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Join me as I focus a leadership lens on fantasy books and series. Current Series: The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) Contact me: s10473@protonmail.com

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The Great Hunt - Chapters 10 & 11 [#100Days, Day 42]

The Chain of Command

    The hunt for the Horn of Valere truly begins in earnest.  Mat, Perrin, Loial and Rand, together with Shienaran soldiers under the command of Ingtar give chase to Padan Fain, his Darkfriends and Trollocs. At the first river crossing south of Fal Dara, Ingtar tells Rand that he's the next in command.

    "You are second, Rand. ...  No matter, I'll not claim i would have chosen you myself, but I think hyou have it in you to do what is needed.  You will do your duty, if it comes to it."

    Rand wanted to say it was no duty of his, but instead he said, "Uno knows about this.  Who else, Ingtar?"

    "All the lances.  When we Shienarans ride, every man knows who is next in line if the man in command falls.  A chain unbroken right down ot the last man left, even if he's nothing but a horseholder.  That way, you see, even if he is the last man, he is not just a straggler running and trying to stay alive.  He has the command, and duty calls him to do what must be done.  If I go to the last embrace of the mother, the duty is yours.  You will find the Horn, and you will take it where it belongs.  You will."

Ingtar and Rand, The Great Hunt, p. 161

    The idea of an unbroken chain of command is central to military organizations, as well as government hierarchies.  It provides a well understood pre-planned response when venturing into unknown situations.  Or in preparation for the worst.  In fact, for military entities, it is the very backbone of the service.  Everything is built around it: rank, pay, promotion timelines, training cycles, school requirements - everything. 

    What about private industry and organizations? Mission statements and company vision play a similar role.  Since they're usually tied to a product or service, they can outlast company leadership.  The words may change, but the theme will generally remain the same.  It provides the workforce a similar level of continuity that a military hierarchy provides.  If the Starbucks CEO suddenly retired, for example, it's ludicrous to think they would suddenly be unable to make coffee.  They would continue to execute their mission as the leadership and administrative cycles caught up.  Even after a new CEO gets chosen, Starbucks would still make coffee, it's extremely unlikely the company would suddenly switch product lines and start creating pre-fabricated sheds. 


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