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Old 04-24-2011, 11:19   #16
Dusty
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Originally Posted by Richard View Post
Doing your duty and doing it well is one thing, but I never could buy the "Yes, Sir...three bags full, Sir!" aspect of the message.

Richard
Roger that. That's why they invented the briefback.
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Old 04-24-2011, 14:32   #17
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"Message to Garcia" was one of the many things I learned when I first got to Group. Me, and a couple other FNG's were told to find out about it. Of course, none of us had a clue, but we figured it out eventually. I thought it was a great lesson, especially for just arriving at group, and getting ready to meet up with a deployed team. It put things into the right perspective for me. One of those things I'll never forget.
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Old 04-24-2011, 17:09   #18
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A message to Garcia is very enlightening. To me it seems to define a dying breed of men, who are honest, loyal, hard working problem solvers. The way society is today teaches one to question authority, your elders, and especially your peers - and not to sacrifice without anything in return. More poeple sell "wolf tickets" and talk about how hard they work or how much of a good person they are rather than just do what you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do it; to the best of your ability without looking for credit, which in the long run is the most efficient way of proving ones self. This also makes you think, if you have to prove yourself to someone, then maybe you should prove yourself to yourself first. I think everyone should strive to be like this in any way possible. Including myself

- Josh
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Old 04-24-2011, 21:34   #19
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The way society is today teaches one to question authority, your elders, and especially your peers - and not to sacrifice without anything in return.
Might be splitting hairs here, but I've always tried to question authority, my elders, and especially my peers way in advance so that when unexpected and ridiculous things happen I have gotten that all out of the way. That's how I have attempted to practice this sort of mindset. Maybe my training needs a reorientation? Regardless, I agree that simply doing what ought to be done is scarce in some circles.

You're also right about that last part, certainly seems to be a hangup for many of us at one point or another.

A more dim (this comic has some real gems, though) view of the story.
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Old 04-24-2011, 22:04   #20
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Might be splitting hairs here, but I've always tried to question authority, my elders, and especially my peers way in advance so that when unexpected and ridiculous things happen I have gotten that all out of the way. That's how I have attempted to practice this sort of mindset. Maybe my training needs a reorientation? Regardless, I agree that simply doing what ought to be done is scarce in some circles.

You're also right about that last part, certainly seems to be a hangup for many of us at one point or another.

A more dim (this comic has some real gems, though) view of the story.
The way I look at it is that you can always learn something from someone, you never know where that person has been.

Food for thought
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Old 04-25-2011, 06:21   #21
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A message to Garcia is very enlightening. To me it seems to define a dying breed of men,- Josh
I don't think we're dying out. Getting older . . . some of us.

I love it when sister services show up and start writing on the walls of our house. Do we do this on Marine sites? No, I don't think we do.

Last edited by Dozer523; 04-25-2011 at 06:46.
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Old 04-25-2011, 06:48   #22
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I don't think we're dying out. Getting older . . . some of us.

I love it when sister services show up and start writing on the walls of our house. Do we do this on Marine sites? No, I don't think we do.
lol He said "sister".
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Old 03-03-2015, 11:51   #23
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BTT, Stumbled across a PDF file on the Benning School for Boy site:

http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry...o%20Garcia.pdf
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Old 03-03-2015, 12:18   #24
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Splended post Sir.

Speaking from personal experience that is a tough row to hoe, your fellow co-workers tend to have a distain for those that carry the message and will do all in their power to prevent the you the messenger from achieveing the goal.

All because they want to stay in their comfort zone of mediocrity.
Isn't that the truth! Witnessed that first hand, saddening what others will do to "further" themselves.
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Old 03-03-2015, 17:04   #25
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During the late 1980's this was required reading/one page report, at the Infantry Officer Basic Course (IOBC).
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:37   #26
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I took the opportunity to use "A Message to Garcia" with my cold, wet, hungry, and tired assessment candidates during a physical recovery and personal admin time period.

It provides a great window into their cognitive ability while under stress, helps us understand their mindset, and it is just a great short story that timelessly encompasses our desired end state in successful candidates.

Cheers to the forum and its members for sharing in detail.
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Old 04-08-2015, 18:14   #27
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I recently wrote an article on LinkedIn about this!

A Message to Garcia - A note about ownership.


Recently I was reading an excellent article on why American businesses should hire Green Berets. Deep in the article, there was an excerpt from an interview stating, “All I want is someone who can just get the Message to Garcia.” I was immediately taken back in time about 20 years to when my old Team Sergeant (Boss) gave me a very small, hard backed book that fit in the palm of my hand – A Message to Garcia.

A Message to Garcia is an essay written in 1899 about an incident during the Spanish-American War. It tells a story about a very capable young American military officer tasked to deliver a message to General Calixto Garcia, a Cuban revolutionary fighting against the Spanish. The gist of the story is that this young officer, Lieutenant Andrew Rowan, was given a seemingly impossible task and, without question, accepted and completed the task. He delivered the message to Garcia.

