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  • Writer's picturePatrick Novak

What Core Value helped CACI become a Multi-Billion Dollar Business?

What really differentiates companies today? With so many options and similarities - how do you choose?

To answer this question, we're turning to the pages of Dr. Jack London's book, "Character, The Ultimate Success Factor." In this practical leadership guide, he emphasizes character as a core value he was first heavily exposed to at the United States Naval Academy, that later became increasingly reinforced as he help lead CACI into the over $4.3 Billion professional services and IT company it has become today.

Dr. London explores in great detail why and how leadership can directly impact a company's success. From dealing with extreme crisis, to stepping up and doing the right thing, he gives direct advice on how to deal with it all.

The topic of leadership has been at great debate throughout human history. There's a certain reverence and humility for those who exhibit qualities worthy of such responsibility. It's about admitting when you're wrong and learning from your mistakes. It's about making tough decisions, that everyone else is scared to make. Leadership at its core, is a relentless quest for self improvement in the interest of serving the greater good.

"Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one." - Marcus Aurelius

Here are 3 examples from Dr. London's book, on how you can practice leadership in your life and inspire your corporate sphere of influence to do the right thing!

Leadership is not a title or position.

There's no denying the fact that employees who seek to influence and inspire in a positive way are often more highly regarded and sought after for their desire to improve not only the company, but the lives of everyone around them.

This dynamic must be celebrated and recognized. We must reward leaders at all levels. The title and experience of someone on your staff must never deter you from honoring how those in your company respect and emulate them. Rewarding doesn't mean putting names on cheap plaques or plastic squares mounted to fake marble. It's about rewarding their influence and giving them a voice. Too often the closed door meetings of sacred leadership wrongfully neglect the most influential, in favor of the most senior. So next time you have an executive meeting, make sure you invite those who make a positive dent, no matter how much time at the company they've spent.

Vision is utterly useless without intuition.

Using intuition to drive vision is largely based upon something you can't evaluate empirically. There simply isn't a metric for the creative process. You won't be able to hover over a crystal ball and ask your program managers to form a line outside your office and inquire about the future. It's largely about how you process the energy you feel from your customer and what you can do to help them get ahead of their next challenge.

Intuition is an agile (using buzzwords does not qualify as intuitive) idea creator that's constantly in motion. Whatever you worked months on, can change in an instant - are you prepared to adapt and offer a flexible solution? Simply being a "practitioner of possibility" trains your intuition to maintain an active, solution-based mindset.

Leadership is all about intuition.

If you're not willing to risk it, you're not worthy to win it.

Everyone has a different tolerance for risk. Finding that balance creates a tension throughout the ranks that can either make or break a team. Strong leaders know in order to earn trust, they must not only step out first to do what is right, but also be the first to do so - when the things go wrong.

It's a deeply inverse relationship that places leaders and owners in quite the un-glorious position to take responsibility. Some might liken this dynamic to a "CEO-as-King" figure, but that's misguided. CEO's and upper level management assume responsibility not alone from the throne, but in deep cooperation and coordination with the team they serve.

Staff are too smart and will quickly call out leadership who cowers from conflict, yet expects their people to jump into difficult situations first. Retention, recruiting, and corporate review sites like Glassdoor are just a few key indicators of how effective leadership really is. So before you take the risk of joining or working with a new firm, make sure you do so smartly by conducting diligence to avoid getting burned.

How smart leaders take risk.

Leadership will always be about the culture that's created, and how that team can operate as one to deliver. Picking sides or choosing factions for personal gain in the corporate context reveals a divisive character that ultimately doesn't serve the customer. These companies fade and are forgotten over time. Firms that are remembered and honored for their legacy however, are the ones whose impact and ethos positively improved the lives of everyone they touch.

How CACI views Character.

* Disclaimer: Trident Strategies has no monetary affiliation with Amazon concerning the sales of "Character." This article serves to raise awareness and support for excellence in leadership for Federal government contractors.


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