Heighten Your Awareness

For my particular organization— and for all organizations— I think it’s important to have a mission, a vision, and a set of values and consider those when you’re thinking about the future.

At Diamond6, we decided on four values: Compassion, Awareness, Ethics, and Courage. Today, I want to talk to you about our second value, awareness.

I think it’s critically important for all leaders to be aware in three different areas:

  1. Awareness of changes within your environment.

    The environment that your organization is operating within.

  2. Awareness of your organization

    What challenges and opportunities do those particular changes present for us?

  3. Awareness of yourself as a leader

    How am I doing as a leader? Am I continuing to learn? If in a crisis am I prepared for the long-term? Which should actually be an assessment of how I’m doing personally with my own particular wellness— leading myself.

On the 20th of October, 1973, the United States faced a dramatic, domestic crisis, The Saturday Night Massacre. President Richard Nixon fired his special prosecutor for the Watergate investigation, Archibald Cox. As a consequence the Attorney General of the United States, Elliot Richardson, and his Deputy, William Ruckelshaus, both resigned in protest. The nation was in the midst of a constitutional crisis over Watergate.

Three days later on the 23rd of October 1973, due to an ongoing conflict in the Middle East between Israel and the Arab countries that surround it, the United States went to DEFCON 3 as the Soviet Union threatened to send Russian paratroopers to support the Egyptians who were being defeated by Israeli ground forces.

Only two times in our history the United States has gone to DEFCON 3. Once during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and this particular time in 1973. So at that moment, we as a nation faced two very dramatic crises— one domestic and one internationally— with the real possibility of nuclear war with the Soviet Union being very close.

Recent history and recent release of archives both in Russia and the United States have revealed two disquieting facts. First, President Nixon troubled by his domestic crisis, troubled by the stress and strain of office, may well have been abusing alcohol. In fact, that particular time on Saturday night when the United States went to DEFCON 3, he may have been intoxicated as he did not meet with his principle staff. The meeting in the situation room that made the decision to go to DEFCON 3, was conducted by his national security advisor.

At the same time, Russian archives recently have revealed that Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Communist party, the leader of the Soviet Union, was having terrible problems with his own health and had become addicted to sleeping pills. Some of the policies he announced during the crisis, his deputies ignored because they considered them far too provocative.

So there we were, in a major crisis involving two nations and two leaders that probably needed to be a bit more aware about their personal circumstance and their personal wellness, so they can make good choices.

So once again, for leaders to be successful need to be aware of their environment, be aware of your organization, and don’t forget to be aware of yourself.

We want to hear from YOU! In what area can you heighten your awareness as a leader? Share your comments below.