The Nelson Baker’s Dozen

Nelson.jpgAnother book about Horatio Nelson? I’ve read 10, and assumed I didn’t need another. But as I wiled away the time in Heathrow, I thumbed through a new one, Andrew Lambert’s Nelson: Britannia’s God of War. It looked fabulous; and, incidentally, I was to give a speech on Leadership in Dubai 48 hours hence. So I made the purchase, devoured the book during the subsequent 6-hour flight … and extracted 13 Lessons. Herewith, in summary-shorthand form (directly from a Slide) …

1. Simple-clear scheme (“Plan”) (Not wildly imaginative) (Patton: “A good plan executed with vigor right now tops a ‘perfect’ plan executed next week.”)
2. Soaring/Bold/Clear/Unequivocal/ Worthy/Noble/ Inspiring “Goal”/”Mission”/”Purpose”/”Quest”
3. “Conversation”: Engagement of All Leaders
4. Leeway for Leaders: Select the Best/Dip Deep/Initiative demanded/Accountability swift/Micromanagement absent
5. Led by “Love” (per Lambert), not “Authority” (Totally identify-bond with Sailors!)
6. Instinct/Seize the Moment/”Impetuosity” (Boyd’s “OODA Loops”: React more quickly than opponent, destroy his “world view”)
7. Vigor! (Ben Zander: leader as “Dispenser of Enthusiasm”)
8. Peerless Basic Skills/Mastery of Craft (Seamanship)
9. Workaholic! (“Duty” first, second, and third)
10. Lead by Confident & Determined & Continuous & Visible Example (In Harm’s Way) (Gandhi: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”/Giuliani: Show up!)
11. Genius (“Transform the world to conform to their ideas”) (Gandhi, PM Lee-Singapore), not Greatness (“Make the most of their world”)
12. Luck! (Right place, right era; survived near-mortal wounds) (“Lucky Eagle” vs “Bold Eagle”)
13. Others’ principal shortcoming: “Admirals more frightened of losing than anxious to win”

I think that’s as good a list of Leadership Traits as you’re likely to find. Comments?