THE JOURNAL OF LEADERSHIP APPLICATIONS
Vol. 6 No. 10
(626) 350-1500 Ext 102
“Extraordinary achievements demand extraordinary leaders.“
© 2008 William A. Cohen, PhD
Table of Contents for this Issue
News for Leaders: Immediately Following The Table of Contents
This Month’s Article: How to Build and Develop an Organization (Immediately Following The Table of Contents)
This Month’s Thought for Leaders: (Immediate Following Article)
News for Leaders
MY FAVORITE LEADERSHIP BOOKS. At a recent presentation I was asked about my favorite books on leadership. With over 5000 books on management in my library and probably at least half having to do with leadership, this is not a question I could answer off the top of my head. After careful consideration, here are five that I came up with:
1. Leadership by James MacGregor Burns (Harper & Row, 1978) This is a thought-provoking book by a historian and political scientist. It has more than 500 pages and is not always an easy read. However it is well worth the time invested.
2. Leaders by Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus (Harper & Row, 1985). Academics sometimes miss the boat when writing about leadership. These two definitely did not.
3. Hesselbein on Leadership by Frances Hesselbein (Jossey-Bass, 2002). Frances Hesselbein headed The Girl Scouts of America during its most successful period of growth. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and now heads up the Leader to Leader Institute. Peter Drucker said that she could run any corporation in America.
4. The Armed Forces Officer . The author is not listed. (Department of Defense, 1950). This book was actually written under contract by S.L.A. Marshall, a well-known military writer and brigadier general in the Army Reserve who developed a new methodology of battle history analysis during WWII. There are newer editions published as recently as 2007. However this and a slightly later edition is the one I have read completely. It is highly recommended for all leaders.
5. The Stuff of Heroes: The Eight Universal Laws of Leadership by William A. Cohen (Longstreet Press, 1998). yes, this is one of two books on the list which I wrote and have noted as a favorite. The book was on Los Angeles Times best seller list and I frequently get requests for this book which I am unable to fulfill. One book review called it one of the best books on leadership ever written.
6. The New Art of the Leader: Leading with Integrity and Honor by William A. Cohen (Prentice Hall Press, 2000). The first edition of this book in 1988 was named a “Best Business Book of the Year” by Library Journal. It has been used by many units all of our armed forces.
NOW YOU CAN LISTEN TO A CLASS WITH DRUCKER unabridged. Go to www. Audible.com or www.iTunes.com. A CD of A Class with Drucker is scheduled for a release in March, 2009
I AM NOW WRITING A MONTHLY COLUMN “LESSONS FROM PETER DRUCKER” for e-BIM.com, the preeminent website for professional HR, talent, and learning executives. The first column can be accessed at “Every Leader Must Declare his Expectations.”
Other recent Drucker articles are:
Peter Drucker of the Value of Ignorance from Performance and Profits
Webcast: The Lost Lessons of Peter Drucker from The American Management Association
Five Things William Cohen Has Learned From Peter Drucker from CIO Magazine
How the World’s Most Celebrated Management Consultant Got His Title from Industry Week
The Night Peter Drucker Declared He Was Not My Father from eBIM.com
Drucker’s Lost Lesson from Training Magazine
Effective Leadership in Leadership Excellence
FULL DAY DRUCKER SEMINARS NOW AVAILABLE. The following new full-day seminars based on my being Peter Drucker’s first executive PhD student, personal discussions with him, and my research of his writings are now available. These are The Lost Lessons of Peter F. Drucker, Drucker on Marketing, and Drucker on Leadership. For a complete description go to SPEECHES, SEMINARS, AND WORKSHOPS or contact me directly by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (626) 794-5998. Yes we do give international seminars — The U.S. country code is 01.
HOW TO BUILD AN ORGANIZATION
by ã William A. Cohen, PhD 2008
In many of my seminars on leadership, I ask this question: Can you think of any organization that has all of these attributes?
· The workers work very hard physically, including weekends, with little complaint.
· The workers receive no money and little material compensation for their services.
· The work is dangerous and workers are frequently injured on the job.
· The work is strictly voluntary.
· The workers usually have very high morale.
· The organization always has more workers than can be employed.
· The workers are highly motivated to achieve the organization’s goals.
Do you think that there’s no such organization on the face of the earth? That such an organization can’t exist? That such an organization is only in someone’s dream?
