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Rules of war for winning in business

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

When you oversee hundreds of employees, it’s tough to ensure they all understand the organizational mission. That’s why you need to personalize your communication so that it sinks in.

Employees may not know what you and your senior managers want to achieve—and why it’s important. With multiple layers of management between the CEO and the support staff, some em­­ployees might not see how their efforts contribute to the organization’s success.

Strong leaders reinforce the mission daily, tapping all communication channels. They cite examples of how an individual’s job advances collective goals and how routine, entry-level tasks play a critical role in everyone’s performance.

In the U.S. Army, commanders ensure troops know their mission. They also foster continual learning by engaging in an after-action review (AAR).

Following a training session or operational activity, leaders will invite the whole unit to participate in an AAR. Everyone dissects what happened to identify what went well and what needs to improve.

Rather than harp on problems, the group seeks to solve them. They work together to formulate a plan to tighten processes and repair faults in the system.

Well-orchestrated drills prepare troops for battle. Similarly, business leaders stage rehearsals to give employees a chance to demonstrate their skills. Through roleplays, participants learn how to deal with irate customers, make decisions with limited information and respond to technological breakdowns.

Leaders coach people as well as explain the organizational mission. They don’t just instruct from the comfort of their desk; they roll up their sleeves and join employees in the trenches to teach by doing.

— Adapted from “Military methods in the workplace,” Chad Storlie,

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