TOPGUN on Wall Street
TOPGUN on Wall Street chronicles one man’s extraordinary journey from the cornfields of Ohio, to the cockpit of an F-14, to the boardrooms on Wall Street. Lieutenant Commander Jeffery Lay and #1 New York Times bestselling author Patrick Robinson bring a provocative, ground-breaking voice to the business landscape with a revolutionary answer for stabilizing corporate America: business—the military way.
As a “Topgun” fighter pilot, Lieutenant Commander Lay perfected a tried-and-true military technique: PLAN – BRIEF – EXECUTE – DEBRIEF. However, when he retired from active duty in 2006 and went to work for a subsidiary of the ill-fated Lehman Brothers, he noticed that everything about the business world was different: less efficient, awash with excuses for failure, allowance of men with tricky morals to rise to the top, self-gain overshadowing teamwork, and a devastating lack of accountability.
With such deeply-rooted flaws, is corporate America doomed for perpetual failure?
Answer: Not if we put admirals in charge and adopt the military’s tight chain of command.
This game-changing thesis is interwoven with Lieutenant Commander Lay’s dramatic story, including his high-intensity strike fighter aircraft landings, never-before-written details of the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), and his heart-breaking, humbling, and inspirational battle with cancer at the peak of his military career.
TOPGUN on Wall Street is written by a leader determined to show the business world that excellence is a choice and perfection is attainable.
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Why the United States Military Should Run Corporate America
By Lt Commander Jeffery Lay with Patrick Robinson
This is a memoir of sorts, but it is America’s story. In the 1990’s, America and the rest of the world was growing rich, while the US military was toiling away on behalf of a government which had forgotten them, defending the priceless peace that permitted that prosperity. These iron-souled fighting men were not made rich themselves – except in creed and reverence for one another, and their institutions. And for that none of them complained.
Thus the story unleashes a call for a new era of national reverence, and respect. Particularly from today’s Chief Executive Officers who should feel only privileged to run great American corporations, in which investors have placed their trust.
This book is about respect. It is an echoing cry to a time when corporate America was populated by men who had served in the military and learned these basic creeds. Today, we are infiltrated by an entire generation of men who run these companies, but have never served their nation.
Down all the years every TOPGUN fighter pilot has carried an unspoken commitment to but one master – and that master is Excellence. None of them accept anything less. Their phrases are : FLY! FIGHT! WIN! They will never surrender, just as Captain John Paul Jones – their Patron Saint, and father of the United States Navy – once taught.
Every TOPGUN fighter ace believes perfection is attainable, that victory is possible, no matter how dire the circumstances. Every one of those stand-up American fighter bombers will fight until his dying breath. Every one of them believes implicitly the unspoken creed of the Navy’s howling flight decks – Excellence is Always a Choice. Corporate America has a thousand lessons to learn from each and every one of them.
The book is about Business Management, about the comparison between the Military and Corporate America. It deals stridently with principal issues like Leadership, Planning, Briefing and Debriefing, Teamwork, Loyalty and Culture, Assessment of Risk. He even tackles the vexed and occasionally catastrophic US system for allowing civilians to dominate the military.
The management theme runs throughout the book. And Commander Lay, having set out to prove the superiority of the military, in the end does so. It is a revolutionary theory, previously unexplored, and attractive to an enormous audience.
He attacks the civilian culture of no incentive to help others, the lack of proper teamwork. The domination of the personal bonus system … “They have it all wrong, from top to bottom – always chasing the god of greed, not perfection.”
This culture brought down the world’s economy in 2008. “They are money-making philistines,” he writes, “And they have no idea how to debrief correctly. Thus, they never answer their own biggest question properly : What the hell went wrong here ? That’s why corporate America is doomed to make the same mistakes over and over, as it always has.
The book’s themes and solutions have never been stated by anyone. It will capture a vast military audience, most of them cheering. And above all, it will captivate the tens of millions of American investors who were nearly ruined by the Crash of 2008, many thousands of whom had actually served in the military.
What could be more simple ? The United States Navy vs. Corporate America. A devastating clash of cultures.