Sunday, August 24, 2014

'Sisters' Debunks 'Weaker Sex' Myth

Review by Bill Doughty
The fight for women's equality in the United States began before the Civil War. Jean H. Baker's "Sisters: The Lives of America's Suffragists" pumps blood into the story of five key women who fought for women, especially after the war  leading eventually to the ratification of the 19th Amendment August 26, 1920. Baker takes us into the streets, the conference halls, minds and occasionally even the bedrooms of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Frances Willard, Lucy Stone and Alice Paul.

Baker achieves her goal. She virtually brings to life the women who are otherwise "homogenized into stiff icons of feminized democracy." And, through biographies of each leader, Baker also brings to life the history of the pursuit of equal rights for women in the United States. Why these five activists and why so private?
"There were other prominent suffrage leaders, but I have chosen these five because I believe them to be indispensable. Not only did they found and lead the national organizations that served as surrogate political parties for women before 1920, they also provided a network of leadership that shaped the goals of this first wave of American feminists. The excision of these women's private lives has often made it seem that the politics of organized suffrage summarized the entirety of their existence. For them the political seemingly became the personal."
One or more of the five women introduced by Baker experience imprisonment, are pelted with eggs, have heartbreak in and out of marriage, experience postpartum depression, live with an eating disorder, fight for birth control, and are rejected by clerics and other male-dominated institutions. Yet they stand up, speak out and in later years go out to demonstrate in the face of hate and prejudice.

Often single-mindedly and always with strong commitment, these feminists struggled for a woman's right to vote, which they saw as a universal right guaranteed by the founders in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. Only the ability to vote, they knew, would guarantee "consent of the governed."
Susan B. Anthony said, "Woman needs the ballot as a protection to herself; it is a means and not an end. Until she gets it she will not be satisfied, nor shall she be protected." Women should have a right to choose their destiny.

Baker quotes Elizabeth Cady Stanton: "In a government that denied women the right to vote, 'All laws which place [woman] in a position inferior to that of man are contrary to that great precept of nature and therefore no force or authority.'"

Liberty as a natural right for all humans propelled the passage of the 15th Amendment, giving blacks the right to vote – but only black males. True equality would take another hundred years with the civil rights movement that culminated under Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s.

Several of the women in "Sisters" were contemporaries of, or knew, Frederick Douglass. Each of the women were either abolitionists or supporters of greater rights for former slaves. In the case of Willard, a faith-based religious crusade against alcohol became as important as the fight for universal suffrage. Yet she had an ambivalence toward the rights of African Americans.
"In the 1890s Willard's limited commitment to racial equality foundered on the lynching issue. She opposed the terrorist, extrajudicial process of lynching black men in vigilante actions in the South. On the other hand she refused to join the campaign of Ida Wells, a young black journalist and activist who worked to arouse sympathy for black victims by making the case that they were innocent ... Willard's aspirations never had room for the divisive issue of race, and for that she provoked the anger of not just Wells but [also] reformers like Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison and Julia Ward Howe."
One hundred years ago in August 1914 President Woodrow Wilson preached for more democracy across the world as the First World War began. But he initially aborted any attempts at equality for women at home. Alice Paul confronted him through civil disobedience, political pressure and logical reasoning and forced him to support women's right to vote.
"Indubitably Alice Paul was the most implacable, the most single-minded, the most original, the most self-sacrificing, and the most overlooked of twentieth century feminists. Implementing the doctrine of the British militants – 'Deeds, not Words' – she became the necessary culmination of what had begun at Seneca Falls in 1848. The day after her parade, while Washington celebrated the ritual activities of a presidential inauguration (though Wilson had declined an inaugural ball, believing it simply an occasion to show off 'feminine clothes'), the indefatigable Alice Paul and a few of her lieutenants were already at work organizing the first suffrage delegations to the White House, 'deputations' that would plague the president."
Alice Paul
Anthony, Stanton, Stone and Willard died years before women received the right to vote, but Alice Paul was only 35 in 1920. She had taken the struggle directly to President Wilson and won. According to Baker, "By his early opposition, later avoidance, and tepid final support on the grounds of expediency, Wilson destroyed any claim on posterity that he had expanded democracy at home or abroad."

