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Category Archives: Military Managers

Putting it all in context

We’ve been working to offer concrete examples to explain why a primary management task is to impart perspective to the organization. Last week we looked at just one way the military does that through what is sometimes known as the mission-oriented order. We saw how military commanders don’t simply give “orders” – or instructions – […]

Mutual incomprehension

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been referring to a central military maxim, fundamentally relevant to our purposes as well, which states that the commander’s first responsibility is to his mission, and only his second is to his troops. We noted that military organizations are characterized by the organizational reconciliation of these two instincts […]

A brief step back

We mentioned in the last post that our definition of management – the development of organizational objectives and the identification and deployment of resources to accomplish them – is a “big arrow” declaration that requires some elaboration to be rendered meaningful to practitioners. But actually, in order to begin work on that, it might be […]

Fear and anger

A military outfit is a great place to study organizational dynamics, and one of the best places among them is a fighting Navy ship. You can come to an appreciation of what truly matters, what really contributes to victory under stressful conditions, and the role that leadership actually plays. . .


Last Thursday, I told a story from my days in the Marines about an organizational success that transformed my unit from the worst to the best literally on the instant. Unfortunately, the event was so dramatic and impressive that I drew precisely the wrong conclusions about what brought it about. . .