What do Martin Luther, you and General Rick Hillier have in common?

Reforming an institution rooted in tradition is nearly impossible for one person in one generation! Obama, Burke, Pope John Paul II, Martin Luther, Ghandi, Jesus Christ, Malcolm X, Hillier, You? We need examples and help!

If you are a visionary seeking to lead reformation inside a structured institution, then this is a great book for you.  Do you work in a hospital, sports team, school board, religious order or political party?  I recommend “A Soldier First” to sports coaches, church pastors, all politicians, health care, financial services and school board leaders.  In fact, I think anyone in institutional leadership should read this to understand how to pay the price for leading cultural transformation from inside ‘the room’.  Anyone set on improving an institution will value the lessons of this book rooted in high stakes experiences.

Hillier inspired my church leadership by writing memorable events that show lessons about communication, morale, roles, responsibilities, having  sense of humour, team building, fielding criticism, influencing public opinion, changing staff, mentorship, family life, etc.

Hillier’s book is useful because leading successful change from inside the system is hard to illustrate.  Ask Obama, was elected to make instant, sweeping CHANGE and found there are cement blockades to best intentions for transformation!  That is the pain of visionaries inside a bureaucracy set on defending a risk-adverse stability, not structuring and strategizing risking for a worthy mission.

Yesterday was an important day in church history.  It was Reformation Day.  A pivotal event in global culture occurred when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses – his prescriptions for reforming the Catholic church – to the door of the Wittenburg cathedral door.  Well, read about the Martin Luther of the Canadian Military Reformation.

Grab a poppy and read something about our Forces as we approach Remembrance Day.  Geo-politically, it is important to be conversant in military issues like arctic sovereignty strategy!  There have been a number of recent articles in the media that are worth reading, including the “Time to Lead: The Military” series in the Globe and Mail.  Reading this book helped me, as a Canadian citizen, to comprehend the place the Canadian Armed Forces plays in our national identity. too. This book can get you up to speed in the conversation.








There is a border between church and state that must be respected.  Religion, war and politics are too often tragically blurred resulting in a case of mistaken identity and personal pain!  However, reading this may make me a better leader without militarizing the mission of Jesus Christ. Good luck to you all as you prescribe and model reformation in your institutions and appreciate our military on Remembrance Day!

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