Tuesday, October 6, 2009

2009 Gettysburg Staff Ride - Stand 3
(Discussion facilitated by Bill Molumby)

Lt. General Richard Ewell – Leaders Intent, Opportunity, and the Human Factor

Remember the success Ewell had on the afternoon of July 1st. Although he had not received written orders or instructions, he combined both leaders intent (Lee’s) and situational awareness (as reported to him by Rodes) to take positive action. His movement and engagement of resources at the right time and place were critical to that afternoon’s success. Ultimately though, his decision later that afternoon remains a significant discussion point 150 years later.

The Confederate’s had the Union Army on the retreat. Lee’s vision was taking shape before his eyes. If Ewell would continue pressing forward and take the high ground, Lee’s intent would become reality. The opportunity was there. The time was right; but human factors such as fatigue, friction, and communication played a heavy hand.

We see this same scenario played out on wildland fires. Whether it’s IC to PSC, OSC to OPBD, or LSC to FACL, is the intended end state being communicated correctly and in the end carried out with the same level of commitment and urgency?

Three points come to mind relative to this discussion:

• Is my intent clear or ambiguous?
• Do I see opportunities for success or situations control me?
• Is there friction, fatigue, or other human factors affecting decisions?

"to carry the hill occupied by the enemy, if you find it practicable…”
General Lee to Ewell

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