Monthly Archives: March 2019

The Winston Week – #6 – That All My Past Life… – A Lesson In Leadership

Note: The Winston Week, is an attempt by me to provide comment and the 3-5 best thoughts and links which I have come across during the week. I am an unabashed Churchillian, but will try and keep to the facts. Many times facts are hard to swallow, but in the end, provide nourishment for the soul.
In the last paragraph of The Gathering Storm, Winston wrote, after receiving the invitation from the King to form a new government, “…and all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial.” I find this statement extraordinary. It guides future leadership qualities that many corporate leaders lack today.

When Winston speaks about his past life in the manner of great preparation, He is referring to are the cumulation of victories and foibles which have placed him in the seat of destiny.

Winston continues to stand out among all leaders because he had the capability of learning from his mistakes. One valuable lesson Winston learned from the Great War was to heed the advice of his Military Chiefs of Staff. It was a lesson learned from the disastrous Dardanelle’s campaign during the Great War. Winston was surrounded by a war cabinet, who were detached and approved the mission and by military leaders who half hardily committed after raising concerns. After a disastrous start to the campaign, Winston overruled his advisors and drove ahead, compounding disaster and a failed mission. Never during World War II did Winston rule against his Chiefs when they were unanimous in their opinion.

When a new leader arrives, it is understood that new leaders want to leave their mark, many times like a dog who comes into a new home. The changes the new leader implements are typically the same change that two leaders ago tried and failed. Circular failure happens when the new leader has not learned from previous mistakes, theirs and others, and won’t listen to the existing employees who understand why the proposed change will fail. I do believe that some corporate heads, move from one company to another, with ideas they know will fail, stay on until vested, collect their exit packages amounting to millions of dollars. Do that over a fifteen to twenty-year period, and you will be rich beyond belief not caring about the fact that you have destroyed thousands of employees lives in the process. It is the classic “Peter Principle.”

Where all we after all that?

From my experience (in the most horrible place in the world – middle management,) the qualities that are important to lead in a corporate environment or quite frankly in any environment.

There are many more, but here is a good start:

1) A leader must learn from their past mistakes. No learning, no future.

2) A leader coming into a new situation must listen to their subordinates. The subordinates with the longest tenure to understand past mistakes and group culture.

3) A transparent and clear path must be put forth.

4) Space must be created for innovation and celebration for failure.

5) Trust must be gained with employees, so they feel comfortable with bringing issues and failures to your attention.

6) Listen, listen, listen and follow up.

Much has been written about servant leadership and diverse leadership. They rarely work. Honesty, putting value into advice and feedback from your employees, rewarding success and rewarding failure when new things are tried is the formula for success.

Here are a few links and photos from last week:

What We Learned From Gallipoli

Churchill’s Navy – Podcast

Lincoln, Churchill, and Statesmanship


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The Winston Week – #5 – Things I wish he had said

Note: The Winston Week, is an attempt by me to provide comment and the 3-5 best thoughts and links which I have come across during the week. I am an unabashed Churchillian, but will try and keep to the facts. Many times facts are hard to swallow, but in the end, provide nourishment for the soul.

Winston’s contribution to freedom requires that his record always is kept accurate. Not only his deeds and accomplishments but what he said. Churchill publications total about 42, Winston also gave about 2500 documented speeches. His writing included a Nobel prize for his 6-volume memoir of the Second World War.

When the record is not accurate, the meaning and deeds become either infamous or legend. Revisionists begin to pollute accomplishments until they find themselves on the liar’s ash heap of history. That being said, I do wish some of the classic Churchill quotes, that he never said, were quotes he actually did say.

Here are some of my favorites Winston never said:

  •  Smoking cigars are like falling in love; first, you are attracted to its shape; you stay for its flavor; and you must always remember never, never let the flame go out.
  •   Do you have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
  •  If I had a husband like you,’ Nancy Astor said with concentrated scorn, ‘I’d give him poison!’ ‘Mad’m,’ Winston looking her over with a feeble sort of smile, ‘If I had a wife like you I’d take it.’”
  • You don’t make the poor richer by making the rich poorer. I think I heard Baroness Thatcher say this in a Prime Minister Question Time.

On my office window, I have the following. It is from Darkest Hour:

Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.

I’m pretty sure Winston never said that one either. But to me, it encapsulates his life and gives me comfort.

Below are listed my favorite posts for the week


Various internet sites.


The Missouri Museum That Churchill Built

Social Media Misquotes Churchill

Soames Archive Opens at Cambridge

I drink.jpg

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The Winston Week – #4 – Winston, the Jews, and Racism

Note: The Winston Week, is an attempt by me to provide comment and the 3-5 best thoughts and links which I have come across during the week. I am an unabashed Churchillian, but will try and keep to the facts. Many times facts are hard to swallow, but in the end provide nourishment for the soul.

