Part one; the current situation as it exist now
True leadership development requires very specific skills and structure, it is “truly” a matter of specifics, not “mere semantics”, the likes we have practiced and experienced at business school thus far.
Command and control have been written about for ages, and at the risk of writing yet another stereo type piece. I assure you it’s not. Management is complex and subtle, it’s challenging and diverse, and it’s also planned and specific.
However, it’s all to do with the people, and how we get them to navigate, assimilate, understand and act on these elements, that make the difference, it’s all about leadership style, and management.
This article deals with the challenges we face in leadership, and leadership shortages, training, development, and style. The challenge of addressing the shortage of great leadership in society is a huge problem. The chasm between academic qualification and doing the real job, have become huge. Lots if not most of what is learned previously is now wasted material, as there is no connection any-more between theory and practice, and between management and leadership either it seems.
By having only focused on the traditional route of developing future leaders for far too long, we have missed the cardinal truth about leadership development and its requirements for this day and age.
We have failed, they come out of the box (university) – (maybe this is why people say “think outside the box” – because they realise that the box (university) is running pretty empty on current reality and truth – wink -) with their expiry dates passed already; now it’s time to shift that emphasis and explore radical and revolutionary new insight that could change the way we manage, and train managers forever.
By only shifting the business leadership style with a paradigm to that of “commanders”, we could change the entire paradigm, and the outcome, of what future leaders should look like, some believe that we have migrated away from command, because it became un-popular, not dysfunctional.
Now there is a clear move back again, but what will we find, or will we raise the phoenix, and give it a new design, one that fits. This would imply changing the emphasis of command and control. Starting with the training, today it is a job for people who have been there – teaching leadership is no longer an academic license, people in the know, that have mastered both leadership and management, as well as command and control need to take the lead here, and not the university prof, or slick consultant, no these types with their “white coats and thick glasses” need to stand aside now, and make way for the man in “overalls” to teach leadership styles.
They can still teach us the likes of business dynamics and acumen – business wisdom. However, I believe that leaders need to be forged and shaped in the heat of battle, and then only “tempered” with business wisdom, and polished with the skills I will discuss here.
The question of leadership models and a future focused leadership career path is on everyone’s lips, as we have a leadership in decline crisis now the world over, and it’s not improving. Still there is just talk and no active turnaround strategy yet?
Some believe we are suffering this effect directly as a result of us having moved away from hard – command and control models, to soft and fluffy, “ cheer-leading” models of management.
We see it daily – all our leaders are just not high calibre people. And no, we cannot measure them against anything we have had so far either, if we keep doing things in the same fashion, we will keep getting the same results. In this instance; out dated leaders, with wrecked leadership skills and models will keep appearing if we don’t change the way we see, and bring about leaders, it needs to be a holistic approach, from the cradle to the grave. Otherwise we will keep having a leadership crisis. Allow me to explain…
The situation now
In this age of information and knowledge overload, where everyone has an informed, educated, or shared opinion, and lots of rights, it’s imperative that we seek truth amidst all this chaos, and it better be way beyond the obvious sources, as they have become rusted, corrupted and tainted; as it stands at business school today, they teach a general direction, in management philosophy – generally.
That “generally” does not fit in with our current reality anymore, this is true.
They lack the emphasis required most today, on planning, problem solving and strategic insight more than any other administrative issues that has become centre and focal. At the risk of generalising and over simplifying, as well as sounding condescending, let me just say this. Formal education is a must, and I support it. However it is truly lacking the potential to create great leaders.
As most of what we do today is planned, there’s just not enough time, and economic freedom to experiment, and to find your feet first, no its jungle law, survival of the fittest. And our future leaders emerging from varsity are not that fit, and up to the task, they are just not match material.
You need to know how to control, and structure your environment; you need to be in position to impart knowledge, and to carry others through with leadership, before you can start commanding them. They, most of them at least can’t.
All this is falling apart, as they are all mostly just focused on production outputs, statistical data, all the soft skills, and not empowering and problem solving orientated. They know nothing of the hard skills.
They don’t seem to understand people and let alone processes.
No, the “semantics of business school philosophy is out dated” – their study of ways of interpreting and analysing business – and their theories on business philosophy only – won’t do the trick beyond 2013.
That recipe is dead to us, for the last ten years it has flopped. Society and the chaos we are in is evidence of that. The global commune ultimately all experienced a shift in paradigm, especially in the work place. We all realised something is lacking or defective; and that is that things have to change drastically. We need a tried and tested holistic approach, no longer just pragmatic; the likes of hit and miss daily affairs that reek of haphazard management.
In this “small book” – so I felt inspired – we will first take a critical street smart look at how these “things” that have changed so drastically, our work, and social life, and where they come from, that impacts and influence us, at all levels of society, things that even changed our social-make-up and business acumen – our insight, and how we think business should look, and be run.
Now, what informs our future expectations, we have to start asking the right questions, what has changed as a result of our expectations in the past, that have now informed our business models in the current and foreseeable future, especially when looking at the aspect of developing leaders and managers alike.
How smart have we become really; with the likes of sector specific skills alignment, the transference of specific experience and expertise, from old to young, with the adaptation of sociology, and by incorporating political studies, all in the name of leadership studies, and if not, how well did the professors applied our collective minds, on what business really needs from leaders in the future, no they have not, we have lost the plot, and we are just wasting time debating this point.
The writing is on the wall, and the requirements are clear
Nothing will change about the outcome, by merely redefining the scope of management to be more sector specific and less general, and by focusing more on our training perspectives to merge with society and its demands, will we align ourselves back to the entire strategic paradigm of business management and its dated requirements, only then some believe will we be moving forward again.
We have approached this equation, from a business acumen, when what should have happened, is we should have approached it from a society perspective, on what leaders today are made of, or should be made of.
This principle; could influence the brain drain effect we are suffering and address competence loss again – returning us to effectively – the loss of intellectual capital, and the quality of leadership will decrease and keep decreasing, until this focus has changed from normative to formative outcomes…
We will hopefully offer insight into what really happened thus far, and where we went wrong, and how turning it all around again is almost impossible when still following the current universal trajectory, we need to change course – and soon.
This reality as it exists now, where we suffer the lack of knowable people, and even the bible speaks of this, in that the lack of knowledgeable will be the downfall of my people, and this very aspect is getting worse by the day, I assure you, people are in positions all over, having no business being there, because not enough competent people are available, and or produced, thus we compromise, compromise, compromise on fundamental principles and positions even, and then still wonder why Incompetence is rife?
Like a pandemic, it’s the world over; it has infested every continent, every industry and every corner office. It is as if, something has caught us by the tail, and is dragging us back down that hole we crawled out of, centuries ago, with the industrial revolution, I am sure you have met him, his name is incompetence… (The dictionary has synonyms for him too, being; unskillfulness, ineffectiveness, and lacking ability.)
Strategies and business are failing to perform at peak, why, mainly because there is just not enough good leaders – with leadership – and both management skill around, we have some of both, but we have very little of both combined, we truly lack skilled leaders that can command people.
What you sow you shall reap
So how do we compensate for this? Do we train? No!, it seems we are all taking a different approach to solving this problem.
Some dig their heads into the dirt and do the denial thing, it’s all good, and we have no crisis here. Others are playing the political game, let’s take a “new world” look into problem solving and how their new and “inventive” ways have worked with – “out of the box” and their latest invention “innovative” ways of thinking and work – or don’t, to solve the problem of competent leaders with, just “kill” the pandemic and its effects… How? Well, with creative and innovative thinking…they believe… what a joke.
The joke is on them – when we hear of “innovation”, innovation is the new miracle cure for incompetence, but as yet, someone still needs to make a statement and peg it, and say this is how the process of innovation, differs from, critical thinking, and from creative thinking for instance, there is none.
Yet they all use the buzz word Innovation; the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. Like it’s a miracle thinking process – I assure you it does not exist as a new entity, or science, or faculty of mind even, they are just playing with words. Invention is the old word; they just dolled it up, and are selling in books, as a brand new craze, we even see invention – sorry innovation – seminars and academy’s springing up.
Okay, so let’s see what they teach, the bottom line “we make every problem, everyone’s problem now”, is this innovation then, where no one is accountable, or responsible, we are collectively ruined, if we don’t have one or two, or by a stroke of luck three bright minds in our midst…to solve our problems with…
Real or truly innovative people are just more intellectually stimulated or superior and reason from totally different perspectives and paradigms, they draw from un-related fields and make their connections in this fashion, some believe it can be taught, that is still to be proven.
All this newness have somehow led us astray; this approach is a hit and miss affair to date, one they are desperately trying to foster at school even, as co-operative thinking, this is still not innovative, so now they bring the same mentality into the work place – and want their people to solve their own problems in a co-operative manner. It never works, for one reason only, no one wants to take responsibility, and so what are the real available options to them towards redirecting people and processes to perform at peak? When group dynamics dictate that everything needs to be done on consensus…
Well let’s take some time here and see how well we are doing with our current paradigm first – is it good enough still or in tatters?
Maybe it’s time to stand back, really-really far back; from that wall we call our “current reality”, so that we may see the door and the windows. Then we will also see how time has cracked and eroded reality.
Times have changed, especially our social make-up of societies, it’s become more radically minded, more drastic, more pressurised, more urgent, these measures got us here, and here is not a good place any-more – people are also “cracking up”, it’s difficult to direct or even redirect people; they have become slow to act, mentally numb to reality, resistant to change, especially with all the political chaos, economic turmoil, social up evil, and technological influences that are all equally strong and have made us all battle tired.
The real challenge is in our divergent paradigms and not in skills for solving issues with
Then to compound this further, (ok you have heard this all before, what’s new, hang ten) we also have differing paradigms of our own, especially on what the real problem is, and how we see it, and on what we have and should be doing about this, and that, and what we are going to do about it; some are in denial, and others are panicking and sounding alarm bells, the rest is just following the flock. It seems that we are still at odds with this dilemma – although we all perceive a problem – we see it differently, we understand it differently and in this fashion we differ.
Wherever this becomes true – then very little direction is ever given or even “innovation” is sought, or any resolve becomes apparent. Our problem, as in the distant past, where we were spread over this earth from the tower of babel, and given different “tongues to speak in” – now it seem we are right back at the same juncture? We are not speaking to problems in the same tongue. Carious how history repeats itself, they were having too much freedom then, so their “tongues were construed”…
Let’s just look at some of what is happening now, a little more critically, and then you decided.
For starters on the macro level; where management philosophy differs vastly from North to East, and so too, from South to West, this then explains why we differ in thinking and approach, or does it? How does this inform our cognitive strategic approach?
We keep looking at academia and management guru’s for managing our problem solving abilities, so too our leadership issues. Still we keep coming up dry. Is it not a deeper itinerary that we need to peruse then, is it not time to change this paradigm and look elsewhere, like at – culture maybe?
Yes a few things about culture and how deeply it informs action and leadership
“Culture”, be it ethnic, religious, or just corporate culture, has and I predict will always be the root to all that follows in the social and business context in the future…let me explain.
Culture in its traditional sense refers to the betterment or refinement of the individual, through especially the pursuit of the aspects of refinement, by moving away from barbarism through education, and then to the fulfilment of national aspirations or ideals, that become political ambitions, and national pride, for a group or entity then.
What is culture?
Culture emerge from the traditional sense: as a folks-spirit, that gives them an identity; their collective aspiration drives them to do things in a certain observable manner, they also look the same, act and wear clothes relating to their traditional culture, passed down, from generation to generation, via their own customs, traditions, art, through a language, or dialect, thereby becoming over time a very unique identity, belonging to a specific region, and its people as passed down from generation to generation.
Does it change?
Culture is progressive, and reacts slowly to change; “the more things change the more they stay the same”, and in this fashion social conflict and regional dynamics play a great part in the development of technologies and science that can produce changes within a society that originates or utilises such advances, that inadvertently changes certain aspects of culture radically.
External factors also influence culture
These aspects could be a direct or indirect result of, climatic changes, regional conflict, wars, and ideological, political model, religious, economic and even social shifts.
Culture is not rooted like we would like to believe, like an iceberg it drifts
Further to this the introduction of other types of cultural interchanges, and social integration, and exchanges, they too change, and set in motion the cultivation of cultural shifts in norm, and drift towards or away from the norm versus normative.
Implying that even if the norm is no same sex marriages, it could change as more and more same sex marriages occur for instance. And then become the norm, as the inwardness or free thinking individuality oppose the group and traditional values, and they then clash, it then creates a new consciousness about civility versus individuality, that becomes a sub-culture, influencing the core culture, forcing drifts.
The meaning of culture in our daily lives.
The first meaning of culture is predominant throughout our history of mankind and known as our common culture, however, as all civilisations have become current with the use of technology and science too, so to literature and the use of knowledge has influenced the use of the term “culture,” as it now plays a large role in what we think culture should achieve in the end, namely the new age pursuit of the full “expression” of the uniqueness of an “authentic” self.
So we have POP culture, we have a drinking, and sleeping, obesity, concentration disorder culture, we have a multiplicity of sub cultures that exist now – If this is ever possible, I don’t know, however it’s real, and fast dividing us, along new cultural affiliations, thus we are breaking up as the old solid “iceberg”, now the formative use of the word culture it seems has lapsed – as we have known it before and experienced its influence.
It seems its melting away. We now have – that of “conservative” versus “new age”. Some predict that this will be our final cultural apex.
Now in the meantime, whilst “the forces that be” herd us into affiliations, we still have a job to do.
This planet Earth is becoming one homogeneous entity as a direct result of cultures dissolving making way for conservative and new age only…right or wrong, we are morphing into one solid state of global culture…so it makes sense that we will find ourselves in much turmoil and conflict, as we are being up rooted, our very foundation is being shattered, if we look at things from this perspective – yes – then much more makes sense to us now?.
Our paradigms might have started shifting already
For we have collide in many ways before, however, we have never before done things without going to war over it; cultural, religious, economic, linguistic, and the list goes on, our inherent paradigms are distorted…we are cross pollinating everything, and germinating both old and new into one or thee other state of newness, and it has become mentally debilitating, like being in the midst of war.
