Friday Wisdom – The Test

Yes, there wasn’t a wisdom post last Friday as many one loyal reader noticed.  Instead of writing, I was enjoying a morning in the ER with my brother (see last Sunday’s post for details).  Here is the wisdom I had intended to impart.  This is one that I often use during leadership training:

One day the Colonel was informed that one of his best company commanders had received a promotion and was due to be transferred out which would leave the Regiment short one Captain.  The Colonel decided to promote one of the platoon lieutenant’s to company commander and devised a little test.  He selected three lieutenants to test.

The Colonel called for Lt. Jones to meet him at a small hill that was made of solid granite.  There he had a flagpole and a flag.  The Colonel said, “Lieutenant, your test is to put that flagpole on top of that rock and then haul up the flag. Ask for anything you’ll need to do the job.”

Lt. Jones looked at the rock and replied, “Sorry sir, can’t be done.  That’s solid granite you can’t put anything it to that.  There’s no way I could do that.”

The Colonel dismissed Jones and ordered Lt. Smith to report.  After receiving the same instructions Lt. Smith took out a pencil, notepad and a calculator.  The Lieutenant starting writing madly and walking all over the granite.

Soon Lt. Smith turned to the Colonel and said, “I’ll need a rock drill, 200 pounds of concrete, 100 feet of rope, block and tackle and it will take me four days to get the flag flying.”

The Colonel dismissed Smith and ordered Lt. Johnson to the rocks and said to Johnson, “Lieutenant, your test is to put that flagpole on top of that rock and haul up the flag. Ask for anything you’ll need to do the job.”

Johnson looked quickly at the rocks and said, “Colonel, I’ll need a sergeant.”

“Very well,” said the Colonel and a sergeant was called.

When the sergeant arrived, the Lieutenant said to the sergeant, “Sergeant, get a detail of six men and put that flag pole on that rock.  Then haul up the colors with all due honors.”

Turning to the Colonel, Lt. Johnson said, “Will there be anything else sir?”

The Colonel replied, “Captain, take command of Alpha company immediately.”

About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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30 Responses to Friday Wisdom – The Test

  1. ljlhannah says:

    I need a Sgt. in my life!


  2. George says:

    Smart man..:)


  3. Haha! And I’m so proud to be that one loyal reader! What’s wrong with the rest of these people?


  4. Debra says:

    Very nice application for leadership training! I’ll remember this!


  5. Nice! Where there’s a will there’s a way!


  6. Allan G. Smorra says:

    So true, Andrew. A good lesson for all of us.


  7. floridaborne says:

    Great way to find someone who knew how to lead, how to delegate, and how to rally his men. 🙂


  8. jfwknifton says:

    A great story…Thanks for sharing it!


  9. As the mother of a newly-minted Sgt., I found that particularly funny.


  10. Interesting, I would have done as the second lieutenant had done, I am not management material. I hate asking for help lol


  11. Coisas EM'adeira says:

    My rank was sergeant!!!


  12. It also has a direct translation in any corporate setting.


  13. authorjim says:

    Very definite military procedure.


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