Ask any experienced leader and they can tell you stories of being forced into a situation without options. Options and alternatives give leaders maneuverability and adaptability.
I recently reviewed my notes from Barbara Tuchman’s book, “The Guns of August,” which is about the first 30 days of World War I. To explain the first 30 days of the war – the period in which both the French and the German war planners expected to achieve total victory – Tuchman describes the elaborate planning and pre-staging of troops and material. They had incredibly detailed plans with train schedules, ammunition distribution timetables, meals to feed the troops, succession plans for all critical roles in case someone became wounded or ill, and even forecasts of how many medals would be awarded afterward. The original planning began almost 30 years before the actual start of the war, and the generals created a process for annual updates. They believed war between France and Germany was both inevitable and completely plannable. One reason that WWI lasted more than four years was that the generals and political leaders never considered alternatives to their carefully crafted plans, which disintegrated after only two weeks of battle. They doubled-down on their cherished strategies instead of adapting tactics to the actual situation.
Robert Green speaks about the important of options in his book, “The 33 Strategies of War”: [Read more…] about Leadership Wealth is Having Multiple Options