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Tuesday, 25 August 2020


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Suggest you look into Len Deighton's Blood, Tear & Folly for an account of the German's situation when invading Russia.

Blimey, 'SoD', that took me on a trip down memory lane! Do you remember our first table-top wargame on a table in the garage at our old house in Ascot? That was 'real' soldiering!!!

"Why aren't middle managers trained as CEO's?"

Your assumption fails on two levels.

1. To generalise - No General Manager or CEO gets specific training for that level. There is general management training which everyone on the management track gets and there are courses that might be considered essential like "understanding a balance sheet" or "Getting to Yes" but nothing tailored precisely to cover the different requirement of a department manager when promoted to a divisional manger for instance.

2. I've worked for many big companies as both employee and consultant. By and large once a person is on the fast track they will continue to progress regardless of performance.
Example: I've personally seen a big 4 consultant (after spending an evening in bars and nightclubs) roll into work with no sleep, no shave, no wash, no clean clothes reeking of alcohol, and tell a meeting with the clients that the reason the project is behind is that the client isn't providing the staff to perform testing when I know the system isn't ready. The client called their bluff and by the close of business they had made us look ridiculous by sending staff to sit idle ready to do testing on an unfinished system. A month later that consultant was made director even though his crash and burn was widely known.
And I can give you a couple of dozen other examples.

Thank you SoD. That is the first time I have/had heard of that policy.
I can understand why the captains of modern British industry would not adopt it.
1. No boss with his jaiket on a shoogly peg likes any competent person in any position to show up his incompetence.
2. Any person a couple of rungs below him is not, unless he has just got his PPE degree and is getting job experience, going to be from a proproper school.
I can think of other reasons, but I won't bore you.
The only company that would try this would be owned by a single strong person - probably the founder.

Doony, I agree with your 1.

Auftragstaktik is abhorred by management because it enables juniors to compete with them. It's like instigating a market under their feet to keep them on their toes.

Which is why I agree with your 2., that: that is why the ultimate top dog, if insecure, would not like it also.

But a secure strongman leader with political brains is the exception, as you say. He would go straight for it, so as to keep his underlings competing and grassing each other up to the leader in any negligences, incompetences, or worse still coup plans, while being secure himself.

So the startup company with founder owning all the equity is an example. That's why they're a pleasure to work for, merit gets you onwards and upwards.

Likewise AH, who was fond of keeping his security services in constant competition with each other and no doubt a proponent of Auftragstaktik as its top man, so to speak!

And there's the rub: to avoid one big AH wrecking the world just split him into 1,000 little AH's and let them compete.

A thousand CEO market, the anti-thesis of a thousand year Reich, yet fashioned from the same form: Auftragstaktik.


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