I spent last week at a conference for the enterprise resource planning suite currently used by the company for which I work. Not particularly interesting to most, and thus, not the topic of this article. What was of interest is what I found during my investigation of the conference agenda. One of the opening session keynotes was being delivered by General H. Norman Schwarzkopf. This kernel of information did exactly what it was intended to do: it piqued my curiosity. For, nowhere in my mind could I reconcile a technical conference with a presentation by General Schwarzkopf. Although most would characterize him as a leader worthy of a place in the history books, General Schwarzkopf is not the first name that pops into your head when you think, “business”.
Turned out that the keynote was about leadership. What is it? What are its key components? General Schwarzkopf stood in front of a crowd of thousands and openly admitted he did not have a clear answer for either of those questions. He related to his audience that in preparation for delivering his address, he started where many of us might: the dictionary.