After-Action Report: RVM #7 with Guy Snodgrass

This week’s guest speaker was Guy Snodgrass (USNA ’98), a highly-decorated F/A-18 pilot with 719 carrier landings under his belt, Masters degrees in both Nuclear Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Pentagon tour as Speechwriter to the Chief of Naval Operations, an at-sea squadron command tour… and former Director of Communications and Chief Speechwriter to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis.

Guess which one was Guy’s hardest job?

This experience is the basis of Guy’s book, Holding the Line: Inside Trump’s Pentagon with Secretary Mattispublished after his retirement from active duty. Guy gave us a personal tour through the material in this book, a sneak preview of his next one—packed with great leadership lessons, see here for an example—and also fielded a bunch of great questions.

Here’s one: what was the one thing Guy learned from General Mattis… the one thing that changed the way Guy approaches the world? Turns out there were three…

A tour of duty with General Mattis, distilled into three lessons.

As usual, there was a lot of great discussion throughout the Meetup. Much of it centered on the problem of rescuing failing organizations, particularly within the context of the COVID pandemic, which has revealed fragilities many firms had no idea they had.

Former USS OHIO skipper Brody Berkhout drew a fascinating parallel between the experience of the US Submarine Force during a period when it suffered more than its share of mishaps, and the plight of corporate America today. Brody’s message: there are opportunities for those of us who have weathered hard times in the past.

Watch and learn…

“Hiring managers want people who have been successful… but when there is a huge perturbation in the system, those people have no idea how to deal with it.”

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