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News | April 4, 2018

Guest lecturer John Viola speaks at DLA Distribution HQ’s Leadership Training

By Diana Dawa DLA Distribution Public Affairs

In keeping with the Leadership Training theme “Distribution Roadmap for the Future - Making Change When Change Is Hard,” guest lecturer John Viola presented a session focused on strategic leadership within a constitutional framework.

Viola is a visiting lecturer in Executive Programs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and serves in a number of executive leadership training programs around the country.  

Utilizing the Socratic Method – a form of engaging, open dialogue between participants, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and challenge underlying presumptions – he led a robust discussion using first-person critical thinking and analysis.

During his session, Viola explained the importance of establishing power bases in alignment with agency objectives and goals.  These strategic relationships ultimately help with leadership within our constitutional framework, and often referenced how the nation’s founding fathers helped make this the reality of public sector leadership.

Working from the example of those power bases, Viola, with the support of group discussion, was able to make parallels to help DLA Distribution leaders form their specific power bases to achieve success in their areas of expertise.

Viola’s goal for the sessions he conducts is to not only enable those that attend to come away with an understanding of the ability to apply critical thinking toward finding success in a challenging and changing environment, but also reinforce participants with a renewed understanding of the importance of their roles in leading forward.   

“My hope with all the executives that I administer this with is a new empowerment on how to make change in a constructive and strategic way using our constitutional framework.”

Brig. Gen. John Laskodi, commander, DLA Distribution, stated to those in attendance that this learning engagement fits in with the spirit of what the entire week is about.

“This whole week has been about our strategic vision ... how we can best support the Department of Defense today and how we must continually reform to preserve and improve our Distribution capability for the future. Our discussions this week have focused on ‘thinking outside the box’ and nesting our Distribution Campaign Plan with the DLA Strategic Plan. The tools we’ve given you, like stakeholder mapping, provide the framework for understanding and delivering our strategic messaging and solving complex problems.”