Dividends and Battle Ready

If you are interested in how the Marines are governed and work, then the book by Tom Clancy and Tony Zinni called Battle Ready published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, NY 2004 is worth reading. In the book examines the career of US Marine Tony Zinni  from the Vietnam War in the 1960’s to 2000 and the Gulf War to mediation of the world’s problems. There are many great stories and leadership lessons in the book.

One fact which could be used to strengthen the country is after the first World War when the soldiers were discharged from duty they received citizenship papers if they were not already citizens. Mr. Zinni’s father received his.

A couple of stories from Vietnam is when Mr. Zinni was in Vietnam he was exposed to many fire fights, eventually he would be add to judge from the pop and flash of the guns  what was being shot and how far away they were. If you know that information you can prepare yourself and defend yourself. It is skill that likely should be taught before the recruits arrived in battle.

In the build up of troops – people were promoted to leadership at all levels – many should not have been and their actions were not productive. At the higher levels, what type of war and what the results need to be can easily be questioned. In retrospective, even though the US lost the war, the spread of communism stopped, perhaps that was a victory.

In the leadership of Marines and other organizations – future leaders are posted to various parts of the world to see how they perform. The postings typically run 2 years or so. Most of the time is spent drafting plans or strategies of what needs to be done and how it is going to get done. Plans are great but the only thing that makes them workable is the relationships between people to get them done. If the leadership has gone to the field to see what those that actually do and their needs, then when it comes time to implement people will take the extra steps (sometimes creatively to get it done). If they have not, then the plans will gather dust. The higher the post, the more the results depends on relationships and if the person has built and kept them up. If the person has built and kept them up, phone calls matter. When they have not, the letter of the law and self interest matters most.

Linking to dividend paying stocks, models are wonderful but it is the people that matter. Relationships that people build through the years, if management has a single focus and its people do not count, then do not expect too much from them. If the people believe they count, they will be more productive and creative. Mr. Zinni says values and leadership matter and if they matter, the people who follow will see and respond to it. Live words like integrity, ethics, honor and people will see them; do not live them but say them and no one will care except for your flunkies. Live the words and be honest to those closer the bottom and they will respond like wise. In the companies which you own stock in, how is the leadership or is the monopoly so good the leadership does not matter?

There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.





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