"Send in the Marines!" From Tripoli to Tikrit, when the challenge was a big one and the country needed quick results we've called on the US Marines.
The Marines are the world's largest elite fighting force. For over three hundred years they've been known for excellent performance. So it's no wonder that the Marines have been studied by all kinds of folks. There are two recent books that purport to tell you how to get the results that Marines get.
"Corps Business: The 30 Management Principles of the U.S. Marines" by David H. Freedman will give you the techniques without the soul of the Marines. "Semper Fi: Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way" by Dan Carrison and Rod Walsh will show you both.
Don't get me wrong, "Corps Business" is a good book. The author lays out techniques that Marines use to get results. But they're only techniques because they're divorced from the powerful Marine history, traditions and culture.
That means that when a Marine sergeant uses one of the techniques in the book, he or she is likely to get better results than you will. Marine culture, developed over three hundred years, provides a power boost that no lesser culture can match.
So, read "Corps Business" for a good, well-presented list of management techniques that today's Marines use. But if you want to know how the Marines get their results, pick up a copy of "Semper Fi: Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way."
"Semper Fi" talks about techniques, but it talks about Marine values as well. You'll find a Marine practice followed by the authors' ideas about how to apply that principle in a business setting. They even help you out with checklists.
It's not hard to understand why these books are different. David Freedman is an excellent business writer. His book is well researched and well written. There's nothing wrong in the book but there are some things missing.
The importance of culture and of things like pride seem to elude Freedman. They don't elude Carrison and Walsh. I think that's because they're both businessmen and former Marines and their perspective is that of the practitioner rather than the student.
Both these books are worth reading, but only one will give you a clear picture of what makes the Marines the Marines.
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