Paul dedicated the rest of her life to promoting the Equal Rights Amendment. She died in 1977.

Read this book to discover some of the personal and private details of the suffragist's lives – as children, young women and iconic leaders in old age. Their story is part of an extended struggle from the American Revolution, to the emancipation of slaves, and through the modern civil rights movement, setting the stage for future successes of women such as Althea Gibson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Mead, Sandra Day O'Connor, Margaret Sanger, Rear Adm. "Amazing" Grace Hopper, Rosa Parks, Gloria Steinem, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, and Adm. Michelle Howard.

The Department of Defense announced that August 26, 2014 is to be commemorated as Women's Equality Day with the theme, "Celebrating Women's Right to Vote." 

Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony statue by Pepsy Kettvong, Rochester, New York.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Wizard of Oz & Navy Core Values

by Bill Doughty

"The Wonderful World of Oz," written by L. Frank Baum of Coronado, Calif. and first published in 1900, was popular with children in its time but is no match for the movie, first released in 1939. The movie celebrates its 75th anniversary this weekend.

Both the movie and the film inspired a number of theories about its symbolism and allegory.

Is Baum's story about the gold standard, geo-politics, religion, industrialization and/or populism? Or is it just a good story, as Baum claimed, written solely to bring happiness to children as a "modernized fairy tale"?

In 2003 then Rear Adm. Andrew M. Singer* gave a Navy Birthday speech in Sierra Vista, Arizona. His remarks formed the themes in the movie around Navy and Marine Corps core values.
Andrew M. Singer, Intelligence Chair, Naval Postgraduate School
Singer said the movie has a message that exemplifies honor, courage and commitment.

The scarecrow, tin man and lion searched for what they already had: a brain, a heart, the nerve. 

Realization of our innate abilities comes with the journey. With that knowledge comes the ability to make good choices. Singer said, "If you think to do the right thing, you'll do the right thing."

In the movie, the diverse individuals form a team and complete their journey thanks to Dorothy's vision and leadership. [Baum was an advocate for women's rights, marrying the daughter of a suffragist. Incidentally, Baum died in 1919, just one year before the 19th Amendment was ratified giving women throughout the United States the right to vote.]
Singer links the key phrase in the movie, "there's no place like home," with the military's mission to protect the country.

At Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, Marines learn about core values with a special emphasis on the courage to uphold high standards, make good decisions and seek to continuously self improve.

According to senior drill instructor Sgt. Joshua P. McGeewhat's important is having self-discipline to do the right thing. “It’s like the cowardly lion in the ‘Wizard of Oz.’ He wanted to be courageous. He wanted to change,” said McGee. “A positive change in our lives takes moral courage.”

McGee said courage is “the moral, mental and physical strength to do what is right; to adhere to a higher standard of personal conduct and to make tough decisions under stress and pressure.”

Among the metaphors and lessons waiting to be discovered or repurposed in Oz are many used by the business community, even internationally.

Brandstorm consultant John Lloyd of South Africa writes, in his essay "Leadership Lessons from the Wizard of Oz," about courage in the face of fear:

"Fear immobilizes us. It’s an obstacle to success and makes us followers instead of leaders. It diminishes our initiative, enthusiasm and desire to succeed. At the end of the movie when the Lion is awarded his medal for courage, he still felt the fear but understood that even courageous people feel fear. He thought that he was courageous and consequently he became so. His medal became an outward validation for an inner change."

Lloyd quotes Winston Churchill: "Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend." And, he reminds us of Franklin D. Roosevelt's post-Great Depression statement: ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

"So the three distinct qualities you need to be an effective leader are a never-ending commitment to improving your knowledge, heartfelt compassion for others and the courage to face your every fear," Lloyd writes.

In the same year L. Frank Baum published "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" (1900), he produced a pair of picture books illustrated by Harry (Otis) Kennedy – "The Navy Alphabet" and "The Army Alphabet."

