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Never tell people how to do things

There was a time when the American military had no use for independent thinkers. That changed in WWII, and General George Patton played a big part in the change.  “Never tell people how to do things.  Tell them what you want done and they will surprise you with their ingenuity,” he wrote.

David Petraeus had the same philosophy in Iraq, looking for leaders who “were flexible and able to think independently.”  While he was in command, violence plummeted and he was given overall command of the Iraqi theatre.

William Coyne, Senior Vice President of research and development at the famously innovative 3M, described it this way:

“We let our people know what we want them to accomplish.  But- and it is a very big but – we do not tell them how to achieve those goals.”

Maybe it’s time to re-think your command and control structure and let your people surprise you.

Have a great week!
Trevor


“We began working with Trevor in early 2011 and, in less than one year, his guidance and coaching has helped us to become much more focused and attentive to virtually every aspect of our full service law firm. We are now better connected with our clients, are achieving team alignment, and are very excited about the strategic direction that Trevor has helped us to envision for the future.”


Doug Lester

Doug Lester, Managing partner, RDM Lawyers