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Hello everyone....first time poster! I'm looking for a little help tracking down a poem Mark read on a more recent cast.

It referred to times of war, when a general might look at a man with wooden blocks to represent troops...and the reality that men are not blocks; that they need food; that they slow down; that lines on the map turn into deep ravines...and so forth.

Any tips? I've ffw'd through some casts, but with no luck. If anyone knows the author of the quote, or even just the cast it came from, it would be a huge help!

To Mark and Mike: Thank you each so much for your work. I started an MBA program last year after returning from Iraq (my apologies for being a Marine!). I feel these casts have been the greatest addition possible to my basic curriculum in strategy, marketing, finance and such.

Those MBA topics are important for understanding the big picture. However, it is the education both of you have provided me that allows me to work more effectively with my teams at school and work, and prepares me to be a tactical, practical, effective manager in the near future. I've learned that in the day-to-day grind, effective, sensible managing is far, far more important than Porter's Five Forces, the 4 p's of marketing, finance structures and so many other textbook items. People>Processes!

Cheers,
Jonathan Greenlee

wendii's picture

Hey Jonathan,

Glad to have you here with us!

Mark wrote more and gave the whole passage in a blog entry here:

http://www.manager-tools.com/2006/04/my-favorite-leadership-quote/

It's a marvelous piece isn't it.

Wendii

juliahhavener's picture

Welcome, Jonathan!

My original avatar was of my GSD, though I've swapped it out for myself. Awesome piece.

Mark's picture

Thanks Wendii!

Jonathan-

You need never apologize to anyone (here or anywhere else) for being a U.S. Marine. The Marines are one of the greatest institutions in the history of mankind.

[i]War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself[/i]. ~John Stewart Mill

As the old Marine recruiting slogan goes:

[b]"Nobody wants to fight, but somebody damn well better know how."[/b]

Had it been my choice, I would have selected the Marines out of school. Alas, that would meant going to ... Navy. Thus, I can only WISH that I were a Marine.

Glad you're here - you are why we're doing this.

Mark

jongreen's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]

Had it been my choice, I would have selected the Marines out of school. Alas, that would meant going to ... Navy. Thus, I can only WISH that I were a Marine.

[/quote]

My guys would be quick to tell you..."Sure, we're a department of the Navy...the men's department."

While acceptible in military surroundings, apologies for any sexist connotations in that quote!

Mark, thank you for your kind words. Having lived the experience, I'll share with you that the Marines are indeed good at what they do, and focusing on that one key task at hand, usually combat (unfortunate though it is we have to do so).

The downside...and maybe the rest of the military is similar...is the often over-the-top command and control leadership. It keeps everyone in line, but does not celebrate people over processes, and keeps quite a few good men down. Of course, that's likely the result of specific leaders not putting priorities in the right places, but it does seem to be a theme.

I'd be interested to hear your opinion about that...the hardened military style...which can contrast with the "people first" attitude. Naturally, people first is what we want as managers and employees in the private sector. But with the military, how far would you go with a basis saying that the hardened approach is "correct" or "better"?

juliahhavener's picture

My dad retired as an O6 in the Navy. My current lead was a Marine. One of the things I learned from Dad was that people are primary. He was very focused on his people, constantly looking for development opportunities for them, and consistently worked with individuals to succeed. He was a real inspiration to me when it comes to management and what success means in life.

jongreen's picture

Julia,

That's great to hear. You know, it probably does just depend a lot on who your superiors happen to be. Also, the structure and regulations probably make it easy for some to be less people friendly.

I'd have to say the best leaders I've seen in the military were the ones who would break rules for people...and they usually weren't even challenged on it. If they were, they'd take the blame and keep marchin' on. Just like it was mentioned in one of the podcasts about hiring, you [i]can[/i] break rules for the sake of people, and often times, you really should.

This makes me have another thought: If unyielding enforcement of rules and regulations usually happens in less people-friendly situations, can it be inferred that those who rely on them are really just lazy (non-)leaders, doing the bare minimum?

juliahhavener's picture

[quote]I'd have to say the best leaders I've seen in the military were the ones who would break rules for people...and they usually weren't even challenged on it. If they were, they'd take the blame and keep marchin' on. Just like it was mentioned in one of the podcasts about hiring, you can break rules for the sake of people, and often times, you really should. [/quote]

I would say that's accurate. They also know that their decisions may not always be in their own best interest...and be just fine with that. Some of the situations and decisions I remember him being involved in (looking back as an adult) I find speak very, very loudly of his skills.

That would be a prime factor in my asking him to mentor me. It's been a good decision for many reasons. His advice is sound, his experience varied, and he was willing to add this new dimension to our existing relationship. Now I'm making him dust off his golf clubs for me so I have someone to play with.

Mark's picture

I was never taught the 'hardened military way'. I believe that is a stereotype that is still held but is no longer valid. If someone were to engage in it, I'd be disappointed, and know that they really didn't get what the military was truly about: love of thy fellow man.

Mark

Mark's picture

And, I will blog at some point about a great but sad story about a military leader who knew what it was to lead.

Mark

sgtfun's picture

I thought I’d chime in on the conversation...

As a former Marine I recommend a book by Dan Carrison & Rod Walsh called [u]Semper Fi[/u] which has supplied me with many examples of how to use military leadership in business life.

It's an easy read and a publication that I reference often.

Let me know what you think!