Tuesday, July 19, 2016


After I completed Officers Candidate School, I was commissioned as an intelligence officer in the Army. Serving as a lieutenant was the only time I've ever had a job that qualified as a management position.

In Vietnam, I worked in the top secret area of the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV). It was a mini-Pentagon that had the command structure of all branches in one place. My group generated background intelligence summaries on Cambodia and Laos to support the real-time briefings.

The six sharp guys that made up my team did some really good work. Whenever a general or colonel came down to thank me for something we'd done, I always deferred to those who did the work. I would say something like, "Jim and Evan did the heavy lifting on that, they're the ones you should talk to." I gave the credit to my team when things went right and took full responsibility if there was any kind of problem.

The Army has a well-know saying, "Shit rolls down hill." This refers to the standard practice of passing the blame on to those below you when things go wrong.

I had a special name plate made for my desk at MACV. Below my name it read, "Shit rolls down hill until it gets to me."

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you were a great manager :) You took the accountability when it mattered most!