Staff Skills

52 Weeks of Ideas Part 1: By the Numbers, Leadership

By Chris Field April 7, 2021

Part 1:

1.  By-the-numbers: 17 ideas

2.  Leadership: 15 ideas

Part 2:

3.  Resilience: 17 ideas

4.  War & Strategy: 3 ideas

Very few are my own ideas. Mostly, I have read or heard ideas and copied them to the Collins Kingsgrove 341, Week to View.


1.  Epictetus, Three Disciplines:[1] There are three areas of stoic study, in which a person who is going to be wise and good must be trained:

  • Controls their desires and passions
  • Behaves appropriately, not carelessly
  • Remains free from deception and hasty judgement[2]

2.  Peter Drucker: Only three things happen naturally in organisations: friction, confusion, and underperformance. Everything else requires leadership.[3]

3.  Jon Kabat Zinn: mindfulness:

  • Bring your experience, not your bias
  • Once is forever
  • Wherever you go, there you are[4]

4.  Road House (1989), Patrick Swayze, three simple rules:

  • Never underestimate your opponent; expect the unexpected
  • Take it outside
  • Be nice[5]

5.  US College Football: what makes a ‘game of the century’?

  • Number 1 team plays the Number 2 team
  • Includes great plays, especially great individual plays
  • Involves an unexpected result or a dramatic finish[6]

6  John Wick (2014), Keanu Reeves: Three characteristics:

 (1) Focus

 (2) Commitment

 (3) Sheer will[7]

7.  Four simple agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz, that have the power to eliminate needless suffering from your life:

  • Be impeccable with your word
  • Don’t take anything personally
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Always do your best[8]

8.  Plato's Republic:[9] lists four cardinal or principal virtues:

  • Prudence (or practical wisdom)
  • Justice
  • Self-control (or temperance)
  • Fortitude (or courage).[10]

9.  Four HsKevin Stefanski, Coach, Cleveland Browns National Football League: People in teams sharing personal stories, whether tales of hardship or revelations of those who have impacted their lives:

  • History
  • Heartbreak
  • Heroes
  • Hopes[11]

10.  Four Virtues: The Stoics divide virtue into four main types:[12]

  • Wisdom includes:

          (1) Good sense

          (2) Good calculation

          (3) Quick-wittedness

          (4) Discretion

          (5) Resourcefulness

  • Justice includes:

          (1) Piety

          (2) Honesty

          (3) Equity

          (4) Fair dealing

  • Courage includes:

          (1) Endurance

          (2) Confidence

          (3) High-mindedness

          (4) Cheerfulness

          (5) Industriousness

  • Moderation includes:

          (1) Good discipline

          (2) Seemliness

          (3) Modesty

          (4) Self-control

11.  Psychiatrist Sue Varma:[13] Four Ms of mental health:

  • Mindfulness…deliberately aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, to create a feeling of calm.
  • Mastery…in what skill do you excel?
  • Movement…exercise.
  • Meaningful engagement…with family, friends, teams and communities.[14]

12.  Major General J. F. C. Fuller:[15] Five prerequisites of victory:

  • Security
  • Surprise
  • Mobility
  • Concentration
  • Cooperation

These five prerequisites, integrated according to the principle of simplicity, result in economy of force and ‘the more force is economised, the more can be held in reserve and in consequence the higher will be the staying power of the attack'.[16]

13.  Five questions in a crisis, Robert Kaplan & Anette Mikes:

  • What assumptions can be challenged?
  • What are our options / courses of action?
  • How much time is available?
  • What assets are needed?
  • Who else needs to know?[17]

14.  COVID-19 – Top-10 tips to keep you safe: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), of the genus Betacoronavirus, is the causative agent of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):

  • Wash your hands
  • Sneeze into your elbow
  • Do not touch your face
  • Practice social distancing - 2 metres away from others
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Avoid touching things
  • Stay informed about restrictions
  • Do not hoard medicines
  • Do not panic-buy food
  • Avoid large gatherings[18]

15.  2020:

