Apr 24, 2019
Lieutenant General Robert L.
Caslen Jr. served in the U.S. Army for 43 years, and he retired in
2018 as the 59th
Superintendent of the United States
Military Academy at West Point. He talks with Jim and Jan about the
responsibility that came with his role as superintendent. They also
discuss diversity in leadership, winning in a complex world, the
role ethics and character play in leadership, and his fondness for
the new generation of leaders. Under his direction as
Superintendent, the Academy was recognized as the number one public
college in the Nation by Forbes Magazine and the number one public
college by U.S. News and World Report.
[3:18] Yes, Lt. Caslen really
did kill a deer by drowning it.
[9:08] Lt. Caslen’s role as the
59th Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West
Point gave him an opportunity to make an impact on the next
generation of leaders. He saw it as one of the best opportunities
to build a legacy of future leaders in the military and in their
[12:06] It is important for
leaders to make everyone feel valuable and to be sensitive to
policies that polarize or discriminate.
[16:21] Great leaders are
equipped to lead diverse organizations. They develop future leaders
that recognize others as a valued member of the team. Lt. Caslen
believes in everyone having the opportunity to serve, regardless of
ethnicity, sexual preference or gender.
[20:29] Before becoming the West Point Superintendent,
Lt. Gen. Caslen served as the chief of the Office of Security
Cooperation in Iraq, where he served as the senior military
commander in Iraq after the drawdown of U.S. and allied forces in
2011. He also has served in combat and overseas deployments
in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, JTF-B in Honduras, and
Operation Uphold Democracy and the United Nations Mission in
[24:22] The most important
element of leadership is trust. When we lead with competence and
character, those around trust us and our actions match our
[26:03] When you are engaged,
empowered, and energetic, it shows others you care.
must understand the complex
nature of their battlefield, and also possess the interpersonal
skills to develop relationships that support others.
[32:17] Great leaders should be
on the edge of seeing how technology will affect our future, and
also empower others by underwriting the risks of making
[37:37] Whether we are leading
big organizations or individuals, savvy leaders respond to
compromising situations to the best of their abilities and their
values consistently remain in tact.
[46:17] The next generation
continues to inspire Lt. Caslen.
[48:18] Lt. Caslen’s challenge
to us: Be more engaged, and live a life of constant learning, as it
enables us to continue to give back. The more senior you are, the
more opportunity you have to give back.
- “Perseverance is persistence.”
you find a way to bring people together, they feel good in your
first lesson of leadership was to learn how to follow.”
- “Trust is a function of competence and
have to have character internalized 24 hours a day, and I think
that’s how it ought to be for all of us.”
- “Let’s live a life that has our values
The Speed of