I had the good fortune to meet with Jonson & Johnson (JnJ) CEO, Alex Gorsky in Arlington, VA recently.  Alex is a 1982 West Point graduate and was an Army Ranger and Infantry Officer for six years before joining the business world.  Since becoming CEO in 2012, he has continuously improved JnJ’s value, global market share and employee satisfaction.  How?  A focus on the JnJ “Credo,” which challenges JnJ employees to place the needs and well being of the people they serve first.  The credo is literally etched in stone in the company’s main lobby.  Written in 1943 by former CEO Robert Wood Johnson, it’s a framework for “servant leadership” at the organizational and individual level.  The JnJ Credo and the CEO’s actions emphasize “T3” at every turn.  Specific examples: Teamwork:  Long, drawn-out Powerpoint presentations?  Not at the CEO’s level!  Key presentations at JnJ are a chance for cross-functional group discussion, collaboration and idea generation.  This method helps build relationship and trust amongst diverse groups which contributes to high-performance teams. Tone:  Alex has tremendous credibility.  He’s an active participant in JnJ’s goal of having the market’s fittest workforce because healthy employees are essential for a healthy business and healthy families.  He exercises every morning with other employees whenever possible.  Tone is a synonym for culture.  The JnJ culture of fitness is demonstrated...

Last week I wore a uniform for the first time since retiring from the Navy two years ago.  There are typically only two occasions when veterans put back on the cloth of their country: A Military Ceremony When asked to Promote The Orthopedic Oncologist Who Saved Their Life! I couldn’t have been prouder to do so, and to be speaker for the inspirational Captain Jonathan Forsberg, USN, Professor of Surgery and Director of the DoD's Osseointegration Program at the Walter Reed National Medical Medical Center in Washington, DC.  Dr. Forsberg is the full motivational package of "Teamwork, Tone, Tenacity™” (T3)! We first met on December 23, 2014.  Then Commander/Dr. Forsberg was part of a cross-functional medical team that delivered my diagnosis of Stage IV Multiple Myeloma (Bone Marrow) Cancer.  In that uncertain time it became imperative to have a reliable, resilient framework to fall back on; which had previously proven successful in helping overcome adversity … that was “T3!” T3 starts with Teamwork.  Dr. Forsberg became one of the lynchpins of my new team; a group of medical professionals that included doctors, nurses and administrators.  Teamwork begins by building trust.  One of the most important steps in building trust is building relationships.  Dr. Forsberg’s upbeat Tone and Tenacity in aggressively following up on my complex questions quickly established a relationship of trust between us.  I, in...

I normally write about motivational leaders whose “Teamwork, Tone, Tenacity” serve as an inspiration to others.  Sometimes the focus on just one person isn’t enough to accurately portray the magnitude of contributions from so many over a sustained period of time.  In such circumstances it’s appropriate to highlight the accomplishment itself T3 worthy. That’s the case with the Panama Canal.  I’m partial to this marvel because I transited through it in 1984 aboard the U.S. Navy’s Battleship USS IOWA (BB 61)!  One of the eight engineering “Wonders of the Modern World,” the Canal opened this month in 1914.  The T3 build included: TEAMWORK: Contributions from tens of thousands of engineers, laborers, logisticians and medical professionals.  Two of the most famous included the principal engineer, Army General George Goethals (namesake for the bridge connecting New Jersey to Staten Island) and General (Doctor) William Gorgas (his abatement of Yellow Fever and Malaria saved countless lives … he later became Surgeon General of the Army and President of the American Medical Association). TONE:  President Teddy Roosevelt created a culture of national-level support and focus on this incredible undertaking through his words and actions: “No great material work is of such consequence to the American people,” he emphatically stated.  TR even visited the construction site where he famously operated a steam shovel! TENACITY: During a 10-year effort,...

American icon Annie Oakley was born this week in 1860.  One of the most famous Americans of her time, she proved women as capable as men when given a chance.    A Sharpshooter, Performer and International Superstar from “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show” in the late 1800’s, Annie learned to shoot out of necessity hunting game for her family in rural Ohio. During her career she strongly advocated for female service in the military and was a generous Philanthropist for women’s causes. A Member of the National Women’s Hall of Fame, she was the subject of books, movies and the inspiration for the smash Broadway play “Annie Get Your Gun.” Like many Midwesterners, Annie let her “Teamwork, Tone, Tenacity” actions do her talking.  She wasn’t a professional motivational speaker, but when she did speak her words were impactful. Three Annie Oakley motivational citations emphasize key principles of leadership that are relevant today: TEAMWORK:  “A crowned queen was never treated with more reverence than I was by those whole-souled western boys [of “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show] … And for 17 years I was their sister, sharing both their news of joy and sorrow from home.” - Annie was acknowledged as one of the most approachable, enthusiastic and empathetic member of the hundreds of performers on her team. TONE: “After traveling through 14...

