Leadership Lessons Learned The Hard Way, Part I
This widely circulated after-action report prepared by a 1stSgt Paul Berry, USMC following Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 offers priceless leadership advice for business owners and managers. While much of this may seem obscure or even irrelevant for people not making a career in the Marine Corps, looking after your people, coaching top performance, cutting through red tape, and letting savvy middle managers make the calls, are sound business leadership practices and managerial common sense in anyone’s book.
After almost a month of successfully conducting raids, convoys, civil affairs and other missions as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, members of Battalion Landing Team 2/2 ("The Warlords"), attached to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), boarded ships and began the long journey home. On their first night at sea, 1stSgt Paul Berry, 34, of the battalion's Weapons Company, received an e-mail from his former battalion commander, who asked him to record his observations about the experience. “From the Warlords,” details Berry’s concerns as a Marine Corps Staff NCO: caring for his Marines and ensuring the appropriate use of force.
In those details, a sense of what it means to be a combat Marine with small-unit leadership responsibilities comes through loud and clear. But this remarkable document can also teach business owners and managers priceless lessons about coaching, mentoring, leadership, and managerial common sense. Read on…
“From the Warlords” -- Real-Life Applications of Management Principles
At first blush, much of the information in 1stSgt Berry’s after-action report may seem obscure or even irrelevant for anyone not making a career in the Marine Corps. But think about it. Aren’t the hard-earned lessons Berry describes actually real-world applications of standard business practices and management principles and philosophies?
Sir, without making a big formal list at this time:
Take Care of Your People and They’ll Take Care of You!
Planning for the unexpected…preparing for the worst…taking care of details! That’s the kind of managerial common sense (or parental advice!) business owners can go to school on and readily apply. And Berry, a native of Mount Pleasant, Ohio, a Marine since 1986, has probably never been anywhere near the Harvard Business School!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill Willard has also been writing high-impact marketing and sales training primarily for the financial services industry for 30 years—but as Will Rogers put it: "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.” Through interactive, Web-based "Do-While-Learning™" programs, enewsletters and straight-talking articles.