If one were to issue a racial epithet or stereotype, the politically correct, self-important, moral relativist crowd would cry foul and demand the person who uttered such a thing should be defiled, demand they lose their job, and become a villain for the rest of their lives.

Take the same scenario but direct it at the Jews or Israel, and the same group falls silent. This same group will defend their lack of equal outrage as free speech, as an opinion, as (God forbid) the truth. The rise of antisemitism plagues the United States and Europe. For some, it is perfectly natural. Normal for those who continue to drive a stake in the fabric of human decency. These same people make a fine living by keeping us divided by some false notion that to control the masses; they must continue to make the masses feel like victims.

Sir Winston was a friend of the Jewish people. His official biographer Sir Martin Gilbert was Jewish. This antisemitism hits too close to home. In 1943 in Amsterdam David Bos, a Jewish man, married to my great aunt, was taken by the Gestapo, along with his brother and father. All three were murdered at Auschwitz.

In his speech to the Oregon Historical Society last November, Andrew Roberts said (I’m paraphrasing) Having Jews as friends were natural to Winston. His father had many Jewish friends.

I do not believe for a moment that the Jews were friends of the Churchill ’s because they were Jewish; they were friends that happen to be Jewish. Winston strongly supported the creation of the Israel nation, in 1948.

The Israeli nation created the only democracy in the region and the only nation that supports freedom for its citizens. These two reasons alone should be enough for any free nation to stand at Israel’s side.

In 1917 Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary penned a letter to Lord Rothschild on behalf of the British government. This letter because of the Balfour Declaration. Winston supported the declaration and saw it through in 1948.

The Balfour Declaration
Foreign Office
November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Yours sincerely,
Arthur James Balfour

Here are some interesting links from the previous week:



What Winston Learned From the Great War

Leaders Unite to Condem AntiSemitism

What Winston Learned From the Great War



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The Winston Week – #3 – Darkest Hour – Revealing the Man.

Note: The Winston Week, is an attempt by me to provide comment and the 3-5 best thoughts and links which I have come across during the week. I am an unabashed Churchillian, but will try and keep to the facts. Many times facts are hard to swallow, but in the end provide nourishment for the soul.

I rarely pay attention to the Academy Awards, especially in recent years, with all the political nonsense being spewed by today’s modern-day court jesters. I have never understood why we should put so much emphasis on what they say about politics.
We Churchillians had a stake in the 2018 awards ceremony. Our own Sir Winston, played by Gary Oldman was up for honors.

2017 and 2018 were comeback years for our grand hero, savior of the free world. With Andrew Roberts, Churchill – Walking With Destiny, released late in 2018, the comeback is continuing. I believe that this continued comeback is fueled by a world that continues on its off-kilter course. We are looking for statesmanship and leadership that may not exist today. If this combination of statesmanship and leadership does exist today, it is well hidden.

I was angry with the Brian Cox movie Churchill. It was a horrible movie portraying Winston as a buffoon and a leader that no one listened too. Gary Oldman’s Darkest Hour was the real deal.

I do cherish the Churchillian’s who are the keepers of the truth. Those that pointed out several issues with “the truth” as it was portrayed in the Darkest Hour. Biopic’s are rarely one hundred percent accurate. Within a two-hour window, which most movies average, some literary license must be applied to assist in capturing the character.

The two scenes that stand out in this case and never took place in Winston’s life were first when the King paid a late-night visit to number 10. Winston is sitting in the dark full of fear and dreading the idea of suing for peace with Hitler. The King arrived and saved the day by telling Winston he had the King’s full support and to “Beat the buggers.” The second, which was the most controversial, was the train scene. Churchill jumped out of his car, headed for the underground and takes the train to Westminster. I have heard many Churchillians call the scene unnecessary and ridiculous. I disagree. The writer was able to show in that few minutes that the British people were with Winston and ready to fight. More importantly, it brought to light that Winston was excruciatingly human. He was a person who wore his emotions on his sleeve. As has been noted, Winston cried no less than 50 times during the war.

I prefer to see Winston as the tough old bulldog, who exhibited great confidence and knew that his life was just a preparation for May 10, 1940. That was who he was, and amazingly human.

Here are my links for the week:

Tell me what you want.. what you really really want.. Winston – Original Spice Girl

The Battle Rages On – The Attack on Churchill

My Final Post on TonyPandy

Sir Martin Gilbert Papers Gifted to Hillsdale College – Link Provided by William Schaub – The Chartwell Society – Portland Oregon


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