15 May More Command & Control in Business Than The Military?
The Self Reliant Leadership Crucible mixes Special Operations soldiers transitioning to the business world, and executives looking to step back from daily routines to reflect and re-think current approaches that map to today’s challenges.
During the last expedition, the take-aways from the group were as follows:
- The executives learned that selection should be an ongoing process. Just because you made the team, doesn’t mean you get to stay on the team. Just like players have to make the roster every year in the NFL, executives need be diligent about selection, clear expectations, and consequences for positive and negative behavior/performance. This is also known as accountability, which gets a lot of lip service, but not much follow-through.
- The Special Operations soldiers learned most of the challenges the executives discussed involved people. People not collaborating selflessly with the team’s needs ahead of their own can be hard to understand when you come from an environment where your teammates literally have your back. But the people challenges were familiar to the soldiers, and require finesse they’ve honed over many years working with teammates 24 hours a day. They figure what they need to learn about business will be the “easy” part.
- The higher you go in an organization, the harder it is to do less. As Marshall Goldsmith wrote, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” Much of the work of a top leader (e.g., C-suite) is to create an environment where most of the people do the right thing most of the time. You do this through the leadership levers of People, Process, Structure and Incentives. The more a leader tries to manage the environment, the more they’re displaying command and control behavior, which just doesn’t work for the long haul like cooperation, collaboration, coordination, consistency, consensus and genuine caring.
The big surprise was one of the executive participants noted that the Special Operations soldiers were much more about Consensus & Collaboration than Command & Control. That goes straight against the stereotype of the military. According to the 2014 Demographics – Profile of the Military Community, I would point out that 43.2% of the military is 25 years old and younger, and only 9.2% are 41 years or older.
Hmmm… maybe they’re already where we need to be?
The Crucible expedition would not be possible without sponsors, and we are extremely grateful for the generosity of Western Union, and their top-tier executives who have been actively participating and contributing to The Self-Reliant Crucible Expedition with their own special talents.
For more information on participating, or sponsoring a future Crucible expedition, please contact us here.