In the business world, the military analogy “Amateurs strategy; experts study logistics” emphasizes the importance beyond the initial success of a surge effort. Specifically, in relation to D-Day, the analogy shows the importance of establishing a port to provide fuel, reinforcements, ammunition, food, and supplies to the troops. The initial Normandy invasion of 135,000 troops required a daily landing of 15,000 tons of supplies a day and as the presence increased so did the supplies. Thus, the Allies were forced to secure a port.
The Allies chose to build two ports and bring them to the coast of Normandy. This allowed them the opportunity to establish a port at an area that was not heavily fortified (the Germans defended port locations closely). This out of the box thinking allowed the Allies to achieve the objective and support the ongoing mission on land.
The importance of innovation and ability to think beyond the traditional structures is sometimes the only pathway to success. Think about Uber, Amazon, and other disruptive methods of transacting business. Each approached the same objective (black cars, books for reading), but achieved the ‘big picture’ in a manner not conceived viable by the incumbents.
The key elements to achieve innovation from lessons at Arromanches:
- Focus on the objective and not the details on ‘how.’ This allows for iterations on methods while maintaining the continued support structure.
- Establish a team with a leader to drive the innovation. The team should be organized differently than the primary organization. This was done in Britain and allowed the the Skunkworks group to succeed. The Skunkworks failed the first time and were reorganized in a new team to finally reach success.
- Plan redundancy. Two Allied piers were built. One of the piers was destroyed by weather (an identified risk), but luckily there was still one standing and supported the logistics for many months.
- Demonstrate success capability through detailed analysis. To allay counter arguments, it is necessary to present a clear and evidence-supported case proving how the solution will be successful.
The Supply Chain
Here are a few generally obvious but necessary statements on the make-up of supply chain. The service of the business and the delivery of product depends upon the inputs. These inputs are as important as the final work product. Failure to receive any input or damage of an input will lead to failure in the market. Each input must meet the integrity, quality, and security standards of the product it seeks to become.
Suppliers need to posses integrity to ensure the inputs are not damaged, sabotaged, or fraudulent. The reliability and availability of the inputs need to be vetted with redundant providers and consideration of every part of the delivery channel is key. For instance, regarding a Cloud service provider hosting data: what are the ISPs, routers, equipment, regional laws, etc. that effect this delivery of such a service?
A business must be able to achieve entry into a market category and sustain it! It is not enough to put a toe in the water, but rather sustain the patience and capability to grow in the market. Success is achieved through building scales into the business architecture and forming teams that are innovative and strong enough to become the senior management and leads.
What is Battlefield Leadership and what is this series about …
This is the fifth paper in this series. As part of my pursuit to learn and grow, I sought out the excellent management training team at Battlefield Leadership. I am professionally leveraging this across multi-million dollar projects I am overseeing (currently I am the lead executive building global compliance and security programs specifically in the online services / cloud leader space). Personally I am bringing these lessons to bear within my pursuits to cross the chasm. To often I see brilliant technical individuals fail to communicate to very smart business leaders and to the common person on the street. My new book – How Not to be hacked seeks to be a first step in bringing deep information security practices beyond the technologist.
Most exciting the Battlefield group for this training placed it in Normandy France. This allowed for senior executives to be trained in a setting where serious decisions were placed by both sides, and each provided a lesson. This series represents my notes (that I could take down) and takeaways. I share to continue the conversation with those great individuals I met, and with the larger community.