Now enter politics, just to sweeten the plot
The main reason for all this chaos is traced to all group activity, and culture in turmoil, some believe, or now many, that the root of all our nations the world over, is being chopped off, we are becoming and moving to a cultureless global society. Only mindful of rights, individual freedom, and void of all purpose, concept of unity and history – we live for the here and now – the new age.
Yes it has become an political ideology, our new cultural pursuit and national political orientation, it prescribes most of what society will morph into, politics today is even more potent than religion, it totally dictates how we should manage our private and social lives, income, and work force for starters, politics ring-fence this for us, whilst culture governs the connection between “inner space” and society, amongst many other things.
It is Politics that orientate us today, it’s far more powerful than culture, and has stolen many souls from religion, it can suppress any culture, or promote it, it can form sub cultures to cause drift; because it inform and guides society in very specific ways, and consequently business too, by influencing its laws, and by-laws courts, the media, and the state departments, schools, universities and organs of state. This shifts all culture, in the original sense, and so too, business culture, and social norms towards one formative identity less common culture.
Politics vs. Business
Whereas “Business philosophy” in general, has in the past mainly focused on economic factors and indicators only, it was far removed from politics and culture, and the political arena, up until now, they were talking aspects like; human resource management, supply chain, also supply and demand, marketing, and quality, as some of its greatest influence on business creation and management in the past. It had very little to do with politics…or culture as a rule. It saw itself as an entity, governing on its own terms.
However, of late, in the last twenty years or so, the core emphasis has shifted, especially on the labour side; business have to a certain extent been flying solo for a very long time now, now only in the last twenty to thirty years or so, this has been changing – slowly I might add, they now have a co-pilot, he is first lieutenant “labour laws” – formulated to serve the interest of the individual against the wishes of the employers. People have rights now, and so too do employees.
Politics serve agendas
All political agendas are served to create a new global culture, disguised as “socially acceptable principles and norms now”, which have become customary applications over time in the West, and it seems the world over, in that they have now become institutionalised, virtually un-distinguishable aspects of business management, no longer exist as foreign – no, now we have what some refer to as business politics.
So where politics and community meets they inform and combine inherent, subjective (personal) and objective (political) values, and beliefs today into a way we ought to do things – “traditionally” and both “politically correct”. They take these two extremes and slot their agenda right in the middle for a tight fit.
So political ideology actually informs business philosophy now, that in turn informs our management philosophy, and so it goes on, thus both informs and manifest what we do with people because of political will, it will need to complement each other, in order for it to fit, hand in glove, if not it will cause friction between labour and employer. As employers want to practice “business philosophy”, and employees want to practice “business politics” – which is just another extension of politics and agendas.
Many business and enterprises have disappeared already, because of it, with millions of job losses; and then it was blamed on leadership – bad management decisions, capitalism and political interference, or have come to an abrupt end because of these parties that could not reconcile, on differing paradigms, a brand new reality…
So senior management the world over, mostly tend to do the obvious when confronted with unions, and political agendas and those individuals who demand, but don’t have much to offer, unionist – also called business politicians/ politics. In truth if you look at it, they would be right in more than one way.
Then they – the owners and managers – find ingenious ways of tightening the control and in their minds raising their production, whilst still navigating possible political turmoil on the home front and with industrial laws, rules and principles, and then everything seems to become “command and control” to the employees, and they wonder why?
With political rallying any type of control will be labelled as “archaic”, “inhumane”, “draconian”, “oppressive”, as it impairs their ability, and crushes their influence, so too their power to unite the workforce, and rally them behind them, especially against the employer, all for political gain, so be informed about how deep politics, and political will infiltrates your business…
On the flip side, the reason why so many owners, and businesses return to former forms of “command and control styles” are now obvious, it’s the safer, cheaper, and the easier option.
Although we all know and understand that it’s also counterproductive in some instances and counter liberal, and so too politically in-correct, it’s the lesser of all evils.
Everything that glues culture is now taboo, or against the law
In the west for instance, we see a total move towards fighting any form of control, and discipline over individuals. No more discipline, no religious study or practices, and corporal punishment at schools it’s all taboo.
Whilst in the east, we see more and more privatisation and relaxed rule of law…so are we moving towards a merge here – of south and east?
Okay, so you think you don’t serve this master, this is not your problem, or so what, you can’t do a thing about it, wrong, agendas are being served as you read this…that directly affects you, time to become a political activist too.
We will only survive if we become knowledgeable and observant
Keen observation and an inherent interest in both knowledge and the awareness of what is not main-stream are essential in being the best you can be as a manager and a leader in this day and age; it’s like navigating coral reefs with a warship. You need to know the reef, and the ship. It’s like being innovative, you need to draw from unrelated experience, and information solutions…
Mao said, that if you want change, find its opposite.
And his bag of tools; called doctrine, discipline principles and values…
- Doctrine; is simply defined as “that which is taught”, in other words the basis for institutional teaching of its personnel.
- Discipline; The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience.
- Principles are; Personal and cultural Values, that provide an internal reference for what is good, beneficial, important, useful, beautiful, desirable, constructive, etc.
- Values generate behaviour and help solve common human problems for survival by comparative rankings of value, the results of which provide answers to questions of why people do what they do and in what order they choose to do them
Connect the dots
So we need to look in unfamiliar places for solutions. For example, just by looking at the global picture, and how things have changed, how governments have changed, politics, and power, then it becomes obvious that we are all aiming towards one goal, with very specific and also underlying principles that have already become entrenched, in how we do things today. A very strategic approach and very skill fully introduced by the way.
They have mastered the art of manipulating every “phaset” of your life, pressure is better applied if in all direction simultaneously done, to become a waves of attack; physically, mentally, morally and yes, even spiritually, we are being influenced, even gently persuaded, indoctrinated, and coached into a specific direction. This is no conspiracy theory any-more it’s a fact. It has to do with what happened in our past that affects the future, here, now, today…
Ghost from the past
So let’s take a deeper look at what these “ghosts of the past” who have brought into our future, strange things, and ideas, notions that were never rampant, but foreign, especially in the west or even anywhere else, in the free world, that have become the norm now it seems.
We will always have and need slaves, so “when you want your “slaves” to be totally dependent on you…then you set them “free”” – let them create chaos, have fun, and then starve, and then emerge as their provider fulfilling their needs, creating order and hope for all. Hope has corrupted more people that money has ever had the opportunity to. They will serve you like no other master. For they think they are free…and there is hope.
The perfect ideology revolves around creating a false hope for the common man, a utopia – where there will be no wars in society; no class, no restrictions on ones’ freedoms, no hunger, and so forth and so on, consequently certain cardinal aspects of society’s structures will have to change to make this happen, starting with the “total disarmament” of society and their will to fight and resist their government; they will have achieved very specific objectives to ascertain this aim. However it’s just a ruse, a trick, to fool the masses, into believing that the super-rich and their lifestyle and power will be dismantled, so that we all share and share alike…
Two big names come to mind as architect of such an ideology, Lenin and Marx, they were once whispering “revolution”, and devised specific ways to do it in, to liberate them from their class struggle, and this was their plan, and since then it has unfolded into many new political mainstream tones, undertones, and even political doctrines we see today, just as a result of their strategy some believe.
Their slogan; “Disarmament is the ideal of all socialism”. Then comes the BUT…But whoever expects that socialism – ok so there I gave it away – will be achieved without a social revolution and the dictatorship of the masses through their representatives, is not a socialist.
Capitalism is in crisis across the globe – but what on earth is the alternative- another revolution maybe? Well, what about the musings of Karl Marx going mainstream again, maybe the revolution is in full swing – and goodness knows where it will end. There has been an over-abundance of books on Marxism’s, so too web sites, blogs, and press – preaching its relevance today. I think safe to say, its already started.
English literature professor – Terry Eagleton – last year published a book called “Why Marx Was Right”. French Maoist philosopher Alain Badiou published a little red book called “The Communist Hypothesis” with a red star on the cover (very Mao, very now) in which he rallied the faithful to usher in the third era of the communist idea (the previous two having gone from the establishment of the French Republic in 1792 to the massacre of the Paris communards in 1871, and from 1917 to the collapse of Mao’s Cultural Revolution in 1976). Isn’t this all just a delusion or a revolution in full swing?
The problem with socialism is it requires dictators, so it’s become a philosophy embroiled in contradictions, as the “oppressed” seek to free themselves from their oppressors, just to slide in under their self-elected oppressors? Ok so what was the point again?
In their own teachings – “Dictatorship is the only way to hold onto a socialist states power base directly” socialist preach this, and more. “In the twentieth century, violence plays a huge role and part of creating socialism, as a means to get people to conform, anything prone to violence is used; from a verbal attack, to a fist just waving in the air, to troops in your back yard and rioters at the front door of the church, there is no holy ground or cows in this ideology. People need to be scared numb, and into submission”…this is their way.
This is not a political post by the way, and in no way am I taking a stance here, neither for nor against. The point is that all strategies, – like socialism – and business and otherwise, deal with people in a predetermined bias fashion, that incorporates undertones of mainstream politics, and then culture from very different perspectives, and I would like to take you through such an exercise. To allow you to think outside of the business scope, critically, about the possibility that these aspects could actually be influencing me, my business, and business profit indicators, so to my strategy should incorporate these aspects and both address them.
Just like law students are taught to frame questions, so too the skilful politician is taught how the world of stark contradictions work in political studies, how aims versus propaganda, can be united, that what we aim and what we say under differing circumstances, unites us into a secret society, and how doctrine must be in place, or we won’t succeed to trap people, and persuade them to act; “We are opposed to the use of arms. There is as little Marxism in this as there would be if we were to say: We are opposed to violence!” – So they advocate one extreme and practise the other, this requires teaching and training to be effective, thus a doctrine is born…nice.
“We must not depict socialism as if socialists will bring it to us on a plate all nicely dressed. That will never happen. Not a single problem of the class struggle has ever been solved in history except by violence.
When violence is exercised by the working people, by the masses of “exploited” against the “exploiters” — then we are for it! You cannot do anything without rousing the masses to action and also violence.” Vladimir Leninin 1921.
Oh boy! So you use violence, to create chaos, then out of chaos comes order – mmm, where have I heard that before? So how do you enslave the world and become their master again – you set them free?
These studies are taught to our kids, our youth, and our new leaders, as their minds are “opened” to these aspects at varsity, and freely discussed – because we are free now – so anything goes.
That’s not the problem, the problem is this, energy goes where attention flows, what we concentrate on vividly and practice, we will get more of…so it’s not just innocent, and fun, and informative, or a craze – if people think it’s okay to use violence and become authoritarian, to be disruptive and create chaos, because we all do it, then we have surely lost the plot – when hard earned money is spent, surely we have to have a say as to what goes in to our candidates minds – apparently not, they have rights, freedom of association, etc. Nothing wrong with that either, however, how do you marry the employers wants, with the employee’s needs?
And yes, it goes on way beyond that, not everything is pure socialism either, it has become cut and paste, it becomes mixed and intertwined, but the vain remains pure, the poison remains lethal if we look at how Lenin’s mind works;
- “You corrupt the young by getting them away from religion, from discipline, and encourage their interest in sex. Make them superficial by focusing them on sports, sensual entertainment, and nonsense” – drugs, violent games, tattoos, smoking, drinking, partying for days, and “chilling”.
- Make them illiterate, to the point where they can’t spell, or read much, so that truth will evade them. Drop their level of education, so that they have low self-esteem, and fighting spirit, so that they may only be fit to pursue manual labour…
- But! Always preach true democracy and religious values – “as things should be”.
- Seize power and control as fast and ruthlessly as possible – divided people, community’s, and families with religion and politics, with race and gender issues, cause friction, even un-necessary, between allies, labour and employers, business and unions…
- Exploit every opportunity, to divide people
- Disarm courts, so that they rule politically correct
- Disarm parents, so that they cannot enforce discipline
- Disarm schools, so that they can’t teach, all in the same fashion
- Produce fear in the people daily;
- With rising prices – economic down fall – inflation, and general discontent.
- By disarming them of truth
- By creating disorder
- By rendering substandard services
- By whispering imminent civil war
- By creating confusion and distrust
- By legislating pervious taboos into action
- By using current events to divide and create useless dialogue
- Encourage disorder and foster a lenient attitude towards those who incite it – rioters, speech makers, radicals.
- By false arguments cause the breakdown of the old guard;
- Their moral virtues; the likes of honesty, sobriety and self-restraint.
- Their customs – attack it at every opportunity
- Their practices and rituals – make fun of it
- Attack them all, and make to shame, and blame them for the current situation, repeatedly, until it becomes fact and legend
- Cause registration of firearms so that many will just give up, and hand in their weapons out of pure frustration with the system…and depend on the state wholly for protection.
- Keep taxes high, but inflation low…
Human nature is also involved here
Human nature, informs us to treat anything new with suspicion, the smarter we are the more we dissect and project – to find truth. Without an education, this ability eludes us. We become dependent on group think, and mentality.
When people come upon controversial information such as this, they speciously assume that they have to take some sort of intellectual high ground over it, or take a stance, this can’t be I can’t be fooled like this, I am way to smart, or, they will make light of it, joke, and allude to another reality as they don’t want to deal with this – then denial sets in.
The truth is this, under socialism, no one works hard, no one takes responsibility, and the mavericks are protected, so why should a supervisor or manager even, stick his neck out? Why should they flog their people to get better results and performance, when society in general has a no care attitude?
We normally start with the assumption that our own beliefs are correct, that no other reality can exist, bared from what we believe. The possibility that we might actually be deceived is overwhelming – so they come out fighting or go into denial. Well either way – both for and against socialism, we are serving an agenda. This is my point; we need to be aware of all our social influences to be effective…
So we have learned that – “Authoritarians” need to command and control too – to be effective – is this so bad, does this make command and control in itself bad, or is it just a tool in the wrong hands?
Now we look into the macro spectrum
In the East, they do practice command management as a rule…of an Authoritarian state. China has a command economy for instance; implying that in the main the economy is run by the state – thus almost totally political.
The Chinese government tightly regulates most areas of social life in China, and the economy too, it should be accepted that many people in the East as well as in many other Asian countries – see the lack of compliance to these hierarchical values in society as the root cause of all the “problems” of the West – and in this they are not wrong.
