A couple of years ago, I received a gift of a DVD set of very old western movies. Actors names that only my parents would have known. I couldn’t wait to “go back into the good old days” westerns! BOY or BOY! ……………………..Ouch!. They were poorly produced. I didn’t remember how slow the dialog was, or poor the scripting. True to form, though I did watch some, but I couldn’t watch them all.
One very slow, wind-chilling, winter afternoon, I decided to pull another old favorite off the shelf, a VHS tape of Patton. George C. Scott, won and Oscar, for his portrayal of Patton, although he refused to receive it. In the middle of the movie, my wife entered the room, saw what I was viewing, and immediately u-turned and left.
Sally Fields starred in an excellent movie, it was called Places in the Heart. A story about people and things that affect you. That’s how it is with Patton and me.
Up unto 1989, I worked for an organization and was allowed to manage myself, set my own work schedules etc., as long as I met general expectations. It was in 1989 that I was given a promotion. Not a little promotion, but a big one. I jumped three levels of management to become a Department Head. In my department represented, we represented 35% of the business operation. I was to manage 325 people covering 48 states.
Considering my new responsibilities I looked for guidance, I turned to Patton! I know, it sounds silly, but on those nights when work problems arose, and I couldn’t sleep, Patton was a release. No, not for battles, not how he brashly talked to his troops. Patton is a study in management, more precisely in planning.
Patton would study the history of the area, and the mindset of his opponents, then develop alternatives approaches.
In 1989, we had had a complete departmental management change over. None of us were experienced for our new jobs. On the job training it’s called. So it was, we would discuss what alternative demands would or could be placed on us. Alternative directions were developed, we followed Patton’s philosophy, “if a person is competent enough to be given a job, then let them do, if they can’t do the job, give to someone else, Always move forward, never back up”.
Having retired eight years ago, the movie doesn’t hold much for me any more. Like an old man’s mind drifting back in time though, I smile at Patton, and just say thanks.