Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Company Command’s greatest hits, vol. 2: The wisdom of letting your people fail

    One of the things that strikes me about Company Command is how it enables peers to talk to each other. This doesn’t replace the “when I was your age” form of learning, but it complements it — and probably is far more credible and effective, given that the lessons aren’t fogged by memory. ...

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cc.army.mil
cc.army.mil

 

 

 

One of the things that strikes me about Company Command is how it enables peers to talk to each other. This doesn’t replace the “when I was your age” form of learning, but it complements it — and probably is far more credible and effective, given that the lessons aren’t fogged by memory.

Here is my other 2005 pick, on standing back and letting people mistakes as a form of teaching. Please also note the three letters after the author’s name:

I’ve always recognized and fought my tendency to be too directive or prescriptive. It often seems that training opportunities are too precious to waste an iteration of an event by letting a subordinate leader do something that you’re pretty sure won’t work. If you that sure that it won’t work, then you’re better off letting them try it-you’ll never truly convince them any other way, and they’ll learn from it. Who knows, you could be wrong, and it might work! When you give them some latitude in training, it will pay off as initiative in combat. -John Whyte (RIP), A/1-30 IN)

Speaking of loss, here is a moving article by Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post about Marine Lt. Gen. John Kelly’s handling of his son being killed in Afghanistan. “I guess over time I had convinced myself that I could imagine what it would be like to lose a son or daughter,” Kelly tells him. “You try to imagine it so that you can write the right kind of letters or form the right words to try to comfort. But you can’t even come close. It is unimaginable.”

With thanks.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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