The eighteenth Hugh J. Clausen lecture in leadership

Author:Tom Kolditz
Position:Professor in the Practice of Leadership and Management and Director of the Leadership Development Program at the Yale School of Management
* This is an edited transcript of a lecture delivered by Brigadier General (Retired) Kolditz
to members of the staff and faculty, their distinguished guests, and officers attending the
61st Judge Advocate Officer Graduate Course at The Judge Advocate General’s School,
Charlottesville, Virginia, on October 15, 2012.
The Clausen Lecture is named in honor of Major General Hugh J. Clausen, who
served as The Judge Advocate General, U.S. Army, from 1981 to 1985 and served over
thirty years in the U.S. Army before retiring in 1985. His distinguished military career
included assignments as the Executive Officer of The Judge Advocate General; Staff
Judge Advocate, III Corps and Fort Hood; Commander, U.S. Army Legal Services
Agency and Chief Judge, U.S. Army Court of Military Review; The Assistant Judge
Advocate General; and finally, The Judge Advocate General. After his retirement from
active duty, General Clausen served for a number of years as the Vice President for
Administration and Secretary to the Board of Visitors at Clemson University.
1 Tom Kolditz is Professor in the Practice of Leadership and Management and Director of
the Leadership Development Program at the Yale School of Management. His
experience as a leader development expert spans four decades in the public, private, and
social sectors.
A retired brigadier general and titled Professor Emeritus by the U.S. Military
Academy, General Kolditz led the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at
West Point for twelve years. In that role, he was responsible for teaching, research, and
outreach activities in Management, Leader Development Science, Psychology, and
Sociology. A highly experienced global leader, General Kolditz has served more than
twenty-six years in leader roles on four continents. His career has focused on either
leading organizations himself or studying leadership and leadership policy across sectors.
He served for two years as a leadership and human resources policy analyst in the
Pentagon, and a year as a concept developer in the Center for Army Leadership. General
Kolditz was the founding director of the Thayer Leader Development Group, and is the
managing member of Saxon Castle LLC, a leader development consultancy.
General Kolditz is an internationally recognized expert on crisis leadership and
leadership in extreme contexts, and in the development of programs to inculcate
leadership and leader development in everything from project teams to large
organizations. He has published extensively across a diverse array of academic and
leadership trade journals, and serves on the editorial and advisory boards of several
academic journals. He is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association and is a
member of the Academy of Management. He is a founding member of the Board of
Advisors for the Department of Psychology at the University of Missouri, on the Council
of Senior Advisors for the Future of Executive Development Forum, and is an Academic
in Residence for the Global Leadership Strategy Network. His consultancies include
Google and GE.
A skydiving instructor since 1980, Kolditz weaves his personal experiences and
abilities as a Soldier, skydiver, and scholar into the first-hand study, analysis, and
practice of leadership in dangerous circumstances—in extremis leadership—and how
such leadership can inform the practice of leading in more ordinary settings. His most
recent book, In Extremis Leadership: Leading as if Your Life Depended on It, was based
on more than 175 interviews taken on the ground in Iraq during combat operations. He

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