Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT October-December 2013 Contents So I ll tell people, when you re not sure
and your boss asks you to do something
for us to move for ward, the right thing to
do is to say, "I don t agree with that, but
I m not exactly sure, so I will commit to
the plan of record, and I won t complain
about it. We ll just move for ward."
Q. Obviously the chain of command
in the military means so much in terms
of order and discipline and just getting
things done. Once a course of action s
been decided on, you get less of that open
dissent. But the principle you re talking
about is de nitely a value to the military.
What about the other leadership princi-
ples you mentioned?
A. ey start with customer obsession.
Everything we do, we start with a cus-
tomer, and we work backward from there.
e second principle is ownership. We
want leaders to behave like owners, and
mostly that means that they think long-
term, that they don t sacri ce long-term
results or long-term value for short-term
results. We want people who never say,
"I m not doing that cause that s not my
job." We want people to do whatever the
mission requires. e next one is "invent
and simplify." We require our leaders to be
innovative even when others don t under-
stand what they re doing, and sometimes
they won t understand for a long time. e
next one is "are right a lot," and that basi-
cally means we want to hire smart people.
We think leaders need to have a level of
intelligence that makes them capable to do
their work of leadership well.
We want to hire and develop the best rst.
at s completely consistent with the
military. We talked about "insist on high
standards." We want our leaders to think
big. Very simply, we think that thinking
small is a self-ful lling prophecy. So we
ask people to envision bolder directions
because they ll lead to bold results, and it
also inspires the team to think di erently.
Frugality is the next one, and that s
about not spending money on things
that don t matter to customers. We want
our leaders to be vocally self-critical,
and actually this is my favorite line in
all of our leadership text. We say leaders
do not believe that their or their team s
body odor smells of perfume. I love that
one because we re all human, and if we
can t say, "I was wrong, I don t know"
and are just full of ourselves, our teams
especially will see right through it. And
I m sure that it s that way in the military.
When an o cer has screwed up and
doesn t admit it, I guarantee you that
they lose some respect from the mem-
bers of their team.
"Earn trust of others"---we want leaders to
be able to show respect and to gain trust.
We expect leaders to dive deep, really
deep, because we think no task is beneath
leaders, although they can t, of course, do
everything all the time.
ere are two more. e second-to-last
is "have backbone." at s the idea of dis-
agree and commit. And we want leaders
to respectfully challenge decisions when
they disagree. Finally, we expect leaders
to "deliver results."
Q. Given that a lot of materiel that will be
brought home from Afghanistan will be
obsolete before long, what would your pri-
orities be, in broad strokes, to position the
Army for the future when the retrograde
e ort is over?
A. First of all, sunk costs are sunk. If
we ve spent money on something that is
now worthless, its value is $0, not what-
ever we paid for it. I would make sure we
have programs to maintain the materiel
that has ongoing value rst. Some items
provide "option value," in case we do
need to spin up again. I would plan to
hold on to additional materiel beyond
peacetime minimum, especially where
the lead times for replacement are very
long. Finally, I would dispose of what we
cannot expect to use, hopefully salvag-
ing value by selling to the private sector
or using the assets in other branches
of the government.
Post-retrograde, I would make sure the
Army s processes and logistics informa-
tion systems are ready for the future.
I d use our recent experiences to build
sophisticated simulations to help keep
our people fresh while they wait for the
Q. How would you characterize the cor-
porate culture at Amazon? What are the
top three de ning characteristics that
you want Amazon employees to appreci-
ate fully, and why?
A. Our culture is customer-obsessed,
fast-paced, and truth-seeking. We try to
hire people who are smart, possess high
standards and know how to get things
done. Importantly, we nd that we have
the best match with people who would
say they feel "fortunate." Such people
are most likely to say "yes" instead
of "no" and to foster an innovative,
I BELIEVE THAT THE FIELD OF OPERATIONS MATTERS. TOO OFTEN COMPANIES, GOVERNMENTS
AND OTHER ENTITIES BUILD GREAT PROGRAMS AND PRODUCTS, ONLY TO HAVE THEM FALL
SHORT OF THEIR POTENTIAL IMPACT BECAUSE THE UNDERLYING OPERATIONS JUST DON T SCALE.
120 Army AL&T Magazine October--December 2013
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