No Substitute for Victory: Lessons in Strategy and Leadership from General Douglas MacArthur

No Substitute for Victory: Lessons in Strategy and Leadership from General Douglas MacArthur

by Theodore B. Kinni, Donna Kinni

General Douglas A. MacArthur's extraordinary life of leadership spanned three wars and more than six decades inside and outside the military. He defined principles of leadership that were decades ahead of their time: principles reflecting extraordinary wisdom about strategy, motivation, organization, execution, and personal growth. Now, Theodore and Donna


General Douglas A. MacArthur's extraordinary life of leadership spanned three wars and more than six decades inside and outside the military. He defined principles of leadership that were decades ahead of their time: principles reflecting extraordinary wisdom about strategy, motivation, organization, execution, and personal growth. Now, Theodore and Donna Kinni distill 52 powerful leadership lessons from MacArthur's life. On MacArthur's command, millions of American soldiers risked their lives. After winning the peace in World War II, he led 80 million citizens of Japan to embrace the most radical and successful cultural change any nation has ever achieved: the transformation from militaristic emperorship to modern democracy. Those extraordinary achievements arose directly from MacArthur's singular approach to leadership. This book reveals what MacArthur knew about defining victory and setting the right priorities for achieving it; building sleek, fast-response organizations; inspiring subordinates to unprecedented performance; focusing relentlessly on results; transforming organizational culture to value speed, knowledge, and honor; pursuing personal excellence; and winning.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With a focus on his role as Japan's proconsul following WWII, this collaboration from spouses Theodore Kinni (Future Focus) and former Kemper Securities v-p Donna Kinni makes good use of MacArthur's military career to elucidate 52 chapter-based business principles. Military history buffs will note that the section on strategy downplays MacArthur's failure to properly organize the evacuation of the Philippines garrison to the Bataan peninsula, and that the discussion of his leadership looks past his mostly loyalty-based minions. But the leavened, level-headed lessons that the Kinnis draw from the career, presented in the kind of clear, even prose absent from so many inspirational business books, make any hagiographic impulses less problematic. When the Kinnis note that "MacArthur's expectations... acted as a performance bond," they are talking less about the man than about the power of taking a firm position of belief and trust when asking someone to do something or collaborating. The book is full of small anecdotes that lead to larger lessons and for which one need not clamp a pipe between one's teeth or hide one's gaze behind aviator sunglasses (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Gen. Douglas MacArthur's extraordinary life of leadership spanned more than six decades in the military, education, public administration and business sectors. The five-star general, one of only five in U.S. Army history, defined principles of leadership that were decades ahead of their time: principles reflecting shrewdness and wisdom about strategy, motivation, organization, execution and personal growth.

This summary reveals what MacArthur knew about setting the right goals; building sleek, fast-response organizations; inspiring subordinates to unprecedented performance; focusing relentlessly on results; and winning. In No Substitute for Victory, Theodore and Donna Kinni distill powerful leadership lessons from MacArthur's life and career - lessons you can use, no matter where you lead and what you intend to accomplish.

The Great Commander
On Jan. 24, 1950, when the North Korean People's Army (NKPA) swarmed across the 38th parallel, South Korea and its allies were taken by surprise. By June 28, the South Korean capital of Seoul had fallen, and the defending army was in a state of collapse. The next day, MacArthur flew to Korea to see the situation firsthand.

The general and his party landed 20 miles south of Seoul at an airport that had been bombed by the North Koreans just hours before. He traveled by car to the Han River on Seoul's south side, to a point where enemy mortar shells were exploding approximately 100 yards away. Here, he stopped to examine the fighting and the deportment of the troops.

'Wrest Victory From Defeat'
Later, MacArthur described his thoughts while standing on the bank of the Han River. He said, "In these reflections the genesis of the Inchon operation began to take shape - a counterstroke that could in itself wrest victory from defeat." Thus, the conception of the Inchon invasion was firmly rooted in the famous precept that guided MacArthur's approach to command: "In war, there is no substitute for victory."

MacArthur chose the port city of Inchon for his counterattack, but it hardly seemed an auspicious choice. Inchon's 30-foot tides, second only to the Bay of Fundy, are so extreme that it would be accessible to the invasion's landing craft on only two days in September 1950. The daily tidal fluctuations further limited access to three-hour windows. Any delay or unexpected resistance from the North Koreans could easily strand the invaders. Also, Inchon was many miles behind the front lines. If the North Koreans could stop the existing U.N. forces from breaking out at Pusan, they could isolate and overwhelm the invasion force.