These problems include the aspects we are indeed fighting to regain control over again; the likes of moral collapse and the chaotic notion that in a homogeneous society an “individual’s rights” is still more important than the “group” to which they belong…so we go and give the individual unprecedented human rights – and call it democracy.
So, on this premise, the West is still standing in stark contrast to the East…the individual effort versus the unity of effort gap is still there.
Where does human “Rites” meet “Rights”…and who is to say who’s right about it?
In an attempt to explain just how critical culture has become, and so to politics in the choice of leadership style and managing people, as it is indicative of success, we will use this example here for moral discipline and rights;
In the East; “Rites” – stands here for a complex set of ideas that is difficult to render in Western languages. It permeates the principle where they lead the people with governmental commands and put them in their place with strict law should they not comply, punishments will not be without a sense of shame either. “Lead them with excellence and put them in their place through roles and ritual practices, and in addition to developing a sense of shame, they will order themselves harmoniously”. (Analects II, 3)…
In the West; we have the UN, who says what will be; The UN has become a specialized agency which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights for all – or so they say. “An injury to one is an injury to all”…this aspect or principle has informed most if not all our labour laws now applied in the West.
Opposed they truly stand, in the east entrenched with Confucian philosophy, where all relationships are deemed to be unequal importance. For any form of true “Ethical and Moral behaviour” to prevail, it will demand that these differences are respected. Consequently, the older person should automatically receive respect from the younger; the senior from the subordinate…and you may not openly question such authority for it would be considered rude, and unethical.
This is not what the West embraces as command and control, I assure you, either way, this is just socialist meeting communist and a confusion influence on culture, when everything else you have tried has failed dismally.
The question now is; when text book management styles does not cut it anymore- what then? Do we train all our managers to become politicians now?
Politics and politicians
Politicians practice a political ideology informing our core management doctrine. We can have many management styles in just one work place, all “freer”, or more radical, some more entrepreneurial, others more politically correct, or whatever agenda you serve.
Whilst in the east, they prefer one common style. The fact of the matter is this; the foundation of managing will be cast in the model of the mainstream political ruling party’s politics and agendas. No one is immune…
This is the one thing most of our bright new minds don’t see, they don’t see that “everything is connected to everything else”, they only see themselves and their situation, as two entities’ competing, they do not see that the toe is connected to the foot, that is part of a whole system, called a body – and so too our management principles and philosophy is closely married to our laws, rules, and other legislation that informs on governments ideology.
Someone once said; “if you fight against human nature you better be willing to hurt someone”.
“They will not succeed” if not through violence; Sociology describes conditions that are most favourable to human growth and development as being mostly primal when activated, mainly because of two drives; that of satisfying “wants” and “needs”.
Needs and wants
What we want and believe in mostly tends to contrast heavily against what we really need and ought to have in our lives, be it; religious, political, social, economic, or academic, or even sexual, and physical aspects, whatever we think of as a want, if we bring things into any equation, that should not be there, it will harm us, either direct or indirectly, now or much later – just because we wanted it, that does not by implication imply that we need it.
Needs on the other hand is basic, a have to have, on the pyramid of needs. The point is human nature, and culture will always compete…with any rule, law, and even political guideline – to satisfy a want. I want to be rich, famous, liked, promoted, respected, powerful, all these aspects informs and test our resolve and political orientation, as a means to an end. When the only test should be; do we really need it?
The law of precipitation is stronger than free will
“What we bring about comes about”. This implies that everything we allow, think, and actively pursue, will at some point manifest, and become something new. The more haste the less speed, is wise words, anything hastened, half-baked and forced on people tends to somehow run a very predictable course, it cascade and precipitate into catastrophe.
“The way of nature is time”, and seasons; one needs time to reflect, and time to perfect ones reasoning, to see if we need or want this, and then to reason cause and effect.
If we don’t give things time and pressure cook it, then it becomes very hard to undo. This is the way of the anarchist.
This aspect flows into our work environments too, if we are not aware and strict, organised, and systems and policy orientated, then outside forces will influence inside forces at will. So what precipitates in politics, could manifest in a business environment if we are not guarded.
We tend to manage others in the same fashion we get, or were managed; we replicate what we know and understand with others, if we are not held accountable, then things done, in the right way less often, than what we do by just adopting or adapting to prevailing precedents and any management style as set by our leaders.
In short – leadership flows or should from the top. We instruct the way we get instructed…we do the way we get done, so yes it does flow from the top.
Change is here to stay
We have become a global business society in transition, or should that rather be lost in transition; we need to firmly asses all we have, and where we are going, or see ourselves going with this knowledge;
(1) Future leadership models, and what they should look like, seem apparent and clear on the surface of business philosophy, but we still miss the golden thread, that connects, needs, wants, and politics with this culture of management and leadership. It has to be a fully inclusive style, all in, we still have lots of attributes to be identified in this regard I believe, but as for now, we have only the past to inform us of our perceived future, or so it seems.
Everything has changed so drastically in the past ten years, except for the way we bring about leaders, manage, structure, and supervise – or at least so it seems- for the results stay the same, and in most instances they are getting worse even – due to a lack of more great leaders emerging, even leaders of nations have disappointed greatly.
People are sharing jobs in Europe, loosing life time investments, so that we may have some employment, the Euro has not delivered, and the world economy rides thin.
Employer enemy number one; has been sighted as our Education System, and its lack of programmes to give youths work experience, to be career and job ready, and orientated, it is just not forth coming. Kids are not even aligned for higher education, the gap seems to be increasing there as well, they are playing catch-up, and many fail, so their pass grades gets dropped, lower and lower each year… So everyone is now up in arms about education – hallo, it’s a by-product of politics…asking the right questions – is a matter of insight.
You can’t teach and old dog new tricks, now it’s become apparent too, neither can you teach their young anything worth something either…
Maybe it’s because we still teach them the same old “tricks” – and so too with business philosophy, where is the real problem then, for if you don’t change the system for developing leaders from cradle to grave, how could you expect a different outcome, better job creation, and stronger leaders in the future?
You have to change the political system to move back to a system that embraces champions – and that my friend is the truth. Hard work and sweat is what it takes to build…
If we keep teaching them the current conventional wisdom, and new age leadership philosophy, you will end up getting the same results, over and over, especially if you focus on energy-sapping labour legislation as an only means to whip industry into shape to keep governments fat. In a society of unions, it’s hard to find people that have never been fired, or suspended for striking, or creating chaos. Education suffers as a direct result. We only lose jobs in this climate , not one labour union model has ever succeeded in creating jobs – in a sustainable fashion, they have however been responsible, for the loss of human life, limbs, income, and livelihood – oh and let’s not forget – massive job losses. In political dispensations with unions – you will find houses without income, that have no food, and means to get their children to free schools either, it’s become a vicious circle of lay-off’s and retrenchments.
Then, if that is not bad enough, then it seems so too
(2) the calibre and quality of management candidates emerging are poor, even the one’s with degrees in hand, degrees in itself have become “dismal” to say the least, and yes on every rule there is a few exceptions, however, for the most part they show very little future interest or prospect, these young boys and girls with their pants dangling around their knees, and girls with boys hairstyles and boys with girl’y clothes that smell like lavender. Have totally different paradigms sets… they dress, eat, act, and communicate like an alien race.
This is a triple whammy (three will come) that will spill into all areas of economics, as well as affecting future growth and sustainability in the long run some think. Paradigms form new cultures, and if those paradigms are not primed for greatness, we are all going to starve. We need a breed that knows, that “time is money”, that “effort is rewarded”, that “life is tuff”, and that “someone has to pay the bills” – even free education is not free. Their paradigms of utopia must be replaced with; what you put in, you are bound to get out…and a lot more off, the opposite of which is true as well.
We quite obviously have not adapted effectively to prevailing requirements, and circumstances, and the speed of change yet, we have all followed a political outlook, to be future focused and fast paced, we need to think like capitalist again, lean, not like politicians, fat, – as it is showing – instead we have developed slow and easy paced, lazy and laidback, relaxed styles with our whole society; education systems, even our children and political ideology. “What you sow you shall reap”, this is no joke, here are the result producing no fruits – for they can’t spell labour.
Whammy number three, the final nail in the coffin.
(3)A total lack of quality management and supervisor training exist globally, and so too trainers, thereby compounding this aspect to a crisis state too.
So what do we teach them anyway – if not the run of the mill stuff?
- if we have no clear-cut leadership and management model worth something, that informs on needs and requirements, then the norm?
- if the calibre and quality of management candidates emerging, with degrees, have become “dismal” to say the least
- If a total lack of quality management and supervisor training, and trainers exist
Looking at how bad it has become
Our First – line managers especially are hardest hit, they have to become focal again, we have only concentrated on management and senior management degrees, studies conducted recently support this notion as being a global phenomenon too.
Many of you who will be reading this recognise exactly what I am referring to, as it is happening all over. We are trying to fix new problems with old (tools) and ways that worked well for us, there is no real move to empower future leaders and generations, at grass roots level, it business as usual…rather just corrupt them with prevailing political rhetoric – and this is no joke either – oh yes, most universities have now become enthralled with political activist, some professors even got in on the act, they are now hard-wiring these socialist concepts and ideas into young minds, some universities have become mostly communist in the USA, and Socialist and liberal in the East. They are reversing the polarity, so that youth become radical and confused, devoured of hope, developing identity-less characters. Again, mainly because the fundamental principles of religion, politics, language and culture grounds us, now we have started moving away from these roots, then we will inevitable become ungrounded.
So your graduate “fresh off the shelf” – straight out of university – is dually qualified in “politics” – yippee!!!, just what we need hay?, and some academic qualification, – now we understand that it’s not worth a dam…as its all-out dated, and they did not learn much either as their grades mean very little too, as grades are now attainable by dropping standards so low that a snail can pass most courses without opening a book. Then they are emotionally unstable, and sick, unable to cope in most situations, totally into free stuff, sex is also a great gift. What will become of us?
Fear not – We have options
This brings me to the concept of real command and control, and possible solutions it can offer in the face of all these challenges…
Part B The way forward
The possible solution to transition to a place of hope
Intro; Stop the obsession and emphasis – of mimicking leadership –and Looking for leadership in places where it is not…by changing the approach to leadership…
Leadership is not in a book, in a course, or in a study, and nor even an apprenticeship… we have to realise that this is not it anymore…
Gone are those days for good, we have to change our perception, because leaders ship is in a PARADIGM. How we think of leadership, germinates, how we came into leadership previously, by discovering it, is no longer an option.
For starters, it takes way to long, and the external influence and both internal, are way to complex, to peg specific traits (skills to be mastered) as being indicative of supervision and leadership styles.
The sad part is we have Tons and Tons of studies, books, courses, academia and literature all abound on management and leadership training and its development that is very dated, several models do exist that is industry specific even, most of them point to the fact that management should become an “ideal behaviour” – this implies copying the act – that we should mimic and adopt to become more effective and efficient.
Well, several years into this “mimicking the big boy acts”, and adopting and re-framing various management profiles – “Rich dad poor dad”, and training them even, and still no one can point to that one “ideal” style yet, that actually works, no, no study can support just one brand of leadership and managing style is being it, or that one label of management philosophy as being the alpha and omega.
Looking for the success formula
So?, we keep looking for that one unique formula, the management elixir, which will address all human needs, and wants, and at the same time even unlock all our human potential, and transform human behaviour into the perfect storm in an instant, and still it eludes us…Why?
The passing on of a management style, and the development of leadership traits is not a change-trick, it’s a transition or migration of perceptions and capacitating people with specific skills.
Only when we become critical and un-bias, only then do we see things from different perspectives that bring about a migration of paradigms, this is intellectual and mature growth.
The answer is right in front of us, the fact is this; human behaviour – is as unique as everyone, as unique as our DNA and fingerprints are, even our very own self-image dictates our individual temperament and specific nature, that can easily change too, from one situation, to the next situation, on a per individual basis, in short, pegging managing and leadership to a few elements of personality is just way too complex to structure into one formula to work every time.
Think about it? We react and respond in different fashion, with fight, flight, and surrender to different personalities, situations, stimuli and groups of people. We attack work, and structure from different perspectives too, on differing matters. We tend to be more rational with applying principles it seems, character traits is very hard to change. People except that we are all different, we get judged more on principle than on personality.
Back to principles then
However, that does not mean it’s the end of the road, much still remains to be studied and learnt about human sociology, what we now know is that most humans learn in a very specific fashion, and that certain traits and behaviour can be taught, even close matched, to that of other people, so some good has come from this endeavour.
However, we do this by following principles; principles are best described as important, in that they inform our assumptions, and unite them around specifics, in a system of thought – in short – it steers thought in a very specific direction.
This will imply that principles could unify us, our thinking, our work, our social structures and develop it in that fashion to become commutative, focused, thereby always arriving with specifics towards doing things as or in a collective, no matter the sequence in which people joined the process of a specific structure.
The aim then is to come up with a system, or structure in the work place. Any system or structure requires rules, a game plan of sorts. Better understood as a doctrine; a doctrine is best described as a cumulative set of instructions, and policy, descriptive with procedure, and then most importantly, specific principles to follow, combined it serves to unify actions and thought, and simplify the structure of co-operative integration and engagement, to function in a productive manner, of divergent tasks, people and functions, all united around a structure of work.
This structure will be hierarchical in most instances, but “flat” – linear – and matrix structures also exist, and are also supported by supportive systems in turn.
Structuring of people, and their activities and worth is essential. This won’t work if we don’t follow some very basic and specific steps; we need to make sure that when we are working with people, that we truly understand how they work, how the mind engages, just like with machines, people need to be trained to work – not communicate with well only – but getting some work out of people, is a process, also an operating system of sorts.
“How we learn to work with people to apply principles will determine who we become; the sterner the discipline of thinking, the greater the devotion to results.”
This here – is a prelude to why command and control is so excellently devised and structured to deal with results and people in equal parts.
The psychology on which it was founded is prevalent to its success…perception is based on certain principle we apply daily, thus, if we understand how we arrive, we can change where we arrive via principles – in this case the principles of thought, changing paradigms, or informing them.
Understanding that it is Principles that guide thought;
First people have to;
- Become aware of the reality and then seek alternatives, if the reality does not change, then no steps will follow, only routine (we are creatures of habit, and like ants very routine) – however, if our routine is interrupted, and our reality changes then they become aware – well then people would like to know what their options are, and contingencies, and consequences before they will act. – An – Observation step – informal.