Before you come to such a conclusion, consider a high school football team. It has all of the above qualities. Do you say that a successful high school football star can go on to make megabucks as a professional player? Well, that’s true. However, the chances of that happening considering the numbers of high school players versus the numbers of pro players is very slim indeed. You’d have a better chance of winning one of the big lotteries. Very few perform “work” on a football team for that reason.
What You Can Learn From A Girl’s Soccer Team
I have selected football in the above example, but you can find similar results in other sports. For years I have been fascinated with the story of Arthur Resnick who coached a girls soccer team in Scarsdale, New York.
In a four-year period, Coach Resnick’s team won 75 consecutive matches. Of course it won the regional title every year.
I know what you’re thinking. This was one of those schools that trained professional athletes. That every student was a “jock.” That the male teams achieved even more dramatic results.
All of these statements are 100% wrong. This was not a particularly athletic school. Others teams at the same school, both male and female, had only a normal win-loss record, nothing spectacular.
Because of his incredible success, others have studied Coach Resnick’s techniques. Stories have appeared about him and his team in magazines and newspapers including in Business Week, Wall Street Journal, and Boardroom Reports.
Why are business and management readers so interested in what the coach of a girl’s soccer team did? Because they realize that if they can understand what Coach Resnick used to build his girl’s soccer team, they can use the same techniques to build their own organizations.
Is There A Correlation Between Leadership and Athletics?
There is some correlation between leadership on the athletic field and leadership in other things in life. After the First World War, the authorities at West Point decided to review the records of former cadets. They wanted to know whether there was anything in the records of cadets who later became general officers that could have predicted their later success. Academically, there were no predictors. There were generals who graduated first in their classes, such as MacArthur. However, there were also generals who graduated last in their classes like Custer. There were also generals who had been athletes, and generals who had not. But it was a fact that a West Point graduate had a better chance of becoming a general if he had been an athlete while a cadet. As a result, of this research, athletics became required for all cadets.
General Douglas MacArthur’s View
General Douglas MacArthur’s view is known to every West Point cadet. It is blazoned in stone on the main athletic building at West Point:
“On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds, that on other fields, on other days, will bear the fruits of victory.”
Military leadership in many ways replicates athletic leadership on the playing field. Its many successes are demonstrated by elite military units as well as the sometimes incredible accomplishments and victories in combat against great odds by winning military “teams.”
If you lead your organization or group like a winning football team, what an organization you can have! What accomplishments aren’t possible? What victories can’t be won? Let’s look at how we can apply the techniques used by every winning coach as well as every winning battlefield commander to build an unbeatable team.
What Every Winning Athletic Team Has
If we want to build an organization like a winning athletic team, we must first examine winning teams to see what makes them successful. Successful athletic teams have these characteristics:
· Cohesion – Cohesion means sticking together. It means that members put the interests of the group over their own interests.
· Teamwork – Teamwork means working together so as to maximize the strengths of individual group members and minimize their weaknesses.
· High Morale – Morale is an inner feeling of well-being that is independent of external factors.
· Esprit de Corps – Esprit de Corps is a French word that has to do with the morale of the organization as a unit.
Last month we looked at attaining high morale and esprit de corps . Now we’ll look at cohesion and teamwork.
What Is Cohesion?
Cohesion is known in the military as a combat force multiplier. This means that the mere existence of strong cohesion in a unit can multiply the effectiveness of this unit in combat. Through strong cohesion, a smaller and weaker military force can overcome one that is larger and stronger.
Many American units that fought in Vietnam lacked cohesion. This was due in part to the military’s policy of rotating individual men stateside as they completed one year of combat duty. As a result there was little unit stability as replacements constantly arrived and veterans departed. American military organizations could have maintained the cohesion of these units by rotating the entire unit and replacing it with a new one. The policy of not doing this contributed to a decrease in unit motivation, disciplinary, and combat performance. This lesson was not lost when the U.S. armed forces confronted Iraq
in Operation Desert Shield and then went to war in Operation Desert Storm and since 9/11 in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the most part, soldiers go and return to combat areas as a unit.
Cohesive Organizations Outperform Others
Cohesive organizations outperform organizations that lack cohesion again and again. Some time ago, a researcher studied cohesion in some detail. Lt. Colonel Jon W. Blades, an Army officer at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. investigated this aspect of cohesion. Blades discovered that significantly better average performance scores occurred when cohesion increased. According to Blades, cohesion had this effect because good working relationships among the members of the group made more efficient use of group assets. Such assets might include the ability of the group’s members, available time, and assigned equipment.
