Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Effective Systems For Success

Copyright (c) 2012 Scott F Paradis

A regular criticism of America's Army is that it is always preparing to fight the last war. While this is true, the Army methodically collects and uses lessons learned from previous action to better prepare for future operations. Army leaders attempt to think through and anticipate ever-evolving circumstances. Leaders actively seek to develop and employ increasingly effective systems to succeed.

In any contest, to become the best, to win, the champion at some point reinforces success, "Nothing succeeds like success." The competition, however, is always looking for weaknesses to exploit. If the champ can't respond to those threats, he won't remain the champ for long. Our military, and America's Army as the land component, wears the championship belt. It is the Army's task to retain that belt by being agile, flexible and responsive.

While the Army is composed of grounded, well-intentioned, capable men and women, systems are key to the success of soldiers, teams, and units. Throughout its history America's Army has borrowed freely from the finest fighting forces around the world. It has adopted and then refined processes over many years at the expense of much time, energy and effort. Army leaders develop, implement and apply processes to organize planning, promote effective decision making, and utilize available resources for optimum impact.

Effective processes maximize strengths and mitigate weaknesses. When lives are on the line, there can never be too many resources or too much combat power to ensure success. Fighting forces are, however, always forced to manage limitations. Processes the Army employs seek to deal with limited information, the unknown intentions of an adversary's action, and the changing conditions of a volatile environment.

If you have served in the Army, or if you have ever been a part of any hierarchical organization, you will understand and appreciate the characterization that often the greatest enemy is considered the higher headquarters. Competent unit leaders know what needs to be done and they focus on the most important tasks. Invariably, however, higher headquarters interferes. While the best laid plans never survive first contact with the enemy, within the Army itself most plans never survive the good idea fairy of higher headquarters. The Army as an institution though, implements processes to deal with both internal turbulence and the dynamic nature of the battlefield.

The Army does train to fight the last war, but it employs processes to attempt to fix and improve soldier teams making them ready for any challenge.

How are your systems working? America's Army demonstrates disciplined people employing effective processes are a means to extraordinary achievement. If you are not achieving your objectives, try developing and employing effective systems. Effective systems will help you succeed.

Scott F. Paradis, author of "Warriors, Diplomats, Heroes, Why America's Army Succeeds" and "Success 101 How Life Works, focuses on the fundamental principles of leadership and success;

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