Posts Tagged ‘decision-making’

The essence of military style command and control is mission based planning and direction. Most people have a vision of military command structures based on caricatures dating back to the First World War. However, even during that war (and preceding ones) military forces were only successful to the extent that units and leaders at all levels were free to interpret plans and orders and exercise their initiative within the superior commander’s intent, rather than following detailed set-piece plans and executing orders to the letter.

If you want to be truly successful in achieving your aims, you have to give your team members the overall intent and scheme of manoeuvre, while letting them figure out the best way(s) to achieve them. This can be summarized as “tell them what to do, not how to do it.” Yes, there are times when you must be highly prescriptive, implement procedures, and set minimum standards. But these only cover the most common and basic needs. Leaders must have the freedom to explore different options with their teams and to reinforce what works while dropping what doesn’t. Not only is this more effective and efficient, it also leaves them with more space to exercise initiative and provides everyone with the intellectual stimulation and intrinsic motivation to succeed.

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

One of the things I learned in the army on peacekeeping operations was that first information is usually (i.e., almost always) wrong, and to avoid overreacting. The worst thing you can do when you’re trying to keep a secure and safe environment for everyone is to believe everything you hear and then react immediately. This is why “ground truth” is so critical to a measured response.

Ground truth is what you learn by actually going out and seeing for yourself, talking to the people involved–on all sides–and then drawing your own conclusions. Just because one side says the other side did or didn’t do something doesn’t automatically mean it’s actually the case. Moreover, acting without optimal information and understanding can lead to unintended consequences. The key word is optimal. Perfect information is impossible, and trying to get it is extremely costly, in time and resources. On the other hand, shooting from the hip can work–sometimes–but there is usually something important you’ll overlook.

Get the ground truth, exercise reasonable skepticism, and try to look beyond the immediate effects of your decisions and actions to estimate intended and unintended consequences.

Richard Martin is a Master Strategist and Leadership Catalyst. Richard brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Last week Target announced that it was shutting down completely its Canadian operation, all 133 stores, and taking a $5.4 billion writedown. What was originally supposed to be the beginning of a glorious international expansion has turned into a lesson in humility and hubris. There was a lot of talk of how they had poor merchandising, high prices, lack of stock, etc etc. This is all true, but the main cause of this was arrogance. They appeared to think they could launch across Canada en masse without learning about the market(s), building a solid supplier network and logistics, and experimenting to adapt to the Canadian marketplace and competitive dynamic.

A military force that’s fixing to cross a major obstacle into new territory always starts with a bridgehead. The aim is to secure a foothold that can be defended and to build up strength and supplies of fuel and ammunition. Only when you’ve done so successfully do you extend the beachhead by probing and seeking gaps in the enemy defenses. You can then attempt a breakout. We can’t be sure Target would have been ultimately successful, but if they had started with a few stores in various parts of the country, experimented, generated experience and lessons learned, and only then tried to expand in phases, they would probably have done a lot better and would still be expanding instead of retreating humbly back to their home base in the US.

I’m never too busy to discuss your needs or those of anyone else you feel may benefit from meeting or talking to me. So feel free to contact me at any time!

Richard Martin is a Master Strategist and Leadership Catalyst. Richard brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Step 4 in the Battle Readiness procedure we’ve been examining is the estimate and plan.

  • The estimate is a sequential process for assessing the situation and determining key factors, options, and consequences of actions (friendly and enemy). The result of the estimate is a plan.
  • This might seem a bit obvious, but the estimate always starts with a clear understanding and statement of the AIM. You have to know your objective before you can analyze your courses of action and decide on the best one. Omitting the aim is ALWAYS the biggest mistake people make.
  • The key factors to consider in formulating options and plans are:
    • Climate & weather (social, economic, and political environments)
    • Enemy (competitors, big and small, old and new)
    • Terrain (markets)
    • Friendly forces (products and services)
    • Time & space (when, where, how long)
    • Speed & surprise
    • Resources at your disposal (and any gaps)
    • Logistics & support
    • Command, control, communications (who’s in charge, etc.)
  • Generate different courses of action, both for you and for COMPETITORS and other STAKEHOLDERS (whether supportive or hostile). Select the optimal course of action.
  • Your plan should be based on the optimal solution to achieve your aim. Discarded or sub-optimal courses of action (friendly and enemy) may provide input for contingency planning and risk management.

I’m never too busy to discuss your needs or those of anyone else you feel may benefit from meeting or talking to me. So feel free to contact me at any time!

Richard Martin is a Master Strategist and Leadership Catalyst. Richard brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

We’ve been looking at the 6 steps in the simplified “battle procedure” for business. So far we’ve covered steps 1 and 2, respectively: warning and time estimate. This week we cover step 3, reconnaissance.

