Brilliant Manoeuvre
Keep your followers informed of the mission, the changing situation, and the overall picture.

One of my clients hired me to help grow sales and improve processes within one of his company’s business lines. However, he hadn’t told the people in that division what was happening and why he had hired me. The rumour started going around that he was planning on closing that business line, which was, of course, completely false. People are not mushrooms; they don’t grow best in the damp and the dark. You have to let in the light so they know what is happening, why it’s happening, and what needs to be done, both individually and collectively. People and teams perform best when they know what the mission and objectives are, what the leader’s overall intent and plan are to achieve them, and what is expected of them as members of the organization. Moreover, when they know what the mission and goals are, what the overall situation is, they can use their abilities and initiative to work towards the most effective and efficient achievement of the mission.

Periodically get your people together to tell them how things are progressing towards achieving objectives and the overall mission. Let them know how they’re doing, and let them ask any questions they want so you can provide the answers. You can also hold a lessons learned session and ask for input and suggestions for improvement. In the army this is known as ‘platoon commander’s hour.’ When he ran GE, Jack Welch would also do exactly the same thing, although at a much higher level.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

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