Spartan 36 Solutions Leadership Principles – Part 2
Updated: May 10, 2019
Last week we introduced the first half of the Spartan 36 Solutions Leadership Principles: Competence and Initiative. Competence, which is the ability to accomplish a task or to meet your organizational expectations, was modeled by the Roman General Agrippa, who used his exceptional competence and generalship in order to help establish Caesar Augustus as the first Roman Emperor. General George S. Patton showed us that initiative is the greatest differentiating factor of greatness for a leader though his distinguished career and cavalryman’s mindset. The second half, and remaining two Spartan 36 Solutions Leadership Principles are Purpose, and Integrity.
Purpose is the reason for existence. It is the “why” behind everything that we do. Great leaders have a purpose for their actions. They are able to see through the clutter, block out the noise, and maintain a sharp focus on their purpose. More importantly, leaders are able to effectively communicate their purpose to a point that it becomes shared throughout the organization. Leonidas I, the famous Spartan King, gives us one of history’s greatest examples in a leader knowing his purpose and inculcating it in those around him. In 480 BC, King Xerxes I marched his Persian forces across the Hellespont and into the Greek mainland.
King Leonidas led a force of 300 of his own Spartan hoplites and over 5,000 other Greeks on a suicide mission to the Hot Gates at Thermopylae to intercept the Persian invasion. The expedition, which was destined to be a Greek defeat from the start, served a much larger purpose than to fight Xerxes as Thermopylae. Leonidas knew the gravity of his mission and effectively instilled it in every Greek warrior at Thermopylae to the point that they were willing to die at the Hot Gates to enable the future Persian defeat.
Integrity, the final Spartan 36 Solutions Leadership Principle, is best defined by a line in the Cadet Prayer stating, “Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.” Integrity is part of our Leadership Philosophy where we state, “I will lead with integrity. I demand uncompromising integrity from my subordinates, peers, and superiors. Those same individuals can expect the same for me. When you take away titles, money, status, and position, a person’s integrity is all they have left. I prefer to leave mine untarnished.” Perhaps, one of history’s most remarkable examples of integrity came during an hour of darkness. On March 16, 1968 a company of American soldiers committed one of the greatest atrocities of the Vietnam War massacring nearly 350 innocent civilians including unarmed women and children. Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson confronted multiple fellow American soldiers, many of them officers and other senior leaders, during the massacre. When logic and reason failed, Thompson placed his own life at risk to save innocent civilians by landing his helicopter between the aggressors and their targets and leading several potential victims to safety. Thompson chose to act instead of ignore and displayed a tremendous amount of integrity in order to stop the My Lai Massacre.
The Spartan 36 Solutions Leadership Principles: Competence, Initiative, Purpose, and Integrity, serve as our foundation for leadership. We believe history’s greatest leadership successes can be attributed to these principles. Conversely, history’s greatest leadership failures can be traced back to the absence of one or more of these principles. Competence, Initiative, Purpose, and Integrity – Because Leadership Matters!