Re: Leadership and Personality LO2801
Wed, 13 Sep 1995 21:56:16 -0400

Replying to LO2725--

In LO2725, Jim Michmerhuizen wrote...

>>Maybe it's something like this: in the military there's this chain of
command, as a kind of backbone. I imagine that in peacetime the commands
don't come very often. Obviously, even in the military, there are other
ways of interacting than to give orders. So how does one conduct a
brainstorming or groupthink in the military? Same as in civilian life,

Isn't the difference, then, that in most business organizations these days
there is no chain of command to be a backbone for deliberations?<<

Jim, I have a moderately different angle on this backbone thought. I would
not suggest that there is no chain of command. What my description of arms
and legs flailing was intended to suggest is that the chain of commmand
constricts their own activity to looking good by looking busy while
spending most of their personal intellectual capital on how to reduce
costs instead of create a better organization.

It is one of the major lackings in business. Thinking of an organization
without a backbone is a neat metaphor. From my perspective on business and
this arena, you caught my drift. Leaders are charged with the
responsibility of direction, purpose, values, strategy. For the sake of
discussion, I am suggesting that they are spending little time on this in
a relative sense. And, as many pundits like me have suggested, without
clear purpose, values, mission - rudderless is the ship. Who can create
new knowledge (a.k.a. Learn as an Organization) when they are wonder- ing
if tomorrow will come for their organization?

>>Isn't a planning session going to be different in a situation where you
know that what the session decides should happen will happen, than in a
situation where - as in so many businesses - there isn't the slightest
certainty that any decisions will actually be effective?

Is this sort of what you're talking about, Dave?<<

Jim, I agree that this is a thought in businesses - that there isn't the
slightest bit of certainty about effectiveness of decisions. This should
make them inclined to speed up the decision making process in order to
discover successes and failures faster. Not doing anything will certainly
lead to slow or fast demise. And, the decision-making and doing needs to
be different than the past. Downsizing, saving costs, bottom line, short
term thinking is what got most corporations where they are today. Yet,
many continue the thought and focus.

PST!! The military has no more certainty about success than business.
General Schwartzkopf and the guys in Desert Storm did not know with great
certainty they would be successful. But they spent quite a bit of time
working towards the end of CREATING BETTER ODDS AT SUCCESS through
scenario analysis by THINKING and PLANNING for contingencies.

The military leaders are taught to take chances with REAL PEOPLE's REAL
LIVES. I don't believe the risk in business is anywhere near this great.
My impression is that business leaders need to learn some of this risk

Take care and have a great day!!

Dave Buffenbarger
Organizational Improvement Coach
Dow Chemical Company
(517) 638-7080