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News | Jan. 26, 2021

Leader Professional Development meeting enforces importance of reading

By Nancy Benecki DLA Troop Support

The first month of the new year is almost over. Maybe it’s already time for a reset on those resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more, or practice self-care? What about tackling that stack of unread books you may have?

The importance of reading was the main focus of the latest Leader Professional Development meeting held virtually for the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support by the Subsistence supply chain on Jan. 14. Army Lt. Col. Joe Byerly, a strategic planner for the Joint Special Operations Command, was the featured speaker. He is also the founder and chief executive officer of the website From the Green Notebook.

From the Green Notebook is, “One of our best digital development tools for leaders out there with regard to giving different perspective on reflection, gaining new experience, and gaining new knowledge in the effort to be better leaders,” said Subsistence director Army Col. Eric McCoy.

Byerly focused on how reading gives people a competitive advantage, both in the military and in life.

“Whenever we set out to take on a new leadership position or a new challenge, we bring with us a mind that’s either prepared and appreciates what we’re about to face, or we come to that challenge woefully ignorant of what we’re going to encounter,” Byerly said. “Reading fills those gaps that we don’t get through experience.”

Reading a variety of books from different genres is important, he said, because it can provide a starting point when starting something new, build an internal library of experiences to reference when facing unfamiliar situations, or introduce us to people we never would have been able to meet.

Byerly, a self-described “late bloomer” when it comes to reading and writing, said he reads from 40-50 books a year. He reads from 15 minutes to a half hour first thing in the morning, and he prefers to read fiction at night to help him relax and fall asleep.

“The important thing is no matter what I’m reading, I’m always reflecting on how I can be a better leader,” he said.

This LPD session was the first held this year by Subsistence as a complement to the Troop Support-wide LPD program for all military service members, McCoy said.

“Even though we are dealing with a national pandemic and trying to maintain some kind of normalcy in our work and personal lives, professional development is still something all leaders need to remain focused on,” McCoy said. “It’s important to keep expanding our minds and growing through experiences, and what better way to do that right now than by reading a good book?”