The Battle for CoordinationA Lesson from Normandy
One of the discussions in our Normandy program is that the Allies and Germans were not only battling each other, but were also both fighting another enemy: Chaos. This enemy takes no sides, is an infiltrator -- a disrupter that never sleeps, never tires, and never relents, and wants only to corrupt everything you're trying to do. It is overpowered rarely, and only by one weapon: Coordination. It's especially vulnerable to "Vicious Harmony," as Gen. Mattis has called it. That's interesting to me because it implies a willful effort to achieve and maintain it.
I refer to that willful effort as the Battle for Coordination. And from London to Normandy, we ask which of the two sides, Allies or the Germans, did a better job of fighting Chaos and fighting the battle for coordination. You see, that battle for coordination must be won before the invasion begins. When many thousands of Allied paratroopers are dropped into France in the middle of the night, how prepared are they for chaos? Or do they expect everything to go as planned? Well, what do we see when they are mis-dropped all over Normandy? We track their transition "from chaos to action". It is measurable. They fight to get back together, then move on the objectives...which they all know and understand...and continue the struggle to fight together as one.
And what of the defending Germans from the highest level to the lowest? If Hitler really thought the western front so critical, how battle-ready were they to achieve and maintain coordination? How vulnerable were they to chaos? What did they do to actually pile on the chaos to themselves? Well, as it turned out, the Germans had forfeited that battle with Chaos long before the Allies arrived, and did many things to pile on more chaos upon themselves. Control freaks do that to their organizations.
As leaders, are we even in the fight? Are we even aware that this enemy exists? Do we even aid the enemy with the habitual things we do every day? I would suggest that very few recognize that this is reality. And as a result, they think that they can clutch those reigns and control things with management. And they are perpetual fire-fighters, too busy to actually lead if they knew how.
That battle for absolute Coordination had better be joined, and with unrelenting ferocity, if we hold out any hope of attaining our operational objectives. And it takes the resolved effort of an entire team to do it, not the control of a boss.