Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rebel's Rules

There are a few rules of thumb by which I've learned to lead. They weren't my original ideas--most of them were learned at the feet of other leaders, both honorable and horrible. I call 'em Rebel's Rules because, a) my operational radio call sign was Rebel (for rather obvious reasons, not all having to do with the fact that I was a graduate of Ole Miss) and b) the word "Rules" makes a nice alliterative title combination with Rebel. Most of them are self-explanatory (for all you LSU fans that means you have to figure it out on your own).

Rebel's Rule #1: "Take yourself too seriously and nobody else will."

Rebel's Rule #2: "First reports are always false."

Corollary A to Rebel's Rule #2: "Second reports will only be half correct, half of the time.

Corollary B to Rebel's Rule #2: "If you wait for the third report to act, you are already a step behind your opponent."

Corollary C to Rebel's Rule #2: "If given the option of defending or attacking, ALWAYS attack!"

Rebel's Rule #3: "Tell someone something often enough and they will start to believe it in spite of themselves."

Corollary A to Rebel's Rule #2: "Always tell your subordinates that they belong to the best unit in the larger organization, even if they have evidence to the contrary."

Corollary B to Rebel's Rule #2: "Find your own evidence."

Rebel's Rule #4: "Please and Thank You are power words."

Rebel's Rule #5: "The leader is responsible for everything his subordinates do or fail to do."

Corollary A to Rebel's Rule #5: "Perfect leaders would have perfect subordinates"

Corollary B to Rebel's Rule #5: "If your subordinates get in trouble, it's your fault."

Corollary C to Rebel's Rule #5: "If your subordinates do great things, it is probably only because you were smart enough to stay out of their way."

Corollary D to Rebel's Rule #5: "If Corollaries A, B, and C above drive you crazy, welcome to the wonderful world of leadership."

Rebel's Rule #6: "Bloom where you are planted."

Corollary A to Rebel's Rule #6: "The Marine Corps (add your own controlling agency here) knows where you are and if you are needed for a more important job, the Marine Corps knows where to find you."

Corollary B to Rebel's Rule #6: "Never let your subordinates believe that they do not belong to the most important unit in the organization."

Rebel's Rule #7: "A former recruiter will out lead a former drill instructor any day of the week."

Corollary A to Rebel's Rule #7: "How hard is it to follow a recruit training SOP?"

Corollary B to Rebel's Rule #7: "The recruiter who can convince 17 year-old Johnny, and his Momma, that it is in Johnny's best interest to forgo college for a few years to join the United States Marine Corps, during time of war, and oh, by the way, take his graduation trip to Al Anbar Province, can easily convince an 18 year-old Marine to climb out of the safety and comfort of his fighting position and charge into the face of enemy fire and probable award of the enemy marksmanship medal (Purple Heart)."

Rebel's Rule #8: "The leader who can easily convince an 18 year-old Marine to climb out of the safety and comfort of his fighting position and charge into the face of enemy fire and probable award of the enemy marksmanship medal, can certainly convince him to stay out of trouble while on liberty."

Rebel's Rule #9: "Surround yourself with subordinates smarter than you, and let them run."

Corollary A to Rebel's Rule #9: "Lucky for most of us, smarter subordinates are easy to find."

Rebel's Rule #10: "Training is everything and everything is training."

Corollary A to Rebel's Rule #10: "There is no such thing as an 'admin move'."

Corollary B to Rebel's Rule #10: "If you have time to complain, you have time to train."

Rebel's Rule #11: "Never pass up an opportunity to keep you mouth shut around senior officers."

Rebel's Rule #12: "Ninety percent of all communication is miscommunication."

Corollary A to Rebel's Rule #12: "If you want everybody in your organization to understand your intent, you need to express it at least ten times."

Corollary B to Rebel's Rule #12: "The tenth time you express your intent, ask the man in the rear rank to repeat it back."

Corollary C to Rebel's Rule #12: "When the man in the rear rank can't repeat your intent (and odds have it, he won't be able), refer to Corollary A above."

There's more, but that would be in violation of Rebel's Rule #13: "When 'briefing,' be brief."
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