Executive advice from a Silicon Valley Excutive and Combat Commander
"You don't have all the good ideas and you don't do the work. It's that cohesive team you put together, nurtured, and empowered that gets the job done, makes you look good, and deserves the credit. – Treat them with the respect they've earned."
“Foote, gimme your hand!” We were both a little tipsy at the company party and he had fallen into a hedge. He had just paid me a very high compliment. He told me that he wished that we could know each other just as two men, and not as army private and company commander. This may well have been the time that I realized that I did not want to be a physicist or a mathematician.
I met Hollis on my first day as a company commander. The military police called me saying that Private Hollis C. Foote was at the MP station, crying and asking to be locked up before he killed someone.
Long story short: Hollis was honorably discharged as Sergeant Foote, having been promoted three times and awarded Battalion Soldier of the Month twice. I often wonder if Hollis might not have ended up in the stockade possibly hamstrung for life with a federal conviction on his record if I hadn’t listened, sympathized, coaxed, encouraged and most importantly, coached him.
I was starting to develop a management style that would work for me throughout my long career. I admit it: I get a vicarious feeling of success when someone excels because of my coaching.
I would go on to command Army Rangers and Combat Engineers in Vietnam.
Vietnamese Lieutenant General Ming awarded me their Medal of Honor First Class. Unlike the US Medal of Honor, the Vietnamese variety is not for heroics but for accomplishment. I had analyzed a complex logistical problem, devised a simple solution that saved lives, money, and time. To implement this idea, I had to go into my coaching mode – this time Vietnamese combat engineers.
I had worked my way through a bachelor’s degree in mathematics by operating an atom smasher for the University of California. I had planned to do graduate work in physics. I had no designs on being a soldier. So, to avoid the draft I had enrolled in reserve officer training. I got called up before graduate school. After my stint in the Army, I returned to my old job and enrolled in grad school, but not in physics, in an MBA program.
Fortunately, I beat the right physicist at chess. Dr. Berman had a PhD from Harvard and was convinced that anyone who beat him at chess must be pure genius. He went to bat for me. I was offered a position at the PhD level – senior mathematician. A 38.5% pay raise went with it.
My good luck did not stop then. A Silicon Valley headhunter discovered me and placed me as a software department manager. I was where I belonged. Finally I could use the skills learned in my command positions: careful analysis, simple solutions, and building and leading a team by coaching. I was able to use those skills in such diverse positions as project leader, program manager, and director of engineering.
Then I really hit my stride when I became a serial entrepreneur.
My greatest success was leading an enterprise that made $400K per year. After one year, I had it up to $4 million and up to $8.9 million the year after. Once again, the winning formula was analysis, straightforward solutions, then building and coaching a high-performance team.
That’s what I do now because that is what I do best. I coach managers and executives. They learn to analyze the complex by identifying the salient points. This greatly simplifies finding straightforward solutions. If needed, I coach them through assembling the right team then helping them learn how to coach that team as it increases their business’s quality and productivity. …And that makes me happy.
Why Peter David joined Work Smart Formula™
Peter joined Doug’s team to help you with your online business. Using his over 40 years of experience, he teaches entrepreneurs the best practices in communications, marketing, and lobbying. After he shows you how to use these tools; you will be far more successful.
Peter is a broadly renowned communications expert and trainer with a large international network. He has led the efforts of market-leading multinationals for decades. He is a guest lecturer at Metropol University, the former CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hungary, and a passionate entrepreneur, just like you.
He was the Corporate Affairs Director of a large multinational organization responsible for the communications and public relations of over two dozen affiliates across Europe. Previously, he spent 15 years in media, journalism, and PR, working closely with business and political gurus.
His passion for supporting businesses and making them grow blossomed when he was CEO of AmCham. In this position, he represented and advocated for the interests of over 600 business entities.
As part of Doug’s team, Peter offers you his expertise and helps you succeed. He listens to you and provides custom-tailored advice on how to meet your challenges. He helps you shape your communications strategies, clarify your business objectives, and create a successful, recognizable brand.
He is a major contributor to the Work Smart Formula, itself.