Blades also found that a positive increase in group performance was seen in basic training among training platoons which had high cohesiveness. These highly cohesive platoons almost always performed better in such soldierly skills as rifle marksmanship, physical fitness, drill and ceremonies, and individual soldier skill tests, than did platoons with low cohesiveness.
Why was this? Because in the more cohesive platoons, the more talented soldiers voluntarily spent their free time teaching and coaching those that were less talented. From this, Blades concluded that if members had high ability and high motivation, the more cohesion a group has, the better the group performance will be.
If you have ever seen an average athletic team that has played together for awhile beat a group of all-stars that have not played together, this may be the reason.
An Air Force Fighter Pilot Demonstrates Cohesion
During the 1958 Lebanon crisis, an Air Force fighter pilot who had very limited training on his type of aircraft was ordered to fly from his base in South Carolina to Adana, Turkey.
He ran into bad weather. He considered aborting the flight and turning back. Instead, he pressed on. His inexperience led to difficulty in locating his tanker aircraft. Over the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with only four minutes of fuel left, he was desperate. He thought about ejecting from his aircraft and leaving it to crash. Than just in time he found his aerial tanker and took on the necessary fuel. Some hours later he landed at Adana, Turkey. When asked about his experience he said, “In my worst moment, I suddenly realized that staying with my gang meant more than anything in the world.”
Others studies of men in combat confirm the feelings of this young airman. Army historian, Brigadier General S.L.A. Marshall conducted more than 400 interviews with American infantrymen immediately after combat in both the European and the Pacific theaters of war. Marshall concluded that the main motivation for a soldier to fight is a sense of psychological unity with other members of his immediate combat unit. Said General Marshall:
“I hold it to be one of the simplest truths of war that the thing which enables an infantry soldier to keep going with his weapons is the near presence or the presumed presence of a comrade.”
Sure patriotism, religion, and ideology are strong motivators. However, “staying with the gang,” a good description of cohesion, is even stronger. That’s true in battle, and its true in your organization whatever its purpose as well.
How To Develop Strong Group Cohesion
If you want to develop strong cohesion in your organization, you must develop pride in membership. To feel pride, your group must feel that they are in the best organization of its type, anywhere. That is, if your organization is a production crew making automobile parts, each member must feel that he is in the best production crew making automobile parts in the world. If your group does management consulting, than you want every member to feel that he or she is in the world’s best management consulting group. The same principle applies regardless of what kind of business you are in. Every one of your group members must feel that he or she is in the best organization of its kind.
How To Convince Your Group That They Are The Best
Now, if you are going to convince your group that they are the best, they are actually going to have to be the best in some way. This is not as difficult as it appears. The key is to focus on some element that is important to the group and to concentrate on being best at that.
The obvious things are things that can be measured: sales, units produced, awards received, etc. These quantitative measurements are sometimes called metrics. However, metrics need not be involved, so long as the group members have a valid reason for believing that they are the best. One squadron that I flew with prided themselves at being best at night attack. Another squadron on the same base felt that they were best at low level flying. I have seen members of organizations that felt that their organizations were the best of their type for all sorts of reasons. These included:
· the hardest workers
· the organization that got the toughest assignments
· the organization that worked the longest hours
· the fastest
· the most courteous
· the most through
· the most creative
· the most productive
I have also been in a group that thought itself the best of its type because it was the most fun-loving and had the best cohesion! This was a section of fifteen officers and government executives at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces selected by accident for membership. Each section was called “a seminar.” Seminar 11 played together, went to school together, looked out for one another and had such a good time while learning that their seminar number became famous throughout the college during their period of going through the course. When they graduated, someone put an asterisk by every class member who was a member of Seminar. At the bottom of the page was the notation “member of Seminar 11.”
As the group’s leader, its up to you to develop this “we’re the best” attitude. You can do this right at the start, when you first become associated with your group. Assign tasks that you know those in the group can perform well. As their skill and pride of accomplishment increases, select tasks that are progressively more difficult. Betsy Burton, who when CEO of Supercuts presided over a major turnaround of this company when it was in trouble is currently CEO of the Zale Corporation. Burton said that leaders must focus on their organizations being great and not just good. She went on to say, “Great isn’t what you do, it’s how you do it. It is a way of thinking. Great doesn’t mean you have to be the biggest. It means being the best. Great doesn’t mean you’re perfect. It means bouncing back from ups and downs.”
