"Military work is risky, pressured, and fast-changing. It calls for
seemingly contradictory capabilities; absolute clarity about
the mission at a high level, extraordinary adaptability,
technically precise systems. These are the skills that
companies today need to prevail in a climate of intense
uncertainty." Harvard Business Review.
Probably the best context for the study of strategic, operational and tactical planning is war and the battlefield its best setting.
Why? Because the business environment is becoming ever more comparable to that experienced in warfare in terms of:
- Physical and psychological stress
- Unpredictable and fast-changing events
- Time constraints
- Limited intelligence
- Scarce resources
- Internal resistance
- Chance opportunities
- Communication problems
- Information overload / big-data
And even the chaos and confusion frequently experienced in battle is more often now a part of business!
There needs to be a unified and standard doctrine within the business where effective, reasoned strategy (or "CEO's Intent") is perceptively communicated to subordinate leaders; who then clearly interpret and convey it "down the line" in precise, uncomplicated optimal tactical plans. Thus every member of the business works towards the CEO's desired outcome knowing exactly what is required of him or her.
For centuries successful military commanders have devised methodologies and techniques to enable their armies to achieve their objectives and defeat their enemies against the background of these complicated factors, all of which exist in the planning and execution of battle. They have mastered tried-and-tested techniques and procedures using a common doctrine for reasoning, analysing and planning operations. This technique stands good today and remains an integral part of the training of military officers.
Fortune Magazine lists Walmart, General Electric and Pepsico as being among businesses "shopping for the military's elite". Why? These young men and women have been selected and then nurtured and developed by some of the finest military academies in the arts of leadership, people management, clear reasoning and problem analysis techniques. Click here
to view poster
Hence like their commanders they have learned and practised the art of commanding troops under extreme combat conditions with composure, clarity of purpose and precision; overcoming unexpected and sometimes critical and chaotic limitations in order to achieve the "Commander's Intent". They are developed in creative thinking and effective delegation to maintain momentum of operations.
"Tell me anywhere in the business world where a 22 or 23 year-old is responsible for 35 or 40 other individuals on missions that involve life and death. Their tactical actions can have strategic implications for the overall mission. And they're under enormous scrutiny, on top of everything else. It's a bit of a crucible-like experience that they go through."General David Petraeus, then commander of US Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Fortune Magazine.