Deborah Lee James served as the 23rd Secretary of the United States Air Force with responsibility for 660,000 military and civilian personnel and a budget of $139 billion. She was the second woman to ever lead a military service in the United States. Deborah is also the author of “Aim High: Chart Your Course and Find Success.” Her impressive resume and deep expertise in strategic planning, risk management, public policy, logistics, and innovation, lead to a fascinating conversation with Jim and Jan on the topic of leading during difficult times. Can any of us survive and thrive against such a backdrop of unsettledness and anxiety? Deborah Lee James wants to help us try.
“Lead several hundred thousand people, manage a budget over $100 billion, and secure the nuclear enterprise. That’s what Secretary James did as the second woman ever to run the U.S. Air Force, and this book feels like having a personal conversation with her. She takes you behind the scenes with rich case studies to share valuable leadership lessons for your career and your life.” — Adam Grant, Professor, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, LinkedIn Top Voices 2017, New York Times bestselling author of ORIGINALS, GIVE AND TAKE, and OPTION B
[4:55] Debbie explains why she thinks she became the Secretary of the Air Force… by accident.
[7:55] Keep your network always active. You never know when you might need it!
[9:15] Debbie was uniquely qualified for this position because of all of her past experiences on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, and the private sector.
[11:05] Debbie offers a tip on how to make your presentations engaging.
[14:35] In order to be competent and move from the junior to mid-career ranks, you need to know your competency.
[16:45] How you get leadership done is important, especially when working in a male-dominated field.
[17:35] When you want to lead and inspire a team effectively, you have got to give them the why and you have to listen to their needs.
[18:15] People hate to be micromanaged, they want to be coached.
[22:35] There was a lot happening under Debbie’s watch, she shares the strategies she used to manage it and lead everyone towards a common goal.
[30:15] Your team’s opinions are important but don’t just stop there. Dive deeper.
[31:05] Debbie would take to the most senior people in the room all the time, but she would also make a point to talk to more junior airmen.
[32:40] No matter what you’re doing, keep asking why.
[39:35] The adaptability of a high-level leader is more of a requirement than ever before. A lot changes in a three-year span.
[41:50] Debbie offers tips on how to lead in a field you might not have 100% understanding in.
[44:25] Listener challenge: Part of having a fulfilling career is to have a fulfilling home life, too.