West Point sits on a bluff in an outcropping of land, about 50 miles up the Hudson River from New York City. The setting is beautiful, the old stone buildings rugged; it's truly another world. Just stepping foot on the academy grounds is imposing and suggests being there isn't for the faint-hearted, but there's also an aura that hints investing the effort to succeed there is worth it for those who feel the calling and can rise to the challenge.
To many who have only viewed West Point (or our other Military Service Academies - Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard) from a distance, the appearance of discipline and conformity may be all that is noticed. But to stop there would miss the point of the Character these places require - and inspire - from those who graduate from them and go on to serve our Nation.
Duty implies commitment to something greater than oneself. It requires service whenever called for and under whatever circumstances. It's not optional.
Honor is at the heart of the mission. To carry out the specified Duty requires absolute integrity in the approach to the work. Truth and fairness in all dealings are central to this concept.
Both Duty and Honor support the absolute West Point commitment to serving Country. The focus is on protecting and defending the United States Constitution, the Grand Idea for our Nation of Principles. History confirms that the graduates of this place understand the relationship of these three elements and steadfastly support them.
We can all learn something of value from the purity of effort and commitment exhibited by the Long Gray Line. In a business context, these principles can be translated to Duty, Honor, Customers; when the first two elements are intensely focused on serving the third, remarkable things can be accomplished.