Top Gun graduate teaches combat leadership lessons to WANADA members

At a recent WANADA workshop, a U.S. Marine Corps officer and combat veteran related the lessons of battle field leadership to business leadership.


The workshop was led by David Berke, the USMC officer serving at the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon. As an F/A-18 pilot, he deployed twice to Iraq and Afghanistan and also spent three years as an Instructor Pilot at Top Gun Academy. He earned his Master’s degree in International Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and is currently studying Business Administration at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.


In his presentation to WANADA members, “Extreme Ownership,” Berke discussed the four battle-proven rules of leadership and how they can be used in business and life. First is Cover and Move, which highlights the importance of teamwork and relationships. If the team fails, everyone fails. Second is Simplicity. Communication should be simple, clear and concise. It is important to simplify the mission so everyone understands and agrees on the goal. If people don’t understand the mission, they can’t execute it.


Third is Prioritize and Execute. Leaders should relax, look around and make the call. They need to recognize, analyze and react, and to detach themselves from the situation. Fourth is a Decentralized Command. Everyone on the team is a leader and should be able to explain the commander’s intent. Leaders should not wait for orders; they should lead. Everyone needs to understand the reasons for the mission and the methods of executing it.


Thanks to WANADA Kindred-line member Kyle Wannemacher, president of MIDAS (Mid-Atlantic Insurance and Dealer-Added Services),  for sponsoring the well-received program.

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