The Mission of Management

Recently I had the privilege of receiving an invitation to work with a team at the US Marine Corps base in Quantico, VA. The project in Quantico reminded me of why many have great respect for the Leaders in the Marines. Heck, I was flattered that some of the military police who checked my ID at the gate thought I was a new recruit (must have been the haircut).

The fact is that many former marines go on to achieve much in other areas of their lives, and attribute a great deal to their Marine Corps training. They include Senator and Astronaut John Glenn, CEO Adam Firestone and Fred Smith, founder of FedEx.  
The US Marine Corps leadership is clear in its mission to facilitate the transformation of new recruits into marines. Many who survive the training, starting with energetic drill instructors, will testify that it was a process of major transformation in terms of their body, mind, spirit and self-discipline. Likewise, as massive global changes continue, organizations that wish to foster a culture of sustainable performance growth need managers who can coach with a mission of transformation.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to think about your direct reports, and create a collaborative, transformative coaching plan for each of them. For example, if you're a sales leader, ask coaching questions such as 'What high stretch goal would you dare to accomplish on the job in the next 3-6 months? What actions do you think you must commit to in order to achieve this? What are the major barriers you think need to be overcome? This may take a lot of effort - what physical exercise routine do you think you would like to commit to in order to bolster your energy level?' (encourage and challenge them to be mission ready in their energy level and physical health).
At the end of the day, your "Management Mission" is to facilitate high performance from your direct reports - but you will only accomplish this if you coach with their commitment (intense desire), vs. manage their compliance. This starts with your coaching credibility. You must be seen to be a leader who sets the bar high for himself/herself first. For your own personal bootcamp, to get in shape to coach well, what do you need to do? First make it your mission to self reflect/evaluate and implement your own personal change. Then, make it your mission to plan clear coaching plans for each of your Direct Reports. That's what Leadership is all about.
What great things will you commit to accomplishing in the next 3-6 months, personally and professionally? What are 3 actions that you will take this week? Go for it! Get ready for the Fall.

Semper Fi

P.S. As the US Marine Corps celebrates its 235th anniversary this year, it already has an established reputation.
In 5 years, what will your reputation as a leader be about...?

In the Spirit of Growth,






'A piece of spaghetti or a military unit can only be led from the front end.'

'Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.'

- General George S. Patton


'Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem'

- President Ronald Reagan