maybe shouldn't be about a person.
it out to be of our team. you can't they came forward and said, i have 100 people from across the u.s., accomplished people love already sworn to spend at least two years and this administration bringing forth the right answers, doing the right things and you didn't judge just that person. nobody is smart enough to have all the answers. someone who is good enough to pull together a team, the right talent and commitment, can do amazing things. the senior leader however, there are certain things they have to provide as he talked about the emotional part, the representation part. the inspirational part. there is a role that only the most senior leader can be the head of other people should reflect as well. there are things that we want our most senior leaders to be. we want them to be better than we are. remember having leaders in the military, i'll be tired, just about to be lazy, wanting to take any. that leader walks by.
this any up and suddenly, they make me want to do that. that's what the leader does. even if the leader never knows the technical right answers. you can get people to get together. then just do a multiple-choice test. if to get the right kind of advisors and that's the way i think we ought to think about. thank you. >> says like you to be running for office. the question is, some of the leaders not politically wreck correct but you think about writing about hitler, castro, do you feel any affinity to these leaders? >> that's a great question.
the affinity towards the leaders in the book, great leaders like hitler, now selling and certainly about nonprofits. [laughter] thing like hitler now, we got much closer to writing about him the then hitler. he probably wouldn't be as informative. now it would have been interesting and we look closely at it. we had some negative leaders in here. he was pushing for virtue but he was saying we're going to do it by spilling a lot of blood. those two and it doesn't come out as, most honest people. we thought we could cover that and show they could still be effective like boss tweed, very effective in his correction. some things about how he helped administer the city it certainly effective in the low-level
political maneuverings. i think that when we looked at those, we were trying to get a balance. we spent more hours taking the starting leaders, we must gotten fistfights over them. when i lost and i'm still be bitter about, baby crockett. i wanted baby crockett in the book so bad because i loved what disney showed about him. [laughter] maybe next book. >> leadership, we been involved in afghanistan for too long. we don't have leadership there, can you get us out -- what is the problem? [laughter] >> we don't have a lot of time. i've seen politics and asked what the problem? it's never simple. afghanistan has been more for 30
years and they were already a complex troubled place to begin with. there a few things that would offer. afghanistan is not the same place as it was. the number of people's weapons went on for almost a generation, 17 years, and the number of young afghans in school has changed collection of the country. my generation, is going to have to get on the stage. we are scar tissue and we are in the way in afghanistan. they need to take it. therefore .3 million afghans voted this weekend which is pretty impressive considering the situation. there's still corruption and challenges. i believe there is a way. i think the partnership with the afghan people is important. we look at what happened after world war ii, we did in japan,
and europe. those are very painful. by making a commitment over time, it is off in the long term. i would argue we should be open i and realistic about afghanistan. i'm not upon walking away. i think it sends a message to the world. that comes one of the negatives of being in the united states. >> it could go on forever then. >> hopefully the world will go on forever. we're going to have to be connected. the world is connected now. this idea for america first and build walls at the border, it's not the way i think we should go. i think there is war. open i'd. while taken. [applause]
signing books at the back of the room. please remain seated. so we can have time. thank you for coming tonight. [inaudible conversations] were watching book tv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. this weekend on afterwards, republican senator ben of nebraska, argues that the country lacks unity. so this weekend, we have coverage of the recent southern festival books in nashville. author discussions on civil
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or another. it's this to but not be reversed america covers global leadership. first of all -- >> you can watch this in any of our programs and instant tired on booktv.org. type the author's name at the top of the page in the search bar. >> is a look at office recently featured on booktv's afterwards. includes best-selling nonfiction books and guest interferes. trump 2020 campaign advisor and fox news gina, offered her possible current political climate. journalist reported on the upgrade crisis. mike pence his daughter, charlotte shared important lessons she's learned from her father.
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what we read. so we start to end up with a world and do not this is true if you look at the videos you might wash on politics on youtube, is arts recommending more video steer. the person next year to you my have a completely different perception of america because of the self-selection of the feedback confirmation in the silos of what they're consuming from what you're consuming. >> 10:00 p.m. and sundays at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific tv on c-span2. all previous afterwards programs are available to watch online at booktv.org. >> ready to go? and from national public radio and i want to welcome you all to today's council oor
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