  • 20 seconds hand washing
  • 2 metre distance
  • 0 excuses

16.  Eleanor Roosevelt: From You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life:

  • Learning to learn
  • Fear—the great enemy
  • The uses of time
  • The difficult art of maturity
  • Readjustment is endless
  • Learning to be useful
  • The right to be an individual
  • How to get the best out of people
  • Facing responsibility
  • How everyone can take part in politics
  • Learning to be a public servant[19]

17.  A Hundred Hints for Company Officers:  Written, published and employed by the 4th Infantry Brigade, 1st Australian Imperial Force, in November 1914, just prior to the brigade’s departure for service in the First World War:

Hint #77: Soldierly comradeship is marked by self-denial, mutual help, mutual forbearance, loyalty, unselfishness and consideration. Such qualities do not evolve spontaneously (especially among people thrown together for the first time) but must be sedulously* fostered under all circumstances. Good comradeship means effective co-operation in time of stress.[20]

*Sedulously: constant or persistent in use or attention; assiduous; diligent


18.  Leadership, General Robert Abrams, US Army: 99 per cent of people are trying their best, however if exasperated by the people you lead:

  • Take a knee, face out, drink some water.
  • If that does not work, breathe through your nose, close your eyes and count to 10…or 100.

19.  Marcus Aurelius: the impediment to action advances action, what stands in the way becomes the way.[21]

20.  Marcus Aurelius: Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.[22] If a person is mistaken, instruct them kindly and show them their error. But if you are not able, blame yourself or blame no one.[23]

21.  Clemson University, South Carolina: ‘Best is the Standard’.[24] At Clemson ‘Best is the Standard’ applies on the College football field (Clemson Tigers), off the field, in the classroom and in life. Best is the Standard is defined as:

  • Work ethic: you bloom where you are planted
  • Unselfishness
  • Humility
  • Respect
  • Love
  • Care
  • Challenge
  • Motivate
  • Discipline
  • Accountability
  • Leadership
  • Character

22.  Max DePree , What Is Leadership? The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader.[25]

23.  Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, 2011 to 2019, on why mayors, local government and community leaders matter:

  • Local is: immediate; intimate; and, impactful
  • National can be: indifferent; distant; and, dysfunctional[26]

24.  Epictetus:

  • The educated only are free. Freedom is the power of living as we choose. No one who is in a state of fear or sorrow or anxiety is free.[27]
  • Oppose unhealthy, negative or reckless impulses with contrary habits of wisdom, justice, courage and moderation.[28]

25.  Indira Gandhi: In 1959 Indira Gandhi became President of the Indian National Congress political party. The Times of India newspaper published an article with a quotation in which Gandhi recounted the instruction she received from her grandfather, Pandit Motilal Nehru, who told her:   

There are two kinds of people, those who do the work, and those who take the credit. Belong to the first category…there is much less competition.[29]

26.  Ernest Hemingway: Across the River and into the Trees, 1967…When people talk listen completely. Don't be thinking what you're going to say. Most people never listen.[30]

27.  Leadership lessons from the 82nd Airborne Division, Afghanistan, 2011-2012:

  • Move toward the friction. Exercise disciplined initiative through developing a bias for action. Disciplined initiative is action in the absence of orders, when existing orders no longer fit the situation, or when unforeseen opportunities or threats arise. Leaders rely on their leaders and teams to act. Disciplined initiative by leaders and teams is the starting point for seizing the tactical advantage, exploiting an opportunity and disrupting an adversary.[31]
  • Leadership: A person may do an immense deal of good, if they do not care who gets the credit.[32]

28.  Vince Lombardi:

  • Leadership rests not only upon ability, not only upon capacity – having the capacity to lead is not enough. The leader must be willing to use it. Their leadership is then based on truth and character. There must be truth in the purpose and will-power in the character.[33]
  • Football and America: I’ve been in football all my life…and I don’t know whether I’m particularly qualified to be a part of anything else, except I consider it a great game, a game of many assets, by the way, and I think a symbol of what America’s best attributes are: courage and stamina and a coordinated efficiency or teamwork.[34]

29.  The Magnificent Seven (1960):

          Chris Larabee Adams (Yul Brynner): ‘You forget one thing. We took a contract.’

