4 Tactics to Lead the Charge

Publish Date: January 13, 2017


Ann Dunwoody

In the Army as the nation’s first female 4-star general, and in life, Gen. (Ret.) Ann Dunwoody, MS, BA, has applied the same tactics for success. These tactics she used as the former commanding general of the US Army Materiel Command aren’t complicated, but they are essential to get right and apply in a genuine and unrelenting way.

Tactic #1: Treat all people with dignity and respect.

“This sounds easy, but we all have biases. Remember that each person in your organization has a contribution to make if you give them the chance—people want to be recognized for a job well done.”

Tactic #2: Never walk by a mistake.

“I learned this lesson from my first platoon sergeant. If you don’t correct something as simple as a soldier with his hands in his pockets, you set a new lower standard. In war, as in the OR, it can be a simple break in standard that leads to a fatality.”

Tactic # 3: Leaders aren’t invincible, don’t try to be.

“We like to think we can do everything, but at the end of the day we are all human beings. We have to recognize this in ourselves and our employees.”

Tactic # 4: Leverage the diversity of thought.

“Most people think about diversity in terms of numbers—one of these, one of those— but I have discovered that the real power of diversity comes if you can get the best and brightest from all walks of life to share different perspectives to address a complex problem.”

Gen. (Ret.) Dunwoody also says it’s important to look at your entire team within the scale of performance and always be looking for ways to recognize and reward good behavior among your top performers because this shows others the value of doing your best.

She says, “Being a good leader means motivating and encouraging people to want to make a difference every day and in everything they do.”

AORN is excited to welcome Gen. (Ret.) Dunwoody to the stage as the keynote speaker at our Jerry G. Peers Lectureship on Monday, April 3. Through engaging stories and battle-tested insights, she’ll offer practical, tactical advice to lead and achieve with maximum success.

Learn more about Gen. (Ret.) Dunwoody and our other general session speakers.

Check out her book, A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America’s First Female Four-Star General. Find an excerpt from the book on her website.