Do you talk a lot about the color of your name tag?


3232672821_ca07612cff_mWhen I was in the army, a life time ago, we had just finished three months of officer training to become leaders of men. The new recruits, the very men (boys) we would be responsible for, were to arrive the day after. Months of planning and training and now the big day was here. Now, as officers, we had brown name tags attached to our uniforms (why I tell you this will make sense in a minute, hang in there). We would now officially belong to new companies and new battalions. The color of our name tags would now change from brown to red. As our captain went over the many organizational changes that we faced, tech requirements, weapon requirements, communication etc, etc, one of us (I don’t remember who, it could have been me)raised his hand and asked the befuddled captain: “Do we really have to change our name tags? We want to keep our brown name tags”. The captain’s response to this is not suitable outside army quarters, but let’s just say he found our priorities to somewhat peculiar. To say the least.

I used this anecdote in an effort to explain to my team why we have to keep an eye on the bigger picture. And from now on, when someone gets too engrossed in some minor detail, we simply call this a name tag, and get on with the bigger picture. Everyone, not just the upper management need to remember why we do stuff and what it is we hope to achieve.

Oh, and we did get to keep our brown name tags. I guess we needed to separate ourselves from the enlisted men. As if the stripes on our shoulders didn’t get that job done.

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