Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Before I get started with this blog entry, I wanted to apologize for my lack of presence the last week. I have a project on-going at work and the hours were consumed quicker than I thought. Well, a Leader admits his mistakes and learns from them. What did I learn? To have a couple of entries in my back pocket in case this happens again!

Jack Welch states that a leader needs to "...Passionately own the vision...." In the previous entries I talked about Conceiving the vision and Communicating it; this is the step that most people equate with leadership, Command.

The Army actually calls it Command and Control, the first 2 Cs, in their version of 4C (see the first blog entry for more on that one). It makes a lot of sense. In any situation you need Command and Control of it in order to effectively navigate it. But, when I looked back, I thought that Control is redundant. You cannot have Command of a situation without having Control. So Control was removed from my C4.

But what is Command? Command is the impact a leader has to make sure things get done and that people are pulling in the same direction. It is setting realistic deadlines for the vision; it is having confidence in the vision; it is making sure that the metrics are not only being met, but they are correct in the first place. And finally, it is ensuring that the team moves in the right direction to execute the vision. Notice I did NOT say that Command is executing the vision. Why? Because executing the vision is what the team (and the leader is part of the team) as a whole is supposed to accomplish, but if you are lost in the execution of the vision, then you are not in Command of the vision. A leader needs a good sense of the details, the execution, and in fact may dictate the exact steps necessary to accomplish the vision. But if the leader is the only one executing the vision, then he/she isn't a leader. That person can be dedicated, growing, developing, and can be considered a super-star. But unless there are people involved (not person), then he/she isn't a leader!

A good example is the story of a group of people cutting brush through a jungle. There are the bushwhackers with machetes, sharpeners to make sure a new machete with a crisp edge is on hand, managers to oversee the whackers and sharpeners, and a leader. Each person has a job to do. You can guess about the first two groups (whackers and sharpeners). But what about the Managers and Leader? The Managers are interested in making sure that there is progress, moving forward. But it is the leader that makes sure that everyone is cutting the jungle in the right direction. Can a manager be a leader? Absolutely. But if the Leader is acting like a bushwhacker or sharpener, then who is making sure the group is on course?

Out of all the categories, this one is probably the most thought of and written about. When an author talks about quarterly reviews, about setting timelines, about building teams this is the part of Leadership he/she is talking about. The important thing to note is that Command exists in conjunction with the other 3 Cs. I do not think you can start without Command, and you cannot finish without it.

As this blog continues to grow and explore, we will continue to talk about specific aspects of Command. For the moment, just be aware that when somebody talks about Leadership, most of the time he/she is talking about Command activities.

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