Chaveso “Chevy”
Cook
Executive Director
MilitaryMentors.org
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4:35pm-5:10pm To Live is to D.I.E.: Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Lessons from Special Operations

General Session

Leading in high stress and/or dangerous contexts is fundamentally the same, yet qualitatively different, from leading in other contexts. These contexts are known as in extremis, defined as leading where there is physical danger or where followers believe that leader behavior will influence their well-being. Outcomes mean more than success or failure, pride or embarrassment – they can be hurt or healthy, dead or alive. The unique psychological, social and organizational demands that arise during in extremis situations is what makes leading and developing teams within these contexts very different. Arguably, these contexts produce leaders that are high performing and teams that are high functioning – desirable traits for success in any field.

If diversity is foundational for high performing teams, inclusion is the magnetism that keeps them together. Equity, then, is the condition that allows both the magnetism and high performance to be sustainable. In extremis leaders and their teams not only hire for, but continually require each of these elements to succeed in the most untenable of situations.

In addition to understanding in extremis contexts and aspects of diversity, inclusion and equity therein, development for high stress and in extremis leaders requires creating rigorous development frameworks. As such, research findings indicate building leaders that can perform during in extremis contexts requires a holistic developmental model which integrates interrelated psychological structures, capacities, traits and skills which facilitate both leaders’ and followers’ ability to operate in a given high stress context. This session will discuss the model, which includes five main facets: worldview, self-awareness, sense of agency/motivation, self-regulation, and social awareness. In addition to the science, this session will also discuss lessons learned and implications for developmental experiences, training, and intervention strategies from other high stakes/high stress contexts for participants to relate to their own arenas.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

- Hear from a Special Operations veteran about in extremis experiences and the leadership required for our nation’s highest performing defenders.

- Learn what it takes to create developmental frameworks which optimize both the individual and social characteristics for premier leaders and close-knit teams.

- Understand the combat-tested reality of diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice to apply these lessons learned to your own high-performing/high-stress contexts.