Leadership Lessons From the Allied Invasion of Normandy

Buy the book Desmond Doss Conscientious Objector: The Story of an Unlikely Hero through this affiliate link with AmazonThe book Agility: How to Navigate the Unknown and Seize Opportunity in a World of Disruption by Leo M. Tilman and Charles Jacoby (Missionday, 2019) includes a chapter examining what the World War II Allied D-Day invasion of Normandy demonstrates about the power and utility of organizational agility (and by extension, SemperVerus living). The authors define agility as “the organizational capacity to effectively detect, assess, and respond to environmental changes in ways that are purposeful, decisive, and grounded in the will to win.” Agile organizations possess both strategic and tactical strengths. The authors identify the three essential competencies that constitute the pillars of agility as

  • risk intelligence
  • decisiveness
  • execution dexterity.

The invasion operation started with a resolute assessment of the nature of the Nazi threat; the order in which the Allies should focus on the defeat of the Axis powers; and the optimal method by which to defeat Germany. The implementation of the strategy involved both the transformation of the entire US economy into an “arsenal of democracy” and a great deal of innovation, for the war efforts in general and for the amphibious landing in Europe in particular. And on the day of the invasion, when most of what could go wrong did go wrong—bad weather, strong currents, paratroopers dropped in the wrong locations—tactical agility saved the day….

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