A Directive Issued

In every training class that an executive leader attends there is always the mention of communications. Whether the discussion is on internal or external communications or how to deal with varied personalities, how you communicate with others is a skill set to master for every executive.

Becoming skilled at motivating others is an art form. While it sounds easy when you read it or hear a speaker talk about it, it isn’t always easy to put into practical application.

I ran across this piece several years ago. We included this into workbooks as an exercise to highlight how the spoken word is transferred from one person to another. I think it highlights how communications can easily break down as it goes from one ear to another! Enjoy!

A Colonel issued the following directive to the Executive Officer:

Tomorrow evening at approximately 2000 hours Haley’s comet will be visible in this area. It is an event, which occurs only once every 75 years. Have the men fall out in the battalion area in fatigues, and I will explain this rare phenomenon to them. In case of rain, we will not be able to see anything so assemble the men in the theater, and I will show films of it.

The Executive Officer sent the Company Commander this message:

By order of the Colonel, tomorrow at 2000 hours Haley’s Comet will appear above the battalion area. If it rains follow the men out in fatigues, then march into the theater where the rare phenomenon will take place, something, which occurs once every 75 years.

Then the Company Commander sent the following message to the Lieutenant: 

By order of the Colonel in fatigues at 2000 hours tomorrow evening the phenomenal Haley’s Comet will appear in the theater. In case of rain in the battalion area, the Colonel will give another order something, which occurs every 75 years.

The Lieutenant then gave the following message to the Sergeant:

Tomorrow at 2000 hours the Colonel will appear in the theater with Haley’s Comet – something that happens every 75 years. If it rains, the Colonel will order the comet into the battalion area.

Finally, the Sergeant gave this message to the Squad:

When it rains tomorrow at 2000 hours the phenomenal 75-Year-old General Haley accompanied by the Colonel will drive his comet through the battalion area in his fatigues.