Reconnaissance is the act of seeking out new information or confirming existing assumptions and knowledge in order to decide on the best course of action for future operations. Reconnaissance is so valuable because it allows us to question the hypotheses that have guided us to that point. For instance, you may consider launching an attack on an enemy position by going through an unfamiliar area. However, you need to send scouts to confirm that the route provides good cover, is passable to your forces, and will give you the element of surprise. The last thing you want is to take a route to your objective and find upon doing so that it is impassable to tanks or you come under enemy ambush.

You can and must apply the same logic to your business strategies and tactical plans. Say you want to launch a product or service in new geographical market. It helps to scout out the terrain ahead of time to determine the following:

  • Are there competitors?
  • What do they offer?
  • What is the nature of buyers, their needs, their wants?
  • Are there government regulations you must be aware of?
  • Do you have the resources to establish a bridgehead in hostile territory?
  • Are there potential allies who can help you succeed in this terrain?
  • What is the weather (i.e. economic and social environment) like?
  • What are the threats and opportunities?

I’m never too busy to discuss your needs or those of anyone else you feel may benefit from meeting or talking to me. So feel free to contact me at any time! Ask me about my new “Battle Procedure Briefing” for business.

Richard Martin is a Master Strategist and Leadership Catalyst. Richard brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Now is the time to get ready for battle!

And you don’t have to go in blind. Why don’t you call on the best strategist to give you the edge you need?

Richard Martin served as an infantry officer for 21 years in the Canadian Army.

He is the expert in applying military wisdom and know-how to winning business and organizational battles.

Richard shows you how to apply the fundamental principles of military strategy and leadership: manoeuvre and discipline.

Richard will lead a real, honest to goodness BATTLE PROCEDURE BRIEFING for you and your team that will propel you to victory!

“Did you know that an infantry battalion only needs about 3 to 4 hours of prep and planning time to be battle ready? What are you waiting for to get the same benefits for your outfit?” – Richard Martin

Duration: 3 to 4 hours, at your location

Investment: variable depending on needs and objectives of client

Contact me right away to see if you have what it takes!

Richard Martin, The Leadership and Strategy Catalyst, Alcera Consulting Inc.

514 453-3993

Richard.Martin@alcera.ca

http://www.alcera.ca

Check out Richard on video: http://www.alcera.ca/en/videos-teleconferences.php

Richard Martin is the author of Brilliant Manoeuvres: How to Use Military Wisdom to Win Business Battles

Brilliant Manoeuvres is Sun Tzu’s Art of War combined with Drucker’s The Effective Executive.”

— Alan Weiss, PhD, Author of the bestselling Million Dollar Consulting

The agenda and content may vary according to the client’s objectives, Richard’s professional opinion and experience, or the exact nature of the situation under assessment. While the procedure is important, it is also critical that strategic and tactical conditions guide the process. Richard has the expertise and discipline to keep the team on track with a systematic approach.

Note: Battle-dress not required… 😉

Pour mieux préparer vos troupes à votre prochaine offensive, faites donc appel à… un militaire !

Richard Martin a servi comme officier des Forces canadiennes pendant 21 ans et y a acquis une très grande expérience en matière de leadership et de stratégie militaire.

Il applique à l’entreprise les vertus essentielles qui font la force des armées : la rigueur et la discipline. Richard Martin forme et entraine les équipes de direction avec les méthodes qui engendrent des bons résultats et font gagner des batailles !

Il animera pour votre équipe de direction un véritable BRIEFING DE PRÉPARATION AU COMBAT qui conduira votre entreprise à la victoire…

« Sachez qu’un bataillon de 750 personnes peut se préparer et se positionner pour une opération de combat en aussi peu que 3 à 4 heures. Qu’attendez-vous pour en faire autant avec votre équipe de direction et mettre votre entreprise sur un pied de guerre ? » – Richard Martin

Durée : 3 à 4 heures, à vos bureaux

Coût : devis sur demande, selon objectifs à atteindre

Inscrivez votre entreprise IMMÉDIATEMENT !

Communiquez avec Claude Janet, pour Richard Martin, Président, fondateur, ALCERA, Conseil de gestion Inc.

T : 514 453-3993

claude.janet@alcera.ca

http://www.alcera.ca

Vidéos disponibles sur : http://www.alcera.ca/fr/videos-teleconferences.php

Richard Martin est l’auteur de « Brilliant Manoeuvres: How to Use Military Wisdom to Win Business Battles ».

Brilliant Manoeuvres is Sun Tzu’s Art of War combined with Drucker’s The Effective Executive.”

— Alan Weiss, PhD, Author of the bestselling Million Dollar Consulting

Les étapes et le contenu peuvent varier selon les objectifs de l’entreprise/organisation, l’avis professionnel et l’expérience de Richard Martin ou encore les besoins du moment. Il faut surtout se laisser guider par la réalité stratégique ou tactique et non pas juste suivre un procédé rigide. Richard Martin a l’expertise, la discipline et la rigueur pour vous guider dans cette opération délicate.

Attention! Le port de l’uniforme n’est pas exigé… 😉