Tuesday, March 09, 2010

212 Degree Leadership

Each Sunday morning before church for the past six months or so, my 13 year-old son and I have spent time reading a book together. We began the journey reading Preparing Your Son for Every Man's Battle. A couple of weeks ago we completed the section that is appropriate for his age so we began a new book.

We started reading 212, The Extra Degree. The premise of the book is that though it is only one degree, there is a huge difference between 211 and 212 degrees. 211 degrees is simply hot water while water that is one degree warmer makes the water boil, which produces steam. With steam you can power a locomotive. A big difference, all for one lousy degree.

The book goes on to share examples of people who have gone the extra mile and how that extra mile has made all the difference. One such story really struck me. It was a story about General Earl Hailston (pictured above).

General Hailston is the only general in the armed forces who had enlisted and come up through the ranks. When asked if he had any hobbies, the general said, "Yes, I love photography, especially taking photos of my men."

It seems that General Hailston would take pictures of his men and email the photos along with a note to their mothers back in the USA. Here is a sample of one such letter:

Dear Mrs. Johnson,
I thought you might enjoy seeing this picture of your son. He is doing great. I also wanted you to know that you did a wonderful job of raising him. You must be very proud. I can certainly tell you that I'm honored to serve with him in the U.S. Marines.
General Earl Hailston
It is clear that General Hailston understood what 212 degree leadership is all about. As a result, I am sure his men would go the extra mile for their commander, because they knew they were cared for and he was going the extra mile for them.

"If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles."
Matthew 5:41

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