Give Recognition Whenever You Can
Of course, every time a task is completed successfully, make certain that the individuals completing them receive the recognition their deserve. And make certain that your entire organization learns of every victory. Recognition comes in variety of forms. Official letters of commendation are one way. However, even short handwritten notes and verbal praise are appreciated.
Symbols Represent The Real Thing
You can and should encourage organizational mottoes, names, symbols, and slogans. They represent the real thing. That’s why hearing our national anthem and seeing the flag waving can bring a lump to our throats and sometimes tears to our eyes. It’s not that The Star Spangled Banner is such a beautiful tune. Originally, it was a beer drinking song! Nor does the Stars and Stripes as a piece of art evoke emotion. Without what the flag represents, it is simply a multi-colored piece of cloth. But representing what it does, it and other symbols are extremely powerful. As a leader, you should encourage such icons: mottoes, names, symbols, and slogans whenever you can, because they brand us for what we are . . . to ourselves and to others. And that’s why the phrase “rally ‘round the flag” is not empty in its meaning.
Establishing A Group’s Worth
Finally, you can improve group cohesion by establishing the worth of the organization and its values. The more good things that you can find and can say about your organization, the better. Everyone likes to be associated with winners and winning organizations. No one wants to be in an organization that is thought of as losing. So if you can establish your group as a winner based on its past, you are well on your way toward a strong, cohesive unit. What you can do is this. Investigate and find good things in the history of your organization. What are your organization’s traditions? What has your organization accomplished in the past that you can promote? The more you can find to promote, the better.
Note that I keep mentioning promotion. Once you ferret out this information about your organization, you’ve got to use it. You want everyone in your organization to know what a terrific outfit they are associated with. Publicize this information in newsletters. Post it on bulletin boards, read the information at staff meetings. Use every technique you can to promote your organization as the best around. Get people excited about their membership in the group. Make them feel that they are better than anyone else . . . the best.
When All Other Airlines Lost Money, This One Made It
Between 1990 and 1994, the airlines industry lost a whopping $12.8 billion. To put this in some perspective that’s more money than the industry had made in the previous sixty years! But one airline made money. In fact, it has been profitable every year since 1973, and its profit margins are the highest in the industry. 2007 marked its 35th consecutive year of profitability! Yes, I’m talking about Southwest Airlines, which also win high ratings every year for customer service. How do they do it? Two PhDs, Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Frieberg, consultants to Southwest, got then Chairman Herb Kelleher to okay a study and find out. They published their research as a book under the title Nuts!. The title refers to Southwest’s no-frills gourmet that was limited to this particular single food when other airlines were serving full meals. The two researchers found that Southwest celebrates everything. “Southwest throws a party whenever possible to honor and reward people and to give them opportunities to experience the Southwest culture. Southwest is also fanatical about documenting its celebrations so that employees and friends can relive the memories.” Another former CEO and President of Southwest, Howard Putnam said, “I couldn’t understand when I first got there why we didn’t have any complaints. The employment group worked with the mentality that we hire people who have fun. When I spoke to new employees I’d tell them, ‘You’ve chosen Southwest Airlines and you’re going to work harder than at any other airline. You’re going to get paid about 30 percent less, but in the long run, when we make this thing work, with your profit sharing you’ll be far ahead of anybody else.’”
Now I must give you one cautionary note here. Some leaders think that they can promote their organization best by tearing down the reputation of the parent organization. This is a mistake. It will backfire. Not only will your superiors come down on you eventually, but you will hurt the very cohesion you are trying to build. Once again, no one wants to be associated with a losing organization, even if it is the parent organization to their own. So don’t do it. Even when things go wrong because of actions of the parent organization that your organization belongs, and your organization has done its job, build support for both organizations, not one at the expense of the other.
The Amazing Fact That General Scwarzkopf Discovered About Carrying Out Bad Orders – Adopt Them As Your Own!
