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How West Point and the Army Taught CEO Ken Lamneck About Leadership

Ken Lamneck is a graduate of West Point and rose to the rank of captain in the U.S. Army. But if you think he runs Insight Enterprises (NSIT) like a command and control military operation, you’re wrong. By contrast, he says his military training taught him about the so-called “servant leadership model”.

“I wouldn’t expect the people I lead to do anything I’m not prepared to do,” explains Lamneck. “When you really get down to it, the essence is really it’s about people and it’s about caring for people and really driving them and making them successful.”

That’s why Lamneck has been sending his senior executives to leadership boot camp at West Point, ever since he took the CEO job at Insight Enterprises in 2010. “They get to see some real world examples that are very different and in situations where they don’t have all the information,” he says. “They’re in critical situations that they’ve got to make decisions very much on the fly.”

Finding and training leaders is so important to Lamneck that he insists on meeting candidates for all junior and senior positions, even if it means doing the interview over Skype. As the leader of a Fortune 500 global technology company, he’s looking for people who he says are “hungry, humble and smart” so he can stay ahead of the competition and the fast pace of innovation.

“What I mean by hungry is people who really want to improve themselves, people that want to develop, want to learn, want to succeed. When I look for people who are humble, I’m looking for people who are team players,” says Lamneck. “And then when I’m looking for smart, I’m not looking for what their GPA score was, I’m looking for emotional intelligence and do they have a curiosity to learn.”

Watch the video above for more from our conversation with Lamneck.