Ann Dunwoody, the nation's first female four-star Army general, says the leadership skills learned in the military are similar to those used for success in the business world.
"You'd be surprised, especially in the logistics business and in the distribution businesses, how much similarity we have," Dunwoody, now retired, said Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"You try to look at the same kind of extra leadership qualities and business practices that translate to both organizations.
"I learned from [Coca-Cola CEO] Muhtar Kent and CEOs that run big businesses how to make my organization more efficient and effective and I try to share how we develop leaders in the military because that's really what we do."
Dunwoody is author of "A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America's First Female Four-Star General,"
written with Tomago Collins and published by Da Capo Press — which offers strategic insights to companies and corporate boards.
She discusses her evolution as a soldier and the leadership principles that helped her achieve her historic appointment under President George W. Bush. One of those principles, she told Steve Malzberg, is accountability.
"In my book, I talk about my very first platoon sergeant, Sgt. First Class Wendell Bowen, and Second Lt. Ann Dunwoody … We were just starting integration of women into the military and he brought me in," she said.
"He'd come from Vietnam and there's nothing broken about Sgt. Bowen. He was going to try to make me the best platoon leader in the Army, not the best female platoon leader, and he taught me some principles that stayed with me my entire career.
"The first and probably most enduring is the one we just talked about – never walk by a mistake. He said if you walk by a mistake, you just set a new lower standard."
And she's kept sight of that credo ever since.
"It's a slippery slope for folks that don't make on spot corrections and then all of a sudden, that becomes the new normal. Then, something else becomes lack and in the military, the stakes lead to injuries and sometimes fatalities," she said.
Asked whether it is tougher for a woman to be in charge — both in the military and in the business world, Dunwoody said: "It's all about leadership. It's more about leadership than gender is my take."
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