165: Colonel Mark Read, part 1: Environmental Engineering at West Point

April 10, 2019 by Joshua
in Podcast

I met Colonel Read through Colonel Everett Spain, who has also been a guest of the podcast.

Two myths about the military have unraveled in me as a result of seeing West Point from the inside and talking to 4-star Generals and department heads. One is that the military practices command-and-control and that someone of any rank can just order people to do things and get compliance. On the contrary, you’ll hear Mark share how people lead with compassion and understanding, at least most of the time outside of combat.

The second is that the military wouldn’t care about the environment or their effect on it. Again, I don’t think anyone could hear Mark as faking caring.

So far, the military seems to be fixing what it’s broken, but I think it’s looking toward sustainability, at least in training areas. The military reacts to the nation’s values — that comes from you and me — and influences us back.

They’re ahead of many of us in some ways, especially corporate leaders, who could stand to learn from West Point — one of the nation’s top institution for teaching leadership.

“It makes us stronger,” that’s a military leader at the United States Military Academy at West Point talking about environmental stewardship. Who would have expected a top military leader talk about woodpeckers and act on it?

A major initiative of the military is restoring economies and helping local populations. Stewarding the environment is fundamental. I hope civilian leaders learn from Mark’s lead. I can’t believe how much American business and other institutions are trailing the rest of the world in environmental stewardship.

Read the transcript.

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