Execute Violently: A Leaders Call


By Andy Troth, CAPP

Not actually violently but with passion. As we all know there are different types of leaders; you can become one through self-awareness, surrounding yourself with great mentors, and sometimes people are naturally born leaders.

Execute Violently was my late son  Col. Douglas Thomas’s call to his soldiers, fellow officers, and leaders. My son started his military career as a senior in high school. He surrounded himself with others that would mentor him and guide him throughout his military career. Through his career as a leader, he developed his own principles of success for guiding his soldiers and leadership team to be a better leader. He called it, “The Thomas Leadership Six.”

  1.  He wanted officers that wanted to work hard, and to volunteer for the hard jobs and tasks that no one else wanted. Officers that wanted to share their ideas with peers because they want to make the organization a better place. Aggressive officers are those trying to do the right thing and sometime get told to settle down. An officer that needs to be told what to do and has no desire to do anything will hold the organization back.
  2.  “Keep It Simple Stupid.” We have checklists, SOP’s, and regulations that dictate how we do business. When you plan your own operations don’t make them complex, keep them simple so that everyone understands and can accomplish the mission. If you are the only one that knows the plan, then we fail.
  3.  Hard work and dedication is 90% of everything you need to be successful, 10% is your knowledge and skills you possess. Work hard to know your job and the people that work for you. You will not be a perfect officer at your skill set or have the perfect team when you arrive, but what you do after your get here will make you either the best, average, or bottom of the pack.
  4.  Moral Courage: Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong. If it seems wrong, don’t look the other way. If you, do it will set a new standard that you will not be able to fix.
  5.  Family: Ensure that you a giving enough time to your family and making milestone events when possible. Your attitude should be that your family is still there long after you are out of the Army or the organization.
  6.  Have Fun: Dale Carnegie once said, “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” I want you to keep this quote as you go through your day. A smile and positive word can go a long way when you use them with your people and when you receive them. If we internalize that having fun is the most important thing, we will take the organization to great places.

This list has made a great impact on many of my son’s fellow officers, new and old, as well has some of his enlisted men.

As a leader, we should always be and example to our employee, employers, and everyone around us. What is your call to your team and organization? Do you “Execute Violently as a Leader?” I challenge you to create your own “Leadership Six” and your own call that everyone will remember.

Andy Troth, CAPP, is an Operations Manager for SP+. He can be reached at He can be reached at atroth@spplus.com.