It’s nice to think that there are people out there in our lives and in our workplaces who will step up to challenging tasks and simply execute them. Most bosses want a workforce full of Rowans who will accept all challenges without hesitation. But the moral of the story might be hiding the more important subtext. When Rowan took the mission, he was not given a laundry list of constraints, meeting appointments, conflicting agendas, a schedule of due-outs, or reporting requirements. It was very simple… “Get the message to Garcia.” Lieutenant Rowan had one mission…one objective…one priority.

When my old boss gave me the book, it had an impact on me, and I strove to be Rowan throughout my military career. That was what I thought the Army wanted. However, as the years wore on, I realized that there was some duplicity in my superiors. They wanted me to salute, say “yes sir,” and execute; but, they were quick to lay constraint upon constraint upon constraint. I had to get permission for every move, submit proposals about how I intended to deliver my message, report my progress on a rigid schedule (to support their briefing calendars), submit risk assessments and contingency plans for every step, coordinate with 6 different organizations who might have a stake in the message, and…well, you see where I am going here.

Executives and senior officers often say things like, “All I want is someone who can just get the Message to Garcia,” but in reality most do not trust the Lieutenant Rowans of the world to carry that message. Trust is risky! Business and operational decisions once made by junior managers have been elevated to the top. Front line supervisors are so busy reporting to middle managers that they are unable to do their jobs for the reporting requirements. Employees who are the primary interface with the customer are not permitted to make decisions. When Rowan took the mission, it was his…he owned it...and he would report back when complete. Of course, he didn’t have a cell phone, laptop, wi-fi, blackberry, or other modern tether.

General George Patton once said, “If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you will be amazed at the results.” If executives really want more Rowans and more messages delivered to the Garcias of the world, than they need to assign the task, expect success, and stay out of the way. If the Rowans want to be left alone to deliver the message, they need to own the task and prove they don’t need to be micromanaged. My new favorite statement on the topic is from Joachim Ahlstrom, “ownership is a prerequisite for using one’s full potential.”

Thanks to my good friend and mentor, Charles (Chuck) Jenkins, for giving me A Message to Garcia so long ago. I encourage everyone to read this essay and take its timeless message to heart.
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:29   #28
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Do 18A still get this for reading?
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Old 04-04-2016, 21:35   #29
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Marine Corps Drops Longtime Staple From Reading List

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2...ding-list.html

Interesting development and one that leaves me scratching my head and wondering if the people who made this decision and those who commented on it read the same "Message to Garcia" that I did. If they did - then I respectfully disagree with their interpretation/conclusions. OK - not so much - actually I think they've completely "missed the message". (It wouldn't be politic to call them idiots.)

Then I went back and re-read this thread. Lo and behold - I see the same dichotomy here that the commenters there expressed. One side sees "blind/unquestioning obedience to orders" and "that's not what we want from our subordinates"; the other sees "get 'er done" and "exercise initiative/figure it out on the way".

Personally, I'm part of the latter group. I expect the people that work for me to exercise initiative. Hell - it's what my bosses expect of me, even today. It's a trait I go out of my way to encourage. I do it because that's what my mentors expected of me when I was starting out and it's a trait that has stood me in good stead my entire adult life (except for that "unfortunate" incident in Bolivia with a vindictive Tm Ldr).

I think the people commenting negatively about the "Message to Garcia" are failing to put the story in the context of when it was written. Today's global/military environment bears no resemblance to 1898-9 and the circumstances extant during the Spanish-American War. Saying "he should have asked more questions" (the story doesn't mention that he asked any), fails to account for the fact that the mission, while simple in content, was relatively difficult in execution, AND any information/intelligence that might have been available was outdated to the point of being virtually useless. He was forced by circumstance to "improvise, adapt, and overcome". Ambiguity and uncertainty. Lots of people can't function in that environment. I contend that those who dismiss "Message to Garcia" as "blind obedience to orders" are among those who do not fare well when confronted with ambiguity and uncertainty.

Personally, I will continue to recommend "Message to Garcia" as a valuable insight into the type of character I want the people with me to have when the "what" is clearer than the "how". After all - when the Zombie Apocalypse happens, it'll be the Lt. Rowans of the world who survive to rebuild civilization. (Only a little "tongue in cheek"!)
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Old 04-05-2016, 09:31   #30
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Perigrino -

Agree 100%

I use "A Message to Garcia" as a management selection tool. I outline our mission, current status, and OP then give a "Message to Garcia" to the candidate to read.

It is amazing what a wonderful "self selection" tool that has become.

Of course we don't have an HR department to deal with so that makes it easier. And if I have anything to say about it (and I do at least for now) we will never have an HR department or an organizational chart. The fastest way to kill innovation and initiative IMO.
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