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Marching Orders

Marching Orders

I work with a lot of different people, and of course they fall into some common patterns.

Those who tend to be the easiest to work with, most accountable, most disciplined in applying what we discuss…….are former military officers. It’s not so much that I’m “giving orders,” it’s more a factor of their accepting and acting on ideas and suggestions.

The greatest causes of poor progress I’ve observed in general as a coach—corporate or entrepreneurial—are:

  • An unwillingness to be vulnerable and express weaknesses and doubt.
  • Low self-esteem, meaning that any approach must be perfect and “guaranteed” or they’re unwilling to expose themselves to possible critique of the non-perfect.
  • Poor discipline bordering on sloth. A disregard for deadlines and a million excuses as to why something wasn’t done.
  • A belief that they’re a lot smarter than they are. A temporary victory, favorable media, some client praise, and suddenly they need no more assistance.
  • A failure to want to “give back.” Once they’ve legitimately met goals they’ve set they not only stop the coaching, they stop contributing to others. They become solely “takers.”
  • Abject fear of failure. They are worried that they will never recover, everyone will know, and they’ll be doomed.

In general, the military learns from defeats as well as victories, understands the differences between strategy and tactics, and studies the masters of the craft. One commits to completing assignments and meeting deadlines.

There is personal honor at stake. And maybe that’s the key. We live in an age of cynicism, where we “cancel” and tear down and criticize. No one is good enough for some cause’s arbitrary metrics.

How many non-military people know what semper fi actually means?

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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