Friday, November 30, 2007

Troop Leading Procedures

Your boss walks in with a big announcement. She has a mission for you. This is the big one. She has just handed you the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Your mission, should you choose to accept it (yeah…right!), is to re-engineer the entire organization. Make it better, faster, greener, leaner, safer, and cheaper (is there anything else?). You’ve got whatever resources you need and you are in charge! OK…now what? As she leaves your office you ask yourself why exactly you wanted this leadership position? Where’s the training? Where’s the manual? Who can you turn to for guidance?

Consider the military leader. When told to capture some strategic objective, he cannot just pick up and move out. Similarly he cannot take all of his allotted time to develop a “perfect” plan that may or may not work and certainly won’t survive the first contact with the enemy. There must be a process that makes good use of available time, results in a solid plan that has a good chance of working, fully leverages the unique capabilities that every member of the team brings to the organization, and, most importantly, accomplishes the mission.

There is such a process. And to help, simply remember the letters: “L-E-A-D-E-R-S-H-I-P.”

L – Listen.
E – Energize the Troops.
A – Approximate Plans.
D – Drive towards the objective.
E – Eyes on the Battlefield.
R – Refine your plan.
S – Share the plan.
H – Hold your team accountable.
I – Integrate changes.
P – Practice, practice, practice.

These are what are known as "Troop Leading Procedures." It is not a leadership cookbook and certainly no recipe for guaranteed success. But it is a battle-tested approach to take a team from receipt of mission to mission accomplishment.

Over the next couple of posts, we'll examine in detail what each step is, and what it might mean to each of us as we take on our next leadership challenge. Troop Leading Procedures. This is Leader Business.

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