The Burden of Command - The King's Decision
Earl Breon 0:10
Hello, everyone, your host here, Earl Breon. You know sometimes the burden of command is about knowing when to listen and knowing when to act. To share this a lesson I'm going to talk about the story of the Battle of Thermopylae. Now, most of you, if you've heard of the Battle of the monopoly or the hot gates, it's probably because of the kind of highly fictionalized version in the movie 300. Now, the movie got a lot of things, right, it obviously embellished in several areas. To put it lightly. The crux of it is that 300 Spartans stood against. Now in the early years, it was said, million Persian army some people who put it as high as 2 million, but modern experts. I don't know how they've really come to this, but modern experts have placed the number really more than two to 300,000 range. Now the piece that gets overlooked here is it wasn't just 300 Spartans that stood against the Persian army along the way along the march to their monopoly or the hot gate. You know, they picked up a few thousand other Greek soldiers. And again you kind of see that scene depicted in the movie when they run into where an end of the group of people and one of them makes a comments like oh, you only brought 300 300 warriors with you and Leah and I honestly sentences something like that's more than you brought because that was what the Spartans were they were professional war fighters period full stop most of the the things that they did were actually accomplished by slaves. Hell lots if I remember that's how it's supposed to be pronounced. But anyways, get to the point here, so we all know the circumstances the Persian army is going to invade they threatened Sparta kingly at nine is one of the two kings of Sparta because they always had two kings in case one would go to battle and one would stay back in case one got slain. So kingly Unitas was the working at the time, and he wasn't going to stand for it no matter what anybody said he disobeyed some direct orders, if you will, and found a way to justify taking these 300 Spartans for as he put it, a long walk. But the story I really want to get to is once they get there, you know, once they get there, Leah Unitas and his captain's they survey the land, and they see the wall the hot Gates is the best strategical point for they meant to time, it's still not as good as it needs to be. And so there's discussion about building a wall, they want to, they want to create a nice, tight choke point because you see the Spartans, especially if this type of warfare they like to fight in a phalanx formation. It's actually where my partner and I named our company the leadership failings from was this type of formation because what it does is it allows a small group to out
will say outmaneuver because the maneuvering is kind of hard, but it allowed to outperform, it allows a small group to outperform a larger group. That's what we saw here the Spartans using a well executed failings technique, were able to stand it let's just give him some credit, let's say several thousand Spartans and other Greek soldiers against the two to 300,000 Persians, and the Persian army was those slaps David marching all over conquering lands up to this point. So with all of their tactic, tactical knowledge and strategic knowledge and warfighting know how they knew that the gate as it stood, was too wide, they needed to build a wall that would allow them to get into their failings formation, and not be outflanked by the Persians, because that is the downfall to the failings, if you can get around it, if you can get to the flanks the sides and break it up. Once you start breaking it up, it crumbles a lot quicker. If you keep hit, keep hitting it head on, it can stand a lot. So the wall is critical. Okay, the wall is very critical. Now keys are monarchies. Now this is a military organization. So So you got to think that there was a little bit more of that inherent given take, like there is in the military. So that's what the misconceptions is, you know that officers just bark orders, there's no pushback whatsoever, and subordinates just execute. There's a lot of discussion that goes on there. Hey, we're going to do this. This is how we're going to do it. Sir. Did you notice this? This could pose some problems, a good catch private Good catch, Lance Corporal, good catch sergeant, whatever. What how do we handle that and in some discussion and Sue's same thing happened here, we need to build a wall, we want to channel them straight into our failings head on, that's how we're our strongest, we're channel them towards our strong suit the failings. Now, a lot of times in a monarchy, like then the leader feels a need to have the answer. And it would have been very easy for kingly and Linus to come up and say, you know, hey, I'm the king, you're going to do whatever I tell you to do. Put the wall here. But he didn't. It's a very powerful whole scene in the movie. And if you haven't seen it, I highly suggest that you go back and look for this scene. It's relatively early in the movie, maybe about a third of the way through something like that. But he sees his Captain start to talk and debate. And he realizes that they're all making some good points. So he just sets and he listens. And he listens for a little while. And then finally, he realizes as most of these types of conversations do that they've reached the point of impasse, each camp in this kind of dug into their position. And they think that they are right. Now this is where the leadership piece comes in. So Leah has been listening, he's been weighing each one of these. And then it happens. While they're still talking. He goes over to a pile of rocks that are going to use to build this wall. And he picks one up, and he walks over to a spot on the ground. Any places the first rock and the captain's kinda notice it. They don't really register what's going on. And then Leah Unitas goes back to the pile of rocks, he picks up a second rocky comes over. And he sets it down next to the first. And if I remember the scene correctly, I think he does this like two or three times I could be wrong. He maybe only does it to once, but I think
he does it a few times. And then it clicks. That's where the wall is going to go. You know, the point is, he set the vision, we need to build a wall, we got to get this thing to play to our strong suit. But he didn't just take the position. I'm the leader. I'm the manager, I have all the answers. This is what we're going to do. He had the foresight and the the expertise and leadership skills, if you will to sit back, listen to his captain's who had a lot of different opinions, and be okay enough for at least a short period of time, even as a key to take on a full followership roll. He was a student at that point, he wanted to hear what all of his trusted advisors and experts had to say, now had he not, maybe Qinglian is would have picked pretty much the same spot, maybe he would have picked a worse spot maybe would have picked a better spot. But what we do know is that his approach, setting the vision, listening to his team, and then coming up with a good solution derived from all of their feedback worked out pretty good. I mean, we do still talk about their stand that their monopoly to this day. So it was a legendary decision in every sense of the word, legendary. Now, my question to you listeners is How comfortable are you doing that? You know, are you the leader that feels because you are the leader that you have to know everything, you can't be vulnerable enough to ask questions asked for advice, especially for subordinate, subordinate employees. Because everybody's got a lot of life experiences out there, they're going to look at things a little bit different. Sometimes a lack of experience, not knowing how something should be done is the most valuable piece of experience you have in a situation. And I'll talk in a few episodes about why that is actually so important. Maybe the next story I tell I'll get into that one. But the point is, get comfortable being able to take on followership roles, even for short periods of time. Trust your staff trust your team, let them have some say in the decision making process. Let them have as much say as possible in the decision making process. Because here's the other thing is Liam Highness is building this wall. what each one of those Catherine sees whether this was his intent or not what each one of these characters, CS is some of their idea. And when people see their idea, they want their idea to succeed, so they're going to execute it better. Well, when you have feedback, and you take A true, true amalgamation of all the feedback, everybody gets to see a little piece of their plan, and everybody wants to see their plan succeed. So see the I guess that's a second lesson in here, right is when you're doing strategic planning, and you're doing annual operations type planning, and you're doing all that, if you just come at it from the upper level down, that's when you have a hard time generating the the buy in buzz word. But if you get your team involved in the process, you automatically generate buy in because not only is it the organization's idea, but it's their idea. And everybody wants to see their ideas succeed. Alright, so there you go. The story of of, well, I guess I can say a couple of stories that happened before the Battle of their monopoly leading up to it. Sit back, listen to your team, listen to your experts. Don't be afraid to take on a followership role. And don't be afraid to come to a solution that is a true average of all of the feedback and input that you've gotten. So it's a sign of a really, really strong, strong leader. All right, folks, that's it a promise this time. That's it, the Battle of their monopoly, kept this a nice short and sweet. I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any ideas for future stories, or future guests to this podcast, reach out to me at burden email@example.com. With that, I look forward to speaking with you again and next episode, and keep those shields up.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai