By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you gain greater focus.
It’s been a few years since I last saw the precision performance of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC. But I still marvel at their focused attention and consistent execution. Nothing deters them – not the crack of a lightning bolt, or even the needle-like pelting of hurricane-force wind and rain around the clock, day in and day out, 24/7.
I learned a lot about leadership the day I spoke with one of the guards when he was off duty. I wanted to know how he maintained such disciplined concentration – every 21 seconds– during his 30-minute shift four or five times a day.
Every 21 seconds he has to either shift his bayonetted weapon to his other shoulder or methodically march 21 steps. To assure the cadence, he counts to 21 over and over again as many as 85 times in each 30-minute session. He counts consistently, persistently and methodically but not absentmindedly. And he focuses on his mission.
“ I am always thinking about the dedication I have to the cause,” said the Army Sergeant at the 1st Battalion, Third United States Infantry at Fort Myer, Virginia who had been guarding at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier for nine years when we spoke. Continue reading