          Vin Tanner (Steve McQueen): ‘It's sure not the kind any court would enforce.’

          Chris Larabee Adams (Yul Brynner): ‘That's just the kind you've got to keep.’[35]

30.  Gabrielle Reece: Former professional volleyball player and Nike’s first female spokesperson, on the power of going first:[36]

I always say that I'll go first...

That means if I'm checking out at the store, I'll say hello first.

If I'm coming across somebody and make eye contact, I'll smile first.

[I wish] people would experiment with that in their life a little bit.

Be first, because – not all times, but most times – it comes in your favour.[37]

31.  Mitt Romney: how do we get things done from here?[38]

32.  Field Marshal The Viscount William Slim, 14 October 1952: Leadership is the most personal thing in the world, for the simple reason that leadership is just plain you. [As a leader] you have got to have certain qualities. Those qualities I always consider to be:

  • First of all courage, then
  • Will-power, then
  • Initiative, and,
  • Fourthly knowledge.[39]

End Notes:


[1] Epictetus (c. 50s C.E). In Hierapolis, a Greek city of Asia Minor, Epictetus spent a portion of his life as the slave of Epaphroditus, an important administrator in the court of Nero. The date at which he came to Rome is unknown, but it must have been either prior to 68, at which time Epaphroditus fled the capital, or after the accession of Domitian in 81, under whom Epaphroditus was allowed to return and perhaps to resume his position.

[2] Chris Fisher, The Path of the Prokopton - the three disciplines in Epictetus’ Discourses 3.2, Traditional Stoicism, 21 December 2015 <> [accessed 18 August 2020]

[3] Greg Story, Peter Drucker on Leadership, The Journal, Dale Carnegie Training Japan, May 2016,  <> [Accessed 25 October 2020]

[4] Ville Husgafvel, The ‘Universal Dharma Foundation’ Of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Non-Duality and Mahāyāna Buddhist Influences In The Work Of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Taylor & Francis Group, 05 Mar 2019, pp. 275-326 <> [accessed 04 July 2020]

[5] IMDb, Internet Movie Database, Road House (1989), Patrick Swayze: Dalton <> [accessed 09 May 2020]

[6] American Football Database, Game of the Century (college football), FANDOM Lifestyle Community <> [accessed 13 June 2020]

[7] Internet Movie Database, (, John Wick – Quotes, an Amazon Company, 2014 <> [accessed 14 September 2020]

[8] Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements, Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc. 2018 <> [accessed 22 April 2020]

[9] Plato, (427—347 B.C.E.), is one of the world’s best known and most widely read and studied philosophers. He was the student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle, and he wrote in the middle of the fourth century B.C.E. in ancient Greece. Though influenced primarily by Socrates, to the extent that Socrates is usually the main character in many of Plato’s writings, he was also influenced by Heraclitus, Parmenides, and the Pythagoreans.

[10] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Plato’s Ethics: An Overview, Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI), Stanford University, 06 December 2017 <,is%20first%20presented%20without%20comment.> [accessed 04 October 2020]

[11] Marla Ridenour, Kevin Stefanski borrows team-building idea from VCU basketball to strengthen Browns' bond, Akron Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio, 20 September 2020 <> [accessed 16 December 2020]

[12] Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and its Authors, Stoic Ethics, Good, Evil, and Indifferents, Section 3 <,justice%2C%20courage%2C%20and%20moderation.> [accessed 05 September 2020]

[13] Dr Sue Varma: Dr Varma is a board-certified psychiatrist, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU Langone Health, and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. She has a private practice in Manhattan, New York, and treats a variety of mental health disorders. 2020 MedCircle, Inc <> [accessed 21 November 2020]

[14] MSNBC, Psychiatrist shares tips for reducing anxiety amid coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft News, 13 March 2020<> [accessed 21 November 2020]

[15] John Frederick Charles Fuller, (born 01 September 1878, Chichester, Sussex, England—died 10 February 1966, Falmouth, Cornwall), British army officer, military theoretician, and war historian who became one of the founders of modern armoured warfare. Commissioned into the British Army in 1899, Fuller saw service in the South African War and was a staff officer in France during World War I. As chief of staff of the British tank corps from December 1916, he planned the surprise attack of 381 tanks at the Battle of Cambrai on 20 November 1917; this was the first massed tank assault in the history of warfare. After the war he launched a crusade for the mechanization and modernization of the British army. Chief instructor of Camberley Staff College from 1923, he became military assistant to the chief of the imperial general staff in 1926. He was promoted to major general in 1930 and retired three years later to devote himself entirely to writing.