Then we need;
- to create a common understanding, we cannot attack problems in the same fashion we created them, we require an informed view of the problem first, a problem statement, this will follow in the next few paragraphs… so some source needs to spell it out, this is the problem, this is the solution, this is your options, and this is the consequences of these options – the next Observation step – formal
- then follows, appreciation, you will either like and associate and appreciate what is served here, or not, exit now if you do not appreciate the content…this is exactly how people reason and operate – these are the aspects we need to cultivate in leaders, to latch onto these principles and utilise them. An Orientation step – informal
- acceptance, is the next key step to adult interaction and the communication of the problem statement, if you except it, you will want to know more, now you have been focused, once we have focus people, they start communicating critically and don’t wonder off topic, this is the problem, fix it… if we don’t focus them, they get lost in translation of the problem – and loose orientation, an Orientation step formal
- Internalisation, then you seek to make it your own, to become its master, to take the initiative, then you internalise, you test your assumptions, you evaluate others conclusions, you consider their resolves against your own, and so we ascend the knowledge summit, with more assimilation and adaptation, until we have a working concept. Now we need to make sure we all adopt it – a Decision step
- Adaptation. Here you make it your own, or break off and start over. Once you have mastered a skill, a process, a language, a problem, a concept, anything pretty much, then, you are free to operate and adapt it to any and all situations you encounter – even use it as leverage, to use it to your advantage – a Action step
- This is the process of adult learning according to (Goleman 1995), we have to get the structure right in which we engage and work with people and then only the system will come right…(the OODA loop – Observation, Orientation, Decision Act…)
The commonality of systems and principles
Life, politics, culture and so too business, should be studied from as many perspectives as possible; the business of systems influencing our sociological structures should create better perspective and insight for us; perspective; in this regard relates to the study of this origin of structure, that lead to our development, and sub structure of human societies and their behaviour and that of the individual and then also groups in any society. This is also the definition of sociology, which should become a focal part of business administration and leadership in my opinion; we need to study how people do things rationally and traditionally best
We have to study how people traditionally perform work, and devise systems in that fashion. Insight; is how we become aware of what is within us and also around us, and then make sense of it…and become rational.
We have to reach a point, where all parts of this social and business dogma become the whole idea of society and no longer fragmented parts. Where (1) strategy and structure combined with (2) sociology; forms our business systems. Here in lays the problem, we get the first (1) part right sometimes, we seldom do the second (2).
Let’s follow how Goleman’s adult learning principles work for a minute…
Skills don’t develop, where people are blind to vision and circumstances
Different approaches to behaviour also evoke different responses, under differing situations and conditions too. Politics thrive on this human aspect of creating instability and or stability. Politics is a double edged sword. It can rally people, or destabilise them.
So too we need to understand business dynamic from a political perspective too. We have to become resilient in mind, body and soul…more willing to take in divergent views…so that we may negotiate soft and hard issues equally well.
General Politics should be a subject, just like history on war is to soldiers, a required field of study for business managers alike.
The truth of this matter is this, and yes, here we will have to generalise a little bit more – just to get a point of departure. Management emphasis has not changed radically in the last ten years or so – with no clear move away from the old, where we had more of the “We are one big Family” – tra-la-la-la focus, that trusted people to do the right things, because they followed moral law, or principles, and were measured with the conservative view of morals, ethics and values, and being loyal to our employers, as it was expected and commonly practice.
This aspect (concept) has changed to a totally different approach today; where we have more of the “we pay you, now just do it, or else”, and if you want to fire me that’s fine I have rights you know – liberal don’t give a dam approach.
The focus and the balance of power has shifted from a values paradigm to value principle, from a human emphasis, to a production quota, from focusing on knowing people, to getting rights respected and value for their time.
So we have succeeded in inventing the opposite of what society wants, human equality and rights, have had to make way for poverty and crime? When what we ought to have done, we ought to have moved to problem solving, and not waste management, as we see it today.
So who is to blame, politics or management?
The old “Esprit de corps” is totally gone, (which implies they had high moral values, they served with pride, with the emphasis on serve, and how they had tight bonds amongst each other and their organisations, that became loyalty all round, now it’s gone, some predict for good).
Now it seems all the negative aspects of transformation is all that is left of a once very proud culture that existed. Those giants are gone.
It’s all performance managing contracts, leadership have made place for performance targets, and we have had to double the number of semi-skilled and even skilled people, just to get the same job done, since all indications are strongly towards following and practising purely “Framed” leadership models and practices.
In the absence of real leadership, and real models to follow, people “frame” behaviour they like, to get what they like… This is not always advisable…
Supervisors are now just “commanding and controlling” their workforce…or so these studies suggest, herein lays the problem. We have now “framed” a style of management just because of the new way things are getting done around here, so everyone better migrate to this, and merge…or else.
Leadership and management VS. Command and Control
First we need to perform the first three steps of awareness; that of identify, quantify then qualify, when the obvious and then the not so obvious here needs some explanation – in order to internalise these aspects that form true leadership and management principles as well as what is real command and control.
“What we vividly imagine, ardently desire will evidently achieve”
First leadership and management in a nutshell needs to be identified
Leadership is describing;
- the peoples person, the one that is motivating, encouraging and getting people to follow the vision…
- where management is seen as a formal approach,
- leaders have followers, managers have subordinates, and everything is structured and linked to resources…
- leaders deal with people, managers deal with systems…
Most of us have a good working knowledge of what text book and academia describes as leadership and management, or at least I hope so; however do we have one of “command and control”, as a management philosophy or leadership model in business even?
The question is now to command or not to command?
We are either good with things or with people, seldom both, it is said, well there exists an alternative; command and control becomes the tool towards mastering the command of people and the controlling of resources, as well as exercising leadership and management…it’s an all-inclusive style.
As supervisors, managers, leaders, “bosses”, CEO’s, all alike, we all command and control certain aspects of our work at some stage or another – we follow the principle. This does not make our style out to be that of “commanders” nor does it constitute a command and control style at all – NO? It’s not all inclusive.
We all share strong and weak attributes as both leaders and mangers alike too, we all do better at one style than the other, we tend to strike a balance between our personality traits and our abilities to structure work environments or prefer to just work with people, seldom are we good at both.
In what frame of mind are you?
In what frame of mind are you, I am sure we have all heard that one before, well it’s true, we can frame a situation, just like you do a portrait, and that’s that, nothing else exist, purely the frame and the picture.
Our frame of mind will determine what will follow. We all work with our “frames of reference” and so to mind; how we are “framed” for a situation, for the day, or for the future, determines how we attack work, life, religion, all phasets of life and living. For instance; by way of example – not scientific – just to give you an idea, of how mood, and mind-set, as well as influence stems our thinking and “frames” it – if we are;
- Politically framed-
- Then we normally tend to be into coalition building mode – forming alliances, partnerships, and making friends
- This style leans itself out to subtle manipulation, and influencing others to get things done
- Partisans serve interest and agendas – by taking on their leaders, making radical remarks, or taking a fanatics approach to problem solving
- A very effective leader of people, but very poor at getting things done, hope is their capture, “they are the victims here”
- Structurally framed-
- The problem solver mode becomes strong – it wants to attack everything analytically, and tries to solve problems through creating structure – and order only
- This style leans to policy, procedure and rules to get things done
- They serve leaders – are controlling, by taking on the designer, architect, and strategists approach
- A very efficient manager, things are structured, but tend to avoid working with people, “people are the problem”
- Socially framed –
- The group think mode – they are catalyst to people, to human growth and promote people first…
- This style leans to pleasing everyone, getting their attention, and praising them – they are push overs
- They serve everyone – by taking on the doctor, teacher, or educators approach
- Very effective implementers of policy and organisation, they know people, they get others to do their work
- Make poor leaders, but great organisers, never take responsibility or authority serious, “the system is the problem”
- Charismatic framed-
- The I will take the lead here – leaders are kind, gentle, inspirational, visionary
- This style prefers autocratic and authoritarian forms of leadership
- They serve themselves first – and use all their power positions to do it with- but pretend to serve the greater good
- A very effective leader, that makes poor decisions, and cant mange at all, all they have is their rhetoric and a vision. They get things done with emotional blackmail- “faith is the problem”
The multiplicity of the leadership character
One can never just rely purely on only having one or two of these character aspects to lead people or organisations with, no matter at what level, these attributes, flow at all levels, in all situations, in all that is business and social life. We all have attributes of each of these aspects, and act “in” or “out of character” when we choose, sometimes we choose which to use, and then we master one or two when…other time they just emerge.
We can never say I am just that, or this type of personality; situations, mood, and “frames of mind” dictate daily how we act and react. Management style is a very personal trait… that develops over time and with experience. The frames we dress in, is not the style of managing, it’s the situation we are in.
Management and leadership combined has been the key to past management models, now we see different aspects informing our management roles and functions. The question is now…
This is the dilemma – do we dare formalise command and control, as a management style?
How much do we actually know, about C&C – Command and Control as a management model, or tool, follow this rebuttal and decide for your-self?
Could it not just very well become the answer to all our management problems and dilemmas? If we need to be authoritarian then, in a world where we get managed by other authoritarians then, let’s do it right at least. Engage a receptive frame of mind first…now read on.
First the studies
Well studies have shown that our new generation of supervisors are choosing to command their subordinates, so we have to ask ourselves why, and then why not?
Management theory 101; informs models the world over, we were taught, that any management model should serve us as a unifying element of the process of managing, leadership, and organisational goals and behaviour, all in pursuit of organisational objectives. The solution was leadership and management…
Does this business philosophy still have a place, a role or a function in a corporate strategic environment? Should we not switch, and follow a new path, several studies allude to the fact that, mainly first line supervisors have adopted a new path, a command and control attitude, as their new leadership model.
We need to change the leadership wisdom paradigm; now we need people that can give us informed options.
In a world ruled by uncertainty and unpredictability, and in which precise causes are often impossible to isolate, then abstract and theoretical knowledge is of limited use, especially for practitioners as opposed to theorists. This is true of first line supervisors that have to solve new problems, in ways unimaginable to the manager. The landscape has changed; there are new attributes and challenges. His world is full of shortages, personnel, equipment, trained staff, systems not working, politics, and personal issues. Theory has no fit here; they cannot seem to connect the dots.
Real, usable business knowledge emerges from doing things, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and not by studying a process, or trait. Theory and knowledge should emerge from practice, from the “fresh original” source, and not the other way around, where we are being fed “bottled theory” from another source that is by now outdated – and in most instances irrelevant, business theory especially has a way of trying to crowbar things to get a fit, no we need specifics today, in more than one respect.
Formal education has a place, but only as a benchmark of the level of education, not as a licence to practice – but it should not replace practical skills, and people who deal with issues in a very practical fashion, it should sharpen them.
Furthermore, education should be career path orientated, more specific in the work environment, and formative, not normative. It should start from the get go – for practice hails supreme over theory – it is the doer of deeds that count most, not the critic, it is still ancient, the classical Socratic ideal of truth in the first place. Truth is being right, knowing how to define things, understanding the difference between what is true and false: None of this is the point of management.
What is important is to understand the results of events, not the events themselves. The ability to create cause and effect, and to understand and predict such events, is of the greatest of truths, and importance.
An even deeper implication of this approach is that real intelligence lies not in the individual, but in the evolutionary process; the ability to refine and perfect, to sustain. Options are what we need a lot more of today, and people who can give them to us, options only grow from freedom of action, the freedom to find the truth for one self, and develop it, and it allows you to benefit from the feedback and process of trial-and-error.
Developing informed opinions, and options and knowing how to apply that feedback to future decisions can be the highest form of wisdom we will pursue in future: “The wisdom in decision making is becoming vastly more important for the future leader, not just practically, but philosophically than merely regurgitating academic knowledge from one generation to the next – that’s no longer seen as required business knowledge.”
Innovation and sustainability has suffered under old Leadership and management models…will they be better off under command and control?
How will innovation, and efficiency, as well as effectiveness be boosted or hampered by n new model, that of Command & Control in your experience?
C&C, if we don’t fully well understand the implicit parts of it? How can we say no to it? Most of us see just the words as being negative already, and frown upon it…with mmmm?
Coming from both a Military and Parra-military background, I would like to share this concept, in its civilian form with you, and maybe open it up for some debate, so here goes… let’s unpack command and control and see if it has any real world applications…in business for us worth looking into.
Firstly – Why is control management on the rise?
The answer should be obvious; it revolves around these aspects;
- Firstly that of recruitment and retention. Company’s battle to hold onto old “work horses” and the new replacements are just not that fit – capable – and even strong enough yet, and most of them get to cope with the demands of middle and senior management, without having any real training, or experience as yet.
Studies point to as much as four-fifths 4/5 of our organisations are experiencing this very problem, in finding and keeping the “right” people. Especially when comparing their new candidates taking over with their people retiring, and also the qualified professionals we are replacing them with, they are in many instances very poor substitute replacements.
Many more people have qualifications today, however very few of those qualifications seem to have weight, or even filter through. People come with qualifications, but can seem to apply their knowledge gained. It’s as if they have none, if the qualifications aren’t as good, or nearly as good as what they were ten years back.
Personality wise; and for the most, there are very few “bright eyed and bushy tailed ones”. Watch them; they all just blend – they lack true confidence, and people skills are lacking as well as their self-discipline is gone, – way too many are overweight and look sickly too.
Let alone their management views on people; so how do you handle these individuals that have divergent views on how a task must get done, from what is tradition and norm, then it’s simple – in the absence of skill – you command them and then you control them. In this fashion they can’t do much wrong – they in turn do same… with dire consequences.
- The writing is on the wall, when the best way to manage people is to force them, and administer them, and we refer to it as “command and control”…
- This is not the best way to manage people, surly, it certainly creates friction, followed closely with an increase in insecurity, resulting in a noticeable increase in production times, just to get the same job done, and even more people is needed (somehow) to do just that one same job, that became vacant now …Why?
- The research points us to compounding psychological aspects; no sense of job security and feelings of having no real ties or affiliation with their organisation, and or peers, a sense of total detachment.
