Learning...with a purpose

Where do you spend most of your time as a member of the Profession
- reflecting...or performing?

How much time do you or your followers allocate toward actual "learning" in understanding ethics or developing character?

CAPT Mark Johnson, my predecessor and the first CO of NLEC, used to always say about a leader's moral journey, "you are constantly in a state of becoming".

In your "state of becoming", how much time do you spend on learning, or actually performing?

Are you learning about the right things (purpose)?

What is required to establish a proper learning environment?

How and what are those under your charge learning?

In the classical study of ethics the notion of “Arete” fully captures this search for moral excellence - "Know Thyself" - the disciplined and deep reflection required to move toward this end.

The attached Ted Talk "How to get better at the things you care about" (only 11 minutes) by Eduardo Briceño clearly teases out the importance of continued learning/reflection but also adroitly asks, “for what purpose?”

Along these lines, we regularly challenge command level leaders to reflect on ethics in the context of right vs. wrong. The "Bathsheba syndrome" has been a part of our classroom discussion providing much needed "reps and sets" as command leaders grapple with ever-present tendency toward self-deception.

Unfortunately, it's not always that easy. How about right vs. right, or wrong vs. wrong decisions - the trade space most leaders spend their time while properly working to apply discretionary judgement? Dan Ariely's recent work provides another approach to bringing behavioral ethics to audiences. He will be the first to attest that it is every day reminders (learning) that keep ethical actions aligned...a continuous effort...always becoming.

Here you can find a very short trailer for Ariely's Dishonesty - The Truth About Lies. can go for the the full hour long version on NETFLIX - it is sure not to disappoint.