For more about Baum and the alphabet books, read Bill Cambell's insightful blog, The Oz Enthusiast.

Of interest in "The Navy Alphabet" is the illustration and verse showing the Hawaii, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines under O for Ocean.

"The Wizard of Oz" is a bridge from Grimm and Andersen to more modern fantasy of J.R.R. Tolkien ("Lord of the Rings") and George R.R. Martin ("Game of Thrones").

One moral of the Oz story is repeated in some of the best of the genre: True power rests within the individual – whether they know it or not – and sometimes those in power rely on ignorance and fear to deceive people. There is always a need for ethical behavior exemplified in the core values of honor, courage and commitment.

So, who has the courage for "emancipation leadership"? (see the next Navy Reads post, "Turn the Ship Around!")

(*Rear Adm. Singer began his career aboard USS Midway (CV 41) in Yokosuka, Japan in 1978, where he became a surface warfare officer. Later he became a naval cryptologist, with assignments on the East Coast and in the Pacific. He completed his career in uniform after serving as Director for Intelligence at U.S. Pacific Command at Camp Smith, Hawaii. He now serves as Intelligence Chair at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

'Turn the Ship Around!' Emancipation Leadership

Review by Bill Doughty

Here's a paradox:

More leadership creates more unthinking followership; less top-down leadership creates more engaged leadership – at every level of an organization.
How can a Navy leader build trust, ownership, competency and passion in their workforce?  "Tap into the existing energy of the command, discover the strengths, and remove barriers to further progress." That's the advice of L. David Marquet, Captain, U.S. Navy (retired), author of "Turn the Ship Around: A true story of Turning Followers into Leaders," published in 2012 and added this year to the CNO's Professional Reading Program as an essential Navy read under "Be Ready."

Marquet takes us aboard the nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) and shows us how his leader-leader philosophy succeeded over a traditional top-down, do-as-I-say focus on procedures rather than objectives and goals.

Among his revelations, in no particular order:

  • Learning is better than training.
  • "Control without competence is chaos."
  • To change the organization, "change the genetic code."
  • Celebrate the workforce's or individual's success immediately.
  • Communicate goals and intents all the time at every level.
  • Find the courage to change and tolerate (and learn from) failure.
  • "Encourage dissent and a questioning attitude over blind obedience."
  • "Take deliberate action" – no autopilot nonthinking.
  • Celebrate the organization's legacy and traditions.
  • Eliminate top-down monitoring systems and administrative disincentives.
  • Don't brief; instead, certify.
  • "Giving control is a deliberate act of courage."
As Captain of Santa Fe, Marquet discovered that the old top-down leader-follower model was a disincentive to ownership and eroded the authority of the chief petty officers, who are generally recognized as the backbone of the Navy's chain of command, especially at the deckplates.

With less authority and responsibility, chiefs lost "eyeball accountability." But, with Marquet, "Being the chief would no longer mean a position of privilege but a position of accountability, responsibility and work." His pillars are control (give control), competence, clarity and courage.

Under the new paradigm, leaders at all levels moved from a focus of avoiding errors to achieving goals and objectives in order to become "truly exceptional."
In 2000, Stephen Covey rode USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) with then CDR Marquet.
Marquet was inspired by Stephen R. Covey ("7 Habits for Highly Effective People"), who stressed, "begin with the end in mind." Covey writes in the introduction: "My definition of leadership is this: Leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves. I don't know of a finer model of this kind of empowering leadership than Captain Marquet's."

In fact, Marquet moves beyond empowerment, preferring the term "emancipation," allowing the natural tendency of the individual to have freedom and control over their destiny and to be part of the greater whole.

Another author who influenced his thinking is G. Edwards Deming ("Out of Crisis"), father of Total Quality Management and Total Quality Leadership. Deming believed that people have an inherent desire to do a good job, but processes often get in their way. To improve performance, improve the processes. Marquet writes:
"This had a big effect on me. It showed me how efforts to improve the process made the organization more efficient, while efforts to monitor the process made the organization less efficient. What I hadn't understood was the pernicious effect that 'we are checking up on you' has on initiative, vitality and passion until I saw it on Santa Fe."
Marquet asks, "How many top-down management systems are in play within your organization. How can you eliminate them?"

