Saturday, September 19, 2009

Commander-Centric Operations

The commander’s role in “command” - applying the “Art of War” - in this complex environment is critical. Without exception, we find that commander-centric organizations out perform staff-centric organizations. Clear commander’s guidance and intent, enriched by the commander’s experience, instinct, and intuition are ingredients always found in high performing units.

Insights for commanders:

• “The more things change, the more they stay the same” in leadership.

• Personal relationships are essential – the foundation for successful joint, interagency, and multinational world. Build these relationships, and foster trust and confidence with your partners. We discuss trust building techniques later.

• Your vision / guidance and intent provide clarity in today’s dynamic, ambiguous environment. Mission type orders remain key to success.

• Rely on your instinct and intuition while recognizing and leveraging the value of the staff to assist in understanding the increasingly complex environment.

• Working with your staffs, receiving benefit of their analysis and recommendations, and then giving guidance and staying with and guiding them, will result in better solutions in a fraction of the time.

• Build a command climate and organizational capability that fosters inclusion with your joint, interagency, and multinational partners in planning and operations.

• Focus on unity of effort, not unity of command. Recognize the reality of different perspectives and goals of your partners. Strive to arrive at a set of common desired outcomes to promote unity of effort.

• Stay at the appropriate level (i.e. the theater-strategic level for GCCs and operational level for JTFs) to set conditions for your subordinates’ success.

• Decentralize where possible to retain agility and speed of action. This will likely entail decentralization – some operational commanders have termed the phrase “become or accept being uncomfortably decentralized” as the only way to be agile enough to take advantage of opportunities in today’s operational environment. Too much structure can be the enemy.

From JFCOM's
Joint Operations - Insights and Best Practices - 2nd Edition

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