Custer in the Dark
Wikipedia: The Battle of Little Bighorn
at the break of day on what would become the first day of the battle, ‘Custer’s Indian scouts reported they could see a massive pony herd and signs of a Native American village about 15 miles in the distance. … Indian guide Mitch Bouyer reportedly said to him, “General, I have been with these Indians for 30 years, and this is the largest village I have ever heard of.” ’ Custer may have understood Bouyer’s words intellectually, but he failed to process the information. He couldn’t ’reason backwards’; he couldn’t see what the sequence of events might have been that finally led to the gathering of a gigantic herd of ponies and the creation of the largest Native American village ever assembled. His subsequent decisions ended in a military defeat that – even after 139 years – still drives discussion and speculation among our nation’s top historians. In the act of business, top managers go out and look. They seek information on the street level. They process their findings to determine ‘what’s happening and why.’ And they ‘reason backwards’ and ask themselves: How did it get to be this way?
The Sun Does Not Rise or Set gallileo proved the earth revolves around the sun. But because they were afraid of disturbing their world view, The Roman Inquistion of 1615 refused to look through Gallileo’s telescope. Instead, The Holy Office declared his findings false and contrary to the scriptures. For his heresy Gallileo was forced to recant and later imprisoned in his home for the last nine years of his life. Peter Drucker commented on a similar issue in business. Talking of ‘people and environment,’ he said: ‘These are the things a manager cannot define; he has to take the time to go and look. The failure to go out and look is what accounts for most of our managerial mistakes today.’ So my recommendation is simply this: Get out of your holy office and look at what’s happening at the street level of your business. HN
Published on Mar 19, 2015
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