By the end of the invasion's first day, the U.S. Marines had captured a secure foothold at Inchon - roughly 150 miles behind the main body of the NKPA and the hotly contested front lines of the Korean War.

This was a catastrophic surprise to the North Koreans. As U.S. troops and supplies streamed ashore, the NKPA's supply lines were cut from behind, and the enemy army found itself trapped. When the North Koreans turned to face the threat to their rear, the pressure eased on the U.N. forces, which had been bottled up behind the Pusan perimeter, the final 100-mile-by-50-mile foothold in the southeastern corner of the Korean peninsula. South Korea's defenders launched a full-fledged offensive and broke out.

The North Korean army was soon decimated. In September, the U.N. Command recorded 130,000 enemy captured and 200,000 enemy casualties. It was estimated that only 25,000 NKPA troops made it back above the 38th parallel. Winston Churchill called it "a perfect job."

The initial goal of the war, the liberation of South Korea, was accomplished in short order. On Sept. 29, MacArthur formally restored Seoul to the Republic of Korea President Syngman Rhee. By the final week of October, the U.N. forces, under the command of MacArthur, had occupied the North Korean capital of Pyongyang and had reached as far as Chosan, a city on the Yalu River - the border between North Korea and Communist China.

Leadership Incarnate
As dramatic and successful as Inchon was, it remains just one event in a life of leadership. MacArthur held an impressive array of top leadership positions in a variety of disciplines - including the military, public administration, education, sports and business.

MacArthur's accomplishments as a leader in many positions and disciplines suggest that his principles and approach can be effective in a wide range of organizations. The longevity of his career, the diversity of its circumstances and the magnitude of the changes his world underwent suggest that lessons derived from his experiences can be relevant to today's leaders. Copyright © 2005 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

—Soundview Summary

Product Details

FT Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.99(d)

Read an Excerpt

IntroductionIntroductionWhat Leaders Can Learn From MacArthur

I never met General Douglas MacArthur, but it seems like he has always been a presence in my life. As a boy, I was spellbound by my uncle's stories of World War II. He served with the First Cavalry Division during the liberation of the Philippines, and the pride my uncle had in the accomplishments of his unit and its association with the General ran deep below the surface of his well-deserved bravado.

Later, as a history major in college, I studied the operations in the Pacific during World War II and gained a great respect for MacArthur's strategic genius. When I was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps in 1966, I first visited the MacArthur Memorial while attending the Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. It was after my retirement as Deputy Director of the Marine Corps History and Museums, when I became Director of The MacArthur Memorial and Executive Director of The General Douglas MacArthur Foundation, that I came to be immersed in all things MacArthur and gained my greatest appreciation for the man who President Ronald Reagan called "an authentic American hero."

General MacArthur was one of our nation's preeminent military leaders. During World War II, he was one of only five people to earn the grade of General of the Army. The longevity of his military leadership career has rarely been equaled. With the exception of a short interlude just prior to World War II, he served continuously in the United States Army from his plebe year at West Point in 1899 until his recall in 1951. From 1918 onward, for over 30 years, he was a general officer with ever increasing command responsibilities.

His military accomplishments are just as formidable as his longevity. MacArthur served as an observer or participant in twenty campaigns in six wars. He was a courageous combat leader in World War I, an instrumental figure in the winning of World War II, and the architect of the Amphibious Assault at Inchon—an operation that turned the course of the Korean War. MacArthur was one of our nation's most decorated officers, earning myriad awards from the Medal of Honor to more than 60 foreign decorations. Winston Churchill thought him the best American commander of World War II.

MacArthur was also one of those rare leaders whose abilities transcended his chosen profession. His statesmanship was proven in the Philippines, Australia, and most notably, during his stewardship over the 80 million citizens of postwar Japan, where it can be truly said that he helped win the peace. He proved his administrative abilities as U.S. Army Chief of Staff during the Great Depression and as Superintendent of U.S. Military Academy at West Point in the early 1920s. Many regard him as the father of today's West Point for his efforts to modernize the academy after World War I.

MacArthur's leadership accomplishments did not stop there. He led the U.S. Olympic team to victory in the 1928 Summer Games. And, in the last decade of his life, he became a corporate leader, as chairman of the board at Remington Rand, Inc. and then, Sperry Rand Corp., and a noted spokesperson for American business.

