Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, Dana R. Gordon professes that the book TEAM: Training, Education, and Mentorship was not intended to be a thesis on teamwork and leadership. Instead, he wanted to give the reader a peek into the insights he gained and developed from his stint in the US Navy and his post-military career with his “somewhat autobiographical, but mostly historical” tome.
The idea of becoming a bridge builder, a person who creates enduring legacies for others to follow and use the ideas presented in the book and his personal history as a backdrop or inspiration to leap over the obstacles or divides in their lives, whether personal or work-related, speaks volumes of the man the author has become after 29 years of a decorated military career. How he was able to fit his life’s work in a concise 110-page volume is beyond me!
The theme of bridge builder occurs throughout the book and helps the reader understand why it lies at the heart of training, education, and mentorship.
Right off the bat, the author remembers with affection the tough love approach of his mentors at Columbia High School that ingrained in him the philosophy of accountability for one’s work and actions. While in the navy, he learned that inclusivity and listening to others who are smarter or subject matter experts are very important and serve one in good stead when making decisions of utmost importance. He reflects on the beauty of diversification in his stint as ship commander of the USS IWO JIMA and believes that respect for the uniqueness of each individual is paramount. When it was time to take on a mentorship role, the author sought out and developed exceptional leaders that made his team the most cohesive and best-performing unit in the navy.
Dana R. Gordon’s natural flair for story-telling (spicy anecdotes interspersed with honest-to-goodness principles of leadership and teamwork) makes his book an interesting and hard-to-put-down read. Real leaders worth their salt and aspiring ones will learn a thing or two.
Bottomline, a team works best when you have leaders brimming with passion and heart.
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