Episode #217 - With U.S. Army General Jefforey Smith


In Episode #217 Ari and Nick interview General Jefforey Smith. General Smith is Deputy Commander at Fort Bragg - one of the USA’s most significant military bases and home to 90,000 people. Listen in as General Smith breaks down what’s involved in managing a military base, long-term strategic planning, and how to communicate a sense of purpose.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 11:27 – Welcoming General Smith to the show
  • 12:01 – General Smith’s 32-year military career
  • 12:31 – Being a general at Fort Bragg is similar to being the mayor of a small city
  • 13:34 – What does a typical day look like?
    • 14:07 – Around 80-90,000 people live and work in Fort Bragg
    • 14:52 – General Smith spends around 30% of time on strategic planning and infrastructure
  • 15:55 – Right now General Smith is focusing on planning a deployment
  • 16:30 – Decisions include healthcare, infrastructure management, traffic, and capital investment in addition to military duties
  • 18:30 – Mostly employ a civilian workforce rather than military engineers
  • 19:15 – Fort Bragg is like army’s 911 - they can deploy almost anywhere within 18 hours
  • 21:14 – The garrison command and staff remain on the base even if other units are deployed
  • 22:00 – Ari: “How do you manage your projects and communicate with everyone?”
    • 22:31 – You must have principles that you live and work by.
    • 23:00 – “Activity, nutrition, and sleep are the triad that allow you to maintain performance in a consistent and enduring way.”
    • 23:55 – “Sleep is generally the weakest link for most people”
  • 24:30 – Running an organization starts with vision: the leader has to have a vision, and a reason for existing, that they can communicate to the people in their organization
  • 25:50 – If you have a strong why, the how and what become less challenging
  • 26:45 – Individuals within a company can have an entrepreneurial spirit - even if they aren’t running a startup
  • 27:50 – What processes is General Smith using to organize and plan strategy?
    • 28:30 – “We use the same strategic management software as any private company”
  • 29:29– Top 3 Tips to be More Effective:
    • Focus on the most important things
    • Have some kind of routine that helps you be in control of your life
    • Have a balanced life. Make sure you have a way to recharge.

Key Points:

  • Being a general on a military base is like managing a small city: there’s a lot of strategic planning and management as well as military duties
  • Have principles that you live and work by. When you know why you’re doing something, and can communicate that vision, you’ll be effective.
  • Maintain routines - exercise, sleep, and good nutrition - that keep you in control of your health and your life
  • Focus on getting the most important things done
  • Cultivate an entrepreneurial attitude, even if you work within an organization

Resources Mentioned:

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