Aim High: Chart Your Course and Find Success

Aim High: Chart Your Course and Find Success

Aim High: Chart Your Course and Find Success

Aim High: Chart Your Course and Find Success


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Dysfunction abounds in America in so many ways, from continuous turbulent change in the business environment, to a US federal government polarized by an inability to compromise and fulfill its historic missions, to personal levels where even deeper and darker levels of dysfunction reside within our colleagues, families, friends, and ourselves. Can any of us survive and thrive against such a backdrop of unsettledness and anxiety? Deborah Lee James wants to help us try.

As the 23rd Secretary and the “CEO” of the male-dominated US Air Force (only the second woman to lead a US military service), Secretary Deborah Lee James led a force of 660,000 people and managed a $139 billion budget—larger than the GDP of more than 120 countries. In the midst of unprecedented political dysfunction in Washington, she faced down enormous challenges, including preparing military women and men to fight terror in the Middle East, combatting sexual assault in the military, and responding to a crisis in the nuclear enterprise.

In Aim High: Chart Your Course and Find Success, Deborah James shares her personal and professional challenges, outcomes, strategies for success, and the problem-solving principles she used to overcome the daunting pressures, threats, and challenges that come with rising to the top of the US Armed Forces. As a supplement to her storytelling, Bain and Company, a top-tier management consulting firm, offers research and statistics that prove James’ insights have widespread impact.

The book offers an insider’s view on how things really work in Washington—and how the author’s five-step, repeatable problem-solving approach can work in any walk of life.

As a mother and wife, Deborah James carried her insights and problem-solving skills home. For women in similar circumstances, her story will provide a powerful guidebook for excelling in both public and private life, and ensuring that their battles can be won and their challenges overcome.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781642930344
Publisher: Post Hill Press
Publication date: 04/30/2019
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

As Secretary of the Air Force under President Obama, Deborah Lee James basically served as “CEO” of a 660,000-person, $139 billion enterprise. She also held both staff and P&L positions at defense contractor giant SAIC, and today leverages all of her experience to advise within the world of the Boardroom.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Introduction xi

Chapter 1 The Bluf 1

Part 1 Chart And Navigate Your Course

Chapter 2 Make a Plan A, But Prepare to Zig-Zag 11

Chapter 3 Be Part of Something Big 17

Chapter 4 Get a Mentor, Be a Mentor, Build Your Network 23

Chapter 5 Hang In There with Positivity 31

Chapter 6 Learn, Evolve, Reinvent 45

Chapter 7 Lead a Full Life Beyond Work 53

Part 2 Lead And Inspire Teams

Chapter 8 Speak Up and Listen Deeply 67

Chapter 9 Role Model Ethical Behavior 79

Chapter 10 Put People First 86

Chapter 11 Play to Your Strengths Within a Great Team 94

Part 3 Get Things Done

Chapter 12 Becoming SECAF 113

Chapter 13 Case Study 1: The Nuclear Enterprise 120

Chapter 14 Case Study 2: Fighting Sexual Assault and Harassment 136

Chapter 15 Case Study 3: Making the Air Force More Diverse 151

Chapter 16 Case Study 4: Supporting Pilots Who Don't Fly 165

Chapter 17 Case Study 5: Stop Doing Stuff 173

Chapter 18 The BLUF (Revisited) 184

Acknowledgments 191

Works Cited 193

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