I recently read an article in the Harvard Business Blog on four star general and former US top commander in Afghanistan David D. McKiernan. He was recently replaced and forced out (fired) by a new commander, General Stanley McChrystal. Basically the article states that General McKiernan was "old school" (though he was generally recognized for having done an outstanding job) and not up to speed as his predecessor in diplomatic skills, press savviness, international politics and so forth.
The question I have to ask is how General McKiernan became “old school?” Why should a leader become old school? He has had more experience than his predecessors in most cases, which means he had opportunities to avoid becoming old school. How did General McKiernan miss those opportunities? How do seasoned business leaders miss those opportunities in general? Is it crusty attitudes of “I know this stuff better than anyone else?” Or is it simply blissful ignorance as the world passes quickly by?
How do you as a leader prevent becoming old school?