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How to Practice Accountable Leadership with Robert “Cujo” Teschner (ep. 534)

Robert "Cujo" Teschner

John O’Leary welcomes F-15 and F-22 fighter pilot, Weapons School Instructor and Squadron Commander, Robert “Cujo” Teschner on the Live Inspired Podcast to discuss hope, resiliency and how to live with purpose.

After decades of teamwork and the highest levels of accountability as an F-15 and F-22 fighter pilot, Weapons School Instructor and Squadron Commander Robert “Cujo” Teschner concluded that every team can become what he personally experienced and lived on the front-line.

Today, Cujo joins us to share about his current mission: helping organizations build teams that win amid disruption.”

He’ll share stories from his time as a F-15 “Eagle” instructor at the prestigious U.S. Air Force Weapons School (think Tom Cruise in “Top Gun”), but more importantly, he’ll share how teams- whether that’s the hockey team on the ice, the sales division at work or the family unit at home- can build trust and achieve performance even when plans fall apart.

My friends, if you’re looking for guidance on how to be a better parent, partner, coworker or friend, this conversation will show you how accountable leadership can help.

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  • Seizing on and trying to find hope: Born in war-ravaged Zagreb, Croatia, Cujo’s mother immigrated to the United States as a young child.
  • As an Air Force intelligence officer, Cujo’s father instilled how to live with integrity and doing what was necessary for his family.
  • Moving with his family put him behind in traditional German and American sports so Cujo found a niche where he succeeded, allowing him to join the military academy.
  • “If you can’t teach someone on your team how to do the things that are expected of them, then you can’t be effective as a leader.”
  • Ever since watching Star Wars as a kid, Cujo had a clear understanding of his purpose.
  • “Our story just got better.” After serving as a weapons instructor for more than a decade, Cujo learns he’s diagnoses with colorectal cancer yet refuses to allow it to affect his mindset.
  • As a fighter pilot, Cujo understands the most important part of a mission is learning from it. Even if a mission lasts 30 minutes, his unit would spend more than 19 consecutive hours debriefing.
  • “Don’t just debrief the failures. Debrief the wins. Yet the most powerful thing we can do is plan to succeed.”
  • Achieve Commanders Intent and ensure your team’s making high quality decisions by getting clear on your team’s purpose, the key tasks and the end goal.
  • By being held to the same standard, or by having mutual accountability, teams can thrive in a trusting and productive environment.
  • Are you feel like you’re flying alone? Build a team.
  • Robert got his call sign of Cujo when Curtis Joseph was a goaltender for the St. Louis Blues.
  • Get a copy of Robert “Cujo” Teschner’s Debrief to Win here.

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love my Military and First Responder playlist. From former U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Evy Poumpouras to Apollo 13’s Captain Jim Lovell, don’t miss as I discuss life, love and service with these American heroes. Listen to the Military and First Responder playlist now.


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.



  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. The Bible.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Fun and funny.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. A statue of St. Michael the Archangel crafted out of a 2000-year-old piece of olive tree.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. Stan Musial, not because he was the greatest Cardinal player of all time but because he was a man of faith throughout.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. What’s done is done. Focus on tomorrow.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Spend more time digging into why you’re here and make sure you’re living that purpose in all that you do.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. He got better over time.