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Søren Sjøgren
Army Officer | Writer | Public speaker - I use my experience to help leaders grow themselves and their teams.
Army Officer | Writer | Public speaker - I use my experience to help leaders grow themselves and their teams.

Søren's posts

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As the first two women pass through US army ranger course prejudices evaporate

It generated a lot is buzz as the US military opened up most of its positions to women. Many commentators speculated that due to the physical differences between the sexes women would never handle it. The ranger course being such an example. While it is true that the average man is physically stronger than the average women these statistics say nothing about the individual. Some women would probably be cabable.

Having led mixed gender combat units in both Iraq and Afghanistan my views have always been that skills not gender is important. That conclusion seems to become more popular across the Atlantic. 

"I see these women have a lot of courage -- and these two specifically. It is impressive. You don't want to be a subjective person. You want to be as objective as possible and be open-minded. My views have changed" reads the article. 


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Danish military stretched to its limits due to budget costs and sustained operations.

During the last week several Danish politicians have been appalled by a report suggesting that the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF)might not be able to prolong the operations against ISIS in Iraq beyond the 12 months we committed to due to stress and an unbearable workload among its aviation mechanics.

In an article in a major Danish newspaper a researcher at University of Copenhagen wrote that the Danish military planners now have learned that operational units need adequate supporting elements.

The real problem, however, is that RDAF was reorganized during the last political negotiations and subsequent budget costs to carry out operations no longer than 12 months. Thus, the soldiers are neither lazy nor are the supporting elements to few: they are perfectly trimmed for the task at hand.
The problem is that the task might have changed.

A strict focus on budgets propel leaders at every level to trim their organization without reducing their combat effectiveness relative to the task at hand. The price is not only that we get rid of excess fat but also that we might loose some of our flexibility when the task changes. Flexibility that could otherwise have absorbed change.

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Soldiers of the Danish Guard Hussars Regiment's Mounted Squadron celebrated Christmas Eve on duty at the stables last night.

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Celebrating the Danish Guard Hussars Regiment's 400 anniversary with mounted military units from: Belgium, France, Poland, Sweden, Great Britain and Denmark on 13 September 2014.
Gala Horse Show 2014
15 Photos - View album

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What business leaders might learn from the military

You're probably not leading troops on a special forces raid. But the principles espoused by elite military units can help you become a better leader.

Admiral William McRaven. the man who planned and commanded the raid on Osama Bin Laden, shares his ideas on #leadership:
1. It's about people
2. Challenge your team
3. Learn from failure
4. Take smart risks
5. Be a good follower
6. Work for the greater good
7. Go toward the action

On a personal side note: While all seven points are perfectly valid I think no 7 is the most important. It is the premise of leadership. Without the ability or willingness to lead from the front the leader will loose his or her followers quickly. In the best case some one else will step up and resume the responsibility worst case: the unit will be destroyed.

Danish soldiers wounded in Afghanistan

This morning three Danish engineer soldiers were wounded as their armoured vehicle was struck by a vehicle born bomb south of Geresk in the Helmand province.

In summer 2013 the last Danish infantry company was withdrawn from #Afghanistan  and the Danish soldiers should focus their efforts on supporting and training of the Afghan security forces. In the media it was generally referred that the Danes now suffered less risk. Some even claimed that the war was over.

For the troops on the ground, however, risk neither more nor less. It is ever present and every soldier knot that it is never over until it is over. The leaders must always maintain focus on the objective and constantly evaluate the risk. 

On a personal note: I had a similar experience in Iraq as part of the last Danish combat troops stationed there in 2007. We escorted the very last column out of Iraq. And the column was attacked on the way out.

Whereever there are soldiers stationed there is a risk.
We know - I would hope that the Media were better at explaining that too.

Have a speedy recovery soldiers. 

More in Dansh from Army Operational Command:

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Must read: Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese soldier who hid in a Philippine jungle for decades dies at 91.

Extraordinary story about devotion and dedication. A man caught in a time pocket in the jungle until 1974 returning to Japan to find everything changed.

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Amusing guide:
How to look like a Dane

I normally find the idea about stereotypes rather unflattering. They can be obstacles when we try to understand others. However, this is used in a fun and amusing way.
Well worth a read.

Fact: I also wear Converse All Stars. 

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Today marks the start of four months of parental leave. The last day at the squadron was used to take two of our Friesian horses in the terrain with a fellow officer.

Several months of parental leave is not common in the Danish army. However, none of us are in-expendable. The other leaders in the squadron have been trained to think and make decisions for themselves.

Surely I will miss the employees. I will miss the horses.

But I also look forward to commit and connect with my youngest, now 8 months old. And my wife looks forward to get back to work.

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Five characteristics of a great combat leader

In this new post I hcae tried to outline some characteristics of a great combat leader. In short the best leaders:
- Leads from the front
- Keeps calm and avoids panic
- Copes with uncertainty and chaos
- Maintains focus on the objective
- Knows the intent

What about the best leaders in your industry. De they have some of the same characteristics or do others apply?
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