a piece of paper with adapt or die on it
Corporate Culture

Adapt or Die: Leadership Development

Dan Keough
Dan Keough
Chairman & CEO

That title sounds frightening…and well, in the right context, it kind of is. I recently had a chance to listen to an American Army General speak — one who, during his career, spent 30 total months in Iraq alone and, at one point, managed all U.S. Army installations, including a workforce of 120,000.

I learned a lot from Retired Lt. General Rick Lynch and his vision of “adaptive leadership.” Trust me, I’ve always had the utmost appreciation for our military and the sacrifices they make to ensure our country is safe. And I truly believe we’re so fortunate to have military leaders, like Lt. General Lynch, looking after our troops while fighting the enemy. But hearing him talk just made my appreciation grow stronger (if that’s even possible!) for our military members and the men and women who lead them. It also made me think a lot about Holmes Murphy.

If you’ve ever heard me talk about our company, you’ve likely heard me say that what we offer our customers is our intellectual capital. So we spend a lot of time, energy, and resources investing in our employees…to include our leaders. This is the very reason we brought the retired Lt. General in to speak. He talked directly with 16 of our employees who are taking part in our coveted leadership development program. These employees are on their way to becoming owners/shareholders in the company. Over the next five months, this group of leaders will master the Holmes Murphy Leadership Difference and gain experience that will impact them both personally and professionally.

While you may be thinking those who lead our troops have to have a different mindset than civilian leaders…you’re partially right. However, Lynch shared stories and insights from overcoming adversity on both the battlefield and in the boardroom. And he laid out nine basic principles to us that I believe apply at all levels of leadership:

  • Look down, not up: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care
  • Decide when to decide: Take the time to think
  • Be an engaged leadership: Love your subordinates like you love your own children
  • Focus on opportunities, not obstacles
  • Be demanding but not demeaning: Everyone must perform to their fullest potential
  • Be a mentor: Be accessible, actively listen, and truly care
  • Always celebrate diversity: Don’t surround yourself with people like you!
  • Achieve a work-life balance
  • Have fun: If the boss ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

I believe in these, and this is why Holmes Murphy invests so much time in developing our leaders. I encourage you to check out Lynch’s book: Adapt Or Die: Leadership Principles from an American General. We are in an age where you have to be able to adapt. It’s what’s best for leaders, employees…and, most importantly, our clients and the service we offer to them.

Explore more from Holmes Murphy