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Conversations About Prepared Leadership in the Age of Perpetual Uncertainty—From the C-Suite to the Battlefield

When the COVID pandemic burned across the world in 2020 the United States found itself in an unaccustomed place. A country that presumed its superior capacity to deal with large problems instead flailed in its response—not only to the health threat posed by the virus but to the economic calamity and social unrest accompanying it.

When the crisis came where was leadership?

Paragraph 3: Prepared Leadership in the Age of Uncertainty illuminates the how of leading organizations in what promises to be a long era of uncertainty, of which the upheavals of the pandemic were only a taste. Paragraph 3 is not another leadership book. It is a practical guide to running organizations in an age when every operating environment will be complex, volatile and


The title derives from the conventions of the multi-paragraph military operations order. Paragraph one frames the situation: weather, geography, the nature of the threat. Paragraph two is the mission statement—the who, what, when, where, why of an operation. The how is in paragraph three: execution.

The premise of Paragraph 3 derives from the experience of General John Mulholland, who led Task Force Dagger, the first American incursion into Afghanistan in October 2001. Mulholland was given an audacious mission: defeat the Taliban and make the country unsafe for Al-Qaeda. And paragraph three of his operations order was nearly blank. It was a situation analogous to that abruptly faced by all of us in 2020.


The interviewees in Paragraph 3 are a striking cross section of American leaders, a diverse collection of senior leaders, men and women from the military and corporate worlds—admirals and generals now working in the private sector, CEOs, a leading surgeon, technology innovators. Paragraph 3 captures their real-world lessons for finding a way forward.

Paragraph 3 is a manual for the 21 st Century.




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