When General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, hero of Desert Shield and Desert Storm, was a young officer he saw lots of bad orders come down from above. Much to his amazement, he discovered that the best company commanders were the ones who could carry out a bad order if they had to without ruining their troops morale. According to General Schwarzkopf: “All seven company commanders protested, but as soon as it was clear the colonel wasn’t going to change his mind, the commanders of the three good companies went back to their units and executed the order as if they’d thought of it themselves. They told the men,‘Okay guys. We’ve got a new mission and that is to get the barracks in shape for the general! Let’s show him who’s the best company at Ft. Campbell! ’” He contrasted this with the actions of the poorer company commanders. First they kept trying to change the battle group commander’s mind until finally he threw them out of his office. Finally they returned to their companies and told their men, “The general is coming and battle group says we gotta paint the damn building even though it doesn’t need it.”
Of course it isn’t wrong to try and change your bosses views. In fact, it is your duty to do this. But once you have made your arguments, and they have been rejected, adopt your bosses decision as your own, even if you disagree with it. If the members of your organization feel that they are in the best organization of its type, which in turn is a part of the best organization of its type, you will build a bonding force that is stronger than super glue. It is a cohesion that cannot be broken, and it will pay dividends in performance in any environment.
How To Develop Winning Teamwork
If you have watched successful athletic teams performing, you were probably amazed at just how easy they made their accomplishments look. So integrated was the performance, that instead of seeing the individual members acting, you saw the team as a single entity in motion. You may even have been seduced into thinking, “Boy, that’s not so hard. I can do that.” So, if you participate in the same sport, or coach kids, you may have tried the same play of teamwork you saw performed by experts. Only than did you realize just how difficult it was for a group to do what you saw the well-coordinated team perform.
This type of teamwork occurs in other than athletic events. In the military, such performances happen daily on aircraft, ships, tanks, in missile and artillery command centers and field training exercises. The performances are amazing. Not only does every team member seem to know exactly what to do, but also how to modify his or her individual performance to fit in with changes in the environment and minor changes in the performances of other group members. The bottom line is that through teamwork, the overall performance is greater than the sum of the performances of all of the individual team members.
Peter Drucker’s Phenomenon
Peter Drucker, “The Father of Modern Management,” found the same phenomenon in a well-run hospital. Doctors, nurses, x-ray technicians, pharmacologists, pathologists and other health care practitioners all worked together to accomplish a single objective. Frequently he saw several working on the same patient under emergency conditions. Seconds counted. Even a minor slip could prove fatal. Yet, with a minimum amount of conscious command or control by any one individual, this medical team worked together toward a common end and followed a common plan of action under the overall direction of a doctor. The similarity to what you saw on the athletic field would be striking.
Teamwork in all activities is crucial. Years ago, the Air Force did a study of their bomber crews in the Strategic Air Command. Individual performance increases with increased experience flying experience as measured by number of flying hours. These researchers wanted to know how performance was effected by increased flying experience on a specific aircraft. They thought that like flying experience in general, more experience on a particular airplane would cause performance to improve. It did. However, the time a crew spent flying together was a far more accurate predictor of improved performance than individual flying experience.
What An Israeli Army Study Showed
An interesting study by the Israeli Army again confirmed the importance of teamwork. The Israelis analyzed the combat performance of their soldiers in the Golan Heights in Northern Israel. Using peer evaluations, the Israelis found that the quality of combat performance was highly related to teamwork in fighting together and much less on individual fighting qualities, or even commitment to goals of the war effort.
Coach Frank Leahy’s Reflection
Famed Notre Dame football Coach Frank Leahy was an officer in the United States Navy during World War II. He watched hundreds of football games, the majority of which, he won. He also witnessed the battle for Iwo Jima. After reflecting, he said: “The burning desire to emerge the victor we see in our contact sports is the identical spirit that gave the United States Marines victory at Iwo Jima.” 
How Our Pilots Survived Imprisonment In North Vietnam
How can you develop teamwork in your organization? One very important thing you must do to develop teamwork is to focus on a common purpose. This should be the overall objective or contribution that you are trying to make. Because of the Presidential elections, we hear a lot about John McCain and the incredible heroism he demonstrated while a prisoner of war. Even though sick, and tortured he refused an offer of his captives to be freed unless other prisoners, captive earlier, were freed first.
Our pilots who were shot down and made prisoners during the Vietnam war endured unspeakable hardships, starvation, and torture. At the same time their captors made them brutally aware of the war’s controversy back in the States. Their captors flaunted the fact that at least some Americans thought of them as criminals. Yet they held together, maintaining their faith in their God and their country, in some cases over years. They did this because they focused on a common purpose. This was to survive their imprisonment without betraying their country. Despite everything, they succeeded.
