Saturday, January 20, 2007

Leadership Thoughts From An Old Book

I was organizing my home office and found an old book I read almost 10 years ago. While I dont think it made a significant impact on me, it did add some insight and understanding about leadership. Here are the some key points from the book that I highlighted when I read it in 1998:

From "Semper Fi: Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way" by Dan Carrison, Rod Walsh

  • Recruiting: Marines send out their top performers to recruit the best people. These experienced officers display a missionary zeal, and they personify the values and pride of a Marine. Carrison suggests that sales managers send out star performers who embody values of the organization to serve as role models for new recruits.

  • Training: Marines spend 12 weeks in basic training. When the training gets tough, drill sergeants quote the old saying, "The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war." Boot camp is not designed to weed out people, but to cultivate everybody. While corporate America fires those who don't perform up to standard, new Marines practice until everybody graduates.

  • Leadership: Marine officers lead by example. If a leader asks a platoon to climb a 100-foot wall, he will be the first one to start the climb. Of all military services, the Marine Corps has the highest casualty rate among officers. In corporate America, the best sales managers are not the ones who hide behind their desks, but those who go out to see the toughest customers with their front-line people.

  • Commitment: The Marine Corps credo is DO or DIE. Carrison says that you have to be careful what you ask a Marine to do because he'll die trying. Marines in action show how much a highly committed team can accomplish. What if salespeople adopted such high standards for conquering new territories or introducing new products?

  • Loyalty to the troops: While corporate America often tells employees that they are replaceable, Marines are told that they are irreplaceable. They know that the entire country and their fellow Marines depend on them. It's natural for a Marine to say, "I love my Marine Corps." how many salespeople say, "I love my company"?

  • More and more companies are studying the Marine Corps model for motivation. Their sales teams take more pride in their product and in their companies. Imagine the possibilities. Imagine every salesperson in your company as proud as a Marine. Imagine how many competitive battles you'd win. Every year, thousands of loyal and highly trained Marines retire; why not deploy their talents to win more sales?

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