I’ve always been just your normal everyday Grunt, never been a Special Forces type, but I do hold them in high regard. So this post is in no way a “dig” at my friends in the Special Forces. But I do think it’s urgent.
Randy Ottinger, Executive Vice President at Kotter International, recently wrote something about “urgency process” as being essential to the execution of strategy. Perhaps your implementation is proceeding at a much slower pace than you’d planned for. Perhaps some changes have been introduced into the business sphere, changes you didn’t think of in all your contingency planning. Well, that’s when an “urgency process” could be called for. When such a situation arises, it can be quite common for people to think about throwing in the Marines, Deltas, Green Berets, Commandos, Rangers, whatever. Which is well and good if you do happen to have guys handy, but how many business organizations have their equivalent? Right, I didn’t think so, either.
Before Special Operations Forces became a household byword, “urgent” operations were executed simply by gathering a group of people who were known to consistently display qualities that would probably contribute to mission success. Sometimes it could be just one person, as was the case in the “A Letter to Garcia” episode during the Spanish-American War. (See footnote). Once the “urgent” operation was successfully concluded, those participating in it returned to their normal duties.
The point here is that leaders ought to take the time to get to know their people as well as they can, so that, should such “urgent” situations arise, they would be better placed to muster resources and great people who would be in a good position to return “urgent” to “normal”.
Footnote: Whether there was actually a “fellow called Rowan” who delivered a letter from President McKinley to General Garcia has been the subject of some debate. I’m not bothered, it makes a good story anyway.