It is instructive to know that these beaten, weakened men exercised teamwork in prison even in face of hardship and death. Forbidden to communicate in any way, they developed the ability to communicate by tapping on adjacent cell walls. In this way they passed on the orders of the senior ranking American prisoner, news, comforted each other and even prayed together.
As new prisoners arrived, they were taught the code as well. In this way, these Americans maintained themselves and practiced a highly developed teamwork. Yet this teamwork was developed at great risk and under the constant surveillance of the enemy. It was developed even through in some cases weeks, months, or even years went by without these men even being able to see one another.
Without focusing on a common objective, little can be achieved. In the Korean War, Americans were also held as prisoners under inhuman conditions. Brave men performed heroically here also, but the record is far less bright. Hundreds of Americans died during their imprisonment. Medical testimony after the war indicated that in many cases these deaths were unnecessary since they were neither stricken by disease nor malnourished to the point of death.
What happened was that our men gradually lost their will to live. Experts tell us that their will to live would probably have been maintained had they banded together early to work for a common purpose. Instead, some collaborated with the enemy for better treatment, and others placed themselves above the common good in other ways.
When I was 13 years old, my father was assigned as a military attorney to defend an American F-51 pilot who while a prisoner falsely confessed on film and radio to North Korean charges of germ warfare. I remember him telling my father that he didn’t think anyone would believe his confession, since it was such nonsense. Since it was an obvious lie and he wasn’t giving away any military secrets, he didn’t think he had betrayed his country. Years later, as a young flyer myself, the Air Force showed us some of the propaganda films made by the North Koreans. Suddenly on the screen, there was my father’s client, apologizing for acts that he had never committed. When we compare this with the actions of our men while prisoners in North Vietnam, there is little doubt that focusing on the common purpose would have resulted in teamwork instead of dreadful error during this adversity.
Patton Knew It Was Important To Focus On A Common Purpose
In any organization, there are groups and individuals that are more glorified and recognized than others. Every leader should strive to build distinction into his or her organization, whether responsible developing high technology products, or digging ditches. However, as overall leader with responsibility for different groups, you must get the entire organization focused on a common purpose and insure recognition and some glory for all. Part of General George S. Patton’s genius was his ability to get everyone focused on the common purpose by proving the importance of every individual in the organization. Listen to this excerpt from Patton’s D-Day speech to the troops just prior to the landings at Normandy. You will see how Patton did it and how you can do it, too.
“All the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters either. Every single man in the Army plays a vital part. Every little job is essential to the whole scheme. What if every truck-driver suddenly decided that he didn’t like the whine of those shells and turned yellow and jumped headlong into a ditch? He could say to himself,‘They won’t miss me – just one guy in thousands.’ What if every man said that? Where in the hell would we be now? No, thank God, Americans don’t say that. Every man does his job. Every man serves the whole. Every department, every unit, is important to the vast scheme of things. The Ordnance is needed to supply the guns, the Quartermaster is needed to bring up the food and clothes for us – for where we are going there isn’t a hell of a lot to steal! Every last damn man in the mess hall, even the one who heats the water to keep us from getting diarrhea, has a job to do. Even the Chaplain is important, for if we get killed and he is not there to bury us we would all go to hell. Each man must not only think of himself, but think of his buddy fighting alongside him. We don’t want yellow cowards in the Army. They should be killed off like flies. If not, they will go back home after the war, goddam cowards, and breed more cowards. The brave men will breed more brave men. One of the bravest men I saw in the African campaign was the fellow I saw on a telegraph pole in the furious fire . . . I stopped and asked him the hell he was doing up there at that time. He answered, ‘Fixing the wire, sir.’ ‘Isn’t it a unhealthy up there right now?’ I asked. ‘Yes, sir, but this goddam wire has got to be fixed.’ There was a real soldier… and you should have seen those trucks on the road to Gabes. The drivers were magnificent. All day they crawled along those sonofabitchin’ roads, never stopping, never deviating from their course with shells bursting all around them. We got through on good old American guts. Many of the men drove over forty consecutive hours.”
Patton’s language may have been more profane than many of us would like. Others might say it differently, without the profanity, but with equal effectiveness. But that was Patton. He was speaking to soldiers, and that was his style. What I want you to notice is how he brought every individual in his Army into one big team in his speech, working together for common purpose.
