I’m headed off to school to fill my brain once again to overflowing. Before it’s too late, I wanted to capture some inspiration from the Executive-in-Residence from our January session, a retired army Colonel Mike Kendall. It’s tempting to think it’s a bit odd for a green fuzzy business school to bring in an Army Colonel to tell us how to do business, but the truth is the military is first in socially responsible managment; the army truly manages everything about the lives of their employees down to the spouse and kids.
It’s also tempting to assume the Army doesn’t need to be too sophisticated about managment – they give orders, right? A former Navy friend of mine quickly dismisses that. He assures me that if the people under your command don’t approve of your managment style, they have ways of making you suffer. So below I’ve created some quick management gems inspired by Colonel Kendall:
1) Metrics for Managers – what’s your sleep plan? People crack when they’re not taking care of themselves, one responsibility for lower level folks is to have a sleep plan for themselves to make sure they’re getting their rack time. How many corporate employees acknowlege this importance?
2) Shit Detail is for Leaders – literally. Higher level managers motivate and earn respect when they are willing to participate in even the worst detail. They also get the best insight into the challenges and operations of their organization by taking hands-on looks at all levels.
3) Prime to Promote – in the military you don’t recruit your next General by stealing him from the UK or Bolivia, you’ve got to grow your own. You also never know in the field where command may have to fall. Every member of an operation must be trained to know and understand the mission. People at all levels need opportunities to practice leadership.
4) Own it and Fix it – create a culture of acknowleging mistakes. If you did proper training, then mistakes tend to have three sources: a) poor self-dicipline on the part of an individual; b) poor supervisor communication; c) an institutional problem or procedural failure.
Off to pack!