Santa Fe's creed, included in this book, is a work of art. The ship's guiding principles under Marquet are clear and concise. This leadership bible includes lists of before and after – reenlistments, retention, advancement, qualifications and certifications – that demonstrate the success of the leader-leader philosophy. His "don't do this, do this" list is a great snapshot reminder that I intend to keep at my desk.

"Turn the Ship Around!" begins, "Our greatest struggle is within ourselves. Whatever sense we have of thinking we know something is a barrier to continued learning."

Reading, thinking, learning and listening can help us achieve what Marquet discovered: "A truly better way for humans to interact."

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Is Singapore the Israel in 'Asia's Cauldron'?

Review by Bill Doughty
In "Asia's Cauldron" Robert D. Kaplan combines insights from his "Monsoon" and "The Revenge of Geography" and shows where the future is unfolding, per his subtitle: "The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific."

Kaplan gives us a priceless short history of the region. He describes the landscape and maritime environment in the context of global power politics as he draws parallels – for example, between Singapore, a key ally in the region, and Israel; both nations were created in the past century. In the case of the more ethnically diverse Singapore:
"It was thrown out of a Malay-dominated federation in the 1960s because Singapore's leaders insisted on a multiethnic meritocracy. Thus, Singapore found itself alone amid a newly constituted and hostile Malaysia, which controlled Singapore's access to freshwater, while a pro-communist Indonesian demographic behemoth was breathing down Singapore's neck. Singapore was as small and alone in its region as Israel was in its; it was no irony that Israel played a large role in training Singapore's armed forces."
"While Singapore has only 3.3 million citizens, it boasts an air force the same size as Australia's, whose population is 23 million. 'Like the Israelis, the Singaporeans believe in air superiority. They pay their pilots well. they have AWACS,' a defense official from a neighboring country told me. In addition to its one hundred or so fighter jets, Singapore has twenty missile-carrying ships, six frigates, and, notably, six submarines – an extraordinary number given that far more populous countries in the region like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam have fewer."
PEARL HARBOR (June 24, 2014) Republic of Singapore frigate RSS Intrepid (F 69) moors to the pier at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014 exercise, which concluded Aug. 1. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tiarra Fulgham/Unreleased)

Other countries get the Israel comparison treatment, too, including Taiwan, which Kaplan says has survived because of "feverish, innovative diplomacy":  "More isolated than the Israelis, the Taiwanese were less bitter about it. No one in Taipei had chips on their shoulder. It was a place you instantly liked."

Kaplan finds other parallels with people and geography. The Caribbean of previous centuries is compared with the South China Sea, and "the South China Sea is the Mitteleuropa (German for Central Europe) of the twenty-first century." Kaplan describes the years leading up to World War I when Kaiser Wilhelm II built up his navy as President Theodore Roosevelt was anxious to prevent "a strong Germany from replacing a weak Spain" near United States shores. Strategic thinking and naval advances led to the creation of the Panama Canal, which opened one hundred years ago this month, Aug. 15, 2014.

Mark Twain said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." Parallels and predictions are fraught with imperfections as history rhymes rather than repeats. Sometimes rhymes are beautiful sonnets, other times limericks.

"Future predictions are obviously dangerous because of the flaw of linear thinking: current trends rarely continue as they have in the past," Kaplan acknowledges.
Statue of Adm. Koxinga in Tainan, Taiwan
Reading Kaplan is like reading the best excerpts from the best books in the stacks of the best libraries. His bibliography weaves in such diverse sources as Aristotle, Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavelli, John Stuart Mill, Lee Kuan Yew, Barbara Tuchman, University of Hawaii historian Leonard Andaya, Joseph Conrad, Steven Pinker, Mingjiang Li and Jonathan Fenby.