Throughout the interwar period, Fuller wrote voluminously, his most notable works being Tanks in the Great War (1920), The Reformation of War (1923), On Future Warfare (1928), and Memoirs of an Unconventional Soldier (1936). His lectures (Field Service Regulations III, 1937) were adopted for study by the general staffs of the German, Soviet, and Czechoslovak armies. But in glorifying the tank as an almost independent and irresistible land battleship, Fuller was considered extreme, and his emphasis on the armoured offensive alienated English military tacticians who were still imbued with the defensive doctrines of World War I.

Fuller served as a reporter during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia (1935) and the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) and was the only foreigner present at Nazi Germany’s first armed manoeuvres in 1935. Seeing his teachings largely vindicated by World War II, he produced Machine Warfare in 1942 and wrote one of the first histories of the conflict, The Second World War 1939–1945 (1948). His most comprehensive work was A Military History of the Western World, 3 vol. (1954–56), in which he analysed Western warfare from its beginnings through World War II.

Encyclopaedia Britannica, John Frederick Charles Fuller, British Army Officer  <> [accessed 31 October 2020]

[16] Department Of The Navy, Fleet Marine Force Reference Publication (FMFRP) 12-1, Surprise, , Headquarters United States Marine Corps, Washington, D.C. 20380-0001, 12 October 1988, pp. 199-200 <> [accessed 31 October 2020]

[17] Robert S. Kaplan and Anette Mikes, Strategic Planning - Managing Risks: A New Framework, Harvard Business Review, June 2012 <> [accessed 25 July 2020]

[18] Lauren Roberts, Coronavirus tips from the experts to help you stay safe, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 20 March 2020 <> [accessed 21 June 2020]

[19] Eleanor Roosevelt, You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life, first published 28 January 1960 <> [accessed 24 October 2020]

[20] Duncan Foster, ed., Leadership & Ethics, One Hundred Hints for Company Officers, Australian Army, The Cove, 16 October 2020 <> [accessed 30 October 2020]

[21] Marcus Aurelius, in full Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, original name (until 161 ce) Marcus Annius Verus, (born 26 April, 121 ce, Rome [Italy]—died March 17, 180, Vindobona [Vienna, Austria] or Sirmium, Pannonia), Roman emperor (161–180 ce), best known for his Meditations on Stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius has symbolised for many generations in the West the Golden Age of the Roman Empire Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations, 5.20, 167 A.C.E. <> [accessed 28 June 2020]…Now it is true that these may impede my action, but they are no impediments to my affects and disposition, which have the power of acting conditionally and changing: for the mind converts and changes every hindrance to its activity into an aid; and so that which is a hindrance is made a furtherance to an act; and that which is an obstacle on the road helps us on this road.

[22] Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations, 5.33, 167 A.C.E <> [accessed 12 February 2021]

[23] Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations, 10.4, 167 A.C.E [accessed 12 February 2021]

[24] Nikki Hood, 'Best Is The Standard' more than just a phrase to Brent Venables, TigerNet, 04 August 2014 <> [accessed 01 November 2020]

[25] Max DePree, Foreword by James O'Toole, Leadership Is An Art, Penguin Random House, 8 May 2004 <> [accessed 16 January 2021]  ... Max DePree, 1924-2017: was chairman emeritus of Herman Miller, Inc., a furniture business, where DePree was the primary innovator for sixty years and regularly included as one of Fortune’s 25 Most Admired Companies in the United States. The author of the bestselling Leadership Jazz, as well as Leading Without Power, Called to Serve, and Dear Zoe, DePree mentored emerging leaders in both the profit and non-profit sectors for more than twenty years, and was elected by Fortune magazine to the National Business Hall of Fame.

