Join me this episode as I sit down with my mentor and friend, retired Colonel Howie Cohen, to discuss leadership, community, standards, and perseverance. We reminisce on the unconventional methods Howie used to instill cohesion in every one of the dozens of organizations he led, from being one of the first officers ever to sign into the Third Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment to commanding the White House Communications Agency. 

Woven throughout our conversation you will notice the profound joy of cameraderie forged by the shared experience of selfless service to something bigger than ourselves alongside the heartbreak that comes with the difficult challenges that life brings our way. 

Howie embodies the essence of the word excellence and his commitment to learning, growth, and contribution shine through in all his stories. He is a prime example of someone who is a leader’s leader, never asking someone to do something he isn’t willing to do himself, always looking for the developmental moment. Willing to hold himself to a higher standard not because he has to, but because he believes it’s the right thing to do. 

I had the privilege of working for Howie two separate times during my nine years of service, first when he was the Battalion Commander of the 112th Signal Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne) and again when he commanded a Special Mission Unit that we both served in. I’m so grateful to share the heart and humor of this amazing leader – this amazing human being – whom I’m honored to call my mentor and friend. 

Please check out Howie’s current project on Mental Fitness and preventing veteran suicide in the show notes below and help spread the word to everyone you think might benefit. 


Show Highlights: 

  • What it looks like to enforce high standards and how doing so creates a high accountability, high performing organization 
  • Excellence becomes contagious when you lead by example 
  • The experience of community creates an essential bond of an organization and is an essential ingredient for success
  • The caliber of the team goes up when the accountability of each individual on the team goes up
  • How to create a self-regulatory culture in an organization 
  • Even if you don’t win, you win when you’re committed to excellence
  • Finding meaning in sadness.
  • Asking yourself ‘what am I doing right now to develop my leaders and what can I do better?’
  • Prioritizing leadership development even when others haven’t 
  • The gift of letting go of something you’re not good at so you can pursue your passion
  • How to find your resilience even when you suffer from a difficult setback 

Show Resources: 


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