By combining military principles with everyday life, I find that it is easier to keep myself disciplined in both arenas. The military application of the following nine rules are evident. How they apply to civilian life, whether it be family or work, are harder to distill. Either way, going through each of the nine principles is just another way to look at all of life’s problems, and hopefully solve some of the challenges, both foreseeable and unknown.
- OBJECTIVE: Your goal(s) must be clearly defined, decisive, and obtainable.
- OFFENSIVE: Seize the initiative when it presents itself. Be aggressive, not reckless.
- MASS: Use and concentrate your greatest strengths.
- ECONOMY OF FORCE: Know what is secondary and give it minimal effort. Utilize all of your resources in the most efficient means possible.
- MANEUVER: Be flexibly and adaptable to changing needs.
- UNITY OF COMMAND: Delegate authority and responsibility but be accountable for the final result.
- SECURITY: Understand what you are up against.
- SURPRISE: Choose the right time to attack.
- SIMPLICITY: Simple does not mean easy. Make plans that are clear, concise, and easily communicated.
In life we must choose a path to follow. At the end of path there should be goals. Look at yourself and define what your objective is. Never lose sight of that goal so you can ask yourself if the things you are doing are keeping you on the path, or if they are bringing you closer to your objective. When the opportunity presents itself, act. Do no hesitate to take quick and decisive action. Be aggressive, not reckless, when pursuing opportunity. Do not be a victim of analysis paralysis. Concentrate your greatest strengths at your enemy’s greatest weaknesses. Be careful dividing your forces or resources. As once said, when a dog chases two rabbits, they both get away. By having a clearly defined objective, you can easily identify distractions. Do not let those secondary detractors fool you. Prioritize your expenditures and pay minimal heed to everything else. Because you are ready to strike decisively and aggressively, maintain a posture that allows flexibly and the ability to adapt to the changing landscape. Do not become so beholden to your own thoughts and plans that you are unwilling or unable to adapt. A leader should have three things; authority, responsibility, and accountability. Be humble enough to grant authority to your subordinates and give them responsibility. Hold them accountable but be willing to accept ownership of everything, even when they fail. During success, give credit to subordinates. During failure, take responsibility. That is the first step to developing solutions. Know your enemy and the situation. Knowledge will provide security, but do not rest. Use that understanding to surprise your demons. Simple does not mean easy. Simple does not assure success. Simplicity does allow for strong fundamentals, on which taller and taller structures can be built.