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General Nick Halley Gives First Keynote Address At ISM Conference

ISM's 93rd Annual International Supply Management Conference

St. Louis, MO
May 2008


General Nick Halley

One wouldn't think that someone who has been in hand-to-hand combat would be impressed with leadership skills of mere civilians. But that is not the case with Brigadier General Nick Halley, who gave the first keynote speech at the 93rd Annual International Supply Management Conference and Educational Exhibit in St. Louis on Sunday, May 4.

While speaking to a packed crowd of more than 1,000 people, the retired Halley said that at least 90 percent of the leadership skills he sees in corporate leaders would also apply to the military leaders.

For his presentation, Halley concentrated on three key principles of leadership. They were:

Control Your Ego. Many potentially great leaders sabotage themselves, he said. He told a story about how he was in Iraq in a battle zone, and asked the sergeant who traveled with him if he could help put up a pup tent. He was politely told that it would take 20 minutes instead of 10, if the general helped out.

Be a Good Listener. "If you can't be a good listener, you can't be a good leader," he said. During his career, he got expert advice from many unexpected sources. It is critical for a good leader to be responsive, and to listen to any advice from a person in your organization. But be cautious about hidden agendas, he adds.

Leadership by Example. Everyone under you watches what you do, he said. If people don't see you as a leader in their hearts, you will have limited success. He gave an example from the Vietnam War; a North Vietnam captain who led a charge against Halley's troops, even after his leg had been blown off.

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