Recently posted quotes:
"There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress." Mark Twain (1835-1910)
“Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.” -Will Rogers (1879-1935)
"Stability in government is essential to national character and to the advantages annexed to it." -James Madison (1751-1836)
"Liberty must at all hazards be supported." -John Adams (1735-1826)
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Leadership - Part 6 – Got it Tough?
Consider those in the military who contend with as much as a 33% turnover in personnel every year – year in and year out. How would you like to train or operate in that environment? With the standard enlistment and normal personnel rotation, they survive with a turnover rate that would drive a civilian operation batty.
So what is it that makes their situation tolerable and yours not?
I call the answer to this situation: the Pontiac model – GTO.
Right, GTO; that’s guidance, training and organization.
The military works off guidance. How can this be one might ask. Leadership, or management depending on your viewpoint, gives out mission oriented orders that realistically stand as guidance. This guidance is then put into practice up and down the chain of command gaining more and more detail the further down the chain the orders travel. There is absolutely no room for micro management here. They relay the guidance and then get out of the way and allow subordinates to operate. A certain level of authority is passed along with the guidance, it has to be, that allows the subordinates to make decisions on the spot and refer up the chain only that that needs to be referred.
They can operate this way because they have trained to do so. From the basic training structure, right through the advanced individual training courses post basic and then into the unit training environment; while doing their job, they are always training. Training, then training, and when that’s finished; they train some more. Yes, and it’s all accomplished while doing their job. There is absolutely no room for micro management here. They train and then get out of the way and allow subordinates to operate.
The next logical question is: how can they afford to train constantly? Well, the answer is in the way they are organized. Isn’t it great how Pontiac, even though they might be going away, gave us an acronym that just perfectly fits this model? Organization is where the entire ability is derived from. They know and understand the organization; everybody up and down the chain understands the organization. Everybody knows their job and how doing, or not doing their job, fits in with the overall unit’s accomplishment of its mission.
The intangible here is the camaraderie that is built up by the closeness that these units operate under. This is extremely difficult to duplicate in the civilian environment – next to impossible one might think. Not necessarily so. Consider the times and how close an organization becomes once they have been through a few reductions in force, or layoffs? There is a bonding that takes place. It comes after they have breathed a sigh of relief and then achieved a frame of mind that allows them to think about work and not about those that are no longer around. They have to go through this process; it’s natural. The quicker leadership gets them through it the better. They bond, they pull closer, they are more open to others that they might not have been open to before and the entire organization benefits from the experience.
This time is the perfect time to organize better for the coming future. Some organizations will not make it and that’s OK. Most that don’t make it will tend to be the weaker of those that existed prior to the business downturn. A certain culling always takes place during a downturn; a sorta thinning of the herd and redistribution of assets and opportunities. It’s to be expected.