The DeHavilland Blog

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sending the leaders back to school

Great article today on - "Navy sets course to train admirals in business." It describes a brilliant idea - helping leaders of large institutions (in this case, the Navy) learn to apply proven business principles to their enterprises. From the article:

The U.S. Navy, in an effort to run more efficiently, is sending its admirals back to school to learn how to think more like entrepreneurs. On Thursday, a dozen admirals and a handful of other Naval leaders completed a week of executive education classes at Babson College.

The admirals spent four days attending sessions on such topics as "Organizational Innovation" and "Using Effects-Based Thinking." They ditched their uniforms in exchange for khakis and casual sweaters and dispensed with formal titles to call each other by nicknames like "Sully" and "Arch."

Emphasizing collaboration and negotiation is new for many admirals, but retired Vice Admiral Phil Quast, one of the architects of the program, said things are changing.

"There was a rice bowl mentality where people would protect their resources and not share with others," he said. "People who are dictatorial don't command ships anymore."

One of the biggest challenges for the new students was applying principles from the for-profit sector to the Navy. Thornberry explained that in the business world, an opportunity is a way of creating economic value. In the Navy, however, an opportunity is a chance to use resources efficiently.

Clear applications to education here - I'd love to provide an opportunity like this to principals and superintendents.


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