Some interesting insights from "Asia's Cauldron," in random order:
  • Seventy percent of modern Taiwanese are part aboriginal, "Malay in origin."
  • The last three chiefs of the Malaysian Navy are graduates of the U.S. Naval War College.
  • Early Chinese explorer Cheng Kung, or Adm. Koxinga (feted in both mainland China and Taiwan) had a Japanese mother.
  • According to Kaplan: "After Singapore, postnational Malaysia, with all of its Islamic pretensions, is America's most reliable – albeit quietest – ally around the South China Sea (though Vietnam may soon surpass Malaysia in this regard)."
  • On Eastern and Western views: "The Western – and particularly the American – tendency is to be suspicious of power and central authority; whereas the Asian tendency is to worry about disorder."
  • Indo-Asia-Pacific: By 2050, seven of nine billion people in the world will live in Asia, the Middle East and East Africa.
  • The Philippines has an "aesthetic of material devastation" brought on, in part, according the Kaplan, by America's colonial blunder and Spain's colonization via Mexico in the Philippines.
Martial law declared Sept. 21, 1972.
The Philippines stands in in sharp contrast to the Asian tigers like Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, Kaplan says. The culture of corruption, bureaucracy and inequality in the distribution of wealth is a legacy perpetuated by former President Ferdinand Marcos and his First Lady Imelda Marcos.

American occupation of the Philippines that ended just over 100 years ago was seen as a "model of enlightenment," as Kaplan quotes Stanley Karnow, author of "In our Image."  Kaplan writes:
"The Philippines, in turn, affected the destiny of twentieth-century America to a degree that few faraway countries have. Ohio judge William Howard Taft's leadership of the Philippine Commission propelled him to the presidency of the United States. Army Captain John 'Black Jack' Pershing, who would head the expedition against Pancho Villa in Mexico and command American forces in World War I, was promoted to brigadier general over nine hundred other officers after his stellar performance in leading troops against Islamic insurgents in the southern Philippines. Douglas MacArthur, son of Army General Arthur MacArthur, came to the Philippines to command an American brigade and returned for a second tour of duty as the indigenous government's military advisor. One of Douglas MacArthur's aides in Manila was a middle-aged major, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who honed his analytical skills for World War II by attempting to organize a Philippine national army. The Japanese victory over General Douglas MacArthur's forces on the Philippines, MacArthur's last stand on Corregidor in Manila Bay before retreating to Australia, the subsequent Japanese atrocities committed against both American and Filipino prisoners of war during the Death March on the nearby Bataan Peninsula, and MacArthur's triumphal return to the Philippines in the battle of Leyte Gulf, all became part of the Homeric legend of World War II that bound Americans to their military, and gave the American and Filipino people's a common historical inheritance."
Gen. MacArthur inspects the beachhead at Leyte Gulf, Oct. 24, 1944.
The Philippines remains crucial, he says, in large part because of its location and potential. "And yet, despite a century's worth of vast annual outlays of American aid, the Philippines has remained among the most corrupt, dysfunctional, intractable, and poverty-stricken societies in maritime Asia, with Africa-like slums and Latin America-style fatalism and class divides." Kaplan makes no Israel comparisons with the Republic of the Philippines, instead raising the risk of the Philippines becoming "Finlandized" by China.

Read "Asia's Cauldron" to see Kaplan's recommendation for a nuanced approach to the region, to interaction with China and to debates about contested islands, rocks and shoals in the Pratas, Paracels and Spratleys. This book shows how the U.S. Navy is viewed by key nations throughout the region who are embracing capitalism and seeing the benefits of freedom, critical thinking, and cooperation.
A case for optimism in a world where history rhymes rather than repeats: "The sea, unlike land, creates clearly defined borders, and thus has the potential to reduce conflict ... It is because of the seas around East Asia that the twenty-first century has a better chance than the twentieth of avoiding great military conflagrations."

LUMUT, Malaysia (June 18, 2014) A sailor from the Royal Malaysian Navy shakes hands with a Sailor from the guided-missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) after playing the Malasian game takraw. Pinckney participated in exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014. 
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Tim Miller/Released)