Thursday, December 10, 2009

If your boss wants you to wear matching uniforms . . .

Are you surrounded by people that do exactly as you say and never question any decision, directive or course of action that you initiate? That is fantastic! If you're a military leader. The ability to follow orders and exercise obedience makes a great soldier. However, if the members of your team are not carrying rifles and wearing the same camouflage outfits, and they conform as described in the first sentence, you have a very serious problem.

The existence of a team of blindly following and staunchly obedient troop members is possible for two reasons - both of them attributable to the leader.

  1. Subordinates who always agree is likely due to a lack of self-starting qualities and the ability to think for themselves. They are attracted and congregate because . . .
  2. Some leaders make it clear that agreement is the only option, accomplished by making examples of those now former team members who did not agree.

"The problem with our organization is a lack of execution," is a common reason (excuse) provided by leaders. This is a disappointingly transparent statement, which says, "If you would just do exactly what I tell you, we would be successful." In combat, execution is everything; in business, it is an important part – but it is not everything.

People have a need to create, innovate and take on increasing responsibility. They want to try their own ideas, have authority to make their own decisions and have the ability to make a difference. Great people will migrate to organizations that allow them to exercise their ingenuity. Great success is impossible without great people.

Have you ever seen a team, run like a military, achieve any significant or lasting success in the civilian world?


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