Book Review: Get It On by Keni Thomas

By Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC

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Keni  served as a Ranger in the 75th Ranger Regiment.  He was a member of Task Force Ranger as part of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia.  He was involved in the Battle of Mogadishu and is now the author of Get It On.   Through Get It On, he shares his experiences in Somalia as a Ranger.

While I was reading Keni’s book, it felt like I was in virtual reality, seeing things unfold as it happens. That is how vivid the description is of each scene.    The play-by-play account kept me engaged.   Because of my busy schedule, I was able to read the book at night.    As I ended each night of reading, I was looking forward to the next opportunity to continue reading the book.    Each chapter contains nuggets of information on leadership, teamwork and the Ranger creed.

Why the title Get it On?  It means being able to do what you went to mission for.  It is a chance to use what they were trained on and apply the skills that enable them be  Rangers.    As a civilian, I have enormous respect for people who sign up to be soldiers.   Without them, no one will fight for our country and what is right and the world will be ruled by wicked people.

“Don’t forget nothing” by Captain Robert Rogers is a saying that reminds us that even when something becomes a routine, we shouldn’t take things for granted.   We need to always do our best and put 100% percent effort in everything we do.   If the mechanic of the plane ignored one of the standard operating procedures in the airplane maintenance, such action could cause a catastrophic result.  That is why it is imperative that we don’t lose track of what’s going on and focus on giving our 100% effort.

This book is great in that it is packed with lessons on leadership and teamwork.   Here are a few that I would like to share:

1)      When you heed a lesson it is a good thing. When you find yourself relearning a lesson that’s not a good thing.  You need to learn from your past mistakes and make sure not to repeat them.

2)      A team is only as good as its weakest link. In order for a team to succeed everyone must pull their weight.  It is like a jigsaw puzzle, when one member of the team fails to pull in their share of work, the team will fail.

3)      Lead by example. To gain people’s respect you need to be there with them in getting things done.  Leading by example has been a very important lesson in developing leaders.

4)      Do the hard work in advance. If you want to be the best, you’ll do the hard work needed to be successful.  As a Ranger, your teammates expect you to be your best at all times.  Therefore you need to be prepared at all times – be prepared.

5)      Customer service – the Black Hawk pilot guarantees to put their customer on target, on time, plus or minus 30 seconds.      That is amazing that they could guarantee delivery.     That’s customer service at its best.

6)      Doing the right thing – as a leader you do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.  As leader, you have a burden to make difficult decisions, but you do it because people depend on you.

7)      Encouraging and building each other up – the Rangers are there to carry each other’s burden and lift each other’s spirit and support one another.

Keni’s started the book by telling the story that he was writing to his mom.    That initial attempt was interrupted by a call to mission, which resulted in some of his comrades being killed.    Get It On highlights the story and experience of young soldiers who fought for our freedom and what’s right.  

Reading this book affected me in two ways. First, it reminded me that no matter how hard things are around me, it is little sacrifice compared to the people who fight for our country everyday around the world.  Secondly, there are many ways to learn leadership and teamwork, but the military is still one of the best sources of knowledge in this area.    I recommend this book to everyone who wants to learn about history and pickup nuggets on leadership and teamwork along the way.  

As always, I’ll be tweeting about this book review.  Three (3) lucky winners will be selected from the retweets.  If you wish to purchase the book, use this link  http://bit.ly/kenithomas

Bond shown by leaders

By Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC

I often wonder how does a group of people, most of whom have not had a chance of meeting one another, find a common goal and set out to educate others of the value of character based leadership?

I’ve always thought of sharing my knowledge in leadership development, coaching and mentoring.  In 2009 I was looking for the best way of sharing and collaborating with others outside the confines of face-to-face meetings.   My exploration brought me to try blogging and Twitter.

Back then I expected to use Twitter to share my knowledge.   But as soon as I used Twitter and followed people that shared the common interest in leadership, I met a lot of people who shared character-based leadership.   Through Mike Henry’s leadership, he formed the lead change group.   In March of this year, I joined the group and officially contributed as contributing author.   The objective of the group is to teach people the principle of character-based leadership.

From Tweeting to collaborating on a book project, the lead change group embarked on a book project, which I jumped on the opportunity to be a part of.  We have since completed the copy editing and the graphic and marketing team is working on the book.

The last 13 months has been great as my blog has been generating a lot of traffic.   This, coupled with my contribution to the lead change group has provided me with a great opportunity to reach a larger audience.    Some of my plans next year are to try video blogging and co-hosting a web show with a friend.

Going back to the subject of bond shown by leaders, recently one of our peers at lead change had an unfortunate situation of losing her fiancée.   The person had a financial challenge and one of the members of the group sent out an email to ask the group for help.  In minutes, multiple email exchanges and members were figuring out ways to help and send the person financial help.    I was surprise by the compassion that the group showed toward our fellow.   I recently reach out to her to find out how she is doing, but I’ll forever remember the bond that our group has and the demonstration of support for one another.

In closing, I’m thankful that I took the chance of using Twitter and blogging.   My hope is that if one person in this world learns a thing from me, then I’ve done my job in spreading my knowledge and experience.

Managing your e-presence

Will Lukang, PMP, CSM, CLDC

The advancement of the social media gives us many ways to express ourselves.    Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, to name a few, are sites that we can use to share our news, connect with others, like your friend’s stuff, friend others, or share a photo or two.

The freedom to post a comment and let it all hang out there can easily happen with a click of a mouse.  With just one click, I can poke someone and they can poke me back.  I can like this or like that or choose to unlike.   It is so easy to fall into the trap of just doing it without thinking about the outcome or consequences.

I’m amazed by some of the pictures posted on some people’s profiles.     I sometimes wonder if they realize that those photos will be out there forever and other people might stumble upon them.    While we believe in freedom of speech, we need to be aware that sometimes certain things can be misinterpreted by others.   Just like an e-mail that can be interpreted in many ways by different people,  our post, comments, photos can be interpreted by people who see them.

Nowadays companies use the Internet to gather more intelligence about a potential candidate.    A simple search via Google can bring us loads of information about a potential candidate.  This information can then be used to determine the suitability of the person as a member of the company.

One could argue that what’s posted on those sites should stay on the site, but the reality is people have been fired for things they post on Facebook.    People were fired for posting the following:

  • Caught surfing Facebook while “home sick” from work
  • Posting inappropriate pictures
  • Juror dismissed after posting a message before the jury arrive at a decision
  • Insulting their company and safety standard
  • Posting derogatory video
  • Making racist remarks
  • Blasting their boss

What is the point of my post?  My point is that when we post something, we need to think about whether we will be okay if people proliferate it—that we will not be embarrassed about it.   We need to be self-aware and think about the consequences of a basic post.   Once it is out on the Internet, it can be replicated all over the place.    Even if you delete it there will always be copies out there.   So be conscious that a basic comment could come back and haunt you.  Worse yet, it could prevent you from securing a promotion or opportunity that you really wanted.

A piece of advice next time you’re sitting in front of your iPad or laptop, think before you click.  Don’t be trigger happy.