I caught a chastening documentary on how the Allies managed to prolong the war in Europe and needlessly increase the pyre of bodies, due to internal strife, egos and mistakes of the commanders towards the end of 1944.
In a narrative where no leader escapes blame, here’s a quote from a letter sent by Northern front commander Montgomery to the movement’s co-ordinator 400 miles behind the action, Eisenhower. There was evidently friction between the two men with Monty failing to accept the politics that effectively rendered him second-in command. With three different fronts emerging, Monty wanted all resources diverted to his command to power through the Low Countries, Berlin-bound through the Ruhr.
“by pushing everywhere you fail to break through anywhere”
The ferocious battle at Arnhem over key Rhine crossing rights defeated his plans. He would doubtless argue that despite being given 30,000 airborne troops, the lack of resources provided proved him right. As ever with history, conflicting views also exist.
Yet the truth in his observation pervades. One of my key mantras when talking to sales team leaders about knowledge management for instance, is that such initiatives traditionally fail because they are so desperate to capture anything, they try to capture everything.
When I discuss selling new products with the same audience, you often find that the array of initiatives that the individuals are charged with pursuing are bewildering. This regularly starves the latest newly launched product of selling-focus oxygen.
So the key, clearly, is to reduce, rather than load up on, key sales initiatives to make the strategic ones truly count.