MacArthur's story makes fascinating and dramatic historical reading, but is it relevant to current and aspiring leaders? The answer, as you'll see in the pages to come, is a resounding affirmative. As MacArthur himself believed and demonstrated, history is our greatest teacher. Although the passing of time often renders tactics and technologies ineffective, the underlying principles on which they are based tend to remain sound. That is why I believe that the 50 lessons in strategy and leadership derived from MacArthur's life and career are as important today as they were in the century past.

Before you leap into those lessons, I'd like to offer you three foundational components of successful long-term leadership that are reiterated throughout this book and observed in MacArthur's life and career. They are values, vision, and proficiency.

Great leadership is first and foremost moral leadership. Values are the guideposts by which a leader determines the boundaries of a proper course of action. Repeatedly throughout history, we have seen what happens when sound leadership values are subverted. The most recent example is the financial scandals that followed the economic boom of the late 1990s, when the pursuit of personal reward superceded integrity.

MacArthur's leadership example is one that was securely tethered to values and even 40 years after his death, these values continue to be closely associated with him. They are Duty, Honor, and Country—the West Point credo and the cornerstone of our nation's military leadership.

Duty is the duty to your organization, to those you lead, and to those you follow. Honor is the imperative of personal integrity. Country is the support in word and deed of the principles on which our nation is based. These are values that can provide a firm foundation for the leaders of any organization, and I urge you to adopt and rigorously practice them.

Vision is second component of long-term leadership effectiveness. Successful leaders must be visionaries in order to set a course of action. They must be able to see beyond the daily turmoil and understand the bigger picture. Without a visionary leader, an organization is condemned to forever react.

In this book, you will see how MacArthur was always looking forward—attempting to grasp the challenges looming ahead and formulating strategies capable of overcoming them. Like all great military commanders, he abhorred a passive defense and was always envisioning methods to turn the tide and grasp the offensive. The invasion at Inchon, as you will see in Chapter 1, was a notable example of how a leader's vision can transform a losing proposition into a decisive victory.

The final foundational component of long-term leadership effectiveness is proficiency. Leaders must be highly proficient in order to successfully execute a course of action. They must be lifelong learners and relentless practitioners of their craft. They must hone all of the skills and talents needed to succeed and bring them to bear on whatever tasks they choose to undertake.

The lessons in this book describe many of the skills and talents required of leaders. You will see why they are important and how MacArthur developed and practiced them. You will also get a glimpse into MacArthur's many achievements and see how his success was enabled by concentrated study and hard work. Certainly there are those who are born to lead, and you can make a good case that MacArthur was one of them. But leaders, including MacArthur, will never achieve their full potential unless they build their proficiency.

Values, vision, and proficiency—these are key elements of leadership excellence and organizational victory. It is my hope that General MacArthur's example inspires and assists you in your quest to achieve both. Enjoy the book, come visit the MacArthur Memorial, and thank you for supporting The General Douglas MacArthur Foundation!

William J. Davis, Colonel, USMC (Retired)
Director, The MacArthur Memorial Executive Director, The General Douglas MacArthur Foundation Norfolk, Virginia

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Meet the Author

Theodore and Donna Kinni have written 11 business books. They are co-authors of 1,001 Ways to Keep Customers Coming Back and Ayn Rand and Business, as well as ghostwriters of books for consultants, speakers, and Fortune 500 companies, including Be Our Guest for the Disney Company. Their books have explored subjects ranging from leadership, marketing and sales, and strategy to customer service, manufacturing, and idea generation. They are the founders of The Business Reader, a business-to-business bookseller based in Williamsburg, VA. Theodore has served as contributing editor at IndustryWeek, Quality Digest, and Workforce Training News. He has written more than 100 published articles on business topics, including cover stories for Across the Board, Training, and Harvard Management Update. He was editor of The Business Reader Review for five years and his business book reviews have appeared in a variety of publications, including Publisher's Weekly. He is a member of The National Book Critics Circle.

About the General Douglas MacArthur Foundation

The General Douglas MacArthur Foundation was established in 1962 to promote the ideals of Duty-Honor-Country and commemorate the achievements and life of General MacArthur. It is a non-profit corporation chartered in the state of Virginia. The Foundation provides financial support for the operations and programs of the MacArthur Memorial and Archives in Norfolk, VA and sponsors programs and awards designed to stimulate leadership effectiveness, personal achievement, and historical scholarship.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >