Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Failure is Always an Option

There are so many stories about D-Day, there really is no reason not to have a stand-alone post on one bit or another each year.

This year what kept coming to mind was one of the more sublime examples of leadership from the invasion, Ike’s draft message if the invasion failed.

For the unit leader or the Supreme Commander – this concept is essential; self-doubt. A sister of humility, though you have to be careful not to let them paralyze you in to inaction, you need to think in the back of your mind, “What if I am wrong? What if I’ve listened to the wrong advice? What if the enemy has luck on her side … or all I have is bad?”

One should at a minimum think about what steps to take should things go south – so to preserve what force remains – but it isn’t often that someone will go through the efforts to build an actual Branch Plan in that case, or draft a letter such as this.

Here’s the text if you have not read it before. Even if you have, read it again;
"Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone."
My favorite detail? He accidentally dated it July 5th vice June 5th. A great man like Ike shared one of my problems; I get my “J” months messed up all the time. Same with the “M” months.

If I could ever be a 10th the man Ike was, I would have led a good life. Nice to see he’s mortal, so I have a chance.

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