Chet Richards on Strategy, Morale, and Agility in Warfare and Business  – Episode #65

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If you haven’t picked up on it by now, Anthony is quite a history buff, particularly when it comes to military strategy and history. He’s discovered that much of what makes a great military strategist and leader is transferrable to the business context. Today’s conversation features Chet Richards, an author who has studied a great deal of military history and has written widely on how to apply the truths found there to the business context. You can hear this engaging conversation and the insights Chet has to share on this episode of In The Arena.

How warfare instructs us about business strategy, on this episode of In The ArenaClick To Tweet

Why warfare strategy has much to teach about business strategy.

The strategies that make a military campaign successful have everything to do with the basic components of organizational success: leadership, morale, cooperative effort, assessment of situations and execution of plans. It’s all those things and more that make the context of warfare one that instructs us in principles that transfer to business leadership and strategy. In this conversation Chet Richards shares a number of insights about how business leaders can guide those they lead into more effective outcomes through staying on mission, clear roles to carry out that mission, and the power and importance of agility. You’ll enjoy this episode.

When everyone understands the mission and their role in it, you don’t have to worry about morale.

You often hear business leaders or managers these days bemoaning the poor morale in their organizations. But Chet Richards says that morale is an outgrowth of effective communication of the mission and the role each player has in fulfilling it. Using wartime examples, Chet chats with Anthony about how military units have conquered against overwhelming odds when their leaders were killed or disabled simply because they clearly understood their own role in the greater mission that was sought. You’ll learn a lot about how to inspire your people to consistency and greater morale on this episode so be sure you listen.

The more minds you have working on your problem, the more successful you will beClick To Tweet

How are smaller, poorly equipped forces able to win?

The question should immediately transfer to business with just a little bit of consideration. The “mom and pop” store on the corner… how can it win against the big box stores when it’s unable to compete on the basis of price? One of the ways is to become more agile, able to pivot and adapt in ways that the larger competition is unable to do fast enough. That’s just one of the tips Chet Richards mentions on this episode of In the Arena, so be sure you take the time to hear what he has to share.

What happens when you’re able to learn faster than your opponents are able to learn?

It’s really quite simple: You’re able to take advantage of the mental and practical dissonance your opponent is experiencing to move your business forward. It’s a clear lesson from military strategy that teaches us the importance of staying agile and working our niche to stay ahead of those who would cut into our business. You can hear many examples of this kind of insight, taken directly from military history, athletics, and other realms of endeavor in this conversation. You’ll enjoy this deep dive into military history and business, on this episode of In The Arena.

Agility is the ability to change the situation more rapidly than the other side can understandClick To Tweet

Outline of this great episode

  • Anthony’s introduction to this episode with Chet Richards.
  • Who was John Boyd? How Chet met him.
  • Why John Boyd was working on improving fighter jets.
  • The relationship between warfare and business strategy.
  • Lanchester’s model.
  • The importance of ultra effectiveness.
  • How smaller, poorly equipped forces or organizations are able to win.
  • Why morale and leadership change the strategy equation.
  • Building morale in an organization through internal innovation.
  • How leaders must lead their teams to function according to the mission.
  • Why leaders and organizations need to learn faster than their opponents can learn.
  • How Chet advises business leaders to think about strategy.
  • What Chet is reading presently.
  • The most important thing Chet has learned in life.
  • What Chet would be doing if he weren’t doing his current activities.

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Guardian Article on Facing My Fear

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