- This aspect is bolstered by the supervisor’s combative attitudes towards them too. Where people are perceived as disposable assets, and treated daily as such, more often than not dealt with in a un-ceremonial fashion, with no to very little emotional interlude between their supervisors – who follow the “I pay you for services rendered, nothing more nothing less – dictum.
- Then they too catch on, it’s obvious there are no leadership here just control freaks, so in the absence of clear guidelines, we follow the norm, and then they stretch their work out, they slow down the pace, so that they can control the environment, either consciously or subconsciously…so that they can feel safe.
- When it becomes “us and them”…then human nature will start taking its course…and kicks in the self-defence systems. So action – reaction, cause and effect. Becomes a vicious cycle of abuse.
- A slow work pace can be among the most difficult of problems to resolve or turn around unless you have strong supervisors, with lots of experience, standards or set goals against which to compare actual performance with…and systems, policy and procedures that work, but what if even that is not assisting in bring up the total production? Do we change tactics?
- This implies confrontation mostly; especially where there is passive and active resistance mixed, people go on sick leave like it’s a normal day off – an entitlement, extra leave, why not use it, then they fail to meet deadlines, it becomes a vicious circle of cause and effect, and then everything is pressured, and causes people stress. Friction then sets in, just because we cannot lead or mange as a department supervisors, managers and etc.
- Two alternative choices emerge; motivate them, or start disciplinary actions, then overtime replace them, until we find “performers”.
- This approach also has its own and unique challenges – “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t?” Some positions take time to train up, and then even more time to produce quality work, the devil is in the detail, etc…
- So how do you manage a huge organisation, with all sorts of ideas, that have professionals, veterans, and skilled and both none skilled workers performing functions hand in glove?
- The work of the professional employees, on the other hand, generally does not lend itself to quantitative performance standards. However, you can usually set specific benchmarks, goals, and time frames for when you expect assignments, tasks, and projects to be completed, with feedback standards.
- With highly educated people the work ethic is on average high, and if they don’t like the job, they will just resign, so mostly it’s with none skilled people where we find this attribute of “dead wood” in the work place. However, they overtime will become the bulk of the work force.
- 2. A universal lack of competent first line supervisors and managers exist.
- If you are caught in this rut, then look at what you have as first line supervisors, and then middle managers, and then close the gap?
- Management competence is the number one key essential precondition for success, resource management and everything else that follows.
- Stories of mismanagement and under-management, performance management and incompetence is rife…especially in large organisations where people under perform…because they lack competent leaders, equipment, and training, then personal agendas prevail, in the absence of clear leadership and directives we follow the norm.
- Then also there is the aspect of capacity and capability – which need some explanation.
i. Capacity – turns mainly on skills, style and experience, a supervisor versus a CEO, which translates into cost, the higher the skill is in demand, the higher the cost to hire such individual. It also relates to means, does this individual have the means, resources at his/her disposal to perform certain tasks – a phone, a computer, assistants, budgets etc..
ii. Capability – relates to the quality of the individual, in his abilities to work with people, to get them to be productive, and organise the work environment, to command and control, and command respect and trust…this is coupled to the quality of the individual, to be a leader, commander, and manager, teacher, trainer, mentor etc…
iii. A perfect candidate might have the qualifications, but not the know-how, so he might have capability, but not yet the capacity. And visa-versa… yet another dilemma.
- 3. An observable lack of proper systems and HR infrastructure exist;
- HR – Infrastructure is not an organigram; it is not handbooks and policy and procedures, job descriptions, computers, software, budgets and supply chains.
- Infrastructure should extend to well organised resources and productive people.
- An effective HR infrastructure is the ability of getting the right people into the right positions, doing the right things, consistently, until they become both effective as well as efficiently; now that should be the aim of HR infrastructure. How we frame it, is how it will become… if we don’t, it won’t.
The dilemma now it seems, is the situation changed and we are marching new soldiers with old boots to war. The “war machine” is old, and failing…
We are at War people – with our own paradigms and philosophies, and it has brought us to ruin. Management styles and philosophy has not changed much, to keep up with our current social climate, of liberal thoughts, and innovative thinking, it’s just not a sustainable vehicle to progress.
The difference is observable;
- Now we have people that want to get evaluated as a group – so why work hard, or harder than the group, if the standard is 5 then 5 is it, and then we relax.
- Previously, individual efforts were rewarded, hard work, 0 days sick leave for a year, service beyond the call of duty, and so, the individual was rewarded…
Spare me the sermon you say, I have heard this all before
Well maybe if you hear it all again, it will click and sink in now. The younger generation coming through into the work force, all think that they are smarter, work better, and faster, than anything that has ever walked this earth.
They too, have totally different views on society, morality, discipline, culture, religion, war, peace, respect; rights and especially work ethic…just to name a few, if you don’t believe me, just ask any bright eyed teen.
We are cavemen to them. No common ground exists between the tail coming into the organisation and the head going out, or so it seems…it could very well just be a perception?
The perception then
Many “perceive” – Command-and-control as just a centrally planned dictatorship that is set up to take orders from the “Boss’. The “I say and you do” way of doing business, just verbally flogging the people into shape, like good soldiers and off we go.
I assure you this is not Command and control, this approach will only get you so far. This isn’t even a management concept or style either- it’s just the reverse, a manifestation of some desperation of untrained people in senior positions to make ends meet, having no clue, suffering from a lack of capacity, and capability or even both.
What is real Command and Control and how can it add value?
Its roots; Command and control is a military dictum that suggests; an element (or a group) of leadership who communicates, and translate strategic decision into instant action with the least amount of friction or effort.
Quite different from “I say and you do” hay?
So how is real command and control done? First we need to understand the thinking behind command and control and then the science. Command and control rests on two pillars, namely;
- Control informs the means of synchronizing various resources and getting them to perform their functions in time, by using a system that is structured to accomplish mission specific goals and objectives with.
- Control informs management of who, what, where, when, how, and how much.
- Command informs people of the parameters – resources, time frames, desired outcome – and scope – the possible and desirable outcome vs. the foreseeable risks and challenges – of the objective, that needs to be achieved, within specific mandates.
- Command informs leadership, on values, morals, ethics, and standards
Let’s unpack this to add value;
So they have a system
This system approach prescribes to set rules that aim at minimising delays, and waste – thus implying the optimum utilisation of all forms of resources, both human and otherwise – in a structured fashion, this is aimed at reducing risk, by following a predesigned system of operationalizing gaols and objectives.
So these guys have set goals and objectives…too?
Yes! The development of a Command & control System is not an end itself. Neither is it a new notion of managing either. Leaders and mangers perform these task daily, with people well, however, if they are narrowly focused on people only and their performance, then they too tend to lose sight of some parallel processes like “systems and levers”.
Command and control is a system in balance.
When people and systems are combined – systematic procedures should emerge -, that tends to deliver better results, and more consistently deliver on time, and within budget. Best practices emerge in this fashion.
Many such business models exist, based on this very same principle – the matrix management system for instance aims to have better integration, but they don’t quite get the nail driven in as well as command and control does.
It has to fit the organisational landscape; this is never and by no means has a one size fit all solution. Any need for an element of command & control for your business is determined by the organisations’ tasks, size, purpose and structure.
It is therefore important to identify the demands, resulting from specific tasks performed, especially done routinely within the origination, or business unit, if they are of a uniform and repetitive nature, then you could start looking into command and control, and see which aspects could be placed under a command & control element, to streamline operational tasks with.
Strategic command and control “elements” becomes the nexus
An “element” is a small group of leaders; or people well versed and both suitable qualified in the art of strategy, structure, systems, procedures and business analysis.
Elements of command are trained and qualified people. Command and control deals with specifics first, its core business is establishing proper skilled and knowledgeable leadership, operating within a structure, supported by systems, that is command and control development and training orientated. It works from the inside out, to be a counter to “implosion”.
The factors of implosion
We can’t have “elements” if the following implosion – implosion is like an elephant having its skeleton compromised – weakened -, so it gets crushed under its own weigh, see it in that light. If the structure and systems supporting the elephant fail then it will fall in on itself. By definition; Implosion is a process in which objects are destroyed by collapsing them on themselves (or being squeezed in) on themselves.
Most systems fail because there strategy is not supported by their structure – structure includes management, resources, capacity and capability…
If there is a lack of anyone of these, especially capacity and capability in the main, within an organisation or speciality teams, then more co-ordination and tighter integration should be contemplated, especially in any large organisation, to co-ordinate its entire systems activity, if not, a culture may develop; whereby, only the current incidents become the focal point for daily activity. We need to become strategic, and project driven…medium and long term focused.
If we only get into – the day-to day business, and never focus on future business, then strategic goals and objectives tend to get lost. This would also explain, why training, and capacitating takes a back seat, because they are always strategically aligned, no strategy, no resources, no training. When and where we become only focused on operationalizing aspects, and not strategizing it, then imploding starts to take effect.
We will overtime also experience a total systems collapse, as systems require maintenance, upgrading, and care, everything reliant on systems, will then erode, and then organisational infrastructure (like buildings, equipment, communication networks, IT, roads, assets, etc.) will follow in the same fashion.
Business managers, analysts, and developers in general are not very good today at doing things dually, they are good at either people and operations or systems, administration, logistics and development, very seldom both, however they need both to be effective and efficient.
“Strategy follows structure, like structure follows strategy”
No strategy can be effective if it has no structure to support it, and then when the strategy becomes effective, and the structure ages, and fails, so will the strategy too.
Command and control supports strategy, if the strategy is not there, then there is nothing to command or control. Furthermore, the structure of strategy needs to be flexible, and maintained, developed in line with the strategy developing, they should be in tandem.
Then only have we combined all these business factors required for a command and control style to develop and evolve, and prosper.
If not, then at some point we will find ourselves getting into crisis management mode. When the day-to-day and the strategic goals, meet up with medium and long term projects and gaols for instance, then they/ we have to compete for resources, then things suffer. As day to day always wins out over strategic goals.
The lack of knowledge, leadership, and experience at several levels of management, will and has a knock on effect in everything we manage and lead will suffer directly as a consequence.
Every catastrophe had forgone indications, and then warnings. This is it, command and control will never work if there is no strategic approach to it, first. If there is no capacity and capability with in the command element, then there is no HEAD to this beast.
In the absence of a command element
Then we find “pile on”, it give the one’s that work more, and still more to do, total over utilisation and bad resource management, of assets under their control, it tends to lead to incidents of miss-managing of company assets and resources. (Not to mention; fraud, theft, lack of maintenances and repairs or just pure ignorance and a total lack of proper controls).
In order to bring about some swift and effective turn around action that will stop this tide of stagnation, and internal implosion, it demands firstly someone with the ability to identify these factors and influences people on decision making level firstly, to take affirmative action, and to have the mandate and power to change direction as and when required.
The symptoms of implosion
When day-to-day operations start suffering and becomes hampered due to an array of factors, like these mentioned above, and they impact on all of our effectiveness, then we should become really worried, and realise that we are no longer pro-active, but becoming reactive. Then the penny should drop, that we have a major problem brewing, and it’s already causing a serious deficiency…
In any business, when you lose the initiative, and have to catch up, you are in deep trouble. Stay proactive; never become reactive, it costs way more…
Oh, easier said than done. Even many good managers and supervisors, become fixated narrowly on just doing what needs to be done, with what they have, – when they have become so accustomed to operational deficiency that they rarely strive to remedy the situation any-more, as it is seen as futile – so they get accustomed to being only or mainly reactive. The strategy serves no purpose.
In the bigger scheme of things, they have experienced “rubber warriors leaders” – with their spineless approaches and excuses to cover up their incompetence; “no we can’t”, “it’s not possible”, “it’s the system”, “get use to it”, if you hear excuses from top leaders, too often, you learn them too, and get to use them too, so you follow the same paradigm, so much so, that everyone ends up becoming battle tired. Why try and change the inevitable? It’s like trying to kick up a dust storm on a frozen lake, impossible.
Well – The first line supervisor is only as good as what his or her support functions, and structures are capable and able – has capacity and capability. In relation to a chain, you are only as strong as your weakest link.
When we see ourselves and our roles becoming overly reactive in our daily tasks then it’s because the sum of its parts have become defective, and or ineffective, in the totality of the whole, it only takes one part to render the whole dysfunctional…so it normally doesn’t take much to destabilise a system. If we lack certain parts, we can’t expect to become a whole…and functioning entity. A car without an engine for instance is just not a car any-more…
The transformation back to efficient and effective is a strategic process. It’s not a quick fix. One that needs to address certain key factors first, before contemplating any change in strategic direction, or driving any new strategy in an organisation, for if daily operations are not running smooth, then that aspect requires a holistic overview and a strategy first.
“Everything affects everything else; all is connected at some point somewhere.” The design requires specifics and detail.
With strategy execution, we naturally progress from operations, to daily activity and then routine, to weekly, monthly and then long term only. Iron out problems in this fashion, and then all the wrinkles will become a complete picture, and will be smoothed out at some point. If not, one can only image your alternatives.
This is the results, the dilemmas, the challenges, and the problems, now we as people, have become the focus.
Leadership quality becomes the cardinal factor in any style of leadership
How we Command and control people and resources has a direct influence on all other leadership actions and relations that form, that follow, everything we do, or don’t, say, or say not, or a lack thereof, even how we as leaders think, will influence how subordinates think, act and perform as a result.
Everything flows from the top, and if it doesn’t, then people make it up as they go along.
Okay, so we now can see, I hope, sorry if I was long-winded, that it is two key factors that we need to address. The aspects of leadership and its development need new eyes on. Secondly the style we choose must carry us through, and be specific to the sectors we are functioning in.
Normal or traditional attention to leadership development has dwindled; mainly because training has just become too expensive, diverse, and time consuming, and it has become too general in its application, people don’t get much from supervisor training courses, and now it seems like a waste of time, and money. Combined with a substantial change in management philosophy and styles, the implementation of new operational procedures and technology has rendered old doctrines useless over the last few years.
We need to develop our own doctrine, from what works, as we traditionally work best, and continue in that fashion…
The former has resulted in the total laps of training first-time managers and supervisors for some time now. Therefore, leaders must be knowledgeable and skilled in not only operations, as was the emphasis they would like to place on training needs, and requirements, on skilling supervisors, but also in the complexities associated with human resource management and development, as well as the use of systems, infrastructure and technology. It needs to be an all-inclusive strategic approach.
