07 May 2014

Some of the Best Advice A Commander Will Ever Get

In a discussion about "Situational Awareness", one Marine says all you need to know.

The money quote is below:
How do leaders counteract this tendency? The biggest step is to ask yourself, before sending out an RFI (request for information),”Am I going to make a decision based on the answer to this question?” If you’re not going to do anything differently based on the answer, then don’t ask the question.

The higher a leader is, the more he has to think about the effects of just asking a question. One effect is just the time consumed in finding an answer. It takes just a second for a leader to send an e-mail RFI, but it can take a long time for those tasked to find the answer. This is time they could spend doing their jobs better. The other effect is that, as in particle physics, the act of observation actually changes the outcome. As the saying goes, ”What my boss finds interesting, I find fascinating.” Subordinates alter their behavior based on what their commanders are interested in. Sometimes this is a desirable effect, but this has to be managed carefully. If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. A commander that is interested in everything will find that his subordinates are incapable of independent action.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen completely inane "PIRs" and "CCIRs" that had absolutely stupid shit like "unit finished on small arms qual range". Whoopty-f*ckin-do. So they're done.
What is "critical" about that tidbit?
What bit of info in there is driving your next operational decision point - you know, those questions that PIRs are supposed to provide the answers to help guide?

Stop asking questions just to ask questions. Commanders are in the business of making decisions. What information do you need to make the decision? Don't ask anything else! All you're doing is wasting the time of the people stuck answering just so you can feel 'informed'. It's nice that you've got 2200 underlings shoveling 'data' into your self-stroking ego.

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