[For Life] The answer to (almost) everything!

Let's assume a scenario; quality shortcomings are rampant at your workplace. Maybe some plastic sheets are defective too often or paperwork doesn't get done often enough or a surgeon forgets stuff in patients' intestines or an army workshop platoon doesn't do serious carbine training.

There's a bureaucratic and textbook approach to fix this; introduce rules. Such as ISO 90001 certification and other elaborate and annoying scripts.

There's also a good answer to this, and it applies in general. Wirthout at least a sall dose of it no rules will ever do the trick:


Leaders cannot spot, understand and solve all problems or spot, understand and exploit all opportunities on their own. The way to go is instead to wake up the folks and instill ambition. To instill pride (and to enable pride by leading by example and not sabotage pride) is an important ingredient for this.

Typically the only problems left once your people are ambitious are scarce resources and to avoid over-ambitiousness.

Think about it: Which problems wouldn't have been solved, which opportunities ould have been wasted if the people involved had had a lot more ambition?
Ambition - a directed driver of intrinsic motivation - is what organisations such as a military bureaucracy need to foster, and at the same time they need to keep down at a healthy level. This is much, much more important than questions about force structures and tables of organisation. It's also more important than the tools and weapons.

The importance (and risks) of ambition are also valuable in civilian life, much more so than all stupid management tools which you may hear about from consultants or at courses or university. Get your folks up to a fine level of ambition and performance will go up by itself.

This isn't a perfectly original stroke of genius - but it's a most neglected idea of great potential.


1 comment:

  1. For me the very interesting toast in the Royal Navy "To a bloody war and a sickly season" perfectly described this aspect.

    You not only hope that there are enemies to kill, but also hope that some of your competitors in your own team are decimated by the enemy or little bugs. :-)

    However, I do not know whether ambition is more important than force structure, the RN of the beginning 19th century may be an example that force structure supports, enables and channels ambitions.