Hi and thanks for taking the time to look at my blog. This is the first of what will be a monthly communication, where I will be sharing some of my views, ideas and articles on topical issues. I hope you find them helpful and thought provoking. I’ll be focusing on topics around Management, Sales, Personal Development and HR, but do please get in touch if you have any requests or suggestions for topics that would interest you.
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I was delivering a learning event recently for Senior Managers and was reminded by a delegate from a distinguished military background that there are many similarities between business and war. In both cases, he suggested, the victor is the one who uses superior strategy against his or her competition.
There are three key principles of military strategy that can be applied to your work every single day.
1. The Principle of Manoeuvre:
The Principle of Manoeuvre says that you should be clear about the goal, but be flexible about the process of achieving it. According to the Menninger Institute, this quality of flexibility is the most important single quality that you will require for success in times of rapid change. So how does one go about being flexible?
Fundamentally, it is essential that Managers are ‘Open to Continuous Feedback’. A key peak performance quality is to “seek and accept feedback, and then self-correct. Peak performers are those who can take information from their environment and even if the information is contrary to all of their planning, they can accept the information, modify their plans, and continue moving forward. They are always open to new ideas and insights.
2. The Principle of Intelligence:
The Principle of Intelligence means simply, “Get the facts!” Or in other words, ‘Learn what you need to know’. The most important thing in business decision making is for you to get accurate information. Facts do not lie. It is important that you get the real facts, not the assumed facts or the apparent facts or the obvious facts, or the hoped for facts, but the real, provable facts.
In line with getting the facts, all Managers are ultimately measured by the decisions that they make and the results thereafter of these decisions being made. The quality of the decisions that you make will be in direct proportion to the amount of time that you take to gather timely and accurate information. The very best thing that you can do, if you have insufficient information, is to delay making a decision at all.
3. The Principle of Economy of Force:
The Principle of Economy of Force means that you should ‘Invest in your resources wisely’. It also means that you commit sufficient resources to achieve the objective once you have decided upon it.
When we talk about investing in our resources, it is worth considering how much time we invest in our most essential resources – our staff. Consider the people that report directly into you and ask yourself where you are investing most of your time? Is it with your new recruits, those who are struggling to achieve their objectives or with your most effective reports who will ultimately dig you out of a hole when the going gets tough?
Since your own personal energy is all you really have to invest over the course of your lifetime, the military principle of economy also significantly says that you should be very selfish when deciding how you are going to use yourself. Again, you may wish to ask yourself how often you delegate (not allocate!).
Here are two ideas that you can apply immediately to be more strategic in your work and personal life.
First, remain flexible when you are working towards your goal. In times of rapid change, all of your best ideas can be contradicted by new information. Be willing to try different things. Be open to new inputs and ideas.
Second, get the facts! The more and better information you can acquire before you make a decision, the better your decision will be. The very best managers spend a good amount of time getting the real, provable facts before they take action.