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Thomas Ricks on firing generals and the two basic tools of management

The point here though, the takeaway, is that relief [of generals in World War 2] was very common. The more common it was, the less extreme it seems. It becomes a normal management tool. Hiring and firing are the two basic tools. They used both of them a lot. Relief did not mean you were bad, did not mean you were cowardly. It could just mean you were out of step with your commander or your allies. But most of all, it was not terminal [to a general’s career prospects].

Thomas Ricks – Why our generals were more successful in World War II than in Korea, Vietnam or Iraq/Afghanistan

This – that hiring and firing are the two most fundamental tools of management – is the key insight about management from an excellent lecture. The first half is particularly good. Recommended.

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