The Winner of multiple awards and a #1 International Best Seller Craig Whelden’s Book Leadership vividly brings to life 50 years of leadership and life lessons, told in a compelling and sometimes very personal way. A master storyteller, the author does this in 24 easily digestible chapters, starting with “character,” the basic building block for all great leaders. From there, he addresses the importance of trust, four different methods of mentoring, delivering under pressure, setting organizational expectations, breaking down cultural barriers, effective communications, leaving a legacy, risk management, and many more topics that have everyday application for all of us.
Widely acclaimed by dozens of corporate leaders and senior military leaders, he has the unique ability to connect to readers through storytelling and takeaways that anyone can then apply: in the corporate world, the non-profit community, or simply in your everyday life.
Can you tell me a little bit about your new book?
The book was written to “pay forward” 50 years of leadership and life lessons in an interesting, story-telling manner. It has become a multiple-award-winner and #1 International best-seller in just the first six months.
What is the backstory behind your book Leadership?
I decided to become a professional speaker on leadership and life lessons to pass on what I’ve learned after 40 years in the military. The book helped organize myself and is a strong companion to my speaking engagements. Often, organizations will provide copies of my book to each attend.
How has writing Leadership made you a better thinker and a better person?
It gave me the opportunity to capture 50 years of lessons, both good and bad, and has become an “vessel” for others to get a “window into my soul”
What is the biggest takeaway that you hope a reader will take from your book?
I served in senior and executive positions in the U.S. Army, the Marine Corps, and in the corporate world. The book vividly brings to life 50 years of leadership lessons learned, told in a compelling and sometimes very personal way.
Is there one short story from your book you would like to share?
I once worked for a 3-star general who was the consummate general. Very bright, very capable, he never raised his voice in anger. One day, a colonel on the staff told me that the general was “the toughest guy he had ever worked for.” Curious, I asked him why. He told me it was because “I never wanted to disappoint him.” That spoke volumes about inspirational leadership.
What are you reading now?
Building Your Leadership Legacy, It’s all About Character, by Robert Carroll.
What does it look like to you when someone has great “character?”
Character is the first chapter in my book for a reason, it’s the foundation for all great leaders. Without strong character, the flaws of a leader will eventually be exposed.
Who do you look up to and or who has been a mentor to you?
I have many, two that stand out are General Joe Dunford, the recently-retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and LtGen Thomas Montgomery, US Army (retired) the commander of U.S. forces in Somalia in 1992 during Black Hawk Down. I worked for both and have a couple of chapters in my book about Tom Montgomery, our relationship, and his experience in Somalia.
What books did you read, and recommend, and which influenced your thinking on leadership?
I do recommend Robert Carroll’s book (mentioned above) as I believe so strongly about this topic that I actually referenced his book at the end of Chapter One of my own book.
What is Next for you and your writing projects?
I’m contemplating a “sequel” to my Leadership book that has a “spiritual” focus. I’m talking to a retired Chief of Chaplains for both the Marine Corps and the Navy about co-authoring such a book.
Purchase Craig’s book Leadership Here
Craig Whelden spent 30 years in the U.S. Army, followed by seven in the private sector, and another nine as a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) with the U.S. Marine Corps.
Along the way, he led soldiers, sailors, and marines at each level — from lieutenant to General Officer to Senior Executive — while serving 10 years in Europe, and another 12 in the Pacific.
An Armor and Cavalry officer, he commanded a base in Germany as a colonel and, as a brigadier general, oversaw a $1.6B program supporting soldiers and family members world-wide.
Present at the Pentagon on 9/11, he subsequently led the effort to secure the state of Hawaii from terrorist attack, an effort that received national recognition. After retiring from the Army in 2003, he chaired a national conference entitled Information Sharing and Homeland Security for three years.
In 2008, he was asked to organize and run a Secretary of the Army initiative to bring greater awareness to the American public of the sacrifices of servicemembers and their families during a time of war. For this effort, he was recognized by Secretary Pete Geren with the top two awards for civilians.
In 2010, he became the Executive Director for Marine Corps Forces Pacific, overseeing a multi-billion-dollar program to reposition Marines in the Pacific—the largest such effort since World War II.
In 2011, he was inducted into the Purdue University Tri-Service ROTC Hall of Fame.
In October 2019, he transitioned to the next chapter of his life in Bluffton, South Carolina: becoming an award-winning, best-selling author and motivational speaker on leadership and performance excellence.
Craig can be reach though his Website