The scope of what encompasses supervision and management has increased dramatically too…
We do need to gauge the quality of the people we are developing as future leaders.
The influence and quality of leadership decision making (or a lack thereof) has a direct impact on all of us; therefore we need to start with quality to end in the same fashion. Leaders serve many attributes of business;
- Leaders need to have symbolic impact on the entire organisations thinking dynamic, right down to the cleaners. (Someone once said if you want to make an quick assessment of an organisations ability to command and control look at the state of their buildings, and then then its cleanness – for if the cleaners are on time, and the place is clean, then it will reflect on the effectiveness of the total organisation – and its ability, especially that of its leadership in running “a tight ship”, or not?).
- Decisions or no decision – it all starts and ends on that premise – we have to make decision, and need leaders that are not afraid to take a decision. For if we don’t someone else will. Everything informs everything else that started because of one decision, leading to many more, taken or not – it’s just the nature of strategy, life, and living. If we understand how thinking works, we will better understand why and how to decide…or not?
- Good and effective leadership as well as management should have the strength and conviction in Command and Control. You need to own it to command it. Command and control leadership is mainly focused, it directs and informs all aspects of business, starting from the thinking and decision making process, so if we ask the right questions we will get the right answers, and therefore make the right decisions. Only if we are in the right frame of mind, and focused on specific paradigms that count, and use specific principles. Will we be able to say with confidence, that I am a commander. A commander is first and always a student, then an apprentice and in that fashion he is grown and moulded to perform…to perfection. It’s a mix of practice, experience, knowledge, teaching and insight.
These are the basic principles of command and control then, to recap;
Thinking about thinking
- Critical thinking becomes the tool/ weapon of command and control
- Critical thinking, is the thinking about thinking, that becomes focused, and then strategic.
- Synchronizing various resources and getting them to perform, requires a system, of structured work, backed up with a of set policy and procedures
- Organise your work place, assign tasks, set required targets, goals, objectives, and design the required form of feedback.
- Establish communication lines, set up meetings, inspections, and reports
- Assign responsibility, and ownership to task so that people own the outcome
- Delegate – tasks, and authority
- Systems reduce risk, by operationalizing gaols and objectives of the strategy
- When people and systems are combined – systematic procedures emerge, that should be standardized, with benchmarks for quality and outputs
Be charismatic be seen, be visible, be approachable, be knowledgeable
- Leaders have symbolic impact on the entire organisations thinking dynamic, right down to the cleaners.
- Walk the walk, and talk the talk
- Include people, be a student of their ways
- Study and improve the self
Take and make decisions
- Decisions or no decision – it all starts and ends on that premise – we have to make decisions
- Seek council, research options, “practice the whip” – how to get people to perform
- The influence and quality of leadership decision making (or a lack thereof) has a direct impact on all that follows
Train and teach leadership
- Leaders must be knowledgeable and skilled before they get a command, then they must have mastered the doctrine
- How we Command and control has a direct influence on moral
- We need to develop our own doctrine, and grand strategies and keep developing our selves, as knowledge is power, and experience skill, from what works, as we traditionally work best, and continue in that fashion…
- Always strive to remedy the situation…before you get battle tired
Command and control at the coal face
Command is more about why than how; we can figure that out always, even later, as long as everyone understands why, then we are focused. This is how command and control precipitates at the coal-face. Here people need to know why they are doing this job, why we need 20 of each, why they need to do it in time, and then they will start gearing their minds for the next step.
In order For this to happen, we must ask the right questions first. We need to ask rudimentary – very basic – questions first, before we make decisions; the likes of who, what, where, when, and how, and also how much, time effort, and what are the risks involved? Also then what will be the cause, and effect?
Otherwise we will spend much time on just thinking, talking, and focus on many other things, as they come into and go out of consciousness, this is the contrast between command and control, and other styles, we always require specifics, we think critical, focused, the rest becoming more and more irrelevant, because our thinking that subscribes to form, structured thinking sorts thoughts things to arrange them into priority items first, this is taught be the way, first prioritise, the analyse, the quantify, qualify and then identify and then it disseminates only these priority aspects – thus structured thinking always, a habit is borne, and it becomes culture, it will assist in giving decisions direction, focus and all things priority. This aspect requires decision making of a higher order, very systematic and therefor critical in nature.
What influences critical decision making then?
Command is about thinking, and then about thinking about that thinking, and then in the final act, making/ taking a decision.
All our decision making processes starts with the self, giving expression to ideas, this aspect is heavily influenced by mostly past experiences. Then only do our capabilities for delayed and instant gratification put a spin on this for us, and try and match thoughts with reality. We train and encourage individuals to act autonomous.
By balancing the metal act of thinking with everyone, getting them all on the same plane, of saying and doing, between personal thoughts, influences and restraint; then a primitive desire for affirmation will emerge – assertion, wanting to impose our will and thinking on others, this affirmative action, all in an attempt to do the right thing, and making the right decision then, requires many calculations and filtering. Undisciplined though takes you to all the places the mind may travel, but never arrive at.
“Critical, is the path to thinking, but not over-think to act but not to over act, to command but not stay in command”.
Analysing the decisions from “head to toe,” in billions of a second; leads to more and more options, and scenarios then, which breaks out into even more options? Critical thinking is structured.
This can lead to information over load, a total wasteland of mental indecision.
Never easy to be a thinker hay, but leaders and commanders need to do a lot of it, so they better be good at it, and practice it like a wielding a sword, it is only when we realise that thought without structure is a waste of time, a nice way of day dreaming. That critical thinking makes perfect sense, as it translates into strategy for us…
Then only do we recognise the critical thinker’s ability and task, he seems irrational at first, he thinks from the grave to the cradle, but he knows, it’s a skill that needs to be developed, don’t hit on the first thought that seem right, question it in a structured manner with rudimentary inquisition, the more we use this technique the better we get, at taking decisions or tending to it. (Some never do – they rather just become doers by the way).
Then if that process is not difficult enough we also have internal and external influences that complicate it further, also attempting to inform our decision making abilities. The next step is to create situational awareness in our people, they need to be awake, and constantly scan their environment for changes – this is also called supervision. You cannot manage that which you cannot supervise or measure.
This causes mental friction, also called stress.
Command is about minimising friction, so too stress. Stress and decision making directly affect one another, in several ways; stress is very individual, what stresses one person, is of no concern to the next. So too is our coping mechanisms, all very diverse.
However, stress in any form, tends to protract from our thinking ability; by making us irritable, none coherent, aggressive, depressed, or just to shut off, and then we seek short cuts, quick fixes, just to escape the effects it has on us, not always the best course of action one would agree, however we all do this at some time.
Now, what if I tell you stress is also good for you, it is also natural. Stress after all has become synonymous to weight gain, heart attacks, hair loss and more.
However, there’s plenty of research now that finds stress may actually be good for you. “Stress is a very healthy thing, because it gives you the energy you need to live a full and healthy life”. It’s when stress becomes excessive and long lasts, going at it for long periods of time and when your body doesn’t release it through physical activity or emotional reactions that it becomes unhealthy.
Then our personal traits, like perfectionism, laziness, and irresponsibility, whatever the case, and there are many, and many others also put a spin on this. Also compound our stressors. They all shape our rational mind in the end, and final analysis of our patterns of thought.
Clearly, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to thinking sober.
Command is about getting the initiative, and leveraging it, so that we never have to work from a position of pressure or total stress. Especially under stress or duress – do we feel the pressure for real?
Still we practice haphazard managing and thinking daily, that amounts to stress, even in the absence of real stress, mainly because we are creatures of habit, and our habits could become destructive if they become routine and corrosive, so we settle for less and less. Work needs to be the place where you get your energy to flow, not your place where you get your energy to build up.
People can implode too as their environments do; they tend to want to follow closely as part of the eco system they will perish with it. Knowledge is power, if we are not aware of how perception, principles, thinking and influences work in on use, then we are lost to circumstances.
For this very reason, we need commanders.
All in the absence of structure, systems, policy, procedures we stress, if there is no one pushing us, no sword hanging over our heads, we tone down, to just performing the very basic of routine – called idling. On the surface it looks and feels nice, but it stresses the hell out of you, just being idol, collapses the mental structure – depression and anxiety sets in.
The point to make with this is. Only by Understanding the factors that influence decision making, and especially indecision making, do we create a better understanding of what decisions are made of, their value, purpose and how every decision, both good and bad, have consequences – even the ones we refuse to take.
That is to say, if we consciously minimise, or even eradicate these factors that influence the process of thinking and deciding, then we may impact the outcome of decision making in powerful ways. Commanders are taught to think, and what the effects of their thinking will be. For instance; when in a condition of hunger, people have a greater desire not only for food but also for money and risk taking.
- The fasted individuals also make riskier bets on a financial decision-making task involving lottery choices, opting for the riskier option significantly more often when fasted, and choosing the safer bet when full…
- Mental performance is not just a question of qualifications, intelligence and proficiency, no, we have now also pegged some smaller elements; social status, emotional and environmental attributes, that impact our ability to think rationally.
For this very reason, we have to look into sociology and psychology again, as Commanders must tap into the cognitive, and very deep and hard, to be effective…
Human cognitive performance in decision making terms has been the subject of active research from several perspectives.
- From a psychological perspective, it is necessary to examine individual decisions in the context of a set of needs, preferences an individual has and values they seek.
- From a cognitive perspective, the decision making process must be regarded as a continuous process integrated in the interaction with the environment.
- From a normative perspective, our nurture -the analysis of individual decisions is concerned with the logic of decision making and rationality and the invariant choice it leads to.
- From a species perspective, our nature -having the ability of problem solving activity which is terminated only when a satisfactory solution is reached.
They all have one thing in common, we need to structure our thinking, in order for it to become effective…and this requires a system.
The final analysis
Now with all this as background, and I am sorry if I took the long road here, but we need to be on the same page, how can a command and control element further our strategic intent?
In order for any command & control strategy/ system to be developed effectively, we require the right people, with the right minds, skill sets, and experience and approach towards problem solving, and working with people, or it will all fail based on just this selection criteria.
This extends and informs on;
A person having a good working knowledge of the cardinal ins and outs of the organisation, its people, limitations, threats and weakness, and how they traditionally operate is essential, and imperative, it will also inform on its systems design, a business plan, and workings, as an essential departure point, for where to pick up and start leading and managing.
It’s all Command and Control from here on out – in the final analysis
How do they do it, those Command and Control types?
We aim with objectives; the likes of goals, and vision to reach a desired future state. You cannot say that you command and control, if you are not a strategist at heart, and in being.
For this to happen we usually require some clearly defined intent, subsequently all success hinges on our ability to accurately describe and recognize prevailing conditions, to make the necessary assessment and implement the plans required, and then to stay the course, this is to control the outcome, to take charge of it, this whole process, is to command.
What is a command and control element in a business setup?
The command and control element is a small group of specific people – every department will require a suitable qualified “commander” – people responsible for operational success at all levels.
Furthermore, they are not in the business of managing people primarily, only systems, never really people, reason being; every operator is autonomous, and secondly the strategic command and control of strategy implies that it is by implication, a planned form of command and control, of not just one specific strategy or function of business at any given time, but several divers strategies combined, all in pursuit of the main objective – so it’s very specific and detailed at that point where it becomes operationalized.
Command; implies knowledge, experience, skill – the one that harmonises the chaos and gravity of strategy…by giving it structure and thus form…
Chain of command
As with any of his subordinates, commanders have well-defined expectations, guidelines that form a chain-of-command. He is in effect duplicated at each level, and at each level the principles of his command apply, leaving very little room for negotiation, and interpretation…
Opposed to leaders, that have only follower, who may choose to do or not to do the bidding of their champion? Maybe this is the point where the scales tip. Leaders also rely on managers, to perform the tasks of managing people. There focus and styles are divergent, not consequent, like command that looks like a chain, every aspect and detail is copied and repeated over and over. .
Business organizations today suffer, because every leader, and every manager come with different styles, and approaches, the work force gets trampled under variety and dissimilar ways of attacking work, because they only have leaders, they suffer without a functional clear chain-of-command. They also don’t understand or incorporate, strategic management, with strategic planning.
Innovators do not know to whom they should present their ideas, as there is no clear address – person in charge of this, and that, everyone is just supposed to do a little of everything, those who discover waste or mismanagement do not know whom to report it to, different offices or divisions are oblivious to each other’s work, leading to duplication, and waste as well as overutilization, because of duplication of effort, or research by one group, when it has already been attempted and discarded or improved by another.
Thus is command administered? Always in a planned, detailed and very specific strategic manner, all the dots are connected. When exercised rationally and even-handedly, command is highly effective and beneficial to its organization.
But command is not the whole story. A commander may well and effectively command his organization, provide proper direction and guidance, but something may be missing. Leadership, what some may call the “human touch”, is at least as important as the exercise of command itself.
Commanders can and should become great leaders too; very seldom leaders become great commanders. It is far easier to learn people skills, than what it is to learn organisation. Any business can survive on just good organisation, but very few on just good people skills. It is nicely said;
- if it is that people aren’t doing what you want them to do, that is the problem of a commander.
- If it is that people aren’t doing what they want to do, then that is the problem of a leader.
- And if people aren’t doing anything, it’s the problem of management,
- and if people are not performing well, it’s a problem of control
Command also differs radically in application from the military style, although the principles stay the same, it’s all in the execution… the devil is always in the detail, and how any message/command/instruction is delivered…that determines its success rate.
Not like in the military theatre of operation, where one can scream out orders, and add spice to it with a few swearwords, and it will be a call to battle. Also, in the military it is possible to give only one order, and everyone will be able to comply, as they all perform more or less the same function, “clean your boots”, “attack”, and everyone will. They are all equipped, and train, to be autonomous, and yet dually structured at the same time to perform as units.
One cannot say the same of business units.
Whereas in business, we could have several differing and even diverging “operators”, in one small space, at any given time. With no resources, never acting autonomous and yet others do. However, they all use one system, so this is where this aspect of command connects, in this respect; they can all be made to comply, with commands and controls. It’s just a little bit more involved in business. It will require systems.
As everything systems based comes with a policy and/ or procedure in this respect. That informs, subsequently commands and then controls the operator, in its operational requirements then this will become the parameters.
