Major General Marcia Anderson was introduced by a humble President Jorge, who noted the number of ranks between his of captain when he was in the Army, and major general. But good introduction, carefully done, Jorge!
Major General Anderson’s presentation was complete, very clear, extremely well-presented. It discussed her personal path to success through self-motivation and discovery, and crisis management as practiced by the Army.
Anderson began her career as an attorney and has served in the National Guard and the Army, with which she stayed because she thought that, as an African American woman, she could provide a different and necessary perspective. Upon joining she discovered an organization of tradition and hierarchy and that it was largely a men’s organization.
Anderson also found that there were no “road maps” to becoming an officer. The methods she employed were exceptional in their fundamental nature, applicable not only to her military experience, but also to those in civilian organizations: hard work, competence (essential in the face of dangerous military practices), the power of team support, tactical meeting skills, a focus on communications and the needs of people above and below her, curiosity, giving credit where it is due, telling the truth, and never compromising one’s ethical standards. She offered personal examples.
Crisis management shifted the presentation to military practices. These too can apply to civilian planning: Training opportunities—in the military, up to 50% of the job—followed by practice, and then execution. Planning is, Anderson posited, a collaborative process that should involve all who will be active in the plan, top to bottom. A good plan is thorough but not overly elaborate, since virtually all plans will change in the face of execution.
The presentation was on the one hand complete and clear. On the other hand, it spoke of profoundly simple basic tenets. Her formula would work in anyone’s world and reminds me of Albert Einstein’s belief that “Everything should be as simple as possible, and no simpler.”
Our thanks to Major General Marcia Anderson for her presentation this week and to Ellsworth Brown for preparing this review article. If you missed our meeting this week, you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/eLzVjeWXEYs.