Neil Armstrong's "Giant Leap For Mankind” occurred 49 years ago this week.  Apollo 11 was a tremendous example of “T3” Teamwork: NASA’s tens of thousands of contributed for many years to this historic mission’s success. Tone: All astronauts were perfectly poised under pressure while (borrowing a phrase from the opening of Star Trek) ‘boldy going where no man has gone before” Tenacity:  The program’s trials and errors included the tragic loss of Apollo 1 and it’s three astronaut heroes in 1967 I can remember watching this momentous event on a B&W console TV on a Sunday night in Long Island as an 7 year old … and thinking, God Bless America! The Becker T3Group focuses on improving personal and team results by reflecting on real world examples of leadership and translating “T3” practices into corporate pillars of performance, productivity and profit....

VADM James Stockdale, USN (Ret) passed away 13 years ago this month. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for inspirational and ethical leadership as America’s senior POW in Vietnam for nearly eight years. His five timeless lessons of being a Moralist, Jurist, Teacher, Steward and Philosopher live on today. Moralist: Commitment to a personal code of conduct Jurist: Establish guidance which can be implemented in times of adversity Teacher: Set the example of self-discipline, establishing a motivational climate and creating organizational pride Steward: Serve as the standard for personal commitment and loyalty Philosopher: Be able to reason, explain reality and deal with uncertainty Admiral Stockdale’s example profoundly impacted my career. I first read about him in grade school, had the privilege to meet him for the first time during my plebe year at the Naval Academy and we reconnected several times during my career. He was one of my first military role models of "Teamwork, Tone, Tenacity” which later became my watchwords of excellence. I’m proud the U.S. Navy's most prestigious Leadership Award is named in his honor, and that the Naval Academy’s Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership is dedicated to "Empowering future leaders to make courageous and ethical decisions." As long as young leaders follow Admiral Stockdale’s guidance, our future is bright. Looking for meaningful reading on ethical leadership this summer?...

Last week was America’s 242nd birthday.  Getting 56 delegates from 13 colonies to sign the Declaration Of Independence in 1776 was no easy task. It took leaders with courage, conviction and commitment to do what no colony had ever done before: break away from their mother country.  Here are three leadership lessons from the signers: 1. Teamwork:  56 Delegates at the Continental Congress had to work together, agree to compromises and demonstrate trust and loyalty with each other to reach unanimous consensus.  Considered an act of treason by Great Britain, the delegates risked death by affixing their signatures to this Declaration. As signatory Benjamin Franklin said, "We must all hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately.” 2. Tone:  The most overlooked line of the Declaration is its last sentence: "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”  Now that’s setting an inspirational standard to motivate a new nation.  These founding fathers put their lives, fortunes and honor on the line for their country ...

Martha Washington’s birthday was June 13th.  She played a vital role in supporting the successes of her husband in peace, crisis and combat.  Mrs. Washington overcame much adversity in her own life: A widow at age 25, the loss of two young children and frequent, long separations from a military spouse.  She was a quiet exemplar of “Teamwork, Tone, Tenacity.”  Specifically: Teamwork:  Martha endured personal hardship to join General George Washington at the Continental Army’s winter encampments at Valley Forge over several years.  In those frigid environs she helped lift morale of soldiers and maintain an esprit de corps amongst other military spouses. Tone:  She knew travails and tribulations all too well.  Her attitude in overcoming adversity is reflected in one of her most famous citations, “The greater part of our happiness depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.” Tenacity:  An astute businesswoman, Martha was tireless in successfully managing the Mount Vernon and Custis estates for 50 years, including prolonged periods of absence due to combat and political demands of her husband.  She persevered with a purpose when it came to taking care of their family home; a place she knew that she and George would come back to after decades of public service. Paul Becker’s motivational keynote presentations focus on how real world T3 leadership lessons provide a framework for...

In 2014 I was at the top of my game professionally and personally.  I was a two-star Admiral serving as the Director of Intelligence for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and had recently completed the Honolulu Marathon.  Then I was shockingly diagnosed with Stage IV Bone Marrow Marrow Cancer. ...