I had the pleasure of interviewing Paul A. Dillon, who is the president of Dillon Consulting Services LLC. Paul is a Certified Management Consultant with more than 42 years of experience in the professional services industry. A U.S. Army Reserve veteran, he served in Vietnam as a 1st Lieutenant, and was awarded 2 Bronze Star Medals. An author and university lecturer, Paul is a sought after commentator on national veteran matters on numerous radio programs and podcasts.
I was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve upon my graduation from college in 1967. I received a delay for my active duty to attend graduate school, from which I graduated in 1969 and entered Federal Service. From 1969 to 1970, I served as a special staff officer and instructor at the U.S. Army Aviation School, Fort Rucker, Alabama, where I taught a methods of instruction course — essentially, a course that taught instructor pilots how to teach pilots how to fly — and, performed research studies in human factors engineering and man/machine interface systems design. I was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in 1970, and subsequently served a tour of duty with the 165th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade, which was attached to Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam. Our responsibilities were to manage the Army’s air traffic control system and to negotiate air traffic control facility land use and airspace agreements with the Vietnamese Government. My decorations include two Bronze Star Medals. I am a graduate of the U.S. Army Transportation Officers School. I was honorably discharged from Federal Service in 1971.
The best leadership training in the world is the training that is given to commissioned officers, and senior non-commissioned officers, in the Armed Forces of the United States. As young Army officers, we were taught to take care of our troops first, if you want them to follow you. An officer has to convince the people under his or her command that they have their best interests in mind, while they are accomplishing the mission. An officer doesn’t eat until all of his or her troops have eaten. An officer is the last to sleep and walks the perimeter of the camp to ensure that their troops are safe and sound. An officer doesn’t change into a dry pair of socks until he or she is satisfied that their troops are dry and warm. Otherwise, the troops just aren’t going to follow you to places where they wouldn’t go by themselves.
And, that’s the best definition of leadership that I have ever encountered. A leader is someone who people will follow to a place where they wouldn’t go by themselves. The United States Army has more than 240 years of experience in training leaders. And, some of us got to test that training on the battlefields of Vietnam — and, carry those lessons with us into our business careers.
“Duty, Honor, Country” — the motto of an Army officer. Simple words — but, their meaning can have a profound impact on a business career. Every company would do well to follow this type of training.
Here are the qualities that hopefully comprise my leadership style — integrity, decisiveness, good judgment, the ability to form a vision and execute it, confidence in my own competence, among others. But, without the ability to be selfless, to put the needs and wants of others before your own, you will never get people to “follow you to a place where they wouldn’t go to by themselves.” One other important thing, I practice “servant leadership”. If you take care of your fellow employees and CLIENTS, profits will come. Don’t put profits before people.
Millennials and Gen-Z understand that it can’t be just about the money. There has to be something more. If it’s just about the money, you will most likely fail to attract these younger generations. You won’t be able to get these people to work along with you to accomplish your goals for the business, even if they share in the money. These generations want to know that there’s a larger vision than merely profit at work with your company. What are your goals? What are your values? What is your attitude toward serving the needs of your customers or clients with honesty and integrity? Young people, in particular, want to work for a company that is committed to improving the commonweal of their fellow citizenry, at the same time that it is making a profit. Your employees want to do good, while they are doing well. They need to know that those aren’t mutually exclusive concepts. Those are difficult tasks to accomplish. But, the successful companies of the future will be those that can pull it off.
That’s a tough one, as I have been extremely fortunate in my career to get to know — and, work along with — many important people in business, government, academia — and, by virtue of my more than 14 years of experience serving as the supervisor of elections to the National Radio Hall of Fame, and to the Chicago Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the Emmy Awards — the media.
But, I’d say the person that I would really like to have a conversation with is Colin Powell. He was an extremely successful military officer, who was appointed to serve at the highest levels of our federal government, and served in those posts with distinction. I wish that he would have run for elective office. It would be interesting to get his viewpoint on the defense of the nation — and, the state of the world today.
It would be a fascinating discussion.
Chris Quiocho is a combat veteran and pilot. Millennial leader and CEO of Offland Media, the premier digital company in business aviation. Chris is a insightful and motivational public speaker, and an emerging thought leader for the aviation industry.
Originally published at medium.com