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Christopher Kolenda is a West Point Grad and a retired US Army Colonel, as well as the founder of the Strategic Leaders Academy, Kolenda helps leaders and their teams soar to new heights. During his military career, Kolenda, a combat leader and trusted adviser to three four-star generals and two undersecretaries of defense, was the first American to have both fought the Taliban as a commander in combat and negotiated with them in peace talks. He and his unit defied conventional wisdom in Afghanistan by motivating a large insurgent group to switch sides, the only example of such success in the 20-year history of the war. His unique warrior-diplomacy has been featured inNew York Times bestselling books and media outlets including CNN, MSNBC, BBC, NPR, The Wall Street JournalThe EconomistThe New York Times, and The Washington Post. He has written two books on the topic, Zero Sum Victory and Leadership: The Warrior’s Art. 

Kolenda is currently on the Fallen Hero Honor Ride, on which he is paying tribute to six paratroopers killed in action in Afghanistan under his command. He is biking 1700 miles from Nebraska to Arlington National Cemetery—to honor the men and raise funds for his unit’s 800 veterans and their families, as well as bring awareness to the families of those lost in combat, and the emotional and cognitive struggles so many veterans face after their deployment ends. Over 7,000 American service members were killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. In the wars’ aftermath, over 30,000 post-9/11 veterans have died by suicide. Kolenda’s unit has lost more to suicide and substance abuse than were killed in combat, a sobering statistic Kolenda brings awareness to this September, National Suicide Prevention Month.

Learn more at and The Fallen Hero Honor Ride’s GoFundMe page.


This week’s podcast is brought to you by our friends at Sprocket Sports.  Sprocket Sports is a new software platform for youth sports clubs.  Yeah, there are a lot of these systems out there, but Sprocket provides the full enchilada. They give you all the cool front-end stuff to make your club look good– like websites and marketing tools – AND all the back-end transactions and services to run your business better so you can focus on what really matters – your players and your teams. 

Sprocket is built for those clubs looking to thrive, not just survive, in the competitive world of youth sports clubs.  So if you’ve been looking for a true business partner – not just another app – check them out today at

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Tagged under: Coaching, leadership, team culture