Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A New Year's Cheer for the Doers!

As I've written before here on the site, working on a political campaign has, and continues to be, an amazing experience that I think I'd easily rank in the top 10 overall of my life to date. I didn't expect to get this involved, but then again, I also didn't expect to be so local this year (Army training plan literally changes multiple times a week, so I've basically become numb to the phone calls that tell me where I now will or won't be going next month...but this time we mean it!) If anyone's curious, though, I've just been redesignated to the CBRN world (that's Chem-Bio-Rad-Nuke) which doesn't sound a whole lot like Civil Affairs, now does it? Whatever. BOHICA.

Anyway, back to the campaign. Here's a quick observation that wonderfully parallels something I saw time and again during five years in the active-duty Navy: There are way more people who want to be *managers* or big-idea people, and tell other people what to do, than there are people actually standing by to execute the orders of the first group. In other words, there aren't as many *doers* as there are people who want to tell other people what to do.

Hmmm....Does that sound like your office place?

I'm sure someone has written this before, so I'll plead guilty to the plagiarism charge ahead of time, but here goes Page's Law of Organizations: Within any organization, there will always be a surplus of people desirous of setting direction and/or telling others what to do; by contrast, there will always be a shortage of people willing to execute the orders.

Or, as many have said before, in a less wordy and potentially un-PC way, "Too many chiefs, not enough Indians."

Where that really frustrated me in the Navy was in the case of very top-heavy commands where the khaki wearers (that's E-7 and above) were too obtuse to realize that they outnumbered the sled dogs (that's E-4 and below) and so would have to roll up their proverbial sleeves if anything were to get done. But instead, way too often you'd have senior NCOs and junior officers groan about how they were *managers* and shouldn't have to do the grunt work, when the irony was that mentality just meant that no one would do it.

Well, if you've read this blog for a while, or you've spoken with me for more than ten minutes, you can probably tell which side of the debate I fall on: I will always pledge my undying respect for the doer, regardless of the arena.

I will ALWAYS respect the teacher who ACTUALLY teaches kids far greater than I will the Educrat who wants to work the 9-to-5 under the guise of "making macro change."

I will ALWAYS respect the police officer who ACTUALLY risks his life every day for our safety far greater than I will the "activist" who claims an officer was too gruff or impolite, but then also cries foul if the police don't respond quickly or strongly enough.

I will ALWAYS respect the soldier who ACTUALLY walks point on a patrol in the Hindu Kush more than I will the self-appointed "defense intellectual" who pontificates about it in D.C.

I could keep going, but I think you get the idea. In whatever your line of work or whatever your field of interest, there are the many who want to throw their feet on the desk, chomp a cigar, and write it up in a way that throws them all the credit. And then, on the other hand, there's the smaller number of people whose work is really propelling the organization along.

When I celebrate my favorite secular holiday tonight, I'll be cheering for the doers.

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