Standard operating instructions; is one good example of just such a parameter, also called a policy or procedure…that is aimed at keeping the control.
Commanders are also selected for their critical thinking;
Critical thinking is not just a commander’s job, it’s also a supervisor’s job, a requirement of command, in the chain of command and control, and no one can say they command, if they do not practice, or understand critical thinking.
Critical think gives first line supervisors their ability to really get perspective on the operating environment and asses its associated problems, that impact on their environment.
Furthermore, they need to focus, and “envision the end state, and visualize the nature and design of their operation area”. They are expected to interoperate their goals, and objectives, and operationalize them. Creativity and spontaneity is also a trait, like innovation, that will be required from command, if we view commanders in this light, they are not all that bad… because they will actually need creative and innovative thinkers at the lower levels of command – supervision levels too. We just have to pick the right guy for the right job I believe…
Critical thinking extends to innovative and entrepreneurial thinking in this instance, the ability to frame and reframe complex, ill-structured problems will be their greatest test. Solving problems will be the greatest attribute desired in developing future commanders. This should be supported by strategy, and strategic management.
In order to implement mission specific commands successfully, to have a shared understanding of the environment, its problems, its opportunities, and vulnerability and risk, will require close collaboration with subordinates, thus leadership skill.
Critical thinking is mostly strategic, informed by strategic intent that requires some unique insights of its own, only training, experience and a feel for the operations and people involved, will strengthen such insight. Shared understanding ensures that purpose is linked to intent.
Clearly we will need “Different horses for different courses” then; this explains this aspect to a T
This is exactly where many get it wrong, they don’t plan for the leadership element, or components, and command element (component) of any strategy, the strategy could be a master piece, but in the wrong leader’s hands, it will become dust.
Strategic design is a specific intentional holistic exercise
Strategic designs are expressions of people’s insight and foresight that describe and depict a very specific shared common understanding of a particular concept. Operationalizing such a concept and design, requires elements – tactics/ action plans, combined only forming the foundation upon which further joint strategies and plans are developed and elicited in support of the main objective. These elements, in total or in part, assist in the development of a design framework, called a business when done right.
Operationalizing objectives and solving problems
Although these elements of operationalizing designs encompass many planning concepts, they fail to address other key facets that are also mission critical, like command and control, and HR functions, let alone structure and systems, it all becomes one mission, that have command requirements. To understand mission and command, it is critical to explore these facets in greater detail to gain a better understanding of their relationship to strategy, planning, and the elements of operational design.
If we strategically Influence and infuse attributes of thinking that are prone to success at the first line manager’s level already, it will grow as the individual grows, following him or her to the next position, how all this stress’s them out, or confuses issues for people, early on, and how to solve these problems on a small scale, sets the stage for much bigger and more complicated problem solving experience and skills. This is the way of developing the robust commander.
Robust commanders are required
Young and promising Leaders today are not as robust as they were way back then, when most people had military backgrounds or military like discipline in their upbringing. They were more exposed to thinking and doing, and problem solving as an entity.
Contra today’s youth, they have become too specialised in certain/ specific fields, we don’t have “all-rounder’s” as much as what we did back then.
Therefore we must look at ways and means to improve our leadership component coming through the ranks, so that we can identify “cadet” commanders amongst them now, early on, before they become totally corrupted…
History informs us of the past, so that we do not make the same mistakes in the future, and that is the main, purpose of history…
So let’s look at lessons from History
History and war have many such examples and pearls of wisdom, one such a man was Sun Tzu; an ancient Chinese military, strategist and philosopher who is traditionally believed to be the author of The Art of War, an influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy
Sun Tzu five heads – of leadership and command
Sun Tzu in – The art of War, had this to say; war is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field
These five heads should be familiar to every general: he who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them will not fail.
These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.
In business terms this could be translated to imply;
- Moral law; Mutual trust and loyalty, elegance with a firm virtuous character
- In business, a do or die attitude, with hire and fire policy may seem appropriate and cost effective, but it destroys trust, no loyalty develops between the two parties, you have to earn your stripes, so this principle of leadership begets fellowship, and you are only as strong as what people are loyal stays true…
- Sun Tzu -The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.
- Heaven signifies; an awareness of how things come to be. Everything connects to everything else and as we progress through life and its many and varied levels we become increasing more aware, we begin to see with different eyes how past present and future connects.
- Carl Jung (1875-1961), explained it as synchronicity; the Swiss psychiatrist who coined the term and brought the phenomenon to light. Jung recognized that synchronicity, which he defined as meaningful coincidence, had the effect of breaking through the “rationalistic shell” of the modern scientific mind. It is a form of coincidence powerful enough to shatter the notion that material science has discovered all there is to know about the universe. To the person having an experience of synchronicity, the realization dawns that a mysterious force is at play in the world—a kind of “cosmic clock” whose gears operate on a more subtle plane.
- The Greeks called it Chronos, Chronos was imagined as a god, serpent in form, with three heads—those of a man, a bull, and a lion. He and his consort, serpentine Ananke goddess of inevitability, the personification of destiny, necessity and fate. She appears as a serpentine being, and marks the beginning of the cosmos, along with Chronos circled the primal world egg in their coils and split it apart to form the ordered universe of earth, sea and sky
- Sun Tzu- Heaven signifies night and day, cold and heat, times and seasons.
- Earth; an awareness of the strategic landscape and how risk should be calculated when looking at factors
- Factor like time and distance, as well as geographic and climate aspects would be going into your calculations if it was appropriate factors – or influences on the plan
- Even and especially with the global economy, geography is an important business variable. Transport costs – fuel. Being near your customers helps you be more responsive. And so on.
- When we talk about Distance, then speed/time = cost… a balance must be struck between being efficient and effective.
- Sun Tzu- Earth comprises distances, great and small; danger and security; open ground and narrow passes; the chances of life and death.
- The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness.
- Leaders, leadership skills and style will dictate greatly their follower’s mood and loyalty…
- And how you lead depends on who you are, inside. Your beliefs, values, models, and so on, this is also how you win and lose wars, on the quality of leadership and interplay between leaders and followers. Leaders have the power to form, norm and storm with;
- Wisdom is knowing the right thing to do.
- Sincerity is believing in what you do.
- Benevolence is helping those you could harm.
- Courage is overcoming personal fears.
- Strictness is ensuring others do as they should.
- These may be combined as integrity.
- Leaders with integrity create passionate, loyal and dedicated followers.
- Sun Tzu- The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness
- Method and discipline – structure and strategy
- Unity is strength, unity of effort is power, people follow people that tell them what to do, and that have strict rules and guidelines, balanced out with great rewards.
- Repair and maintenance, looking after what we have, and taking good care of it, is key to discipline, and wisdom, not to waste, wars are won and lost on equipment failing, or firing… principles.
- In business, haphazard organization and management is not the way to start motivating people, it does quite the opposite. Clear roles, policy, procedures and goals work far better in the absence of true strategy and structure – wherever you are.
- Armies and businesses spend money and both can run out if it, if not managed carefully.
- Sun Tzu- By method and discipline are to be understood the marshalling of the army in its proper subdivisions, the graduations of rank among the officers, the maintenance of roads by which supplies may reach the army, and the control of military expenditure.
So command is not a straight forward autocratic thing, it’s actually very complex, an art
Command is described as the art and science of visualizing a process from cradle to grave, describing it to people in understandable ways, by modelling it, mapping it, thereby directing them to perform specific actions, and leading people into operations with plans. It requires leadership to translate decision into actions, by synchronizing time, steps, resources, administrative and financial systems plus other functions in time, to accomplish specific goals with.
Command is clearly a human endeavour; that of connecting resources with means, to supply a specific product or service with – thus and art of delivering on a promise.
To summarise the virtues of command
- Command is also the art of decision-making, leading, and motivating people takes specific skills and masterminding their organization into action to accomplish the mission, takes practice.
- Command prescribes to best practices, and tactics, formulating your own concepts on operations to get from one to the other, and doing so at least cost. Assigning work, prioritizing and allocating resources, selecting the critical time and place to act, and knowing how and when to make adjustments during the process requires two components, keen observation, and foresight.
- Command requires leading, the ability to get people to follow, the exercise of authority and giving direction by means of a properly designated structure, a hierarchy, supported by policy, procedures and systems in the accomplishment of the business unit requirements.
Lastly Command require controls (systems and structure)
By definition; Control functions are performed throughout an arrangement of controls, specific controls over; personnel, equipment, personnel and equipment, as well as resources movement, lines and means of communications, utilisation of facilities, procurement, and supply, and procedures employed by a leader in planning, directing, coordinating, and controlling all aspects in the accomplishment of the mission parameters, to see further, process information faster and to ascertain more precisely and quicker all objectives.
We have covered the implication of command, now the Left arm, control; what is CONTROL?
To Control something, requires specific control measures, to be in place, it is also referred to as business formation, a business plan, a strategy, the likes of policy and procedures, time lines, benchmarks, cut off dates, objectives, goals and standards.
Control is also informed by laws, regulations, rules, and even nature that controls certain aspects of certain process, systems, and decisions, the point is every aspect of control is ring-fenced, by specifics…and variables; we either have to do things, or have to make sure that we do not do them…
Control requires systems to be in place; a chain of command, so that certain parts and components of decision making can be escalated, or deescalated, to an area of responsibility, a person accountable, a department, a section, or to prescribe to a certain standard operating procedures, or a scope of work, in a structure.
The aim of which is to provide the leader with timely and accurate information, on which to base the outcome of strategic and not tactical decisions with, to follow the process as it unfolds. To know who owns which part, or components outcome.
Control requires specifics; specific mission objectives, goals, and intent, specific people, trained or equipped, resources, or certified to perform key functions with, then also groups tasked with other specifics, infrastructure, resources, development, as well as accurate and timely information by which progress could be tracked, this category represents information on which management decisions are based on.
Autonomous action; is also control, the key application of this idea is to give it structure, and to inform decisions that are based on individual efficiency, about specific capacity and capability, they may have to perform, and to give them the freedom of movement to ascertain their goals and objectives with. Like architects, and designers, they need freedom to explore and to create, all inherent aspects to people or group’s abilities, and function requirements – specifics, each get managed and supervised to their own requirements.
This implies that; we effectively start managing business unit resources, at that level, by having specifics, monitoring resources usage, and making sure we have enough, and if not we can re-supply ourselves. We have to practice the basics of strategy.
While continuous information flows toward the command and control element in a structured and timely fashion, as a priority, it could also be called strategic advice, information should be useful to them, timely, accurate and structured.
Information, becomes intelligence, when it is tested and verified as correct, the system is inclined to test and verify all information, and classify their communications in this regard as information, or intelligence too.
However, the operations should not have to wait for a response back – it should continue – until it gets such a response… systems that rely on back and forth command is not command and control, it’s just command – authoritarian system, whereas command and control is autonomous, and has a criteria of its own for each operational aspect that informs its boundaries and objectives within a specific framework, it may operate autonomous. From which activity is inform, with and without any command. The job at hand is “inferred” – thus always open to interpretation by the operator, but ring-fenced by operational parameters for instance.
By evolving this idea at all levels of organisation, from cradle to grave, people will invariably start taking ownership of the process, and then we are not controlling people as much as what we are controlling desired outcomes, within specific frameworks through following the processes.
Control in this fashion, encourages all the positive traits of leadership development to come out, enhancing our predator ability, the likes of; initiative taking, risk taking, self-development, exploration, and confidence building, taking ownership of the outcome, learning improvisation, and adaptation to take effect, let’s not forget problem solving, testing, and the new buzz of innovative thinking, having all this within any organisation working scope, is only possible with command and control.
With strategy, that promotes accurate, timely and focused outcomes – just because of the command and control we have in place. It promotes autonomous and duel action to prosper in synchronicity – situation in which two or more things happen at the same time and seem to be connected even if they are not.
The Importance of this dual action
(I will include a lot of short cuts in this section, so if you feel the need to read more on a specific aspect, just hit the short cuts). Then I don’t have to explain everything…
Dual action refers to having both team effort and then the individual’s actions combined in pursuing gaols and objectives with.
This brings us to the importance of autonomy in command again, i.e. the capacity to act independently in the direction that is desirable for the operation, this aspect should be developed for several reasons.
Besides an increase in the maximum of our span-of-control, it could contribute to the capacity building, for better decision making, building better organisations, more capability within the system exist to execute its duties even faster, more accurate and when it is interrupted or impeded at some point, the individual, at that junction, can start the repair, and try and overcome the problem.
Furthermore, the concept of autonomy in command extends to the premise, that everyone is responsible for the overall success, everyone is a commander in his or her own right, then this aspect facilitates command & control in general, more hands on the problem, more eyes, and more brains, = more of all – leadership and team work is developed and so to problem solving at the operational level already.
This is just not possible, by just suggesting it to people, and forcing them to work as teams, some will always withhold their service. People have nothing to compare it to, apart from that our social and educational aspects will stonewall this idea. Perceptions are our enemy too.
A growing perception is that supervisors are not as educated in the art of leadership, and thus showing initiative, and self-reliance as previous generations could, that were given different opportunities, to lead groups and be leaders, the old guard seem more proficient than the new arrivals.
We are not breeding predators only sheep
Leadership programs and first line supervisor programs don’t seem to be forthcoming, in supporting any notion of command and control. This problem it seems starts very deep down, with the education model already. That points us in the other direction.
“They refer to self-development as self-directed learning” at school, most educators strictly only teach the curriculum, and don’t ever focus on developing the individual, his moral, discipline and leadership character, no people skills are passed on either, and in this fashion no model for leadership is ever visible, as educators make for poor leaders in most instances themselves, they are not allowed to implement real old school discipline, they get no respect, so very little gets imprinted in the classroom that translates to authority, to command and control, with some real scared out of your pants authority.
This aspect left the learners to get a street education only…on what is authority, teamwork, leadership and discipline for the most at least, and the point is, this aspect is not improving.
Command is no longer a virtue that we practice openly in modern society, you may just hurt someone’s feelings, or infringe on their rights… so be careful…really?
Is this what we have been reduced to, people without leaders, and or backbone?