Another Way To Develop Teamwork
There is another way that you can develop teamwork in your organization. That is, to encourage your organization to participate in sports together outside of work. You should participate yourself. If it is a sport that you are particularly good in, well and good. If not, that’s all right too. Cyrus the Great, one of the greatest leaders in history, played sports with his men frequently. And he would just laugh when he made a mistake or they beat him. They didn’t pull their punches to make the boss look good either. The important thing is to play these sports with the members of your organization. These don’t need to be contact sports . . . and maybe they shouldn’t be. Try and select a sport that everyone can participate in, male or female, in great shape or not. What sport you select isn’t important.
When I was a new brigadier general, I along with others newly promoted to “one-star” rank visited General Ron Fogleman who had recently been promoted to four-star general and named commander of a major Air Force command. He hosted a dinner for us and than took us to the pool room and taught those of us who did not know it, a game that had originated with the Royal Canadian Air Force called “Crud.” Then he played with us. Here was one of the top Air Force generals with his sleeve rolled up playing as an equal with a group that were far below him in rank. General Fogleman was later selected for the top Air Force job, Chief of Staff. Playing together will help your “team” develop the teamwork which will spill over into other areas of your lives and work …and that’s what you are after.
The Man That Survived Six Days And Six Nights Behind The Lines In Bosnia
It was June 2, 1995. Captain Scott O’Grady was on a mission in his F-16 fighter as part of Operation Deny Flight over Bosnia when he was hit by an SA-6 surface-to-air missile and forced to eject. He survived for six days and nights in a hostile environment before being rescued. His story of heroism and ultimate triumph is told in his book Return with Honor. O’Grady credits his rescue in part to activities outside of flying and warfare. Listen closely to what he says. “In a combat environment you needed to trust people, to predict their reactions and rely on their snap judgments. But before you trust people you have to know them. You have to live and work – and laugh – together.” This is as true in a business environment, or any environment for that matter, as the environment of battle. So if you really want to develop teamwork in your organization, get your “team” to play together outside of work.
To Build Your Organization Like A Winning Football Team, Take These Actions:
· Develop pride in group membership
· Convince your group that they are the best
· Give recognition whenever possible
· Encourage organizational mottoes, names, symbols, and slogans
· Establish your group’s worth by examining and promoting its history and values
· Focus on the common purpose
· Encourage your organization to participate in activities together outside of work
If you haven’t read last month’s newsletter, click HERE to look at two very important concepts for building your organization like an athletic team: high morale and esprit de corps.
 Jon W. Blades, Rules for Leadership (National Defense University: Washington, D.C., 1986) p .75
 Ibid. pp.76-78.
 The Armed Forces Officer (Department of Defense: Washington, D.C., 1975) p. 6.
 S.L.A. Marshall, Men Against Fire: The Problem of Battle Command in Future War (William Morrow: New York, 1947) p.42.
 Betsy Burton, “Transformations in the Workplace: The Emergence of the Entrepreneurial Manager,” in Michael Ray and John Renesch, The New Entrepreneurs (San Franciso: Sterling & Stone, 1994) p. 50.
 Jon W. Blades op. cit. p.100
 Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Freiberg, Nuts! (Austin: Bard Press, 1996) p. 152
 Ibid. p. 42.
 H. Norman Schwarzkopf, It Doesn’t Take a Hero (New YorK Bantam, 1992) p. 101.
 Peter F. Drucker, The Effective Executive (Harper and Row: New York, 1967) pp.68-69.
 John H. Faris, “Leadership and Enlisted Attitudes,” in James H. Buck and Lawrence J. Korb, eds. Military Leadership (sage Publications, Inc.: Beverly Hills, California, 1981) p.148.
 The Armed Forces Officer (Armed Forces Information Office: Washington, D.C.,1975) p. 157.
 Ibid. p.68
 Alan Axelrod, Patton on Leadership (Paramus, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1999) p. 241.
 Scott O’Grady, Return With Honor (New York: HarperCollins, 1995) p. 71.
THIS MONTH’S THOUGHT FOR LEADERS
“My first wish would be that my military family, and the whole Army, should consider themselves as a band of brothers, willing and ready to die for each other.”
General George Washington, Commander Continental Army, 1st President of the United States
To order my latest book,
A Class with
Please reply back to this email with ‘UNSUBSCRIBE’ in the subject line if you’d liked to be removed from this distributions list.