Stand Your Ground: Building Honorable Leaders the West Point Way / Edition 1

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Overview

West Point is the ideal laboratory for studying the dynamics of character, honor, and leadership: first, it operates a comprehensive honor education and enforcement program that has been subjected to rigorous Congressional scrutiny; second, it builds all of its academic, athletic, and military programs on this bedrock of honor. As a result, West Point invests heavily in mentoring, training, and evaluation to ensure the leadership and character development of its 4,000 cadets. From Civil War General Robert E. Lee to astronaut Edwin E. Buzz Aldrin to basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, West Point has groomed leaders whose contributions far exceed the successful management of their immediate charges. By illuminating the principles by which West Point teaches leadership, Stand Your Ground not only provides a unique tour behind the scenes at this revered institution, but, more generally, imparts lessons of honor and character-building that can be adopted by any aspiring leader.

Management professor and West Point graduate Evan Offstein approached leaders at the U.S. Military Academy and the Department of the Army with two primary questions: (1) How does West Point develop its leaders?; (2) Can other individuals and organizations apply these methods effectively? Two years later, after conducting extensive on-site research at West Point and with business leaders in a variety of industries, he offers unprecedented access to the process of leadership development at West Point, and practical insights that can, indeed, be applied in any type of organization that strives to operate on the principle of integrity.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[O]ne of the most relevant and applicable responses to recent leadership breakdowns at such places as Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, and Abu Ghraib….[S]tand Your Ground delivers a message that began with our founding fathers, but which has been silenced in the last several years. In Stand Your Ground, Offstein provides compelling evidence that true leadership is first built on honor and that future leadership lapses well chronicled in the recent episodes occurring at Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, and GlobalCrossing, could never again occur if West Point's model of honorable leadership development is followed. Given the almost limitless amount of leadership books that offer hollow promises and which have accomplished little to improve our current state of leadership, Offstein's Stand Your Ground stands apart as one of the choice few books capable of transforming leaders at all levels and across organizations."

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PR Newswire US

"Drawing on research he conducted at the United States Military Academy at West Point and with business leaders in a variety of industries, Offstein gives access to the process of leadership development at West Point and offers insights that can be applied in any type of organization that strives to operate on the principle of integrity."

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Reference & Research Book News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275991432
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/30/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

EVAN H. OFFSTEIN is Assistant Professor in the Department of Management at Frostburg State University. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and a former military intelligence officer, he also served as an Instructor in the Department of Management, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). He has published articles on leadership, management, and corporate competitiveness in such journals as Business Communication Quarterly, the Journal of Managerial Psychology, the Journal of Engineering and Technology Management and Human Resource Management Review.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : the benchmark
1 Secure the high ground 1
2 Antennae up, antennae on 13
3 Wash away the gray 23
4 Be big about small things 37
5 Go all in! 55
6 Who's got your back? 73
7 Imagine that 89
8 Views from the top 105
App. 1 Research methodology 127
App. 2 West Point fact sheet 131
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2006

    Recommended Reading for Leaders & Organizations

    In the wake of corporate scandals such as Enron, Global Crossing, WorldCom, Tyco and many more it is not surprising to see the emergence of books focused on the subject of ethics. Bookshelves are already over-packed with books on leadership, so it may seem only natural that these two subjects would become linked. However, Dr. Evan H. Offstein takes on a slightly unique angle in his book, Stand Your Ground: Building Honorable Leaders the West Point Way. Offstein, a West Point graduate, former Army officer, and now college professor, conducted a study over the course of two years to learn how the United States Military Academy develops its young leaders and how other organizations could apply the same principles and tactics. The result is an interesting read that presents time-tested lessons over the academy¿s 200 year history that are just as relevant today as when Robert E. Lee or MacArthur roamed the fields above the Hudson Valley and can be employed either in the military or in civilian sector. West Point is used as the benchmark for honorable leadership because it is ¿the ideal laboratory for exploring principles of leadership¿ considering that leadership is woven into every aspect of its culture. One cadet describes the four-year experience as a ¿hyper-competitive¿ environment. The author points out that ¿highly competitive people thrown into an extreme performance culture, is a recipe for individual and organizational ruin,¿ yet, comparatively speaking, West Point has little lying, cheating, or stealing. The question is why and how does the institution accomplish this? The book begins with a traditional approach to leadership, discussing how good leaders aspire to reach a higher moral ground regardless of the environment around them (Chapter 1, ¿Secure the High Ground¿). Numerous historical examples are used as well as experiences from cadets and faculty. Successive chapters outline how these young ¿leaders of character¿ are developed over their career. Some of the concepts may seem familiar to anyone that has studied leadership, such as surrounding yourself with other leaders of strong moral character (the chapter, ¿Who¿s Got Your Back?¿) or using role modeling or visualizing the outcome of decisions to reflect on the validity of the approach (the chapter, ¿Imagine That¿), but readers may find other chapters more personally challenging. For example, in Chapter 3, ¿Wash Away the Gray,¿ Offstein proposes that there are actually very few such things as ¿ethical dilemmas.¿ Instead, most situations are black and white, with an obvious morally correct choice, but our tendency to ¿rationalize¿ a decision to produce a more comfortable or personally desirable outcome is what sometimes clouds our thought process. Chapter 4, ¿Be Big About Small Things,¿ goes even further by asserting that there is very little difference, from an ethics perspective, about the scale of decisions. And building on this, Offstein contends in Chapter 5, ¿Going All In!¿ that there is no distinction between professional and personal lives for honorable leaders. It may be easy to dismiss some of the lessons or principles as utopian, but Offstein manages to convey his thoughts without being preachy. He is quick to point out that West Point and some of its graduates too had its share of scandals or examples of where the system had failed, but the response, and not over reaction, to these lapses also provides learning points. Offstein humbly admits his own shortcomings as a leader and reminds us that the lessons learned at West Point create a roadmap for a continuous climb to become what we aspire to. What is most interesting in the book are the numerous interviews conducted from Offstein¿s research. Unlike many popular titles on bookstore shelves, Offstein does not find examples of leadership from well-known historic figures. Instead, the lessons of honor and leadership come from young 19 and 20 year-old cadets readying the

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2009

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