24 May West Point Graduation Week – Day Five

After four years, the cadets are really showing appreciation for all the friends and family that enabled them to be here; and to be focused and successful while they were here.  The picture in this photo is my son with my parents in the exact same spot at the Thayer Hotel where my Irish grandmother stood with my Uncle 61 years ago.  Makes me wonder how fate intervenes with how warriors are wired…

The cadets are relaxed, uninhibited, and we’ve been hearing stories that simultaneously make us laugh and cringe!  West Point claims to be all about academics, physical fitness and military discipline, but I think the real learning here comes from shared adversity without the opportunity to easily quit or walk-away from un-pleasantries.  Leading peers is extremely difficult, especially with a heavy class load and constant 360-degree evaluation, but the experience is rich because it frames the interpersonal relationship challenges that are in every organization regardless of size, experience, status, or cultural context.  The life-long lessons are in self-awareness (i.e., constraints and capabilities), team dynamics, and focusing on the result that matters most: Lessons the cadets will repeat as lieutenants until the lesson is truly mastered.

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