The Joint Civilian Orientation Conference is designed to give non-military members a deeper understanding of what the U.S. Armed Forces do and what they are -- their capabilities, culture, history, and more. It's a fascinating program, and David Gardner wants to share with his listeners a few things he learned from it. In this segment of the Rule Breaker Investing podcast, he reflects on the humble advice they got from generals and admirals.
A transcript follows the video.
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This podcast was recorded on Aug. 24, 2016.
No. 5: Number five were the different briefings that we got from leaders starting the very first night of the JCOC program, when we had the second-highest-ranking military officer, Gen. Paul Selva. He is the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I really appreciated what Gen. Selva told us that night.
He said: "Over the course of your next week, it's going to be very special for all of you. You're going to remember it your whole lives. Please don't make this mistake. Don't talk to people like me. Don't talk to the leaders. Don't talk to the generals. I mean, you can. We're going to talk to you. But make sure you spend some time with the very newest, freshest, lowest-ranking recruits, soldiers, and people in the military. Make sure you have conversations with them about where they came from and why they joined."
That sense of humility and that sense of servant leadership, which was very real that night as Gen. Selva briefed us, I saw throughout the week. I heard it from leaders of each of the armed services that we went through. We did get to hear from them, though, and that's why I'm making this my number five, because [of] hearing from Gen. Selva, or from Gen. Joseph Votel who runs Central Command in Tampa, Florida.
Some of you work at Central Command in Tampa, Florida, but many of us, if you're like me, didn't even know what that was. In the United States of America, we've divided up the world into different commands, and Central Command oversees 20 countries, largely in the Middle East (some of the most troubled countries in the world), so all of the strategy, tactics, logistics, decisions, and deployments are decided in Tampa, Florida, at Central Command.
We got to hear from the leader there, Gen. Votel, who personally (and I think humbly), spent 90 minutes with us. Greeting us outside with a handshake, first, and then going inside and sharing a PowerPoint that he'd done. He talked about the history of the Central Command, what he does, and how he thinks about it, and then graciously answered our questions. We also heard from Gen. Kenneth Tovo in Fort Bragg. He oversees U.S. Special Operations Command. And I mentioned earlier lunch with the vice admiral, Vice Adm. Stosz of the Coast Guard.
These were really unique opportunities. Somebody like me, who's never had any of those conversations or an opportunity to meet any of those people, and to think that pretty much at its highest ranks we had that kind of exposure to real leaders in the American military, is something that I treasure.