Consequently, we as commanders have to send all our future “troops” to command and control school…if we want to command the organisation…then we need predator traits. We need to enhance our capacity to become the hunter again. They need tools for predators. (Part two tools for predators you have to read this too)
Strategy requires the second element of control
Namely – Unity of command – that becomes one fist with many fingers
We cannot command people that have no trust or respect in the commanders’ ability, and so to in reverse, this then becomes unity of command.
Even a clearly defined objective will come to naught if the people, and or their commanders are not up to task, and don’t follow the system, its policy; procedure and doctrine… we need a business plan – now enter “Grand Strategy”. (Grand strategy 2)
All these aspects need to be in place before we can move with command and control. This is the “functional discipline” of the organisation.
Discipline is the catalyst, without clear lines and principles of discipline we become lost in chaos… discipline first and foremost. Discipline refers to;
- functional discipline – how good is your work ethic, performer – always goes out to perform well, “normer” , just does what the rest does, “stormer” – how do you attack work given, negative or positive…
- personal discipline, how good are you at being on time, dressing appropriate, health and sanitation issues, then ethical, moral, trustworthy, responsible, and accountable
- positive discipline; teaching, promoting, rewarding and encouraging
- negative discipline; reprimand, written warning, suspension, demotion, disciplinary action
- self-discipline – also known as social discipline – how we act and relate in any social context, how restraint or forceful we become, how we control, and command…with apathy or no remorse…
This is the knowledge generation; they need to be disciplined with knowledge. They need to understand WHY? They need to be lead with knowledge based leadership.
With discipline in place we may start pursuing objectives…
Clearly defined objective makes it possible for improvisations and independent actions in a direction that generally benefits the whole process or life cycle of a product or service. This is a basic requirement in “mission oriented command & control”. Where, we have to plan beyond our current capacity, so that we may gain the capability to grow.
A commander cannot have absolute control over the whole situation. Moreover, there are many good ideas that come about in the organisation. When the organisation is focused and shares the same objective, it is important that the objective is familiar to all in the organisation.
A well-stated objective encourages first-line initiative. The tool used in advancing the objective during an on-going strategy is the value of the – General Decision (GD) – or cognitive strategic management.
This should comprise of two parts; the objective and its execution.
In the objective part, the commander expresses his objective, i.e. what he wants to achieve with the operation. The execution part describes in general terms how this objective can be achieved. An early, well formulated, easy to understand GD known to all participants in the operation is one of the main aspects in unity in decision- making and command.
This creates the conditions for initiative and risk taking, narrowly focused on mission oriented command & control. Similarly, it requires that the levels that exercise control over strategic aspects, norm, form and brainstorm the concept to be used in operationalizing the goals and objectives.
Unity is echoed in systems
Strategy and command, or leadership development will be the two critical keys to business survival in the future. It will be key to future Unity of mind, effort, and purpose – it informs your role and function, it defines the expectation clearly, and the time, the frame of mind – levelling off and balancing perceptions that will be used to extrapolate the actions required, this will also set the levels of trust and commitment to teamwork required. It becomes the premise for building unity, and better business models. (Business modelling)
Unity in decision becomes the fulcrum of command and control – placing demands on a good common understanding of situational awareness, of the operational environment and how a strategy will eventually develop and translate into action. Therefore, most operational decisions will be taken by first line supervisors – and they have to be totally conversant in strategy making, and familiar with their immediate work environment, they have to know what’s going on. The need to know how to attack problems and solve them will have to be taught sooner rather than later.
That the “truth is in the eye of the beholder” is probably a good summary of what we hope to explain here, no other truth will fit their reality, so you have to trust the guy at grassroots level. No, A “bigger picture” does not contribute to our basic understanding of its components, but the picture, which we perceive, that is right in front of us, is all we know and understand, and does inform our judgement, and decision making, so it becomes imperative that we all see from the same perspective.
Therefore, the unity in command and unity in decision-making demands that all “beholders” adopt a similar perception of the situation, and thereby a basis for their inter actions should exist. In the military they refer to this as an operational doctrine.
Since, the entire situation cannot be communicated in detail to everyone, all day, and in real time, it is important to understand what elements are the most important form of communicating, to the decision-making process. If we inform of “elements”, and they in turn, inform of “attributers”, then that will make up the entire picture – in this manner. This is referred to as strategic management. There exist a clear difference between strategic planning, and strategic management.
Whereas “elements” are specific command groups and they only want or need specific elements of information, to extrapolate the attributes and feedback in this fashion, it becomes a corrective and supportive act, steering further decisions, not making them for the operational level, so as to not interfere with their process, but to only streamline it with that of the rest of the organisation running in parallel, as a extension of the business processes.
Implying that; the actual current situation is of little importance the higher up in the command & control organisation, whereas, intention, motive and development are important factors they want to influence you, and not take over your actions and responses.
Thus, the alignment of the goals all in pursuit of objectives, and its success, is of paramount concern to the commander, and not interfering with the operationalizing of it, rather also assisting in providing resources, and better/ more support, when and where desired, or to redirect and re-supply.
Moreover, unity in decision-making demands that everyone in the command & control chain of the organisation share a common understanding of the capacity and capability of their own resources.
The magnitude of an assignment can be disproportional to its capacity and strength if the comprehension of the command levels is not clearly divined, assigned and we are all in agreement.
Likewise, capacity can vary from case to case, and so too capability, these become operational issues, that will be addressed by tactics. Thus, the person who commands and the person who executes the assignment must communicate with each other regarding their capacity and capability.
For the system of command and control to be viable it demands a capacity for different forms of command & control. Command and control hovers on a premise of the systems perspective; systems perspective teaches us that everything connects, and influences everything else.
That nothing can function properly if not for a system to link to. Good and structured organisation is key to success, if the system supports the structure that supports the strategy well; then we have a systems perspective.
Furthermore, a systems perspective facilitates patterns of recognition – you can see things better, and fix them faster when you have systems in place, systems also prescribe to contingency’s, especially in mitigating systems failure. Within the complex environment of economics, and potential, system interactions are better understood and described when we can define them as components of command and control.
(In my book I have dealt with this aspect extensively be sure to get a copy of Strategic Management – the Radical Revolutionary Strategic Management Matrix for Predators, by Reinier Geel, its dated and full of ideas…).
Nothing will ever happen, if we don’t have people that can take command, take decision, take responsibility, and be accountable.
Taking command requires a structured approach, it requires five components that must exist to render the system as viable, and commendable and to speak of a command structure.
The factions of command, executive and none-executive
• Stakeholder command
Then Stakeholder Command could be said to consist of the overarching decisions making body; the investors, inventors, and CEO’s, on how the entire organisation should function, be structured, financed, as well as the application of certain concepts in setting the direction of the organisation.
• Strategic command
Strategic command decides on the level of preparedness and the required operational frameworks. Several strategic plans exist, specific to operational objectives, and scope. Covering from short, to medium and long term strategic objectives, this is the core function of the enterprise – that becomes the Grand Strategy.
Further development and planning precipitates in to businesses units planning, As well as action plans, and operational plans, everything is structured, right down to the very last detail.
A strategic frame work exists that defines the parameters of all these operations. A framework in this context implies prescribed limits concerning; laws, rules, ethics, code of conduct, stretch of resources and geographical boundaries, as well financial boundaries.
Strategic command also focuses beyond its own organisational area. What happens in the environment and how it impacts on operations is also studied.
Most of all, strategic command manages the prioritising of resources between operations and the level of operational preparedness that must be maintained.
Strategic command will conform to the principles of; HR management, Finance, Training, Logistics, Support functions, IT, Research and development, and business analyse etc.
• Operational command
Deal mainly and primarily only with operationalizing objectives. All the other functions are removed from them.
Operational command integrates new strategy with systems, within the existing framework. If it does not fit, they have to design it, acquire it, or find a substitute.
They must also set the objectives, as well being responsible for the assignment, of the commanders and their individual units in the operation.
The system must have the capacity to command & control every operation in the organisation. So that resources are shared, and everyone unit has the capacity and capability to perform their task with.
This also bleeds into taking a matrix management approach to the management of resources, and sharing operational responsibility.
Operational command interprets the nature of the problems they experienced and assigns capacity to adapt, this is part and parcel of Operational Command.
The proper command and control of individual units prevents and manages conflict and friction between the units’ and their tasks – called co-ordination.
• Co-ordination of individual units
- To co-ordinate implies to bring the different elements of (a complex activity or organization) into a harmonious or efficient relationship, in its performance of the tasks assigned.
- To negotiate, mediate, and resolve issues amicable
- To motivate specific aspects, to get more funding, write reports, and give presentations.
- To connect people, and resources, and tasks
- To facilitate growth, and interaction, as well as team work.
• Command of an individual unit
In order for an organisation to be able to achieve its objectives, it requires maintain its functions in a ever changing environment, it must possess the capacity for normative, strategic and operative command, as well as the capacity for the co-ordination of its different components, together with the command of the individual and its units.
The components that constituent’s elements of command & control, and the criteria for a system to support it, could be summarised in the so-called principle of “Methodology”.
A true need for “Methodology”
There needs to be a methodology, an operating manual, a way we all get work done, that is uniform, a purpose to organisation that needs to be fulfilled.
This needs to be relayed in a strategic and planned fashion then, for others to interoperate and bring to realisation.
There needs to be an analytical framework, that the whole organisation uses, to attack problems with, a methodology, a plan, a roadmap, a system, that addresses all the influences (political, managerial, cultural, economic, social, information and infrastructure) that can highlight relevant and critical relationships with criteria, between task and function, between the various strategic factors, both internal and external, and actors within the operations environment. This will be the task of STRATEGIC COMMAND.
This type of analysis aids in better understanding the “relevant relationships that need to form within and between the various systems, structures, and concepts that directly or indirectly affect the concept at hand”.
In close some final thoughts
Command and control is a four legged animal
Command and control as a concept; Consisting of all four these elements blending into one to optimise resources and deal with threats, they are the elements of;
- Commander – in certain situations people need to be told what to do, and commanded
- Command guides the organisation with well thought out visions that aim to make it more effective…
- You cannot manage that what you cannot measure, To control is to have a structure, with policy and procedures in place
- Control provides structure, systems, procedures and organisation – this then is assigned to specific people, who then has to take responsibility, and then in some instances also accountability.
- Leadership shows the way, sets the pace, and leads by example
- Drives the interpersonal issues, sorts out conflict, makes sure there is co-operation, defuses friction, provides insight, and aims to lift moral, and blend it with team spirit.
- Deals with instruction and dissemination of work
- With follow up and follow though
- With concepts and ideas, on optimising the resources use so that it prescribes to efficient and effective utilisation
- Aims to minimise waste
- Brings in organisation
Command and control has the ability to facilitate. The Blending of the old and the new, with insight and foresight, given the organization their ability, and creating to focus on opportunities and dealing with threats: is a command and control strong point.
Combining attributes of all four elements could prove to be adventitious;
One can do more with commanders, and less with leaders, for leaders have a following that follow because of their attitude and perceptions.
Whereas commanders can be made to change direction, as they are loyal to only the organisation, leaders suffer in this regard as they are only loyal as long as interests are served, and loses following because they are politicians by nature, and cannot cross the floor without consequence.
We require men with vision and foresight to lead us in the future.
To design the future Commander and Chief should be the aim of every strategist, strategy requires command and control, as it requires structure.
Strategic vision and people with foresight – and not just strategy alone should expand on the motto of structure follows strategy, and so should the command element now follow structure in turn…structure follows strategy, that is as if followed by command and control. Then we have a good way forward…
Vision and foresight must go hand in hand from this day forward
Visions do not have to come from the top, but rather anywhere in the organization. So leaders and managers exist all over. Informal commanders too are often good sources of visions, however if the vision requires resources, then it normally needs the support of a formal commander.
In contrast, Control is the process used to establish and provide structure in order to deal with uncertainties. Visions normally produce change, which in turn produce tension. These tensions or uncertainties must be dealt with so they do not impede the organization. Thus control is also used to measure and evaluate.
Inherent in evaluation is efficiency—the act of examining the new tool often leads to processes that make it more efficient. This can be good because it can save money and often improves a tool or process. The danger is if the command process is weak and the control process is strong then it can make efficiency the end-goal again. That is, it replaces effectiveness with efficiency.
A good example of this is our present economy that caused many organizations to perform massive layoffs. Now the same organizations are complaining that they can’t find qualified workers. Efficiency overrode effectiveness—they failed to realize that they would need a trained workforce in the future.
Redressing the traditional roles and function of Leadership and Management in order to fit and then blend them in the Command and Control leadership model and environment we are functioning in today, should become a focal point for business school curriculum and discussion.
Addressing management as a concept in command and control
Management’s primary focus is on the conceptual side of the business, such as linking planning with resources, organizing and structuring work packages, action plans, and budgeting with command and control. It does the leg work to make visions reality, by linking it with resources, infrastructure and benchmarks, time lines, giving it structure.
Do NOT equate the term “management” with “controlling people.”
Management in this sense is more about ensuring that the organization’s resources are allocated wisely, timely, and consistently, rather than trying to control people, and assets tightly, it is better suited to controlling assets, infrastructure, administration, logistics, finances, HR, IT, and then in this fashion becomes the support component to command and control.
In fact, good managers know that trying to control everything is extremely difficult if not impossible and futile and an exercise in power struggles.
Thus management helps to assist with the smoother integration of resources with operational requirements, and allocates resources in an ordered and structured manner, to accomplish goals and tasks with, rather than just throwing it at problems.
Managers must look at the real goal, rather than the processes as tools. The real goal is to increase performance, minimise waste and decrease cost, on the way to reaching the objective..
One becomes effective with things and efficient with people in this fashion…thus effective and both efficient is the main goal of management, and no other faculty.
So this is the job of the strategist, and the business analyst and whoever they co-opt to the group of commanders and their aids.
You would do well to remember this; History informs us of past experiences, and expensive lessons learned, leaders, and leadership are not synonymous, organisations and organisation too.
Hindsight is an exact science, and history was written by the victors…
People only know what they understand, or practice as trade, and do well. The rest is grey… take time to see, and understand yourself, your strengths and both weakness, and then what the leaders understand and how they will think and act based on this understanding of the five heads, of a leader.
Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war, curious how they – the ancients though it wise to have these two equated, or linked, that wisdom and war belongs together, so is that to say that from wisdom comes war, and back?