Re: Intro -- James McGarrahan LO3865

Richard Karash (
Sun, 26 Nov 1995 15:08:39 -0500 (EST)

Replying to LO3861 --

I'm not a marine. But, I am impressed by the vigor and spirit of this
exchange. In most settings, I don't hear people talk about the leadership
system and empowerment in *their* organizations with this kind of pride.

Just imagine people talking like this about the management system at IBM,
at GM, at NYNEX, the State of Mass., or wherever! Instead we get stories
of the brilliance of a CEO here, or a strategy there. I'm reminded again
of the untapped upside potential in all our human organizations.

I suspect that this much good stuff is not present in all military
settings, but for the places where it *is* so strong, how does it happen?
Are there lessons for business and other organizations from what we see

I recently worked with a unit of the US Coast Guard where I saw some of
the same impressive spirit. I offer this as one who has carried a
negative bias about the military for most of my adult life.

On Sun, 26 Nov 1995, lifvendahl thomas wrote:
> On Sat, 25 Nov 1995 Hal Poppelwell ( wrote:
> > As a former Marine on both sides of the commissioning "line" I disagree
> > with Thomas. Our Corps was founded on the principles of total
> > responsibility at all levels. One of the great things about our Corps is
> > the fact that a unit which loses its commander contiues to perform quite
> > as well as if he were still there. The next person in line "steps up" to
> > the job.
> > Now, tell me, does that sound like stifling Chain of Command BS to you?
> > Is this the enlisted man that we worry about empowering? As I recall, you
> > can't STOP his empowerment! And no one who's ever commanded Marines would
> > even try.

> Hal, the proto-typical Marine is able to "command", no matter what the
> level of rank he or she is. Combat does not tolerate indecision and
> Marines tend to be "take charge" individuals whose training values the
> ability to make clear decisions during ambiguous situations.

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