If the passage of time provides greater perspective, it would certainly account for the amount of interest and discussion in the great world wars of the 20th century. The centenary of WW1 has contributed to the recent flurry of coverage, and it provides a chance to absorb the horror and immensity of that time. The two wars were only 21 years apart (using British military involvement, the first ending in 1918 and the second beginning in 1939)! That’s astonishing and reveals that the first half of the century was, for all intents and purposes, spent at war.
And, while the time since then has been less than peaceful, it has been without the constant, all-encompassing spectre of world war.
After VE day, business was booming. When the U.S. entered the fray, they did so with might, both in human and machine power. This led to an economic boom and technological advances that influenced American life from mid-century on.
But what about all that military training and leadership? It was steeped into the corporate leadership style of North America, with interesting results. Military leadership, characterized by the “my way or the highway” philosophy, created efficiencies and order that can’t be denied. But in the process, people were almost an afterthought, another tool to improve the bottom line.
Now, as we become ever-distanced by the great wars, I believe we are experiencing a ground shift. Leadership is evolving into a culture of collaboration, inclusion and development. The goal now is to identify those who can move your business forward, then provide them with the development they require to do it, and also to elevate their own business and personal goals. It’s a win-win concept that just didn’t fit into a world of huge military strategies requiring thousands of soldiers acting in lock step.
So, let’s celebrate the relative peace that has allowed this transition. It’s provided the magic combination of peace and prosperity that we all cherish.