Always Hire A’s
As readers of last Thursday’s edition may remember, my wife Peggy and I are back from Normandy and a three-day immersion in World War II and D-Day—a journey I have wanted to take for five decades. I wish I had a week.
Coming home to the story of General Petraeus appointing the new crop of Army generals was unsettling. In World War II, America’s top generals in Europe were world-class—George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George S. Patton Jr. and Omar N. Bradley to name four.
Every now and again, fantastic images cross my brain. For example, if we could bring J.S. Bach back from the dead and sit him down in front of a live performance of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” how would he react? What would he say?
Same thing if we could bring back Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton and Bradley and give them a complete briefing on the Iraq War. While we’re at it, let’s add to the mix Bernard Montgomery, Teddy Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (who set the borders of modern Iraq at the 1921 Cairo conference). What would they say about the planning and execution of the Iraq war?
For anyone interested in the U.S. Army high command, I cannot recommend highly enough Lt. Col. Paul Yingling’s scholarly article “A failure in generalship,” published one year ago in The Armed Forces Journal. It has been hotly debated in the Pentagon and throughout the Army, as well as at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College. You’ll find a hyperlink at end of this edition.
Ultimately, it’s about how you hire the right people, and its message is as relevant to the business world as it is to the military.
Hiring the Best
My advice to young people heading off to college for the first time is this: Forget the curriculum, and forget individual courses. Instead, go for the great teachers. They will open up wonderful worlds you never knew existed and very possibly change your life. In other words, hire the right person.