Life Lessons 101 (Cont)

Yesterday I got to spend the day with Dave working on the heater in his Corscia. He had a T-Shirt that said, "Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't, The courage to change the things I can and the weaponry to make a difference". We talked about this a lot and laughed at the fact that guys often have too much Testosterone to not jump in and try to save things when the crap hits the fan. His Corsica has a sticker that says, "Don't medal in the affairs of Dragons for thou art crunchy and taste good with Catchup". Dave really comes from the side of the house that lives the motto. "Nien Swet da Vider Sheist". (Don't sweat the small shit, after all it is all small shit)
From one of my regular readers "Incognito said...

I think for me it's counting on other people's promises that never come through. I learned to just be open to the possibility but not disappointed when it doesn't happen.

Same thing goes for expectations. Being very loyal and trustworthy I used to have high expectations of others. I still have high expectations, I just learned to not be disappointed when those expectations are not fulfilled.

Kind of the same thing. But makes life easier.

Oh, and last, but not least. I learned that trying to control things in my life just doesn't always work, so I have learned to "let go and let God"! Makes life much simpler."

Simple wisdom shows through from her. I think she comes a little more from the nurture side of the house and guys from the nature.
A my worst critic, I often had higher expectations and worst self doubts than anyone else. I found that accepting kind of a side bar about hard work being the answer. I found that if I tried to do my best that was often more than enough. I can tell you that people working to do their best have a high quality life style. Even if they probably don't live as long. There is an old saying that, "Pride goeth before the fall". I say that if you combine workmanship with that pride you will create masterpieces. Every once in a while you will get an "a'w shit" to cancel the "Attaboys" but you will shine.
There are Managers and there are leaders. Managers count everything and manage people like they are an asset not people. In abundant situations, not declining situations, managers make good sense. A manager will figure out the cheapest way to do things and produce an optimum return. When time is short and you really have to minimize the loss you need a leader to take charge and win the battle. When you really need to get the best out of people and there just isn't enough of anything to go around, leaders fit the bill.
A few years back (about 20, is that really possible?) I commanded an Artillery Battalion in the Guard. We had to take the same evaluation test that the Active Army units did. It was called an Army Training and Evaluation Program (ARTEP) and was designed by a manager somewhere. I'll bet he got a big medal for that spent millions of dollars publishing the several inch thick manual. The National Guard battalion I was commanding had a shortage of people, places and things. For two years running two different commanders tried to get that battalion to have a successful (70% or better) evaluation. Both times they fired the people that tried and hired new folks to make it work. I got that battalion and sat down and tried to figure how to manage the assets to pass the test. It was clear as mud that there was just no management solution to the problem. I figured out that a good dose of leadership was needed and worked my butt off making sure that everyone knew what they had to do to get us to that magic 70%. I spoke with every soldier in the battalion during that year getting ready for the summer. I made sure that the section chiefs shared with their people what everyone needed to do. If our battalion at 80% strength did 100% of what they could we could pass with 70% and get that monkey off our back. We went to Fort Riley twice that spring and ate small bites of the ARTEP apple. We didn't try to do everything, but what we did, we did to the standard.
That summer at Camp, I told the Active Army Commander that I didn't want friends, I wanted evaluators. They weren't to tell us how to do anything their way, but they were to measure us against the standard they would use for the ARTEP. Any of his people that were evaluating training and didn't have a stop watch and the standards with them I would send to him and they would be sent home. Do it by the book, do it right and to the time standards. By Wednesday night the first week I had a report that we could do at least 70% of the items in the ARTEP to standard and called in the commanders in and told them so. Thursday we worked on the other 30% and Friday we started the test. By Sunday evening the evaluator reported to me that we had performed 100% of the items/events to standard. We had one more day to complete but we were a go!
Near the end of the Camp I talked to every man and shook their hands. Almost to a person they said they knew we had it in the bag when I was their biggest cheer leader. I did have to lose my temper a time a time or two but it was mostly when people forgot to do things the safe way. I could not lose a single man to stupidity and did not tolerate unsafe acts. I told them so over and over and we had the fewest injuries or medical evacuations of any unit at camp that year.
I guess the life lesson here was that there are leaders and managers. When time comes to get down to business and "unhit that fanload" of manure it is often better to have a leader rather than a manager.

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