In the June 2 installment of INSA’s Coffee & Conversation Webinar series, INSA Executive Vice President John Doyan virtually sat down with John Sherman, then Chief Information Officer (CIO) of ODNI and now Deputy CIO of the Department of Defense. The 45-minute conversation centered around Mr. Sherman’s top leadership lessons that learned over the course of his career within the Intelligence Community, as well as tips for upcoming IC professionals in these challenging times.
Mr. Sherman began the discussion by emphasizing that these were lessons on executive leadership he wishes he would have been told in his early years as an analyst. These lessons included:
- Realize that careers can take unexpected paths, so be flexible and learn as much as you can;
- Develop core corporate skills that are key for senior leadership, such as budget development, working with industry, procurement processes, and working with international partners;
- Savor and learn from your mistakes, even if it is difficult; and
- Mentor, inspire and don’t ever forget the “why” behind what you are doing.
Along with these wonderful thoughts and advice on leadership, Mr. Sherman shared a reading list of books that he's read or is reading this year. Encouraging viewers to check out the list, he gave some background as to why he reads what he reads. “My reading list doesn’t contain books about management philosophy," he said, "but rather about historical events that involve people… some doing amazing things…some doing terrible things that demand a response…and often people just trying to get through challenging situations. I find that books about history can tell us a lot about leadership and human dynamics in ways that can be very relevant for us today.”