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Do you have an objective that you’d like to achieve? There’s a principle called Mission Command that I used in the Royal Air Force and it may help you and your team achieve your objectives.

As a mission commander and tactics instructor the Mission Comman principles are directly applicable to corporate life where there is a desire for high performance and yet I rarely see them adopted.

There are many different versions I am sure and much written about what mission command is; but for me it distils down to three simple principles:

  1. What is the Commander’s intent?
  2. What resource do you have?
  3. Are there any questions? 

Commander’s Intent

This is a succinct, specific, achievable, realistic objective that will be aligned with the purpose of the organisation and the wider mission.  It is often considered regarding the Commander’s intent two levels up i.e. what is it your boss’s boss is trying to achieve.  The more specific the outcome, the more specific the likely results.  In my past experience during my flying days this would normally be something like to arrive at a specific grid reference to deliver or pick up a load (often troops) +/- 5 seconds.

Sound simple?  Well it is.  And it will support the overall commander’s purpose (the game plan, the war, the battle) and will require the skilled professionals who are highly trained and talented to work out how they will achieve the objective. And this will be done on any continent at any time of day in any conditions with a variety of threats present.  It’s what the military can do, very well…and at its best it is the result of great teamwork, purpose and passion to get the job done.


Was there ever a time when you had enough, or more than enough resource?  In the modern world there is often a lot of noise about not having enough, or the right, resources.  It is no different in the military.  However, leaders understand what they have and they adapt, innovate and create solutions to get the job done – despite the odds.


Check understanding.  Do you know what the above requires of you? If you don’t, ask. If you do…get on with it.  There will be a deadline and there will be an objective which means it will be quite clear whether that objective is achieved – or not. […and for the commander…let your people do what they are trained and motivated to do and resist the urge to interfere, micro-manage, take over.  You’ve got bigger picture stuff to think about and your people won’t surprise you with what they can achieve unless you let them].

How could this apply to you

If you have an objective that you’d like to achieve and people who are talented that you’d like to see thrive? Then let’s have a chat about whether mission command could work for you, in your organisation, in your language.

Contact me (Richard Cartlidge) by using the form below or email richard@theartofthriving.co.uk