What is the worst trap an operations officer can fall into? From my perspective, it is falling in love with the plan. Anyone who has been an S3, planner, or action officer knows the emotion that I am describing here. It occurs in the moment when someone attempts to provide constructive comments, and you take the side of “the plan” instead of listening to their perspective. You instinctively shield “the plan” like a protective parent sheltering their child from the rain. After years of planning all kinds of things, I still find myself falling into this trap from time to time. Here are three thoughts to help with perspective in planning:
If you are going to close the deal, generate and preserve options, and enable units to accomplish their mission, you must understand how to handle people. Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends & Influence People” proposes three principles to handle people: 1) Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain; 2) Give honest and sincere appreciation; and 3) Arouse in the other person an eager want. By applying these principles, field grade leaders will be better prepared to successfully improve their organizations and lead their units towards mission accomplishment.