[26] Mike Allen, Rahm Emanuel on why mayors matter, Axios Media, Politics & Policy, 24 February 2020 <> [accessed  22 May 2020]

[27] Epictetus, The Discourses, Book 2, Chapter 1, 108 AD  <> [accessed 18 October 2020]

[28] Epictetus, The Discourses, Book 3, Chapter 12, 108 AD  <> [accessed 18 October 2020]

[29] The Times of India, Congress President Sure To Spark New Love of Work: Indira Gandhi, Mumbai, India, 08 February 1959, p. 6

[30] Penguin Books, 12 of the best Ernest Hemingway quotes, Penguin Books Limited, A Penguin Random House Company, 2021 <> [accessed 23 January 2021]  .... Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), born in Oak Park, Illinois, started his career as a writer in a newspaper office in Kansas City at the age of seventeen. After the United States entered the First World War, he joined a volunteer ambulance unit in the Italian army. Serving at the front, he was wounded, was decorated by the Italian Government, and spent considerable time in hospitals. After his return to the United States, he became a reporter for Canadian and American newspapers and was soon sent back to Europe to cover such events as the Greek Revolution.

During the twenties, Hemingway became a member of the group of expatriate Americans in Paris, which he described in his first important work, The Sun Also Rises (1926). Equally successful was A Farewell to Arms (1929), the study of an American ambulance officer’s disillusionment in the war and his role as a deserter. Hemingway used his experiences as a reporter during the civil war in Spain as the background for his most ambitious novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Among his later works, the most outstanding is the short novel, The Old Man and the Sea (1952), the story of an old fisherman’s journey, his long and lonely struggle with a fish and the sea, and his victory in defeat.

Hemingway – himself a great sportsman – liked to portray soldiers, hunters, bullfighters – tough, at times primitive people whose courage and honesty are set against the brutal ways of modern society, and who in this confrontation lose hope and faith. His straightforward prose, his spare dialogue, and his predilection for understatement are particularly effective in his short stories, some of which are collected in Men Without Women (1927) and The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938). Hemingway died in Idaho in 1961.  Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967 - Ernest Hemingway, Biographical, Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969 <> [accessed 23 January 2021]

[31] 3rd Brigade, Australian Army, The Major and Sergeant Major Leadership Team, Townsville, Queensland, 27 January 2016, p. 3 <> [accessed 10 August 2020]

[32] Father William Strickland, S.J., 1863, Quote Investigator, A Man May Do an Immense Deal of Good, If He Does Not Care Who Gets the Credit - Benjamin Jowett? Father Strickland? William T. Arnold? Harry Truman? Ronald Reagan? Charles Edward Montague? Edward Everett Hale? <> [accessed 10 August 2020]

[33] Vince Lombardi, Motivation Lombardi Style, Celebrating Excellence Publishing, first edition, 1998

[34] Vince Lombardi, What It Takes To Be Number #1: Vince Lombardi on Leadership, McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing, 2003 &, Famous Quotes by Vince Lombardi, Family of Vince Lombardi c/o Luminary Group LLC, 2020 <> [accessed 10 August 2020]

[35] Internet Movie Database, (, The Magnificent Seven – Quotes, an Amazon Company, 1960 <> [accessed 24 September 2020]

[36] Gabrielle Reece, Author, Athlete, Spokeswoman, Mom, Wife – Biography, 2020 <> [accessed 11 October 2020]

[37] The Tim Ferriss Show Transcripts, Episode 89: Laird Hamilton, Gabrielle Reece, Brian MacKenzie, Copyright © 2007–2018 Tim Ferriss, p. 48 <> [accessed 11 October 2020]

[38] Mckay Coppins, The Liberation of Mitt Romney, The Atlantic, 20 October 2020 <> [accessed 06 August 2020]

[39] Field Marshal The Viscount Slim, Address to Officer Cadets Of The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, United Kingdom, 14 October 1952 <> [accessed 13 December 2020]



Chris Field

Major General Chris Field is Deputy Commanding General, Operations, US Army Central.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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