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Brian Sanders “Of Generals, Horses and Soldiers”

Of Generals, Horses and Soldiers


Former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff, General Colin Powell tells the following story:


“There’s a story about Lincoln I’ve always appreciated. In the early days of the Civil War, he would go to the old soldiers’ home outside of the swampy area of Washington, up in the north part of the city. There was a telegraph office there, and one night a message comes in, and the telegraph operator writes it down. “Mr. President, it’s not good.”


And he hands it to him. The message says: “The confederates have just raided a Union outpost by Fairfax Station, they’ve captured one hundred horses and the brigadier general.” Lincoln sighs and says, “Oh God. I hate to lose one hundred horses.” The telegraph operator asks him, “What about the brigadier general?” And Lincoln’s reply was, “I can make a brigadier general in five minutes, but it’s hard to replace one hundred horses.”


Somebody framed that quote and gave it to me the day I made brigadier general, and it has been on my desk ever since. To this day, it’s there. If you came to my house now, you’d see it. It always reminded me that “Your job, Powell, is to take care of the horses. Don’t worry about being a brigadier general. Take care of the horses, the soldiers, the employees, the clerks, the students, the faculty, whatever it takes to be a success in what it is you’re trying to achieve.”[i]


Dear Christian Radio,

It’s not about me.

It’s not about you.

It’s about the team.


Does the team know they’re important?

Do you say it? Write thank you cards?

Is it said often?


Are they given what they need to accomplish the mission and vision?


Allow me to end by asking some uncomfortable questions.


Does your team know they’re more important than your title?



It’s about them. Not us.


Let’s live and lead so they know it’s true.


Easy never changed the world,



[i] David Rubenstein, “How to Lead”, pgs. 221-222


Brian Sanders is Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio and author of Leadership Endurance, An Amazon #1 best seller.  He makes his home in Christiansburg, VA with his wife, Kayla.  For more on Brian, to purchase his book, or to consider him as speaker/trainer for your next virtual event, please visit www.briansandersauthor.com 

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