Written by Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft.
At the start of the year, I shared my reading list as a reference for your continued reflection on leadership. In sharing my list, I also asked for your recommendations. After looking through the selections – from leadership case studies of today to history’s best sea stories – I was encouraged by the relevant subject matter you are exploring and I will include the following on my 2016 list.
Days after I engaged with industry stakeholders at both the ports of Houston and Los Angeles–Long Beach, Kathleen suggested reading, “Sheer Will: The Story of the Port of Houston and the Houston Ship Channel.” Greater complexity of port operations and advanced technologies are among some of the trends impacting the industry; understanding more about this evolution is critical in the Coast Guard’s continued commitment to ensuring safety, security and environmental stewardship of the Maritime Transportation System.
At a time where the need for icebreakers as a national asset has entered the dialogue, Alex recommended reading “Arctic Dreams,” by Barry Lopez. Alex wrote in his recommendation that Lopez presents an exhaustive survey of the Arctic regions comparing and contrasting the “impact of explorers, industrialists, indigenous peoples and governments throughout the North’s history. Fascinating.” I couldn’t agree more that our polar regions are indeed fascinating and this fascination only continues to increase demand across Coast Guard missions.
In late January, I spent time with leaders in Silicon Valley, joined by our Deputy Commandant for Mission Support Vice Adm. Sandra Stosz. We heard how they are tackling the recruitment and retention of top talent, innovation and cultural change. In that vein, Lt. Cmdr. Auth, Lt. Haynsworth and Senior Chief Petty Officer Dasher were intuitive with their recommendations of a Sheryl Sandberg TED talk, “One Hundred Days” and “Daring Greatly.” These all piqued my interest due to their connection with our Duty to People and I look forward to reading, and watching, their suggestions.
Changes in maritime commerce, access to the Polar Regions and investing in Coast Guard men and women are all challenges in the Coast Guard of today. Their nexus to leadership is particularly at the forefront of my mind as I prepare for the 2016 State of the Coast Guard Address in two weeks and I look forward to sharing my vision for our Service as we face these challenges and others in the years ahead. In the meantime, I look forward to joining readers and leaders across the fleet in the spirit of continued learning through reading.